Looking at the starting lineup for this weekend’s KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway starts out pretty normal, as Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney, and Kyle Busch qualified 1-2-3 and were pretty much the favorites heading into the race weekend. But when you start analyzing the lineup further, it starts getting weird. You can thank qualifying inspection issues (mostly) for that. We’ll have Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth starting from the back, as well as Kasey Kahne, Michael McDowell, and Matt DiBenedetto. Additionally, Kyle Larson will join those guys before the green flag, as he qualified 22nd but spun out during the second round and will have to replace the tires on his #42 Chevrolet and take the penalty. Meanwhile, we have Chris Buescher starting inside the top 10, and a great race on the docket before next week’s All-Star Race at Charlotte.

We’re back to a 1.5-mile track this weekend, which means less dominator FPTS available than we had last week at Dover. Saturday night’s race at Kansas is a 400-miler, which equates to 267 laps–exactly how many we ran at Las Vegas earlier this year. In that race, it was a lot of green flag racing, and we ended up with 236 total fastest laps, with over 25% of those going to Kevin Harvick. I’m expecting a very similar race here at Kansas, both with Harvick’s domination and with a low number of caution flags.

GPP Drivers I Love For The KC Masterpiece 400

Kevin Harvick ($11,700) – This is just getting stupid. The #4 team is head and shoulders above everyone else in the garage right now, and it’s not even funny. Looking at the three races that we’ve ran on 1.5-mile tracks this year, Harvick is averaging over 160 laps led per race and nearly 75 fastest laps. You can expect similar–if not better–numbers here on Saturday night. Harvick is the top play once again and it’s not even close. The only way he doesn’t put up the top score in DraftKings is if he has major mechanical issues on Saturday night.

Clint Bowyer Tony Stewart Kurt Busch Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings FanDuel
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Clint Bowyer ($9,000) – Clint Bowyer has cracked the $9,000 mark in DraftKings for the first time this season, and it’s well deserved; this #14 team continued its hot streak at Dover last weekend with a 2nd-place finish, and they’ve now wound up 9th or better in five of the last six Cup Series races overall. This weekend, Bowyer definitely has the car to make it six of the last seven, but he has some work to do because he’s going to be starting from back in 33rd when the KC Masterpiece 400 goes green. He’s no stranger to that, though, as Bowyer started 30th and finished 9th in this race one year ago. Clint has a car good enough to come away with a top 5 finish on Saturday night, and as long as he doesn’t run into trouble while coming up through the field, he should get there.

Erik Jones ($8,100) – This guy has been nothing but disappointing for Fantasy NASCAR owners over the last month or so, but he has a really good shot at turning things around this weekend. Jones qualified 12th for Saturday night’s KC Masterpiece 400, which puts him right in that range where DraftKings players tend to shy away a bit since the amount of place differential points is limited. However, at $8,100, I’m willing to take a risk with Jones. The #20 Toyota came home 8th at Las Vegas earlier this year, and then at Texas, Jones wheeled it to a 4th-place finish in addition to leading 64 laps. I don’t see him getting out front for that many circuits here this weekend but a top 5 finish wouldn’t be very surprising. Erik was 4th-fastest in the lone practice session of the weekend and had the 9th-best ten-lap average.

Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Kasey Kahne ($6,300) – Kasey Kahne is another one of those drivers that fell victim to the qualifying inspection process on Friday, but that’s good news for Fantasy NASCAR players because he should move up quite a bit before it’s all said and done. Officially, Kahne will be scored from the 34th starting spot, but it honestly wouldn’t be too surprising if he ended up inside the top 20 by the time thee checkered flag waved. Looking at the 1.5-mile tracks we’ve ran at this season, Kahne finished 21st at Atlanta before posting a 19th-place finish at Las Vegas and a 17th-place result at Texas. As far as Kansas goes, Michael McDowell ended up 13th and 18th in this #95 Chevrolet last season, while Kahne posted 15th-place finishes in both races while driving for Hendrick Motorsports. I think Kasey has a decent chance to go under-owned in DraftKings on Saturday night and that’s why I love him as a GPP play.

Salary Cap Relief at Kansas

Thanks to the qualifying inspection issues, it’s going to either be Michael McDowell ($5,400) or Matt DiBenedetto ($5,200) as the two obvious salary cap relief options on Saturday night. They’ll start 36th and 37th (respectively) but both have a good shot at ending up in the mid-20s before it’s all said and done. Looking at the Las Vegas and Texas races from this season, both McDowell and DiBenedetto had average running positions of 23.5, while the former had an average finish of 25.5 and the latter has an average finish of 19th. For what it’s worth, McDowell finished 13th and 18th in the two races here at Kansas last season (while driving the #95 Chevrolet) while DiBenedetto ran 32nd and 22nd. I personally like DiBendetto a little bit more when comparing the two.

Driver Point Projections for the Kansas KC Masterpiece 400

The following chart takes into account the very basics: the starting position and the projected finish of each driver. The projected finishes are averaged from five different ranking systems, using both mathematical equations as well as personal rankings. This chart also includes the average projected base + laps led + fastest laps DraftKings FPTS as well as the dollar per FPT. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.

DriverDraftKings SalaryAvg Proj FPTSStarting PositionAvg. Projected FinishProj Laps LedProj Fastest LapsDollar Per FPT
Kevin Harvick$11,700121.4101.614782$96
Kyle Busch$11,20073.9301.84337$152
Kyle Larson$10,60062.62207.61118$169
Clint Bowyer$9,00060.03309.002$150
Ryan Blaney$8,80058.7204.22031$150
Martin Truex Jr$10,80051.4705.81218$210
Joey Logano$9,90050.4904.076$197
Brad Keselowski$9,70046.7505.81511$208
Kurt Busch$8,40043.6807.699$193
Matt Kenseth$7,10041.83518.600$170
Jimmie Johnson$9,30041.02313.000$227
Chase Elliott$10,30039.41710.800$261
Erik Jones$8,10036.71211.407$221
Denny Hamlin$9,50032.4609.804$293
Kasey Kahne$6,30030.83423.600$205
Austin Dillon$7,40029.42519.800$252
Alex Bowman$7,70027.01918.000$285
Aric Almirola$8,60026.9412.235$320
Jamie McMurray$7,60026.82420.600$284
Matt DiBenedetto$5,20026.23727.400$198
Daniel Suarez$6,80025.61416.200$266
Michael McDowell$5,40024.83627.600$218
Ryan Newman$7,90023.41517.800$338
Ricky Stenhouse Jr$7,30021.61619.200$338
Darrell Wallace Jr$6,10021.02122.000$290
Paul Menard$7,00020.61117.200$340
William Byron$6,60020.21318.400$327
Ty Dillon$5,70017.62626.200$324
Chris Buescher$5,80014.41019.800$403
David Ragan$6,00011.62026.200$517
Landon Cassill$4,70011.43131.800$412
Ross Chastain$4,90010.42830.800$471
AJ Allmendinger$6,50010.01826.000$650
Timmy Hill$4,60010.03836.000$460
Corey Lajoie$5,10007.02732.000$729
Reed Sorenson$4,80005.63034.200$857
Gray Gaulding$4,50004.22934.400$1,071

As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.