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NASCAR DFS Picks: Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Cash & Value Plays | DraftKings & FanDuel Fantasy NASCAR

Phillip Bennetzen



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The field is set for Sunday evening’s race at Bristol with Cole Custer and Christopher Bell on the front row. Let’s dive into this week’s top NASCAR DFS cash and value selections, on DraftKings and FanDuel, in the Food City Dirt Race.

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DraftKings Fantasy NASCAR Picks Today: Food City Dirt Race

Expectations for this race are all over the place, especially as a lot of drivers seem on the fence about just how much this year’s iteration is going to resemble last year’s race. With that said, the path that makes the most sense, in lieu of chasing floors and not ceilings, is to build a lineup where place differential and finishing position points are prioritized. Yes, there is a slew of dominator points on the board, and chances are that the likes of Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, and Kyle Larson are going to hog those precious laps-led points. However, for head-to-head contests, double-ups, or 50/50 games, siding with drivers who have access to place differential and potential top-15 or top-10 finishes makes sense, especially as any of our potential lap leaders could easily get turned around and end their night after wrecking into a corner.

It’s not “stack the back” for the Bristol Dirt race, it’s more “spray and pray”. Most of these drivers are going to be self-explanatory based on the criteria above, but their considerations will be spelled out succinctly as possible.

Ryan Blaney, 25th ($9,400 DraftKings, $9,500 FanDuel)

If Sunday’s race mimics Friday’s final practice session conditions or even the first session, Blaney is going to be a driver to keep an eye on. In both sessions, his short-run speeds were pretty pedestrian ranking 17th in the first practice and 15th in the second practice. However, as the laps were clicking off, Blaney failed to show the falloff that other drivers had as his times weren’t falling off all that much. In the second session, Blaney ranked third in the 15-lap run, second in the 20-lap run and second in the 25-lap run. If the race ends on a short run, he might be a sitting duck should he race his way forward. However, should the race end on a long run, there’s a good shot that Blaney puts himself into contention with a car that is once again one of the fastest in the field.

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Noah Gragson, 28th ($5,300 DraftKings, $2,500 FanDuel)

Preliminarily, Todd Gilliland was going to be this week’s value play when salaries were first released, but after showing top-five short-run and long-run speed, his ownership is about to jump like a rocket. The pivot is jumping from Gilliland to Noah Gragson, who has every bit the NASCAR dirt experience of Gilliland. In two seasons at Kyle Busch Motorsports, Gragson made two starts at El Dora with finishes of seventh and sixth. Gragson showed plenty of speed during the final practice session and lends toward the idea that he’s not going to abuse his equipment and will take whatever he can get after 250 laps while Gilliland might be pushing his equipment in hopes of a top-10 finish. If that’s the case, Gragson provides much more safety for cash games while Gilliland may be better for tournament lineups.

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Martin Truex Jr., 30th ($9,600 DraftKings, $11,000 FanDuel)

What’s up with Truex? He was slow in the first session, and he was incredibly slow in the second session. Looking at his Joe Gibbs teammates, his practice speeds are the anomaly out of everyone. Is Truex the chalk that everyone should be looking to fade in light of these pitiful practice speeds? In tournaments that may very well be a practical strategy as Truex should soak up tons of ownership on name recognition alone. However, in cash games, it’s hard for Truex to really fail. He should move forward, and if he survives enough attrition, he could very well finish within the top 15. Plus, there is the possibility that Truex sandbagged practice, potentially like another veteran who starts behind him (Kevin Harvick), and the speed that the rest of the Joe Gibbs stable has he has as well.

Denny Hamlin, 34th ($8,700 DraftKings, $9,000 FanDuel)

Fastest in the short run in the second practice but found himself trailing off as the practice dragged on, however, Hamlin still ranked sixth in the 15-lap average and 13th in the 25-lap average showing that if the race remains green, he shouldn’t have much of an issue moving through the field, especially as few drivers starting ahead of him matched his second practice speeds.

Sunday Update

After stewing on this crazy race for the past 20+ hours, trending towards a single dominator for cash game purposes is making more sense. If this race looks anything like the Trucks race from Saturday night, passing will be tough and once someone establishes the lead out front, they could easily sit on it for an entire segment. Thus, siding with either Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, or Tyler Reddick as a core lap leader and then building around them with the place differential options looks like the preferable route to go. This allows DFS players to take a prime shot at the top lap leader but still build a solid base with place differential.

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Phill Bennetzen is a father, husband, and Catholic as well as a self-professed annoying fitness guy. Phill heads up NASCAR content at You can contact Phill by emailing [email protected].

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