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DFS NASCAR: Optimizing Success for the Daytona 500

Be sure to listen back to the RotoBaller Radio Daytona 500 DFS Preview Special on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio - just search for RotoBaller on demand now

Navigating the DFS field in the Daytona 500 won’t be easy. The venue is notorious for wrecks, as we already saw in the Busch Clash, when two thirds of the field were involved in crashes. The Duels were less dramatic in terms of mishaps, but one of them put Ryan Blaney in a backup car to start the 500.

You must diversify your lineups as much as possible in DFS NASCAR, and that approach becomes even more essential at a less predictable super speedway like Daytona International Speedway. To streamline the process for you, we have added a powerful DFS Lineup Optimizer to our fantasy NASCAR season pass for 2020. Using it will help you generate the highest possible amount of varied lineups to increase your chances of winning. Much of the same data that appears in the optimizer is also available in our new and comprehensive Research Station, which supplies you with an an incredible amount of data to help you further customize your preferences in the optimizer.

Editor's Note: With NASCAR back and revving, it's time for you to win big with RotoBaller and join in on the fun with our other NASCAR DFS winners! Subscribe to our NASCAR DFS Premium Pass and get exclusive access to DFS Cheat Sheets, a powerful Research Station, the DFS Lineup Optimizer for NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Trucks contests. Plus DFS driver rankings from 19-time DFS tournament winners Drew Deen and Sean Engel. VIEW TOOLS


Kurt Busch Over Blaney?

Blaney’s “misfortune” of wrecking in the duels points to a lot of DFS optimism, though, as now he will start of the rear of the field, and that will give him tremendous upside for place differential points.

As SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Dave Moody pointed out on the RotoBaller Radio Daytona 500 special on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, a Penske backup car may still be better than most on race day. Our optimizer has Blaney scoring 51.5 DraftKings points at a price of $9300. He has the second highest projected ownership behind Kyle Busch. When you consider Blaney has a series-best Average Running Position of 14.1, he appears to be an essential lineup piece for this week. He also was seventh fastest in the third practice session.

But keeping in mind that you need to have as much variance as possible in your lineup due to potential wrecks, you may want to utilize the optimizer to limit your max exposure to Blaney. Over-reliance on him this week could hurt a lot of your lineups and not set you apart from other competitors enough.

In the same price range, the optimizer is showing 38.25 projected points for Kurt Busch, at a DraftKings tag of $9100. His projected ownership is just 17 percent, as compared to 42 for Blaney. Kurt Busch is at 18th on the Daytona 500 starting grid, which gives him a lot of place differential potential as well, and if he can avoid wrecks, he may have a better chance to push to the front of the pack quicker than Blaney. Busch ranks second in Quality Passes (passes of cars in the Top 15 under green-flag conditions) at DIS, another strong indicator of his PD promise. While the masses are veering to Blaney, you may want to pivot to Kurt Busch and raise your maximum exposure to him via the optimizer.


The Best Value Play?

Right behind Kurt Busch in projected points is Michael McDowell at 37, at a super friendly DraftKings price tag of $5,900. He is identified as the third highest value driver for the 500, and it’s a savvy move to actually increase your max exposure to him. His projected ownership of 21 percent indicates some other competitors might opt for what they believe to be a more consistent value option, such as Ty Dillon, who is also more alluring to the masses at 200 dollars less.

You should pivot to McDowell when you consider he has a significant record of success on super speedways. As noted in the research station, McDowell has a Top 20 Average Running Position at Daytona and Talledega. He has as many Top 10 finishes at DIS (six) as Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson since the track was repaved in 2010, as noted by the Associated Press. In last year’s 500, he started 34th and finished fifth. This year’s starting position of 26th offers a solid possible PD return, especially if McDowell can survive and advance to the top of the field.


Dominators And Superstars

As indicated in the comprehensive optimizer tutorial, which is easily accessed when you open the tool, super speedway races are also the types of events in which you may want to limit over-exposure to dominators, as the wrecks and length of the race will lead to many lead changes. The optimizer does pinpoint Brad Keselowski as a preferred dominator if you must opt for one identified by the tool. He is projected to score 34.25 points at a $10,200 price tag on DraftKings. His projected ownership will be just 15 percent.

Keselowski does not rank in the Top 8 in any prime Loop Data stats, and the bulk of players may opt for other drivers with more PD upside or a higher starting position. Keselowski starts ninth, and that is neither a sexy grid spot for PD or to lead laps early. Keselowski has not scored a Top 10 at DIS since 2016, so he is a contrarian play, too.  But you can never count him out at any track, plus he ran well in the Busch Clash until a late crash, and he is a Penske driver.

Denny Hamlin is one of the very best drivers at Daytona, and considering he starts 21st and is projected for 46.75 DraftKings points at a price of $10,400, the defending 500 winner will be a popular choice with 35 percent projected ownership. Joey Logano, however, is $100 more and comes at a projected ownership of 13 percent. He starts third, won a Duel race and could lead more laps.

Both Hamlin and Logano are excellent starting options. Hamlin is second all-time in Driver Rating at DIS (87.8) and he has eight wins at the site. Logano is fifth best in DR (87.0) and has three Daytona victories. But you may want to increase your exposure to Logano via the optimizer while not overdoing it on Hamlin.


Be sure to also check out all of our other weekly NASCAR DFS articles and analysis to help you set your optimal DFS lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel. 

More Fantasy NASCAR Analysis

The Keys to Weekly NASCAR DFS Success

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Our DFS NASCAR Premium Package features several heavy hitters and proven winners.

Drew Deen is an 11-time DFS tournament winner, and has 13 different $3k+ contest finishes - 10 of them coming from NASCAR, including the 2020 Auto Club 400 on March 1st and the 2020 Food City 500 on May 31st. Sean Engel, who won his sixth career tournament at Bristol, and had the top lineup in seven contests and 10 top-two finishes. Be sure to use their weekly NASCAR DFS rankings and DFS lineup picks, updated regularly.

Chase Holden's DFS picks at Martinsville and Texas were tops in the industry, and Chase was a 2019 FSWA finalist for NASCAR Writer Of The Year! Two-time Racing Writer of the Year finalist and fantasy industry legend Scott "The King" Engel is also in the crew.

Set your winning DFS lineups with our award-winning team.