Daily Fantasy NASCAR Track Preview: Bank of America ROVAL 400

The NASCAR Cup Series wraps up the second round of the playoffs Sunday at the Charlotte roval. What do we need to know before filling out lineups for the Bank of America ROVAL 400?

With the NASCAR Cup Series at the Charlotte roval this week, we find ourselves in a bit of a pickle.

With such a short race -- just 109 laps -- we want to focus on place-differential drivers. There are just 10.9 FanDuel points available for laps led, meaning the drivers with the highest ceilings will be those starting further back.

But those are drivers who are no longer in the playoffs and -- thus -- haven't performed as well throughout the season. Finishing points matter a lot, too, and it's tougher to squeeze those out of non-playoff drivers.

So, do we trust the process and shoot for place-differential, or do we use the best drivers and stick closer to the front?

Thankfully, the answer is somewhere in the middle, and we've got races we can turn to for help.

Accept Place-Differential Where You Can Find It

The biggest examples we're going to have here are the Daytona roval race earlier this year and past races at the Charlotte roval. Both point us in a similar direction.

The reason this year's Daytona roval is so helpful is that it's another race where the lineup was set without qualifying. There were still quality drivers starting outside the front of the pack, but that's the case this weekend, too.

As a result, we saw a mix of drivers at the front and those who started further back paying off for DFS. Here's the perfect lineup from that race.

Perfect Lineup Salary Start Laps Led
Chase Elliott $13,500 7th 34
Denny Hamlin $12,000 2nd 16
Jimmie Johnson $8,800 11th 0
Chris Buescher $7,000 21st 0
Michael McDowell $6,500 30th 0

Three of the drivers came from the top 12 spots, which is more than you'd expect for such a short race. But we still got some place-differential juice from drivers starting in the back half of the field.

That race is in line with what we saw in the first two races at the Charlotte roval. Both of those were also playoff races, though the starting lineups were set by qualifying rather than the algorithm used now. Still, here's the perfect lineup from 2019.

Perfect LineupSalaryStartLaps Led
Kevin Harvick$14,000 6th34
Chase Elliott$13,000 19th35
Alex Bowman$10,000 2nd0
Clint Bowyer$8,200 5th2
Michael McDowell$4,500 22nd0

And here's the one from 2018.

Perfect LineupSalaryStartLaps Led
Clint Bowyer$11,400 7th0
Ryan Blaney$10,100 9th16
Ryan Newman$9,300 29th0
Jamie McMurray$9,000 8th1
Alex Bowman$8,000 3rd0

Both perfect lineups had at least three drivers starting inside the top 12, but they also had drivers make it from the back half of the field.

That could be frustrating because it means we can't follow what would seemingly be the optimal strategy based on the number of laps. But in reality, it's freeing.

We can certainly target place-differential options if they're available to us. With the way the starting grid looks for this week, there certainly are viable options. You just don't have to force it if it means rostering lower-quality drivers.

In other words, this is a good week for those of you who excel at projecting who will be fast. We do need to give a bump up to those starting further back as they're still going to be the best plays. But if you're not convinced the drivers in the back have enough juice to finish well, you don't have to use them.

What may be easiest for this week is looking at the starting order from back to front. Look at the drivers starting further back and decide if they have the ability to finish well. If they do, they'll be high-quality DFS plays. If not, you can feel free to ignore and drift higher in the order.

The final thing to consider is playoff implications. This is the final race before the Round of 8, meaning four more drivers will be eliminated from championship contention after this race. Luckily for us, a lot of them are in must-win situations, which means they'll be shooting for finishing points rather than stage points. For DFS, that's all that matters.

Right now, the drivers on the outside looking in are Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Clint Bowyer, and Aric Almirola. They're all at least 21 points out, so unless something happens to one of the top eight drivers early, they'll probably need a win to advance. We can keep things even on these drivers.

The ones who may emphasize points at least a bit are Martin Truex Jr., Alex Bowman, and Joey Logano. As of now, all three are at least 21 points to the good. However, if one of the bottom four drivers were to win, then Truex, Bowman, and Logano would be battling it out for the last spot. As a result, they're all in a position where they may emphasize stage points rather than just focusing on the finish.

We saw this happen at the Daytona roval. There, Chase Elliott decided to stay out at the end of the first stage so that he could get the 10 points and 1 playoff point for winning a stage. As a result, he started the second stage behind those who chose to pit under green-flag conditions, which hurt his track position. That could happen again here.

In Elliott's case, it didn't wind up mattering because his car was fast enough to make up that ground. Truex is a monster at road courses, so he could do the same. However, it is worth at least considering with Bowman and Logano as it could impact their track position and put a slight dent in their finishing projection.