Coming into the Coca-Cola 600, it looked like rain was going to a huge issue both Saturday and Sunday. Thankfully, the forecast cleared up a little bit and only one practice session was cancelled on Saturday. Additionally, the forecast for Sunday’s race looks promising, although there is a chance for some showers. With only one practice being completed this weekend, though, you kind of have to take those speeds with a grain of salt–especially considering that it was ran during the day and we’ll be racing at night. Additionally, the Coca-Cola 600 is the longest race of the season, and we will see comers and goers throughout the 400 laps. This track is going to change a lot, and those who aren’t very fast during the early evening could very well find a bunch of speed by the end. From a FanDuel Fantasy NASCAR perspective, that means one thing: don’t be afraid to take a chance on a driver that didn’t look very good in practice.

FanDuel Driver Targets at Charlotte

Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

Kevin Harvick ($13,500) – As far as Kevin Harvick goes, I’m considering him a FanDuel must-own for this weekend’s race at Charlotte. He starts back in 39th and should be, at worst, a top 5 car by the end of it. Even with only 33 laps led I’m projecting Harvick at over 100 FanDuel points this weekend, and there’s a good chance he leads much more than that. He’s going to cost you an arm and a leg, but it’s worth it, and hopefully that high price point keeps his ownership percentage relatively tame. The fact of the matter is that Harvick has just three finishes outside of the top 5 this season, and those were at Daytona (wreck), Fontana (wreck), and Bristol (where he finished 7th). Looking at Charlotte specifically, “Happy” has finished 3rd or better in six of the last ten races here, and we’ve seen time and time again that starting in the back really isn’t that bad as long as you have a strong car. Also, with this race being 600 miles, Harvick has plenty of time to get to his normal place on the track: the front.

Kyle Larson ($10,800) – Kyle Larson is knocking on the door of a win (finally) at a 1.5-mile race track, and it could very well come this weekend. He had the best car at Kansas a couple of weeks ago and should be able to lead quite a few laps in Sunday night’s Coke 600 as well. Unfortunately, Larson’s record in this race isn’t the greatest (22.3 in four career starts) but he has finished 10th and 5th in the last two fall races, so it’s not like he doesn’t know how to get around here. As far as this weekend goes, Larson qualified 11th but has a much better car than that. In the Happy Hour practice session on Saturday, he had the 2nd-best ten-lap average and also ranked 2nd in 15-lap average behind Erik Jones. Looking at the other 1.5-mile tracks this year, Kyle ended up 9th at Atlanta, 3rd at Las Vegas, and 4th at Kansas. He should be a great pick at Charlotte on Sunday night and could almost be considered a bargain at $10,800 in FanDuel.

Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images

Ryan Blaney ($9,700) – A lot of people will probably be targeting Erik Jones ($10,000) this weekend, and while he should be a very good FanDuel Fantasy NASCAR pick, I don’t mind pivoting down to Ryan Blaney at $9,700. Not only does this move save me $300 in cap space, but Blaney also starts back in 8th (compared to Jones’ 4th), which obviously lessens the chances of some negative place differential points factoring in at the end. This #12 team is coming off of a disappointing 37th-place finish at Kansas a couple of weeks ago, but let’s not forget that their car was probably the best in the field up until Blaney wrecked. This weekend at Charlotte, they’ve migrated toward a setup similar to the Kansas race, too, so that could point to a very good Coca-Cola 600 for Ryan and the crew. We saw Blaney run 5th at Las Vegas and Texas this year–both 1.5-mile venues–and he should have a shot at accomplishing that here at Charlotte on Sunday night as well. For what it’s worth, his average running position of 6th on the 1.5-mile tracks this year (excluding Atlanta) is good enough for 4th-best in the series.

Michael McDowell ($5,500) – He’s going to be super high-owned on Sunday night, but with David Ragan priced at $7,000 in FanDuel this weekend, there’s really no other option. McDowell is going to roll off the grid from 29th when the 2018 Coca-Cola 600 goes green but he should be able to challenge for a top 20 finish before it’s all said and done. Looking at the other races on 1.5-mile tracks this season, McDowell wound up 24th at Atlanta, 14th at Texas, and 20th at Kansas. He had engine issues at Las Vegas and ended up 37th, but those things happen from time to time. McDowell has finished 35th, 19th, and 14th in his last three races here at Charlotte, and that was in lesser equipment than he’s in now.

FanDuel Projections for the Charlotte Coca-Cola 600

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 points + laps led as well as the dollar per FPT. It assumes that all drivers projected to finish 12th or better will complete all laps, those projected 13th-19th will finish 2 laps down, those projected 20th-25th will finish 4 laps down, those projected 26th-30th will finish 6 laps down, and those projected 31st or worse will finish 9 laps down. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.

DriverFanDuel SalaryAvg Proj FPTSStarting PositionAvg. Projected FinishProj Laps LedDollar Per FPT
Kevin Harvick$13,500101.73902.633$133
Kyle Busch$11,70087.1102.888$134
Kyle Larson$10,80085.11103.835$127
Joey Logano$11,90083.9202.849$142
Martin Truex Jr.$12,50083.71505.433$149
Erik Jones$10,00081.9405.667$122
Clint Bowyer$10,60079.92810.22$133
Ryan Blaney$9,70077.6807.640$125
Denny Hamlin$11,20076.0306.628$147
Kurt Busch$11,00074.81610.08$147
Chase Elliott$10,20074.62211.60$137
Jimmie Johnson$9,60071.92313.60$134
Brad Keselowski$10,40071.8508.612$145
Paul Menard$8,50067.11413.80$127
Aric Almirola$9,00066.9912.40$135
William Byron$7,80064.92117.60$120
Daniel Suarez$9,40063.61015.03$148
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.$8,40063.31316.00$133
Kasey Kahne$8,60063.32620.20$136
Austin Dillon$9,90062.21216.40$159
Bubba Wallace$7,70062.02420.40$124
Alex Bowman$7,40062.02721.40$119
Matt DiBenedetto$7,20060.43123.80$119
Ryan Newman$8,70057.8617.41$151
AJ Allmendinger$8,00057.83025.20$138
Michael McDowell$5,50057.02925.40$96
Jamie McMurray$9,20056.5718.61$163
Chris Buescher$6,50056.31822.20$115
Matt Kenseth$8,20055.21722.60$149
David Ragan$7,00054.41923.80$129
Corey LaJoie$5,00051.63330.20$97
Landon Cassill$5,50049.63532.00$111
Ty Dillon$6,00049.02027.60$122
Ross Chastain$5,50048.52529.60$113
Parker Kligerman$5,00048.43231.80$103
Gray Gaulding$5,00048.23432.60$104
B.J. McLeod$5,00043.63837.00$115
Timmy Hill$5,00042.93636.80$117
J.J. Yeley$5,00041.94038.80$119

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.