Well, this should be interesting.
Atlanta Motor Speedway used to be one of the more predictable race tracks on the schedule. Up until this year, it was a high-wear track that rewarded drivers who had a fast car and knew how to take care of their tires on the long run. Thanks to the new repave and re-configurement of the track, though, those days are gone.
It’s now looking like Sunday’s race at Atlanta is going to be more like a superspeedway event (like Daytona and Talladega) than a typical 1.5-mile track race. Before we get to NASCAR Fantasy Strategy, though let’s check in on what a few drivers are saying about the new Atlanta this weekend:
Make sure you check out the Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order for this race by clicking here!
DraftKings Fantasy Strategy for Atlanta Motor Speedway
- First and foremost, I want to be clear here: I have no idea what to expect on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Anyone who confidently says they know what is going to happen is lying to your face. We got one 50-minute practice session on Saturday, and while that did give us a glimpse into what the racing may look like, it’s hard to tell for sure until all 37 cars are on track on Sunday.
- What I expect: I’m going into Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 expecting it to play out like a superspeedway race. I think we’re going to get a lot of “follow the leader” racing, and we’re probably going to get a “big one” wreck. When it comes to DraftKings lineup construction, I’m going to roll with a very similar strategy to what I do with at Daytona and Talladega (more on that a little bit further down).
- This is a 325 lap race scheduled for Sunday afternoon, which means we’re looking at 81.25 FPTS up for grabs for laps led and probably around 115 FPTS for fastest laps, depending on the cautions. Please note that if this race ends up being similar to a superspeedway, fastest laps are going to be extremely spread out among the drivers. Looking back at the Daytona 500 this year, Kurt Busch had the most fastest laps in that race (11) followed by Joey Logano (8) and then Bubba Wallace, Daniel Hemric, and Kyle Larson (7).
- I think being comfortable with the car and how it’s driving is going to be key for a driver to be able to run well here on Sunday. Ryan over at ifantasyrace.com does a great job with Practice Notes, so make sure you take a look at those (click here) to see what the drivers are thinking after Saturday’s session.
Jordan’s Superspeedway Strategy For DFS
If this “new” Atlanta races like a superspeedway on Sunday (as most people are expecting), finishing position and place differential are going to be the keys to winning in DraftKings.
With that being said, Sunday’s race at Atlanta is also 125 laps longer than this year’s Daytona 500, which means we do have to weigh in potential lap leaders a little higher than we would at a superspeedway. Still, though, I think the best strategy when building lineups for Atlanta is a one-dominator lineup, or even pure place differential.
Now let’s quickly 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 driver’s 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 35TH AND FINISHES 12TH SCORES MORE DRAFTKINGS POINTS THAN A DRIVER STARTING 10TH THAT FINISHES 2ND!
Optimal Lineup According to Jordan’s Projections
The optimal DraftKings lineup for Atlanta on Sunday according to my Projections is:
- Kyle Larson
- Denny Hamlin
- Brad Keselowski
- Bubba Wallace
- Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
- Cole Custer
DraftKings NASCAR Picks for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500
Before we get to my favorite picks this weekend, just note that this is a great race to go against the chalk. With ownerships, I think we’re going to get many DraftKings players continuing to gravitate toward the “big names” that are the most obvious plays (like Kyle Larson, for example). Strategy-wise, this opens the door to go against the popular picks and pivot to a lesser-owned driver. If, in that example, Larson has issues on Sunday, and you’re underweight on him, that is a great strategic move in a race where randomness is more likely. I also think it’s important to remember that you don’t have to use all $50,000 of the cap in superspeedway races. With this being Atlanta and a 1.5-mile track, DFS players are more likely to still use that strategy when building lineups, giving you the opportunity to differentiate yourself.
Bubba Wallace ($7,300) – As I mentioned before, I think being comfortable in the car is going to be a big advantage for drivers in Atlanta on Sunday, and Bubba Wallace was one of the happiest during the practice session on Saturday. The #23 Toyota also posted some solid lap times, ranking 12th-best in 10-lap average as well as 20-lap average. Bubba’s superspeedway prowess is no joke, either: he finished 2nd in this year’s Daytona 500, giving him three top 5s in the last four races at that track, plus he’s ended up 17th or better in nine of his ten Daytona starts. Wallace starts 19th on Sunday, which gives him decent place differential upside while also being high enough that some DraftKings users may stay away from him and see him as too risky.
Noah Gragson ($5,800) – Gragson is in the #16 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing this weekend, and although he didn’t look to have much speed at all during the practice session on Saturday, I’m not overly concerned about that at all. I think the Chevrolets handle the best in traffic this weekend at Atlanta, and Kaulig Racing has a history of being very strong on superspeedways. Gragson did run in this year’s Daytona 500 but wrecked out late, although he did show some promise. Starting back in 30th with a better-than-decent car and a projected ownership under 20% is music to my ears this weekend. I’ll be overweight on Gragson for sure.
Todd Gilliland ($5,600) – Did you really think we’d stop at another superspeedway and I wouldn’t be on the #GillyGang train once again? Todd Gilliland had legitimate speed in the Daytona 500 this year and was massively under-owned compared to where he should have been. At Atlanta this weekend, he’s going to be low-owned once again, but mainly because he starts 25th, and in the driver pool he’s sandwiched between Noah Gragson (who starts 30th) and David Ragan and Corey LaJoie (who start 35th and 33rd, respectively). Gilliland starting 25th raises the risk a little bit, but making pivots like that could easily be the way someone takes down the big GPP on Sunday. In practice on Saturday, the #38 Ford showed decent speed actually, ranking 18th-best in 5-lap average, 20th-best in 10-lap average, and 13th-best in 15-lap average.
Stacking Dennys Podcast with Jordan & RotoDoc
Atlanta Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 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||DK Salary||Avg Proj FPTS||Proj Own||Starting Position||Avg. Projected Finish||Dollar Per FPT|
|Martin Truex Jr||$9,200||46.47||26.47%||26||12.7||$198|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||$7,100||45.88||36.97%||28||14.8||$155|