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Fantasy NASCAR: Daytona 500 DFS Picks

The field is set, so it is time to take a look at who we’re rostering for the Daytona 500 DFS picks.

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2023 Daytona 500

Top 10

As we discussed in our Daytona 500 preview, Daytona International Speedway lends itself to many opportunities for team racing. A look at the Top 10 starting positions shows that, instead of having to find each other in the race, some teams are getting a leg up on the competition in this area.

  1. Alex Bowman (Hendrick Motorsports)
  2. Kyle Larson (Hendrick Motorsports)
  3. Joey Logano (Team Penske)
  4. Aric Almirola (Stewart-Haas Racing)
  5. Christopher Bell (Joe Gibbs Racing)
  6. Austin Cindric (Team Penske)
  7. Ryan Blaney (Team Penske)
  8. Chase Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports)
  9. Chris Buescher (RFK Racing)
  10. Brad Keselowski (RFK Racing)

We were already favoring the trio from Team Penske, and now they all will take the green flag within the top seven positions. Hendrick Motorsports also has three, and RFK Racing will start on the same line as one another.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you want to stack these teams in your lineups; the chances of them gaining movement points value throughout the race is quite slim, and they could lose you some points in this area. But there are some favorites there who should gain an edge over the others around them, namely Larson and Logano.

Which Value-Priced Drivers Got a Movement Points Bump?

Here is a quick reminder of what we mean by “movement points” for fantasy NASCAR DFS:

Both DFS sites that feature NASCAR – DraftKings (DK) and FanDuel (FD) – and most season-long fantasy formats will include a scoring category called “position differential” or “place differential.” (The words are interchangeable for this purpose.) This number is figured quite simply: If Driver A qualifies to begin 10th and he ends up 18th, then he will have a position differential of -8. On DK, that will subtract eight points from your overall score; on FD, it will cost you four points. However, the opposite is true, too. If Driver B qualifies for 18th and ends up in 10th, he will gain eight points on DK and four on FD. This is what we talk about when we say “movement points” in our weekly articles.

Beyond the top drivers, your Daytona 500 DFS lineups will need some cheaper options to stay under the salary cap. This is where movement points are definitely a primary focus as a quick way to earn some positive value. Here are some that stick out to me as having great value in this area:


  • Erik Jones – Qualifying Position (QP) of 25 | $6,600
  • Justin Haley – QP 28 | $5,600
  • Ty Dillon – QP 37 | $4,800
  • Chase Briscoe – QP 30 | $7,400
  • Ryan Preece – QP 20 | $6,800


  • Cody Ware – QP 35 | $2,500
  • Ty Dillon – QP 37 | $3,000
  • Justin Haley – QP 28 | $5,500
  • Jimmie Johnson – QP 39 | $5,800
    • Johnson is un-retired for select races this year and has a 90.4 driver rating at Daytona.
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – QP 31 | $6,000

Of note on both lists: No one is saying that Ty Dillon is somehow going to win this race, but starting 37th of 40 cars does give him an edge because there are only three spots behind him. The chances of him losing movement points is quite small.

Which Higher-Priced Drivers Got the Same Bump?

Without looking at each site separately, the following drivers are in the upper range of salary cost for Daytona 500 DFS contests, but they are veteran drivers with a good history at the track starting from a much lower position than their anticipated finish.

  • Kyle Busch – QP 36
    • New car, schmew car. Busch is in line for many movement points.
    • Caution: He will probably be the day’s chalkiest play.
  • Austin Dillon – QP 27
  • Ross Chastain – QP 23
  • William Byron – QP 21
  • Denny Hamlin – QP 18
  • Bubba Wallace – QP 15

Daytona 500 DFS Picks

Using a variety of metrics, recent track history, and QP, the following are two lineups I like for larger GPP contests, one for each site. These two are both anchored by the Hamlin/Busch combo, but you could easily pivot to something like an Elliott/Byron build to differentiate.


  • Denny Hamlin – $10,300
  • Kyle Busch – $9,600
  • Ross Chastain – $9,200
  • Chase Briscoe – $7,400
  • Erik Jones – $6,600
  • Justin Haley – $5,600

Total Salary: $48,700


  • Denny Hamlin – $13,500
  • Kyle Busch – $12,000
  • Austin Cindric – $8,500
  • Erik Jones – $8,200
  • Austin Dillon $7,800

Total Salary: $50,000

White Flag Thoughts Before You Go

Don’t be afraid to leave salary on the table if you have a build you like that lands well below the $50,000 cap. In cash games, it’s better to not come up with entirely weird lineups, but in GPP contests, throwing a couple of bizarre ones in can result in huge payouts. Avoiding DNFs (did not finish) is as much luck as it is skill, but it’s important to deviate so that one driver’s early exit doesn’t sink every lineup you have.

Enjoy your race days, everyone! And, as always, good luck!

Kelly Kirby covers fantasy NASCAR, fantasy hockey, and other random things at Fantrax. For more of her work, check out her archive and follow her on Twitter at @thewonkypenguin.

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