It’s time for the true NASCAR DFS degenerates to stand up, as we’re entering NFL season and that always sees the player pools constrict on DraftKings. As usual, though, I’ll be providing my best possible analysis and data interpretation for these Cup races all the way through the Phoenix finale, so thanks in advance for sticking around (and also thanks for making last week’s article the most viewed DraftKings post EVER on the site).
Kyle Larson has to start from the rear tonight but will still be scored from the 1st starting spot. I would recommend not playing him if you were going to.
This weekend is the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway, which is a 0.75-mile flat track. These shorter flat tracks always tend to be very predictable, and we don’t see many teams have issues during the race (especially nothing like what we saw at Darlington last Sunday). Before we get to this article, as usual, make sure you check out my FanDuel write-up for this weekend’s race (click here) since there’s so much crossover between these two DFS sites. Now let’s goooo!!!!
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Speed Report & Loop Data Driver Averages
I’m focusing on short, flat track data this weekend along with 750hp package data. The three short, flat tracks on the schedule are Phoenix, Richmond, and New Hampshire, and we’ve raced at all three this year already. I’ve also included a chart that goes back to include the races at those tracks during the 2020 season. When it comes to 750hp package this season, those races have been at the following tracks (excluding the road course): Darlington (two races), Phoenix, Martinsville, Dover, Richmond, Nashville, and New Hampshire.
- ARP = average running position
- DR = driver rating
- FL = fastest laps (total)
- LL = laps led (total)
- T15 = laps ran inside top 15 (total)
- Total Laps = laps completed (total)
2021 Driver Averages At Short, Flat Tracks
|Martin Truex Jr||3||06.0||09.3||108.8||127||171||716||1005|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||3||14.7||15.7||76.1||21||1||447||1004|
2020-2021 Driver Averages At Short, Flat Tracks
|Martin Truex Jr||7||09.3||09.2||102.9||163||182||1844||2300|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||7||17.9||18.4||69.5||56||2||643||2329|
2021 Driver Averages w/ 750hp Package
|Martin Truex Jr||8||08.3||09.4||105.7||267||456||2194||2863|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||8||15.3||16.8||74.0||66||1||985||2859|
DraftKings Strategy & Dominators for Richmond
- Richmond is a 0.75-mile flat track. It compares extremely well to Phoenix Raceway as well as New Hampshire Motor Speedway. We have a ton of data that we can use between these three tracks, but if you need any tiebreaker tracks, you can look into the Martinsville and Nashville races. Please note, though: it’s definitely better to put more emphasis on the three main short flats.
- NASCAR is running the 750hp package this weekend. Other trackss where this package has been ran this season (excluding road courses) are: Phoenix, Martinsville, both Darlington races, Dover, Nashville, New Hampshire, and the first Richmond race.
- We’re likely looking at a two dominator race on Saturday night here at Richmond. Earlier this year, Hamlin led 207 laps while Truex led 107 laps, and in last year’s Richmond event we saw Brad Keselowski lead 192 laps while three other drivers led around 50 laps (Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, and Joey Logano). I would recommend targeting a two or three dominator build for DraftKings lineups.
- There are 400 laps scheduled for the Federated Auto Parts 400 on Saturday night, which means we’re looking at 100 DraftKings FPTS up for grabs for laps led. We really don’t see many caution flags here at Richmond either, so don’t be surprised if we get 155+ DraftKings FPTS for fastest laps.
These are the potential dominators for this weekend’s race at Richmond, and are listed in the order of likelihood according to my projections:
- Denny Hamlin
- Martin Truex, Jr.
- Kyle Larson
- Joey Logano
- Brad Keselowski
- Kevin Harvick
- Kyle Busch
Some “surprise” dominators that could happen on Saturday night include: Christopher Bell, Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola, and Alex Bowman.
Driver-by-Driver Breakdown Video
Now for the video breakdown! Be sure to go here and subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already.
Optimal Lineup According to Jordan’s Projections
The optimal DraftKings lineup for Richmond Saturday night according to my Projections is:
- Joey Logano
- Denny Hamlin
- Martin Truex, Jr.
- Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
- Bubba Wallace
- Corey LaJoie
Confidence Rating = 8.1/10. You’re getting the three most elite drivers in the series at these short flat tracks, along with a great place differential play in Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and a high floor option with Bubba Wallace with a low-20s likely Corey LaJoie. I can’t complain about this lineup. The projections also don’t mind punting this week with the back marker cars, as the 4th-highest projected lineup is: Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex, Jr., Brad Keselowski, Matt DiBenedetto, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., and JJ Yeley. One interesting note is the 3rd-highest projected lineup also includes a punt: Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex, Jr., Aric Almirola, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., and Josh Bilicki…
GPP / Tournament Picks
Kevin Harvick ($9,100) – Brad Keselowski is priced $200 above Kevin Harvick this weekend and is probably going to get a good share of ownership considering his record on the short, flat tracks as well as his record here at Richmond specifically. But when it comes to tournaments, I really don’t mind pivoting off of Keselowski to Harvick (or even going with both of them). Since the start of 2017, only Martin Truex, Jr., Brad Keselowski, and Denny Hamlin have more fastest laps than Harvick here at Richmond, and on the short, flat tracks this season, the #4 Ford ranks 5th-best in that statistical category, just one fastest lap less than Kyle Larson. I think Harvick can legitimately challenge for a top 5 here on Saturday night (my algorithm agrees) and with some dominator points, he could definitely end up in the optimal lineup at $9,100.
Aric Almirola ($7,500) – Short, flat tracks are where Aric Almirola excels, and when my algorithm has him predicted to finish 10th (like it does this weekend), especially this season, you have to give him some consideration. Looking at the short, flat tracks this year, Almirola won at New Hampshire, finished 6th here at Richmond, and was 11th at Phoenix despite some in-race issues. Last season, AA finished 7th or 8th in three of the four and 13th in the other. Starting 9th on Saturday night makes Almirola a pretty risky DFS play, but the upside is definitely there. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if AA has a great race this weekend, but it’s probably going to if and when it happens.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($6,700) – Something happening once or twice over a four year period is a coincidence. Something happening in five of the last six Richmond races is a trend, and when it comes to Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. grabbing fastest laps at this track, it’s a trend. As mentioned in the video (above), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. seems to always get some dominator points here at Richmond, as he’s grabbed 18 or more fastest laps in five of the last six races. Additionally, since the start of 2017, Stenhouse is averaging more fastest laps than Joey Logano and almost as many as Kyle f’n Busch. This weekend, Ricky starts 23rd but has mid-teens finishing potential. He’s finished 18th or better in five of the last seven races on short, flat tracks, and in each of the last five here at Richmond specifically. Finally, Stenhouse is running that badass NOS Energy paint scheme this weekend, which I love.
Stacking Dennys Podcast with Jordan & RotoDoc
Cash Core Drivers
Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,200) – The top three drivers heading into Saturday night (according to my algorithm and really all of the data) are Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex, Jr. When it comes to building DFS lineups, I think you’re going to need two of the three, and with Truex being the cheapest, that makes him a cash play for me. Plus the fact that he’s led 100+ laps in seven of the last nine Richmond races–absolutely ridiculous. Truex starts 3rd this weekend and it should come down to him and Denny Hamlin on who leads the most laps, especially early. I like Truex at night at his best track.
Brad Keselowski ($9,300) – You just can’t beat this price of $9,300 when it comes to Brad Keselowski, especially with him starting 7th. Yeah, there’s not a ton of place differential upside, but there’s still a bit of room there to move up. Over the last two years on short, flat tracks, Keselowski has the best average running position (4.8) and the 2nd-best average finish (5.1), and he’s also been good for 30+ fastest laps in five of those seven races (with the other two ending up at 14 and 11 fastest laps). Additionally, Keselowski has led at least 16 laps in every single short, flat track race over the last two years, and went over 50 laps led in four of the seven. He’s a very strong play for the price this weekend, that’s for sure.
Matt DiBenedetto ($8,100) – Matt DiBenedetto at short, flat tracks has been fantasy gold for NASCAR players over the last two years, as he has the 10th-best average running position (11.9) and average finish (11.1). This year, Matty D’s numbers are pretty much identical, with an average running position of 11.5 (which is 11th-best) and an average finish of 11.3 (which is 10th-best). He starts back in 28th for Saturday night’s race at Richmond, so with even just a “normal” race we’re looking at 40+ DraftKings FPTS out of DiBenedetto this weekend.
Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond DraftKings Driver 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.
|Driver||DraftKings Salary||Avg Proj FPTS||Proj Ownership||Starting Position||Ceiling Proj FPTS||Avg. Projected Finish||Dollar Per FPT|
|Martin Truex Jr||$10,200||91.72||43.93%||3||135.25||03.5||$111|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||$6,700||37.63||24.76%||23||50.40||17.3||$178|