Fantasy Live Picks for Talladega


The NASCAR Cup Series will compete at Talladega Superspeedway this week. Just when you think Talladega is the most unpredictable race on the schedule, Martinsville happens. The race last week was crazy and I expect more of the same in Alabama. The GEICO 500 can be seen Sunday at 3 pm ET on FOX.



The Fantasy Live picks got off to a hot start through the first eight races of the season. The picks were outscoring 99% of the entries on the site. Unfortunately, we were due for a bad race and it happened last week at Martinsville. The picks only scored 138 points and now are outscoring 97.2% of the entries. We still have 17 races left in the regular season, so I am not going to panic.


My strategy this week will be different from almost every other “fantasy expert” you follow. The trend at Talladega is to fade your top drivers and take a chance with some of the drivers that you do not plan to use much. That strategy worked well in the old cars, but the Gen-7 car is different. The cars cannot move throughout the field as easy as they did in the past. The top teams typically run up front and score the most Stage Points. I want to stack as many of these Stage Points as possible, because once the Stage Points are added to our score, they cannot be taken away. Here are the driver’s average Stage Points in the last eight Superspeedway races…


Here is my lineup for the GEICO 500


JOEY LOGANO (8): Logano has been the best driver on the Superspeedways this year. He finished second in the Daytona 500 and he won the race at Atlanta. The No. 22 car has been pretty good at Talladega too. Logano has three wins at the track (second-most in the Cup Series). The Fords have looked like the strongest cars on the Superspeedways this year, so I will have many of them in my lineup.

RYAN BLANEY (9): Blaney is always a good pick on the Superspeedways. He has the second-best average running position in the last eight Superspeedway races. That means Blaney will try to run up front and score a lot of Stage Points. He finished second in the last race at Talladega. He should have a good chance to join Joey Logano with three wins at Talladega after the race Sunday.

BRAD KESELOWSKI (8): Keselowski is almost the “free square” this week. He has been a beast on the Superspeedways and only “OK” at the other tracks. Keselowski led the most laps in the Daytona 500 and he led the second-most laps, scored 10 Stage Points and finished second at Atlanta. Keselowski has a series-high six wins at Talladega. That is twice as many as any driver in the field Sunday. This is one of the best races on the schedule to use an allocation with the No. 6 car.

DENNY HAMLIN (8): I planned to use Hamlin a lot early in the season, but I kept him in the Garage, so that means I have some extra allocations with the No. 11 car. I will use one of them this week. Hamlin said on his Actions Detrimental podcast that track position is going to be important at Talladega, just like it was at Martinsville. He said the cars used to be able to go from 20th to first in one lap. Now it takes 20 laps to maneuver through the field. Hamlin said he plans to run up front as much as possible Sunday. That means a lot of Stage Points and a good chance for a top-10 finish from Hamlin.

ERIK JONES (6): Which driver has the best average finishing position in the last six races at Talladega? If you said Erik Jones, you are right. Jones finished 6th, 6th, 9th, 27th, 2nd and 5th in his last six races at Talladega. He also averaged seven Stage Points in the two races at the track last year. Jones finished eighth in the last Superspeedway race (Atlanta). Do not be too concerned with the starting position for Jones. He typically starts deep in the field and finishes up front.


(GARAGE PICK) CHASE ELLIOTT (10): It sucks that Elliott was injured while skiing in Colorado, but it did allow me to make it through the first nine races without using any allocations with Elliott. So now I have 10 allocations left for the final 17 races. Talladega is a good track to use Elliott. He has averaged the most Stage Points in the last eight Superspeedway races and he won the last race at Talladega. Elliott started 28th and finished seventh in this race last year. I am not worried about his starting position. I will have Elliott in the Garage as an insurance policy Sunday.


Good luck and be sure to follow me on 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.