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NASCAR DFS: Geico 500 Picks

The 2024 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday. But it’s not the only draft this week. The NASCAR Cup Series is set for “drafting” action from Talladega Superspeedway. We don’t have any practice notes to consider this week. However, we did have an eventful qualifying session Saturday morning. We’re looking at a lot of popular position differential options starting deep in the field. But we’re coming off a week where NASCAR’s golden boy, Chase Elliott, got his first win since 2022. You can make the argument the sport is better when Elliott can get to victory lane. But Talladega is an exciting track that can provide some big wrecks. The infield is always a party and incredibly fun if you ever have the chance to attend. But we’re here to talk NASCAR DFS. Here are this week’s Geico 500 picks with the top drivers and lineup building strategies.

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Geico 500 Picks: The Top 10

  1. Michael McDowell (#34 Front Row Motorsports)
  2. Austin Cindric (#2 Team Penske)
  3. Todd Gilliland (#38 Front Row Motorsports)
  4. Kyle Busch (#8 Richard Childress Racing)
  5. Austin Dillon (#3 Richard Childress Racing)
  6. Martin Truex Jr. (#19 Joe Gibbs Racing)
  7. Joey Logano (#22 Team Penske)
  8. Chris Buescher (#17 RFK Racing)
  9. Chase Elliott (#9 Hendrick Motorsports)
  10. Christopher Bell (#20 Joe Gibbs Racing)

Unlike most weeks where we’ll look for drivers in the top 10 to collect dominator points, we shouldn’t get too much exposure to this group. Most of the top Geico 500 picks will start further back. But we do have some strong drafters in this group. In the top five alone, we have three previous Daytona 500 winners in McDowell, Cindric, and Dillon. Kyle Busch even won this race last year. So there’s certainly some win equity in this group. The Fords will be able to get off to a nice start as they occupy the top three with Logano and Buescher not far behind. When building your lineups, I wouldn’t play more than two drivers from the top 10. And even that is pushing the envelope. You can easily just play one or none of these drivers. There are plenty of great options starting deeper in the field.

Which Value-Priced Geico 500 Picks Got A Points Movement Bump?

  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Starting P33
  • Daniel Suarez – Starting P25
  • Erik Jones – Starting P28
  • Noah Gragson – Starting P36
  • Corey LaJoie – Starting P31
  • Carson Hocevar – Starting P35
  • Justin Haley – Starting P27

You could probably add a few more names to this list. However, these are the drivers I like most that are in the value tier on both sites. I didn’t separate them by site this week simply because the pricing lined up fairly well. Within this group we have three winners at Daytona (Stenhouse, Jones, and Haley) but there’s optimism for the others. We were targeting Suarez from this week’s Geico 500 Preview and he once again shapes up as a great play. Corey LaJoie is always a popular value play in drafting races. For that reason, maybe we consider laying off that chalk. But I do like the upside for Noah Gragson and Carson Hocevar in this race as Gragson is cheap and with an organization that has historically drafted well on superspeedways.

Which Higher-Priced Drivers Got A Similar Bump?

  • Ryan Blaney – Starting P21
  • Denny Hamlin – Starting P23
  • Brad Keselowski – Starting P22
  • Kyle Larson – Starting P38
  • Ross Chastain – Starting P32

Plenty of great plays this week. Every driver in this range will be heavily owned. You can reasonably fit four of them into a cash game lineup if you’re okay punting to someone like BJ McLeod to save salary. Ryan Blaney has won here plenty as we discussed earlier this week. Denny Hamlin has won the Daytona 500 three times. Chastain won this race two years ago. And Keselowski is a great drafter. The wet blanket here might be Kyle Larson. Previously, I’ve written him up as a fade at superspeedways. But for Sunday’s race he starts dead last. He cannot get you negative points. So he’s awfully tough to fade. He’s also not overpriced on either site. You lock him into cash game lineups. But maybe we are more mindful of Larson exposure when building out our tournament lineups.

Geico 500 Picks

I want to add a note that we shouldn’t take this week’s lineups as scripture. These are meant to give you an idea of how to discover your own Geico 500 picks and build out your lineups. There are a variety of ways to pivot on the lineups below. Find ways to make your build unique so you aren’t sharing a take down.


  • Ryan Blaney – $11,000; Starting P21
  • Bubba Wallace – $9,200; Starting P14
  • Ross Chastain – $8,700; Starting P32
  • Daniel Suarez – $7,200; Starting P25
  • Erik Jones – $7,000; Starting P28
  • Noah Gragson – $6,800; Starting P36

It’s rare that I’m okay spending more of my salary for a race like Talladega. Normally, we disregard salary and leave a lot more money on the table. This lineup uses all but $100. And yet it hits the marks of what I’m looking for. We eat the chalk with Blaney. He loves racing at Talladega and entered the weekend as the favorite to win. Bubba Wallace and Ross Chastain have both won here previously. And I’ve already professed enough love for Suarez, Jones, and Gragson. We have a good combination of win equity and drivers that can move up through the draft. This lineup has a lot of upside if these six can keep their cars clean.


  • Ryan Blaney – $13,000; Starting P21
  • Brad Keselowski – $12,500; Starting P22
  • Kyle Larson – $10,000; Starting P38
  • Ross Chastain – $9,500; Starting P32
  • Noah Gragson – $5,000; Starting P36

Similar to the DraftKings lineup, we don’t leave a lot on the table. This lineup uses every single dollar in the budget. However, this isn’t a unique build. It’s okay for cash games. However, it’s an easy lineup to duplicate in tournaments. There’s win equity and plenty of position differential if these five can move up. Again, we can look to move off Larson or Chastain. They will carry significant ownership in all formats. They’re trendy drivers with name recognition. And they start deep in the field so they make for strong plays overall. But don’t think you can plug and play this lineup and hope to score big. Play around with it and make some pivots with some lower-owned options on the slate.

White Flag Thoughts Before You Go 

I say it all the time when discussing superspeedway tracks. But be responsible with your bankroll for this race. It’s arguably more fun to bet on these races if you can. Personally, I’ve placed top manufacturer bets on Daniel Suarez (Chevrolet), Todd Gilliland (Ford), and Erik Jones (Toyota). I’m arguably more excited about those bets than the prospect of DFS this week. These races are messy and we could see the usual chaos of Talladega. However, perhaps we see a tame race as Phil Bennetzen (RaceSheetsDFS) acknowledged this week after re-watching last year’s action. It’s never a bad thing to lay low and just enjoy the racing at Talladega. So best of luck this week and I hope you all crush it with your Geico 500 picks!

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