DraftKings DFS NASCAR Picks: Camping World 500
The Sprint Cup Series boys roll into Talladega for the final restrictor-plate stop on the circuit. It will be a wide-open race with plenty of lead changes, and you can always expect ‘The Big One’, a giant wreck in the final laps. It’s the kind of race that drives DFS owners batty, as things can go well for an the entire afternoon and then change in the blink of an eye.
Penske Driver Brad Keselowski ($9,200) has had tremendous success at ‘Dega over the years, making 13 career starts while turning in just one DNF. He has won at the track three times with eight Top 10 finishes and an Average-Finish Position (AFP) of 15.6. He’ll go off 11th in Sunday’s race and has a good chance to scoot up through the order and earn DFS players plenty of Place Differential points.
Keselowski’s teammate Joey Logano ($9,100) has claimed checkers in the past two races at Charlotte and Kansas, and he earned plenty of Fantasy points along the way. He rolled up 226 Fantasy points over the past two outings, leading laps. He will start 10th in Sunday’s race, and he is always a driver to monitor on plate runs, as he has turned up the intensity in recent years after a slow start to his career on the superspeedways.
If you look at NASCAR’s Loop Data over the past five stops at Talladega you’ll see Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson ($10,100) leading the way with a 114.9 Driver Rating, turning 90.2 percent of his laps inside the Top 15. The next best driver during the span is Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. ($8,400) at 73.3 percent. MTJ checks in fourth in Loop Data in the past five at Talladega, making him a solid mid-tier play. Truex starts at the back of the pack after having his qualifying time disallowed after slipping below the yellow line. With his potential to move up to a Top 10 finish, he is a slam-dunk DFS play since he’ll likely pick up plenty of Place Differential points as long as he can avoid getting collected in an early wreck surrounded by some lesser drivers in the back of the pack.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($11,200) is always a DFS favorite on plate runs, and he is No. 1 in AFP at 15.1 while turning in six victories, 11 Top 5s, 15 Top 10s and just five DNFs in 31 career starts at the Alabama track. His teammate Jeff Gordon ($9,600) is on the pole, and he is tied with Dale Jr. with six career wins to lead all active drivers. Gordon isn’t among the Top 10 in Driver Rating over the past five runs, but his starting spot, and favorable pit stall selection as a result, makes him worth a look in his final career restrictor-plate start.
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kurt Busch ($8,700) should be an essential part of most savvy DFS owners’ lineups. He ranks third in Driver Rating over the past five Talladega races, running 71.6 percent of his laps among the Top 15. He has had his ups and downs at the track, and he has never claimed checkers at ‘Dega, but with a 16.8 AFP and 19 Top 20s in 29 career starts, he is well worth the salary.
The elder Busch’s teammate, Kevin Harvick ($9,700) is always among the favorites at plate stops, rolling up a win with 19 Top 20 finishes in 29 starts at Talladega, averaging a 15.3 finish which is third-best among all active drivers with at least five starts. Don’t forget Matt Kenseth ($9,900), who has led 176 laps in the past five stops at Talladega to rank second among all drivers during the stretch.
ON THE DOWN LOW
David Ragan ($7,100) will be a popular DFS selection for Sunday’s race. While generally he can be ignored on most ovals and tri-ovals, he is a superb restrictor-plate driver. He has one win in 17 career starts at Talladega while posting four Top 5s and 10 Top 20 finishes with an AFP of 17.8. As a No. 5 or 6 driver Ragan is certainly well worth the salary.
Paul Menard ($7,900) is always a strong choice on the plate runs, and he ranks eighth in Driver Rating (84.7) over the past five starts at Talladega. He has never won in 18 career starts at the track, but he has a 20.4 AFP with 39 laps led and 10 Top 20 finishes. Menard goes off in the lucky No. 13 spot in the starting grid Sunday.
An absolutely must-have at a cut-rate price is Ryan Blaney ($5,900), as his inclusion will allow you to stack your lineup with three, or even four, higher-priced drivers. Blaney has made two starts in a Cup car at ‘Dega, negotiating his way to a 13.0 AFP while running out front for 15 laps. He had an outstanding qualifying effort this weekend, and he will be ninth in the starting grid Sunday.
Trevor Bayne ($6,500) won the Daytona 500 in 2011, but he hasn’t had as much success on the ‘other’ plate track at Talladega. In nine career starts he has just one Top 10 and two Top 20 finishes with a subpar 29.3 AFP. Still, he practiced and qualified well this week, and he will start on the third row Sunday. He could be a nice sleeper at a discounted rate.
Clint Bowyer ($7,600) has a low price, but he has plenty of upside if he can hit his averages. In 19 career starts at Talladega he has managed a pair of wins, six Top 5s and 10 Top 10s while checking in with a 15.3 AFP. That’s actually second behind only Dale Jr. among drivers with at least five career starts at the track. Bowyer will start 29th Sunday, and he could log plenty of Place Differential points if he can bag a Top 10 finish.