IT’S TIME. After NASCAR’s long offseason (joke), we get the biggest race of the year. What other sport starts out their season with the biggest event of the year? This is my favorite event on the schedule and it should be everyones. It’s hard for any other race to replicate the action and history that comes with the Daytona 500. Every driver in the field would do anything to win and that is what makes the last quarter of this race the most exciting. Sometimes it causes utter chaos. I almost guarantee we will see some blocks made that cause “The Big One”. Due to this, the race almost becomes unpredictable. Where we can really gain an edge at Daytona is by building our lineups in a way that we are positioned to take advantage of the craziness.

The way I plan to structure this article each week is to talk about strategy for the track we are at and then dive into each price range. I will probably give my favorite play or 2 from each range but I really want the focus to be on strategy. NASCAR only has 40 drivers in each race so I’m not going to write up half the field. Let’s dive in!

I do a lot of my weekly research over at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet (https://frcs.pro). They give you a great database to sort out stats so you can see who has good track form along with track type history. They really have all the tools you would want to analyze what drivers are trending and how they match up with the race ahead. Be sure to check them out!

TRACK STRATEGY

Superspeedways are a different beast when it comes to DFS NASCAR. If you read my strategy article on the site, then you will know the difference in a dominator and place differential play. Be sure to check that article out if you haven’t! Here at Daytona we are going to be loading up on place differential guys. I expect laps led and fastest laps to be spread out through the field, which mitigates the chance that someone will be a dominator. Something I will do in my 20-max build is limit the number of drivers I have in my lineups starting towards the front. In most of my lineups I will only have max 1 driver starting in the top 10. This is due to the downside that they present in a race that can be this chaotic. 2-4 drivers in my lineups will most likely be starting 25th on back. This is where we can really find place differential guys that have the upside to move ahead a bunch of positions. I will touch on how each driver matches my plan for building below. 

Something that we have been seeing is manufacturers/teams working together a lot. I do expect that we will see that in this race as well and can make sense as a form of a stack. I will have some stacks as we have seen drivers hook up and go to the front. If you have a group of 2 or 3 guys who do that on the last lap then that could win you a tournament. 

As far as contest selection for the week, it is important to make as many lineups as you can. Obviously, stay within your bankroll but DraftKings has some nice 20-max contests at different levels. With the unpredictability of this race it is tough to only play one single entry. I also will not be playing any cash games for the same reason. My plan is to play the 20-maxes and then some single entry tournaments, so this is how my strategy talk will be geared. 

The last thing I will say on strategy is don’t be afraid to leave a bunch of money on the table and don’t be scared to play some of these driver’s with smaller teams that aren’t necessarily in the best equipment. The guys starting in the very back can move up 10-15 spots basically just due to wrecks and pay off their price tag. Another thing to keep in mind with them is that they will probably all just ride together in the back and stay out of trouble in this race. Not wrecking is half the battle in the Daytona 500. If you all have any questions regarding strategy feel free to hit me up in Slack. Building lineups in the correct way will give you the biggest edge this weekend.

$10K+ RANGE

Of the 4 highest priced drivers we have 2 Penske Fords, a Joe Gibbs Toyota and a Hendrick Chevy. All of these drivers are staring outside the top 10 for their starting spot and I will have some of all of these guys.

  • Denny Hamlin ($10,400) Starting 25th – My favorite of this range is the guy who has won the Daytona 500 3 of the last 5 years and twice in a row. He starts in the middle of the field and becomes a good place differential play. The history Denny has here is wild when you consider how crazy this race is. Something we saw last year with the Toyotas was that they rode around together in the back of the field to try to avoid wrecks through a lot of this race. This is something that gives me more interest in these guys. Denny is my favorite pay up option for Sunday.

Notables: Brad Keselowski

$8K AND $9K RANGE

Here I plan on mixing and matching based on how each driver fits into my lineup. A lot of the drivers in this range start in the top 10, which shows you why I say I will be leaving a decent amount of money on the table.

  • Martin Truex Jr. ($9,300) Starting 26th – Truex starts back here with his teammate Hamlin and they should hook up and ride for a while. Truex has had some bad luck here at Daytona but has seemed to always be in contention until the luck falls against him. I’m more than happy to go back with the upside he possess with this starting spot. 
  • Kyle Larson ($8,500) Starting 13th – Larson is a guy who starts fairly far forward but still has some upside and I think he is in line for a very strong year with Hendrick Motorsports. We know they have fast cars this weekend and Larson may surprise people with a top finish here. I don’t expect him to be super popular, but I will definitely have my fair share. 

Notables: Kurt Busch

$7K RANGE

I really like 2 plays in this range. The only guy I will probably use 0 of is Ryan Newman. I just don’t like how far up he is starting. 7th makes it really hard for him to pay off. I will mix in Jones, Dillon and Buesher as they fit since they are all starting in the teens. 

  • Ross Chastain ($7,800) Starting 34th – Ross is a guy who usually runs pretty well at Daytona and now he gets a step up in equipment from what he usually runs here. With Chip Ganassi, he will work with Kurt Busch and the other Chevys and starting this far back can pay off for us. He will go to a backup car due to some trouble in the duels, but that doesn’t worry me a bit.
  • Tyler Reddick ($7,100) Starting 29th – Reddick was very good here in Xfinity so you know he knows how to get around this place in the draft. I hope people will be scared off by his Cup finishes here and I will go back at this price and starting position. 

Notables: Matt DiBenedetto, Erik Jones

BELOW $7K RANGE

In this range we get some of the rookies and as we know they are always a bit risky here at Daytona. It is hard for them to find guys to work with other than their teammates. I do think I will have some exposure to a few of them because of their starting positions. 

  • Chris Buescher ($6,900) Starting 22nd – 5 top 10s in his last 7 trips to Daytona and starts mid pack for us here. He has nice upside and has shown the ability to make it to the end (not trying to jinx him). 
  • Chase Briscoe ($6,600) Starting 30th – We know he has the equipment, but we also know he is risky as a rookie here. I will gamble on the starting spot with him and hope he can hook up with his Ford teammates and ride to the front near the end of this race. 

Notables: Michael McDowell, Austin Cindric

Please feel free to hit me up with questions in Slack. I am looking forward to a great season so lets kick it off right in Daytona!

Thanks for checking out the article and if you have any questions you can hit me up in the RotoPros Slack Chat or on Twitter(@rotopros). If you are not a RotoPros member yet be sure to get over to the site and get your FREE one-week trial! You won’t be disappointed.