NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: GEICO 500
If you are looking for an action-packed way to get your sports fix, NASCAR may be a great avenue to explore. Far from just driving in circles, some of the world's best compete nearly every weekend from February to November on tracks across America. NASCAR drivers are scored ultimately based on how they finish in the race, how many spots they advance from their starting position, and how many laps they finish and lead. Avoiding drivers that crash out of the race is a must, of course!
Here at numberFire, we've always got you covered for everything NASCAR DFS. Every week, in addition to this helper, we have a current form and stats breakdown to dive deeper into this weekend's action. Our track preview breaks down this week's venue, and we also have The Heat Check Fantasy Podcast, where Jim Sannes breaks down his favorite plays for Sunday's slate.
Denny Hamlin outlasted Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney for his series-leading third win of 2020 on a long night in Miami last Sunday. The teams had no race on Wednesday in preparation for one of the largest races of the season at Talladega. The GEICO 500 will take place on Sunday, which will be 2020's second restrictor-plate race around the large, high-banked 2.66-mile superspeedway. Tight pack racing will mean plenty of positions jostling, and the threat of "The Big One" lurks to potentially take out plenty of race cars at once.
With a different track than Miami, the starting lineup for this race was determined by a random, tiered drawer that awarded Martin Truex Jr. his first pole of 2020. The pit stalls were selected in the order of Sunday's finishes in Miami, however, which will put Denny Hamlin in the premier first pit stall at this track. There will be no fantasy-relevant penalization of inspection failures on Sunday, as even if sent to the rear, any driver would have ample opportunity to navigate to the front quickly.
With that, let's preview the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on FanDuel:
Joey Logano ($13,000): Normally, strategy at a restrictor-plate track for daily fantasy is simple. The best plays had the best betting odds to win and start as far back as possible, because it perfectly balanced the criteria of being fast with the ability to lead laps as well as the higher pass differential floor in case the driver was involved in an accident. The tiered draw, instead of time trials, changes everything. Every driver with top-10 odds to win the GEICO 500 is starting inside the top 12, so none have a particularly high floor should they be involved in a crash, but our strongest cars to score points are in this tier.
When picking amongst these dangerous options, Joey Logano is as solid as they come. Logano has a top-five finish in six of the last nine plate races, adding 183 laps led in those races. Logano was involved in an accident in February's Daytona 500, but he had plenty of speed and led six laps in the event. With no practice, Logano is the go-to option to pick in this area.
Ryan Blaney ($12,000): Blaney was strong in February's plate race at Daytona, where he finished second after turning Ryan Newman around on the final lap. Blaney also just barely squeaked by Newman last fall here at Talladega after leading 35 laps for his first career plate win, which means that Blaney has been as solid as it gets in his last two points races on this style of track. He also got the benefit of the best possible draw in this area from a pass differential perspective. His random draw was for a position anywhere first through 12th, and he will start 12th. With plenty of dicey options allocating salary up here, Blaney is fairly well-rounded guy to spend on, and he stacks well with teammate Joey Logano.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr ($10,100): This style of racing quite literally has Ricky Stenhouse Jr. still with a ride in NASCAR's premier series, as his only two career wins came at Talladega and Daytona in 2017. There were questions about how his performances at these type of tracks would translate to his new JTG Daugherty team, but he led 24 laps from the pole and showed great speed at Daytona in February, when many Chevrolets struggled to draft. That would explain his increased price this weekend, but starting 20th, he rolls off as far back as real options to win this race come, as Stenhouse has six top-fives on plate tracks since 2017.
Christopher Bell ($8,900): Bell also sees a price increase coming off a great weekend at Miami, when he started an incredibly deep 36th and rose inside the top 10. Bell is still digging himself out from an early hole in the points system, so he continues to draw weekly for events in the tier of drivers that are 25th or worse in points. But with an alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing teammates like Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin, his equipment is far better than the other drivers that start this far back. The starting spot is 36th for Bell on Sunday. He has an incredibly high floor and should be popular.
Ryan Preece ($7,200): Preece has surprisingly done a great job at plate tracks in his career, as he has five top-20s in seven career plate races. Preece is drawing in the low priority tier just like Bell. As a result, Preece starts 31st and makes for a great stacking option with Stenhouse, his teammate. Do not underestimate Preece's upside because of this lowly price tag, as he finished third at Talladega last April. The floor should give comfort spending up for other higher-caliber drivers.
Ty Dillon ($6,800): Unlike his brother Austin, Ty has never won on a plate track, but he actually has the fourth-best average finish of active, full-time drivers with at least two starts since 2018 at these types of tracks (15.78). Dillon does exactly what his Germain Racing teams need him to do, which is take car of his equipment to make it to the end of the race. Dillon's poor 2020 results means he was able to draw 33rd, which creates tremendous fantasy potential, and he has a track record of delivering in a spot exactly like this. Over his last six top-15 finishes on plate tracks, he has started outside the top 20 in five of them.
Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. 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.