DFS NASCAR: Coke Zero Sugar 400

DFS NASCAR: Coke Zero Sugar 400

This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.

Coke Zero Sugar 400

Location: Daytona, Fla.
Course: Daytona International Speedway
Format: 2.5-mile tri-oval
Laps: 160

Race Preview

Saturday night's Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway will bring the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series regular season to a conclusion. It is the last chance for drivers to secure the 16th and final remaining playoff position before elimination rounds get underway next week at Darlington Raceway. Ryan Blaney won last week at Michigan for his second win of the season, while Kevin Harvick did enough to secure his spot among the playoff contenders. Tyler Reddick was able to hang on to the final playoff spot despite both he and Austin Dillon suffering crashes. Reddick needs 31 points Saturday night to lock in that final spot, but nearly anyone below him could completely upend that effort by winning. Michael McDowell started the season in that manner with an unlikely victory in the Daytona 500, and the regular season could close with another shocker. William Byron won this race last season and he will start on the front row with teammate Kyle Larson on pole.

Key Stats at Daytona International Speedway

  • Number of races: 148
  • Winners from pole: 26
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 74
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 112
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 12
  • Fastest race: 183.295 mph

Previous 10 Daytona Winners

2021 spring - Michael McDowell
2020 fall - William Byron
2020 spring - Denny Hamlin
2019 fall - Justin Haley
2019 spring - Denny Hamlin
2018 fall - Erik Jones
2018 spring - Austin Dillon
2017 fall - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
2017 spring - Kurt Busch
2016 fall - Brad Keselowski

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to the site of the season opener to finish its regular season. Daytona International Speedway is a high-banked superspeedway and is famous for its close racing due to the rules packages that have made drafting the key to success. Today's tapered spacer and aerodynamic rules keep the cars close together, and that has driven manufacturers to group their drivers together to control the field. Those groups of drivers coordinate pit stops and work to keep other manufacturers from moving forward or getting too far ahead. The leader has tended to control much of the race at this track, but aggression at stage finishes and in the final laps of the race tend to make things unpredictable. Late-race passes for the lead should be expected, and many wins have come down to the final few feet of the race. Fantasy managers should not pay too much attention to starting position this week. Winners at Daytona could come from anywhere but have tended to favor the latter half of the top 20 in recent seasons.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Joey Logano - $10,600
Austin Dillon - $10,300
Brad Keselowski - $10,000
Kevin Harvick - $9,800

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Alex Bowman - $9,600
Denny Hamlin - $9,400
Aric Almirola - $9,300
Kyle Larson - $9,000

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Kaz Grala - $8,900
Ryan Blaney - $8,800
Chase Elliott - $8,500
Christopher Bell - $8,300

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Kurt Busch - $7,600
Corey Lajoie - $7,400
Tyler Reddick - $7,300
Matt DiBenedetto - $6,700

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Joey Logano - $10,600
Austin Dillon - $10,300
Denny Hamlin - $9,400
Matt DiBenedetto - $6,700
Bubba Wallace - $6,500
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $6,000

While racing for the lead in the Daytona 500 earlier this season, Joey Logano (DK $10,600, FD $14,000) and Brad Keselowski crashed. The pair were among the fastest in that race, and fantasy players should expect similar speed from them this week. Logano just needs to avoid trouble and race to the finish. If he does he is likely to be near the front. The only way Dillon (DK $10,300, FD $12,500) can guarantee his own way into the playoffs is by winning Saturday night. His mission is clear and he has a prior Daytona win from 2018. He finished third there this past February. Denny Hamlin (DK $9,400, FD $13,500) is already locked into the championship eliminations but could use a victory to get some early pressure off of his shoulders. He has won at Daytona three times and finished in the top five in four of the last five races at the track. Matt DiBenedetto (DK $6,700, FD $8,700) is arguably in the best form of his career right now. He finished 11th or better in the last six races and is capable at Daytona, too. He has three top-10s from 12 track starts with a best finish of seventh. Bubba Wallace (DK $6,500, FD $9,500) led a lap in the Daytona 500 this past February and boasts two top-fives and six finishes of 15th or better in his eight Daytona tries. One of the most aggressive drivers in the draft is Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (DK $6,000, FD $8,500). He has wins at both Daytona and Talladega and could be a factor for the win anytime the series races at these tracks. He just needs to avoid trouble to be in the fight at the finish. 

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Aric Almirola - $9,300
Kaz Grala - $8,900
Ryan Blaney - $8,800
Christopher Bell - $8,300
Corey Lajoie - $7,400
Tyler Reddick - $7,300

Daytona is a great chance for fantasy players to assemble a roster of drivers who can outperform their normal expectations. Aric Almirola (DK $9,300, FD $9,000) may have a 2021 victory, but that came against the run of form that has shadowed him most of the season. Almirola won at Daytona in 2014 and could be a driver to watch Saturday coming from the 19th starting spot. Kaz Grala (DK $8,900, FD $8,000) impressed with his Daytona 500 start earlier this year. He retired due to the damaged vehicle policy but managed to lead 10 laps before that despite starting last in the field. Last week's winner Ryan Blaney (DK $8,800, FD $11,000) should be expected to be quick this week in partnership with his teammates. He finished runner-up in the Daytona 500 twice in his career and led 118 laps in a seventh-place finish there in 2017. Fantasy players shouldn't overlook Christopher Bell (DK $8,300, FD $9,200) this week. He only has three series starts at the track but led laps in the last two, including 32 laps out front in the Daytona 500 earlier this season. He is slated to start Saturday's race 14th. Corey Lajoie (DK $7,400, FD $5,500) deserves some fantasy attention this week, too. He starts deep in the field in 33rd but has finished in the top 20 at the track in five of his nine visits to the track including three top-10s. Finally, one of the playoff contenders to watch this week is Reddick (DK $7,300, FD $8,200). He can clinch the final playoff spot with 31 points if teammate Dillon doesn't win. Reddick will be racing hard for stage points and could show fantasy players what he is capable of at the track after crashing out of three of his four starts at the circuit so far.

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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