Welcome back, Speed Degens, to another year of NASCAR DFS! It’s been a long, interesting offseason, and we can’t wait to get back at it. 

2020 was a season filled with changing rules, qualifying procedures, and DK pricing. The lack of practice had an impact, especially on the younger drivers with little to no experience on the scheduled tracks. The year was also littered with drivers taking each other out and having no respect for one another on the track. I guess that’s what happens when you put a bunch of spoiled, rich kids in fast, safe racecars, but I digress… Regardless, there were several trends and takeaways that we can use to have an edge on the competition. After a year of getting used to new qualifying formats and pricing algorithms, we are prepared to help you have a profitable 2021 season. Let’s dig in! 

Offseason News and Notes 

– There will be four new drivers contending for Rookie of the Year in 2021: Ryan Vargas (#6), Jordan Anderson (#31), Jade Buford (#48), and Ty Gibbs (#54). 

– AJ Allmendinger returns to a full-time ride in the #16 Kaulig Racing car. Jeb Burton will also be joining the team in the #10 car. 

– Myatt Snider will be racing full-time in the #2 RCR car after Anthony Alfredo moved up to Cup. 

– The #8 JR Motorsports car will again be split between drivers, but different ones. Josh Berry and Sam Mayer will be taking the wheel. 

– Daniel Hemric runs a full-time schedule in the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing car, replacing Riley Herbst. Though he doesn’t have a win in any series, he’s still a significant upgrade. – Speaking of Herbst, he’ll be taking over Chase Briscoe’s old ride in the #98 car. We’ll see if the equipment elevates his performance. 

– Though Ty Gibbs will be running for Rookie of the Year, he will be splitting his #54 car with Cup regulars Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex Jr. Ty Dillon e driving in a few races after losing his Cup ride due to lack of sponsorship. 

Reviewing Optimal Lineups

Driver# of optimals% of optimals% per race ran
Austin Cindric 11 33.33% 33.33%
Noah Gragson 10 30.30% 30.30%
Justin Allgaier 27.27% 27.27%
Chase Briscoe 24.24% 24.24%
Justin Haley 24.24% 24.24%

A.J. Allmendinger 21.21% 63.64%
Ross Chastain 21.21% 21.21%
Timmy Hill 21.21% 24.14%
Chad Finchum 18.18% 20.69%
Riley Herbst 18.18% 18.18%
Ryan Sieg 18.18% 18.18%
Harrison Burton 15.15% 15.15%
Jeremy Clements 15.15% 15.15%
Joe Graf Jr. 15.15% 15.15%
Tommy Joe Martins 15.15% 15.63%
Anthony Alfredo 12.12% 21.05%
B.J. McLeod 12.12% 12.90%
Brandon Jones 12.12% 12.12%
Colby Howard 12.12% 18.18%
David Starr 12.12% 33.33%
Jeffrey Earnhardt 12.12% 13.79%
Kyle Busch 12.12% 80.00%
Kyle Weatherman 12.12% 17.39%
Matt Mills 12.12% 12.90%
Alex Labbe 9.09% 9.09%
Brandon Brown 9.09% 9.09%
Brett Moffitt 9.09% 10.34%
Josh Williams 9.09% 9.09%
Michael Annett 9.09% 9.09%
Myatt Snider 9.09% 9.09%
Austin Hill 6.06% 22.22%
Bayley Currey 6.06% 7.69%
Colin Garrett 6.06% 40.00%
Garrett Smithley 6.06% 40.00%
Gray Gaulding 6.06% 33.33%
J.J. Yeley 6.06% 33.33%
Jeb Burton 6.06% 18.18%
Jesse Little 6.06% 6.06%
Preston Pardus 6.06% 50.00%

Vinnie Miller 6.06% 7.14%
Andy Lally 3.03% 50.00%
Brandon Gdovic 3.03% 50.00%
Caesar Bacarella 3.03% 16.67%
Cody Ware 3.03% 100.00%
Daniel Hemric 3.03% 4.76%
Denny Hamlin 3.03% 100.00%
Dexter Bean 3.03% 11.11%
Dillon Bassett 3.03% 50.00%
Jade Buford 3.03% 25.00%
Jeff Green 3.03% 20.00%
Joe Nemechek 3.03% 12.50%
Josh Bilicki 3.03% 14.29%
Kaz Grala 3.03% 20.00%
Mason Diaz 3.03% 50.00%
Mason Massey 3.03% 10.00%
Ronnie Bassett Jr. 3.03% 20.00%
Ryan Vargas 3.03% 11.11%
Stefan Parsons 3.03% 11.11%
Stephen Leicht 3.03% 4.17%

– 2020 Champion, Austin Cindric, made the most optimals with 11, followed closely by JR Motorsports drivers Noah Gragson and Justin Allgaier, with 10 and 9, respectively. – Kaulig Racing was represented well, with all three drivers making at least seven optimal lineups. Even more impressive, AJ Allmendinger was optimal in 63% of the races he ran! – Despite their high price tags, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin made the optimal lineup in 5 of the six races they ran. 

– Some disappointing full-time drivers, making the optimal lineup less than 10% of the time, included Michael Annett, Alex Labbe, Myatt Snider, Brandon Brown, and Jesse Little. 

– Timmy Hill and Chad Finchum (surprisingly) were the most consistent value options, making the optimal lineup six or more times. David Starr also deserves mention for being optimal in one-third of the races he ran. 

How Can We Apply This? 

After reviewing last season’s optimal lineups, trends became evident in what a winning lineup construction looks like. Therefore, I have created a set of rules for creating Xfinity Series lineups in 2021.

***Note: These rules are based on the usual optimal lineup construction, but that does not mean this will guarantee success. However, they should provide a basis for starting with lineups and a reference when deciding between multiple drivers. 

1) Target 5x value with all drivers in the lineup. (81.8% of optimals) 

2) Spend at least $49000, except at drafting tracks. (72.7% of optimal)

3) Roster at least two drivers priced above $9000. (81.8% of optimals) 

4) Roster at least one driver priced above $10000. (93.9% of optimals) 

5) Play at least one driver priced less than $6000. (84.8% of optimal) 

a) Play no more than two punts unless at drafting track or trying to fit in a driver priced above $13000. (90.9% of optimals) 

6) If a driver is priced above $13000, roster them. (83.3% of optimals) 

Every race is different. So, here are some additional trends by track type that you may be able to utilize when constructing lineups: 

Drafting Tracks 

● Just play Justin Haley and/or his Kaulig Racing teammates. He won 3 of the four races at this track type in 2020, and the team seems to have figured out the right strategy. ● Drivers have to finish the top 15 to have a chance at being optimal. 

● We need to have at least four drivers starting worse than 20th. 

● Target 7x value for drivers priced below $7000. Consider targeting 6x for all others. ● Don’t be afraid to leave salary on the table. 

Intermediate Tracks 

● Target at least 5.5x value. 

● Play Austin Cindric at Kansas and Kentucky. They’re similar tracks, and he was optimal in 3 of 4 races! 

● No more than two drivers starting in the top 10. 

Short Tracks 

● Just play Justin Allgaier. He was optimal in 7 of 9 races at this track type, despite having a down year. 

● Roster at least three drivers priced above $9000. 

● 1-2 drivers priced below $6000. 

● 2-3 drivers starting in the top 10. 

High Banked Tracks 

● Nailing the main lap leader will be essential since the race winner was not optimal in 3 of 5 races at this track type. 

● Spend all of your salary or at least $49500. 

● Two drivers starting worse than 30th. 

● At least one punt priced below $6000.

***Note: There was only one road course race in 2020. They did not race at Eldora Speedway, meaning that we have little to go off of when preparing for dirt tracks and road courses in 2021. 

Final Thoughts 

We are ready for a big year in DFS NASCAR here at Fantasy Sports Degens! We’re looking forward to bringing you weekly content for all three series and providing insight to help you cash in! The Xfinity Series should continue to be super competitive and be full of surprises with significant changes in the schedule. When in doubt, speed is king. 

***Note: While other sites may label drivers as Cash or GPP plays, we here at Fantasy Sports Degens like to focus more on constructing optimal lineups, targeting specific values per salary. At times, we may say a driver is a cash or GPP play, but we have found more success focusing on creating the best lineup possible, meaning a safe floor with tons of upside. 

Be sure to join our Slack chat for updated info and exclusive access to our weekly data. If any questions or comments, feel free to tweet me (@dsmaybin0308), Jeremy (@radjer_DFS), Mike (@miketuck12), or Rob (@RobertRiggs1). Here’s to a 2021 full of green screens, Speed Degens!