DraftKings NASCAR: Alabama 500

DraftKings NASCAR: Alabama 500

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Alabama 500

Location: Talladega, Ala.
Course: Talladega Superspeedway
Format: 2.6-mile oval
Laps: 188

Race Preview

Kevin Harvick joined Jimmie Johnson as one of the final eight drivers remaining to challenge for the Sprint Cup with his victory in Kansas last week. The race's first half was dominated by Matt Kenseth, but it was Kevin Harvick who took control after the halfway mark. The Stewart Haas Racing driver had to contend with a strong Carl Edwards, but final restarts made the difference as Harvick extended his lead to victory. It was a clutch performance from the former champion after back-to-back terrible results. It was especially important given this week's unpredictable race at Talladega Superspeedway. Chase drivers who didn't fare well in Kansas will now face the daunting prospect of needing a top result this week to avoid elimination. Those drivers on the outside looking in include Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott. Talladega's tendency to produce surprise results means that anything's possible.

Key Stats at Talladega Superspeedway

Number of previous races: 94
Winners from pole: 13
Winners from top-5 starters: 53
Winners from top-10 starters: 67
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 8
Fastest race: 188.354 mph

Last 10 Talladega Winners

2016 spring - Brad Keselowski
2015 fall - Joey Logano
2015 spring - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2014 fall - Brad Keselowski
2014 spring - Denny Hamlin
2013 fall - Jamie McMurray
2013 spring - David Ragan
2012 fall - Matt Kenseth
2012 spring - Brad Keselowski
2011 fall - Clint Bowyer

Contrary to the handling-focused track the series visited last week, aerodynamics and horsepower are the keys at Talladega. Restrictor-plate racing is on the docket for the fourth and final time this season, and the pack-style racing the rules package brings means that cars will be bunched together for 500 miles on Sunday. The current rules package has increased passing throughout the pack, but limited it at the front. Leaders under the current rules tend to stay out front longer than in the past, which means a car able to make passes will find a lot of friends on Sunday. Ford has won three of the last four races at the Alabama track, but hasn't been on par with the other manufacturers in recent weeks. Brad Keselowski won at the track earlier this season and could use a victory to secure continued residence in the Chase field. Tight and fast racing on Sunday will challenge drivers mentally to avoid mistakes in the draft and on pit road. Any missteps will likely result in the end of the afternoon, which could be a death blow to championship hopes.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $10,500
Brad Keselowski - $10,300
Kyle Busch - $10,100

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Martin Truex Jr. - $9,700
Joey Logano - $9,500
Denny Hamlin - $9,200
Matt Kenseth - $9,000

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Chase Elliott - $8,800
Kurt Busch - $8,700
Kyle Larson - $8,600
Austin Dillon - $8,400

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Alex Bowman - $7,900
Ryan Newman - $7,800
Ryan Blaney - $7,700
David Ragan - $6,600

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Brad Keselowski - $10,300
Martin Truex Jr. - $9,700
Matt Kenseth - $9,000
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $7,300
Trevor Bayne - $6,800
David Ragan - $6,300

Keselowski earns the right to lead the lower-risk lineup for Talladega by virtue of his four wins at the track, which include three top-fives in the last four visits to the track. He won there earlier this season and could be poised to do so again. Truex is no slouch when it comes to restrictor-plate racing either. He has never won at Talladega but has two top-10 finishes there in the last three races. One of the best bargains in this week's field is Kenseth. He won this race in 2012 and led 39 laps in the spring before crashing. He consistently leads laps at Talladega and should have a shot at winning if he can avoid trouble throughout the 500 miles. Another driver who has thoroughly proven himself in the draft is Stenhouse. The Roush Fenway Racing driver has three top-10s from six Talladega starts and usually outperforms expectations at the superspeedways. Bayne and Ragan round off a very strong lineup. Ragan won at Talladega in 2013 and Bayne is a winner at Daytona. Both are confident in the draft and should be top considerations for fantasy lineups this week.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $10,500
Jimmie Johnson - $9,900
Chase Elliott - $8,800
Clint Bowyer - $7,400
Greg Biffle - $6,100
Chris Buescher - $6,000

Despite being one of the highest-price drivers for this week's race, Harvick hasn't had a ton of success at Talladega. He won at the track in 2010 but does have six consecutive top-15 finishes there heading into this weekend. He is a great restrictor-plate racer, and that makes him a good choice for a higher-risk lineup. Johnson has a slightly better Talladega record and is also boasting improved performance from Hendrick Motorsports. Elliott was exceptional at the track this spring. He started the race on pole and finished fifth in his only Talladega start in the series. He is still unproven but is capable of another top finish. One of the bigger risks in this lineup is Bowyer. It has been a terrible season for him, but Talladega's draft can act as an equalizer. He finished seventh here earlier this season in one of his best finishes of the year. Biffle had pace in Daytona but hasn't replicated it consistently since February. He rarely finishes outside of the top 20 at these tracks, though. Finally, Buescher is another driver who should have increased confidence in the draft. He crashed out of the race here earlier this season but still makes a respectable option at the low-end of the price range.

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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