NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: South Point 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 betting odds and form 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.
Even the best can use some luck. Kyle Larson was fading in the closing laps of the Bristol event last Saturday night until his teammate Chase Elliott -- upset with Kevin Harvick from earlier contract -- blocked Harvick on track to allow Larson to close and snatch the win. That marked Larson's sixth win of 2021, and now he and 11 other drivers enter the second round of NASCAR's playoffs starting at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday night. This 1.5-mile track has multi-groove racing and average tire wear in a solid, intermediate test for the contenders.
With a race at Las Vegas in 2021 already, there is no practice and qualifying for this weekend's race. The starting lineup was set by NASCAR's qualifying formula that includes last week's results, fastest laps, and overall owner points. The 12 playoff drivers start in the first 12 spots. That formula put Mr. Larson on the pole yet again, and Penske's Ryan Blaney will join him on the outside of Row 1.
At an intermediate, non-drafting oval, place-differential points can be had. That being said, with 267 laps on the docket, it will still be crucial to find drivers who can run up front and lead laps. The 550-horsepower package used on larger, non-drafting ovals is the aerodynamic setup for this weekend's vehicles.
With all of this in mind, let's preview the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on FanDuel.
Kyle Larson ($14,500): The de facto top option in 550-horsepower races has been Larson all year, so apologies to those looking for variety. Larson was the March winner at Las Vegas after leading 103 laps. No one that day could have forecasted he would lead 684 more laps in 2021 than any other driver on 1.5-mile tracks, however. He has been insanely dominant on this configuration, and in the last race using this package, Larson led 70 laps and finished 3rd. His short-term and long-term form at this style of track are both excellent, and he's starting on the pole by way of his win last weekend. More laps led should be on the menu for the Elk Grove native on Sunday.
Kyle Busch ($13,500): If there is any driver that has matched Larson's performance in his lesser equipment at 550-horsepower tracks, it is Busch. According to Motorsports Analytics, Busch has been the most productive driver for his equipment with a 4.51 PEER rating. Busch's third-best median lap time in the package keeps him in contention most weekends, however, and he was the best playoff driver at the last 1.5-mile race in Atlanta. Busch led 91 laps and finished 2nd that weekend, and he also finished 3rd at Las Vegas in March. Busch is an ideal pairing for Larson because, even if Larson gobbles up all the laps led, Busch has some place-differential juice from 10th on the starting grid.
Others to Consider: Chase Elliott ($12,500)
Ryan Blaney ($10,200): Even as a straight pick with no salaries, Blaney is in the same tier as Kyle Busch to actually unseat Larson. His 2nd starting spot is not ideal for DFS -- especially if Larson does lead several laps again. However, he has been one of Larson's best foes in this aerodynamic package. Blaney bested Larson to win at Michigan in August, and Blaney also snuck by Larson in the closing laps at Atlanta in March. Blaney has four top-5 finishes in his 10 career Las Vegas starts, and he has had a top-10 average running position in five of those races as well. At one of his better tracks, he is closer to a contender to win this race than his salary indicates.
Tyler Reddick ($8,500): Reddick was two positions from moving into this round of NASCAR's playoffs, but he failed to find them at Bristol. He starts 13th in an aerodynamic configuration that has been much kinder to him on Sunday. Reddick has five top-10 finishes in this package this season, but most notably, he finished 6th at the last 1.5-mile race track the series visited in August at Atlanta. Larson's projected dominance makes it difficult to attack this mid-range with potential lap leaders or contenders, so the best move in single-lineup builds may be to load up at the top and return to this tier with Reddick or Matt DiBenedetto ($8,000) for some place-differential points.
Others to Consider: William Byron ($11,000), Alex Bowman ($10,000), Kurt Busch ($9,000), Matt DiBenedetto ($8,000)
Ross Chastain ($7,700): This recommendation is based on talent and recent form far more than speed. Chastain's 22nd-best median lap time on 550-horsepower tracks has been puzzling, especially with his teammate Kurt Busch ($9,000) ranking 6th in that category. Still, Chastain has been the spoiler in NASCAR's playoff run with two top-10 finishes in three first-round races, and Chastain is salaried far closer to drivers with no realistic top-10 upside. Chastain has a 2018 Xfinity win at this track that vaulted him into the Cup Series, so perhaps more of his teammate's setup and good memories can propel Chastain forward once again from the 18th starting spot.
Chris Buescher ($7,000): Buescher is the top value play on the slate. Six of his eight top-15 finishes have come on tracks using the 550-horsepower package, which has been a clear emphasis for his Roush-Fenway Racing team to try and steal a win in a lost year for the program. He starts 25th coming off a dismal first round of the playoffs, and that should come as no surprise with all three races held using his inferior aerodynamic package. With poor recent results, he may go overlooked in this spot compared to where he should considering his 76 laps led and 18th-best median lap time in this package.
Others to Consider: Chase Briscoe ($7,200), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6,700), Daniel Suarez ($6,500), Cole Custer ($5,700), Michael McDowell ($5,000), Corey Lajoie ($4,500)