Instacart 500: NASCAR DFS Premium Rankings

The NASCAR Cup Series and our DFS interest move to the Valley of the Sun this Sunday for the Instacart 500 at Phoenix. The DFS tiered rankings is a proven tool that has helped many DFS players bag tournaments in prior years, and it has personally helped me take down first place prize pools in several instances.

I rank every driver and tier them based on price. There is no sense to compare Chase Elliot to Quin Houff, but comparing Chase Elliot to Kevin Harvick, for example, tends to make sense. The rankings will be posted first and represent the “initial pass” on my approach to the slate.

The notes represent my “second pass” and will provide more insight into how I am building lineups, what I have learned from looking around the industry, and mention any situations where I’m “hotter” or “colder” on anyone than when I set the rankings. For example, I may mention that there is a large gap in my interest level after the top three ranked drivers in a given tier. Another example would be to point out that drivers ranked 1-3 are interchangeable in terms of my interest. My suggestion is to enter multiple lineups and use the rankings and notes as a guide as you build lineups.

If you are a more serious player building 40+ lineups, I do suggest purchasing a lineup optimizer tool. These are affordable for our more advanced players and you can get them relatively cheap – especially if you are purchasing for NASCAR only. We will definitely look to partner with a third party or build one in-house for next season. If you need help selecting one, I’m here to help explain and recommend what you need. To reiterate – this is only for advanced players and you do not need this unless you have full command of the tool. In fact, it can do more harm than good if you do not know what you are doing.

NASCAR DFS Tiered Rankings – Instacart 500

  • JJ Yeley is Out in Tier 4 – bump everyone up 1 ranking spot that is behind him
  • Byron and Larson are starting from the rear. This hurts Larson’s early dominator potential significantly. Small downgrade overall to both but plenty of time to work through the field. GPP only before the news and GPP only after the news.
  • Elliot to the rear. Not changing my stance since Kez, Hamlin are my early dominators and Chase is more of a mid race dominator.

Tier 1 Notes

I went with a larger Tier 1 group this week so take note of that. A week after Harvick screwed over so many DFS players, he is right back priced as the highest driver. Ownership levels should be pretty telling this week to understand how much or how little impact the prior week’s performance is having on DFS players. SHR has been a train wreck but the Phoenix set-up is different, and the DraftKings pricing model obviously is not putting too much weight into the early SHR struggles. I have others I’m more interested in playing but the #4 car is not a fade IMO.

Brad K was really the only car that had the speed to take down Elliot in the Championship last season, but he fell short due to several issues on pit road that crushed his track position repeatedly. With that being said, his speed was incredible in that race, and the entire team has looked great as a whole this season. Also, Brad K has been solid on restarts this year. Overall, the pole-sitter has been killing me this season, but I would want some Brad K even if he was not on the pole. Brad K and Hamlin are my favorite dominators early, and Elliot and Joseph L would join that group as my 4 favorite overall dominators.

Chase Elliot is not one I really need to discuss. I talked on the preview show that he was so fast here that I think their team cheated, and last night Byron and Larson failed tech twice to move to the rear. Suspicious to say the least – lol.

My ownership will reflect my rankings, but comparing the cheaper end of tier 1 to the top of tier 2 gives you a little more flexibility to play guys like Blaney and Larson as pivots off Bowman/Bacon Boi. That would be an option if you want to play 3 dominators, or if you just don’t think Bowman/Bacon Boi get there on place differential points.

Tier 2 Notes

Listen, I understand that the track history is scary here for Bowman. However, with Bacon Boi likely being the chalk option in this price range, I want to pivot off of that in a portion of my lineups. Both guys are in play as nice options, but I’m hoping the casual fan overvalues the track history. I think a common build will be to grab 2 dominators, 1 of Bowman/Almirola/Matty D, and Suarez.

Despite their rankings, Kurt B and Tyler Reddick are two of my favorite GPP plays. Kurt Busch is too cheap for Kurt Busch, and both of these guys have more upside than the guys priced directly underneath them.

Tier 3 Notes

Like I said in the above paragraph if you move Kurt B and Tyler Reddick to this pricing tier, things get weird. Just looking at the actual guys listed, you have a decision to make between cheaper and more savings (Newman, Buescher) and better DFS starting position (Bubba, Briscoe). Custer kind of fits the bill as both just a week after crushing us. Mike Mac and Chastain might just be the lower-owned pivots out there for those of you that like to play the low ownership game.

Tier 4 Notes

Justin Haley and BJ McLeod are my favorites of the bottom punt tier, but my favorite salary saving options live in the 5.5k to 5.9k range. Preece and Stenhouse carry significant risk because of their limited ceiling at their starting positions, but they simply have better finishing position potential than these cheap bois.

Platform Insights (DraftKings/FanDuel)

I’m adding this section just to point out a few things across platforms as I’m building lineups. As a reminder, place differential, laps led, and fastest laps are more important on DraftKings. FanDuel is all about finishing position so your goal should be to get as many drivers that can finish inside the top 10/top 5.

  • Bowman is viable on both sites, but over on FD Bacon Boi and Matty D are listed at a decent discount. Meanwhile, over on DK, they are all tight but Bowman is cheaper than Bacon Boi.
  • Kurt Busch is a stronger play on DK due to being priced below 8k
  • Custer is a stronger play on DK due to pricing
  • Briscoe is at a nice discount on FD
  • Chris Buescher and Ryan Newman are priced down with Suarez on FD.

For More NASCAR DFS Content, Check Out The Latest From Garage Guys Fantasy Sports On YouTube.

View More NASCAR DFS News and Analysis From Garage Guys Fantasy Sports Here, and Join The Garage Guys Fantasy Sports Discord Server For Breaking News and Advice During The 2021 NASCAR Season.

Leave a Reply