The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Talladega for the YellaWood 500 after Tyler Reddick‘s win at Texas. Let’s dive into the track information NASCAR DFS players need to know, what to expect at this weekend’s race and early NASCAR fantasy advice.
NASCAR DFS: YellaWood 500
Talladega Superspeedway Information
- Track: Talladega Superspeedway
- Location: Talladega, Alabama
- Length: 2.5 miles (asphalt)
- Banking: 33 degrees in turns one and two, 32 degrees in turns three and four, 16 degrees in the tri-oval
- Best corollary tracks: Daytona
- Dominator Points:
- DraftKings: 47 – laps led, 84.6 – fastest laps
- FanDuel: 18.8 – laps led
- Past winners: Ross Chastain (2022), Bubba Wallace (2021B), Brad Keselowski (2021A)
- Betting favorite: Several tied for best odds to win
- Entry List: 36 drivers, including David Ragan (15), Daniel Hemric (16), Noah Gragson (62) and Landon Cassill (77)
- Weather: High of 76 degrees, mostly sunny
- Watch: USA, NBCSports.com
- Listen: PRN (PRN, NASCAR.com, NASCAR Sirius/XM Channel 90)
On Track Schedule (All Times Eastern)
- Saturday, October 1
- 12:30 p.m.: Qualifying (no practice)
- Sunday, October 2
- 2:00 p.m.: Green flag (60/120/188 laps)
2022 YellaWood 500 NASCAR DFS Picks
2022 Playoff Points Standings
For the fourth-straight playoff race, a non-playoff driver went to Victory Lane on Sunday evening at Texas – this time Tyler Reddick, who was just eliminated from the playoffs last week at Bristol. Reddick’s win was his third Cup victory overall and his first win outside of a road course, proving that he and Richard Childress Racing are capable of showing up at non-drafting ovals and competing with the rest of the Series. Reddick’s win also put team owner Richard Childress in a spot he hasn’t been in quite some time – tied with Joe Gibbs for the second-most wins (4) among all Cup Series teams for the season. However, Chase Elliott owns just as many wins as Richard Childress does, as an owner, while Rick Hendrick has nine victories under his belt this season.
Speaking of Elliott, he went from leading the playoffs to being the last driver above the cutoff line after wrecking out on Sunday. Leading the pack currently is Joey Logano (+30), while Ross Chastain (+18), William Byron (+17) and Kyle Larson (+16) make up the top four in the standings. That said, do keep an eye out for any word on punishment for Byron punting Denny Hamlin during the Texas race, a penalty that NASCAR has implied they will enforce this week after failing to catch it during the event. Ryan Blaney (+15) is situated fifth in points, while Hamlin comes in sixth (+8), and Daniel Suarez and the aforementioned Chase Elliott are both four points above the threshold.
Chase Briscoe (-4), Austin Cindric (-11), Christopher Bell (-29) and Alex Bowman (-30) all stand on the outside, looking in. While double-digit differentials felt insurmountable in the previous round, they are mere road bumps with Talladega on the docket this Sunday and the Charlotte Roval in two weeks. The second round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs truly is the Wildcard round thanks to the slick mess that Texas devolved into, plus the mountain of unknowns waiting in the next two races.
2022 Talladega Review and Expectations for Sunday
Forget what might have been learned about this track in the Spring. Forget anything that might be hanging on from this race last year that was delayed and shortened by rain. Just keep the Daytona race that closed out the regular season, five weeks ago, as the only DFS beacon to guide any decision that needs to be made this Sunday…
Well, that’s the way that the bulk of the field is going to be making decisions in regards to their fantasy process and lineups. Will these people remember that the chaos nob was turned up with playoff implications resting on more than half of the field? No. Will these people remember that it was literally raining in a corner, NASCAR officials refused to delay the race even further and the giant pile-up ensued that made it viable for the punt plays to be optimal? No.
People can be held captive by recency bias. The fear should be people think about the end result of Daytona more than they consider the myriad of circumstances that allowed the end of that race to play out as it did. Could Sunday’s race at Talladega be another chaotic race wherein 75% of the field isn’t left competing at the end? Sure, the past few weeks of racing in the Generation Seven car have been anything but “typical” or “mundane,” but building lineups with the expectation that this playoff race at Talladega looks like the close to the regular season is probably a fool’s errand. Namely, DFS players are going to go overboard in embracing the “stack the back” idea to roster construction; especially with drivers like Cody Ware, BJ McLeod, JJ Yeley and Landon Cassill.
Of course, stacking the back has its place in a superspeedway event like Talladega, and rostering drivers starting in the latter half of the field should still be the way cash games are approached. However, Talladega consistently has a flare of nuance when it comes to roster construction. It’s rarely, if ever, optimal to just play drivers who started 20th or beyond. For example, in the Spring version of this race, only two drivers in the optimal DraftKings lineup started beyond 20th, while the other four drives started 12th through 19th. That said, in the YellaWood 500 of 2021, two drivers from the teens were optimal while the other four started 24th through 30th. What will always matter more, as per DFS scores, is where drivers are finishing the race. Going back to the Geico 500 of 2020, the furthest back a driver has finished while still ending up in the optimal DraftKings lineup has been 13th.
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