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Echopark Automotive Grand Prix: Top-5 NASCAR DFS Targets at COTA

Nascar DFS Top 5 Draftkings

The NASCAR Cup Series, (and NASCAR DFS) return to Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas for just the second time ever, this weekend. Last year’s inaugural event saw a lot of rain and a lot of action with Chase Elliot picking up the win following the weather causing the race to be cut short. Elliott looks to make it back-to-back wins at COTA on Sunday, and is the Vegas favorite as we head towards today’s race.

COTA is 3.4 miles in length, features 20 turns, over 130ft of elevation changes, and has been the host of the United States Grand Prix for nine years running. This has quickly become one of the stops I circle on the calendar when the NASCAR schedule is released because the racing is great, the facility is absolutely beautiful, and road courses are a good chance for all of us to make some money in NASCAR DFS and on Draftkings.

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NASCAR DFS Strategy

When I started watching racing in the late 1990s, there were a small handful of drivers that could realistically contend for wins on road courses, and even then all those drivers had to beat Jeff Gordon. Over the last few years, we have seen a lot more drivers hone their skills in these types of events, meaning selecting a likely dominator or two is nowhere near as easy. Still, the previously mentioned son of Bill Elliott is probably going to find his way to the front during the race. I expect both he and Kyle Larson to be highly sought after.

While I will have Chase in many of my lineups, I think place differential will also be key to making some dough. Once again, the course measures 3.426 miles in length, making it one of the longest on the schedule. Due to the length of the track, there will be 68 laps completed, which works out to 17 points on DraftKings. It doesn’t leave dominators with a lot of meat on the bone.

With that said, the weather is looking beautiful in Austin today, one of my favorite WWE wrestlers of all time, The Undertaker, is driving the pace car and I’m feeling good about the race.

So, let’s just jump right in!

Top-5 NASCAR DFS Targets on DraftKings for COTA

Chase Elliott | #9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet | $10,500

There are 41 active drivers with at least one career NASCAR Cup Series start at a road course. Forty of those drivers not named Chase Elliott have combined for 20 wins in 781 starts. Elliott has seven wins in 19 starts, including a staggering six in 12 starts since 2019. In those same 12 starts, Elliot also has nine top-5s, nine top-10s, ten top-20s, and 281 laps led. While he will absolutely be chalky, you don’t want to be the one on the outside looking in if you fail to roster him.

I’m not against a line or two without him in large field GPPs, but in single entry and cash, don’t overthink it. His win rate on tracks that also require lefthand turns is 40%.

Martin Truex Jr | #19 Joe Gibbs Toyota | $9,700

We’re going back to the well with Martin Truex Jr again this week after starting 26th at Atlanta and finishing the race in p.8. He may not start in the mid-20s today, but he does start 17th, meaning when he makes his way into the top-10, we will still score plenty of place differential bonus points in NASCAR DFS.

MTJ has been a solid road course racer in the latter half of his career, racking up five top-5s, eight top-10s, ten top-20s, and recording one win over his last 12 starts on this style of race track with 109 laps led.

AJ Allmendinger | #16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet | $8,800

As we start to make our way below the $9k mark in NASCAR DFS pricing on DraftKings, things get really nice as we see AJ Allmendinger at $8,800. The Dinger won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at this same track, and will likely be a favorite for Sunday’s race as well. Over his last five Cup Series appearances on road courses, he has one win, two top-5s, and three top-10s.

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What I like the most here, is his starting position of p.20, meaning if he has a good race, the opportunity for more position differential points is there. He’s a road course ace, and is great for both GPPs and cash builds.

Erik Jones | #43 Petty-GMS Chevrolet | $7,400

During Erik Jones’ COTA debut last season, he wasn’t fantastic, but he was solid enough to help you score points at a bargain price. Five of the seven races Jones ran on a road course last season saw him best his starting position. His best finish was seventh at Indy, which he started as deep as 29th. In the last 10 road races, Jones completed every lap but one. He needs to stay on the lead lap today to be profitable for NASCAR DFS.

He starts 30th, so it could be tough. If he can keep his car on track, however, he could score us some solid bonus points. The Petty-GMS cars have shown both speed and potential this year. Hopefully, that continues today.

Michael McDowell | #34 Front Row Motorsports Ford | $6,200

There are a lot of interesting NASCAR DFS possibilities, both priced under $6k and starting 30th or worse. I considered Todd Gilliland, Corey Lajoie, Ty Dillon, and road course ringers, Andy Lally and Joey Hand. After some more research, I decided to avoid all of those guys in favor of Michael McDowell. McDowell will roll off the grid from p.27 this afternoon, and finished the inaugural race in 7th place last year.

While matching that feat will undoubtedly be difficult, He remains a patient driver, unlikely to overdrive his car. All of these drivers are a gamble, but McDowell feels the safest of the bunch.

Good luck on Sunday afternoon! Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @Nate_FFL and @TeamRiseOrFall for continued NASCAR DFS coverage and advice, as well as any late-breaking news prior to the green flag at COTA. Also, be sure to check out all the other great NASCAR DFS content at TeamRiseOrFall.com.

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