NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Federated Auto Parts 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, he also discussed this weekend's race on the latest NASCAR episode of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.
Kyle Larson dominated much of the evening in Darlington on Sunday, but a well-timed caution helped put Denny Hamlin out front, and the savvy veteran found a way to stay there for his first win of 2021. That win locked Hamlin into the Round of 12, and therefore only two automatic tickets remain in NASCAR's first playoff round, for which one more will be handed out this weekend in Richmond, VA. NASCAR's top series enters Richmond Internation Raceway for their second race of the season at this short, 0.75-mile track with multiple grooves and heavy tire wear.
With 400 laps on the docket, the general strategy will to be find someone to lead laps like Larson again this weekend. Larson made the perfect lineup despite not winning by leading 156 laps, and Denny Hamlin joined him leading 146 himself. That upside at the front of the field de-emphasizes place differential, even at a track with a fairly average passing profile.
As a repeat track on the schedule, there is no practice or qualifying for this weekend's event. The starting lineup was set by NASCAR's general qualifying formula that uses last week's finishing position, fastest laps, and overall owner points to set the grid. The formula -- unsurprisingly -- pushed Kyle Larson to the pole position. Denny Hamlin will join him on the outside of Row 1.
With all of this in mind, let's preview the Federated Auto Parts 400 in Richmond on FanDuel.
Martin Truex Jr. ($14,000): This weekend comes down to a fork in the road which may not actually be a fork. It's possible to stack the dominant Joe Gibbs Racing favorites together on FanDuel, but both will be tremendously popular. Truex is the highest-salaried driver in the player pool, and that is likely due to his long-term excellence at Richmond. Truex has led more than 100 laps in seven of the past nine races at this track, including 107 laps in a solid effort in April. Truex was fast enough last weekend in the 750-horsepower package to post a top-10 average running position despite two pit-road mistakes, and he has won three times in this aerodynamic package this season. He starts third, which allows for tremendous access to the front if his car's handling is in place early.
Denny Hamlin ($13,500): The other Gibbs driver who is in consideration is Hamlin at his home track. Hamlin won last week, but after a winless regular season, he likely wants to keep that momentum despite nothing to race for in terms of stakes. Hamlin is starting second, and he should be enormously popular after he started second, led a race-high 207 laps, and finished second to make the perfect FanDuel lineup back in April at this same track. He does start in front of Truex by a nose, but it truly is a toss-up between two equally fast teammates in this aerodynamic package with equally successful resumes; Hamlin is a three-time winner at Richmond himself. The hope in tournaments would be to have leverage on whichever driver is less popular.
Others to Consider: Joey Logano ($12,500)
Christopher Bell ($10,000): A Joe Gibbs Racing theme to the helper after their dominant April performance in this same package is justified. Bell contributed to that with arguably his best effort of 2021 outside his lone win, as Bell maintained a top-10 average running position on the way to finishing 4th in the spring race. Bell also had a top-15 finish here in lesser equipment in 2020 with Leavine Family Racing, and Bell also won three of his five Xfinity Series starts at this race track. In need of padding points, Bell will be trying and keep his track position all evening, but starting 10th, he still provides some place-differential upside with an underrated potential to join his teammates at the front and potentially lead.
Austin Dillon ($8,500): Because of NASCAR's playoff format, Dillon should at least be viable each of the next two races since he's starting no higher than 17th. He starts 19th on Saturday at Richmond, which provides place-differential upside at one of his best race tracks. Last year in this event, Dillon led 55 laps and finished inside the top-five spots in all three stages before eventually bringing his Chevy home in fourth. He added his fourth top-10 finish in his last five races in the April event at this track, as well. Dillon's top-15 finish last weekend in Darlington made for his fifth such outing on a 750-horsepower oval this season, and another would be just fine from his starting position.
Others to Consider: Kevin Harvick ($11,000), William Byron ($9,800), Alex Bowman ($9,700), Ross Chastain ($8,300)
Matt DiBenedetto ($7,800): Despite continuing to torch DFS bankrolls everywhere, DiBenedetto is a value play with tremendous upside. He disappointed last weekend in Darlington after a deep starting spot, and as a result, he will start 28th in Richmond. There is still plenty of reason for optimism with the Wood Brothers driver, as he finished 9th at Richmond in April with a top-15 averaging position. DiBenedetto did shine before this recent rough stretch, as he still has top-15 finishes in six of the past eight races. With five top-15 efforts in this aerodynamic package this season, DiBenedetto's floor is excellent. He is sure to be tremendously popular.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,000): With so many accidents last weekend, punting is difficult. Stenhouse is a crash waiting to happen, but there are some circuits where he performs well and has a low incident rate. Richmond is one of them. Stenhouse has 11 top-20 finishes in his past 13 races here -- and that extended sample holds weight with a driver who has an accident issue at some tracks. His best finish was 4th in April 2017, but his 17th-place showing this April was serviceable. His starting spot of 23rd Saturday allows for some room for error in this spot. Stenhouse is always a scary dude to roster, but he appears set up for some DFS success Saturday.
Others to Consider: Daniel Suarez ($6,300), Bubba Wallace ($6,000), Erik Jones ($5,000), Corey Lajoie ($4,000)