NASCAR DFS: NASCAR Cup Series Championship

NASCAR DFS: NASCAR Cup Series Championship

by November 6, 2021 0 comments

It is now the second year in a row that the NASCAR Cup Series concludes in Phoenix. This year’s Championship four will feature four drivers competing for the title: returning winner Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Larson. While all four drivers this weekend have stories to tell, Hamlin is still without a championship and may see this as one of his last chances to win one.

Last weekend at Martinsville, fantasy owners enjoyed a 500-lap race that resulted in many drivers bringing home plenty of points. There are 312 laps in this event, which is still solid value when looking at dominating potential. In using DraftKings, 312 laps are equal to 218.4 dominator points. To have the best chance of winning, one needs at least two drivers who can each lead a good portion of the laps (and fastest laps). Qualifying starts at 7 p.m. sharp on Saturday, so the determination of the running order for Sunday’s race is a little more confined than most weeks. Truex Jr. won this race in March after overcoming an early collision with the wall.

This week, the Money Train delves into the DFS options for Sunday’s Cup Series event in Phoenix, AZ. The selections are broken down between high salary, mid-range, and value play. Included are player salaries from both FanDuel (FD) and DraftKings (DK). Best of luck to everyone with lineups this weekend.

High Salary

Kyle Larson (14,500 FD | 11,500 DK)

Larson did fall back to earth at Martinsville a bit after dominating the first two of three round of eight races. He led 77 laps, but that wasn’t enough to warrant the price tag. Nevertheless, it would be remiss not to mention this young fella for the championship four, considering the way he has been racing throughout these playoffs. At Phoenix, Larson has not yet produced a dominant performance (his most laps led in a race was 56). The majority of his last nine visits have been admirable. In five of those races, he has finished fourth or better. Additionally, he has earned 18 stages points over the last pair of desert races. As much as is at stake heading into this race, expect Larson to bring the speed to challenge for that pole position. Having been the perennial favorite for most of the season, he is aware of what it’s going to take.

Kyle Busch (11,500 FD | 9,800 DK)

It was an impressive late effort at Martinsville in those waning laps, as Busch threw everything but the kitchen sink in order to finish runner-up. Even though his performance was admirable, it wasn’t enough to get him through. Having only just missed out on the championship four, he let his emotions get the best of him post-race. At least he gets to end the season at a track where he has the best statistics among all the series drivers over the last three seasons. Only Joey Logano can say he’s given Rowdy a run for his money. Despite leading over 400 laps apiece, Logano hasn’t been showing much steam to make me think he can give Busch a challenge this weekend. In order to compete against Larson on Sunday, a top-four qualifying spot is necessary.

Mid-Range

Matt DiBenedetto (7,700 FD | 7,900 DK)

If this is DiBenedetto’s last Cup Series race, it’s time to make the most of it. DiBenedetto’s last four visits to Phoenix have been solid. During that period, he has never fallen outside of the top 14. In fact, over his last two attempts, he has finished first in both of the first two stages. If he stumbles in qualifying, bringing another racecar that can compete for a top 14 could be well worth it. When you have drivers like Larson and Busch as your potential dominators, you also need a couple of drivers like DiBenedetto to add variety. If he qualifies 25th, that’s potentially a dozen place-differential points on top of some fastest laps sprinkled in.

Value Play

Cole Custer (6,000 FD | 6,600 DK)

Custer had a rather humdrum day at Martinsville. To his credit, he managed to stay out of trouble but still finished 23rd. In the weeks leading up to Martinsville, Custer had run three top 18s in a row. Despite not being quite at that next level yet, Custer has quietly been posting solid enough production for a back-end fantasy driver. While his last two visits to Phoenix have been uneventful, keep in mind that he finished ninth here as a Cup rookie. Depending on the qualifying position, Custer might be a suitable differential play for a team. For the price, consider stashing him on a few rosters.


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