NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: GEICO 500
Daily fantasy NASCAR is a unique beast in that qualifying and practice times are going to play a major role in determining which drivers will be best positioned to succeed in a given week. If we're filling out lineups before that data comes in, we're going to lose money.
But now that qualifying has been completed for the week, it's time to take a look at which drivers we should be targeting on FanDuel.
As always, there will be other factors at play when you're making your picks, and we've got you covered there, too. You can take a look at this week's track preview to see historic scoring trends at this track to know which starting positions you should target. We also have a driver preview, which runs through drivers with either good track history or solid current form. Finally, our weekly Heat Check podcast combines all of this to detail strategies you should be looking to deploy.
Which drivers should we be targeting at Talladega for the GEICO 500? Let's check it out.
Jamie McMurray ($10,100): Most of the high-priced drivers qualified way too high to warrant high consideration in DFS this week. A factor that make tracks such as Talladega unique to other tracks on the Monster Cup circuit are the restrictor plates that are installed in each vehicle before the race. All of the cars, regardless of quality, are put onto an equal playing field where their speeds are slowed down considerably. This makes a strategy of playing cars closer to the back of the pack not only viable but a must for having competitive lineups this week. This will including leaving an uncomfortable amount of unused cap space in your lineups. Having McMurray as your most costly play could do that.
Starting in 27th, he's in prime position to move up in this field, generating boatloads of place-differential points in the process. The only issue with McMurray this week is that he will be in a backup car after being involved in a really bad accident in Friday's final practice session. Fortunately, this issue is negated by the fact that the plate restrictors keep these cars on a much more even playing field, keeping McMurray firmly in play.
Kyle Busch ($11,600): Busch is coming into this race scorching hot. He has won the last three races and certainly has a chance at taking this one, too. But Busch isn't as exciting a player as he could have been had he qualified 25th or worse. The general rule of thumb with plate restrictor tracks is that you never really play guys starting better than 19th -- exactly where Busch is positioned. However, this is one of those times where the rule is meant to be broken and, in a way, taken advantage of. If Busch can find a way to make it from 19th to 1st and win this race, he'll have accumulated 53 FanDuel points, which could end up putting him in the optimal lineup at lower ownership. It might be unconventional, but for a guy as hot as Busch it's impossible to completely rule him out here.
Kyle Larson ($9,800): Starting in 22nd, Larson is in prime position to rack up place-differential points, which is what we are looking to maximize this week, as drivers tend not to lead a ton of laps at Talladega. Take this with a grain of salt, as practice is the least relevant at plate tracks, but Larson has had decent practice numbers this week and he could especially take advantage if this race can stay on a longer run (longer periods of time between yellow flags from accidents or stages ending). Larson is sure to be highly owned in all contests, though he is one of the safer drivers on the board, assuming he can keep himself out of accidents this week.
Aric Almirola ($8,800): Almirola will be extremely difficult to fade in any format this week as he's starting all the way back in 40th place. He is the safest driver in terms of hitting their floor performance in DFS and massive ownership should not deter you from rostering him. At both Talladega races a year ago, Almirola found himself to be in the optimal lineup both times, gaining 21 spots in the fall race and 18 in the spring race. Bottom line, the man knows how to drive here, and he should not be faded even if for ownership purposes. Look at it this way -- even if he finished in 21st place, that's still 48.3 FD points.
The only reason why fading, or being underweight, would be an idea is if you believe he will crash out of this race and do it early. Given that FanDuel scores for laps completed, the time of said hypothetical crash would matter greatly to his potential upside versus downside.
Ty Dillon ($5,800): The DFS NASCAR world's favorite driver is at it again being in a prime position for rosterability. Starting in the 29th spot, there is definitely some upside here if he is able to move up in the field. And if practice says anything, he had the number one rank in the first practice, and the number two rank in the second practice on Friday. There is an argument to be lower on Dillon than the field, though, as he has had issues finishing plate races in the past. But that could also be a product of the massive variance that plate tracks produce over other tracks on the circuit. All in all, Dillon is a near-lock in cash though it could pay to have less of him in tournaments.
Cole Whitt ($5,000): You could potentially put many different drivers in the bottom slot here. As stated previously, anyone that is starting 20th or higher in the field is someone that you can make a case for in DFS this week. This might be the only time Whitt's worth consideration, but boy is he in a good spot this week. Starting in 36th, he's a candidate for being in the optimal lineup build. While Whitt is never a sexy play, his style of racing works well at plate tracks.
In nine starts at Talladega in his career, he has managed to stay on the lead lap for seven of them, only drawing two DNFs. Oddly enough, one of the best strategies for doing well at Talladega is just to keep the car on the track. That may sound extremely pointless to say, but it's much harder to do with all the congestion. And by being able to stay on the track, Whitt has, on average in his career, been able to manage an average place differential of 11.5 spots per race. That'll certainly be enough to pay off a lower price tag in cash and tournaments this week.
Evan Cheney is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Evan Cheney also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Theman90210. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.