DraftKings NASCAR DFS Advice: Bristol
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“It’s Bristol, Baby!” If you’re a long time NASCAR fan, you know exactly what in store this Sunday as the Cup Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway. If you’re new to the sport, or maybe you just enjoy putting together DFS lineups, I highly suggest that you tune in this Sunday! The high-banked half-mile short track is one a unique stop along the NASCAR circuit, and it offers non-stop action all race long.
Before we dive into this week’s drivers to target and avoid, you’ll want to note that unlike the past couple weeks, the Cup Series is only scheduled for one race this week, on its traditional Sunday afternoon.
Another note to be aware of when setting lineups this week is that we have advance notice of the starting positions. The field was set by a random draw in groups of 12 based on the current points positioning. So based on this, the premier teams will start up front, and the more underfunded cars will start toward the rear. This will mean less of an opportunity for those “chalk” plays to capitalize on easy place differential points.
Drivers to Target
Kyle Busch (#18, Joe Gibbs Racing)
DraftKings Price: $12,500
Starting Position: 7th
Carrying the most expensive salary for Sunday’s contest, Kyle Busch should be the driver to beat this Sunday at Bristol. This is one of those situations where looking for value might cost you the chance of finishing in the money if you try to get too cute. Busch has won three of the past five races at Bristol and has led a combined 374 laps over that span, which is second-most among active drivers. Busch is a strong play every week, but if ever you pay up for the most expensive driver, this is the week to do it.
Ryan Blaney (#12, Team Penske)
DraftKings Price: $8,600
Starting Position: 4th
I know Blaney will be starting up front, so maybe his Sunday price tag is based on the limited upside of place differential points, but you shouldn’t worry about that. Coming in with just the 11th-highest salary, Blaney should be a popular pick this week. Blaney has been a monster at Bristol since joining Team Penske, and he’s notched three straight top-10 finishes. But even that number doesn’t tell the entire story of how good Blaney has been at this track recently. With 379 laps led, no active driver has led more laps than Blaney over the past four races. He’s even led 100-plus in three of them! I’d be sure to have him in my lineup on Sunday.
Matt DiBenedetto (#21, Wood Brothers Racing)
DraftKings Price: $7,100
Starting Position: 9th
Another driver who might lack the place differential upside on Sunday but should still be in your lineup is Matt DiBenedetto. Starting just inside the top-10 limits some of his potential points, but I expect DiBenedetto to run well at Bristol. He’s shown promise here the past in far lesser equipment. After a near Cinderella story victory the last time the Cup Series raced at Bristol, Matty D took home a second-place finish and led 90 laps. Priced at just $7,100, 19th among this week’s drivers, he’s a nice value with some upside.
Christopher Bell (#95, Leavine Family Racing)
DraftKings Price: $7,300
Starting Position: 35th
Both Christopher Bell and Bubba Wallace should be popular options on Sunday after drawing poor starting positions deep in the field. However, if I’m looking to target one of those drivers for some easy place differential points, it’s Christopher Bell. Bell’s price tag is a bit higher than a few other drivers on more well-funded teams, but I think Bell could return a solid finish — well ahead of where he’s starting on Sunday. Even though this rookie will be seeing Bristol for the first time in a Cup car, he has had success at this track as a former winner here in the Xfinity Series.
John Hunter Nemechek (#38, Front Row Motorsports)
DraftKings Price: $5,500
Starting Position: 18th
I usually only put four drivers in each section, but here’s a bonus play. John Hunter Nemechek has been impressive so far in his rookie season, but the 18th starting position could be why DraftKings gave him the 30th-highest salary for Sunday. Nemechek has been far better than the other drivers in his price range, and if you’re paying up for Kyle Busch, Nemechek is a fine flyer for under $6,000. Just like Christopher Bell, this will be Nemechek’s first Cup Series start at Bristol. However, Nemechek has had success here in NASCAR’s lower series with two top-5 finishes in the Xfinity Series. He’s also scored top-10 finishes in five of his six Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts at Bristol.
Driver to Avoid
Martin Truex, Jr. (#19 Joe Gibbs Racing)
DraftKings Price: $9,400
Starting Position: 5th
After featuring Truex as a driver to target last week at Charlotte, he’s someone I’m avoiding at Bristol. Truex comes in with the 8th highest salary for Sunday’s race at $9,400 and a fifth-place starting position. Both of these factors would make me hesitant to put Truex in any lineups this week, but in addition to that, Bristol has not been a strong track for Truex recently. With an average finish of 19.8 over the last six Bristol Cup Series races — ranking him 18th among active drivers — Truex has failed to finish inside the top-12 in the previous five races at this track. He’s a big-name driver I’m avoiding this week.
Matt Kenseth (#42 Chip Ganassi Racing)
DraftKings Price: $8,100
Starting Position: 14th
After a solid 10th-place finish in his first race back in over a year, Matt Kenseth has had a rough time over the past three races. He’s failed to finish better than 23rd. Kenseth is a talented driver, and he proved a lot of people (including myself) wrong in that first race out. But we’ve definitely seen some of that learning curve that comes with adapting to a new team. Kenseth has shown success throughout his career at Bristol, but the last time he was in a car at this track was back in 2017. With the 13th-highest salary this week, I’d rather wait and see Kenseth get in a rhythm with his new team before I trust him in my lineup.
Aric Almirola (#10 Stewart Haas Racing)
DraftKings Price: $6,700
Starting Position: 2nd
The low price tag for Aric Almirola should jump out at you, as he’s ranked ninth in the series standings! That said, there are a few reasons why you should avoid the temptation of playing him this week. The first is fairly clear: he’s rolling off from the second starting position. Now, with some of the drivers that we mentioned before, starting up front isn’t always an automatic “hands-off,” but in Almirola’s case, it might be. Another reason to avoid Almirola this week is his lack of recent success at this track. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has just one finish inside the top-20 over his last six races at Bristol Motor Speedway, and he’s only lead two laps during that time. Even if Almirola can improve on his recent results, he’d have to pull a full 180 to avoid negative place differential points.
Chris Buescher (#17 Roush Fenway Racing)
DraftKings Price: $5,800
Starting Position: 19th
Another driver whose price tag seems lower than usual this week is Chris Buescher. With a salary of just $5,800, 27th among this week’s drivers, Buescher would appear to be a great value this Sunday. However, even with a mid-pack starting position, I might look to avoid him this week. Buescher hasn’t had much success at this track, having only one finish inside the top-15 in his career here, which came back in 2016. Based on his equipment, the value could still be there, but I’d lean toward the even cheaper John Hunter Nemechek.