“It’s Bristol baby!!”
Most would argue that this is the most exciting short track on the schedule, and some would even argue that it’s the most exciting on the schedule period. For those of you who haven’t watched much NASCAR, this is a race to watch. 40 cars all running together on a 1/2 mile track makes for an action packed, unpredictable, Sunday afternoon. Overall I really like how this one sets up from a DFS standpoint. And it’s nice to have a little time to look over things, I love weekday racing, but it makes it tough from a coverage standpoint. Especially with no practice laps from race teams. A traditional Sunday afternoon of cup drivers beating the hell out of each other on a short track is much needed and welcomed. Dominator plays and not having your punts get lapped are the keys here. This being a very short track you cannot play most of the very cheap guys in the 5000 salary range on DK and the 3000 salary range on FD. They will be caught at the end of the pack and the leader will be on their ass in no time, he will have clean track in front of him in comparison. Often times, half of all the drivers are at least 1 lap down as the race progresses. You want to try to not have that happen to your plays, or if it does, the later in the race the better. It’s caps your score and most times the amount of money you could possibly win.
Here’s a list of most of my favorite plays for both dominator and place differential. Remember, this is not every play, if you are building lines and someone that isn’t mentioned fits your setup, it might be worth the gamble.
Dominators: (Use up to 3 in your rosters):
Ryan Blaney | 4th | $8,600 DK | $10,300 FD
I love Blaney on Sunday. On DK especially. Starting 7th he may not have the ownership he probably deserves. 3 out of the last 4 races here Blaney has led over 100 laps. Last time here was the time he didn’t, so I think he’s a prime candidate to lead a decent amount of this race and is probably itching to get back up front. The track fits his style, and Penske is showing some speed. It might take a little bit of time starting 4th. But I could see him getting a jump, and being I have a hunch, the #12 car is going to be leading the pack at some point. Now, he does have a history of not finishing the race at the front, but 3 out of the last 4 here have been Top 10 finishes with a bunch of dominator points. I see that happening again. I will have several Kyle Busch and Blaney setups in an attempt to nail 2 dominators not starting from the pole.
Brad Keselowski | Starts 1st | $9,100 DK | $12,300 FD
I have to mention him because he starts on the pole, which is an advantage obviously. 3 out of the last 4 races here, Brad has led at least 40 laps, but overall, his finishes haven’t been good. Oddly only 1 time in the last 8 races here has he finished in the Top 5. And in 7 of those races he wasn’t even Top 10. So I don’t mind this play, if you are playing several lines, Team Penske is showing speed. But I don’t think in the end, Brad is at the front of the pack. I think he’d be happy to get 10th. Last 3 out of 4 races here he seems to be doing a bit better overall, he’s led laps, but there’s a long history of not finishing that great. It’s not like he wrecks out of the race either, he basically always finishes the race, just not that well. If I’m making 5 or more lineups I would use him. But from a GPP standpoint, I think a fade makes more sense, as he will have ownership, which could give us a hedge on a lot of entries. It’s risky though – just a thought. Another possibility is Brad leads at least till the competition caution because both of his teammates are right behind him and will protect him. After that caution, it’s completely up in the air because everyone will pit. After that pit stop, if he is still up front, he could lead for a while.
Joey Logano | 3rd | $10,700 DK | $11,700 FD
4 out of the last 6 races here, Logano has had a very good rating. He won stage 2 back to back races here. (2018-19) In both those races he led 100 laps.
Chase Elliott | 6th | $11,300 DK | $13,000 FD
He’s the best car so far this season. He’s led laps here in 3 of the last 4 races. This is a solid dominator play. Blaney and Chase as dominators is a very real thing. Throw in Kyle Busch, and I could see all 3 of them leading laps.
Kyle Busch | 7th | $12,500 DK | $14,000 FD
He has the best driver rating here since 2018. He has not led a single lap in any cup race this year. That ends this week, I think he’s going to lead a decent amount of laps this week, as he’s damn good here. He’s won 3 out of the last 5 races in Bristol, and was Top 5 in another. I do want to mention that in the past he had tendency to wreck here. 5 times in fact from 2014-2017. But that is in the past. I think he’s a great play this week and I would use him as a core play if I’m making several lines. I think several guys lead laps this week, and Busch is one of them.
Kevin Harvick | 8th | $12,200 DK | $12,200 FD
The pricing suggests he’s actually a little cheap on FD. But I think it’s actually a bit of a trap, and also not that great of a play on DK. He’s a Top 10 car, don’t get me wrong. But he’s only had one truly good race here since 2017. So I think I’m going to pass here. On a side note, when he doesn’t do that well tomorrow, it could be extra motivation to do really well at Atlanta on Wednesday. Atlanta is probably Harvick’s best track, and I will be right back onboard then if tomorrow unfolds the way I envisioned it.
Value & Place Differential Options
Ryan Newman | 17th | $6,800 DK | $7,700 FD
This is about as beautiful of a cash play as you can get, but also with some GPP appeal. Speaking of consistency, that is what we are going to call Newman this week. He’s Mr. Consistency here, a truly amazing stat to prove my point: Newman has finished better then 20th place here in 10 out of the last 12 races. There has been only one time since 2014 when he didn’t finish Top 20. You could argue this is one of his best tracks. If you throw out that one bad race, the worst that he’s finished here since 2014 is 16th place. If you can fit Newman you do it, and you can feel good about it. He’s one of, if not the toughest guy to pass in late race situations. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up in the optimal lineup tomorrow, and I want exposure.
Kurt Busch | 12th | $8,300 DK | $10,600 FD
There’s an outside chance that Busch could lead laps. Starting 12th, there’s not a lot of place differential points at stake here but I need to mention him based on finishing in the Top 10 here in 4 out of the last 5 races. This is a good track for him. All in all, I’d say Kurt is probably more of a cash game play, but if he fits your line don’t be afraid to pull the trigger, as he has been consistent on this track. He rarely leads laps, but always seems to do well.
Austin Dillon | 20th | $6,300 DK | $7,000 FD
He’s not one of my favorite plays, I do like the potential though, as $6,300 is a little cheap. He’s had a few bad races here, including the last one, but he’s also had some really nice showings. In 7 out of the last 10 races at Bristol, he’s finished 14th or better. He did have 2 bad finishes where he was caught up in a wreck that ruined his day, but you’d gladly take a +6 place differential and a Top 15 finish for his price tag. That’s a good value play. 7k is not a bad price to pay on FD either so long as it ties your line together.
Tyler Reddick | 21st | $7,900 DK | $7,300 FD
First of all, he’s too cheap on FD. I am a huge Reddick fan in general. This kid has proven time and again in xfinity that he can drive his ass off. He’s a rookie, so this is his first time starting a Cup Series race. But he won the Bristol race in xfin last year, and he did so starting from 38th place! In 5 races here in xfin, the worst he finished was 11th and that was his first time ever here. Reddick continually made progress, and got the win here last time. This kid is my pick for rookie of the year, and I would not be surprised in the least if he is driving the #48 car next year. Future star in the making here guys. Almost any time you can play him, I would. I don’t see how he’s not 15th place or better here. He even gets a little bump because he’s driving the car Newman did for years and consistently performed in that equipment. This organization brings pretty consistent cars to this track. Austin Dillon is his teammate, who also good history here. Lots of positive indicators here.
Clint Bowyer | 23rd | $9,800 DK | $9,000 FD
First off he’s too cheap on FD. DK knew where he was starting and priced him accordingly, and for good reason. Bowyer is awesome here. He’s finished Top 8 at Bristol in 5 of his last 6 races, including one race when he led 120 laps. By my metrics, he averages the 2nd best overall finish % here since 2017, trailing only Kyle Busch. Bowyer has never won here, but starting 23rd, if he can get inside the Top 10 he should score 50 points on DK which would easily pay off the price tag. Unless he wrecks, Bowyer is going to pay off his FD price tag. I think he should have several “fast laps” too, so maybe a slight boost to the bonus points there as well.
Jimmie Johnson | 24th | $10,200 DK | $10,000 FD
Jimmie is priced up because he’s beefy solid here. Since 2014, his worst finish here is 23rd. Over those 11 races, 7 times he finished Top 10. Last race in Bristol, he started 30th and finished 19th and I would say he probably felt that he could have done better. Top 10 probably pays off his price. I do like Bowyer slightly more because of his price though. I don’t think you can fit both because you want to get a dominator for around this price tag as well. Don’t fret though, there’s more value to be had!
Ty Dillon | 29th | $6,100 DK | $5,500 FD
Dillon represents a solid upside play. He should finish better than this, and he actually has 4 guys immediately in front of him who are all pretty dreadful (should make for easy passing). Dillon could wind up in 25th place almost immediately. 21st place is his worst finish here over his last 3 races, so I think you can hope for the same here. 19-21st place finish pays off his price tag relatively easily. Dillon is viable in both Cash Games and GPP contests, but don’t expect a Top 15 finish in this situation. You’ll probably have to settle with 20th place if he can get there. That’s all he gets, as history has shown over the years.
Corey Lajoie | 32nd | $5,700 DK | $3,000 FD
Fanduel clearly doesn’t like him, and I don’t know that you need him on FD. Having said that, pricing is soft so you probably don’t have to go this far down. On DK I’m not a huge fan, but maybe he can get 25th place if there’s a couple cars with issues in front of him, so he’s a punt option. He will get lapped at some point though I’m sure. The best he’s ever finished here is 24th. It’s risky, and I would only consider it if he fits perfectly and everyone else on that line is a great play. Even then, he’s going to be your weak link without a doubt,
Ryan Preece | 33rd | $6,000 DK | $5,000 FD
Last year he started 25th and worked his way up to 18th. Due to the fact that he starts 33rd, I like the play. I think Preece has the potential to be a Top 25 car. Maybe slightly better if things go his way. This is an interesting spot for Preece because there’s easily potential to get you +10 place diff. Achieving that would pay off his cheap price tag on both sites. I like him as your punt a lot better then Lajoie. He’s a better driver then Lajoie, and a lot better then $300 salary difference you see on DraftKings. There are 6 cars in front of Preece that serve as fresh meat for point differential purposes, and I think he should be able to take advantage of that.
Chris Bell | 35th | $7,300 DK | $6,000 FD
Bell is simply too cheap on FD. DK has him priced up slightly because he starts so far back. Bell is a rookie as well, but in xfin last year, he lead over 100 laps at Bristol. He’s easily 25th place if not higher. This is a solid punt. I can count 8 guys in front of him just looking at the starting lineup that he is easily better than. Cracking the Top 20 is a possibility here.
Bubba Wallace | 36th | $7,500 DK | $5,000 FD
You just gotta shake last week off and go right back after it. DK has him priced up based on the starting spot. On FD, he’s far too cheap. You’re asking, “yeah, but can I trust him?” In 4 past races here, he’s finished 20th or better 3 times. He did wreck out of the race the other time, so there is risk, he’s clearly aggressive here, so I like the play based on that. He’s probably better then 9-10 cars starting in front of him. He’s a great play for almost any roster you can build.
Daniel Suarez | 37th | $6,500 DK | $4,000 FD
I can’t say he’s better then 10 cars in front of him – his car sucks. But his history here is worth mentioning. When he was in a top tier car, he was damn good here. This track fits his style as well, so I suppose you can take some GPP shots on him here. It’s risky because he will get lapped and that will cap his point total a bit, but he could get close to 25th place in a perfect world which would pay off on FD easily. I think DK priced him up slightly in anticipation of him moving up a couple spots. Again, this is risky. But maybe worth the risk if the rest of your line is solid and he fits in the construction. His price on DK makes him a little tough to trust / fit though.
Timmy Hill | 38th | $5,100 DK | $2,000 FD
This is probably getting too cute, and I’m going to provide a disclaimer that I probably wouldn’t play him, but he did do well one time in Bristol and finished 28th when he started 37th. Bell also does have a sponsor for this race, so I think he could just putt around the track for a while and pick up spots if other cars are having issues. I cringe clicking his name though, I can’t do it. I’m really only mentioning him because he has a sponsor and it’s hard not to like the kid. Again, I won’t play him and I don’t really recommend it wholeheartedly, so please tread carefully!
Thank you for joining us for this week’s edition of The Checkered Flag! Make sure to give us a follow on twitter if you haven’t yet already, and stay tuned for more great content headed your way courtesy of your friends at DPA!