NASCAR DFS: 500 at Talladega Superspeedway Fanduel Preview

Brian Polking

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads back to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, and if you plan on cashing in playing NASCAR DFS at Fanduel this weekend, you will need a little luck and a willingness to trust strategy and statistics over the typical big names.

Sunday's 500 is the fourth and final superspeedway race of the 2019 season, and the pack racing at the superspeedways turns the typical DFS formula on its head. The dominator points that are already less significant at Fanduel than at DraftKings can be more or less be ignored this weekend. Instead, your focus needs to be 100 percent on place differential points and solid finishes.

Of course, securing solid finishes is much easier said than done when almost every position on the track can change hands on any given laps and multi-car wrecks are waiting to wipe out half the field or more. Yes, you can target drivers who have been better than most at avoiding trouble in these races, but a little luck won't hurt either.

While you can't guarantee that your drivers will survive to the checkered flag, you can control your place differential situation. By loading up your lineups with drivers starting deep in the field, you simultaneously give yourself the most points to gain and the fewest to lose in the only category you have any control over this weekend.

Don't fall in love with big names either. Sure, you should absolutely roster a Kyle Busch or Denny Hamlin if they end up qualifying well outside the Top 20, but you shouldn't be afraid to go with a lineup of midrange and lower-tier drivers if all the big names are starting up front. Don't forget that Ryan Preece and Daniel Hemric finished in the Top 5 at Talladega in the spring, and you had Brendan Gaughan land in the Top 10 with Corey LaJoie coming home 11th. You don't need big names to win big money this weekend.

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Must-Own Drivers

Joey Logano ($14,500)

Where do you start with Logano's numbers? He leads all drivers with six Top 5s in the last 10 superspeedway races, scoring the second most points and leading a series-high 88 laps in the three races this season. Logano has also delivered four straight Top 5s at Talladega and six Top 5s in his last eight starts at the track, winning three times in that span. He's my top option at Fanduel heading into qualifying.

Brad Keselowski ($12,500)

Keselowski can be a little boom or bust at the superspeedways, but he has a history of dominating at Talladega. His five wins here are the most among active drivers, and Keselowski has led laps in his last seven starts here, leading 20-plus laps five times in that span. If a driver is going to rise above the superspeedway chaos and go out and dominate all afternoon, it is probably going to be Keselowski.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($8,700)

Stenhouse is the proverbial dart without feathers at the superspeedways, but he always seems to bump and bang his way to the front of the field. He has scored the most points of any driver in the last 10 superspeedway races, and he is the only driver with multiple wins in that span. Stenhouse has also led laps in nine races during that span, leading double-digit laps six times. He has as much upside as any driver in the field this weekend.

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Difference Makers and Value Plays

Alex Bowman ($10,500)

He has emerged as a major force at the superspeedways this season, and Bowman has actually scored a series-best 113 driver points in the three races. His best run came at Talladega in the spring when he finished second in both stages and ended up as the runner-up in the race. Bowman doesn't have the reputation of being a superspeedway ace, but he's a legit threat for a Top 5 and a win Sunday, and he's available for a midrange price.

Aric Almirola ($9,000)

Almirola has been one of the steadiest options at the superspeedways recently, and his 11.2 average finish in the last 10 races ranks second in the series. He has been at his best at Talladega, and his win in the fall race here last year is part of a streak of six straight Top 10s at the track. You have to love that reliability, especially at this price.

Erik Jones ($8,300)

Jones spent his first couple of seasons crashing out of the superspeedway races, but he has turned the corner in a big way recently. He won the July race at Daytona last year, and he has logged three Top 10s in his last five starts, including a pair of Top 3 finishes. I also expect Joe Gibbs Racing to try to work together to stay out the front, and Jones is your cheapest option for gaining exposure to the JGR team.

Ryan Newman ($7,500)

The best value on the board this weekend just might be Newman. He owns a series-leading seven Top 10s in the last 10 superspeedway races, and he has completed an impressive 99.7 percent of the laps in that span while posting a series-best 10.8 average finish. Newman hasn't missed a beat in the No. 6 machine this year, cracking the Top 15 in all three superspeedway races and compiling a series-leading 8.7 average finish. You won’t find a more reliable driver at the superspeedways right now.

Ty Dillon ($6,000)

Dillon is a DFS afterthought or desperation punt play most weeks, but this guy finds a way to survive and deliver great results at the superspeedways. In fact, he ranks sixth in points scored over the last 10 superspeedway races, and his 14.2 average finish ranks third. Dillon has finished 17th or better in nine of his 10 starts in that stretch, finishing sixth or better in three of his last five, and he has gained an average of 10.2 spots per race.

Sleeper Specials

Bubba Wallace ($4,500)

Most people probably remember his runner-up effort in the 2018 Daytona 500, but Wallace has been steady at the superspeedways in general. In eight starts, he has cracked the Top 20 six times, and he has five finishes of 16th or better. Any driver who can finish in and around the Top 15 with regularity at the superspeedways deserves your attention, and Wallce's value only goes up if he qualifies towards the back of the pack.

Ryan Preece ($4,000)

It has been a rough rookie year for Preece, but the superspeedways have actually been a bright spot. He has finished in the Top 10 in two of the three races, gaining double-digit spots in two of those starts, as well. Preece had one of his best DFS performances to date at Talladega back earlier this year when he gained 27 spots on his way to a career-best third-place finish. If he starts deep in the field, I'll be willing to see if he can keep his superspeedway success going this weekend.

Corey LaJoie ($3,000)

LaJoie struggles to crack the Top 25 most weeks, but he has actually been an excellent DFS option at the superspeedways this season. In three starts for the No. 32 team, he has compiled an 11.7 average finish, and he has gained an average of 21.0 spots per race. Back in the spring, LaJoie gained 25 spots and finished 11th at Talladega, and he has gained at least 14 spots in all three of his superspeedway starts in 2019. It's not even about cap relief. His production has been legit.

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