Geico 500 6.21.20

Let’s just get this out of the way; today’s race is not for the faint of heart. If you want to play it safe with your bankroll (which is usually a good idea), I would recommend sitting this one out and just enjoying the carnage. This race is less about who is going to do well, and more about “who isn’t going to crash?” so DFS is tough to nail down. The high likelihood of crashes does change our strategy though, as drivers in the back will gain free place differential points for every person ahead of them that crashes, while guys near the front could end up with negative if they crash early. This means we should be targeting guys at the back, and therefore salary is not important today. Getting a top guy still may be necessary though since they could lead enough laps and finish well enough to still pay off their salary, and if they are in the lead they should be ahead of any crashes. Just remember that this is a chaotic race so don’t go too overboard today, and multi-entries are probably the way to go instead of cash or single entry GPPs due to all the uncertainty.

First of all, below you can see the Draftkings scoring system that is heavily weighted on predicting top finishers, with no captain’s slot or any distinction between picks. The name of this game will be finding lower priced participants that finish well to help afford the more premium guys that are safer bets to show up around the top of the leaderboard. With a solid amount of points being given as a result of place differential, it’s important to pay attention to where racers will be starting in order to find good opportunities.

Draftkings Scoring

General
Place Differential+/- 1 Pt
Fastest Laps+0.5 Pts
Laps Led+0.25 Pts
Finishing Position Scoring
1st+46 Pts
2nd+42 Pts
3rd+41 Pts
4th+40 Pts
5th+39 Pts
6th+38 Pts
7th+37 Pts
8th+36 Pts
9th+35 Pts
10th+34 Pts
11th+33 Pts
12th+32 Pts
13th+31 Pts
14th+30 Pts
15th+29 Pts
16th+28 Pts
17th+27 Pts
18th+26 Pts
19th+25 Pts
20th+24 Pts
21st+23 Pts
22nd+22 Pts
23rd+21 Pts
24th+20 Pts
25th+19 Pts
26th+18 Pts
27th+17 Pts
28th+16 Pts
29th+15 Pts
30th+14 Pts
31st+13 Pts
32nd+12 Pts
33rd+11 Pts
34th+10 Pts
35th+9 Pts
36th+8 Pts
37th+7 Pts
38th+6 Pts
39th+5 Pts
40th+4 Pts

The largest difference for Fanduel is the lack of scoring for place differential, with points for completing laps instead. This negates the lack of knowledge of where the racers will be starting until just before the contest and helps reward drivers who finish the race over those who give up or say things you probably shouldn’t on stream. 

Fanduel Scoring

Place Differential0.5
Laps Completed0.1
Laps Led0.1
1st place43
2nd place40
3rd place38
4th place37
5th place36
6th place35
7th place34
8th place33
9th place32
10th place31
11th place30
12th place29
13th place28
14th place27
15th place26
16th place25
17th place24
18th place23
19th place22
20th place21
21st place20
22nd place19
23rd place18
24th place17
25th place16
26th place15
27th place14
28th place13
29th place12
30th place11
31st place10
32nd place9
33rd place8
34th place7
35th place6
36th place5
37th place4
38th place3
39th place2
40th place1

The most important source of fantasy points today is place differential due to the high likelihood of destruction, so we want to look at guys starting in the back with potential for a good finish as well.

Below we have current betting odds for each driver. These odds are as of 10:00 PM EST on 6/20 and we will look for some value plays relative to their FD & DK pricing. 

NameStarting PositionDraftkings SalaryFanduel SalaryWilliam Hill OddsBet Online Odds
Chase Elliott11104001330010/1+1100
Joey Logano9102001300010/1+1000
Ryan Blaney12101001200010/1+1200
Clint Bowyer109900990022/1+2200
Christopher Bell359700890050/1+5000
Brad Keselowski696001240010/1+1100
Kevin Harvick594001160012/1+1400
Kyle Busch393001180012/1+1200
Denny Hamlin292001270010/1+1000
Martin Truex Jr190001130018/1+1800
Jimmie Johnson488001050025/1+2500
Matt Kenseth138700740040/1+4000
Kurt Busch785001110020/1+1800
Ricky Stenhouse Jr2084001010022/1+2200
Alex Bowman882001060018/1+2200
William Byron198000970025/1+2800
Matt DiBenedetto237800810030/1+4000
Brendan Gaughan397600500075/1+6600
Bubba Wallace247400600030/1+4000
Daniel Suarez3773004500150/1+15000
Ty Dillon337100680075/1+8000
Erik Jones187000880030/1+3300
Tyler Reddick166900930025/1+2500
Aric Almirola1568001100025/1+2200
Ryan Newman146700800040/1+4000
Corey Lajoie2565004000125/1+10000
Michael McDowell266300450060/1+5000
Ryan Preece316200720060/1+8000
Cole Custer286000780075/1+6600
Austin Dillon175800850035/1+4000
Chris Buescher215600790060/1+4000
John H. Nemechek225500500060/1+6600
Timmy Hill3853003000250/1+20000
Brennan Poole2752003000150/1+12500
Garrett Smithley405100300/1N/A
Joey Gase3649003000250/1+20000
JJ Yeley3448003000400/1+20000
Quin Houff3247003000400/1+20000
BJ McLeod3046003000400/1+20000
Gray Gaulding2945003000300/1+20000

Let me first preface these picks with some strategy for today. Because of the high likelihood of crashes, the safest cars are actually the ones starting at the back since they will get less negative from place differential if they crash than the guys at the front. It will probably be important to get the right guy at the top in your lineups, but it is tough to nail that down, and if they crash, they could very well end up with negative fantasy points. If entering multiple lineups, which is probably the best way to play this slate, I would not recommend going too heavy on any one driver. Once again, this is not a slate for the faint of heart.

Top tier: 

When we’re at Talladega, it’s hard to look past the Penske cars of Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Ryan Blaney. There is a good chance that at least one of these guys will be in the optimal lineup, and maybe two of them if they share lead laps and there isn’t too much carnage. With all of the cheap guys almost necessary today, it’s easy to fit whoever you want into your lineups, so starting with one of these 4 is probably a good idea. Keselowski has 5 career wins here, while Logano has 3 and Blaney won last year. Chase Elliott is also a great play up top as he won the other race here last year and is starting 11th so he brings some place differential upside as well. All 4 of these guys are great plays and starting your lineups with any one of them should pay off as long as they can avoid trouble. You don’t need to look far to find someone from the back to pair them with, as Christopher Bell is priced way up starting 35th. He may be the “safest” of all the guys at the back, but no one is really safe in this race. Still, Bell is a great play today and should be one of the highest owned drivers today.

Mid tier: 

In addition to the Penske cars, you have to think of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Brendon Gaughan as well when we come to Talladega. Stenhouse has 8 top-10s, including a win, in his last 12 races here while Gaughan only races at superspeedways and has 3 top-20s in his last 5 races here, which is all you need when he’s starting 39th. Speaking of track history, Aric Almirola has 7 straight top-10s here and another one today would make him a top value play with his 21st starting position. When looking for a guy starting near the back, we usually want to find someone capable of a high finish, and Matt DiBenedetto fits the bill. He has as much upside as anyone here and can rack up place differential points from his 23rd starting spot. The top play here may actually be Ty Dillon, who has never finished worse than 17th in 6 career appearances here. He is starting all the way back at 33rd and, if he can keep his streak alive, could very well be the top play on the slate. 

Cheap “studs”: 

This is usually the section we go to when we’re desperate for salary relief and need a risky play to pay off, but today these guys are going to make up a good chunk of our lineups. Gross. Everyone in this price range is playable, but the guys listed below have more potential than others. Still, this race is mostly a coin flip so you should try to spread your exposure around. Ryan Preece always looks comfortable at superspeedways, as evidenced by his 18th and 3rd place finishes in 2 appearances here. Starting at 31st gives him a lot of potential differential points and he may have the best combination of place differential and finishing position from down here. Although he doesn’t have the same history as Preece, Cole Custer has a ton of upside from back here as well. He is one of the few guys down here who is regularly playable in less volatile races, making him a good target today. Austin Dillon comes in at a less appealing 17th starting position, but he has a great chance of a top-10 finish barring disaster. Because of the lack of place differential upside compared to these other guys, he is a better play on Fanduel, but is still playable on both sites. Corey Lajoie seems to have figured this track out recently, as he finished 7th and 11th here last year and is starting back at 25th today. If he continues to avoid destruction and place well, he makes for another great play from this range. 

As I have already mentioned, this race has maybe the most variance of any DFS contest available, so tread lightly. Everyone on this slate, especially anyone starting near the back, is playable today as you just need to avoid the wrecks to cash.

Thank you for reading! Follow us on twitter to stay up to date on all future posts. @GameOnDFS

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