2016 NASCAR Sprint Unlimited DFS (2/13)

Written By PlayPicks Staff on February 13, 2016 - Last Updated on June 27, 2018
DFS Nascar

Hi everyone! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Tyler, and will be your DFS NASCAR expert here on DFS Report. A new season is upon us and there are some big changes for NASCAR this season. NASCAR announced a new “charter system” format where 19 organizations were granted 36 charters in total, where they will be guaranteed to have a spot in each of the 36 point races. The determination for being granted a charter consisted of an analysis which teams showed a long-term commitment to the sport by attempting to qualify every week for the past three years, per NASCAR.COM. That criteria included 36 race teams. The full rundown of what the charter system means for NASCAR can be found here


Why is this important to DFS NASCAR?


  • The charter system comes with a format change of 40 cars per race, as opposed to 43 last season. That allows for 36 charter teams, and 4 non-charter teams. Qualifying will be set by speed, as it was last season.
  • There are a handful of full-time teams who did NOT meet that criteria and will not have a charter for the 2016 seaosn, unless they purchase one from another team. This includes: #19 Carl Edwards, #21 Ryan Blaney, #41 Kurt Busch. Keep in mind, there will still be part-time teams who will try to qualify for certain races.


Ready to cover the rules?


Official Rules for DFS NASCAR on DraftKings can be found here.


What’s important to know:


Final Position: This is the easy one. The higher your driver finishes, the more points you receive. A 1st  place finish receives 46 PTS, while 40th will receive 4 PTS.


Fastest Laps: Each time your driver runs the fastest lap, you will receive +0.5 PTS. Your driver, while unlikely, will have the potential to earn a maximum of (0.5) X (# of laps in the race) PTS.


Laps Led: For each lap your driver leads, you will receive +0.25 PTS. It’s as simple as that.


Place Differential: This could very well be the most important category. Place differential will be determined by the difference from where your driver starts, to where he/she finishes.  So, if your select driver starts 1st, he/she cannot have a positive place differential. (Example: if your driver qualifies 20th and finishes 10th, he/she will have receive +10 PTS for a positive 10 in the place differential category). Note: If your selected driver has to go to the back at the start of the race for any reason (backup car, engine change) he/she will still maintain the position he/she qualified, for fantasy purposes.


ODDS FOR 2016 Sprint Unlimited (provided by VegasInsider.com)


Dale Earnhardt Jr. 6/1
Jimmie Johnson 8/1
Joey Logano 10/1
Kevin Harvick 10/1
Kyle Busch 10/1
Matt Kenseth 10/1
Brad Keselowski 15/1
Carl Edwards 15/1
Denny Hamlin 15/1
Kasey Kahne 15/1
Kurt Busch 15/1
Martin Truex Jr. 15/1
Austin Dillon 25/1
Jamie McMurray 25/1
Kyle Larson 25/1
Clint Bowyer 30/1
Greg Biffle 30/1
Paul Menard 30/1
Ryan Newman 30/1
Aric Almirola 50/1
Danica Patrick 50/1
AJ Allmendinger 60/1
Casey Mears 60/1
Ricky Stenhouse 60/1


(Note: these odds were released prior to the starting order but should remain rather steady


Starting Lineup: (via NASCAR.com)


1) #48-Jimmie Johnson, Lowe’s Chevy
2) #2-Brad Keselowski, SKF Ford
3) #47-AJ Allmendinger, Kroger/Stouffer’s/Lean Cuisine Chevy
4) #42-Kyle Larson, Target Chevy
5) #31-Ryan Newman, Caterpillar Chevy
6) #13-Casey Mears, GEICO Chevy
7) #78-Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota
8) #15-Clint Bowyer, 5-hour Energy Chevy
9) #18-Kyle Busch, M&M’s 75 Toyota
10) #3-Austin Dillon, DOW Chevy
11) #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Fastenal Ford
12) #10-Danica Patrick, Nature’s Bakery Chevy
13) #20-Matt Kenseth, Dollar General Toyota
14) #27-Paul Menard, Peak Antifreeze/Menard Chevy
15) #11-Denny Hamlin, FedEx Express Toyota
16) #16-Greg Biffle, KFC Nashville Hot Ford
17) #43-Aric Almirola, Smithfield Ford
18) #14-Brian Vickers, Mobil 1 Chevy
19) #19-Carl Edwards, ARRIS Toyota
20) #5-Kasey Kahne, Great Clips Chevy
21) #41-Kurt Busch, Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevy
22) #4-Kevin Harvick, Busch Beer Chevy
23) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., Taxslayer.com Chevy
24) #1-Jamie McMurray, McDonald’s Chevy
25) #22-Joey Logano, Shell Pennzoil Ford


Note: The Starting Lineup for the 2016 Sprint Unlimited will be set as follows: “Select fans will be paired with each crew chief for a random drawing to determine starting and pit road positions. The drawings will take place on Friday, Feb. 12 at the Alert Today Florida Stage inside the Sprint FANZONE beginning at 3:30 p.m.” per NASCAR.com


The race will consist of 2 segments, a 25-lap segment with a competition caution concluded that segment, and a final 50-lap segment.



From here, we will dive into the analysis for this week

(1) Green Flag: must play in all formats

(2) Yellow Flag: GPP play, comes with some risk

(3) Red Flag: avoid this driver

(4) Black Flag: Dark horse pick– not a stud, and not a value pick. Someone who may give you the edge to win.

(5) White Flag: Extreme value play for the week

(6) Checkered Flag: Pick to win the race.


Note: Typically, this article will feature (2) drivers  in the “green, yellow, and red flag” sections. With this race being smaller, both in the field and the number of laps, we are going to go with (1) driver in each section. 

DISCLAIMER: Restrictor plate tracks (such as Daytona and Talladega) are always a bit more unpredictable compared to the other tracks on the NASCAR circuit, and even more so during exhibition races such as the 2016 Sprint Unlimited. Keep that in mind for this week, and know that being different this week, could be very beneficial to you.


Green Flag

Denny Hamlin ($8,400): Listed as the 9th most expensive driver this week, I believe Hamlin can be a top three option. He’s coming into this season in “good form” at Daytona over the past two seasons, averaging an incredible 3.75 finishing position (This does not include exhibition races such as the Sprint Unlimited, and Dual Qualifying Races). Hamlin also had success at the other restrictor plate track in Nascar, Talladega, over the past two seasons. He won the race in May 2014, and followed that up with an 18th place finish in October 2014, 9th in May of 2015, before being involved in an accident in October 2015. That’s a 6.14 average finish at restriction plate speedways since 2014, excluding the accident at the end of last season. I’m all in on Hamlin this week. Regardless of where he starts the race, his recent history is too much to ignore, especially considering his price. <– This was written prior to practice, and Hamlin posted the third quickest time in Practice #1 and had the top speed in Final Practice — even more reason to get him in your lineups. He’ll start 15th which leaves him some nice room for a positive place differential.



Yellow Flag

Austin Dillon ($7,900): Expect Dillon to get lost in his price tier, with the option of paying a few hundred more for the likes of Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. DFS plasyers also have the option of saving a bit of salary with Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray, and Clint Bowyer. Dillon did not have a very strong 2015, but he has had strong success at Daytona. In four of his five NSCS starts (his last 4, no less), he’s finished no worse than 14th, posting three top 10’s, and a top 5. His first practice left much to be desired (21st); but he picked it up considerably, jumping 12 spots to 9th quickest in final practice. He could surprise some people on Saturday, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him battling for the win in the iconic #3.


Red Flag

Brad Keselowski ($8,500): Let’s first say that this pick could backfire if the #2 is able to get out in front early and run in clean air. He maintained average speed in practice, but it was nothing more than average and his 2nd starting spot leaves plenty of room for negative points. in 13 career points races at Daytona, Keselowski has averaged a 22.31 finish, although he did finish 3rd here back in 2014. There’s just much more going against him than for, on Saturday, other than a deflated price. Use the blue deuce at your own risk here, but he won’t be making many of my lineups, if any.


Black Flag


Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($9,900): Good ole’ Dale Jr. is the Vegas favorite to win this race and for good reason. He has not finished outside of the top 15 since 2011, and has posted an average finish of 5.75 since 2012, including a win at the Daytona 500 in 2014, a win last July, and winning the Sprint Unlimited last season, after starting 25th. The ONLY reason he’s in the “beware” section, is due to the fact that he will be very highly owned. He was 8th quickest in practice #1 and 12th in final practice and has a chance to post the biggest positive place differential on the board. So while I’m not telling you to fade him, I AM telling you that doing so will differentiate your lineups, going with a pivot option of Jimmie Johnson at a similar price point. It will be nearly impossible to fit both Johnson and Jr. in your lineups and so the pivot to Johnson is worth a shot, especially if you’re planning on multiple entries. Expect Jr. to be north of 35% owned, and likely higher.

White Flag


Casey Mears ($7,000): Mears is the 2nd least expensive driver on the board, and has great history at Daytona. The 37-year-old has finished no worse than 14th since Fall 2013, and although he wasn’t too quick in practice (17th in practice #1), it’s still hard to beat a guy with his experience and recent history for $7,000. His 6th place starting spot doesn’t excite me very much, as it leaves a lot of room for a negative place differential, but I expect him to stay within the top 10 when the checkered flag drops. Putting starting position aside, A.J. Allmendinger ($7,100) could be a pivot, as he starts 3rd, and will have an opportunity to get out in clean air early and potentially lead some laps. He was 9th quick in practice #1.

Checkered Flag


Who wins it? I’m sticking with my green flag pick here. Denny Hamlin ($8,400) has everything going for him this Saturday and most importantly, he has speed.

Note: All “average finishes” were based upon points races, and did not include any exhibition races or qualifying races.

THANK YOU to everyone for taking the time to read this. DraftKings is offering you a chance to get a piece of $75K for only $3! If you are not yet part of DraftKings, you can be in this contest for free by signing up here.

Good luck everyone! I’ll see y’all next week!


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