I started this blog to provide a casual, recreational level of fantasy NASCAR advice and discussion. I've been playing these contests for a number of years and am annoyed by lineup sellers and groups of players using the same lineup. I'm hoping to give the casual player some help in building solid lineups that can beat that annoying crowd most of the time. I'm not a "tout" and don't do this for a living, so proceed accordingly. I hope you enjoy the discussion here and Good Luck!
The chaos already started in qualifying. Aric Almirola had something break in the rear end of his car. He slowed dramatically and eventually lost control of the car. He never hit the wall but will be in a backup for the race. He qualified 40th.
So here's my approach for this race. I think this applies to cash and tournaments equally.
I'm not going to do much more with driver targets until after qualifying this week. At these plate tracks, so much of what I want to do is decided by qualifying position that I can't even narrow things down in a useful way until we see where drivers will start. We really want to focus on position difference potential this week and we have no idea what that will be until we know the starting lineup.
As far as the weekend schedule goes, it's unique this week. On Friday, there are two 50-minute practices but no qualifying. On Saturday, there is qualifying but no practice. Unlike a normal week, practice at the plate tracks really doesn't tell us a whole lot about who's going to have success on Sunday. So, unless some huge news breaks on Friday, I'm not planning on a post-practice update. The next update will likely be a final update with DraftKings and FanDuel targets late Saturday.
Here's just a few more driver notes to keep in mind:
As always, tweet questions or comments @illinisjc
If you were with us from the start, you will remember that my approach is to pull back and not do many fantasy contests for plate track races. Everything is just so random based on who gets caught up in the big one and who is lucky enough to survive to the end of the race. Also, limit your exposure in cash games because no one is a safe pick at a plate track. Go heavier in tournaments and lighter in cash games. That said, we do have a handful of guys that have put together some level of consistent success at Talladega.
FanDuel is launching a fantasy NASCAR product this weekend. The first group of contests is now live. Here's a brief rundown:
It seems really odd to award .1 for a lap completed. And this takes some of the bite out of a race dominator who starts at the front. For example, a guy who starts from pole, leads 200 laps and wins the race scores almost the same as a guy who starts last because he failed qualifying inspection, doesn't lead a lap but finishes in the Top 5.
Our friend @DKNascar on twitter has run a few spreadsheets that show how drivers would have done thus far this season using the new FanDuel scoring system. I'd encourage you to check it out and follow him.
At least for this week, I've got to imagine most people playing FanDuel will be loading their lineups with drivers starting towards the back of the field.
Qualifying threw a bit of a curve ball at us with Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski starting way back in the field. Here is how I'm approaching things for the Saturday night race in cash games:
All the above are GPP targets for me as well. If you're looking for guys likely to be lower owned, I would recommend Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch and Eric Jones.
In the Nascar.com Fantasy Live game, I'm lining up Truex, Logano, Larson, Harvick and Hamlin with Eric Jones in the garage. Go with a JGR or Penske car or affiliate to win the stages and race.
We've got a 400 lap race this weekend, so the points for laps led and fastest laps will be huge again -- just like last week at Bristol. We've got 100 laps led points available and 200 fastest laps points out there. So, if someone dominates this race with 200+ laps led, it's going to be real hard to win if he's not in your lineup. And, there are a good number of guys with good histories at Richmond and the potential to dominate this week.
Here's an initial target list to work from:
The drivers we highlighted had a good week at Bristol. We were very high on both Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson and, if you had them both, you probably did very well.
One other note before moving to Richmond. To repeat something we talked about when this website began, the whole point of this is to help people better understand the concepts that lead to success in fantasy Nascar games. That is why we have multiple updates throughout the week highlighting drivers who have had past success at the track, who look good in practice, and who are on a roll going into the race. That is why we talk about strategies for building long term success -- such as reducing our exposure at plate races and when there is too much uncertainty like Texas two weeks ago. That is why, when we talk about lineup ideas, we say why we want a guy in the lineup or why we are thinking of fading what might otherwise be a popular pick. In the end, we want people to use this information to do their own analysis and make their own lineup decisions. You're the one pressing the Enter button on your entries. If you're just coming here to cut and paste a lineup we talk about, you're doing it all wrong.
Onto Richmond. It's a Saturday night race so we have an off schedule this week. All the meat of our work is jammed into Friday. There are two practices during the day Friday with qualifying in the early evening on Friday. The Cup race is then on Saturday night. The Xfinity race is Friday night. Given this schedule, we'll be posting our initial driver list by sometime Wednesday. Then we'll update everything late Friday or early Saturday with final thoughts and our top targets. So please check back soon.
Until then, think about these things:
This is another tough race because there are a lot of variables up in the air due to the weather. As of now, it looks doubtful that they can complete a full race at the scheduled time on Sunday. So we're looking at the possibility of a delayed race on Sunday, possibly run at least in part during the night. Or a race on Monday. And no matter when it happens, conditions will be much different than what the teams saw at practice. So, like last week, I'm urging some caution for this week due to the uncertainty and unpredictability.
That said, this is the lineup I'm planning to go with on Sunday for cash games:
Here are a couple other guys that I think are good Tourney plays only:
Have fun and enjoy the race. If you have any final questions, Tweet them @illinisjc
First, a few notes about overall Draft Kings strategy and approach for this week:
The Cup series returns to Bristol for what is always an action packed race. We have a traditional weekend schedule with an hour of practice and qualifying on Friday, two more hours of practice on Saturday and the race on Sunday. Friday and Saturday are forecast to be great weather days with sunshine and a high near 80. Rain is forecast for Sunday, so we'll be keeping our fingers crossed that we can get this race in.
Here is my first take on drivers to be focused on this week:
Kevin Harvick -- He has finished no worse than 8th in his last five Bristol races. He hasn't led a ton of laps, but he's been as solid and consistent as anyone the last few years. The question will be whether he is worth the $11,500 price tag.
Kyle Busch -- Kyle has been up and down at Bristol. Last Fall, he won the race while leading 156 of 500 laps. But in Spring, he didn't lead any laps and finished 35th. In 2016, he led 256 laps in the Fall race but had a late accident and finished 39th. In the Spring of 2016, he again didn't lead a lap and finished 38th. He's been on a roll lately and is a candidate to lead 100+ laps on Sunday, so he has to be on any watch list. But he does carry a lot of risk and a $11,300 salary.
Kyle Larson -- Larson was great at Bristol last year. In Spring, he started from the pole, led 202 laps, and finished 6th. In Fall, he started 2nd, led 70 laps, and finished 9th. However, in the three races before that, he didn't crack the Top 20. Another up and down guy with the potential to lead 100+ laps on Sunday. $9,700 salary.
Joey Logano -- Logano has two Bristol wins during his time at Team Penske. In the last five Bristol races, he has a win, four Top 10 finishes and a worst finish of 13th place. He's also led laps in four of those five races. At $9,300, he comes at a decent discount off the top tier of drivers. He has finished in the Top 7 in all but one race so far this year.
Eric Jones -- Last Fall, Jones started on the pole and led 260 laps before finishing 2nd. In his only other Cup race at Bristol last Spring, he started 14th and finished 17th. He ran very well last week at Texas. $8,300 salary.
Rickey Stenhouse -- In ten career Cup races at Bristol, Stenhouse has five Top 10s and has never finished worse than 21st. However, he also has 0 laps led at the track. At $7,600, he's could be a good mid-level play depending on his starting position.
Trevor Bayne -- At $6,000, Bayne could be a good salary saver this week. In his last five Bristol races, he has finished no worse than 15th. He even has two Top 10 finishes and other finishes of 11th and 12th. Bristol is by far his best track for average finishing position in his Cup career.
Matt DiBenedetto -- At $5,600, DeBenedetto is another potential salary saver. He has finished in the Top 20 in three of the last four Bristol races -- all with sub-standard teams. In the remaining race, he started 34th and finished 26th, so still had a decent day. We'll be hoping he starts near the back to give us position difference point potential.
Check back with us Friday, Saturday and Sunday before lock for additional updates and a recommended lineup. Fire off any questions on Twitter @illinisjc
My name is Steve and I've won thousands playing NASCAR fantasy racing games. This blog will share my advice for enjoying and winning your fantasy racing games. I'm also a NASCAR writer at the motor sports website slicksandsticks.com