Daily Fantasy NASCAR: Current Form, Track History, and Betting Odds for the Coke Zero Sugar 400
For Saturday night, our edict in NASCAR DFS is clear: stack the back.
As discussed in our track preview, this is necessary at a track like Daytona. There aren't many laps to lead, and those laps led will likely have a pretty flat distribution. This means the highest-upside drivers will come from the back.
Those drivers will have the best floors, as well. Wrecks can happen anywhere in Daytona. Drivers running third have one of the highest inclusion rates in big wrecks at the track, so you're not safe no matter where you are. The downsides for a wreck with a driver who starts up front are higher than those for drivers who start further back, so those drivers just have a prettier range of outcomes.
That's why starting position will be one of the most important data points for building lineups on Saturday. As such, the drivers in this week's data sheet are sorted by where they're starting.
The key is to look for drivers starting further back who at least have a path to a good finish. You can judge that via multiple routes. One is their win odds at FanDuel Sportsbook, which are listed in fractional form. Denny Hamlin ($11,700) being listed at 6.5 means he is +650 to win.
Another route is by looking at what drivers have done at Daytona in the past. The track history section has the past five Daytona races, showing who has run well here since the start of 2018.
The number listed there is their average running position, though that data is less useful in pack races than at others. In February, we saw teams hang out in the back early on, hoping to avoid crashes. This dragged their average running position down. Hamlin did that in the first stage, and his average running position was 13th as a result even though he won.
As such, we shouldn't put all of our faith in the average running positions. To get a glimpse at finishes, you can check out the Racing Reference fantasy tool. Picking the past 10 races on restrictor-plate tracks (even though they no longer use restrictor plates) will show you all races at Daytona and Talladega since the start of 2018.
This is helpful for rookie drivers, too. They have just two races of pack-racing data, and only one of them was in Daytona. So, you can check out the past 10 Xfinity Series races at these two tracks to see who ran well at that level. Tyler Reddick ($8,700) had a pair of wins in that span, including a win at Daytona in 2018.
The current form tab can be used to weed out drivers who don't have equipment competent enough to compete on Saturday. There is still some sort of baseline necessary to run near the front in these races, and not every car in the field will meet that. If they haven't had a top-30 average running position in any of the recent races, it's hard to see a great run on the horizon.
With the starting order being set prior to contests going up on FanDuel, it seems as if salaries reflect the starting order and our mindset for the race. Still, there do appear to be some gems and high-quality plays.
|Martin Truex Jr.||$9,200||21||2||7||4||14||20||9||24||22||15||23||13||10|
|John Hunter Nemechek||$8,500||75||24||22||26||28||25||24||18||23||--||--||--||--|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||$12,000||24||31||37||12||19||14||21||10||11||12||11||7||14|
With this, you can understand why Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($12,000) and Chase Elliott ($11,800) are the two highest-salaried drivers in the field. They're starting in the back, have short win odds, and have run up front at Daytona recently. The same applies to Erik Jones ($11,200) a bit higher in the order.
That's the area you want to pepper for your core plays. You can target drivers up front in tournaments if you think they have the ability to win the race. But for the most part, the key for Saturday is digging into those starting deeper in the pack, seeing who has the potential to grind out a good finish, and building around them.