Welcome fellow race fans to FakePigskin’s coverage of NASCAR Daily Fantasy for the 2018 season! After an exciting finish to the Daytona 500 with Austin Dillon winning after making contact with Aric Almirola on the final lap (costing me a win in the process), this season is off to a hot start!
For those of you not familiar with how NASCAR Daily Fantasy is played, here is the basic rundown of how it works:
- You must select five to six drivers to race, but each driver has a salary assigned to them and you must fit their salaries within a $50,000 cap, so you cannot just load up on the top five to six drivers in the points standings.
- Points are scored by a driver’s place differential (Starting position -finishing position), fastest laps posted, laps led, pass differential (amount of cars passed – times being passed), and their finishing position.
- You will need to find the balance of your front running drivers along with your sleeper drivers you can count on to out perform their salary ranking and finish in the top 15.
The Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series goes north, well more like less south to Atlanta Motor Speedway. Atlanta Motor Speedway is a 1.5 mile “quad-oval” race track similar in layout to Texas and Charlotte. That’s where the similarities end however. After Atlanta’s reconfiguration to it’s current layout in 1997, the track surface has not been repaved. I guarantee any street in the city you live in has been repaved since then! Rookie driver William Byron is the same age as that pavement! Because of this lack of new pavement, the track does not have a lot of grip, which it allows for drivers to move around different racing lines in the corners as opposed to just running the bottom. To put into perspective how much the pavement has given up, the original fastest qualifying lap in 1997 after the reconfiguration was Geoffrey Bodine at over 197mph! Today’s fastest qualifying lap was just over 184mph.
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Just like each NASCAR DFS race, my picks are separated into three stages, my All Stars, Solid Performers, and Sleepers. Drivers, let’s start making money!
Kevin Harvick ($10,100): Back in 2001, in his 3rd career start, after taking over for the late Dale Earnhardt, Harvick won a nail biter over Jeff Gordon, a year after Earnhardt also won a tight finish at the same racetrack. 17 years later that remains Harvick’s only win at Atlanta. However nobody has dominated Atlanta in the last two years than Harvick, leading 423 laps! The next closest in laps led is Kurt Busch at 62 laps. Harvick’s average finish is 7.5 in those races and he starts 3rd on Sunday. Look for Harvick to continue is dominance and take his 1st win of the season.
Kyle Busch ($9,700): After a beyond frustrating Daytona 500 that saw Busch out of contention early, only to ride around most of the race laps down, Busch looks to rebound this week where the driver has more of an impact. Busch’s average finish is only 9.5, but he does have a high finish of 3rd. Busch won the pole today and will be leading the field where he hopes to stay until the checkered flag.
Brad Keselowski ($9,200): I wanted to go with Chase Elliot here, but Keselowski’s value and better result makes him the play here. Keselowski has a better average finish, 5th, and more experience not only at the track, but being able to capitalize if he has a winning car, which Elliot is still developing in his young career.
Erik Jones ($8,400): My 2017 “feast for famine” driver who either seemed to get top 10 finishes…or finish in the 30s. Jones starts 10th on Sunday and is looking for momentum with his new Joe Gibbs Racing team after spending last season with the 2nd Furniture Row Racing team, which acted as a Joe Gibbs satellite team.
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Aric Almirola ($7,800): Two turns away from a Daytona 500 victory, Almirola is looking for anything positive this week. Showing the real quality of the car he’s in, as opposed to when Danica Patrick was in it (more on her later), Almirola will be a threat for wins this season. Look for Almirola to put together a solid top 10 this week.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,200): Newly Single (or newly dumped by Danica Patrick) has a lot to prove this season, and it’s probably a benefit that Patrick and Aaron Rodgers won’t be at this race for any distractions. Stenhouse was fast out of the garage Friday, starting 6th for Sunday’s race. Stenhouse has had a solid last two races at Atlanta, averaging a finish of 11.5.
Kasey Kahne ($6,200): At the site of one of his most recent wins, paired with the improving Leavine Family Racing, Kahne looks to show NASCAR he still has it this weekend. Kahne starts a solid 14th!
Ryan Newman ($6,900): Newman is back again in usual spot in this article. Newman starts Sunday in 2nd place and barring anything serious happening should be able to salvage at worst a top 15 finish.
Good luck this week and let’s make some money! You can follow me on Twitter @ScottYoungLV and please shoot me any questions or comments.
*All driver stats are referenced from DriverAverages.com