Fantasy NASCAR Preview: Daytona 500

Fantasy NASCAR Preview: Daytona 500

The 59th running of the Daytona 500 is less than 24 hours away and the drivers and teams are making their last minute preparations for the Great American Race. While the drivers and teams are making their final adjustments, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) players and casual fantasy players alike are setting their rosters ahead of tomorrow’s green flag in Daytona Beach.


Since the start of the 2014 season, there has been only one restrictor plate race that wasn’t won by either Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, or Joey Logano (Aric Almirola’s rain-shortened win at Daytona in July 2014). Suffice it to say, this is a talented group and one would be well-suited to start their fantasy team with one of these drivers.

Earnhardt and Keselowski are the most expensive drivers on DraftKings and also have starting positions in the top seven. Place-differential will be limited for them, but there will be an increased likelihood of laps lead and fastest laps.

As always, keep place-differential as a determining factor when setting your lineup.

Hamlin is the best value in this group from a cost standpoint. He costs $9,600 on DraftKings and is the cheapest of this group. His fourth place starting position will limit-place differential but he could be in for another dominant performance at Daytona.

Logano is $300 more expensive than Hamlin, but a price of $9,900 is a bargain for a proven restrictor plate winner that starts mid-pack (15th). He deserves strong consideration to be the cornerstone of your team.

Value Picks:

Austin Dillon has an impressive Daytona resume that includes five top 10’s and six top 15 finishes in seven career starts there. He costs $8,200 on DraftKings and can give you a lot of “bang for your buck” in restrictor plate races.

Like Dillon, Clint Bowyer boasts a decent restrictor plate resume and comes at an affordable price. At a relatively inexpensive $7,800, Bowyer could potentially afford you some flexibility should you need a competitive car at a decent price.

The biggest hang-up, however, is that Bowyer will start Sunday’s Daytona 500 in sixth, leaving little potential for a place-differential score. Still, Bowyer is in a competitive ride and could be a decent play in the right situation.

Matt Kenseth is another intriguing option at $8,700. He’ll start ninth on Sunday, but has won this race twice before and almost won a third last year. He has shown speed this week and should be in contention on Sunday.

Ones to Watch:

Two drivers starting deep in the field that are excellent options are Martin Truex, Jr. and Ryan Blaney. Truex and Blaney start 35th and 36th, respectively, and have the potential to be the highest scoring drivers of the day.

Bottom Line:

Personally, I think this race will be largely controlled by Earnhardt Jr., Hamlin, and Team Penske. Although Earnhardt is arguably the best restrictor plate driver in the field, his high cost and second-place starting position leave little potential for a high score in DFS. I consider Truex to be as close to a must-start as can be considering his potential for high place-differential.

Disclaimer: Remember, these are just my opinions as far as who I think will perform well and you should still do your own research before setting your team. At the end of the day, you’re responsible for your own team.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Huff (