The Chase for the Sprint Cup Series championship heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the AAA Texas 500. Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon ($7,900) is not in the Chase mix, but he is looking to crash the party. The No. 3 Chevrolet will be on the pole for Sunday’s afternoon race in Texas. Dillon’s previous seven appearances at Texas have been rather underwhelming, as he has just three Top 20s with no Top 10s and zero laps led. He has a 21.0 Average-Finish Position (AFP) with a high of 11th place and was 19th in the Duck Commander 500 in the spring. Still, he is a rather risky DFS play given his uneven results in the past at Texas.
Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson ($10,800) leads all active participants with a 112.9 Driver Rating over the past five starts, leading 325 laps with 79.3 percent of his laps turned inside the Top 15. He has six victories with 14 Top 5s, 20 Top 10s and 1,023 laps led with an 8.3 AFP in 26 career starts. Johnson already has his place in the Final Four for Homestead-Miami Speedway, but do not expect him to let up at a track he has dominated in the past. He was fourth in the Texas spring race and will go off 19th Sunday. He has a good chance to pick up plenty of Place Differential points.
Johnson’s teammate, rookie Chase Elliott ($9,200), debuted with a fifth-place showing in his first Cup race in Texas in the spring. He’ll go off 11th in Sunday’s race and he is worth a look as a No. 3 driver in GPPs. Hendrick driver Kasey Kahne ($8,400) rolled to an impressive eighth-place finish in the spring race in Texas, and he has managed a 17.8 AFP in 24 career starts at the track. He has one win, five Top 10s and eight Top 10s which makes him a roll of the dice as a No. 3 or 4 driver for Texas.
Penske Racing’s Brad Keselowski ($9,600) checks into Sunday’s race second in Driver Rating at 112.0 ove rthe past five Texas races. He leads all drivers with 446 drivers, turning 80.0 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. Kes has had a lot of success in Fort Worth, posing four Top 5s and six Top 10s in 16 career starts with a 16.4 AFP. His teammate Joey Logano ($9,400) is seventh in Driver Rating at 99.3 over the past five starts in Texas, leading 127 laps. Unlike his teammate, Logano has a win in 16 starts with six Top 5s and a 17.5 AFP. If you’re choosing between the two Penske drivers for DFS purposes, Logano has the better value. Kes starts fourth while Logano will go off from the second position.
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick ($10,900) is the highest-priced driver on the board, and a good play going off from the third spot in Sunday’s starting grid. Harvick posted a 10th-place finish in the spring race, his 15th in 27 career starts at the track. While he has never won, and posted just 116 laps led, he has a 12.2 AFP to rank fifth among all drivers with at least two career starts in Texas.
SHR’s Kurt Busch ($8,600) remains in the hunt for one of the three remaining championship spots at Homestead-Miami. He has had decent results over the years, posting a win with 15 Top 10s in 27 career starts and a 15.3 AFP. Kurt’s brother Kyle Busch ($10,200) picked up checkers in the spring race, and he ranks third in Driver Rating at 108.9 over the past five races. His 3.0 AFP over the five-race stretch is tops among all drivers. He has two wins, 10 Top 10s and 739 laps led in just 21 career starts. He is a must-have DFS option in cash games, especially since he’ll start 24th with plenty of potential for Place Differential points.
Don’t forget about the other Joe Gibbs Racing drivers, either. Matt Kenseth ($9,800) has been about as good as they come in Texas, posting two races, 13 Top 5s and 17 Top 10s with 854 laps led in 27 career starts. His 9.5 AFP is second only to Johnson among drivers with at least two starts at the track. Carl Edwards ($8,900) has three checkered flags to his credit at Texas, posting 18 Top 20s and 655 laps led in 23 career starts with a 14.2 AFP. He and Kenseth are tremendous No. 3 or 4 driver options in GPPs.
Richard Childress Racing’s Ryan Newman ($7,800) has finished in the Top 20 in seven straight outings, and he is a good bet to make it eight in a row in Texas. He was 17th in the spring race, and he has one Texas win with 17 Top 20 finishes in 26 career starts with a respectable 18.7 AFP. Newman is set to go off from the 18th spot in Sunday’s race.
ON THE DOWN LOW
As far as the lower-priced options are concerned, there is plenty of good picks for a high-low DFS lineup strategy.
Richard Childress Racing’s Paul Menard ($6,600) is set to go off from the sixth spot in the starting grid Sunday. He has had decent results in the past at Texas, rolling to one Top 5, three Top 10s and 12 Top 20s with a 20.8 AFP in 20 career starts. At this price level he is a slam-dunk play, allowing you to load up with studs in the first three or four spots on your roster.
Roush Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle ($7,000) has a pair of victories with eight Top 5s in 25 career starts with a 15.8 AFP in 25 career starts. He was collected in a wreck in the spring race, finishing 39th. He will go off from the 25th spot in Sunday’s race and he is a solid value for his Place Differential point potential.
Rookie Ryan Blaney ($7,500) of Wood Brothers Racing is set to go off eight in Sunday’s race. He struggled to a 29th-place showing in the spring race, and that was actually his best finish after previous runs of 42nd and 43rd. Due to Blaney’s uneven results in the past it is a good idea to fade him. Fellow rookie Chris Buescher ($6,200) has 28th- and 30th-place finishes in two previous Texas starts. He is a decent No. 6 driver helping to save you plenty of salary to use up top.
Lastly, Matt DiBenedetto ($5,000) will not race Sunday, as he was knocked out of Saturday’s Xfinity Series race due to concussion.