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. We saw uber-talented drivers like Chandler Smith struggle with the handling of his truck at the intermediate tracks. 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: Kris Wright (#02), Hailie Deegan (#1), Chase Purdy (#23), and Carson Hocevar (#42). 

– Timothy Peters returns to a full-time ride in the #25 truck for the first time since 2016. – John Hunter Nemechek has left the Cup Series to race full-time in the #4 KBM truck and reset his career. Expect him to consistently be near the front. 

– The former driver of the #4 truck, Raphael Lessard, moves over to GMS Racing and should continue to grow. He is a driver I believe was hurt by the lack of practice in 2020. – Chandler Smith is running a full-time schedule in the #18 truck, replacing Christian Eckes. 

– Ryan Truex will be running full-time for Niece Motorsports, as will Brett Moffitt. It’s making a downgrade in equipment for Moffitt, but it was clear that his relationship with GMS Racing had soured. Expect to see him overpriced for the first few weeks of the season. 

Reviewing Optimal Lineups

Driver # of optimals % of optimals % per race run
Tanner Gray 39.13% 39.13%
Brett Moffitt 39.13% 39.13%
Sheldon Creed 34.78% 34.78%
Derek Kraus 30.43% 30.43%
Ben Rhodes 30.43% 30.43%
Zane Smith 30.43% 30.43%
Codie Rohrbaugh 26.09% 35.29%
Grant Enfinger 26.09% 26.09%
Raphael Lessard 26.09% 26.09%

Stewart Friesen 21.74% 22.73%
Todd Gilliland 21.74% 21.74%
Matt Crafton 21.74% 21.74%
Jordan Anderson 17.39% 17.39%
Christian Eckes 17.39% 17.39%
Austin Wayne Self 17.39% 17.39%
Kyle Busch 13.04% 60.00%
Sam Mayer 13.04% 50.00%
Parker Kligerman 13.04% 37.50%
Ty Majeski 13.04% 20.00%
Austin Hill 13.04% 13.04%
Trevor Bayne 8.70% 25.00%
Danny Bohn 8.70% 20.00%
Timmy Hill 8.70% 20.00%
Chandler Smith 8.70% 16.67%
Tyler Ankrum 8.70% 8.70%
Scott Lagasse, Jr. 4.35% 100.00%
Kaz Grala 4.35% 100.00%
Timothy Peters 4.35% 100.00%
Hailie Deegan 4.35% 100.00%
Jason White 4.35% 50.00%
Chase Elliott 4.35% 33.33%
Jesse Little 4.35% 33.33%
Dylan Lupton 4.35% 33.33%
Brandon Jones 4.35% 25.00%
Robby Lyons 4.35% 20.00%
Bayley Currey 4.35% 16.67%
Carson Hocevar 4.35% 14.29%
Ross Chastain 4.35% 11.11%
Ryan Truex 4.35% 11.11%
Brennan Poole 4.35% 9.09%
Cory Roper 4.35% 8.33%
Ray Ciccarelli 4.35% 8.33%
Tyler Hill 4.35% 8.33%

Natalie Decker 4.35% 7.69%
Dawson Cram 4.35% 7.69%
Tate Fogleman 4.35% 4.35%

– Tanner Gray and Brett Moffitt led the series, each appearing in 9 optimal lineups (39% of races). Gray was the most consistent mid-range play on the season, making sense given Draftkings’ propensity to underprice him. I’ll admit, I was a little surprised to see Moffitt, considering he didn’t have as much success as in past years. 

– Kyle Busch made the optimal lineup in 3 of the five races he ran. In the other two races, his absence can be easily explained. Chase Elliott took his place with a win at Charlotte, and he had multiple pit penalties at Atlanta. Despite being priced as high as $17000, we should always have exposure. In 2021, he may have his dom potential upside decreased slightly, but he should be able to make up for it with place differential, considering he’ll be starting in the back for most of his appearances. 

– Sam Mayer made the optimal lineup in 50% of his races. However, he only ran at the six short track races. I’m expecting that he will continue to have success this year. Beware, though; there is the possibility he could struggle at the bigger tracks, similarly to how Chander Smith did in 2020. 

– Codie Rohrbaugh shockingly made six optimal lineups in 2020. Of all other drivers consistently priced below $6000, No others made more than 2. He may warrant more consideration from me this season. 

– Sheldon Creed and Zane Smith were the top 2 dominators (other than Moffitt), making the optimal lineup 8 and 7 times, respectively. In my opinion, they were the best two drivers of the season, so it’s nice to see the data support that notion. It also helps that Zane was underpriced for most of the year. 

– Speaking of good drivers, Austin Hill only made three optimals! This is despite having two wins and a series-best 11 top 5s and 17 top 10s. He also led the 4th most laps in the series. – While we’re talking about surprises…Johnny Sauter did not make a single optimal lineup in 2020! Yes, we’re talking about the same Sauter that won 6 races in 2018 and a championship in 2016. Is this the beginning of the end for the veteran or just bad luck? – GMS Racing accounted for 30 appearances in optimal lineups. Kyle Busch Motorsports had 16, and ThorSport Racing had 11. It’ll be interesting to see how this changes in 2021 with drivers switching teams and ThorSport switching from Ford to Toyota. 

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 Truck 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) Limit driver pool to only those who can achieve at least 5x value. (95.6% of optimal)

2) If a driver is priced over $12000, play them. (Optimal 4 of 5 times) 

3) Spend at least $49000, except at Daytona and Talladega. (85.7% of optimal)

4) Have 1-2 drivers priced above $9000. (91.3% of optimals) 

5) Have no more than one driver priced below $6000. (86.9% of optimal)

6) Avoid punting below $5000. (91.3% 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 

● Fade all drivers starting in the top 10. 

● At least four drivers were starting worse than 20th. 

● Don’t be afraid to leave salary on the table. 

Intermediate Tracks 

● Two drivers priced above $9000 unless one is priced at $13000. 

● 4-5 drivers starting in the top 25. 

● Don’t be afraid to spend your entire salary. If not, spend at least $49500. 

Short Tracks 

● At least two drivers above $9000, but no more than one above $10000. 

● Three or more drivers are starting in the top 10. 

● Avoid drivers starting worse than 30th. 

● If punting, only take one driver below $6000. 

High Banked Tracks 

● Target 5x value and top 12 finishes. 

● Only one driver above $10000. 

● Only go below $6000 if you have two drivers above $9000. 

● 2-3 drivers starting in the top 10, with typically one starting on the front row. 

***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 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 Truck Series should continue to be super competitive and be full of surprises with significant changes in the schedule. 

***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!