NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Dixie Vodka 400
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 who crash out of the race is a must, of course!
numberFire is always your home for fantasy NASCAR advice. In addition to this helper, Jim Sannes has you covered with his current form and odds breakdown, as well as his track preview to spotlight this week's venue. For driver picks and a full preview of the event, Jim also discussed the Daytona 500 on the latest NASCAR episode of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.
A late race caution for rain stacked the field back together, and the dominant car of the afternoon suffered as a result. Chase Elliott's spin late opened the door for Joey Logano and Christopher Bell to battle for the win on the Daytona Road Course, and it was Bell with fresher tires who prevailed for his first career win. Bell joins Michael McDowell as the two drivers who have clinched playoff spots already, and 38 others are still left to battle for the remaining 14 as NASCAR's schedule hits the Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend. This sweeping, worn race track has plenty of grooves and options to enable plenty of passing for a 1.5-mile track, and saving your equipment will be key.
The starting lineup for this event was set through NASCAR's weighted formula, which includes last race's finish, the fastest lap in that race, and current points position. That formula put defending Miami winner Denny Hamlin on the pole for Sunday, and Joey Logano will start alongside him. Pit stalls were selected in the same order as the starting lineup.
With that, let's preview the Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead on FanDuel.
Denny Hamlin ($13,500): Strangely enough, Hamlin starts from the pole for the fifth straight time in Miami on Sunday. It was just last year that he was able to score his first win in that span, however, but it was a dominant one. Hamlin won all three stages and led 137 laps in what amounted to a perfect evening. Hamlin had several challengers but was ultimately the most consistent, dominant driver that evening. Hamlin led a race-high 98 laps in the Daytona 500 and finished third on the road course last weekend, which means that few drivers enter with the momentum he does, and he will have the best spot to lead laps early as he's on the pole.
Kyle Larson ($11,300): This second high-end salary selection was a tough debate between Larson and Chase Elliott ($13,000), who led 27 laps and nearly upset Hamlin in last year's event. However, because of the controversy that kept Larson on the shelf for most of 2020, Larson was unable to add his name to that mix. Still, since the introduction of stage racing in 2017, Larson has never finished worse than third in a stage at Homestead, and only luck has stopped him. He blew an engine late in 2019 and sped on pit road in 2018. But Larson has led an average of 80.5 laps in his last four races here and enters the 2021 event with his best equipment yet at Hendrick Motorsports. He starts 17th, which provides place differential upside, as well.
William Byron ($9,500): Beyond the true race-winning contenders, the mayhem at the road course leaves us with plenty of place-differential options in the middle and lower salary tiers. Byron is far superior in terms of both equipment and talent than his 31st-place starting spot, as evidenced by his 9th-place finish in last year's 400-mile event on this same track. Byron will likely be tremendously popular in such a fast car starting so deep, but if there is an argument for passing on Byron in tournaments, it would be his 24.0 average finish in Miami. But he is still an elite play in cash and single-entry formats.
Tyler Reddick ($9,200): It is actually somewhat disappointing that Reddick is starting 35th, because he is a legitimate contender to win the race at $9,200 and would be a solid play from any starting position. His starting spot increases his floor and popularity, but Reddick has been nothing short of dominant at this track. He won back-to-back Xfinity Series championships as a result of two wins in season finales here, and he led a combined 128 laps in the two events. Reddick followed that up with an impressive showing in the Cup Series last year, when he finished in the top five in all three staged and came home fourth. Reddick -- despite the popularity concerns -- is the best combination of salary, win potential, and place-differential upside on the entire slate.
Matt DiBenedetto ($7,200): With DiBenedetto having only a one-race sample in his current equipment, it is difficult to use his 14th-place finish in Miami at 2020 as a benchmark for performance this weekend, but his starting spot erases most of those concerns. A majority of the reasonable range of outcomes would indicate DiBenedetto finally finishes his first race in 2021, as his back-to-back DNFs to start the year were a product of wild incidents in Daytona. DiBenedetto delivered eight top-15 finishes at 1.5-mile tracks last season. He is a threat to do so again, and he boasts tournament-winning from his starting spot of 37th.
Ross Chastain ($6,200): Chastain is another driver looking to bounce back from the road course, as 39th was his result after pounding the wall outside Turn 5 last week. He makes his first true start in the Cup Series on Sunday in Miami, as his first two starts were in non-competitive equipment. If his 2020 Xfinity Series results were any indication, he is at least comfortable on the high banks of Homestead. He finished third and ninth in the back-to-back events here last June, and he led a combined 37 laps in them, as well. Chastain's prospects are fairly unknown, but based on speed alone in his Chip Ganassi Chevrolet, it would be hard to see him running worse than his 32nd starting spot if he can avoid trouble.
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.