On the heels of last weekend's trip to Phoenix Raceway, the Cup Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway for Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, the third race at a mile-and-a-half oval in the last four weeks.
Not surprisingly, I looked back at the results from the races at Homestead and Las Vegas when building my rankings this week, but with Atlanta's old surface and heavy tire wear, Homestead is probably the better comp of the two. Honestly, Atlanta is a bit of its own beast, so driver performance here the last couple of years also weighed heavily into my rankings.
In general, I think this is a week to target drivers who have excelled at Atlanta in the past. If I can find some Atlanta studs who have also been strong out of the gate in 2021, that's even better. With that in mind, there will probably be a lot of crossover between my season-long and DFS lineups this weekend as I load up on a core of drivers across all formats.
- Kevin Harvick: Harvick is the defending winner of this weekend's race, and nobody has been better on Atlanta's weathered, abrasive surface. In seven starts here with Stewart-Haas Racing, he never led fewer than 45 laps in a race, and he has led at least 116 laps six times. He should be a dominant addition to fantasy lineups in all formats.
- Martin Truex Jr.: He has six finishes of eighth or better at Atlanta, including three straight top-5s, and Truex has finished second and third in two starts here for Joe Gibbs Racing. He led 65 laps and won both stages in last year's race, and he should be an elite option in both season-long and DFS contests.
- Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has reeled off six straight top-10s at Atlanta, notching a pair of wins and a runner-up finish in his last four starts alone. He has led at least 27 laps in each of the first two races at 1.5-mile tracks this year, logging a second-place finish at Las Vegas. Keselowski should be a top-5 play this weekend.
- Kyle Larson: Larson has opened the year with finishes of fourth and first at the first two races at 1.5-mile tracks, and another top-5 effort could be on tap at Atlanta. The last time he raced here was in 2019 for Chip Ganassi, and Larson led 142 laps and logged 19 stage points in that event.
- Kyle Busch: While Busch hasn't led many laps at Atlanta, he has delivered two strong finishes here with the current rules package. After finishing sixth in the 2019 race, Busch was the runner-up a year ago, finishing third or better in both stages. Don't forget that he is a Group B option in the Driver Group Game this year.
- Ryan Blaney: Blaney got off to a slow start at Atlanta, but after lead 41 laps in the 2019 event, he notched a career-best fourth-place finish in last year's race, finishing second in Stage 2. He's been a force at the 1.5-mile ovals dating back to last season, and there is no doubt that he offers top-5 upside Sunday.
- Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has been a little up and down at Atlanta for his career, but he has two top-5s and a 6.8 average finish in his last three starts at the track, and he earned 14 stage points in a fifth-place effort last year. He is probably not the best DFS option this weekend, but Hamlin should be in the mix for another top 5.
- Chase Elliott: Atlanta hasn't been Elliott's best track, but he does have four top-10s in five starts, including an eighth-place run last year when he led 26 laps. I am a little concerned that Elliott has been good, not great, in the first two races at mile-and-a-half tracks this year, but he is still a top-10 option for Sunday.
- William Byron: His 22.7 average finish in three Atlanta starts isn't exactly comforting, but Byron has been dialed in at the 1.5-mile ovals in 2021. He led 102 laps in his win at Homestead and led 25 laps in a top-10 effort at Las Vegas. Byron's 97 points scored in those two races are the most in the series.
- Joey Logano: Logano hasn't had many dominant outings at Atlanta, but he finished 10th here last season and has just one finish outside the top 15 since moving to Team Penske. This probably isn't the track to target him heavily for fantasy contests, but he should still have a solid outing.
- Kurt Busch: The three-time Atlanta winner still knows his way around this rough 1.5-mile oval. Busch has finished third and sixth here in two starts for Chip Ganassi Racing, and the last time he failed to crack the top 15 at Atlanta was way back in 2009. I will be using him in both the DGG and Fantasy Live.
- Alex Bowman: Bowman has delivered back-to-back top-15s at Atlanta, and while he has had some strong runs at 1.5-mile tracks over the last year and a half, the tracks with higher tire wear haven't been his strength. He could sneak into the top 10 Sunday, but this probably isn't the week he shows top-5 potential.
- Christopher Bell: Bell finished 18th in his first Cup start at Atlanta last season, and he is off to a hot start in his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing. The sophomore has three top-10s and a 10.6 average finish through the first five races, and at the very least, he should be in the mix for a top-15 Sunday.
- Austin Dillon: Dillon finished 11th at Atlanta last year, his third top-15 in his last five starts at the track. More importantly, he has been rock solid at the 1.5-mile tracks with the current rules package, and he finished 12th at both Homestead and Las Vegas so far in 2021. Dillon is a legit top-15 threat this weekend.
- Tyler Reddick: He finished 16th in his Atlanta debut last year, and Reddick's ability to drive different lines, including up by the wall, is tailor-made for a high-wear track like at Atlanta. Worst-case scenario, he should be back in the mix for a top-15 Sunday, and he could be a sleeper top-10 option.
- Erik Jones: I know he is in Richard Petty Motorsports equipment, but Jones wheeled the No. 43 machine to a top-10 at Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, and his passing prowess has been an ideal fit for the high tire wear at Atlanta. He led 41 laps here in 2019, and he finished fourth in last year's event.
- Matt DiBenedetto: DiBenedetto has never had much success at Atlanta, and his 25th-place finish here a year ago was actually his best result at the track. The good news is that after a horrible start to 2021, he has righted the ship a bit with finishes of 16th and 14th at Vegas and Phoenix, respectively. I'm not going to target him heavily this weekend, but a top-15 wouldn't shock me.
- Cole Custer: Custer's numbers in 2021 aren't pretty, but the speed has been decent, and he has had a couple of potential top-10 finishes ruined by bad luck. He finished 19th in his Atlanta debut last year, and I think he could be a sleeper top-15 option this weekend.
- Aric Almirola: He finally had a solid outing last weekend at Phoenix, but after accidents saddled him with finishes of 30th and 38th at Homestead and Vegas, we still don't know what to expect out of Almirola at the mile-and-a-half tracks this year. He has finished between eighth and 17th in his three Atlanta starts with Stewart-Haas Racing, and I think you can afford to take a wait-and-see approach with Almirola this weekend.
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: If you are looking for a contrarian sleeper this weekend, you may want to roll the dice on Stenhouse. He has finished 18th or better in his last five starts at Atlanta, logging a 13th-place finish last season. He has also finished 18th or better in all five races in 2021, reeling off three straight finishes of 13th or better.
- Chris Buescher: He delivered a surprise top-10 at Atlanta in 2019, but he has failed to crack the top 20 in his other four starts at the track. On the plus side, he has snuck into the top 20 in every race since the Daytona 500, and he led 57 laps at Homestead before logging a top-15 at Las Vegas. Buescher could make a decent low-priced play at the DFS sites.
- Bubba Wallace: Wallace's 21st-place finish at Atlanta last year was his best in three starts at the track, and while he showed some muscle last weekend at Phoenix, he failed to crack the top 20 in either of the races at 1.5-mile tracks thus far. It remains to be seen what his ceiling at 23XI Racing will be, limiting Wallace's value to DFS contests for the time being.
- Ryan Newman: He has cracked the top 15 in both of his Atlanta starts with Roush Fenway Racing, and Newman has opened 2021 with finishes of seventh and 18th in the first two races at 1.5-mile ovals. He will deliver an occasional dud like he did last weekend at Phoenix, but starting deeper in the field, he definitely has some potential for Slingshot and DFS contests.
- Ross Chastain: Chastain isn't making himself any friends on the track, but he has been able to keep himself in the middle of the pack most weeks. He has finished 17th, 23rd, and 19th in the three races coming into Atlanta, and he should be back in the mix for a top-20. He has potential as a Group C option in the DGG, but his starting spot limits his DFS appeal.
- Chase Briscoe: The transition to the Cup Series hasn't been as smooth as Briscoe probably hoped for, but outside of his wreck at the Daytona Roval, he has finished between 18th and 22nd in every start. The rookie should flirt with the top 20 again Sunday, but he needs to show a little more upside before he becomes an appealing fantasy sleeper.
- Michael McDowell: He has started to cool off after his shocking start to the year, but McDowell has still cracked the top 25 in every race in 2021. He did have a top-10 run at Homestead a few weeks ago, another 1.5-mile track with high tire wear, but his best finish at Atlanta is 24th. I wouldn't count on more than a top-25 out of him Sunday.
- Ryan Preece: His Atlanta numbers leave a lot to be desired, and after a 35th-place finish in his track debut in 2019, Preece finished 26th last year. He has been pushing towards the top 20 with more regularity since the second half of last year, but he is still a roll-of-the-dice DFS play, at best.
- Daniel Suarez: Suarez continues to overachieve for a Trackhouse Racing team in its inaugural season, and he heads to Atlanta with a 22.8 average finish for the year. He had a top-15 run at Homestead, another 1.5-mile track with a lot of tire wear, earlier this year, so he could be worth a flier as a low-priced sleeper in DFS contests.
- Anthony Alfredo: He is coming off an ugly outing at Phoenix, but Alfredo actually held his own in the first two races at 1.5-mile tracks this year. He finished 24th at both Homestead and Las Vegas, and his poor starting spot makes him a viable punt option for DFS contests.
- Justin Haley: There is no upside with Haley, but he has been able to stay on the track and finish in the top 30 in all four of his starts, posting a 25.8 average finish overall. He can be a useful low-priced DFS play if you want to top load your lineups.
NASCAR guru Brian Polking has been committed to producing Fantasy NASCAR coverage for nearly a decade and written countless articles for his devoted audience who swear by his advice year after year.
This article is free, but Brian also provides a premium service which is an integral part of SI Fantasy Pro. Hit the button below to learn more about the advantage you'll gain across from our DFS & gambling experts.