The field is set for Sunday afternoon’s race at Talladega Superspeedway with Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch on the front row. Therefore, let’s jump into this week’s top NASCAR DFS plays, on DraftKings and FanDuel, for the YellaWood 500.
YellaWood 500 NASCAR DFS Picks for DraftKings + FanDuel
Joey Logano, 8th ($7,900 DraftKings, $13,000 FanDuel) GPP (Dominator)
70-0-37-16-33-45-10. Those are Logano’s laps led totals at Talladega dating back to 2018. No driver has led more laps at Talladega, 82 more than his next closest competitor, since 2018. Few drivers have done it with quite the consistency of Logano either, only matched by Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott but with far fewer total laps led. In this season at superspeedway events, Logano has led at least 10 laps in each event. Logano’s strategy at superspeedways, infamously, is to get out front because, in his eyes, a driver can’t get caught up in the “big one” if they’re ahead of the pack.
When everything clicks and Logano doesn’t wreck out, then it turns into an optimal afternoon for DFS players. However, in his previous two starts at Talladega, Logano has crashed out with finishes of 26th and 39th. Thus, while this pick carries risk in tournaments due to Logano’s high starting position, should he lead laps as per his typical outcome while maintaining a high finish, he could really provide leverage in tournaments. Remember from this week’s preview, optimal drivers must have top-12 upside. With very little place differential, DFS players are going to need dominator points paired with a high finish from Logano – two things he’s very capable of providing.
Nine of the previous 11 optimal DraftKings lineups have featured the Talladega race winner, currently, Logano sits second in outright odds at BetMGM at +900.
Tyler Reddick, 13th ($6,400 DraftKings, $5,900 FanDuel) GPP
A potentially chaotic event paired with a perceived potentially chaotic driver feels like a bad combination. However, NASCAR drivers are not typical human beings, and some of these drivers have shown the ability to thrive in chaos – sometimes, the more the better. In Reddick’s short Cup career, he’s raced at Talladega three times and finished on the lead lap in all three events. In back-to-back races at Talladega, he’s finished in seventh-place in both events.
As per Reddick’s perceived propensity to finish races in the garage, he’s only done so once this season – back at the Daytona Road Course when he had a single-car incident on lap 58 just as NASCAR was about to throw the caution for rain. This reputation that Reddick earned, while racing for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series, might be a thing of the past and it’s time for DFS players to adjust accordingly.
Aric Almirola, 20th ($9,200 DraftKings, $10,800 FanDuel) Cash, GPP
Sitting right on the fringe of where #stacktheback DFS players will begin roster construction, Almirola makes sense from both cash or tournament perspectives. Before last fall’s 37th place finish here at Talladega, Almirola was a top-10 machine knocking down eight of them in a row before wrecking out in that race. He semi-rebounded last Spring with a 15th-place finish but his upside for a top-10 still remains as superspeedways have been Almirol’s knack through his Cup career. BetMGM still considers Almirola a formidable winner with this week’s 10th highest odds, currently +1800, tied with Alex Bowman.
Starting 20th, Almirola offers a considerable floor considering his upside is a top-five finish. He could be where a cash team starts but there are “safer” options further down the starting grid.
Ryan Newman, 25th ($7,500 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel) Cash, GPP
Only one driver in this entire field can boast that they’ve finished the past seven Talladega races on the lead lap, yes the Rocket Man, Ryan Newman. With this sort of consistency, Newman is potentially where all head-to-head lineups or double-ups should begin. With four top-10 finishes in those previous seven races, he provides upside to combine with this safety he also provides. As per this season, Newman did wreck out in the Daytona 500 finishing 38th, a wreck he was just an unfortunate bystander in. However, since then, he’s finished 13th in the Spring race here and third in the Summer Daytona event.
Ryan Preece, 27th ($6,700 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel) Cash, GPP
For all of the foibles that people like to attach to Preece, and the no. 37 in general, Preece has somehow been the most consistent driver in superspeedway events in 2021. With finishes of 6th, 14th, and 4th in the three superspeedway events of 2021, Preece is the only driver in Sunday’s field to finish in the top-15 in all three events. Pairing this with Preece’s history at Talladega – no finish off the lead lap and no finish outside of the top-20, Preece is in play in all formats this weekend.
Justin Allgaier, 33rd ($9,000 DraftKings, $6,100 FanDuel) Cash, GPP | Justin Haley, 38th ($9,400 DraftKings, $7,700 FanDuel) Cash, GPP
Sliding into the no. 77, as Justin Haley takes the reins of the Kaulig no. 16 for his current Xfinity and future Cup employer, Allgaier gets the spot start in favorable equipment with a more than favorable starting position. Hopefully Allgaier’s recent numbers, in the Xfinity Series, at Talladega will keep his ownership low with finishes of 28th, 29th, and 29th. However, the fact is that Allgaier has plenty of experience at this track in both the Xfinity and Cup Series. The 35-year-old has been to Talladega a total of 16 times combined and following Saturday, that number will grow to 17. Speaking of Saturday, be mindful of his results from today because the DFS industry has definitely seen Xfinity results impact Sunday ownership when drivers pull double-duty.
Speaking of Haley, he’s almost a lock for cash games, despite this salary, but worth going under the field in tournaments. This is a similar scenario to what was witnessed at Daytona nearly a month ago with Landon Cassill. Due to the name recognition and starting spot, the ownership is going to be immensely high meaning DFS players have to just click the name as a block play in double-ups. However, as that race showed and is no less true on Sunday, no one is safe or guaranteed to gain place differential simply because they have a recognizable name and start in the rear. Haley may have won at Daytona in the Cup and Xfinity Series, as well as having multiple victories at Talladega in the Xfinity Series, but he does have two finishes of 30th or worse in three Cup starts at Talladega.
With outright odds of +4000 on BetMGM, Haley’s race expectations are on par with Michael McDowell, Chris Buescher, and Ross Chastain.
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