NASCAR DFS: YellaWood 500

NASCAR DFS: YellaWood 500

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

YellaWood 500

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

NASCAR YellaWood 500 Race Preview

Tyler Reddick survived the 16 caution flag, hour-long rain delay and came out on top of a protracted and challenging AutoTrader Echo Park Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway September 25. It was his third victory of the season and marked another playoff race win for an eliminated or non-playoff driver. This week the playoffs head to Talladega Superspeedway for the second and final visit of the 2022 season at the huge Alabama oval. The spring race at the track was a challenging one for many teams. Two major accidents or "big ones" along with a couple minor accidents wreaked their usual Talladega havoc on the field. We had 13 drivers either DNF or not finish due to the damaged vehicle policy. Those who were bitten the last time around at Talladega will look to rebound and finish strong this Sunday. Many playoff contenders will view this week's race as an opportunity to recover after a tough outing at Texas last week. Christopher Bell's early exit last week, for example, dropped him from sixth in the standings to 11th-place. He's now in some serious jeopardy of not advancing the Chase unless he pulls a big Talladega performance. This week's YellaWood 500 should serve as a playoff reset for the 12 championship contenders who now have two races to secure a spot in the Round of 8. They will all be hoping to win to avoid making next week's Charlotte ROVAL visit the make-or-break race for their championship hopes.

Key Stats at Talladega Superspeedway

  • Number of races: 106
  • Winners from pole: 15
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 56
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 74
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 8
  • Fastest race: 188.354 mph

Previous 10 Talladega Winners

2022 spring – Ross Chastain
2021 fall – Bubba Wallace
2021 spring – Brad Keselowski
2020 fall – Denny Hamlin
2020 spring – Ryan Blaney
2019 fall – Ryan Blaney
2019 spring – Chase Elliott
2018 fall – Aric Almirola
2018 spring – Joey Logano
2017 fall – Brad Keselowski

Superspeedway racing has always had one common denominator…  When to make your move and who to partner with to do it. These tight, pack races in the draft are almost like a ballet of high-stakes dancing for 490 miles and then 10 miles of sheer terror as everyone scrambles to make a dash for the lead. We saw that same wild madness in the GEICO 500 earlier this season at Talladega Superspeedway. Ross Chastain would come from third-place over the final two laps to deflect a late block from leader Kyle Larson and then dive below Erik Jones to snatch the victory away at the finish line. It's this same type of wildness and unpredictability we normally see in these superspeedway races. However, we're not completely unequipped to forecast potential performance. The drivers who excel at this form of racing tend to be the usual suspects each time we visit Talladega.

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DraftKings Value Picks for the YellaWood 500 (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Denny Hamlin - $10,800
Ryan Blaney - $10,400
Joey Logano - $10,200
Chase Elliott - $10,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Kyle Busch - $9,900
Martin Truex Jr. - $9,700
William Byron - $9,500
Tyler Reddick - $9,100

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Bubba Wallace - $8,900
Ross Chastain - $8,700
Alex Bowman - $8,500
Erik Jones - $8,300

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Austin Cindric - $7,900
Austin Dillon - $7,200
Michael McDowell - $6,600
Justin Haley - $6,200

NASCAR DFS Picks for the YellaWood 500

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $9,900
Tyler Reddick - $9,100
Bubba Wallace - $8,900
Ross Chastain - $8,700
Michael McDowell - $6,600
Noah Gragson - $5,600

Contrary to historical stats, Kyle Busch (DK $9,900, FD $11,000) has had quite the season racing in the Next-Gen car on superspeedway ovals. He's not been a consistent or historically strong performer at Talladega and Daytona, but he's bucked that trend this season to post 38 laps led, one Top-5 and three Top-10 finishes on these tracks for a stellar 6.3 average finish. Busch should once again be considered the centerpiece around whom to build a fantasy lineup. Reddick (DK $9,100, FD $9,000) is now a three-time winner this season after his victory at Texas this past week and coming to Talladega with a lot of momentum. Reddick hasn't been a world beater this season in big oval action, but his most recent outing five weeks ago at Daytona, netted a brilliant runner-up finish. That's something to focus on at Talladega, as the No. 8 team continues to finish the season strong. The trio of Wallace ($8,900 DK, FD $10,500), Chastain (DK $8,700, FD $11,500) and McDowell (DK $6,600, FD $5,800) make a nice group of drivers who've recently performed well on superspeedways and make the core of a strong DFS lineup for Talladega. Noah Gragson (DK $5,600, FD $3,500) is the rookie wild card who comes at a bargain basement price to round out the lineup and keep it under the cap. Gragson's No. 62 team gave him the car and speed to crack the top five recently at Daytona, so the potential returns are high and a great price.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Denny Hamlin - $10,800
Ryan Blaney - $10,400
Chase Elliott - $10,000
Michael McDowell - $6,600
Landon Cassill - $5,800
Daniel Hemric - $5,500

The premise behind the higher-risk lineup is to top load the team with a trio of superstar, playoff drivers who are fighting for their playoff lives coming to Talladega. Denny Hamlin (DK $10,800, FD $14,000) is a multi-time winner at both Daytona and Talladega, and has always been relevant in any discussion of superspeedway racing. However, the Next-Gen car hasn't been a boon for Hamlin's performance this season on the big ovals, so the risk is higher than normal. Ryan Blaney (DK $10,400, FD $13,500) is another driver fighting for playoff advancement and who also carries a strong Talladega reputation. However, he's suffered the same performance issues as Hamlin in the new generation stock car and hasn't been the world beater that he normally is on these big tracks. Chase Elliott (DK $10,000, FD $12,000) is another driver with a lot on the line this weekend and looking for a playoff-advancing victory. He's a past Talladega winner and capable of the big performance in the YellaWood 500. McDowell (DK $6,600, FD $5,800) has been a proven, consistent superspeedway performer over the past couple seasons with a very attractive price tag. Cassill (DK $5,800, FD $3,000) and Hemric (DK $5,500, FD $3,500) are the bargain basement values that make this top-heavy lineup possible to fit under the cap. Both race for teams with good speed on the big ovals, and Cassill carries top-five potential like he showed at Daytona five weeks ago. Hemric presents more likely top-15 potential racing for the very capable Kaulig Racing team.

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.
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Mark Taylor
Taylor is RotoWire's senior NASCAR writer. A nine-time FSWA finalist, Taylor was named the Racing Writer of the Year in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2016 and 2017. He is also a military historian, focused specifically on World War II and the U.S. Navy's efforts in the Pacific.
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