Daily Fantasy NASCAR: Current Form, Track History, and Betting Odds for the GEICO 500
In Talladega, the name of the game for NASCAR DFS is place-differential.
Because the race is so short, the easiest path to upside for drivers is finishing better than where they start. This will also be true this weekend even with the starting order set by points, as discussed in this week's track preview.
So, our goal for filling out good lineups is to look at the starting order, try to find drivers starting deeper in the pack who can finish well, and go from there. That's what this week's data sheet will be trying to do.
The drivers are sorted based on their starting position, which was set by a combination of owner points and a draw on Thursday night. The top 12 cars in owner points will occupy the top 12 spots, though their positioning within that top 12 was random.
Ideally, sorting it by starting position can help us find drivers primed to make a swift move through the pack.
Also listed are each driver's FanDuel salary and their win odds as of Friday morning at FanDuel Sportsbook. The salaries are flatter this week, and some of the drivers starting further back had their salaries inflated to account for that draw. But if a driver is starting deep enough, they don't need a win to pay off, so we don't necessarily need to panic if their win odds are longer. The win odds are presented in fractional form, so Chase Elliott ($13,300) being listed as 8.5 means he is +850 to win.
The big note -- as always -- is that the marks listed for each race are the average running position the driver had during that event. This shows us a snapshot of where they were for the entire race rather than where they were on the final lap.
A word of caution comes along with those marks for the track history races at Talladega and the current form one in Daytona. Some drivers will hang out in the back of the pack early, trying to avoid big wrecks. This has worked out in the past (Denny Hamlin ($12,700) basically tanked the first stage in Daytona but then won the race), but it can also artificially lower a driver's average running position. So take those numbers with a grain of salt. To see where drivers have finished in recent races at Daytona and Talladega, this Racing Reference fantasy page shows the past nine such races and each driver's stats.
|Martin Truex Jr.||$11,300||1||11||11||8||3||12||18||22||31||10||26||25|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||$10,100||20||22||23||21||14||23||11||11||11||8||19||15|
|John Hunter Nemechek||$5,000||22||65||20||21||25||16||16||23||--||--||--||--|
As you can see, some drivers with past success in Talladega are starting outside the front of the pack. Aric Almirola ($11,000) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($10,100) are both recent winners here and will start 15th and 20th, respectively. Even with the starting order set by points, you can still find high-quality outlets.
The other thing you'll notice is that a lot of potentially relevant drivers are rookies and, thus, have no Cup Series history in Talladega. To see what they did here and at Daytona in the Xfinity Series, check out this Racing Reference fantasy page that shows the past seven such races on this track type. You'll see there that Christopher Bell ($8,900) can be a cash-game option starting in 35th with three third-place finishes in six races in that series.
Again, the key to this weekend is identifying drivers in the back who can finish well. Those will be your core plays for tournaments. This sheet and the other resources should at least give you some hints as to which drivers fit that mindset.