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.
|Place Differential||+/- 1 Pt|
|Fastest Laps||+0.5 Pts|
|Laps Led||+0.25 Pts|
|Finishing Position Scoring|
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.
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.
|Name||Starting Position||Draftkings Salary||Fanduel Salary||William Hill Odds||Bet Online Odds|
|Martin Truex Jr||1||9000||11300||18/1||+1800|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||20||8400||10100||22/1||+2200|
|John H. Nemechek||22||5500||5000||60/1||+6600|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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