Denny Hamlin Needs to be in All DFS Lineups
Anything can happen at Talladega Superspeedway. Volatility equals unpredictability, and being that this is a column dedicated to making predictions, there’s a clear conflict. So the way I recommend Fantasy owners approach ‘Dega week is to spread their resources out to improve the probability of success. At a risky track like Talladega, a cautious approach needs to be employed, especially this close to the end of the season.
Denny Hamlin ($9,000) has been a restrictor-plate master the last few years. He won in May 2014, leading 12 laps. In fact, he’s led at least one lap in each of his last three starts. But the most impressive stats Hamlin brandishes heading into the weekend is his place-differential in his last three races, a sparkling +61 with no differential in any of those races coming in worse than +8. Hamlin sits a comfortable second in #TheChase standings and has the luxury of running this race relatively stress free. He’s being undervalued on DraftKings and is a very solid Tiered/Grouping format play this weekend.
Jamie McMurray ($8,100) is typically a boom-bust option in restrictor-plate races, but with his DFS valuation coming in under the average ($8,333) he’s worth betting on. I just want to be clear about the boom-bust thing – he’s either winning or he’s finishing outside the Top 10. In 12 starts at ‘Dega since November 2009, McMurray has two wins (2009, 2013), three Top 2s and zero Top 10s. The silver lining here is the potential for laps led is very positive, as he’s gotten out front at least once in nine of his last 12 starts. McMurray also makes a nice Tiered/Grouping format play.
In the two Talladega races prior to finishing 30th in the May event, Clint Bowyer ($7,600) had posted back-to-back Top 3 finishes with a place-differential of +54. Not too shabby. Going back to 2010, Bowyer enjoyed an incredible hot streak at the site with two wins (2010, 2011) and three Top 2s while leading at least 19 laps in all three races. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Bowyer ranks second in Fastest Laps Run (105). The upside is there for a Top 5 finish. I love the price tag in DFS, and I expect him to max out his value in the other formats as well.
It feels like Ryan Newman ($7,700) is underpriced every week. Dating back to June, Newman has finished 23rd-or-better in every race. That makes his weekly downside very limited, and his weekly potential very intriguing. In his last four starts at Talladega, Newman has one Top 5 and three Top 10s with an Average Finish of 9.8. I like him in all formats except for Tiered/Grouping, where he’s [unfortunately] grouped with the A-List.
Ryan Blaney’s ($5,700) DFS valuations have finally dropped to where they should be, and Fantasy owners need to recognize the significant value he presents. He’s fresh off a seventh-place finish a week ago at Kansas Speedway. He also finished fourth in the May event at Talladega. Of all the upside/value plays on the DFS board, this one is the tastiest. This is one of the few times a year there is legitimate Top 5 upside at a 30 percent discount on DraftKings. Don’t miss it.
David Gilliland ($5,700) has posted one Top 2 (2013) and two Top 10s in his last five starts at Talladega. Additionally, he’s led at least one lap in each of his last three starts. Of all the venues and track types on the circuit, Gilliland easily provides the best bang for your Fantasy buck at restrictor-plate events. He’s worth his weight in gold across all formats.
Michael Waltrip ($5,400) returns for the last of his four race schedule which have all been restrictor-plate events. In nine starts from 2006 to 2010, Waltrip led at least one lap in every start. In the May 2013 race, he posted a fourth-place finish. I doubt he has that kind of upside this time around, but at a track this volatile anything is on the table. One thing working in Waltrip’s favor is that since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, he leads all drivers in Fastest Laps Run (2005). Most of Waltrip’s accolades and success came before Loop Data was measured, so the fact that he’s leading anything says a lot about his Fantasy viability. Waltrip is a bargain in DFS, but is an even better Fantasy value in Tiered/Grouping formats and Salary Cap leagues.
Here are my Fantasy NASCAR lineups for this week:
NASCAR Fantasy Live
|Martin Truex Jr.|
Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing
|Denny Hamlin||Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
|B-List||Clint Bowyer||Paul Menard||Jamie McMurray|
|C-List||Ryan Blaney||Michael Waltrip|
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