The NASCAR Cup Series is off to Austin, Texas this weekend and the Circuit of the Americas road course. This is a 20-turn race track and, from what we saw during the brief practice session here on Saturday, the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix on Sunday could end up being a very interesting race. One thing that could give DFS players fits on Sunday is the penalty for not making it through the esses correctly, which is a pass through the pits. That will ruin a driver’s day very quickly and force them to need a caution. Obviously that’s not something us fantasy players can control, we just have to hope it doesn’t effect our guys!

DraftKings Fantasy Strategy for Circuit of the Americas

Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, (L) and Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 Chevrolet, talk on the grid prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 31, 2021 in Martinsville, Virginia.
Photo Credit: Logan Riely/Getty Images
  • This is the first road course race of the season with the NextGen car, and from what we saw during the brief practice session on Saturday, the drivers are still figuring out this race car and how it handles on this type of track. I think we’ll see a lot of drivers gaining knowledge and speed during the race on Sunday, especially those that weren’t super fast on Saturday.
  • This is a very short race at only 68 laps. That means we’re looking at just 17 DraftKings FPTS for laps led on Sunday and probably around 22.5 DraftKings FPTS for fastest laps. In other words, don’t be overly concerned about dominator points! Putting together the best lineup this weekend will likely come down to place differential and finish points as opposed to dominator points.
  • We know which drivers were the best at road courses with the old cars, but this NextGen car will likely even the playing field here on Sunday. What does that mean from a DFS perspective? A lot of players are going to still have the old mentality of which drivers are “sure things” at road courses. Don’t be afraid to be a little outside of the box on Sunday with your lineups with small pivots.

Optimal Lineup According to Jordan’s Projections

The optimal DraftKings lineup for COTA on Sunday according to my Projections is:

  • Kyle Larson
  • William Byron
  • AJ Allmendinger
  • Ross Chastain
  • Kevin Harvick
  • Joey Hand

DraftKings NASCAR Picks for the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix

AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #16 Hyperice Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Verizon 200 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 15, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Photo Credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

William Byron ($9,300) – The Hendrick fleet as a whole struggled a bit during practice on Saturday, but got faster as the day went on–especially Alex Bowman, whose team seemed to hit on something eventually. Why is this important? Because I don’t think that you shouldn’t be overly concerned by William Byron’s 27th-fastest lap in practice or the fact that he qualified back in 24th. We have 68 laps around this 20-turn race track on Sunday, and I find it difficult to believe that Byron won’t find his way toward the front eventually. Willy B has showed promise at road courses in the past and he has 8 top 11 finishes in his 15 career Cup Series starts at this track type. Byron is one of my favorite driver plays on this slate this weekend.

AJ Allmendinger ($8,800) – He’s going to be a very popular DFS play this weekend since he starts back in 20th, but AJ Allmendinger at a road course is a match made in heaven. Add in the fact that both Kaulig Racing Chevrolets showed good speed on Saturday during practice and qualifying, and you can’t really go wrong here. Now obviously there’s a strategy play here to go underweight on Allmendinger because he’s going to be so high-owned this weekend, but unless he wrecks, AJ should be a solid top 10 car, if not top 5. Looking at the road course races last season, Allmendinger won that crazy Indy Road Course race after finishing 7th at the Daytona Road Course and 5th here at COTA earlier in the year.

Ross Chastain ($8,200) – Driver #3 of this week’s core is Ross Chastain. I say it every week, but I’ll say it again: these Trackhouse cars have brought the speed to start out the 2022 season, and that was definitely apparent on Sunday with how fast Daniel Suarez was in practice. His teammate, Ross Chastain, just missed out on making the Fast Five during his qualifying round, though, and because of that will have to start back in 16th on Sunday. Chastain is going to be fast in the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix, though, just like he’s been all season long. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he challenged for the win. Last year on road courses, Ross finished 4th here at COTA and also 7th at both Sonoma and Road America. He has legitimate top 10 potential on Sunday with a good chance at a top 5 as well.

Stacking Dennys Podcast with Jordan & RotoDoc

COTA EchoPark Texas Grand Prix 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.

DriverDK SalaryAvg Proj FPTSProj OwnStarting PositionAvg. Projected FinishDollar Per FPT
William Byron$9,30048.9722.81%2410.2$190
Kyle Larson$10,40048.1736.18%1306.5$216
AJ Allmendinger$8,80047.1738.63%2012.8$187
Chase Elliott$10,50047.0835.67%1207.0$223
Kyle Busch$10,20045.0823.36%1507.5$226
Martin Truex Jr$9,70043.5026.36%1710.3$223
Ross Chastain$8,20042.7322.84%1610.0$192
Tyler Reddick$8,40037.9515.65%407.2$221
Kevin Harvick$8,00037.3323.64%1812.8$214
Chase Briscoe$8,90035.859.39%1414.5$248
Austin Cindric$9,50035.8317.95%1011.3$265
Denny Hamlin$9,80035.6816.97%810.5$275
Joey Logano$9,10033.5012.04%608.0$272
Ryan Blaney$10,00032.8716.32%109.3$304
Alex Bowman$8,60031.7313.86%508.7$271
Kurt Busch$7,80030.8314.20%1111.7$253
Christopher Bell$9,00029.5713.46%710.7$304
Chris Buescher$7,30029.0018.98%2218.0$252
Austin Dillon$7,00028.3315.18%2118.3$247
Aric Almirola$6,60028.1717.15%2519.0$234
Michael McDowell$6,20026.8319.96%2720.0$231
Kaz Grala$5,90026.5011.68%3123.0$223
Erik Jones$7,40023.6720.43%3024.5$313
Joey Hand$5,00022.339.93%3827.2$224
Ricky Stenhouse Jr$6,90022.0020.67%2823.7$314
Harrison Burton$5,80021.337.11%1920.5$272
Brad Keselowski$7,60021.1716.91%2624.5$359
Andy Lally$5,20016.675.59%3930.5$312
Bubba Wallace$6,40016.175.94%2324.5$396
Daniel Suarez$7,10015.436.09%215.5$460
Todd Gilliland$5,60015.1713.14%2927.7$369
Corey Lajoie$5,40015.0010.90%3228.3$360
Ty Dillon$5,10014.678.63%3328.5$348
Justin Haley$6,80013.6811.28%921.3$497
Josh Bilicki$4,90011.333.68%3430.7$432
Cole Custer$6,00009.535.28%319.2$629
Boris Said$4,70008.834.40%3734.7$532
Cody Ware$4,80008.673.78%3534.2$554
Loris Hezemans$4,60007.503.96%3634.3$613
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.