Geico 500 DFS Gems

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Dan Beaver
·8 min read
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Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway completely change your fantasy game play.

DraftKings has to assign salary caps and they do so with many of the same metrics that determine rankings on other track types, but how that references a driver’s real odds is essentially meaningless. Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, and Denny Hamlin may be the four most expensive drivers, but they are just as likely to get swept into a 'Big One' crash as anyone else in the field. Or, in the case of Keselowski, to trigger one if he feels he has been blocked.

Game strategy takes precedence over handicapping. Value is more important than strength. Spread your money around this week and don’t overspend on any driver. In fact, the aero-restricted superspeedway rosters should be built from the bottom up. Find two or three modestly-priced drivers with a penchant for staying out of trouble and anchor your lineup with them. Only take the most expensive drivers if and when they fit into the niches that remain.

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

Denny Hamlin ($10,000)
If a 'Big One' crash is triggered ahead of Hamlin, the last thing on his mind will be the six consecutive top-fives he has on aero-restricted superspeedways. That doesn’t make them meaningless, however. This February when Keselowski ran into the back of teammate Joey Logano, Hamlin could have been swallowed up as easily as Kyle Busch, but whether it was instinct, skill, or luck: Hamlin avoided the incident and finished fifth. It doesn’t hurt matters any that he is the most recent Talladega winner in last year’s YellaWood 500.

Ryan Blaney ($10,100)
Blaney failed to score a top-15 at Talladega in 2017 or 2018. In the spring 2019 Geico 500, he was barely 15th. For that reason, he wasn’t on a lot of radar screens when the fall race rolled around that year, but he managed to win. He posted back-to-back victories the next spring in last year’s edition of this race and for his effort netted 73.25 points – the most in the field. If Team Penske plays together nicely, Blaney has a shot at scoring a third Talladega win in his last four attempts.

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

William Byron ($8,000)
Byron still does not receive a lot of attention from the media. Meanwhile: He quietly goes about accumulating strong finishes and points. Last year, he finished 11th in the Talladega 1 and fourth in the second race. For this effort, he earned the ninth-most points (45.75) in the Geico 500 and the fifth-most (58.75) in the YellaWood 500. Equally important in his handicap this week is the fact that he won last year’s Coke Zero 400 in a last ditch effort to make the playoffs. Byron performs well under pressure.

Joey Logano ($9,800)
Whether you value Logano will depend on how you view his stats. He has not been successful on the tapered-spacer tracks in recent races with seven consecutive results outside the top 10 – and that is a big part of the reason he is priced below the $10k mark. Six of his seven attempts preceding that landed in the top five, however. From 2015 through 2019 he scored three Talladega wins and three more top-fives in eight attempts.

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

Erik Jones ($7,500)
Is it driver or car? On the aero-restricted superspeedways, the answer is less clear than on any other track type. Certainly a driver has to have strong enough equipment to maintain the draft, but that invisible bubble of air can lock him into position. That is one of the reasons we don’t typically see the cheapest drivers or the ones with the longest odds contending for outright wins. But as long as there is reasonably fast equipment, a driver has a shot at a top-10. For that reason we favor Jones just as much today in his Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) ride as when he finished in the top five in both 2020 Talladega races with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR).

Bubba Wallace ($7,000)
One of the reasons we know RPM has strong equipment is because Wallace finished second in his first Daytona 500 racing for The King. He has the skill. He also has an engine under him that is developed by the same folks as those who put Hamlin in the top five in his last six superspeedway races. The 23XI team keeps improving and on the big track Wallace has readymade drafting partners in Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Busch, and Christopher Bell. He will use that to his advantage.

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

Corey LaJoie ($5,600)
When we built our lineup from the bottom up, LaJoie was the first driver we activated. Simply putting him in changed the average per driver from $8,333 to $8,880 and there is a lot that can be done with that extra $547. Of course that would not matter if he was not capable of scoring a lot of points. And he can do just that on the aero-restricted superspeedways. LaJoie finished 11th in the 2019 Geico 500. He scored three consecutive top-10s on this track type afterward and was ninth in this year’s Daytona 500. He might not get another top-10 this week, but a top-15 is well worth the risk.

Chris Buescher ($6,300)
Buescher is another bargain basement driver worth taking a chance on – especially if you wish to activate two of the Level 1 drivers. He finished sixth and 22nd at Talladega last year, but he swept the top 10 in terms of DraftKings’ points with 56 in the first race and 52.75 in the second. It’s not all about where you finish some weeks, but what happens along the way and Buescher has proven to be reliable.

The top-10 points’ earners from last fall were: Tyler Reddick (66.5), Ty Dillon (66.5), Erik Jones (61.75), Brennan Poole (61), William Byron (58.75), Justin Haley (58.5), Ryan Newman (56.5), Denny Hamlin (54), JH Nemechek (54), and Chris Buescher (52.75).

Last 45 Days

Driver

Avg.
Rank

Total
Points
Earned

Avg.
Points

This
Week's
Cap

Points
Per K

Group

Denny Hamlin

3.40

447.15

89.43

$10,000

44.72

A

Ryan Blaney

8.80

260.25

52.05

$10,100

25.77

A

Chase Elliott

16.80

144.10

28.82

$10,300

13.99

A

Brad Keselowski

19.80

115.20

23.04

$10,500

10.97

A

Martin Truex Jr.

5.40

348.20

69.64

$8,900

39.12

B

Joey Logano

9.20

301.60

60.32

$9,800

30.78

B

Kyle Larson

14.40

280.20

56.04

$9,400

29.81

B

William Byron

9.80

218.20

43.64

$8,000

27.28

B

Matt DiBenedetto

11.60

189.35

37.87

$8,200

23.09

B

Alex Bowman

16.40

187.75

37.55

$9,000

20.86

B

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

15.60

170.20

34.04

$8,500

20.02

B

Aric Almirola

17.00

153.80

30.76

$8,700

17.68

B

Kyle Busch

17.00

160.80

32.16

$9,200

17.48

B

Kevin Harvick

16.40

158.25

31.65

$9,600

16.48

B

Kurt Busch

19.80

110.35

22.07

$8,300

13.30

B

Tyler Reddick

17.40

146.75

29.35

$6,500

22.58

C

Austin Dillon

17.00

154.60

30.92

$7,700

20.08

C

Christopher Bell

18.80

145.05

29.01

$7,400

19.60

C

Bubba Wallace

20.20

122.15

24.43

$7,000

17.45

C

Chase Briscoe

21.60

108.45

21.69

$6,600

16.43

C

Erik Jones

21.40

118.25

23.65

$7,500

15.77

C

Cole Custer

23.20

105.15

21.03

$6,800

15.46

C

Ryan Newman

22.60

115.60

23.12

$7,600

15.21

C

Michael McDowell

24.40

75.80

15.16

$7,200

10.53

C

Harrison Burton

$7,900

-

C

Daniel Suarez

14.20

185.00

37.00

$6,200

29.84

D

Chris Buescher

19.20

139.75

27.95

$6,300

22.18

D

Ross Chastain

19.40

120.25

24.05

$6,100

19.71

D

Quin Houff

26.60

75.00

15.00

$4,600

16.30

D

Corey LaJoie

23.80

83.05

16.61

$5,600

14.83

D

Josh Bilicki

29.40

57.00

11.40

$5,200

10.96

D

BJ McLeod

28.50

48.90

12.23

$4,700

10.40

D

Ryan Preece

27.00

63.35

12.67

$6,400

9.90

D

Cody Ware

31.20

41.35

8.27

$4,500

9.19

D

Anthony Alfredo

29.20

43.15

8.63

$5,700

7.57

D

JJ Yeley

24.00

40.00

20.00

$5,400

7.41

D

Justin Haley

30.00

35.05

8.76

$5,900

5.94

D

Timmy Hill

34.50

9.00

4.50

$5,000

1.80

D

Joey Gase

33.00

7.00

7.00

$4,900

1.43

D

Kaz Grala

$5,800

-

D

DFS GEMS FOR THE TOYOTA OWNERS 400
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