NASCAR DFS Picks, Fades, Projections for Daytona

After a huge NASCAR DFS weekend for me where I profited over $10k, we’re looking to repeat not only last week, but also last year’s Daytona July race DFS performance, where I profited over $20k. As always, I’ll give you my NASCAR DFS picks, fades, and projections for the race. Also, the NASCAR DFS Multi-Lineup Optimizer, Sim Scores, and Splits apps are updated for your NASCAR DFS needs.

For betting insights into the race, be sure to check out my piece at The Action Network. In that article, I’ll highlight my favorite NASCAR bets to win for Daytona. Also, be sure to check out Matthew Freedman’s article on the top prop bets for Saturday night’s race.

If you’re new to daily fantasy NASCAR, or simply need a refresher, check out the restrictor plate section of my track types article. Brush up on your general GPP strategy and game theory if you want to have a shot at taking down first place. If you’re more of a cash game player, check out how to target high floor drivers, but this weekend you don’t have to worry too much about potential race dominators.

Let’s get to the NASCAR DFS picks and projections for Daytona!


The model projections assume that the driver finishes the race with the main pack – hence why you don’t see any average finishing positions lower than about 23rd.

Chase Elliott19.528.844.1130.23980015.0%
Alex Bowman211.757.213.2125.9176007.4%
Brad Keselowski39.8020.772.8534.011100017.5%
Jimmie Johnson411.354.982.9328.02850010.3%
Kevin Harvick510.3017.522.7734.171010015.5%
Ricky Stenhouse Jr610.119.673.3033.84900012.7%
Ryan Newman711.973.023.6129.6271009.3%
Michael McDowell817.152.672.8819.8057003.6%
Clint Bowyer910.323.902.6634.6783009.5%
Austin Dillon1013.202.712.7629.66780010.1%
Joey Logano1110.2416.413.7440.501070021.1%
Ryan Blaney1210.6414.464.7440.70920020.4%
Martin Truex Jr1310.771.993.3637.64960017.0%
Kyle Larson1410.421.533.4039.25940021.0%
Kyle Busch1511.076.943.7940.481000023.3%
Brendan Gaughan1615.251.584.3732.0955005.2%
Denny Hamlin1710.188.132.9244.131030028.7%
William Byron1813.043.733.5438.62720011.1%
Ty Dillon1913.880.853.3337.1263007.3%
Trevor Bayne2016.050.874.5534.4068007.6%
David Ragan2117.040.973.3232.8366008.5%
Bubba Wallace2212.981.334.8042.77640016.9%
Kurt Busch2312.353.194.5045.35880020.3%
AJ Allmendinger2415.110.863.6739.82600017.8%
Chris Buescher2514.080.602.6942.34580014.1%
Aric Almirola2611.001.644.6650.73870039.7%
Jamie McMurray2716.800.633.0139.07800025.6%
Kasey Kahne2816.651.172.5040.23620012.2%
Erik Jones2911.156.153.4753.97810034.6%
Paul Menard3010.121.303.1355.66740037.7%
Matt DiBenedetto3114.810.972.5346.89540016.2%
Daniel Suarez3211.980.912.8353.68690037.0%
Ross Chastain3319.120.444.2340.99520010.4%
Jeffrey Earnhardt3420.680.362.3937.9244003.3%
D.J. Kennington3523.070.342.4734.1845002.2%
Joey Gase3620.250.332.5240.8448006.8%
Landon Cassill3723.570.353.9335.9250004.4%
Corey Lajoie3821.090.342.5641.1849007.5%
Ray Black Jr3923.230.132.1637.6546004.2%
JJ Yeley4023.010.201.8338.9547007.2%

Now let’s dive into the NASCAR DFS picks!


Daniel Suarez ($6900) — Being the driver that qualified the furthest back among all drivers that run for a major team, Suarez becomes an auto-start in cash games. Suarez has made six career restrictor plate starts in the Cup Series, and has posted respectable results. His two worst results at plate races came in both 2017 and 2018’s Daytona 500, but other than that, he has posted finishes between 10th and 19th in all four other plate races. All you’re looking for from a guy that starts this far back is a solid finish, which Suarez has done in his incident-free races.

Paul Menard ($7400) — Whenever NASCAR heads to a plate race, Menard’s name always pops up. Menard has chances to win this year’s Daytona 500, and nearly pulled off a stunning win in this exact race last year, before finishing in third place. My Paul Menard pick last year is what won myself, and other RotoViz readers, tens of thousands of dollars. He’s a fine play in all formats this weekend, and should be highly owned.

Aric Almirola ($8700) — I love the Fords given they’ve been the best manufacturer at plate races this year, and with Almirola you’re getting a driver that has race winning upside. After all, he nearly won the Daytona 500 earlier this year, and then went from 40th to seventh at Talladega this year. Almirola is absolutely in consideration for cash games as well. Almirola also has a high floor starting back in 26th place, and has generally avoided the big-one at plate races. He has a top-16 finish in 13 of his past 16 plate races.


Chris Buescher ($5800) — I’m not sure people realize just how good Buescher has been at plate races recently, which could keep his ownership percentage down relative to other drivers in his starting range. Buescher has finished 17th or better in each of his last five plate races, including a fifth-place finish at Daytona earlier this year. Prior to last year, he was a rookie on a (then) lesser-funded team. Thus, his five race plate streak encompasses five of the six races for his current team, JTG Daugherty Racing.

A.J. Allmendinger ($6000) — You can absolutely stack teammates this weekend, and a Buescher/Allmendinger pairing isn’t out of the question. Over the same six-race span as Buescher, Allmendinger has three top-10 finishes at plate races, including two in which both he and Buescher finished inside the top 10. While the ownership percentage should gravitate toward Suarez, Erik Jones, and Jamie McMurray, similar upside exists for these two lesser heralded drivers at a lower cost, and likely lower ownership.

Matt DiBenedetto ($5400) — I could recommend some bigger names, but I’d rather recommend this smaller name for my lineups instead. As we know, place differential is king, and DiBenedetto has put up some awesome place differential numbers at plate races in his career. Last year he finished 13th in this very race after starting 28th, and earlier this year at Talladega he finished 19th after starting 33rd. In fact, in his four incident-free plate races since joining Go Fas Racing last year, DiBenedetto has an average start of 28th and an average finish of 14.8. He starts 31st this weekend. Although he has lesser upside than Suarez, Menard, and Jones, DiBenedetto’s upside is really only significantly less than Menard’s upside. Jones and Suarez should draw significantly higher ownership at only a slight upside increase over DiBenedetto.


Austin Dillon ($7800) — Yes, Dillon won the Daytona 500, but he did so leading exactly one lap. In fact, he led less than half a lap, and had to wreck the car in front of him just to win. But here’s a fun fact: Dillon’s Daytona 500 winning run was only the 27th-best plate performance so far in 2018 as measured by Driver Rating. In other words, he didn’t run all that well, and simply survived from his 14th place starting position to be in position to win. That could happen again this weekend, but I wouldn’t bet on that much luck. He starts in an even worse 10th place starting position on Saturday night.

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Co-Owner and Editor-in-Chief at RotoViz
Co-Owner and Editor-in-Chief at RotoViz. Mathematics Ph.D. 3x qualifier for the DraftKings NASCAR Main Event.
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