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NASCAR DFS: Top-5 DraftKings Targets for Daytona 500

Nascar DFS Top 5 Draftkings

NASCAR DFS has returned following a two-week hiatus with our Top-5 DraftKings targets for the Daytona 500. The Great American Race is the biggest race of the season. It’s the Super Bowl of NASCAR so to speak and its history is forever engrained in the hearts of all fans of the sport. Last year, we saw more great racing and another last-lap crash that allowed Front Row Motorsports driver Miceal McDowell to add his name to the history books by winning his first-ever NASCAR race with almost 500 career starts. A true Michael Waltrip throwback.

Before we dive into the drivers we want to target, let’s talk about strategy.

Daytona Superspeedway is a 2.5-mile race track that first opened in 1959, and has forever since been the most prestigious race on the schedule. When it comes to Draftkings, there are a few things to keep in mind. For starters, this race is 200 laps in length, meaning the bonus points that DK awards for laps lead are not as important as they might be at a smaller track like Bristol which is a half-mile and is generally 500 laps.

With that considered, what is very important is position differential. Position differential is basically where you finish the race compared to where you start. If you start 30th for example and finish inside the top-10 you gain an additional bonus point for every position gained. For the fastest laps that we discussed earlier, you get .45 bonus points, and for laps lead you will get a quarter of a point, (.25).

What is ideal in these types of races is to find a driver that will lead a lot of laps and find some drivers that will come from the rear and make their way to the front.

When watching the preliminary Gatorade Duels on Thursday evening, what stood out the most to me was the continued strength of the Fords. The recently formed Roush-Fenway-Keselowski Racing swept the two races Thursday night with driver/owner Brad Keselowski winning race No. 1 and Chris Buescher winning race No. 2. As most people know, 2022 saw the introduction of the Next-Gen car, NASCAR’s newest car design. The car has already seen mixed reviews from the life-long fan base, as it has just a single lug nut per tire, and the numbers have been moved forward on the door to allow for added room for the sponsors. However, while the cars and paint schemes have changed, the motors and strength of the Fords have not at these big tracks.

At this point, were going to jump into our top-5 targets on DraftKings.

Top-5 NASCAR DFS Targets on Draftkings for Daytona 500

Denny Hamlin | #11 | Joe Gibbs Racing | $10,500

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin is arguably the best current Superspeedway driver in the sport. He has won the Daytona 500 on three separate occasions, has five superspeedway wins on his resume, an average finish of 15.9 on Florida’s east coast, and an average finish of 8.3 on superspeedways. It is no secret that Hamlin knows how to be successful on Sunday, but what I like the most is the starting position of 30th.

Hamlin will start near the rear due to a mechanical failure on Thursday night, (something I believe we will see more of on Sunday due to the unknown of the new car). Hamlin will undoubtedly make his way to the front following the green flag as long as he’s able to avoid any wrecks or more parts failures, and doing so from the 30th position will give us a lot of bonus points on Draftkings.

Ryan Blaney | #12 | Team Penske | $10,000

Ryan Blaney is no newcomer to Superspeedway success either. He has won multiple times at Talladega Superspeedway and also won the fall race at Daytona in 2021. He starts Sunday’s race from the 7th position, which did give me some pause, but I do fully believe that he will find his way to the front and lead some laps in The Great American Race. As we previously mentioned, the Fords looked great on the track Thursday night so there should be every opportunity for Blaney to have a strong run on Sunday.

Brad Keselowski | #6 | RFK Racing | $8,200

“Bad” Brad Keselowski will start Sunday’s race from the third position after winning the first of two duel races on Thursday night. With a price tag of $8,200 on DraftKings and the previous success and experience on NASCAR’s biggest tracks, Keselowski is a driver hard to bet against in my opinion. The optimal thing would be for Keselowski to jump out front and lead some laps early, however either way, if he can avoid trouble, he has a great chance to win this race.

I will also say, there is some risk here. If Brad K runs into trouble and has a poor finish, we’re looking at negative points. Obviously not ideal for anyone playing NASCAR DFS.

Aric Almirola | #10 | Stewert-Haas Racing | $8,000

Stewert-Haas Racing driver Aric Almirola is entering his last season as a full-time driver in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022. Now, if we’re being honest here, Almirola hasn’t been wildly successful in the recent past in the Daytona 500. He has however won here before, first winning a rain shorted 400-mile race at the track in the summer of 2014, as well as one of the duels just last season.

What’s really appealing is the starting position for Sunday. Almirola will roll off the grid in the 38th starting position for the race, making him one of my favorite targets on DK.

Erik Jones | #43 | Petty GMS Racing | $6,000

Using Erik Jones here does scare me quite a bit simply because of his starting position. Jones will start the Daytona 500 from the 13th position on Sunday, meaning if he runs into trouble or falls to the back, he’s going to suffer from a negative position differential. I do however believe he will have a fast car, especially when you consider the additional money brought to the team from the merger with GMS Racing.

If Jones can find his way into the top-10, he will still have a solid day.

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