DFS NASCAR Picks for Cup Series


The NASCAR Cup Series will travel to Talladega this week for their third Superspeedway race of the season. The races at Daytona and Atlanta had some pretty exciting finishes. The trend at Talladega is to have more wrecks than what we see at Daytona and Atlanta, but the finishes at Talladega tend to be pretty exciting too. Buckle your seatbelts on your couch… It is going to be a wild ride this weekend. The GEICO 500 can be seen Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on FOX (the weather forecast does not look great, but hopefully they can get the race in Sunday).



NASCAR no longer allows the team to have any track time for practice before the races on the Superspeedways. The teams lined up the cars for single-lap qualifying to set the field for the GEICO 500. This race is already unpredictable. Now we have to worry about our drivers having mechanical issues before the green flag is waived because NASCAR did not let them shake down the cars for the race. This should be fun Sunday.




Predicting the finishing order at Talladega is impossible. This is one of the only tracks where a driver does not control his fate in the race. The drivers need to be in the right place at the right time in order to finish up front. Some drivers are better at using the draft to their advantage and know how to avoid “the big one” than other drivers.

Here are the stats from the last four races at Talladega (2022 – 2023) and the two Superspeedways races this year (Daytona and Atlanta), sorted by DraftKings Points…




The Cup Series race at Talladega is scheduled for 188 laps (500 miles). That means there are 47 points available for leading laps and 84.6 points available for fastest laps (131.6 dominator points). The dominators points get spread out at Talladega. The drivers who lead the most laps, typically do not score many fastest laps. The top dominator only scores 12 bonus points, so we need to focus on place differential points this week.

The best strategy this week is to simply select the drivers who start outside the top-20 for Tournament Contests and outside the top-25 for Cash Contests. You can almost ignore the names on the cars and simply select the drivers based on their starting position and still have a good chance to win your contest this week.

The wild card for this race is Ryan Blaney. He has typically qualified inside the top-15 at Talladega, but Blaney has still been able to score well because he leads so many laps and consistently finishes in the top-three. Blaney has an average starting position of 11th and an average finishing position of 1.5 in his last three races at Talladega. Blaney has averaged 61.7 DK Points in his last three races at Talladega. He is going to be the highest owned driver, but it may be tough without the No. 12 car in your lineup.

The drivers with the best chance to score place differential points include Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Chase Briscoe, Corey Lajoie, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Justin Haley



DRAFTKINGS MODEL (Prediction Based on Stats) 

Finish = Finishing Points                PD = Position Differential              Fastest = Fastest Laps Led = Laps Led

* The number in front of the driver is his projected finishing position based on stats.




KYLE LARSON ($9,000): The No. 5 car was not allowed to qualify because the team of “unapproved adjustments to the car.” Larson will start dead last, so there is absolutely no risk and all upside with Larson. He finished 11th in the Daytona 500 this year and Larson finished 15th at Talladega last year. He will be one of the highest scoring drivers if Larson finishes in the top-15 Sunday.

ROSS CHASTAIN ($8,700): Chastain starts 32nd so he has a good chance to score a lot of place differential points. Chastain told MRN Radio, “We have a lot of handling in the car, so I wasn’t expecting to qualify well. We should be good for the race.” Chastain won at Talladega in the Gen-7 car in 2022. There is just too much upside with Chastain to fade him from the back of the field Sunday.

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. ($7,600): I know… I know…. All Stenhouse does is crash at the Superspeedways. That is what everyone tells me and it is mostly true. There are those times when Stenhouse doesn’t crash and wins the race, like he did in the Daytona 500 last year. Stenhouse has an average finishing position of 22nd at Talladega in the Gen-7 car. There is little risk in using Stenhouse from the 33rd starting position.

ERIK JONES ($7,000): I was praying that Jones would qualify outside the top-20 and it happened. Jones starts 28th and his has a good chance to be the top scoring driver in DFS at Talladega. Jones is one of only four drivers to complete every lap in the last three races at Talladega. His average finishing position in his last 8 races at Talladega is 10th. That is a large sample size with a lot of positive results. Jones should be a great pick from the 28th starting position.

DANIEL SUAREZ ($7,200): Suarez is in the same situation as his teammate, Ross Chastain. The Trackhouse Racing teams set their cars up for the race and not for qualifying. They did the same at Atlanta and Suarez started 23rd and went to Victory Lane. His average finishing position in the last three races at Talladega is 9th. Suarez is a great pick from deep in the field.

COREY LAJOIE ($6,600): The race at Talladega is the Super Bowl for the No. 7 team. They know that their chances of winning at a short track or intermediate track are slim. Their chances of winning at a Superspeedway are decent. Lajoie starts 31st and his average finishing position in the Gen-7 car at Talladega is 19th. That includes a 4th-place finish last year. LaJoie should be a solid pick from the back of the pack Sunday.

* Do not be afraid to leave a lot of salary on the table this week. Our goal is to score the most points, not to spend the most money.




RYAN BLANEY ($11,000): I know Blaney is going to be highly owned, but he also has the best chance to score the most points Sunday. Blaney starts 21st and his average finishing position in his last three races at Talladega is 1.6. I would pivot to a lower owned William Byron in large Multi-Entry Tournament Contests, but I suggest having some shares of Blaney too.

DENNY HAMLIN ($10,500): Pairing Ryan Blaney with Hamlin is going to give this lineup a lot more ownership than I like, but my goal is to score the most points and not to have the lowest ownership in my lineup. Hamlin has been a beast, just like Blaney at the Superspeedways. I expect these two drivers to race for the win. I will take a chance with the No. 11 and No. 12 cars in my lineup, and hope the rest of my drivers have lower ownership.

ROSS CHASTAIN ($8,700): Kyle Larson is going to be the highest owned driver. I will fade Larson and play Chastain. The No. 1 car has won at Atlanta and at Talladega in the Gen-7 car. Chastain could win the race Sunday if the No. 1 team uses the right strategy and Chastain uses his aggressive driving style to get to the front and then stays there.

ERIK JONES ($7,000): I will play Jones in the Cash and Tournament Contest lineup Sunday. He is just too good at staying out of trouble at Talladega to fade this week. Some people may view the Legacy Motor Club switch to Toyota as a problem on the Superspeedways, but it hasn’t been for Jones. He worked well with Denny Hamlin and Christopher Bell at Daytona. I expect Jones to be with Hamlin in the pack Sunday.

CHASE BRISCOE ($6,900): Daniel Suarez is going to get some ownership since he won the last Superspeedway race. I will pivot to Briscoe. I really like the Fords at Talladega and Briscoe has been pretty consistent at this track. He finished 13th, 4th and 10th in his last three races at Talladega. Briscoe should score well from the 26th starting position.

JUSTIN HALEY ($5,600): Haley has won me a lot of money on the Superspeedways and I will go back to him at Talladega. Haley starts 27th and his average finishing position in the Gen-7 car at Talladega is 13th. I doubt Haley will be highly owned since there are so many big name drivers starting next to him.



FANDUEL MODEL (Prediction Based on Stats)









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