Drivers are in for a brand new style of racing on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway (3:00 p.m. ET, FOX).
The 1.54-mile track has been repaved and reconfigured, and NASCAR has implemented the same rules package that cars use at Daytona and Talladega. The resulting racing should produce a blend of drafting-style racing and intermediate track racing.
As a result, I would recommend dialing back the amount of bankroll you allocate to this DFS slate.
One thing is clear; cars should be able to hang out in a pack. That means even the usually weaker cars have a chance to make progress.
Thus, I’m treating this race mostly like a superspeedway for DFS purposes. That means almost every driver starting in the back half of the field is a good play.
As such, for my tournament picks, I will not pick obvious names like Brad Keselowski or Bubba Wallace because I think they will be incredibly chalky. That doesn’t make them bad plays. They just likely to be overplayed.
Let’s dive into my NASCAR DFS picks for Atlanta.
Fold of Honor QuikTrip 500 DraftKings DFS Cash Game Picks
- Harrison Burton ($6400): Burton races for the Penske-affiliated Wood Brothers Racing. That means he’ll have no problem hanging with the pack. Look for him to move forward by the end of the race as long as he survives any wrecks. He’s the safest play on the slate.
- Michael McDowell ($6600): The 2021 Daytona 500 winner will roll off from the 29th position on Sunday. That gives him ample place differential potential. Look for McDowell to run inside the top 10 at various points in the race.
- Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7100): Stenhouse has been strong all year at intermediate and superspeedway races. That means he should be strong again on Sunday. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him challenge for the win.
Fold of Honor QuikTrip 500 DraftKings DFS Tournament Picks
- Corey LaJoie ($5300): LaJoie has always been good at superspeedway racing, with four top-10 finishes in his career at these races. He may go a little under-used because people may focus on David Ragan instead. Ragan ended up in the optimal lineup for the Daytona 500. But LaJoie is just as strong and could be under-played.
- Christopher Bell ($7700): Bell has burned a lot of DFS players with wrecks or spins in every race of the 2022 season. If that makes people afraid to use him, we should jump all over that opportunity. Bell is in top-tier equipment, which means he has just as good a shot as anyone to finish up front. Even if this races a bit like an intermediate race, Bell was one of the fastest cars at Las Vegas.
- Erik Jones ($6900): Jones has been fantastic this year at the intermediate tracks, and he ran up front at various points in the Daytona 500 before getting caught up in one of the many wrecks. The combination of his prowess at both styles in 2022 means he’s a solid DFS play. I expect users to gravitate more toward the chalkier drivers like Keselowski, Wallace, or Martin Truex, Jr., leaving Jones under-rostered.
Fold of Honor QuikTrip 500 Paul Menard Pick of the Week
The Paul Menard Pick of the Week is somebody I’ve never written about in eight years of writing NASCAR DFS articles.
Earlier I wrote about how I liked Corey LaJoie. Well, Josh Bilicki ($5000) is LaJoie’s teammate. If we think LaJoie can hang with the pack, there’s no reason Bilicki shouldn’t be able to either.
People associate Bilicki with bottom-tier equipment, but he’s not in the worst of the worst now.
Bilicki is not a very good driver, but as long as you can hang with the pack, you have a shot at a decent finish.
Bilicki ended up 13th out of 34 drivers that made a 10-lap run. While I don’t put much stock in practice speed at superspeedway style racing, the main thing I’m looking for here with Bilicki is he showed he can definitely hang in the draft.
I think he’ll be in less than 10% of lineups, but my projections put him in the optimal lineup 15.6% of the time.
In fact, if you subtract projected usage from his optimal lineup percentage, Bilicki comes in as the most undervalued driver.
Playing Bilicki in up to 20% of your lineups is quite reasonable if you think, as I do, that he won’t be in enough DFS lineups.