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!
[There's obviously a lot of serious and dangerous stuff happening all over right now. I'm not going to comment on any of it here because this just isn't the right place. NASCAR and sports in general are a release and distraction for many people and that's how I intend to keep it here.]
It was a really good result in the Cup Series race on Sunday. 3 for 3 on my H2H bets and my cash lineup came through despite Kevin Harvick disappointing. It was ugly and the chaos at the end really helped, but it was still a clean win. On to the Xfinity Series race on Monday night.
If you thought the Cup Series race was crazy, just wait for this Xfinity race. Three of the last four Xfinity races at Bristol have been complete chaos:
At the top, I think you want to think about using two of the three most expensive drivers -- Chase Briscoe, Justin Allgaier and AJ Allmendinger.
Beyond those guys, I'm focused on veteran drivers or drivers with good teams starting from 20th on back. As for the guys starting 1st-9th, I'm really not interested in a cash game setting because I don't have a real good idea what to expect from them. In most cases they're either very young with limited Bristol experience or are not in the very top level equipment. I also think that Briscoe and/or Allgaier will be doing most of the dominating, which really limits everyone else's upside. So let's talk about a few guys who fit my more conservative profile:
Only a few bets I'm on right now. Haven't seen much posted:
Looking forward to Bristol on Sunday. Bets did pretty well in the Charlotte 2 race. Fantasy was a slight loss with Bowman running into the wall. Bristol stuff coming by Saturday night.
Two early competition cautions is bad for Brad Keselowski as it increases the risk he doesn't lead enough and/or gets shuffled back in the pack. Makes the position difference guys a bit more interesting.
Here we go. At last, the weather looks great for 500 laps at Bristol on Sunday. With the increased number of laps, we increase the laps led and fastest laps points and also the multiples we are looking for from our drivers. Whereas we usually look for a 5x return on salary, we're looking for something more in the 6x-7x return at Bristol. We also have to consider the increased risks at Bristol. The track is so short that leaders can very easily get caught up in wrecks like happened with Ryan Blaney two years ago. And any mistakes on pit road are magnified. If you get a penalty on a green flag stop, you're going multiple laps down. Same for a loose wheel.
I'm going to talk about a few key decision points that will really dictate where your roster goes in a cash game setting.
Where you go with those two decisions is going to drive a lot of what you can do with the rest of your roster. A few other points of note:
Here are a few bets I'm playing this weekend. Not all that much that I like.
Wednesday Afternoon: Added a few bets at the very bottom
It was quite obvious that Chase Elliott, Martin Truex and Alex Bowman had the three best cars Sunday night at Charlotte. They ranked 1, 2, 3 in green flag speed during the race -- and they are also the top three on the green flag speed chart for the entire season. For Charlotte Part Two on Wednesday night, you can get Elliott and Truex for under $10k on Draft Kings and Bowman for under $9k. Elliott and Truex both bring +15 position difference and race winning/Dominator upside. And Bowman is a strong candidate to lead early laps as he'll be starting in the clean air of the front row.
Or you can go the straight position difference upside route with guys like Jimmie Johnson (starting 40th), Clint Bowyer (39th) and Denny Hamlin (29th). All of these guys have +25 position difference upside. However, we saw how hard it was to run in the dirty air back in the field on Sunday night, so I'm not sure they have much chance of getting to the front at any point in this much shorter race. And they each cost over $11k. To be sure, the floor is higher, but the realistic ceiling is capped as well. I do think Johnson will have very heavy ownership and, barring an incident, he's a lock for 50 points with an upside in the low 70s. It's certainly risky to fade that kind of profile and I can't fault anyone for just going with it in a cash game setting.
One problem I'm running into with Johnson/Bowyer/Hamlin combinations is how hard it is to complete the roster. There really aren't any good salary savers on this slate. Under $7k, we've got the Ty Dillon, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Preece trio from $6,000 - $6,300. All of them should be able to hold at or near their starting spot, but they are not getting you anything more then maybe a +1 or +2 position difference. And the downside is real as all of them have consistency and/or reliability concerns. Aside from them, we're down to true punt plays like Quin Houff or Joey Gase. I've used guys like this on rare occasion in cash games, but it's come back to bite me more often then not.
I'm still studying things but, as of now, I like the idea of building a more balanced lineup and not trying to cram in the highest price position difference guys.
A few I've played so far--
The biggest lineup question is what to do with Kyle Busch and his $15,000 salary. The easy and correct answer is play him. He's actually still under priced by a lot.
In his last six Trucks races (5 last year and 1 earlier this year), Kyle won all six races, led an average of 106 laps, ran an average of 58 fastest laps and scored an average of 103 Draft Kings points. So Kyle is averaging a 6.8x return on his salary -- which puts him way above the 5x return we are really looking for. Simply put, he's still very under priced and really carries a salary value of $20,000 or more.
Is there any argument to not use him? Yes. There are a few things to have some concern about.
Where to go with the rest of your roster? There are two approaches.
First, you can spend up for another top tier guy like Brett Moffitt or Ross Chastain -- both of whom should finish in or near the Top 10 with +15 position difference. But that leaves you with only about $6k per driver for your last four spots and you're really going to need a few inexperienced drivers on underfunded teams to come through for you in that scenario. I respect what they're trying to do, but I'd rather not risk my cash game money on guys like Bryan Dauzat and Codie Rohrbaugh.
Second, my preferred approach, is to go down the salary schedule a bit and build a well rounded team with guys on strong teams (GMS, Niece and DGR-Crosley) and guys on under funded teams who already have raced in the Cup Series or Xfinity Series in the last two weeks. I think that's the safest way to approach things in setting the highest floor while still having a similar upside to the Busch + Moffitt/Chastain build.
Hey guys, with so many races in a short time, I'm not doing a write up on Xfinity. I am playing Kyle Busch though. Lots of paths to him hitting value in a 200 lap race.
I will have a Trucks write up posted real late Monday night.
I'm interest in a few new bets I've seen posted. Truex odds are moving big time to where it's no longer a good play.
Saturday Night Updates Are Below In Bold
I'll be adding more notes on Saturday, but here's where I'm at on Friday night:
Qualifying for Sunday's race will take place a few hours before the race begins, so I won't be able to provide a detailed analysis based on starting position, etc. And that's a huge factor in choosing the right plays in any format -- but especially cash games. So I'm going to talk first about approach and lineup concepts and then move on to some specific driver targets. Some of the guys I talk about here are going to end up being bad plays based on their starting spot, and others I don't mention might be great plays based on their starting spot. You'll need to pay attention Sunday afternoon and update your lineups accordingly.
According to Bob Pockrass, the inspection process will take place before qualifying, so we should not see any post-qualifying penalties causing cars to start in the back. Because of that, cars won't be able to change set ups after qualifying. They will race in the set up they qualify in. So it's very possible we see cars that do not qualify well moving forward during the race because they were set up for longer race runs at the expense of single lap speed during the qualifying run.
General Coke 600 Approach
Top Tier (Over $10k) - more notes to follow on Saturday
Honestly, anyone in this tier is playable. It all depends on starting spot and the type of Dominator and/or position difference upside they offer. Here are my top choices without considering starting spot.
Upper Mid Tier ($8-10k) - more notes to follow on Saturday
Like the Top Tier, anyone in this tier is playable. It all depends on starting spot and the type of Dominator and/or position difference upside they offer. Here are my top choices without considering starting spot.
Lower Mid Tier ($6-8k)
Salary Saver Tier (Under $6K)
Only one bet so far. Not a lot posted yet on the sites I use.
I'm not loving many bets this week. The head to heads I've seen posted seem pretty fairly priced to me. I do see Truex as a slight underdog in some matchups (like vs. Kyle Busch), so I'm monitoring those and may jump.
The inverted starting order makes this a very odd cash game slate. We don't have expected dominators starting up front. And we don't really have any good value plays starting further back. What we've got is a pack of guys starting 13-20 that will probably have some of the best cars and lead a bunch of laps or run a bunch of fastest laps. And then we've got another group starting way back that has huge position difference upside. The names here are pretty obvious. The bigger question is how to combine them to make the best lineup. For cash games, here's what I'm thinking right now:
Here are some bets I've placed. I did some pretty big long shots, so obviously only putting down a small amount on those. I like some long shots better than normal for these races because of the rain. We could have a shortened race with some kind of oddball finish. And all the guys I'm taking a chance on had good speed Sunday or have shown good/race winning speed this season. So they should be able to hang around the lead and hope for some good luck at the end.
I missed on Harvick in the first Cup Series race, so that was a tough one. I'll have Xfinity stuff up real late Monday night so you'll have plenty of time to finalize your lineups on Tuesday before the race at 8 pm Eastern time. NOTE: New race time is 6pm Eastern to increase the chance they can dodge the rain and get the race completed.
Monday Night Update
The big question to start with is whether to use Kyle Busch. For cash games, I say absolutely yes. He's expensive for sure, but there's a clear path for him hitting a 5x or 6x return on that salary. And we have a number of good value plays to round out a credible lineup. Kyle has a very good chance to break this slate and it's a big risk to not use him. I think he'll be heavily owned in all formats so you're banking on the best driver in the field failing if you're hoping to win without him.
Let's run though how he can realistically hit 5x or 6x his salary -- which would be 80-96 points. Let's start with finishing position and position difference. Unless the car breaks, he's going to finish in the Top 3. Even at third place, he gets 41 points for 3rd and 23 position difference points from his 26th starting spot for a total of 64 points. Again, unless the car breaks, 64 points is a minimum baseline. And all he would need is 16 extra points for laps led or fastest laps to hit 80 total and a 5x return on his salary. If he wins, it's 46 + 25 points for a total of 71 -- meaning he's almost at 5x without even considering the many laps led and fastest laps he would score if he wins the race.
So what can we expect as far as laps led and fastest laps? In his last six Xfinity races (excluding a mechanical failure at Watkins Glen last year), Kyle on average leads 49% of the laps run and gets 33% of the fastest laps. And, to be blunt, the competition last year when most of those races took place was much better than the 2020 version. Last year, we had Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer all with top Xfinity teams. I don't know that we have even one driver as strong as any one of those in the 2020 Xfinity field. So Kyle's path to laps led and fastest laps might be easier this year.
All that said, let's be conservative and pull those averages back a bit since he's starting 26th and it will take him some time to work his way up front. Even at 40% laps led and 25% fastest laps, we're looking at about 15 laps led points and 15 fastest laps points for a total of 30 extra points on top of the 64 baseline we talked about before. So we have 95 points as a very realistic projection for Kyle in this race. And, if he wins the race and hits his average of 49% laps led and 33% fastest laps, you're looking at almost 110 total points. And that's not even his ceiling. You need to have him in your lineups.
There is some weather concern and people might wonder if this changes if the race gets shortened. I don't think so. It might even help. Kyle is going to move to the front very quickly. At a minimum, even in a shortened 100 lap race, he's going to get 20+ position difference points and a good chunk of fastest laps and likely laps led as well. I think Kyle easily hits value no matter how long the race is. The only risk is some kind of car failure or fluke wreck taking him out and everyone has that same risk.
So who can we roster with Kyle and still make a credible lineup. Here's the list of guys to consider:
A few last thoughts:
Sunday Final Update: Don't have anything new to add. Things have been analyzed six ways to Sunday so we're already overthinking it. When in doubt, it often turns out our first impression of things is/was correct. Good luck everyone.
Friday Night Update: Adding a list of wagers I'm making for Sunday:
Original Article Posted Thursday Night:
We're almost there. I want to start today with some targets based on salary and starting position which was determined today. As always, I'm focusing on cash games or 50/50 contests but will throw in a few larger tournament ideas as well.
For this first group, I'm going to start with Tyler Reddick at $7,200 and work my way down the salary list.
Now for the guys in the $8k and over category:
I am so looking forward to real live racing. I'm sure you are too. I was so bummed coming off an awesome week in Phoenix where all six of the head to head bets I posted paid off and the DFS analysis led to mostly green results. I've dabbled a bit in the iRacing stuff but have really been waiting for the real stuff to be back. I'll begin posting some thoughts during the early part of the race week.
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