Fantasy NASCAR: How to win leagues and cash out in DFS
The Sprint Cup Series season drops the green flag near the end of February, and you can play Fantasy Racing on various platforms to enhance your race day experience. Obviously, Daily Fantasy Sports has grown exponentially in this country, but there are still plenty of good seasonal Fantasy formats available as well. We'll touch on a few of the most popular to get you ready for your season and help you into Victory Lane frequently.
NASCAR.com's Fantasy Live
NASCAR.com's Fantasy Live is a free game that lasts for the entire season. You have a salary cap of $100, and you must select a roster of five drivers. Simple, right? Well, not so fast. NASCAR is not going to make it easy, and nearly all of the top-tier drivers will eat up 25 to 28 percent of your alloted salary. That means you can afford one, maybe two, of the top-priced studs, and then you need to know your tracks well and be able to find the sleepers.
The restrictor-plate tracks and road courses might be the easiest tracks to select a competitive lineup, mainly due to the potential of more winners and more cheaper options. The intermediates, flat tracks and short tracks require a lot more studying. It's also a good idea to wait until later in the week to set a lineup, monitoring practice times and qualifying, trying to gain an edge and find a low-priced sleeper you might not have considered earlier in the week. Those No. 4 or 5 drivers are often going to be the difference makers, not the studs who are expected to do well.
[caption id="attachment_67949" align="alignright" width="300"] Joey Logano is quickly becoming a favorite of Fantasy owners for his consistency at many track types. Photo Credit: Daniel E. Dobish[/caption]
Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Racing
For Yahoo! leagues, you must select eight drivers with four starters. This also seems rather simple, but there is more to it. There is a limit to how many times you can use a driver, so you'll want to be very careful not to use your drivers. Each driver has a limit of nine times you are able to use them for the entire season. It's a good idea to do a little background on drivers, reviewing their history and track averages, as well as incorporating NASCAR's Loop Data and Average-Finish Position to help set your lineup. For instance, Jimmie Johnson dominates at Dover, but doesn't have the best numbers among all drivers at restrictor-plate runs. He isn't a bad option there, but you'll want to save him for places like Auto Club, Dover and Martinsville, where he has seemingly been automatic over the years. Don't waste your starts at plate runs and short tracks, where he is not much better than others. Guys like Joey Logano are favorites of Fantasy players because he seems to do well at many different track types, not really struggling at any one type.
Drivers can rack up bonus points by obviously finishing well, and also by leading laps and being the overall lap leader. It's not only important to predict the winner at the end, but the strongest driver for the entirety of each race.
Practice and qualifying, like NASCAR's Fantasy Live above, is also very important. You can find a value in drivers like Chase Elliott, the youngest driver to ever sit on the pole at Daytona. Do your homework and make sure to match drivers with their best track types. And we'll be with you every step of the way with weekly previews to help you set your best lineup.
DraftKings.com DFS Racing
In the Daily Fantasy Sports arena, DraftKings.com has one of the best and most competitive products out there. You might select a roster of six drivers with a salary cap of $50K. That leaves an average of $8,333 per driver, with most of the top-end drivers at or above $9,000 per race. So like NASCAR's Fantasy Live above, you will need to be frugal. You can afford one or two of the top qualifiers, but you'll need a sleeper or two to carry you through.
Finishing Position scoring is very important, obviously, but place differential is also a very important category. If you use a driver starting 39th, and he finishes in the Top 10, this is obviously very good. Know your drivers, and keep an eye on guys who need to start at the back of the pack and have the pedigree to move up a good amount of spots. If they're particularly strong at a certain run, but have to start in the back, chances are they're going to move up through the field rather rapidly and tick off plenty of Place Differential points. While laps led also garners points, it isn't a lot of points. In fact, fastest laps count for twice as many Fantasy points, so if you're locked on to a good driver with a strong car, you're going to earn plenty in that area. Watch for speeds in practice and qualifying, and trust those numbers for when the real race takes place Saturday or Sunday. A little studying goes a long way in determining who has a strong car, making an educated selection rather than depending on historical data alone.
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