Get ready for an unpredictable race weekend because coming up we have the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway! It’s been since this year’s Daytona 500 in February since we had a superspeedway race, and if you remember back to that event, many DraftKings lineups were ruined early after “the big one” struck on lap 14. Yep, that was a quick one for most people.

But that’s part of the fun with these superspeedway races in DFS: pretty much any driver is on the table to be picked, and spending time looking up statistics and everything can often times be a waste of time. What’s important this weekend is the starting lineup (click here) and your strategy when building a DraftKings roster, so without further ado, LEETTTT’SSSS GOOOOO!!!!

Be Sure To Check Out My Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order For This Race (click here)

DraftKings Strategy for Talladega

Be sure to watch the video above and make sure you Click Here and Subscribe to my channel on YouTube!

Now… we’re trying to avoid this:

Big One at Daytona 2019 Coke Zero Sugar 400
Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Seriously. It’s called “The Big One” and it’s going to happen. It may happen early in the race, it may happen late in the race, it may even happen early and late in the race, but rest assured, at one point or another, there is going to be a massive wreck triggered. And it is frustrating as hell when your DFS lineups are ruined by something like that, but unfortunately it’s a way of life at these superspeedway race tracks (Daytona and Talladega).

Now, you may be wondering then, “so how can you predict which drivers will be good picks on Sunday?” And honestly, you can’t. What you can do with your DraftKings lineup, though, is strategically pick these drivers. I tell my friends all the time when they want advice for Daytona/Talladega: I don’t care who you pick, just follow this formula:

  • Top 5 starting spot: sparingly, absolute max of one
  • Top 12 starting spot: one driver, maybe two
  • 13th-29th starting spot: two or three drivers
  • 30th-40th starting spot: remaining spots left
  • And don’t forget, it’s perfectly fine to let plenty of salary cap on the table. In fact, it’s encouraged.

You may be asking, “what about dominator points?” especially since we just recently had Martinsville (500 laps) and Richmond (400 laps) races. Just try not to think about them. Fastest laps are completely spread out through the field at these superspeedway tracks, and 40 laps led can be “wiped out” by that driver losing five spots on the track. Finishing position and place differential are the most important factors to consider at these big superspeedways.

But let’s talk about finishing position and place differential for a second. Take a look at this chart below (click to make it bigger). It shows each drivers base DraftKings scored by simply taking into account their starting position (top row) and finishing position (left column).

As you can see, it rarely pays off to take the guys starting up front… A driver that starts 40th and finishes 15th scores more DraftKings points than a driver starting 11th that finishes 2nd!

Avg. DraftKings Points at Superspeedways While Using Qualifying Formula

As noted in my video (above), I looked into the three races we’ve had at superspeedways using the qualifying formula that’s become the norm. Below you can see the average DraftKings points scored by each driver, as well as how each driver scored in each race. You can click on column titles to sort by that attribute.

DAY2 2020 FPTS
Justin Haley57.3557.3535
William Byron54.1044.5559.1558.6019621
John H. Nemechek50.9253.1545.9053.70222423
Ty Dillon50.8856.5029.7066.45332928
Chris Buescher50.6055.8043.4552.55211715
Denny Hamlin50.3344.7553.4052.852101
Ross Chastain47.0047.0036
Bubba Wallace41.0540.6055.9026.65242127
Ryan Blaney40.9572.2041.259.4012914
Brendan Gaughan40.8042.1569.3510.90394039
Cody Ware39.7039.7034
Erik Jones36.8353.35-4.3561.50182016
Brennan Poole36.751.4048.1560.70273232
Alex Bowman34.1041.9040.5019.90884
Quin Houff33.7820.4530.4550.45323433
Ryan Preece32.4347.90-2.7552.15312825
Tyler Reddick31.8325.554.0565.90161830
Timmy Hill31.6515.2529.4550.25383537
Corey Lajoie27.5838.2526.8017.70252529
Michael McDowell25.2837.9542.40-4.50262624
Chase Elliott23.07-20.5570.1519.60112710
Matt DiBenedetto22.4215.9534.4516.85231513
Joey Gase21.933.9016.0045.90363736
Ricky Stenhouse Jr21.7363.0511.15-9.00203126
Brad Keselowski20.9511.9033.2017.75647
Ryan Newman20.4813.85-8.5556.15142219
Daniel Suarez18.7524.8026.105.35373031
Christopher Bell16.9720.9045.00-15.00352322
Kevin Harvick16.6030.406.4013.00515
Aric Almirola16.0753.4514.05-19.3015511
Martin Truex Jr14.32-2.2043.751.40123
Jimmie Johnson14.0322.1517.802.154717
Garrett Smithley13.4513.4540
Joey Logano13.3326.251.8011.95938
Gray Gaulding12.8012.8029
James Davison11.181.0021.353838
BJ McLeod10.3510.3530
Cole Custer8.3527.35-0.65-1.65281618
Austin Dillon7.25-18.657.1533.25171212
Matt Kenseth4.38-25.105.9032.35131920
Josh Bilicki4.004.0039
Clint Bowyer3.923.3521.70-13.3010149
Kurt Busch0.4733.45-11.05-21.007132
JJ Yeley-1.503.00-6.003433
Kyle Busch-8.23-15.15-5.80-3.753116

Superspeedway Finishes in 2020

For those interested, here is a chart of how drivers finished in the four superspeedway races last season.

DriverAvg. Finish Daytona 500TalladegaDaytona 2Talladega 2
Denny Hamlin02.251431
David Ragan04.004
Chris Buescher06.003696
Ryan Blaney08.5021625
Kyle Larson10.0010
Alex Bowman13.00247714
Kevin Harvick13.755102020
William Byron14.00401114
Bubba Wallace14.501514524
Erik Jones15.00185352
Ty Dillon16.753012223
Corey LaJoie18.258162128
Ryan Newman18.25923365
Cody Ware19.0019
Matt DiBenedetto19.5019261221
Chase Elliott19.751738222
Aric Almirola20.002231837
Michael McDowell20.5014181436
Ross Chastain20.502516
Martin Truex Jr20.753224423
Brad Keselowski20.7536191018
Tyler Reddick21.002820297
Austin Dillon22.0012392512
Ryan Preece22.7529153710
Ricky Stenhouse Jr23.002023238
Joey Logano24.0026172726
Timmy Hill24.7527332415
Christopher Bell25.5021291339
Quin Houff25.5039272313
Kurt Busch27.003393432
Joey Gase27.0023373117
Daniel Suarez29.33282634
Cole Custer30.0037223031
Kyle Busch31.5034323327
Garrett Smithley34.0034

GPP / Tournament Picks

Pack racing in the 2021 Daytona 500
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Kyle Larson ($9,400) – There is nothing about Kyle Larson’s superspeedway record that makes him seem like a good DFS pick this weekend…and that’s exactly why I like him. The Hendrick Chevrolets have really upped their game on the superspeedways as of late, and if we look at just Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman, they’ve combined for seven top 10 finishes here over the last six races (so twelve total starts). William Byron also ran 11th and 4th here at Talladega last season. Again, Larson’s record at this track is atrocious–two top 10s in twelve starts with an average finish of 22.2–but all of that combined has the makings of a great low-owned tournament play on Sunday.

Chris Buescher ($6,300) – Well… let’s try this again. If you were following me during the Daytona 500 this season, you know that I went pretty heavy on Chris Buescher. And, of course, he was involved in that first wreck. Womp womp. This time around, Buescher starts 21st–one spot further forward than he started at Daytona–and I’m heading right back to the well. Believe it or not, this guy is one of the better superspeedway racers in the series, although he tends to be better at Daytona, but you have to love that he has the Roush-Yates power underneath the hood. There will likely be some talk around Buescher this week to bump his ownership up a bit but that 21st-place starting spot should help keep it relatively low.

Ross Chastain ($6,100) – The $6,100 through $6,500 price range this week could be the final spot that determines a tournament takedown. We have Chastain starting 18th, Daniel Suarez ($6,200) starting 19th, and Tyler Reddick ($6,500) starting 20th. Between the three, it’s likely Chastain is going to be the lowest-owned since he starts the highest, so that’s why I like being a little overweight on him in tournaments. Plus, Chastain is pretty good at superspeedways; Ross has a respectable average finish of 21.8 here at Talladega in four starts with Premium Motorsports, and don’t forget that he ended up finishing 7th in this year’s Daytona 500. In the Xfinity Series last year, Chastain finished 6th or better in three of the four superspeedway races.

Corey LaJoie ($5,600) – Does Corey LaJoie have the potential to be a chalky pick this weekend? Yes. But with every single superspeedway race it seems like I’m surprised by his low ownership, so I’m going to keep writing him up. Here’s the thing: Corey LaJoie is great at avoiding the big wrecks and being there at the end. His record at Daytona is better than his record here at Talladega, but LaJoie still has three finishes of 16th or better here in six career starts, and has only one result worse than 28th. Over at Daytona, Corey has three top 10s in the last four races and hasn’t finished worse than 21st since 2018.

Talladega GEICO 500 DraftKings Projections

The following chart takes into account the very basics: the starting position and the projected finish of each driver. The projected finishes are averaged from six different ranking systems. Also factored in are projected laps led and fastest laps for each driver. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.

DriverDraftKings SalaryAvg Proj FPTSStarting PositionAvg. Projected FinishDollar Per FPT
Ryan Blaney$10,10043.45707.2$232
Denny Hamlin$10,00043.17107.0$232
Kyle Busch$9,20040.22908.2$229
Joey Logano$9,80039.92206.3$246
Chase Elliott$10,30039.77807.7$259
Aric Almirola$8,70039.321411.0$221
Brad Keselowski$10,50039.181009.5$268
Ryan Newman$7,60038.952816.0$195
Kevin Harvick$9,60037.921611.2$253
Chris Buescher$6,30036.632114.5$172
Cole Custer$6,80036.302717.7$187
Ryan Preece$6,40036.302918.8$176
Bubba Wallace$7,00036.122416.3$194
Matt DiBenedetto$8,20035.851311.3$229
Ricky Stenhouse Jr$8,50034.281713.5$248
Alex Bowman$9,00034.22511.5$263
Corey Lajoie$5,60034.182618.2$164
Kyle Larson$9,40033.831212.7$278
Kurt Busch$8,30033.821514.0$245
William Byron$8,00033.70409.3$237
Harrison Burton$7,90031.453926.0$251
Chase Briscoe$6,60031.072519.3$212
Michael McDowell$7,20031.052319.8$232
Tyler Reddick$6,50030.082018.2$216
Justin Haley$5,90029.473424.3$200
Austin Dillon$7,70029.431113.3$262
Erik Jones$7,50028.682219.2$261
Ross Chastain$6,10028.121816.7$217
Christopher Bell$7,40027.18612.5$272
Daniel Suarez$6,20025.421918.8$244
Kaz Grala$5,80024.683827.8$235
Anthony Alfredo$5,70024.303025.0$235
JJ Yeley$5,40017.903730.8$302
Josh Bilicki$5,20017.303631.2$301
BJ McLeod$4,70016.303129.5$288
Timmy Hill$5,00015.974033.8$313
Joey Gase$4,90015.303531.8$320
Martin Truex Jr$8,90013.13317.7$678
Cody Ware$4,50012.953331.5$347
Quin Houff$4,60006.353234.7$724
As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.