The field is set for Sunday’s race at Atlanta with Chase Elliott and Ross Chastain on the front row. Let’s delve into this week’s top Fantasy NASCAR picks and value plays for DraftKings and FanDuel NASCAR DFS lineups for the Quaker State 400.
Atlanta DFS Roster Construction Guidelines
The first iteration of the new Atlanta Motor Speedway showed us that Atlanta has become a shrunken-down version of Daytona or Talladega. To read more about how Atlanta evolved from last year into this season, check out this week’s preview. Furthermore, with 325 laps (or 267 laps in Sunday’s case) it just provides further opportunities for drivers to wreck out.
Thus, it’s recommended for cash games that DFS players build around drivers who have access to place differential and finishing position points. More than likely, everyone is going to wander into the fastest laps points and if Sunday’s race matches this past Spring’s event, around half the field should lead the race. Therefore, build around the two foundational scoring tenets of place differential and finishing position points. This may, in turn, mean leaving lots of salary on the table and having access to drivers that one wouldn’t normally play. However, when those two previously mentioned scoring metrics are the main focus of roster construction, it will leave lineups in what is perceived as a vulnerable or negative EV situation. Don’t worry about this quandary. Just worry about fulfilling those two scoring requisites with no concern over how wonky the lineup feels after all six drivers are selected.
The majority of these drivers are self-explanatory as to why DFS players should have them on their rosters. Thus, don’t expect typical lengthy discussions as per their worthiness to be included in lineups but blurbs highlighting their upside or safety.
Fantasy NASCAR Picks: Quaker State 400 Values
Kurt Busch, 21st ($8,200 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel)
It wasn’t that long ago that Kurt Busch won the Daytona 500, thanks to Kyle Larson running out of gas on the final lap, and then proceeded to get the worst luck at the next several superspeedways, including a fall race at Talladega wherein he was in the lead late and ran out of gas himself. However, since shedding that cosmic curse, Busch has found some consistency including five straight top-20 efforts at superspeedways with his best result coming here at Atlanta when he finished third.
Erik Jones, 25th ($6,700 DraftKings, $ 5,500 FanDuel)
The former Daytona winner rolls off the grid in 25th placing him firmly in the realm of cash game rosters. After finishing 29th at Daytona, Jones has gone on to finish 14th here in the Spring and sixth at Talladega showing he has plenty of upside from this starting position. Jones’s day at Daytona is clouded by his result, with 20 laps left in the event he was sitting in the 10th position, meaning he was in prime position to post another high finish to pair with his Atlanta and Talladega results, but variance bit him in the butt. Furthermore, Jones was running in fifth with 32 laps left here in the Spring before falling back to 14th. Later on at Talladega, Jones finally held position sitting in third with 18 laps left, and wound up ending in sixth. This is all to say, Jones continues to string strong races together at superspeedways and should be a strong consideration to do so again on Sunday.
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Corey Lajoie, 30th ($5,400 DraftKings, $4,000 FanDuel)
Criminally underappreciated at superspeedways, despite having one of the best average finish numbers year after year, Lajoie is one of this slate’s best plays due to his place differential upside. This season, Lajoie is three for three at superspeedways with top 15 finishes at Daytona, Atlanta, and Talladega. Furthermore, Lajoie generally employs a strategy of waiting in the mid-pack for the majority of the race, avoiding the chaos that can often happen up front, and then make a late move towards the end with some drafting help. In the Spring here at Atlanta, Lajoie spent the majority of his day in the 20th position, moved slightly up to 18th with around 30 laps remaining, but ended his day in fifth.
Bubba Wallace, 32nd ($8,700 DraftKings, $8,800 FanDuel)
Dating back to 2020, Wallace’s worst finish at a superspeedway is 24th, back in the fall 2020 race at Talladega. Since then he’s won at Talladega and finished second at Daytona in back-to-back events. Simply put, Wallace has a knack for navigating around superspeedways, and generally, that involves making a late move to put himself into a position to win. In the Spring edition of this race, Wallace took the lead late from William Byron before getting shuffled back and finishing 13th. At +1400 on BetMGM, Wallace currently sits tied sixth in outright odds and Atlanta presents Wallace’s best opportunity to punch a ticket into the playoffs, an opportunity he won’t turn down should he be running up front towards the end of the event.
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