Ambetter 301 DFS Gems

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The NextGen car continues to be unpredictable, but in the last three weeks we have begun to see repeat winners. In fact, the past six contests have had three drivers that earned either their second or third wins of 2022 and that is something that has not been seen all season long.

There is always a ‘but’, however. The first race this season that featured a repeat winner was one of the carburetor-restricted superspeedway lotteries at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Last week, Chase Elliott became the first driver to earn three wins on that same track. Pack racing always goes against the grain.

The other side of that coin is: Intermediate, flat tracks are typically among the most predictable courses on which NASCAR runs.

This season has been a coin toss on many occasions. Should you go with the accepted logic and concentrate on drivers with solid results on this track type or continue to play the field?

We are not a big fan of creating multiple lineups; the only one who gets rich doing that is the company hosting the game because of the percentage they take, but with so much uncertainty in 2022, it’s virtually impossible not to test out contradictory lineups and see which are successful.

Group A: Most Expensive (>=$10,000)

Chase Elliott ($10,300)
We were not overly enthusiastic about Elliott at the start of the week and ranked him just outside the top five. Even that was a little more encouraging than his intermediate, flat track record supported, but with the momentum of three results second or better, he was worth the risk. The salary cap manager at DraftKings was also cautious and as a result, he is one of the cheaper drivers at this level. Qualifying on the outside pole changed our mind. He is close enough to the front of the pack to establish and maintain track position. A win is still a longshot, but he should challenge for his second career top-five at New Hampshire.

Ryan Blaney ($10,000)
Blaney is the cheapest driver at this level and is worth every dollar. With four consecutive top-fives on intermediate, flat tracks and six top-10s, he rarely puts a wheel wrong. He missed the top 10, but his Round 1 time was only a little slower than the eventual speed of the pole sitter. That means he has some room to improve and earn positive place-differential points. His points-per-thousand ratio is the fifth-best in the field and second-best in Group A over the past 45 days. He should be able to keep that distinction.

Group B: (Between $9,900 and $8,000)

Ross Chastain ($9,800)
Chastain fell below the $10k mark for the first time in four weeks. The last time he was this cheap, he earned the 10th-most points at Sonoma Raceway; the time before that, he earned the most points at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Chastain has easily been one of the top producers all year with top-10 points in 14 of the last 17 and the most on four occasions. By his standards, he slipped a little in the past five events with a points’ ranking that was below his cap ranking, but dollar-for-dollar, he continues to be a great value.

Kurt Busch ($8,200)
Busch has been on our radar screen all week, but we haven’t written much about him. Partly that is because he has been erratic and it seems every time we take a risk and profile him, something unfortunate happens. He’s been solid on intermediate, flat tracks this season, however, and is one of two drivers along with Blaney who has swept the top five in two starts. His third-place finish at World Wide Technology Raceway earned the sixth-most points for that race and he was ranked eighth at Phoenix Raceway in DraftKings earnings. That is more than sufficient for second-cheapest Group B driver.

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Group C: (Between $7,900 and $6,500)

Bubba Wallace ($7,400)
Wallace did not perform as well as expected last week on the carburetor-restricted superspeedway of Atlanta – but that is not the most important factor. Even though he didn’t seriously challenge for the win, he earned the eighth-most points (48.4) after commanding the 12th-highest salary cap. This week, he ranks 19th in cost, which is much more typical. By itself, his fourth-place qualification effort would not move the needle, but since it is supported by a third-place start for his teammate Busch it takes on added significance. Wallace also has car owner Denny Hamlin to lean on for some flat track pointers and there is no one better in the field.

AJ Allmendinger ($7,100)
Allmendinger does not think the intermediate, flat tracks behave like road courses, but many of the same skills apply. Drivers back up the corner and accelerate at the apex and that is where this driver shines. At the beginning of the season, there was a lot of promise in the Kaulig Racing stable, which they still have not fully realized. In his last intermediate, flat track start, Allmendinger earned the fifth-most points (59) with a top-10 finish.

Group D: (Less than or equal to $6,500)

Corey LaJoie ($5,600)
After almost winning at Atlanta, can lightning strike twice? We didn’t rank LaJoie very high on this week’s Cheat Sheet because his intermediate, flat track record is not great. His last three starts at Phoenix and Gateway have been in the 30s and even with a bargain basement cap, that won’t earn a lot of points. There is a lot more reason to be hopeful, however, now that he has qualified 21st and rolls off the grid in the same neighborhood as Kyle Busch, Chastain, and Daniel Suarez. If nothing else, putting him on the roster gives you about $500 more to spend on the other five drivers.

Austin Dillon ($6,300)
Dillon will want to uphold the family honor after this week’s announcement that Tyler Reddick will depart Richard Childress Racing (RCR) at the end of next season. Until Charlotte, his salary cap was often in the $8k range, but a 22nd-place finish in the Coke 600 earned minimal points (14) and he’s been falling since. In fact, he cost players points in the last two races at Road America and Atlanta with 30-somethig finishes. If he stays out of trouble, however, he could have one of the best points-per-thousand ratios in the field.

The top-10 points’ earners from the 2021 Foxwood Resort Casinos 301 were: 1. Aric Almirola (82.15), 2. Kevin Harvick (80.3), 3. Brad Keselowski (78.45), 4. Ryan Blaney (70.95), 5. Christopher Bell (58), 6. Joey Logano (52.8), 7. Ross Chastain (48.75), 8. Kyle Larson (45.4), 9. Matt DiBenedetto (44.05), 10. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (42.9)

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Last 45 Days

Driver

Avg.
Rank

Total
Points
Earned

Avg.
Points

This
Week's
Cap

Points
Per K

Group A

Chase Elliott

7.00

261.50

52.30

$10,300

25.39

Ryan Blaney

7.40

237.35

47.47

$10,000

23.74

Martin Truex Jr.

12.40

203.60

40.72

$10,400

19.58

Kyle Busch

18.80

174.20

34.84

$11,000

15.84

Joey Logano

20.20

129.20

25.84

$10,800

11.96

Denny Hamlin

23.40

97.70

19.54

$10,600

9.22

Group B

Ross Chastain

7.60

229.30

45.86

$9,800

23.40

Kurt Busch

16.60

173.05

34.61

$8,200

21.10

Aric Almirola

15.00

166.10

33.22

$8,100

20.51

Kevin Harvick

14.20

175.55

35.11

$8,800

19.95

Kyle Larson

14.00

170.70

34.14

$9,600

17.78

Christopher Bell

18.20

141.95

28.39

$9,100

15.60

William Byron

19.60

111.00

22.20

$9,400

11.81

Chase Briscoe

24.20

82.25

16.45

$8,400

9.79

Tyler Reddick

23.20

66.25

13.25

$8,600

7.70

Group C

Austin Cindric

9.00

231.70

46.34

$7,600

30.49

Erik Jones

12.20

210.50

42.10

$7,300

28.84

Michael McDowell

14.20

173.00

34.60

$6,500

26.62

Daniel Suarez

11.60

203.35

40.67

$7,900

25.74

AJ Allmendinger

13.75

146.45

36.61

$7,100

20.63

Brad Keselowski

20.00

119.25

23.85

$6,900

17.28

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

20.80

102.85

20.57

$6,700

15.35

Bubba Wallace

22.00

98.25

19.65

$7,400

13.28

Alex Bowman

23.00

68.60

13.72

$7,800

8.79

Group D

Justin Haley

13.40

183.05

36.61

$5,900

31.03

Todd Gilliland

19.20

127.35

25.47

$5,100

24.97

Harrison Burton

22.40

107.75

21.55

$5,200

20.72

Ty Dillon

23.20

95.35

19.07

$5,400

17.66

Austin Dillon

20.80

108.80

21.76

$6,300

17.27

Cody Ware

25.80

72.45

14.49

$5,000

14.49

Cole Custer

25.00

82.05

16.41

$5,800

14.15

Chris Buescher

24.20

74.10

18.53

$6,100

12.15

Corey LaJoie

26.00

60.55

12.11

$5,600

10.81

Josh Bilicki

28.75

36.00

9.00

$4,600

7.83

BJ McLeod

27.67

32.00

10.67

$4,800

6.67

JJ Yeley

25.00

18.00

18.00

$4,500

4.00

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