The Round of 12 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series resumes this Sunday with the 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. The green flag flies on Sunday (Oct. 14) at 2 p.m. ET on NBC.
FanDuel has put more emphasis on finishing position than other DFS sites. For this reason, FanDuel allows you to look at the entire field instead of just dominators and big movers.
Also, with only 0.1 points awarded for each lap led by a driver, the need for a dominator is less important when building a winning lineup. The 188-lap race will only have a total of 18.8 points up for grabs in this category. Take note when building your roster and focus on mid-pack drivers who can climb up toward the front on race day.
Here are a few drivers to keep an eye on for Sunday’s race.
ELITE TIER: $11,000 and up
Brad Keselowski ($13,000)
Talladega: 19 starts, five wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s
Average finish at Talladega: 15.1
Keselowski jumped to the top of the salary list on FanDuel this weekend, and for good reason. Over the past couple of seasons, he has become an elite superspeedway racer. Five career Talladega wins in 19 starts lead active drivers although Keselowski also has five finishes of 31st or worse.
The Team Penske driver won this race a season ago to lock himself into the next round of the playoffs and will be the odds-on favorite this weekend. Keep in mind he’s just one month removed from three wins in a row.
Joey Logano ($12,500)
Talladega: 19 starts, three wins, six top fives, eight top 10s
Average finish at Talladega: 17.7
Much like his teammate Keselowski, Logano is a great restrictor-plate racer. He won the first Talladega race of the season back in April, his only win thus far in 2018. In fact, Logano has won three of the last six races at Talladega.
One important bonus this driver has many others don’t is he leads a chunk of laps here. Logano led 70 laps in the spring and 59 in this race a season ago. Those extra points could be the difference in a nice FanDuel payday.
Chase Elliott ($11,800)
Talladega: Five starts, two top fives, two top 10s
Average finish at Talladega: 13.2
Elliott’s aggressive superspeedway racing style makes him a high-risk, high-reward pick this weekend. In five career Cup starts at Talladega, he has finished inside the top five twice but has also wrecked out of the race twice, too.
Coming off a win last weekend at Dover International Speedway that sealed his spot in the next round of the playoffs, Elliott has nothing to lose on Sunday. He will be fast, but the probability of him being involved in a wreck may also be higher. A win-or-wreck mentality entering Talladega has its consequences.
ALL-STAR TIER: $8,900 – $10,900
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($9,700)
Talladega: 10 starts, one win, four top fives, six top 10s
Average finish at Talladega: 11.4
Stenhouse should be one of the first drivers added to a lineup this weekend. Even though Roush Fenway Racing is behind the curve when it comes to equipment, they have a phenomenal superspeedway program. On top of that, Stenhouse found success at Talladega immediately after stepping into his ride at the Cup level. In 10 starts, he has an average finish of 11.4. He has also finished inside the top five in three of the last four Talladega races. That includes his win in 2017, a triumph that put RFR back on the map, however briefly.
Alex Bowman ($9,200)
Talladega: Six starts, one top 10
Average finish at Talladega: 27.3
Bowman will get overlooked this weekend with bigger names within this price range, so that could be an advantage when looking for a unique lineup. His Talladega track history is terrible, but that’s due to the fact he was driving for start-and-park teams during the early portion of his career.
Now that Bowman is with Hendrick Motorsports, driving the respected No. 88 Chevrolet he is a threat. In the spring race earlier this season, the young driver led 26 laps and finished eighth. Expect a similar finish this Sunday.
BARGAIN TIER: $8,900 and below
Jamie McMurray ($7,600)
Talladega: 32 starts, two wins, eight top fives, nine top 10s
Average finish at Talladega: 20.3
When he races clean, McMurray is tough to beat in the draft. Over the past six ‘Dega races, he has two top-five finishes. The Chip Ganassi Racing veteran finished fourth in 2016 and then was the runner-up in the spring of 2017.
The trouble is, McMurray can also be a bit reckless. He has been involved in incidents in the last two Talladega races, one of them ending in a DNF. But for the price, this guy is hard to beat.
David Ragan ($5,000)
Talladega: 23 starts, one win, four top fives, 10 top 10s
Average finish at Talladega: 18.1
This race is one where the underdog teams have a chance for great finishes. Ragan may be the best of the best when it comes to delivering at Talladega in an underfunded race car. He won here back in 2013 driving for the same team he drives for now, Front Row Motorsports. Ragan has also managed to avoid the Big One over the past few years and pull off impressive finishes. He placed sixth back in April, which followed up two 10th-place results in 2017.