The NASCAR Cup Series returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend for the Quaker State 400. This will be the second-ever race on the “new” Atlanta track, and if we learned anything from the first race this season, it’s that the track definitely has a superspeedway factor to it now, just like Daytona and Talladega. Because of that, DFS players will have to take a little different-than-normal approach this weekend when building lineups.

DraftKings Fantasy Strategy for Atlanta and Superspeedways

Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Atlanta is now essentially a superspeedway track, so place differential and finishing position become the most important part of lineup construction this weekend. Dominator points are entirely spread out at these track types, especially fastest laps, and the randomness associated with these races make anyone in the field a contender.

Going back to finishing position and place differential for a second, though… 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:

  • Denny Hamlin
  • Joey Logano
  • William Byron
  • Bubba Wallace
  • Brad Keselowski
  • Corey LaJoie

DraftKings NASCAR Picks for the Quaker State 400

Bubba Wallace, driver of the #23 McDonald's Toyota, prepares to race prior to the NASCAR Cup Series YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 04, 2021 in Talladega, Alabama.
Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The highest-owned drivers in DraftKings NASCAR this weekend are going to be Bubba Wallace ($8,700) and Brad Keselowski ($6,500) and by a wide margin. They started 32nd and 31st (respectively) and are big enough names that that is going to give their ownership a boost as well. Why is this important? Because it gives you an opportunity to get leverage on the DFS field. While these two drivers have very high upside this weekend, nothing is guaranteed at a superspeedway race. Therefore, it’s opportunistic to go underweight relative to the field on these drivers and try to get some leverage in case one (or both) wreck out. I’m not saying completely avoid these two drivers, but I’m going to be underweight on each of them (as well as underweight on these two in the same lineup together). Now that we’ve talked about the popular picks and strategy involved with them, let’s get into a couple picks that should be under-owned compared to their potential…

Erik Jones ($6,700) – While I do project Erik Jones to garner a significant amount over ownership in this race (over 30%), there are times where I like being overweight on the chalk as a strategy play. This is one of those times. First, I do think there is a possibility that my projections are a little high on Jones, as he’s sandwiched in between Austin Dillon ($6,900) and Brad Keselowski ($6,500) on the salary list–both of whom start further back than Jones. Add in the fact that DFS players tend to try and use up all of the cap space and we could see Jones in the mid-20s of ownership percentage on Sunday despite starting back in 25th. Additionally, Erik Jones has ranked inside the top 10 in Average Running Position in all three superspeedway races this year. I don’t mind having 40% Jones exposure here at Atlanta.

Todd Gilliland ($5,700) – It’s another superspeedway weekend, which means it’s #GillyGang time once again. This sub-$6,000 price range is going to have many NASCAR DFS players gravitating toward Corey LaJoie ($5,400) because of his 30th-place starting spot and good superspeedway record, and what’s going to happen is that guys like Todd Gilliland will get overlooked. This is where it’s a strategy call to flip the ownerships and bit and try and gain some leverage. Gilliland can compete for a top 10 finish this weekend if he keeps his car clean, and for the record, I also like being overweight on Harrison Burton ($5,500) in addition to Gilliland on Sunday.

Josh Bilicki ($4,900) – Really, you could throw all of the back markers–Garrett Smithley, Cody Ware, Josh Bilicki, and BJ McLeod–in here as strong tournament plays this weekend, but I’m going to highlight Bilicki here because I think his car is the best out of those four. This weekend, the vast majority of NASCAR DFS players aren’t even going to consider the drivers starting 33rd or worse despite these drivers all having the highest upside for place differential. As far as Bilicki goes, he’s in that “slightly better than a shitbox” #77 car for Spire Motorsports, but don’t forget that this is the same organization that finished 5th in the last Atlanta race with Corey LaJoie. On superspeedways this season, the #77 car finished 15th at Daytona, 16th at Atlanta, and 19th at Talladega.

NOTE: Do not play Josh Bilicki this week as he was replaced by Landon Cassill for this race. Unfortunately, DraftKings never added Cassill to the player pool.

Stacking Dennys Podcast with Jordan & RotoDoc

Atlanta Quaker State 400 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
Bubba Wallace$8,70050.4354.13%3212.0$173
Joey Logano$9,60049.7724.97%1710.0$193
Denny Hamlin$9,70048.8324.44%1609.0$199
William Byron$9,50048.7719.39%1309.5$195
Chase Elliott$10,50047.3014.82%107.0$222
Kyle Busch$9,90042.2024.54%1913.8$235
Ryan Blaney$10,70042.1016.99%608.2$254
Brad Keselowski$6,50041.8748.69%3116.0$155
Ross Chastain$10,30041.5315.60%210.7$248
Kurt Busch$8,20037.9715.17%2114.3$216
Aric Almirola$7,40037.8219.54%2216.2$196
Erik Jones$6,70036.4030.06%2515.7$184
Kyle Larson$10,10034.6316.53%310.5$292
Corey Lajoie$5,40034.4221.24%3019.8$157
Christopher Bell$8,50033.9513.65%1515.3$250
Austin Dillon$6,90033.2032.91%2618.5$208
Ricky Stenhouse Jr$7,10028.9219.60%2019.5$246
Alex Bowman$7,80028.158.08%814.7$277
Austin Cindric$8,10027.606.19%512.2$293
Daniel Suarez$8,90026.557.56%716.3$335
Martin Truex Jr$9,10026.2814.75%915.2$346
Noah Gragson$5,80025.6319.47%2925.0$226
Kevin Harvick$7,60025.5814.80%1014.5$297
Ty Dillon$6,00024.4210.50%2321.5$246
Tyler Reddick$9,30024.1813.10%415.5$385
Harrison Burton$5,50023.9513.18%2724.3$230
Chris Buescher$7,00023.729.15%1116.0$295
Chase Briscoe$7,90022.529.67%1417.0$351
Justin Haley$6,30020.8211.88%2422.7$303
Todd Gilliland$5,70019.6815.54%2825.8$290
Cody Ware$5,20018.573.85%3430.3$280
Garrett Smithley$4,80018.084.50%3330.2$265
Michael McDowell$7,30017.689.97%1218.0$413
BJ McLeod$5,10016.404.74%3531.3$311
Cole Custer$6,20016.139.93%1824.3$384
Josh Bilicki$4,90000.000.87%---------
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.