The Fantasy Live Playoff Game has four races in the books and six races to go. The picks are slowly climbing up the leaderboard. They outscored 91% of the entries after the race at Darlington, climbed to 94% after the race at Kansas, outscored 95.8% of the entries after the race at Bristol and are now outscoring 97.8% after the race at Texas. My goal every year is to outscore 99% of the entries in both the regular season and playoff games. We are trending in the right direction. We will need some good luck at Talladega to keep the picks trending upwards.
FANTASY LIVE PLAYOFF FORMAT
There are 10 races in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. We can use each driver 5 times. Each driver will score points the same way they scored points in the regular season game. The difference is that the 4 drivers competing for the 2023 NASCAR Championship will NOT score Stage Points at Phoenix. The rest of the field will score Stage Points if they finish in the top-10 of the Stage.
The strategy for Fantasy Live is to save the “Big Three.” I consider Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson and William Byron the favorites to win the championship. They have been fast at every type of track. Their allocations are too valuable to be used at Talladega. The rest of the drivers are in play for this wild race.
NASCAR decided to eliminate practice at the Superspeedways for the 2023 season. The cars lined up for qualifying Saturday afternoon and then they will race Sunday. This limits the data we have to handicap this race. It really doesn’t matter though. The races at Talladega come down to a driver being in the right place at the right time. Speed is not a factor as much as it is at the smaller tracks.
POST PRACTICE SPEEDS
FANTASY LIVE LINEUP
RYAN BLANEY (5): Blaney finished second in this race last year and he finished second at Talladega last April. Blaney has three wins at the Superspeedways on his resume (two at Talladega and one at Daytona). The Team Penske drivers work well together at the Superspeedway tracks. I would not be surprised to see the Joey Logano pushing Blaney to Victory Lane Sunday (Since Logano is eliminated from the playoffs)
CHRIS BUESCHER (4): Buescher is one of the more underrated drivers on the Superspeedways. He finished fourth in the Daytona 500, third at Talladega in April and he won the August race at Daytona. Buescher has the best average finishing position and scored the most Stage Points on the Superspeedways this season. He should score a lot of points for your Fantasy Live lineup Sunday.
BRAD KESELOWSKI (2): Keselowski has been one of the best drivers on the Superspeedways this year. He led the most laps in the Daytona 500, but was caught up in a wreck at the end of the race. Keselowski bounced back with a fifth place finish at Talladega in April and a second-place finish at Daytona in August. RFK Racing has been the best team on the Superspeedway tracks so I will have both of their drivers in my lineup Sunday.
CHASE ELLIOTT (4): Can Elliott go the entire season without winning a race? His best chances of finding Victory Lane are this week at Talladega and next week at the Charlotte Roval. Elliott won this race last year and he finished 12th at Talladega last April. He also won Stage 1 and finished second in Stage 2 in April. Elliott will likely run up front again Sunday, score a lot of Stage Points and be a good pick for your Fantasy Live lineup.
BUBBA WALLACE (4): Wallace has been running well in the playoffs. Can he continue to have success at his home track? Wallace won the October race at Talladega in 2021. He finished 16th in the race last year. I expect Wallace to work with Denny Hamlin Sunday. That means he should score a lot of Stage Points and have a decent chance to finish in the top-10.
GARAGE DRIVER: KYLE BUSCH (5): Busch was in my Garage last week and I will have Rowdy in the Garage again at Talladega. Busch won the race at Talladega in April and he finished seventh at Daytona in August. I know it is tough to trust the No. 8 team right now, but Busch has been pretty good on the Superspeedway in the Gen-7 car. Rowdy has the best average finishing position in the Gen-7 car in the races at Daytona and Talladega.
Good luck and be sure to follow me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR. I 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.
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