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NASCAR DFS Xfinity Series Preview | Ag-Pro 300 | Talladega Superspeedway

Nascar DFS Xfinity

NASCAR DFS Xfinity Series Preview | Ag-Pro 300 | Talladega Superspeedway

By: Dustin Maybin (@CUPharmDFS)

Another week, another unpredictable track… The April schedule is arguably the toughest stretch of the season for NASCAR DFS with Bristol Dirt and Talladega back-to-back.The positive part of it though is that these tracks tend to produce some of the most exciting racing to watch! Talladega Superspeedway is a 2.66 mile high-banked oval, known for its high speeds and wild multi-car crashes. There is seldom a Talladega race without “The Big One” wiping out several contenders. Though it varies somewhat, Daytona is the only true comparable track to Talladega since both utilize the same package and rely on drafting to have success.

You may remember from Daytona in February that there is a distinct DFS strategy for superspeedway races: “stack the back” which refers to rostering only drivers starting in the back half of the field. While it’s the optimal strategy for winning cash games, there is more risk required if you want to earn a GPP takedown at this track type. Take a look at the DK Matrix below (found in the NASCAR Study Hub) to see what I mean!

NASCAR DFS Xfinity Series Preview

As you can see, when drivers start further toward the back, they have the potential for higher DFS scores (green) and less chances of low or even negative point totals (red).

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Lineup Construction

Roster at least 2 drivers starting 30th or worse.

Stacking the back is still partly essential to DFS success at superspeedways. Over the past 9 superspeedway races, optimal lineups have featured 2 or more drivers starting 30th or worse eight times (88.9%). Of the remaining lineups, two included 2 drivers in this range. 40% of top 6 DraftKings scores at Daytona or Talladega over the past 25 races came from drivers starting 30th to 40th. Of those in this range who have had strong fantasy performances, it’s a mixed bag of known names and no-names, so playing the lesser known drivers is a great way of gaining leverage on the field.

Roster no more than 2 drivers starting in the top 15.

Over the past 11 Xfinity Series races at Talladega, there has only been one instance of 3 or more drivers starting 15th or better and achieving a top 6 DraftKings score. This makes sense given that there is less potential for place differential upside than those starting farther back and that these tracks invite carnage resulting in poor DFS scores.

Limit exposure to (or fade) drivers starting in the top 5.

There are very few sights more beautiful than a black #3 car driven by an Earnhardt sitting up front at Talladega. It’s also exciting for DFS purposes too! Due to typical lineup construction, some players just can’t help themselves; they have to play the polesitter. Add in the Earnhardt narrative and ownership could balloon to approximately 15%. Considering drivers starting 5th or better have achieved a top 6 fantasy score just 6.7% of the time over the past 25 superspeedway races, I’ll gladly fade Jeffrey Earnhardt and be very underweight on those starting in the top 5.

Pairing teammates from elite teams can be an effective strategy.

At Daytona and Talladega, having a drafting partner is crucial to have any type of success. What better partner to have than a teammate? In recent years, drivers have started working mainly with those driving for the same manufacturer, meaning utilizing the same pit strategy and running bumper-to-bumper with each other on the racetrack. While it could be risky since they could be involved in a wreck together, teammates also have the potential to finish 1st and 2nd and potentially both land in the optimal lineup.

Of the five drivers to start in the top 5 and make the optimal lineup since 2013, four of them were paired with a teammate. Elite teams tend to have higher likelihood of winning the race at Talladega as 21 of the past 23 winners have driven for a powerhouse Xfinity Series team, such as JR Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing, or Kaulig Racing.

Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Some of the best lineups at Talladega are also some of the ugliest. Do not be afraid to leave salary on the table. Two of the past three optimal lineups at Talladega have left over $5,000 on the table. Along those same lines, it’s okay to roster drivers who you’ve never heard of, who have subpar track history, or have performed poorly recently. Building these lineups can be uncomfortable, but winning isn’t.

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Final Lap

If playing cash games, the best strategy is to truly “stack the back” and avoid all drivers starting in the top 20 in order to minimize risk. The goal is to miss more wrecks and negative point totals than the other DFS players to hit the cash line. In single entry tournaments, rostering 4 or 5 drivers starting worse than 15th regardless of ownership with a few pivots tends to be the best strategy. If playing GPPs, set exposures to no more than 50% for each driver, gradually lowering that percentage as you move to drivers starting closer to the front.

Best of luck! If you have any questions, feel free to follow me on Twitter or hit me up in the Team Rise or Fall Discord!