Ryan Blaney will lead the field to green for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and the young star is well worth a lineup spot this weekend. After three practice sessions and qualifying determining the starting order, we’ve dissected the numbers to offer a suggested lineup worthy of your Fantasy Live consideration as you make roster decisions.
Remember that the garage locks at the end of Stage 2. Also, your garage play can only be swapped for a driver of similar classification. (A playoff garage driver can only be swapped for a playoff driver in your lineup; a non-playoff garage driver can only be swapped for a non-playoff driver in your lineup.)
Cars to the rear: Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez, Chris Buescher (engine changes); Matt DiBenedetto (transmission change) | Read more
RJ Kraft’s Fantasy Live lineup for race day at Texas:
Playoff driver 1: Kevin Harvick
Playoff driver 2: Kyle Busch
Non-playoff driver 1: Ryan Blaney
Non-playoff driver 2: Brad Keselowski
Garage: Erik Jones
Analysis: The Fantasy Live Playoff Game is in Week 8! The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is at the track known for having no limits. I’m going with the top two drivers all season and on 1.5-mile tracks this year as my playoff plays — Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. Harvick is the defending race winner and topped the 10-lap board in both practices on Saturday. On top of that, he has three top fives here since the track was repaved. Busch is the most-recent winner here and was right behind Harvick on the 10-lap board in both of Saturday’s sessions. The duo have won six of the nine 1.5-mile track races this year. Busch, who won here in the spring, is my lone change to my original lineup as he takes the spot previously held by Martin Truex Jr. (who will be starting at the back due to an engine change).
Ryan Blaney will start on the pole and has earned the second-most points at Texas since the repave before the 2017 season — see the video below for more on that. His 10-lap times are good and he always seems to carry speed on the 1.5-mile tracks.
Brad Keselowski has been solid all year on the 1.5-mile tracks with four 40-plus point races on that type as well as a win at Las Vegas. He has a solid — albeit winless — record at Texas; however, the Fords have shown plenty of speed throughout the weekend and he is among those flying around the track.
For my garage play, I am going with Erik Jones. As of this writing, he is only owned by 9 percent of players — and I like having the option of going against the grain of my opponents. On top of that, he finished fourth at this track in the spring and was fifth on the 10-lap board in final practice. He has five 30-plus point days and six top 10s in the nine 1.5-mile tracks this season. A solid play to have in reserve.
I’ll be taking Harvick for all the bonus picks. The No. 4 car is due to get to Victory Lane in the playoffs and this feels like the time. A pit road penalty derailed a shot at the win at the last 1.5-mile track, two weeks ago at Kansas. He’ll get it done Sunday.