NASCAR

NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Drydene 400

Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin both stand out as priorities in NASCAR DFS at Dover given their scorching current form entering the race. Who else should we target on FanDuel?

When you're playing daily fantasy at Dover, you need to get lap-leaders. That's especially true for your studs, but there's also increased incentive to target potential lap-leaders in the mid-range. With 40.0 FanDuel points for laps led to go around, it's a critical focus.

We laid out why that's the case in this week's track preview, and the data sheet outlined the numbers behind whom we should target. But once we blend the data and the strategy, which drivers should we target for this week on FanDuel?

Here are the top options to consider in each salary tier. The key is to get at least two lap-leaders (and potentially three) in each lineup, and we seem to have hyper-logical choices for doing so.

High-Salaried Drivers

Martin Truex Jr. ($14,000): Truex has been hands-down the class of the field in the 750-horsepower package this year. Across five races, he has three wins. He led 100-plus laps in the two races he didn't win. He now goes to the track where he notched his first career win, and he hasn't finished worse than second in the past four races here. With 18.2% win odds in my simulations, Truex is the default pick to rack up laps led, especially as he starts from the pole.

Denny Hamlin ($13,000): Despite the wins, Truex doesn't lead the circuit in aggregate average running position on ovals in the 750 package. That's his teammate, Hamlin. Hamlin's worst average running position in those five races is fourth, and he has cashed in with a top-five finish in each race. He has also led 522 laps, meaning a win will come soon. Given the value options we'll discuss later on, you can jam in both Truex and Hamlin this weekend. With Hamlin's win odds at 14.3%, we should try to do so.

Others to Consider:
Kyle Larson ($13,500): My win sims aren't as high on Larson because he hasn't been as good in the 750 package this year, but there's a reason he's +400 to win at FanDuel Sportsbook. We should get a hefty amount of Larson, too, but I'm comfortable having exposure levels to him lower than on Truex and Hamlin.

Mid-Salaried Drivers

Joey Logano ($10,500): As mentioned, we should be open to jamming in a third lap-leader at times, even if it means dipping down for the bottom two slots on our roster. Four mid-range candidates make a ton of sense there, led by Logano. Logano ranks third in laps led in the 750 package behind Truex and Hamlin, and he has converted with a win and three podiums. He's starting ninth, so there's even a tiny bit of place-differential juice to squeeze here.

Others to Consider as Lap-Leaders:
William Byron ($10,300): Byron ranks fourth in aggregate average running position on the 750 ovals, trailing Hamlin, Truex, and Logano. He has two top-fives and five top-10s in those races, and he had a fourth-place finish in last year's second Dover race.
Ryan Blaney ($9,500): Blaney's next up on the list in aggregate average running position on the 750 ovals. That's despite 40% of the sample coming at Richmond and Darlington, two tracks he historically struggled on prior to 2021. That should give us faith in Blaney even with simply a middling history at Dover.
Christopher Bell ($9,000): This is largely based on what Bell did on concrete in the Xfinity Series (two wins in four races at Dover plus a win at Bristol). He finished fourth at Richmond this year and is teammates with Truex and Hamlin, so he has plenty enough giddy-up to get the job done.

Matt DiBenedetto ($8,000): DiBenedetto is starting 18th, and my model sees him working his way forward during the race. He ranks 14th in projected average running position, second highest of any driver with a salary lower than $9,000. DiBenedetto has a 12th-place average running position in two of the past three races at Dover, one of which came in poor equipment with Leavine Family Racing. Now with the Wood Brothers, DiBenedetto has decent odds of a top-10, which you'll take at this salary.

Others to Consider for Place-Differential:
Alex Bowman ($10,000): Bowman's salary means you're using him in just a two-lap-leader lineup, but he does make that justifiable. He has three top-fives in the past four Dover races and won at Richmond in the 750-horsepower package a few weeks ago.
Kurt Busch ($8,500): Busch has been underwhelming in the 750 package this year with his best average running position being14th. However, his long-term history at Dover is good, and a 28th-place starting spot does give him upside for place-differential.

Low-Salaried Drivers

Aric Almirola ($7,500): Like Busch, Almirola will start in the back with a 32nd-place slot on the grid. He has shown more life in the 750 package this year, notching top-14 average running positions in both Phoenix and Richmond. Almirola has also run well previously at Dover with a pair of top-five finishes back when he was still with Petty Enterprises. Between the two, after you account for the $1,000 salary differential, Almirola is the preferred back-starter option this week.

Erik Jones ($6,200): Jones is a talented driver in bad equipment. Thus, our best time to target him is tracks with heavy off-throttle time. Dover is that. Jones had a 13th-place average running position at Bristol, which he turned into a top-10 finish, and he was running well in Darlington before he had an issue late. Jones ranks highest in my model of any driver with a salary lower than $7,800 (even after accounting for his equipment downgrade), and his 23rd-place starting slot gives him some place-differential upside to boot.

Others to Consider:
Tyler Reddick ($7,800): Reddick won't get you place-differential from the 12th starting spot, so he's for tournaments only. But there's good finishing upside here as Reddick ranks 13th in projected average running position in my model. Reddick's likely to go overlooked with his salary between Busch and Almirola, making him a high-quality pivot at limited exposure.
Cole Custer ($6,500): Custer's starting 30th, making him similar to the Almirola mold. Custer's off to a slow start in the 750-horsepower package, but he's a Dover winner in the Xfinity Series and had a pair of top-11 finishes here last year.
Chase Briscoe ($5,500): Briscoe brings even more salary savings, though it comes without the place-differential upside as he starts 17th. Briscoe perked up last week with a 15th-place average running position, and he notched wins at both Dover and Bristol in the Xfinity Series last year.