Fantasy Live Picks for Atlanta

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The Daytona 500 is in the books and now it is time for the Cup Series to go racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race Sunday will look a lot like the race at Daytona. The cars will once again be trimmed out in the Superspeedway aero package and the car will be drafting around the track. The race at Atlanta is more predictable than the race we had last Monday. We still need a bit of luck for our drivers to survive “the big one” in the Ambetter Health 400.

So, how did you do at Daytona? My picks outscored 88.7% of the entries on nascar.com. My goal every year is to outscore 99%, so we have some work to do. The good news is that the score last week is a lot better than what I typically score at Daytona. My picks usually leave Daytona outscoring about 60% of the entries, but they still managed to outscore 99% for the entire season. So, we are off to a good start in 2024.

 

STRATEGY FOR ATLANTA

There have been four races in the Gen-7 car on the new surface at Atlanta. The track is unique. It is 1.5-miles in length, but the Cup Series will use their Superspeedway aero-package this week (510 HP with a 7” spoiler). We do not need to focus on the stats from Daytona and Talladega to help predict this race. Daytona and Talladega are much larger tracks with more room to make passes. We have four races of data to work with from Atlanta and that is what I plan to use for my picks this week.

Here are the stats from the four races using the Gen-7 car on the new surface at Atlanta (sorted by Driver Rating)…

Most people will be trying to post a high score in Fantasy Live Sunday by saving their top drivers for more predictable tracks. I am not one of those people. The Cup Series is as deep as it has ever been. The days of only 10-12 drivers having a chance to win a race are over. I trust my ability to navigate this season by finding the best picks possible each week. So, that is what I am doing Sunday. I will play the best lineup possible, and not worry about saving drivers for other tracks (remember we only need to use 11 drivers all season if we use mid-tier drivers at the five road course races and the two races at Talladega).

Here are the picks for the Ambetter Health 400…

 

JOEY LOGANO (9): Logano completely dominated this race last year. He won the pole, led 140 laps, won Stage 1, finished second in Stage 2 and went to Victory Lane. He also looked great last week at Daytona when he won the pole and was the only driver to have an average running position in the top-10. Logano should run up front, score a lot of Stage Points and be a good pick for our Fantasy Live lineup.

RYAN BLANEY (10): Blaney has to be happy to be leaving Daytona. He had too pretty hard wrecks (one in the Duel Race and one in the Daytona 500). He had a fast car in both races and now he gets another chance on a Superspeedway. Blaney has the third-best average finishing position on the new track at Atlanta. Blaney should be up front drafting with his Team Penske teammates and scoring a lot of points for our lineup Sunday.

KYLE BUSCH (10): Busch was not on my radar for this race because his average finishing position in the Gen-7 car at Atlanta is 15.5. It is hard to ignore the speed the No. 8 car had at Daytona. Busch had the best driver ranking and he had no problem going from the back to the front. Busch finished fifth and 10th in the two races at Atlanta last year. Rowdy is always great when he gets a practice race before he gets into his Cup car. Busch is racing in the Truck Series race this week and that should help him on Sunday.

CHRIS BUESCHER (10): I was planning on using Brad Keselowski in this spot, but then he qualified 24th. I will pivot to his teammate, Chris Buescher. Both RFK Racing drivers have been good on the Superspeedways. Buescher started seventh in this race last year and he starts seventh Sunday. He scored Stage Points in both Stages and led five laps before he was involved in a wreck (It wasn’t his fault). Buescher should run up front, score a lot of Stage Points and be a good pick for your Fantasy Live lineup.

AUSTIN CINDRIC (9): I used Cindric last week in the Daytona 500 and I will have him in my lineup again this week. Cindric finished 12th, 11th and 3rd in his last three races at Atlanta. That is not great, but he scored Stage Points in every Stage last year and led laps in every race. These bonus points add up quickly. I will have Cindric in my lineup and hope he draft with his Team Penske teammates who also start in the top-10

(GARAGE PICK) ROSS CHASTAIN (10): Chastain was the best driver at Atlanta in the Gen-7 car in 2022 and not so good last year. He finished second in both races and averaged 37 laps led at Atlanta in 2022. Last year he finished 13th in the March race and crashed out of the July race (Chastain finished 35th). He said that the No. 1 team learned that they needed to dail in more handling into their Superspeedway package. They did that at Daytona and Chastain nearly won the Daytona 500. I expect the No. 1 car to move to the front from his 21st starting position.

 

Good luck and be sure to follow me on X (Twitter) @MrFantasyNASCARI will send out a Tweet during the race to let you know if I plan to swap out one of my drivers for my Garage pick.