The field is set for Sunday afternoon’s South Point 400 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney on the front row. We will be going over some NASCAR DFS strategy for building lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel with the limited number of drivers due to playoffs. Let’s dive into the top NASCAR DFS picks and optimal lineup constructions for this weekend’s race.
South Point 400 NASCAR DFS Picks for DraftKings + FanDuel
Kyle Larson, 1st ($11,100 DraftKings, $14,500 FanDuel )
Sunday marks the ninth time the NASCAR Cup Series will have raced in the low-downforce package this season. Removing both Pocono races, due to them both being fuel-strategy races, leaves six races at intermediate tracks (1.5-miles in length) plus Michigan. In those seven combined events, Larson leads Sunday’s field in the following statistical categories:
- Average Driver Rating — 129.6 (leads second-place Kyle Busch by 19.9 points).
- Average fantasy scoring, 79 FanDuel points, and 94 DraftKings points per race.
- Average running position — 3.7 (leads William Byron by 2.3 positions).
- Wins — 2 (tied with Ryan Blaney).
- Top five finishes — 5 (once again, tied with Kyle Busch)
- Average dominator numbers, 48 fastest laps, and 129.4 laps led per event. To put these numbers in context, his 48 fastest laps are more than double the next closest driver (William Byron — 23). Furthermore, his 129.4 laps led are more than 125 more than William Byron, and his 24 laps led per race.
The cherry on top of all this statistical prowess is that Larson won the prior Las Vegas race, earlier this Spring when he started third and led 109 laps en route to victory. Now starting on the pole, Larson should once again walk away with the most dominator points and be the critical piece to lineup construction, both in cash and tournament games. Via the Top Driver Tool, Larson ranks #1 in percentages to be a top-two dominator. At BetMGM, Larson opened as the early and big favorite at +275.
Kevin Harvick, 5th ($9,300 DraftKings, $11,500 FanDuel)
Saturday night at Bristol revealed a side of Harvick DFS players had been waiting on all season — a fast Kevin Harvick who could actually ascend to the lead and nearly win as well. Before everyone gets out over their skis assuming that the old Harvick is back, it has to be noted that this past Saturday plus the last time NASCAR saw Harvick lead a legitimate chunk of the race (Loudon) were both in the high-horsepower package. Thus, crew chief Rodney Childers and the 4 team may have finally turned a page on gaining speed in the 750-horsepower setup.
Alas for them, this newfound speed will not be worth a set of tires if they cannot advance past this stage. Namely, Las Vegas will be run in the low-horsepower setup where Harvick has still yet to lead a lap in the previously mentioned seven races. However, at this track, Harvick has two victories in his previous 10 starts. Dating back to 2018 when NASCAR started running at Las Vegas twice a season, Harvick is averaging the most fastest laps (26.9) and laps led (65) of everyone in Sunday’s field. Thus, if Bristol were a sign of things to come, at all non-drafting ovals, then Harvick does need consideration as a dominator in tournaments.
Track history is definitely on Harvick’s side but alas, that was the same argument made for Kyle Busch at Bristol last weekend and that horse carriage quickly turned back into a pumpkin before midnight. Of all drivers starting in the top-six, the Awesemo Top Driver Tool gives Harvick the lowest ceiling projection as well as top-two dominator percentage.
Kurt Busch, 20th ($9,500 DraftKings, $9,000 FanDuel
As a lame-duck at Chip Ganassi Racing, Busch truly has nothing left to lose for the remainder of the 2021 season. Fresh off a disappointing finish at Bristol, Busch joins the ranks of Michael McDowell, Tyler Reddick, and Aric Almirola as drivers just eliminated from the playoffs. Now finishes from here to Phoenix only matter in the grand scheme of final points. Quite frankly, Chip Ganassi has nothing left to lose either as they prepare for their acquisition by Team Trackhouse at the end of the year.
Besides these glaring points, these final seven races mark the end of the Generation Six car. This meaning nothing can be learned for the 2022 season. This all culminates in a situation wherein Busch is free to race for victories because nothing else matters to the team or the driver. It really is a perfect situation, for tournament lineups, for a driver who either gives his best or stumbles at what is considered his home venue. Busch won the Fall-2020 race here while also finishing fifth in the Spring-2019 event. Outside of those two races, since 2018, every other finish at Las Vegas has been 19th or worse with all of those results seeing Busch finish a lap down or worse. At projected ownership, hovering just above single digits, it seems most DFS players are weighing this track history heavily as well.
Tyler Reddick, 13th ($7,800 DraftKings, $8,500 FanDuel) GPP
Chris Buescher, 25th ($7,300 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel)
While nothing is truly safe in NASCAR, there is definitely consistency. Over Chris Buescher’s last three starts at Las Vegas, he has no finish outside of the top 20, with top-15 finishes in three straight races here. This meshes with his overall performance in the low-horsepower package across 2020 where, once again, he has yet to finish outside of the top 20 this year. In this year’s closest corollary, considering both track and a race that transitioned from afternoon into evening, Buescher finished eighth at Charlotte after finishing eighth at Kansas — another intermediate track with minimal tire wear.
Speaking of a driver with high finishes at Charlotte and Kansas, DFS players have Tyler Reddick starting 13th this weekend. After falling out of the playoff picture, following Bristol, Reddick finds himself starting in the teens. Unlike Homestead, Las Vegas does not have high banking, so this track should not necessarily suit his driving style. Based on career results of 22nd, 38th, and 18th in three Cup starts at Las Vegas — the numbers bear that out. However, he does have an Xfinity victory here from the fall-2019 race. Plus, Reddick has definitely improved in terms of uniformity this season as he endeavored to be a better driver and point his way into the playoffs.
In terms of his upside, it is best represented by looking at his betting odds. Of all drivers, who are not still in the playoff hunt, Reddick ranks out with the second-highest odds at +5000, trailing only Kurt Busch (+3300).
Ryan Newman, 29th ($7,500 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel)
Starting near the rear, Newman is going to pick up ownership based on place differential potential this week. That suits him fine in cash games where DFS players should be more concerned about average production. However, in tournaments, there is a reason for either fading or going under the field based on Awesemo’s ownership projections. With an average finish of 18th, dating back to 2018, and three top-11 finishes in that time span, Newman is going to be perceived as a cash play with legitimate upside.
However, when the onion is peeled back on this season, Newman started off well in this low-horsepower setup but has been fading as the season progressed. His year began with four top-20 finishes but since Charlotte, he has not finished better than 24th at Michigan. Newman should pick up some place differential. Yet do not be surprised if his spots gained from start to finish can be counted on one hand.
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