2020 Fantasy NASCAR XFINITY Series Preview: Top Drivers and Teams
With DraftKings embracing all three of NASCAR national series, there have never been more opportunities to cash in playing NASCAR DFS. Unfortunately for casual racing fans who mainly watch the Cup Series, winning XFINITY Series and Truck Series contests can be a little trickier because of a lack of familiarity with the top drivers and top teams from these other two major series.
This problem only gets worse as NASCAR continues to put heavy restrictions on how many races Cup Series stars can run in the lower series, which means fewer opportunities to lean on household names when assembling your DFS lineups. You also have to deal with rotating driver lineups that are becoming more commonplace, even among the top XFINITY organizations.
There is nothing more important to your success at DraftKings than knowing which drivers and which cars to use from one week to the next. I will have my weekly previews for every race to help guide you, but in the meantime, I'll give you a closer look at the full-time XFINITY drivers who project to be elite DFS options in 2020 and the race teams who deserve your attention no matter who is behind the wheel.
Top Series Regulars
Fresh off an appearance in the Championship 4, Allgaier enters 2020 as one of the most experienced drivers for one of the top teams. In fact, his 16 Top 5s and 607 laps led last year are the most for any driver returning to the series. Allgaier has reached double-digit Top 5s in all four of his XFINITY seasons with JR Motorsports, and he has recorded at least 24 Top 10s three times in that span. He should be a lock to reach the championship finale again this season and a weekly threat for dominator points and Top 5 finishes.
Briscoe's first full-time season in the XFINITY Series was a good one, and he will be the No. 1 driver for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2020. His 8.2 average finish and 26 Top 10s in 2019 are both the best among returning drivers, and you have to love that Briscoe got better as the year progressed. After leading double-digit laps just once in the first 27 races, he led double-digit laps in five of the final six events, leading 20-plus laps three times. All signs point to Briscoe being one of the top series regulars in 2020, and I expect him to become a weekly anchor for DFS lineups.
His relentless climb up NASCAR's ladder takes him to Kaulig Racing for a full-time season of XFINITY Racing in 2020. He made six starts for the team last year, winning the July race at Daytona and finishing in the Top 10 in all three of his starts at mile-and-a-half tracks. Chastain nearly won the Truck Series title for a mid-level team last year, and he has always been able to overachieve at the XFINITY level in JD Motorsports equipment that is mid-pack caliber, at best. Chastain gave us a glimpse of what he is capable of in Kaulig equipment last year, and when he had the opportunity to drive three races for Chip Ganassi in 2018, he led 90 laps at Darlington, won at Las Vegas and finished second at Richmond. He can be a legitimate fantasy force when given a fast car, and he is set for a full season in a great ride. Look for Chastain to shine throughout 2020.
The road racing ace lived up to his reputation by picking up a pair of road course wins last year, but Cindric proved to be much more than a one-trick pony. In fact, his 14 Top 5s, 8.9 average finish and 205 laps led in 2019 all rank second among full-time drivers returning to the XFINITY Series this season. His temper will still get the best of him on occasion, leading to some wrecks and poor finishes, but Cindric took a big step forward in 2019. Armed with Team Penske and with a ton of talent departing to the Cup Series, Cindric is in prime position to emerge as a weekly threat to win races and lead laps.
No. 8 JR Motorsports Chevrolet
For the second year in a row, the No. 8 team will have a rotating driver lineup. Daniel Hemric is slated for 21 starts, Jeb Burton has an 11-race schedule, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a one-off appearance. Last season, the No. 8 machine finished in the Top 10 in 23 of the 33 races, logging seven Top 5s and cracking the Top 15 in all but six starts. Burton finished in the Top 10 in six of his seven starts in the car in 2019, and the last time Hemric was in the XFINITY Series, he ranked third in Top 5s and fourth in Top 10s in 2018. Expect the No. 8 to be a staple of the Top 10 all season, and dominator points aren't out of the question, especially when Hemric is behind the wheel.
No. 12 Team Penske Ford
The schedule for the second Team Penske entry has yet to be released, but when the No. 12 does show up at the track, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski or Ryan Blaney will probably be behind the wheel. Last year, the No. 12 cracked the Top 5 in five of its eight starts, leading double-digit laps four times. When this car is in the field, it needs your full attention when you are constructing DFS lineups.
No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
XFINITY newcomers Myatt Snider and Anthony Alfredo will join Kaz Grala and share this ride, but it may or may not be a full-time effort. Don't forget that Tyler Reddick won the series title in a Richard Childress Racing car last year, and while none of these three are on Reddick's level, they will clearly have some legit equipment to work with. Grala figures to be the most reliable among the trio, and he actually cracked the Top 15 in four of his five starts in the No. 21 last year. Snider and Alfredo will be making their series debuts in 2020, but both have shown some promise in the Truck Series. At the very least, the quality of the equipment alone will give all three Top 15 potential.
No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet
Although the exact number of races this team will run is still to be determined, we do know that A.J. Allmendinger is set to run the road course events. He won at the Charlotte Roval and finished third at Mid-Ohio for Kaulig Racing last year, and he led double-digit laps in four of his five starts. Had he not been disqualified for post-race inspection issues at Daytona and Watkins Glen, he would have also finished in the Top 5 in four of his five starts. When Allmendinger hits the track, he will be a threat for dominator points.