The Checkered Flag- DPA’s Premium coverage of the Quaker State 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway

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DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 10: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, practices for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 10, 2018 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Welcome Back Playmakers! This week the series stops in Atlanta, a 1.5 mile track known for its extremely abrasive racing surface. It’s one of the oldest surfaces they race on. They are actually re-paving and redesigning this track after the race so the whole setup and feel of Atlanta is going to change after this one. Atlanta is a place where the veteran drivers tend to excel a bit more than the younger guys. It’s a challenge to put up great laps once your tires are past their prime. The surface is comparable to a cheese grater and eats up tires at a higher rate then pretty much any track. It should be an interesting race where new tires are king. Let’s take a look at the drivers I think you should focus on for this week’s race. 

Dominators

Kyle Larson | 6th | 12,000DK | 14,500FD |

This is a great spot for Larson. He’s arguably the best at this track now that Harvick’s skill level has begun to decline. You can run really fast laps here right against the wall. Which Larson loves and is great at. My only worry is the possibility of a blown tire that would cause him to get up into the wall and possibly effect how well he does. But that same concern can go towards any driver here, Larson is a great play for dominator and could possibly lead half the laps in this race, or there about. 

Kyle Busch | 2nd | 10,300DK | 13,000FD |

Kyle won the xfin race yesterday. He’s been pretty damn good as of late, I think they are hitting their stride at the right time as a team and should be one of the top contenders not driving a Hendricks car the rest of the year. Starting in this spot he should be up front nearly all race and I think the feel he got for the track yesterday should help him here today, I don’t recommend building around Kyle Busch as a core piece, but I think you should have some exposure in multi entry formats. 

Chase Elliot | 1st | 9800DK | 13,500FD |

Chase has the pole. Certainly an option today. I like Both Kyle’s more though. He has the best pit stall so he’s definitely going to be a contender to stick up front most of the race. I don’t mind the pricing either on DK. 9800 is cheap for an option of this potential. I will have some exposure and I recommend our multi entry players get some exposure. If you can fit Chase, it would be hard not to lock him in. Even if he doesn’t lead a huge portion of this race I still see him as a top5 or so car. 

Martin Truex | 5th | 9000DK | 12,500FD | 

I don’t think Truex is a great dominator option. But for 9000 he should be worth a shot in a line or two. I think based on his DK pricing he’s a very solid cash game play and should pay off his price tag with a solid performance here. He’s finished 9th or better here in 9 out of the last 10 trips to Atlanta. 9000 is a good price for that type of performance and consistency. 

Place Differential 

Kevin Harvick | 21st | 10,900DK | 11,700 FD |

The pricing is pretty tough here. Harvick is great at Atlanta. He’s the best at protecting his tires and getting the most out of them. In the past he’s been the best here. But I fear we are on the downturn of his career. He’s just not the force he once was. I don’t think I can pay this much for him and consider him a lock. He does have some decent potential starting 21st, but you definitely need a finish well inside the top10 to pay off his price. Certainly do-able. But I also feel like in some builds you may be able to save the money and use it to get two very solid drivers. It’s honestly a tough call because of his dominance here. But he just hasn’t shown that form this season so I’m not completely comfortable paying this price tag for him. I still would have exposure in multi entry setups and I do think he will be a pretty solid gpp and cash game option. But I’m not going to force him into all my builds like I would have in the past at this track. If you play more than 1 line I would consider getting some exposure though. 

Ryan Blaney | 15th | 10,500DK | 10,500FD | 

Blaney picked up a win here last March. From his history here you can see he’s gotten better and better here over his career. This is a good spot for him. But I think the pricing is again very steep. Harvick has a better upside and floor for just 400 more on DK. I don’t think I will have much exposure based on that pricing, but he’s definitely an option worth of your consideration in gpp and cash games. I lean gpp though based on pricing and I believe his ownership may take a small hit and be lower because of the pricing. 

William Byron | 19th | 10,000DK | 11,500FD |

I like this spot for Willie. He’s a top10 car. Has been week after week this year. It’s a premium price unfortunately but he’s definitely someone you should have exposure to. Hendricks racing has just been too good this year to not have exposure to their drivers 

Alex Bowman | 17th | 9400DK | 11,000FD |

This is a solid spot. Several drivers in a similar spot and all priced up a bit. Bowman and BradK are the cheapest of them. That could bump up their ownership. But I do like this spot and will have exposure. Bowman started 14th here last may and by the end of stage 1 was up to 6th place. I could see similar happening here. 

Brad Keselowski | 14th | 9200 DK | 12,000FD | 

Brad has 2 wins here since 2017. This track fits his style. Brad is going to use a different strategy than most teams. I think it benefits him here at some point in the race and he gets a big boost up near the top5. This is a sneaky play to get a win in my opinion. I definitely want exposure. Note: he’s 12,000 on FD so he’s not nearly as good of a play there as on DK. But still a decent option. 

Aric Almirola | 20th | 8000DK | 6800FD |

Aric has been better of late after that horrid start to the year. It’s too little too late unless he could win a race, so I think he’s worth a shot and n most races the rest of the year. Who knows what this team will do week to week but they will be worth watching for the rest of the regular season with their back’s against the wall. This is a decent play based on price, but not a priority. 

Daniel Suarez | 27th | 7700DK | 6500FD | 

Suarez is very up and down, as should be expected as a rookie team during its first year. I think this is a solid spot for Suarez to move up a couple of spots and pay off his price. 7700 is a bit steep, but the upside is there. I don’t consider him a priority. But, he is worth having exposure to in both cash and gpp. I don’t think you need to go and build around him, he’s just another solid piece for a player pool or a 5th driver on your line. 

Austin Dillon | 13th | 7900DK | 8000FD | 

Austin has some decent finishes here. There’s not a ton of upside, I doubt he’s a top10 car. But he should finish close to 15th or so. With some luck of course he could finish higher, maybe using a strategy move to their advantage, I don’t think many play him and that always makes his value worth a bit more because of low ownership. Worth a shot. But don’t expect the world. 

Ryan Preece | 34th| 7400DK | 4000FD | 

Usually I wouldn’t be a huge fan but starting 34th he’s in a good spot to get close to +10 place diff. There’s 3 guys directly in front of him who are all not good at all and he should easily pass them. He’s priced up on DK because of it. I think he’s a great play on FD because of the pricing. And still worth playing on DK. But don’t go crazy on the ownership here. You don’t want to over expose yourself based on his upside. 

Cole Custer | 23rd | 6700DK | 6300FD | 

The high line is fast at this track, that suits Custer. There’s some risk here, but I think he’s worth some consideration if you have the salary left. With some luck he should be inside the top20 here. 

Ricky Stenhouse | 16th | 6600DK | 6000FD |

This is a risky play but maybe worth a gpp shot. Over his last 6 races here Stenhouse’s worst finish is 18th place. I don’t think he’s going to win someone a gpp. But he could a low owned gpp play that puts up a respectable score. I also think he would work well for cash games, but I doubt he has much ownership in cash games, maybe a way to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Worth your consideration.

Also Consider 

Erik Jones | 22nd | 6900DK | 4500FD |

Michael McDowell | 25th | 5900DK | 5000FD | 

Matt DiBennedetto | 12th | 7500DK | 7000FD | 

Anthony Alfredo | 32nd | 5500DK | 3500FD |

Ryan Newman | 29th | 6100DK | 5800FD | 

Remember, NASCAR is a CRAZY DFS sport. Scores and your place in the money can change in a heartbeat. There are so many variables that no one can really predict. Cars can be finicky, and some will crash which can ruin your day. You need your full team to be on its game if you want to cash, and you may need a little luck. This is not a one man sport when you pick a player like other styles of DFS. There’s 30-50 guys behind the scenes who all have a hand in building the car, or developing a game plan. Sometimes it only takes one mistake by one of those guys for a driver to have a bad race. That narrative does not apply to other forms of DFS, so be cautious when building your lines, but most of all, have fun!

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