DFS NASCAR: Quaker State 400

DFS NASCAR: Quaker State 400

This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.

Quaker State 400

Location: Hampton, Ga.
Course: Atlanta Motor Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile quad-oval
Laps: 260

Race Preview

Atlanta Motor Speedway's rough surface produced an exciting finish for the NASCAR Cup Series earlier this season. Kyle Larson dominated the day by leading 269 laps, but he didn't have enough equipment left to hold off Ryan Blaney who made the pass and led the final nine laps to claim his only 2021 victory so far this season. The race featured just two unscheduled caution periods, which allowed the fastest cars to stretch their legs versus the competition. Fantasy players should expect something similar this week, as the series begins its return trips to many tracks as the regular season winds down to the start of the championship playoffs. With just six races to go before that battle gets underway, Kurt Busch holds the final transfer position with a 25-point gap back to Chris Buescher in 17th.

Key Stats at Atlanta Motor Speedway

  • Number of races: 114
  • Winners from pole: 14
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 62
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 89
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 8
  • Fastest race: 166.633 mph

Previous 10 Atlanta Winners

2021 spring - Ryan Blaney
2020 - Kevin Harvick
2019 - Brad Keselowski
2018 - Kevin Harvick
2017 - Brad Keselowski
2016 - Jimmie Johnson
2015 - Jimmie Johnson
2014 - Kasey Kahne
2013 - Kyle Busch
2012 - Denny Hamlin

Atlanta Motor Speedway was last repaved in 1997, which makes its surface the oldest on the calendar. Tires degrade quickly given the high speeds, and a delicate touch is needed from the drivers to make that grip last as long as possible. Drivers can move up and down the banking, as handling characteristics change throughout the running, but making the right calls on pit road could be equally as important in producing a top result. Lap speeds on fresh tires will be significantly faster than those later in the stints, and timing the call for fresh rubber will minimize time lost on track as those tires wear out. With more cautions, track position could also become a significant factor. Late cautions could upend an otherwise smartly run race, but four-tire stops will be the standard of the day. 

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Kyle Larson - $12,000
Ryan Blaney - $10,500
Kyle Busch - $10,300
William Byron - $10,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Chase Elliott - $9,800
Denny Hamlin - $9,600
Alex Bowman - $9,400
Brad Keselowski - $9,200

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Joey Logano - $8,800
Chris Buescher - $8,600
Kurt Busch - $8,400
Christopher Bell - $8,200

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Austin Dillon - $7,900
Ross Chastain - $7,200
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $6,600
Ryan Newman - $6,100

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Larson - $12,000
Alex Bowman - $9,400
Chris Buescher - $8,600
Tyler Reddick - $7,100
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $6,600
Bubba Wallace - $6,300

Kyle Larson's (DK $12,000, FD $14,500) recent pace and domination at Atlanta earlier this season make him a confident bet for most fantasy players this week. He will start sixth, which is actually good news considering three of the last five Atlanta races have been won by someone starting outside of the top five. Teammate Alex Bowman (DK $9,400, FD $11,000) could be another top consideration. He finished third at the track already this season and is likely to collect finish differential points from his 17th-place starting spot. Chris Buescher (DK $8,600, FD $7,300) is working to regain ground in the championship standings, and another Atlanta top-10 would help. His two career top-10s at this track have come in the last three races. Tyler Reddick's (DK $7,100, FD $7,200) seventh-place starting spot could make him a good option to consider this week, too. He hasn't yet started in the top 20 at the track and enters the weekend with three consecutive top-10s at his back. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (DK $6,600, FD $6,000) hasn't finished outside of the top 20 at this track since 2015, and finished 13th and 12th in his last two visits. Bubba Wallace (DK $6,300, FD $5,500) scored his best Atlanta finish earlier this year with a 16th-place finish. He will start Sunday's race 24th and scored a top-five in his last oval outing just a few weeks ago at Pocono.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $10,300
William Byron - $10,000
Kurt Busch - $8,400
Austin Dillon - $7,900
Ross Chastain  $7,200
Ryan Newman - $6,100

Kyle Busch (DK $10,300, FD $13,000) heads the higher-risk lineup this weekend mainly for Toyota's recent lack of success at this track. Busch has two wins at the track and finished fifth in March. However, the second of Busch's victories was back in 2013, which was Toyota's last Atlanta win. William Byron (DK $10,000, FD $11,500) may only have one top-10 at the track so far, but he only has four series starts at the track and won on Homestead's old surface earlier this year. Things have been looking up for Kurt Busch (DK $8,400, FD $9,000) the past few weeks. His fourth-place finish last week at Road America was his fourth top-10 from the last five races. He finished eighth at Homestead this year and has three prior wins at Atlanta. Austin Dillon (DK $7,900, FD $8,000) will start this week's race 13th and scored his first Atlanta top-10 this season with a sixth-place finish from the same starting spot. Two top-10s in the last four races gives Ross Chastain (DK $7,200, FD $7,500) some momentum ahead of his fourth series visit to this track. His best Atlanta finish was this year when he finished 14th, but he will start much farther forward (ninth) this time. Roush Fenway Racing's pace at Homestead and Atlanta make Ryan Newman (DK $6,100, FD $5,800) worth consideration this week, too. He will start deep in 29th, but finished 13th from the 28th starting spot in March.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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