YellaWood 500 DFS Gems

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Last week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the top four points’ earners were the most expensive drivers in the field – and no one in the DraftKings game scored negative points.

It is highly unlikely that will happen again this week. Points will be much more evenly distributed because Talladega Superspeedway has no respect for favorites. Simply running up front does not mean that a driver will stay out of trouble and an accident in Stages 1 or 2 can send anyone in the field home last. That virtually insures several drivers will lose points and it is just as likely to be the most expensive driver in the field, Ryan Blaney, as it is to be a driver from Group B.

For that reason, spread your money around. There’s no reason to avoid the top-ranked drivers, but it is not worth skipping on mid-tier teams in order to top load the roster. There are great values in Group B and C.

Set multiple lineups, but don’t go overboard, and as with your wagering set a limit and stick with it.

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

Ryan Blaney ($10,700)
For most of 2017 through 2019, Blaney was miserable on the big tracks with an average finish of about 26th. He won the fall 2019 Talladega race and backed it up with another win there the following spring. He hasn’t been perfect since and has one poor result at both ‘Dega and Daytona International Speedway in the past eight races, but with six top-10s in that span on carburetor-restricted superspeedways, his recent success is better than anyone except Hamlin.

Denny Hamlin ($10,500)
Hamlin is the hottest driver on the circuit for the moment after winning the opening races of the Rounds of 16 and 12. That also means he is the only driver in the field with nothing to lose. He can make aggressive moves in the draft that will either help him or end disastrously. It’s a roll of the dice to start him, but he has one of the best recent records on the carburetor-restricted superspeedways and is the defending winner of this race.

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

Kyle Larson ($8,400)
Take advantage of Larson while he’s cheap. Even with his typically astronomical salary cap in the DraftKings game, he has one of the best cost-per-thousand ratios and will add significantly to it this weekend if he stays out of trouble. The reason he’s cheap is because he has terrible luck on the plate tracks and rarely finishes in the top five. The book on him in Hendrick Motorsports equipment is just being written, however, and he may well be this week’s most pleasant surprise.

Chase Elliott ($8,800)
There are so many things that remind us of Jeff Gordon in Elliott. Most of them are good – but not all. Like the former Hendrick driver, Elliott shows an incredible lack of patience in the draft and the result can be his dropping to the back of the pack at inopportune times. His timing has been a little better lately, however, and Elliott has three top-fives and an eighth in his last four carburetor-restricted superspeedway races.

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

Joey Logano ($7,900)
In all likelihood, the cap managers and traders don’t talk to one another, but if you want to know how conflicted they are collectively, look at the variance in Logano’s betting line and cap value. On the DraftKings Sportsbook, Logano is ranked second with +1000 odds. (For the record, he is identical on PointsBet.) In the game, he is ranked 14th. Logano may well be the strongest plate racer in the field for 80 percent of a typical race, but his luck in the closing laps has been abysmal. If he stays out of trouble, he is going to be in the mix for the win.

Kevin Harvick ($7,800)
Likewise Harvick has a poor record of keeping his nose clean on carburetor-restricted superspeedways. In the last five seasons, he has been involved in accidents in more than half of his starts at ‘Dega and Daytona and the same thing could happen to him this week. He finished fourth in the 500 this spring and again in the Geico 500, howevr. He was only 15th in the Coke Zero 400, but even with that modest result, he has eight-race streak of top-20s to his credit on the big tracks and that has kept him in contention.

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

Bubba Wallace ($5,900)
If Wallace can keep his emotions in check this week and have just a little luck, he could win his first Cup race. He has come tantalizingly close on a couple of occasions with second-place results in the 2018 Daytona 500 and again this summer in the Coke Zero 400. He had another top-five at Daytona last year. He has not been quite as strong at Talladega and lacks any top-10s there, but he has only one finish worse than 25th and if that is removed from his total, his average is 19.3.

Tyler Reddick ($6,400)
Reddick did not get off to a great start on plate tracks, but he has come on strong recently. He earned only one top-20 in his first four attempts. His last four efforts have produced three top-10s with a best of fifth at Daytona in a clutch performance to make the playoffs. His last two Talladega starts ended in seventh-place results and he is a bargain at twice that this week.

The top-10 points’ earners from the 2021 Geico 500 were: Kaz Grala (71.8), Michael McDowell (63.25), Kevin Harvick (56.8), Brad Keselowski (56.5), Matt DiBenedetto (55.35), Anthony Alfredo (51.25), Cole Custer (51), Tyler Reddick (50.45), Chase Briscoe (50.3), and William Byron (49.25)

Last 45 Days

Driver

Avg.
Rank

Total
Points
Earned

Avg.
Points

This
Week's
Cap

Points
Per K

Group A

Denny Hamlin

5.50

467.40

77.90

$10,500

44.51

Ryan Blaney

11.17

260.65

43.44

$10,700

24.36

Kurt Busch

16.67

168.00

28.00

$10,000

16.80

Alex Bowman

19.83

156.65

26.11

$10,200

15.36

Group b

Kyle Larson

7.50

444.55

74.09

$8,400

52.92

Chase Elliott

11.50

262.95

43.83

$8,800

29.88

Brad Keselowski

14.50

203.80

33.97

$8,600

23.70

Ross Chastain

16.67

203.75

33.96

$9,600

21.22

Aric Almirola

18.67

156.55

26.09

$9,200

17.02

Kyle Busch

20.17

138.80

23.13

$8,200

16.93

William Byron

20.67

134.65

22.44

$9,800

13.74

Justin Haley

25.00

106.70

17.78

$9,400

11.35

Justin Allgaier

$9,000

-

Group c

Kevin Harvick

12.33

265.60

44.27

$7,800

34.05

Martin Truex, Jr.

12.83

252.00

42.00

$7,600

33.16

Daniel Suarez

15.33

197.55

32.93

$7,000

28.22

Ryan Preece

16.83

189.05

31.51

$6,700

28.22

Austin Dillon

16.17

189.00

31.50

$7,100

26.62

Chris Buescher

17.00

194.85

32.48

$7,400

26.33

Erik Jones

20.83

157.75

26.29

$6,500

24.27

Ryan Newman

19.17

156.90

26.15

$7,500

20.92

Cole Custer

21.50

141.75

23.63

$6,800

20.85

Joey Logano

18.67

161.70

26.95

$7,900

20.47

Christopher Bell

22.00

155.75

25.96

$7,700

20.23

Corey LaJoie

21.40

122.40

24.48

$6,900

17.74

Landon Cassill

31.00

7.35

7.35

$7,200

1.02

Group D

Chase Briscoe

14.83

198.85

33.14

$5,600

35.51

Bubba Wallace

18.50

177.40

29.57

$5,900

30.07

Matt DiBenedetto

15.83

186.20

31.03

$6,300

29.56

Tyler Reddick

17.83

179.00

29.83

$6,400

27.97

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

18.83

159.75

26.63

$6,000

26.63

BJ McLeod

24.50

113.45

18.91

$4,700

24.14

Josh Bilicki

28.17

93.00

15.50

$4,600

20.22

Anthony Alfredo

25.50

96.35

16.06

$5,700

16.90

Cody Ware

24.75

63.80

15.95

$5,100

12.51

Quin Houff

30.00

52.90

8.82

$4,500

11.76

Garrett Smithley

29.20

57.00

11.40

$5,200

10.96

Joey Gase

29.80

47.70

9.54

$4,900

9.73

Michael McDowell

29.50

31.20

5.20

$6,100

5.11

James Davison

30.50

17.00

8.50

$5,500

3.09

NASCAR Pick ‘Em: YellaWood 500 (Talladega 2)
DFS Gems for the Geico 500 (Talladega 1)
Coke Zero Sugar 400 (Daytona 2)