The field is set for Sunday’s Xfinity 500, with Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. on the front row. With one race left before the championship is decided in Phoenix, let’s jump into some of the best NASCAR DFS picks for this weekend’s Xfinity 500 race at Martinsville.
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NASCAR DFS Picks: Xfinity 500 DraftKings + FanDuel Advice
The Front Row
The good news — our last three consecutive Martinsville winners start first and second. The bad news — rostering either one or both will cost you this weekend on either DraftKings or FanDuel. Oh yeah, and then there’s this weird trend where the front row is only averaging 45.5 laps led per race combined since 2017. Save for the Fall-2018 race, the most laps led by a pole sitter at Martinsville since 2017 is 59. Quick reminder, that’s barely more than 10% of the race.
Let’s start with our polesitter Brad Keselowski. The driver of the No. 2 is the only driver in the field who can boast no finish outside of the top-10 at Martinsville since 2017. Over that period he has two wins and 102.4 laps led per event. It should be noted that his number is greatly boosted by his performance in the 2019 Spring Martinsville race where he led 446 laps. Outside of that race, his laps led totals since 2017 have gone; 116, 108, one, 41, zero and five in June. As far as corollary tracks, Keselowski boasts wins at Richmond and New Hampshire while also finishing third in the previous Martinsville race and fifth at Phoenix.
As per Truex, he’s our defending back to back Martinsville winner with laps led totals of 464 and 132 in those races. Truex’s worst finish here since 2017 is 16th, everything else has been 8th or better. While he doesn’t have the wins next to his name like Keselowski, in 2020, he finished second at Richmond, and third at New Hampshire. He ran well at Phoenix, much like Keselowski, before his pit-crew took him out of the race.
2020 has been the year for bucking trends. Let’s buck one more and confidently roster either or both these drivers as dominators.
Other Potential Dominators
As I previously discussed in this week’s preview, due to the glut of laps, you’re going to be looking at rostering a third dominator in your tournament lineups. In cash, you can probably get away with playing Jimmie Johnson ($9,700 FanDuel, $9,300 DraftKings) who starts 27th. Being that far back gives Johnson a reliable floor for a driver who still has top-10 to top-15 capabilities here. That being said, in tournaments we’re still looking for three lap leaders.
If you’ve been off Denny Hamlin, it still might be time to hold. As you watch Sunday’s race you’ll hear all about Hamlin’s five victories at Martinsville, yet his last one came back in 2015. He has several top-five finishes since then but only once in those 10 races has he approached “dominator” level with over 100 laps led. Compared to the front row, Hamlin is a nice discount on DraftKings but I don’t know if I would play him in lieu of either Truex or Keselowski.
The still cheaper option that catches my eye is Joey Logano starting seventh. Like Hamlin, he has pretty good recent history here at the Xfinity 500 including a win in 2018 when he moved Truex out of his way on the final corner. Namely about Logano; he led the most laps (234) in our most recent Martinsville event, won at Phoenix, and brought home top-five finishes at New Hampshire and Richmond. Plus, with his spot locked in for Phoenix, he has nothing but a win to race for.
Tournament Place Differential
500 laps plus a half-mile circuit equals cars getting lapped. The key in NASCAR DFS tournaments will be nailing drivers who manage to stay in front of the leader, not get lapped and outscore similar drivers by virtue of their finishing position.
Matt DiBenedetto, 12th ($7,000 DraftKings) — this is a DraftKings-specific play because of his depressed salary. We need a top-ten finish from someone who can save us salary and DiBenedetto is the man for this job. At Martinsville in June, DiBenedetto finished seventh — one of his many top-15 finishes at tracks using the 750-horsepower package this year. While this starting position makes him fairly risky, it should help ensure that he hangs on to the lead lap for most of if not all the race.
Aric Almirola, 20th ($8,700 FanDuel, $8,100 DraftKings) — If you’re spending up, the best buy-low NASCAR DFS pick may be Almirola. After stringing together three straight top-10 finishes to open the playoffs, Almirola hasn’t seen that high a finish since Bristol. Now he returns to a track he bombed out in June when he finished 33rd. Outside of that disappointment, Almirola has been a top-10 machine in this package in these short-flat venues.
Others: William Byron, Clint Bowyer
Cash Place Differential
Bubba Wallace, 32nd ($7,000 FanDuel, $7,200 DraftKings) — I preface this by saying, you might not be able to get up to Wallace in DraftKings cash. Depending on how you prioritize your dominators, Wallace might be out of reach. However, if you can make the room to get Wallace I would. After learning the ropes to this track, remember that Xfinity hadn’t raced here since 2007, Wallace has finishes of 17th, 13th and 11th in June.
Ryan Newman, 21st ($7,600 FanDuel, $6,500 DraftKings) — Nothing enthralls me about Newman, he only has one top-10 finish to his name (sixth, Talladega 2) for the entire 2020 campaign. However, he offers me savings and we know he won’t be afraid to throw a block (or 100) to save his position. Upside wise, three out of Newman’s last four finishes at Martinsville have been in the top-12.
Corey LaJoie, 26th ($4,000 FanDuel, $5,500 DraftKings) — We need to save salary, that’s a given. The cheapest play, I have actual confidence in, would be LaJoie. After middling 33rd place finishes, LaJoie has overachieved a bit in back to back races finishing 18th both times. It’s a foregone conclusion that LaJoie will get lapped but at his salary, that’s of little concern. We just need him to move forward and pick up a few place differential points.
Others: Michael McDowell, Ty Dillon, Matt Kenseth
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