Daily Fantasy NASCAR Race Preview & Picks for DraftKings - Alabama 500
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Talladega Superspeedway - Talladega, AL
Track - 2.66 Mile Tri Oval
Martin Truex Jr. picked up the win in the opening race of the second round and padded his overall lead. The big change in this year's playoffs was the movement of Talladega as the elimination race to the second race in this round. There has even been talk among the driver's council for it to be moved to the final race of the regular season which would, no doubt, bring fireworks and many more drivers into the mix for the Playoffs moving forward. Talladega and Daytona and the only two restrictor plate races on the schedule and are very unpredictable as the "Big One" is always in everyone's mind. Unlike years past, drivers can no longer just hang out at the back of the pack in an attempt to stay out of the chaos as stage racing has changed that as the Top 10 drivers in each stage receive points which can be crucial, especially int he Playoffs.
For fantasy, dominator points are somewhat out the window as there have been at least 14 drivers to lead a lap in each of the last six races and only two drivers over the last four races to lead more than 50 laps. The big thing in these restrictor plate races is moist definitely place differential as there have been at least 12 drivers over the last three Talladega races to gain double-digit place differential. Starting inside the Top 10 isn't as big of a deal here as there have not been more than four drivers to start there and finish there over the last six races.
With all that said, let's take a look at some of the trends going into this weeks race.
Last Six Winners at Talladega
- 2017 Race #1 - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(started 1st, led 14 laps)
- 2016 Race #2 - Joey Logano(started 16th, led 45 laps)
- 2016 Race #1 - Brad Keselowski(started 7th, le 46 laps)
- 2015 Race #2 - Joey Logano(started 10th, led 20 laps)
- 2015 Race #1 - Dale Earnhardt Jr.(started 4th, led 67 laps)
- 2014 Race #2 - Brad Keselowski(started 5th, led 12 laps)
Top 5 Current & Career Track History at Talladega
Kurt Busch has yet to win here in his career but has been extremely consistent since the start of the 2015 season with four straight Top 10 finishes and is the only driver with an average finish under 10.0 during that time. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. got his first career win here in the spring after showing terrific consistency over his eight career races where he has posted five Top 10's and a 10.4 average finish. If you are looking for value it will be hard to keep your eyes off Paul Menard and Ty Dillon this week. Menard has finished Top 10 in three of his last five races here while Dillon, albeit a smaller sample size, impressed with a 13th place finish in May. Brad Keselowski returns to one of his most successful tracks as he has won more races here(4) than any other track he has raced at in his career. He will be a popular choice this week with a price under $10K.
Top 5 Current Track Type History
The Busch brothers top the list when looking at restrictor plate performance since the start of 2015 as Kurt has a win(2017 Daytona 500) and a series-leading seven Top 10 finishes. In his last nine races on restrictor plate tracks, Kyle Busch has four Top 10's 216 laps led a 14.0 average finish. He is a strong rebound candidate after a poor week in Charlotte. Looking specifically at this season's three races at Daytona and Talladega, Paul Menard leads the way with an average of 56.9 DraftKings points per race while fellow value play, Aric Almirola, sits right behind him with an average of 55.5 DraftKings points per race.
Top 5 Current Form (last six races)
These five drivers are the only five to carry an average finish below 10.0 over their last six races. Kyle Larson takes over the top spot going into Talladega with five straight Top 10's that include four Top 5 finishes. Chase Elliott, still seeking his first win, has also been extremely consistent with runner-up finishes in three of his last four races. He will be in Victory Lane very soon. Martin Truex Jr, by no surprise, leads the way over the last six races when looking at DraftKings points per race(87.5) and has recorded just under 20 more per race than any other driver. With dominator points a bit negated this week, his advantage somewhat goes away but do not count him out.....ever!
Joey Logano ($10,200) & Brad Keselowski($9,800)
The Team Penske teammates are always a force to be reckoned with when the Cup Series shows up at a restrictor plate track as they have a combined eight wins in their career. Keselowski will likely be the more popular of the two as he is one of the 12 drivers remaining in the Playoffs and he also comes at a discounted sub $10K price. Logano, although not in the Playoffs, makes an excellent GPP play and will be looking to close out his season strong and should be a contender in the closing laps as he has been so many times.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.($8,000)
Stenhouse has won the last two restrictor plate races and will most likely be the highest owned driver this week but I feel there is a ton of ways to differentiate your lineup. It will be very hard to fade him at $8K this week.
Kurt Busch ($8,300)
Busch got the win at the Daytona 500 back in February and has yet to win at Talladega in his career but has been much more consistent here lately. He has finished Top 10 in four straight and five of his last six Dega races with the other finish being a 12th. He also comes at a nice mid $8K price tag and can be easily paired with Stenhouse to form a solid core for a balanced lineup.
Paul Menard ($7,000) & Aric Almirola($6,300)
Value has been hard to come by in the Playoffs but this week is an exception as restrictor plate races open up the field to those who normally run outside the Top 20. Both drivers have finished inside the Top 20 here at talladega in four of their last five races.
Post-Qualifying Picks Video
Below you will find a copy of my DFS NASCAR cheathsheet which includes Track History, Current Form, DraftKings points averages, Track Type History, Practice/Qualifying Ranks and much more. Get it HERE. I also have available my Race by Race Trends sheet you can view as well.
If you have any questions scroll down to the comment section and join the conversation.Good Luck everyone!
Chris Durell has been playing Daily Fantasy Sports for four years and fantasy in general for more than a decade. He is active player in NFL, MLB, NHL, PGA, and of course NASCAR. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife and two daughters. You can follow him on Twitter at @jager_bombs9 for advice, strategy, answers to any NASCAR questions or how he copes with the winters up north.
- NASCAR Phoenix Auto Racing: (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)