The field is set for Saturday’s race at Richmond with Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin on the front row. With the help of the Awesemo expert NASCAR DFS projected ownership and rankings, let’s dive into the top NASCAR DFS picks on DraftKings and FanDuel for the Federated Auto Parts 400.
Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR DFS Picks
Potential Dominators for Richmond
Instead of listing off individual drivers and their merits, as per being a dominator on Sunday, this list is short enough that it makes sense to just list them all together. For the bulk of DFS lineups, the two to three dominators should consist of Kyle Larson (first), Denny Hamlin (second), Martin Truex Jr. (third), Joey Logano (sixth), Brad Keselowski (seventh) and Kyle Busch (15th).
To begin with, there are track trends that are worth noting. Since 2013 Richmond has hosted 16 races. In just three of those 16 races, a driver who either led the most or second-most laps came from beyond the ninth starting position. Save for Kyle Busch, the rest of those six drivers fits this bill thanks to premium starting position. Without the aid of short pitting, it is nearly impossible to overcome dirty air and maneuver through the field to the lead here.
Kyle Busch has led at least one lap in nine straight Richmond events. With place differential on his side, he will not need as many dominator points to be optimal as the other five drivers. However, his 2021 splits in the high-horsepower package combined with his starting position make him a fringe consideration at best.
Kyle Larson makes this list based on his starting position. Dating back to 2018, the polesitter is averaging the most laps led (71.3) of all starting positions in the field at Richmond. However, the last time the polesitter won at Richmond was five years ago when Denny Hamlin did so. Furthermore, at Phoenix, Richmond and New Hampshire, Larson has not been his dynamic self with just one lap led across all three races. The shorter, banked ovals like Dover, Darlington and Nashville seem to suit Larson better as opposed to the flatter venues.
The Dominator Core for DFS
This, in turn, brings DFS players to Hamlin, Truex, Logano and Keselowski. If looking strictly at laps led since 2018, these are four of the top five lap leaders. If looking at average finish, these four constitute four of the top six average finishers. If looking strictly back at the past Richmond race this season, these four combined to lead 388 of the 400 laps that afternoon. If looking to cross-compare their numbers versus the two other smaller, flatter tracks here are the top four drivers in average laps led and top four out of five in the average finish category.
Ranked in order of likelihood to be the top dominator:
- Denny Hamlin, 2nd ($10,400 DraftKings, $13,500 FanDuel)
- Martin Truex Jr., 3rd ($10,200 DraftKings, $14,000 FanDuel)
- Joey Logano, 6th ($10,700 DraftKings, $12,500 FanDuel)
- Kyle Larson, 1st ($11,000 DraftKings, $12,000 FanDuel)
- Brad Keselowski, 7th ($9,300 DraftKings, $11,500 FanDuel
- Kyle Busch, 15th ($11,500 DraftKings, $13,000 FanDuel)
Christopher Bell, 10th ($9,600 DraftKings, $10,000 FanDuel)
Steadily this year, win at the Daytona Road Course notwithstanding, Bell has been improving and improving in the high horsepower package. His results have really shown through at tracks like Richmond and New Hampshire where Bell was downright dominant in the Xfinity Series. In the three sister tracks of Phoenix, Richmond and New Hampshire, Bell registered ninth at Phoenix and followed that up with a fourth at Richmond and second at New Hampshire. Despite no laps led, he is still knocking down about 13 fastest laps per event and has shown great speed and maneuverability with the second-most average quality passes.
Ross Chastain, 17th ($7,200 DraftKings, $8,300 FanDuel)
Besides having his mysterious better splits in the high horsepower package, as opposed to the 550-horsepower package where most mid to lower-tier teams perform better, Chastain continues to perform well at tracks that Kyle Larson did well at during his tenure with Chip Ganassi. Following Chastain’s very competitive third-place finish at Darlington, he is now at another track utilizing the 750-horsepower package.
In the spring Chastain finished 15th here, look for him to push that number into the top 10 as he did at New Hampshire (7th).
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 23rd ($6,700 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel)h
In the lone Richmond race of 2020, Stenhouse started in the exact same spot, grabbed just five spots finishing 18th, but ended up in the optimal lineup with 44.95 DraftKings points. Thirty-three fastest laps were the key that unlocked Stenhouse — an odd staple of Stenhouse at Richmond. Since 2018, Stenhouse averages 21.5 fastest laps per Richmond. Whether with Roush or JTG-Daugherty, he finds a line that knocks down fastest laps and helps boost his fantasy score despite finishes hovering around the 15th position.
Erik Jones, 31st ($6,600 DraftKings, $5,000 FanDuel)
Top-20 finishes at Phoenix, Richmond and New Hampshire this season in the No. 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports. However, nothing beyond 19th in those finishes and just one race where he finished on the lead lap. Jones comes in as a source of place differential, but outside of attrition that is rarely seen at Richmond, his ceiling is capped. That said, at this apparent misprice on both sites, hitting his ceiling is not quite that important.
J.J. Yeley, 37th ($5,300 DraftKings, $2,000 FanDuel)
Speaking of misprices, here lays JJ Yeley a grand cheaper than projected on Wednesday before salaries were released. The thing to know about Yeley is that in his five starts for Rick Ware this season, he has finished in the top 30 in all of those starts and ran an incredible 98.6% of all the laps in those races. Out of everyone in the RWR stable, he is consistently getting the most out of those vehicles.
Starting dead last, he is going to pick up place differential. Granted, he is a sure bet to not finish on the lead lap but the same can be said for 20 other drivers on Saturday night. He is simply an avenue to fitting in three dominators, or two dominators plus an expensive driver like Busch or Chase Elliott.
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📽️ NASCAR DFS Picks: DraftKings and FanDuel Strategy Show for Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond | 9/11 at 3 p.m. ET