The field is set for Sunday’s race at Sonoma with Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott on the front row. Let’s delve into this week’s top NASCAR DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel Toyota Save Mart 350 lineups.
Toyota Save Mart 350 NASCAR DFS Picks
Kyle Larson, 1st ($12,500 FanDuel, $9,700 DraftKings)
Running a fast lap at Sonoma has never been an issue for Larson. Through six starts in the No. 42 for Chip Ganassi, Larson has three career poles. Staying consistent throughout the race and running up top was another issue, though. In those six starts, Larson’s average finish was 17.5, and that only included 1.8 laps led per race, even with that an average starting position of 2.5.
However, now in the No. 5, Larson has the speed to pair with one of the best cars in the Series with a crew chief who has no issue strategizing one race at a time. Speed and strategy saw Larson finish second in the rain-soaked race at Circuit of the Americas. Now with much better-anticipated conditions, Larson can take advantage of his speed in the 750-horsepower package that saw him dominate most recently at Dover and finish second at COTA.
Chase Elliott, 2nd ($14,500 FanDuel, $10,500 DraftKings)
For as good as Elliott has been throughout his Cup career at road courses, Sonoma appears to have given Elliott the most trouble. Yet these numbers are a bit misleading, as he only has four starts at Sonoma and the most recent was a DNF (engine) that saw him finish 37th. Before that 2019 race, Elliott was on an upward trend at Sonoma with ever-improving finishes, including back-to-back top-10s.
Since that fourth-place finish at Sonoma in 2018, Elliott has won six of the past nine road races. Elliott’s 280 laps led during that time span are near twice as many as the next closest competitor, Martin Truex Jr. (145). Needless to say, Elliott has been the Series’ best road racer and showed it once again in the rain-laden race at COTA. With those previously mentioned clear conditions, taming Sonoma should come down to nothing but skill and speed — a one-two combination Elliott has been using to his advantage for years now.
Joey Logano, 13th ($11,000 FanDuel, $10,100 DraftKings)
This may come as a shock, but dating back to last season Joey Logano holds the best average finish in road races among all Cup drivers (fourth). Logano was never a driver considered a “ringer” but generally a safe bet for a top-10 finish in road races. Whatever the root of the cause may be, Logano has flipped that script becoming a contender with no finish worse than third in his last three road racing starts — all at different venues.
Despite having place differential upside, Logano may get lost in the shuffle as DFS players choose more known quantities in drivers from Hendrick and Joe Gibbs. Yet Logano has ascended to being a potential winner despite few noticing it. Box score hunters will see subpar finishes of 23rd and 19th in his past two starts at Sonoma, creating additional leverage in tournaments for those willing to take a shot on Logano.
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Chris Buescher, 12th ($7,300 FanDuel, $7,200 DraftKings)
For a second, look at the Race Sheets and check out everyone starting below Truex. Practically everyone from Truex down to Kurt Busch is on the board as a place differential option. The majority of these drivers are all priced similarly which should help keep ownership down and spread out. However, if the typical NASCAR DFS player is just considering starting position and salary, they’ll miss out on Buescher.
Thanks to his top-10 finish at Charlotte, the starting grid formula puts Buescher 12th on the board. While this removes him from cash-game player pools, it places him firmly as a tournament option with top-10 upside. When still racing at JTG-Daughtery, Buescher’s last two races at Sonoma ended with top-16 finishes. Since taking over the 17, Buescher’s four road course starts have all been top-20 results, including 11th at the Daytona Road Course and 13th at COTA this season.
Martin Truex Jr., 19th ($14,000 FanDuel, $10,900 DraftKings)
Had the second coming of Noah’s Ark not been occurring in mid-Texas, who knows what the outcome of COTA would have looked like with Truex still in the race? Truex found his way early to the lead and was making his chargeback, following pit stops, before getting blinded by Cody Ware‘s rear-tire spray and rear-ended by an equally blinded Cole Custer.
As per this weekend, Truex returns to a track he has three career victories at, including back-to-back wins in the most recent races. With no practice or qualifying, early speed is going to come down to the initial setup. The 19 team should be well prepared to make an initial charge where passing is tougher than any other road course.
Due to the decrease in laps, as NASCAR will utilize the carousel once more, dominator points take a slight ding placing more emphasis on foundational scoring such as place differential. Starting 19th, Truex gives DFS players access to dominator points, but more importantly one of the safer floors thanks to his place differential potential.
A Gaggle of Green
As mentioned above in the Buescher section, there are a lot of cash-game options this week. In fact, 10 drivers are highlighted as cash plays, and that doesn’t include dominator options they can be paired with. Ranked in order are this week’s drivers who are better played because of their finishing position/place differential floors. These ranks take the following into consideration; track history, track-type form, and salary.
- Ross Chastain, 29th ($7,000 FanDuel, $7,700 DraftKings)
- Michael McDowell, 21st ($8,000 FanDuel, $7,600 DraftKings)
- Ryan Preece, 29th ($4,500 FanDuel, $6,800 DraftKings)
- Aric Almirola, 26th ($5,200 FanDuel, $7,900 DraftKings)
- Kurt Busch, 31st ($8,500 FanDuel, $9,100 DraftKings)
- Cole Custer, 23rd ($6,700 FanDuel, $7,500 DraftKings)
- Chase Briscoe, 25th ($7,200 FanDuel, $6,900 DraftKings)
- Anthony Alfredo, 28th ($3,500 FanDuel, $5,800 DraftKings)
- Ryan Newman, 24th ($5,000 FanDuel, $6,300 DraftKings)
- Christopher Bell, 20th ($9,000 FanDuel, $8,400 DraftKings)
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