Food City Dirt Race DFS Gems

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Wild card races create opportunities for drivers and teams. For the moment, they don’t get much wilder than the second dirt track race in five decades, especially since last year’s edition of the Food City Dirt Race was impacted by a spin that collected the two favorites.

Unfortunately, these races do not create as many opportunities for fantasy players since we are left to guess who will be strong. Next week we will be faced with a similar situation as the series heads to the aero-restricted superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama.

The saving grace is that the cap managers also had to make some guesses this year and that levels the playing field. If you can outguess them and your opponents – especially in the middle tiers – you will have a profitable weekend.

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

Kyle Larson ($11,200)
Larson has been one of the least profitable and consistent drivers this year. Some of his problems have been the result of bad luck, but an equal number have been because this team has simply missed the setup. Whether that is a factor of the NextGen car or a championship hangover is not at all important, but since the start of the season, his points’ per thousand ratio of 14.97 is the second-worst among fulltime, active drivers. Denny Hamlin (14.82) is slightly worse. None of that will matter this week on the dirt track and Larson is still the favorite.

William Byron ($10,000)
The same comments that apply to Larson would also apply to Christopher Bell and if all things were equal, the would be our second-ranked driver. Byron is $800 cheaper, however, and has a much better record on short tracks in the past two seasons. He may not look as pretty in the middle stages of the race, but we are betting that Byron not only has a better ratio, but that he out-earn Bell straight up as he challenges for a top-five.

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

Tyler Reddick ($9,200)
When Daniel Suarez challenged for the win late in the 2021 Food City Dirt Race, we were pleasantly surprised. His effort has us considering other drivers who have somewhat similar circumstances this year. Reddick has run well enough to win on a couple of occasions in 2022, but the breaks have not fallen his way. If he gets track position on Sunday, this is the type of opportunity race that could give us a fourth different first time winner this year.

Ross Chastain ($8,500)
Chastain fell victim to an early crash in last year’s dirt race, so we didn’t really have much of an opportunity to see how he would fare. He has shown more overall strength this year than nearly any other driver at any level and it’s a little shocking that his DraftKings salary cap is still so low. Aggression can be a double-edged sword, however. If Chastain does not spin, he will challenge for a top-10.

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

Austin Dillon ($7,400)
Both Dillon brothers have spent a lot of time running dirt modifieds and in our estimation, these might be a closer comparative to what the drivers face this week than sprint cars. Additionally, his third-place finish last week on the short track in Martinsville proves his prowess on short courses. Dillon was only 21st in this race last year, but he’s been in the top 15 in every short track event since.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,700)
Frankly, we’re not certain that Stenhouse’s second-place finish last year wasn’t a fluke, but since it will only cost you only $7,700 to find out, he easily makes the list of interesting Group C drivers. Stenhouse cut his teeth in the Deep South in regional sprint cars, he knows his way around dirt. He does not revisit his roots as often as Larson and Bell, but often enough to keep his skill set vibrant. If he misses the top five, a top-15 still makes him a good value.

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

Justin Allgaier ($5,800)
Allgaier makes his first Cup appearance this week, which is why he commands a bargain-basement price. Like aggression, that can be a double-edge sword because drivers can sometimes try too hard and have unforced errors. Allgaier has quietly amassed an impressive dirt resume in a wide variety of series. Perhaps his greatest achievement has been a win in each of the last two season in the DIRTcar Nationals and that event draws some of the fiercest modified drivers in the country.

Ty Dillon ($6,200)
Many of the same things that apply to his older brother, apply to Ty with the added benefit of his being $1,200 cheaper. If you are going to build from the bottom up, Dillon and Allgaier are good anchors. Doing so raises your average cost per remaining drives to $9,500 and that is going to open a lot of opportunities at the highest levels.

The top-10 points’ earners from the 2021 Food City Dirt Race were: 1. Joey Logano (78.25), 2. Daniel Suarez (77.95), 3. Martin Truex Jr. (59.05), 4. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (57.95), 5. Tyler Reddick (57.45), 6. Denny Hamlin (53.3), 7. Erik Jones (52.25), 8. Ryan Newman (51.15), 9. Chase Elliott (50.45), 10. William Byron (49.45)

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Last 45 Days

Driver

Avg.
Rank

Total
Points
Earned

Avg.
Points

This
Week's
Cap

Points
Per K

Group

Group A

William Byron

13.50

406.35

50.79

$10,000

40.64

A

Chase Elliott

11.38

375.65

46.96

$10,300

36.47

A

Chase Briscoe

17.13

259.05

32.38

$9,800

26.43

A

Joey Logano

18.38

240.35

30.04

$10,600

22.67

A

Kyle Larson

21.88

170.35

21.29

$11,200

15.21

A

Christopher Bell

21.88

161.70

20.21

$10,800

14.97

A

Group B

Ross Chastain

12.75

376.80

47.10

$8,500

44.33

B

Ryan Blaney

14.63

344.20

43.03

$9,400

36.62

B

Kevin Harvick

14.38

294.45

36.81

$8,100

36.35

B

Martin Truex Jr.

12.63

317.20

39.65

$9,600

33.04

B

Alex Bowman

15.00

286.25

35.78

$8,900

32.16

B

Kyle Busch

15.88

280.25

35.03

$9,000

31.14

B

Daniel Suarez

17.63

223.20

27.90

$8,300

26.89

B

Tyler Reddick

17.25

229.45

28.68

$9,200

24.94

B

Denny Hamlin

24.63

128.90

16.11

$8,700

14.82

B

Group C

Aric Almirola

14.63

304.90

38.11

$6,800

44.84

C

Kurt Busch

15.75

283.30

35.41

$6,900

41.06

C

Austin Dillon

14.75

297.15

37.14

$7,400

40.16

C

Chris Buescher

19.25

214.80

26.85

$6,600

32.55

C

Erik Jones

19.88

209.65

26.21

$7,200

29.12

C

Bubba Wallace

19.13

217.65

27.21

$7,500

29.02

C

Brad Keselowski

18.13

217.10

27.14

$7,900

27.48

C

Austin Cindric

19.63

185.35

23.17

$7,100

26.11

C

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

24.50

131.95

16.49

$7,700

17.14

C

Group D

Justin Haley

18.50

220.30

27.54

$5,600

39.34

D

Ty Dillon

18.25

222.05

27.76

$6,200

35.81

D

Corey LaJoie

22.25

177.85

22.23

$5,200

34.20

D

Todd Gilliland

22.50

161.40

20.18

$5,400

29.89

D

Cody Ware

24.38

140.95

17.62

$5,000

28.19

D

Michael McDowell

22.75

159.80

19.98

$6,400

24.97

D

Cole Custer

24.75

127.25

15.91

$5,900

21.57

D

Harrison Burton

24.88

105.25

13.16

$6,100

17.25

D

Noah Gragson

28.50

17.70

8.85

$5,300

3.34

D

JJ Yeley

30.50

15.90

7.95

$5,100

3.12

D

Justin Allgaier

$5,800

-

D

Josh Williams

$4,900

-

D