As if it wasn’t already an abnormal DFS week with Daytona and the unpredictability of these races, NASCAR decided to cancel qualifying on Friday and the starting lineup for Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 is set by the rule book (translation: Owners Points). This means that all of the top drivers over the course of this season are starting up front, and that might alter many people’s DraftKings lineup strategy for Saturday night. Should it, though? We’ll get to that in a little bit.

Here are some helpful links to the qualifying results and practice speeds from this weekend:

DraftKings Strategy Tactics for Daytona 2

Fantasy NASCAR 2018 Big One Daytona Wreck
Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

Avoid the wrecks: that’s what you’re going to be hoping your entire lineup does on Saturday night. And although that’s one of the frustrating things about Fantasy NASCAR at these big superspeedways, it’s still something we have to deal with. Unfortunately you can’t control which drivers get caught up in those messes, but you can make educated guesses on who is more likely to wreck. Just as an example, Brad Keselowski ($10,500) has a DNF rate of 40% at Daytona, as he has wrecked out of 8 of his 20 starts thus far. And considering he already said he would be driving aggressively this weekend, it might be best to avoid him on Saturday night.

As far as other strategy tactics, the cancellation of qualifying really threw a wrench into things this weekend. Typically, I build my DraftKings lineups at Daytona and Talladega with the following breakdown in mind.

  • Top 5 starting spot: almost never
  • Top 10 starting spot: maybe one driver, absolute max of two
  • 11th-24th starting spot: two or three drivers
  • 25th-40th starting spot: two or three drivers

However, with presumably all of the “best” drivers starting up front, that makes it pretty enticing to sway away from that formula. However, let’s take a step back and think about this logically for a second. Brendan Gaughan ($7,200) finishing 20th on Saturday night will net 43 DraftKings points, including +19 place differential points since he starts 39th. In order for, say, Ryan Blaney ($8,300) to hit that mark, he would need to finish 5th, which would score in 44 DraftKings points (including +5 place differential points since he starts 10th).

In other words, even though the majority of the top finishers on Saturday night are probably going to be the “top tier” drivers, I’d still rather follow that formula for lineup building laid out above. If I was going to tweak anything, I’d find more value in those drivers starting between 15th and 25th and try to position myself well with ownerships of those.

GPP Drivers I Love for the Coke Zero Sugar 400

Ryan Newman 2019 Fantasy NASCAR Acorns
Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Ryan Newman ($7,700) – The other Roush-Fenway driver (Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,400)) always gets plenty of attention when the series stops at a superspeedway racetrack, but honestly I’d rather have “The Rocketman.” Over the last five races here at Daytona, Ryan Newman has posted the 3rd-most fastest laps (28) along with the best average finish (11.2). Looking specifically at this season, Newman has put up 22 fastest laps on the superspeedways (the most in the series) and has an average finish of 10.5, which is 6th-best. Now obviously you shouldn’t focus a ton on dominator points when building lineups for Saturday night–especially fastest laps since they’re extremely unpredictable this week–but it is worth noting how consistently fast Newman has been over the years. He starts 18th for this year’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 and has finished inside the top 10 in three of the last four July races here at Daytona.

Ty Dillon ($6,300) – Due to his 23rd-place starting spot, Ty Dillon should be one of the lower-owned DraftKings drivers on Saturday night–and I’m perfectly okay with that. We all know how good his brother, Austin Dillon ($6,600), is on these superspeedway racetracks, but Ty is starting to make a name for himself, too; looking specifically at the July Daytona races over the last two years, the younger Dillon brother ranks 6th in average running position (13.0) and 9th-best in average finish (11.0). This year at Daytona and Talladega, Ty has an average finish of 11.5 and also picked up 10 fastest laps in the Daytona 500. Speaking of which, he leads all drivers in that category over the last five races at Daytona. Again, fastest laps shouldn’t be a main focus this weekend, but those extra half points can definitely make a difference.

Daytona 2 Coke Zero Sugar 400 DraftKings Projections

You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.

***Projected laps led have been removed this week.***

DriverStarting PositionDraftKings SalaryAvg Proj FPTSAvg. Projected FinishDollar Per FPT
Ricky Stenhouse Jr19$7,40051.805.6$143
Alex Bowman9$8,60044.004.8$195
Ryan Newman18$7,70040.410.8$191
Erik Jones17$8,80039.211.2$224
Ryan Blaney10$8,30039.207.4$212
Aric Almirola11$8,40038.608.2$218
Paul Menard20$7,00037.613.2$186
Chris Buescher22$6,80037.614.2$181
Ryan Preece26$6,00036.816.6$163
Michael McDowell28$5,70036.417.8$157
Austin Dillon21$6,60035.015.0$189
Clint Bowyer16$9,30034.412.8$270
Kyle Larson13$9,70034.211.4$284
Joey Logano1$10,20033.206.2$307
Chase Elliott7$9,90032.609.2$304
Brendan Gaughan39$7,20032.225.4$224
Ty Dillon23$6,30030.618.2$206
Kyle Busch2$11,00030.408.4$362
Denny Hamlin6$9,00030.210.2$298
William Byron12$7,60029.613.2$257
David Ragan27$5,60029.420.8$190
Jimmie Johnson14$7,90028.015.0$282
Ross Chastain38$5,10028.027.0$182
Matt Tifft31$5,80027.823.6$209
Brad Keselowski3$10,50027.010.0$389
Bubba Wallace29$5,30027.023.0$196
Kurt Busch8$9,50025.613.2$371
Matt DiBenedetto25$6,40025.421.8$252
Kevin Harvick4$11,30022.013.0$514
Daniel Hemric24$6,10020.423.8$299
Parker Kligerman36$5,40020.429.8$265
Joey Gase40$4,50020.431.8$221
Martin Truex Jr5$10,80018.215.4$593
Daniel Suarez15$8,10017.820.6$455
Landon Cassill33$5,00015.830.6$316
JJ Yeley37$4,60015.432.8$299
Justin Haley34$4,80015.231.4$316
Corey Lajoie30$5,20013.630.2$382
BJ McLeod35$4,70012.233.4$385
Quin Houff32$4,90011.232.4$438
As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.