DFS NASCAR:  GEICO 500

DFS NASCAR: GEICO 500

This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.

GEICO 500

Location: Talladega, Ala.
Course: Talladega Superspeedway
Format: 2.66-mile tri-oval
Laps: 188

Race Preview

Denny Hamlin added his third win of the season in a competitive race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver swept the stages and took home the win in what would have been termed a dominating performance had it not been for the fact that he had to fight for every lap he led. Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney were hot on his heels, and continue their runs as the fastest drivers nearly every week. Kevin Harvick remains the points leader while Chase Elliott closed the gap last week with his top-five finish. Blaney sits atop the non-winners with a 52-point cushion to Kyle Busch.

This Sunday the teams return to Talladega Superspeedway in what could be one of the more exciting races of the season. NASCAR originally planned to have a practice session for the drivers  to acclimate to the unique style of racing the speedway requires, but opted to remove it from the schedule after seeing how its absence has improved the show in prior races. Drivers will again have a random drawing for starting position before heading out to tackle the high banks and high speeds of Alabama's notorious tri-oval.

Key Stats at Talladega Superspeedway

  • Number of races: 101
  • Winners from pole: 13
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 55
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 72
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 8
  • Fastest race: 188.354 mph

Previous 10 Talladega Winners

2019 fall - Ryan Blaney
2019 spring - Chase Elliott
2018 fall - Aric Almirola
2018 spring - Joey Logano
2017 fall - Brad Keselowski
2017 spring - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
2016 fall - Joey Logano
2016 spring - Brad Keselowski
2015 fall - Joey Logano
2015 spring - Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Racing at Talladega brings back the pack-style racing that is the hallmark of the two superspeedway circuits. Navigating the draft, avoiding wrecks, and finding partners to work with will be the factors that determine Sunday's winner. Having a car that is capable of making passes through the field is paramount to success at the track, but passing for the lead has continued to be a difficult task. The leader on Sunday is likely to spend a significant amount of time at the front while caution is thrown to the wind in the final laps as everyone jockeys for position. Strategies will range from trying to stay at the front to falling to the rear in an effort to stay clear of crashes. Everyone will try to work their way into the top five for the final laps, though. Fantasy owners should also expect to see drivers from the same teams and manufacturers team together to keep others from getting ahead.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Chase Elliott - $10,400
Joey Logano - $10,200
Ryan Blaney - $10,100
Clint Bowyer - $9,900

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Brad Keselowski - $9,600
Kevin Harvick - $9,400
Denny Hamlin - $9,200
Martin Truex Jr. - $9,000

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Jimmie Johnson - $8,800
Kurt Busch - $8,500
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $8,400
William Byron - $8,000

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Matt DiBenedetto - $7,800
Bubba Wallace - $7,400
Erik Jones - $7,000
Aric Almirola - $6,800

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Chase Elliott - $10,400
Brad Keselowski - $9,600
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $8,400
Matt DiBenedetto - $7,800
Erik Jones - $7,000
Ryan Newman - $6,700

One of last last season's Talladega winners was Chase Elliott (DK $10,400, FD $13,300). When you couple his pace so far this season with the confidence of having won at this track last season you could have an unbeatable combination. Brad Keselowski (DK $9,600, FD $12,400) leads active drivers with wins at this circuit. He has five total Talladega victories and has led laps in the last eight races at the track. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (DK $8,400, FD $10,100) is also a former winner at this circuit. He has been one of the drivers to watch at Talladega and Daytona in recent years, and with four top-10s in his last six Talladega tries he is one of the more attractive fantasy options this week. Matt DiBenedetto (DK $7,800, FD $8,100) has been in a bit of a slump recently. He has one top-10 in the last five races but is with Wood Brothers Racing at a superspeedway, which is a combination that could give him his first top-10 at the track. Similarly, Erik Jones (DK $7,000, FD $8,800) has some improvements to make to help his season turn around. If he can avoid the wrecks on Sunday he could be in store for a top-10. Finally, Ryan Newman (DK $6,700, FD $8,000) is making his superspeedway return after his massive crash in the Daytona 500. Newman shouldn't have any ill effects heading into this weekend and has four top-10s, including two runner-up finishes, in his last five Talladega races.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Ryan Blaney - $10,100
Denny Hamlin - $9,200
Kurt Busch - $8,500
William Byron - $8,000
Bubba Wallace - $7,400
Aric Almirola - $6,800

Like Elliott, Ryan Blaney (DK $10,100, FD $12,000) has the confidence of coming to Talladega this week as being one of the fastest cars so far this season and having won here last season. Denny Hamlin (DK $9,200, FD $12,700) is looking four his fourth win of this season and his second at Talladega. He finished third despite starting 40th in the fall race here last season. One of the best drivers on the two superspeedways has been Kurt Busch (DK $8,500, FD $11,800). He may not have a Talladega win, but he does have 20 top-10s from 38 starts. With William Byron (DK $8,000, FD $9,700) there is no question about superspeedway speed. His biggest risk is making it to the finish. He led laps in three of his four Talladega starts but failed to finish two of them. If he makes it to the end he could be in the frame for a top-10. Bubba Wallace (DK $7,400, FD $6,000) has been on a good run of form recently with three finishes of 13th or better from the last five races and is also proficient in the draft. His best Talladega finish was 16th in his series debut at the track. Aric Almirola (DK $6,800, FD $11,000) is a good value at his DraftKings price while Fanduel's adds a premium. He has one Talladega win from 2018 and hasn't finished out of the top 10 there in the last seven. 

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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