The Checkered Flag – FREE Picks – YellaWood 500 – NASCAR DFS

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Hi everyone! Joe Kooinga back for this week’s playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway. This one is going to be unpredictable to say the least, with playoff seeding on the line and the opportunity for nearly anyone to win this week, truly anything can happen. I expect there to be several wrecks that take out a good portion of the field, especially near stage endings and the overall end of the race. Often times there’s at least 2-3 wrecks that take out several drivers. So, we need to prepare our lines and wait for it to happen. There have been cases this year on this track type where a big wreck didn’t happen, and I guess there’s a small chance the same could happen here, but I have no confidence in that approach and really suggest when building your lines you take that same approach. You have to be patient , it’s easy to get discouraged early when your score is pretty low in comparison to the top of the leaderboards. But, have faith! You want to be near the top of the leaderboard at the end of the race, not the beginning.
Let’s take a look at the few drivers who start closer to the front I think are worth tanking a shot on, but again, concentrate your builds on guys who start closer to the back of the field, try to avoid as many negative scores as you can in case one of your plays happens to get caught up in a wreck.

Potential Dominators

Denny Hamlin| 1st |9,700 DK|11,400 FD|

Anyone starting this close to the front is a dangerous play because of all the negative points they would get if they get caught up in a wreck, but if you have interest in going here, I could see why. Hamlin has finished 6th or better here in 4 of the last 6 trips to Dega. He did wreck out of 3 of the last 8 however, like I said, there’s risk, and that same risk can be applied to any driver really, as much as I can try to prepare you, anything can happen here. He could get you some bonus points, but he very well could finish anywhere and negative points attached to that could really hurt your score. Use with caution. 

Brad Keselowski| 7th |9,900 DK|11,200 FD|

Brad has a knack for leading laps at Dega. Until the race here in June, Brad has led laps here in 8 straight races. He’s risky, he hasn’t had a Top 10 in 5 Straight here. But he’s won here 5 times in his career. He should be a player in this one, if you are picking a guy who starts close to the front to fill out your build, it would be hard to argue Brad, getting involved in a wreck is the only thing stopping him from a Top 10 here. 

Joey Logano| 8th |10,300 DK|11,600 FD|

Joey, much like Brad, has been really good at Dega at times. He’s led laps in 9 out of the last 10 races here. I would expect him and Brad to work together to get up front and try to stay there all race, if possible. Joey has been able to survive the big wrecks for the most part in recent years. I like taking a chance here and hope he racks up bonus points 

Chase Elliot| 10th |10,500 DK|11,800 FD|

Chase is a great example of how basically anything can happen here. He won at Dega in 2019 and then followed that up by winning the pole here for last years playoff race, not bad right? Back in June when they ran here for the first time this year he wrecked early and finished 38th. So really anything can happen. Doesn’t matter how good you’ve been here, wrong place at the wrong time could ruin anyone’s day. Chase starts 10th so there’s so risk there, but he has a knack for getting up front, which could get him so bonus points. I won’t use more then 1 guy very often who starts this far up, but Chase deserves some exposure in multi-build setups. 

Aric Almirola| 11th |8,500 DK|10,700 FD|

Almirola is in a bit of a slump, but this is a spot he could snap out of it real quick. The stats are pretty jaw dropping here. He’s finished Top 10 here 7 races in a row, including winning once in that span. He has the best overall rating on the track of anyone, and he is desperate for a win to keep his playoffs alive. I think you have to have some exposure here. I see him getting the lead at some point and being a Top 10 car most of this race. And if he’s not, he’s gonna fly up through the pack to get back into the Top 10. You can’t have full exposure, just in case, but you need to have a lot of exposure and then focus the rest of that build on guys who start closer to the back. I think the max you can go is 2 drivers who start inside the Top 15. Almirola and the guy of your choice is a very strong starting point for that build type. 

Austin Dillon| 12th |7,300 DK|8,000 FD|

Austin is dangerous on super speedways like Dega and Daytona. He’s a little better at Daytona, where he’s won before. But he was 6th here last year’s playoff race and his back is against the wall, he needs a win to move on to the next round of the playoffs, so he deserves a mention. Of course there is risk here. In June, like Chase Elliot, he wrecked early and finished basically last place. Really, that could happen to anyone at Dega though. 

Ryan Blaney| 14th |9,100 DK|12,000 FD|

He has won the last two races here. He’s way expensive on FD, I mean I understand the reason he’s a good play. But that pricing caught my attention. He’s probably one of the best bets to make it up front from outside a Top 10 starting spot and he’s obviously priced on FD anticipating that. Nonetheless, you should have exposure here. He probably leads 25 laps or more. There’s risk that he wrecks, like there is for everyone. But you can’t ignore those back to back wins here. Few have done that is series history. 

Place Differential 

Ricky Stenhouse| 26th |8,800 DK|11,000 FD|

He’s really priced up here. But for good reason. 3 out of the last 5 here he’s finished 5th or better. He’s a lot of fun to watch on this track type too. He takes risks others might not. He’s definitely more GPP then cash. But viable for both and should have pretty high ownership based on what he’s done here lately. I think he’s one of the best plays on the board and you should have exposure. 

Bubba Wallace| 27th |7,700 DK|6,600 FD|

Bubba is from Alabama so this is a hometown track for him. He hasn’t done too well here, but he is usually pretty competitive and starting 27th he has a chance to get a handful of place differential points if he can survive wrecks and get a Top 10 finish. He’s an easy fit into your builds and a good option to add to your player pool. 

Ty Dillon| 28th |6,300 DK|6,000 FD|

This is a sneaky play that I think I love more then most providers. Ty has finished the race every time he’s came here and his worst finish over 7 career starts is 17th place. I think he goes overlooked and that makes me like him even more. He very well could help people win some good money today. Definitely add him to your player pool  and let’s hope he comes in underowned and overlooked by most. 

Corey Lajoie| 29th |6,700 DK|5,500 FD|

Not huge on this play. But there’s potential for a Top 20 here after a big wreck happens. I think you should have some exposure if you are multi-entering. Not a priority by any means. Just another play to build your pool. 

Tyler Reddick| 30th |7,900 DK|9,600 FD|

I’d pay like 9-10k for him on DK in this spot and not bat an eye at it. He’s in a great spot starting this far back. He definitely needs to be in your player pool and I think near 75-80% exposure if not higher if you are mass entering. Few have the ceiling Reddick does today. Use him. 

Justin Haley| 35th |5,400 DK|5,500 FD|

He won the xfin race here yesterday. He’s actually won it 3 times in a row. He also won a cup race at Daytona that was rain shortened. This kid is awesome at this track type. The car isn’t great, but I think that makes him safer to make it through a big wreck and possibly be inside the Top 10 when the race ends. He’s +210 On DK sportsbook to get a Top 10 finish. Which is the same odds as Erik Jones. And better then the likes of Newman and Kenseth. For his price, you take this risk in some lines. He could be 7500 and I would still like him for possible ceiling play here. 

Brendan Gaughan| 39th |9,500 DK|5,000 FD|

DK is not messing around here with the pricing. They know what’s up. FD has him priced like he’s awful for some reason. He should be about 4k more over there. Gaughan is a great play here. But you have to be patient. He has no interest in being anywhere near the front of the pack until like 10 laps to go. And he won’t be. So you can’t tilt and be upset that he’s not doing much for basically all of the race till the end. The key here is making it to the end. The only thing that matters to Gaughan is being there for a chance at the end. You absolutely have to have some exposure in your lines. He will be one of my highest exposures. He feela like an easy +20 place differential if he sticks with his game plan.

Remember, NASCAR is a CRAZY DFS sport. Scores and your place in the money can change in a heartbeat. There are so many variables that really no one can predict. Cars can be finicky, and some will crash which can ruin your day. You need your full team to be on its game if you want to cash, and you may need a little luck. This is not a one man sport when you pick a player like other styles of DFS. There’s 30-50 guys behind the scenes who all have a hand in building the car or developing a game plan. Sometimes it only takes one mistake by one of those guys for a driver to have a bad race. That narrative does not apply to other forms of DFS, so be cautious when building your lines, but most of all, have fun!

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