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DFS NASCAR: Analyzing My Winning Lineup from a Huge Weekend

A wild Sprint Unlimited finished under caution as a last lap crash in the back of the field forced NASCAR to throw the yellow with approximately half a lap remaining. This handed the win to Denny Hamlin, with Joey Logano, and Paul Menard rounding out the top three.

Fortunately for me, I had very heavy exposure to each of these drivers and took first and second place in both the $100k Victory Lane and $75k Slingshot GPPs on DraftKings. I was even more pleased that one of our readers (and RotoViz NFL contributor) Anthony Amico took down the $25k Hot Rod [3 Entry Max] and several other readers tweeted about their success.

As it turns out, the cash game cut line wasn’t as high as I expected, partially due to the fact that Brian Vickers took away some of the available points, but mainly due to the fact that both Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kevin Harvick were involved in wrecks early in the race. As a result, the cash game cut line was around 245 points instead of the expected 270 points. Still, from my cash game picks, both Jamie McMurray and Logano put up respectable scores, and if you added in either Hamlin, Menard or Kurt Busch, you probably won well over 50 percent of your cash games, even with Harvick or Junior.

I was especially proud of my GPP picks. The top two drivers I listed put up the first and third most DraftKings points on the slate. Along with Logano and McMurray from my cash game picks, drivers I wrote about comprised four of the top five point scorers.

I’ll break down that lineup, and talk about how that can translate to the DraftKings Daytona 500 slate this weekend.

Winning Lineup Breakdown

Here was my GPP winning lineup.


I had the second highest possible scoring lineup; replacing Greg Biffle with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. would have given me two more points for a total of 330.25. The first interesting thing to note is I only spent $48900 of the $50000 salary cap. If you listened to the Sprint Unlimited preview episode of On the Daily DFS, I mentioned a great way to differentiate your lineup is to be well below the salary cap maximum because most people pick three or four drivers they like. They fill out their roster by either using all the available salary or leaving only a few hundred dollars behind. As a result, I had a unique lineup and nobody had the lineup with Stenhouse replacing Biffle.1

To construct this roster, I started with Hamlin, Menard, Logano and McMurray whom I wrote about last week, so I won’t break them down any further. Next, I went with Kurt Busch over Kasey Kahne because he started one spot further back and was $100 cheaper. I really wanted to have a couple of competitive lineups well below the salary cap to be contrarian, so saving anywhere I could helped me do that. Kurt is a fantastic plate driver, so I knew fitting him in several lineups was a priority from his 21st starting position and average salary.

Next I looked at the available options $7700 and below (so I could be $1000 or more below the cap). Of those, Biffle appealed to me because he was starting the farthest back among drivers in that salary range. Additionally, if we use the NASCAR Splits App to view only incident free restrictor plate races since 2013, Biffle has a top 12 driver rating and finishing position among participating drivers. More importantly, he had the highest percentage of fastest laps among those drivers. Biffle lived up to the billing in fastest laps, tying Aric Almirola for fifth most with five. That was just enough to elevate him over Casey Mears. The lineup with Mears in place of Biffle was rostered in the $75k GPP, so I’m glad Biffle racked up three fastest laps more than Mears, accounting for the 1.5 extra DK points Biffle scored over Mears.

Proper Roster Construction

I definitely got lucky that all of these drivers pulled in strong finishes, there’s no doubt about that. But you have to put yourself in position to be lucky, with proper roster construction. There were far too many people entering lineups that had no chance to win from the start, with poor roster construction. To illustrate what one of those lineups looked like, I threw in a single entry into the $75k that I’d never normally enter to show what poor roster construction looks like.


Here, we see far too many drivers starting too far forward. Four of my six slots had drivers starting 10th or better, with Menard and Harvick being the only drivers starting far enough back to have the potential for a significant amount of place differential. This lineup was dead from the start.

Don’t make this mistake for the DraftKings Daytona 500 contests. You’ll need at least five, and probably six drivers to make positive place differential to have a shot at taking down a GPP for the DraftKings Daytona 500 slate.

Continuing Daytona 500 Coverage

Don’t miss out on our continuing Daytona 500 coverage here at RotoViz. We’ll have the following content out throughout the week week:

  • DraftKings Daytona 500 Strategy Article
  • DraftKings Daytona 500 Picks (Cash and GPP) and Machine Learning model projections
  • Updated NASCAR Splits App (after DraftKings driver salaries)
  • On the Daily DFS Podcast with strategy and picks for the Daytona 500

Additionally, I will be appearing as a guest on the following podcasts this week:

  1. which would have saved another $700 to be $1800 below the salary cap  (back)
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