Welcome to pick anyone week!

Seriously.

The races at Talladega and Daytona are so random that success in the Fantasy NASCAR world really comes down to your actual strategy when making a lineup more than who you actually pick. Yes, as weird as that sounds, it’s true. I try to explain it a little in my video this week (linked below). But really, pretty much anyone is on the table for picks this weekend, but I’ll be targeting a very specific group of people in the starting order (also explained in the video). Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano are on the front row for Sunday’s race and you can click here to see the full 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.*

My Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order for Saturday’s race at Martinsville can be found by clicking here! Also, if you enjoy the FREE NASCAR content on this site and everything it has to offer, consider supporting by donating here.

Jordan’s Strategy Breakdown Video

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Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest Picks for Talladega

The Safe

Ryan Newman ($10,000) – “The Rocketman” is a strong superspeedway driver that has a knack for avoiding the big wrecks in the middle of the races, which obviously is a big reason why he’s a solid fantasy pick this weekend. Newman also has a Ford engine to compete with, and Roush-Yates has an advantage on the field at these superspeedways with their engine package. As far as Talladega goes, Newman has five top 9 finishes in his last seven starts here, and at Daytona he has five top 10s in his last eight starts. Newman starts 28th here this weekend, so he’s a great pick here in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest where place differential is such an important factor in scoring.

Harrison Burton ($7,500) – If you want a safe NASCAR Fantasy pick in the place differential world, there’s really nobody safer than Harrison Burton this weekend. Yeah, you could make the case for Timmy Hill ($5,700) being safer since he starts in dead last, but Harrison Burton has a significantly better car, so I’m rolling with him. This 20-year-old kid has never been in a Cup Series car before and is now going to go take on Talladega. Quite an introduction! But all we’re looking for is for him to survive. Burton starts 39th on Sunday and a 20th-place finish equals 90 fantasy points in this Slingshot game. Meanwhile, Harrison is one of two drivers who can’t score negative points in this game this weekend, so even if he blows up on lap one, having Burton in your lineup doesn’t kill you.

Ryan Preece ($7,400) – The upside for Ryan Preece this weekend is solid. He’s starting from back in 29th, so the place differential potential is obviously there, and he’s not going to kill your lineup if he wrecks out either. And while I did mention in my video not to really pay too much attention to trends, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Preece has never finished worse than 18th here at Talladega in his Cup Series career, and between here and Daytona he has four top 10 finishes in nine total starts. For what it’s worth, Preece finished 9th in this season’s Daytona 500.

The Risky

Denny Hamlin ($11,500) – “Risky” is a relative term here. In NASCAR Fantasy contests that don’t take place differential into account, Denny Hamlin is a great pick. And he could possibly be a great pick in those leagues, like the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest, that do take place differential into account. But it’s risky because one mistake leads to an awful score and a ruined lineup. Hamlin is the defending race winner here at Talladega, though, and has four top 5s in his last five starts at this track. On superspeedways in general, he swept the top 5 last year, finished 5th in this year’s Daytona 500, and has also won two of the last five. There’s no doubt that Hamlin is a great general pick this weekend, but as I explained in my video this week (above), he’s a really risky Slingshot pick.

Joey Logano ($11,400) – The same line of thinking outlined with Denny Hamlin above applies to Joey Logano this weekend, who is starting 2nd. Logano is a Talladega front runner. He’s very likely to lead laps and get Stage points here on Sunday (he’s finished 3rd or better in four of the last six Stages at this track). But, like Hamlin, one bad move can ruin your Slingshot lineup with Logano on it. And also unlike Hamlin, this #22 team hasn’t gotten the deserved finishes here lately; Joey has three straight finishes outside of the top 10 here at Talladega, although it’s worth noting that, before that, he had a string of four straight top 5s here.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($9,000) – Getting away from the top “qualifiers” here this weekend, let’s dip down into the mid-range with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who will start from 17th on Sunday. There’s no doubt that Stenhouse is going to be a popular fantasy pick this weekend, and that in and of itself makes me want to avoid him. Often times, a good fantasy strategy at Talladega is to zig while everyone else zags. But with that being said, Stenhouse has six finishes of 9th or better over the last nine races at this track, and even won here back in 2017. The good thing with Ricky in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest this weekend is that he has some place differential potential, but he’s still risky because this guy is typically checkers or wreckers here (those three aforementioned non-9th-or-better finishes over the last nine have been wrecks).

The Winner

“Race Winner” Pick = Ryan Blaney – Blaney is right up there with Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano when it comes to the best racers at superspeedways right now, and Talladega has been a solid track for Young Ryan Blaney here lately. In addition to winning two of the last three races here, Blaney has led in each of the last five Talladega races, including a race-high 63 in the first race here last season. This #12 Ford came home 2nd in this year’s Daytona 500, too, when it was all said and done.

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.