The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs are here, and and some fantasy owners are coming along for the ride.
Drivers are set to compete in Sunday’s Nickelodeon-themed Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, as the chase for the Cup championship gets underway. Nothing too crazy here, just a good old-fashioned trip around a 1 1/2-mile oval near the Windy City.
With so much on the line for the 16 playoff drivers, anything is possible at Chicagoland, which could make life difficult for fantasy owners. But that’s where we come in.
Whether you need help picking an A-List driver who has a shot at winning or an up-and-coming C-List racer who could help steal you some points, we’ve got you covered for the first round of your NASCAR fantasy playoffs. Here are the drivers you should give seats to, and the ones you shouldn’t, for Saturday’s race at Chicagoland:
Must pick: Martin Truex Jr.
Truex should be your A-List driver for much of the fantasy playoffs, but especially for this weekend’s race.
The Furniture Row Racing driver won this race last year, and has been a beast on 1 1/2-mile tracks all season. The regular season points champion has six top-10 finishes, including three victories, in as many races on 1 1/2-mile ovals this year. He needs to be in your lineup.
Stay away: Austin Dillon
As good as Truex has been on 1 1/2-mile ovals this year, Dillon has been equally as bad.
Outside of the victory he stole at Charlotte Motor Speedway earlier this year, Dillon has finished outside the top 15 in each race on 1 1/2- mile tracks. There are far better B-List options this weekend, even if you’re in a jam.
Sleeper pick: Jamie McMurray
McMurray has cooled off a bit after starting the season red-hot, but he still makes for a fine fantasy play.
In six races at 1 1/2-mile ovals this season, McMurray has cracked the top 10 on five occasions. If you’re looking to save his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Kyle Larson for a later playoff race, then give McMurray a shot.
Value pick: Erik Jones
Over the last two months, Jones has been racing like an A-List driver, rather than a C-List one.
But thankfully for you, he is a C-List driver, and the best one available at that. The rookie driver has finished in the top 10 in six-consecutive races, and his first Cup victory could be just around the corner. Make sure he’s in your lineup.
Thumbnail photo via Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports Images