Welcome to “Pick Anyone Week!” Seriously. The races at Talladega Superspeedway are crazy, and when it comes to NASCAR Fantasy leagues, pretty much any driver is on the table for a good finish. Now, as far as the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest goes, I’m personally going to stay away from those starting inside the top 5 and still focus on place differential, but this is the week to get a little crazy with your lineup and have fun. And remember: using the full salary cap isn’t necessarily the best strategy this week. Good luck and enjoy the race!
Click here for the starting lineup for Sunday’s race at Talladega. You can also find the speeds from Practice #1 on Friday by clicking here. For speeds from the second practice (Happy Hour), click here. I personally don’t even look at practice speeds with the races at Daytona and Talladega, but if you want to, there you go.
*Please note: the picks and suggestions below are my opinions and strategy for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. These are not meant to sway your thinking in any way, but rather give you insight into the drivers I am most likely to pick on Sunday.*
1000Bulbs.com 500 Slingshot Picks
Joey Logano ($12,000) – Remember: the last five winners at Talladega have all started 11th or better. This guy rolls off the grid from 10th this weekend. Joey Logano isn’t a super place differential play in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest this week, but he’s the highest-priced driver for a reason: he’s damn good here. In fact, over the last four Talladega races, Logano hasn’t finished worse than 5th, and over the last eight, he’s ended up inside the top 5 six times (and in victory lane three times). Joey is an elite Fantasy NASCAR pick when we come to these superspeedway tracks, and it’s no surprise he has the best average running position (8.7) on them in 2019. He also has the 4th-best average finish (11.0).
Denny Hamlin ($11,600) – Chalk play of the week. I don’t particularly like chalk plays at Talladega, but with this game so reliant on place differential, I’m just going to roll with it. Denny Hamlin is one of two drivers who cannot score negative points in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest this weekend. He blew his engine on his qualifying lap and will start dead last, which means each position he improves during the race will be +2 points, plus whatever finish points he gets. Additionally, Hamlin is an established superspeedway driver, and here at Talladega he has finished 11th or better in five of the last six races. Even better: he’s finished 6th or better in three of those five. It does concern me a little bit on whether the entire Joe Gibbs Racing stable could have engine issues on Sunday, but something like that is impossible to predict. Again, I don’t love the idea of a chalk pick at a superspeedway, so if you want to try and make up some points in the Standings this week, I’d roll the dice and shy away from Hamlin. He’s going to be the highest-owned driver in this game this week.
Kyle Busch ($11,400) – There’s a reason Kyle Busch is one of the higher scoring drivers in DraftKings on the superspeedways this season: his average starting position is 18.3, while his average finish is 8.7. By the way, that average finish is tied with Ryan Newman ($9,600) for the best in the series this season. Anyway, Kyle Busch qualified back in 26th for Sunday’s 1000Bulbs.com 500 race but should finish much better than that. He’s ended up 13th or better in nine of his last fourteen Talladega starts, and that includes a 10th-place finish here this season in the spring. And not that practice speeds mean anything at a track like Talladega, but Kyle Busch did have the best ten-lap average in Practice #1 here on Friday. This is another chalk pick but I guess I’m not feeling too risky this weekend.
Ty Dillon ($7,800) – I originally had Bubba Wallace ($7,400) in this lineup since he starts back in 27th and has a history of running well on the superspeedway tracks, but I think I’m going to go with Ty Dillon instead. Yeah, Ty qualified a little higher than I’d like, but that should keep his ownership percentage down (which will help offset the rest of the chalk I have). But here’s the thing about Dillon: he’s incredibly consistent here at Talladega, and I like that. In five career starts at this track, Ty has finishes between 11th and 15th four times, and in the other race, he ended up 17th. Additionally, on the superspeedway tracks this season, Ty Dillon has an average finish of 9.0, which is 3rd-best in the series behind Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman. This #13 team is running much better now than they were earlier in the year, and if they can parlay that into a good run on Sunday, I see no reason why Ty Dillon can’t challenge for a top 15, if not a top 10.
Corey LaJoie ($6,800) – Okay, seriously, have you read the DraftKings Statistical Breakdown article yet? No? Why not? Click here to do so. Here’s why: scoring with DraftKings at Talladega and Daytona is very similar to scoring in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest, and this season, Corey LaJoie is ranked #1 in that category. That’s what an average starting spot of 32.7 and an average finish of 11.7 will get you. Corey even knows this know, as he quoted my tweet on Saturday and labeled himself as the #ValuePick. I don’t disagree. LaJoie has been able to avoid the wrecks on the superspeedways this season, and because of that, he’s been able to secure the 6th-best average finish on them (11.7) despite having the 31st-best average running position (28.3). It’s always fun to have an underdog on your NASCAR Fantasy lineup, though, especially when that underdog actually has a shot at scoring a bunch of points. I’m rolling with the numbers this weekend and those point to Corey LaJoie.