And the final superspeedway race of the season is upon us! The races at Talladega and Daytona are always wild, and always have the potential for the biggest impact of Fantasy NASCAR contests. Pretty much any driver in the field (literally) is on the fantasy table this weekend, but for games like the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest, where place differential plays such a big part in the scoring, there is a certain strategy to go with if you want to be safe. Remember: drivers also lose points based on negative differential from their starting spot to their finishing position, and it’s possible for your lineup to score negative points in this game. For that reason, I wouldn’t recommend picking anyone that starts inside the top 5 on Sunday, and probably not even the top 10, but then again anyone is on the table this week. Denny Hamlin will be on the pole for Sunday’s race and you can click here for the YellaWood 500 starting lineup.
*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 race day.*
Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest Picks for Talladega 2
Tyler Reddick ($9,000) – I’m leaving a ton of salary cap on the table this week, as Tyler Reddick will be the highest-priced driver in my lineup at just $9,000. Because of his issues at Las Vegas last weekend, Reddick will roll off the grid from 30th here at Talladega on Sunday, which means the potential is there for a huge score. Reddick is the best driver starting in last ten positions this weekend, and the last time we were here at Talladega, he had the 11th-best average running position. In all likelihood, Reddick will be playing the teammate card and trying to get Austin Dillon into victory lane, and with AD’s superspeedway prowess, that could very easily put both of these guys near the front at the end.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($8,500) – If you’ve played Fantasy NASCAR for very long, you know about Ricky Stenhouse’s potential at superspeedways. These are the tracks where he can legitimately challenge for the win, and he’s won at both Talladega and Daytona before. Additionally, Stenhouse has finished inside the top 10 in nine of his 14 career starts here, and has the best average finish at Talladega among drivers with more than one start (Ricky’s average result is 10.9). There’s always risk in taking Stenhouse but he’s actually really solid at Talladega, so a little less risky than at Daytona.
Brendan Gaughan ($8,100) – There are only two drivers in the entire field on Sunday that are guaranteed to score more than zero fantasy points in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest, and one of them is Brendan Gaughan. He’s also likely to be one of the highest scoring drivers in the entire field this weekend. Gaughan pretty much only runs superspeedway races now, and in 2020 his average finish in the three races on this track type is 12.0. Since the start of 2019, Brendan has an average finish of 17.5 on the superspeedways, which is 13th-best in the series. The last time we were here at Talladega, Gaughan started 39th and finished 21st. Not a great day, but still worth 86 points in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest.
Corey LaJoie ($6,900) – I love superspeedway races because it gives us Fantasy NASCAR players the opportunity to pick drivers we normally don’t pay much consideration to. And my favorite underdog on these superspeedways is Corey LaJoie. Since the start of the 2019 season, only one driver has a better average finish at Talladega and Daytona than LaJoie, and that is Denny Hamlin. He’s at 10.6 while LaJoie is at 12.4. You could also place John Hunter Nemechek in there, because his average finish this season is 10.0 on the superspeedways, but he didn’t race in the Cup Series in 2019. But still! An average finish of 12.4 for LaJoie at this track type. Corey starts 29th on Sunday so his risk of scoring negative points is quite low as well.
Ty Dillon ($6,700) – His luck is going to run out some time but through seven Cup Series starts at Talladega, Ty Dillon has never finished worse than 17th. His career average finish over those seven races is 13.3, which is 4th-best among active drivers behind Nemechek, Stenhouse, and Preece. And just to note: Nemechek has only made one start here while Preece has just three ‘Dega starts under his belt. Over the last seven races at Daytona and Talladega, Ty has an average finish of 14.4, and that is 7th-best in the series. He starts 28th on Sunday so a “normal” race out of Dillon will be a really good points day in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest.