The NASCAR Xfinity Series wrapped up its West Coast swing as Sammy Smith was able to score his first career win at Phoenix last weekend. Admittedly, it wasn’t my best DFS day for the Xfinity Series but I bounced back and recovered my losses with Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race that saw William Byron score his second straight win in 2023. But we shouldn’t necessarily be too surprised with Smith’s win from last week. Despite not having him in my own player pool, he was in a Joe Gibbs Racing car and they tend to nail the setup for short, flat tracks. I didn’t have Smith pegged for a win simply because Phoenix is a fairly technical track, but he proved me wrong. Overall, it was a weird race last week. The top five was made up of Smith, Ryan Truex (also in a JGR car), Sheldon Creed, Riley Herbst, and Chandler Smith. The presumed dominators like Cole Custer, Kyle Busch, and Justin Allgaier couldn’t quite get back up there by the end of the race, and Allgaier himself was caught up in a wreck. At the end of the day, it was a typical Xfinity Series race with a lot of variance I couldn’t account for. But we can now turn our attention to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Raptor 250!


I already noted the changes to Atlanta Motor Speedway in the Truck Series Playbook, so I’d reference that one to get a feel for what we’re looking at today. But we get a doubleheader on Saturday with the Craftsman Truck Series and Xfinity Series running back-to-back Saturday afternoon. I’ll be in attendance so while I might struggle with answering questions leading up to the Truck race, I’ll be more attentive and involved for the Xfinity Series race later in the afternoon so hit me up in the NASCAR DFS Discord if you have any questions.

This is not my favorite style of racing for DFS. You can do all the research in the world for these races, but at the end of the day you do need a lot of luck on your side. I don’t go wild with my bank roll for these races. Hell, I don’t even enjoy watching pack racing/drafting on TV. However, I do love being able to experience this kind of racing in person. I’ve been to Daytona, Talladega, new/old Atlanta so this kind of race in person is a whole different ball game. For today, I’m going to play the Happy Hour on DraftKings and that’s it. It’s $20 total and we’ll see what happens. I am a little disappointed that the Truck Series Happy Hour contest pays $1,000 to first while he Xfinity Series contest only pays $600 to first. And the Truck contest has a smaller field. I don’t really understand what DraftKings is doing here, but I digress.

This race is schedule for 163 laps (40-40-83 lap segments) which gives us over 100 dominator points to work with if we account for cautions. We did get two Xfinity Series races last year for Atlanta’s new configuration. The first race saw ten cautions for 56 laps while the second saw only six cautions for 28 laps. The firs trace (with more cautions) saw plenty of drivers move up through the field with 11 drivers gaining at least ten spots of position differential, including six drivers picking up at least 15 spots. The first race saw a lot more variance. Mason Massey started P26 and finished sixth. Kyle Weatherman (who we do love for DFS) started P28 and finished eighth. J.J. Yeley even managed to finish in the top 12. When you see drivers from smaller teams sneaking into the top 15, you know it’s a drafting race. The second race didn’t see as much variance with only seven drivers picking up ten spots of PD and of the drivers that finished in the top 15, only two started outside the top 20 and the top ten was filled with good drivers on good teams. I still think we should prepare for this race as if we should expect the unexpected. Which isn’t helpful after a fairly eventful race last week, but be mindful of roster construction this week and don’t go all out stacking the back. To win big you have to nail the winner with five other drivers that score well.

NASCAR DFS Driver Pool

Before we dive into the following drivers, just know that no driver is truly off the table today. It’s really about nailing the winner, maybe a driver that leads 30+ laps, and getting six drivers to finish in the top ten. I don’t write up the whole field here including all the guys starting in the rear, but you should just know that you don’t want too many drivers starting up front. One or two is fine, hey maybe even three is optimal today if there isn’t a ton of chaos. But you will need some PD in your build to go with strong finishes.

Austin Hill ($11,300; Starting P3)

The reason I have avoided Austin Hill so much in DFS the last couple weeks is because I wanted to save exposure for this week. And honestly, there’s no leverage here unless you go 60-100% on him in Tournaments and that’s insane for this kind of racing. He’s so good in the draft. He’s won the last two Daytona Spring races and he won the Summer Atlanta race last year leading 73 laps after coming in second in the Spring race where he led 27 laps. He just flat out dominates in this kind of race and it’s wild that he has so much success given the nature of these tracks. The important thing to note is that he just constantly runs up front and tends to avoid the carnage. Hill will be a popular option this week. He’s run up front at all four races this year with two wins and hasn’t finished worse than seventh. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he won this race and took the 21-car to victory lane for the third time already this year.

Justin Haley ($10,800; Starting P18)

Remember how successful Haley was in these races? He was basically Austin Hill before Haley moved up to the Cup Series and Hill bumped up to Xfinity. 2020 was a hell of a season for Haley in the Xfinity Series. He came in sixth in the first race of the year at Daytona, but then would win both Talladega races that year and the second Daytona race. In 2021, his final full-time year in the Xfinity Series, he won the second Daytona race while finishing in the top ten in both Talladega races. And to top all that off he does have a win at Daytona at the Cup level. Kaulig in general, is very good on superspeedways, as both Jeb Burton and A.J. Allmendinger previously scored wins at superspeedways as well. He will be popular and there is some dominator potential if he gets out front and they go single-file on a long green flag run at some point.

Justin Allgaier ($10,300; Starting P19)

It’s actually insane we’re getting Allgaier with this much PD. He finished top three in the first three races and because he wrecked late in last week’s race and finished 36th, that hurts his metric score. With this starting order being determined by the metric, that puts Allgaier 19th. He’ll be a staple in so many lineups because of the PD and win equity. He wrecked in this race a year ago but bounced back to grab a top ten in the Summer race. 

Josh Berry ($9,900; Starting P9)

I’m going to also include Berry’s teammate, Sam Mayer, in this section because they’re arguably the same play this week. The start right next to each other, in the same equipment, and they both have top five upside although Berry probably has more win equity. Berry wrecked in this race last year but finished second in the Summer race while leading 13 laps. Berry comes in with a ton of momentum while Mayer, still a good driver, just hasn’t made it to victory lane yet but he’s been running better the last three races. Mayer saves you $400 but that shouldn’t matter too much today when building lineups.

Sammy Smith ($9,300; Starting P1)

Similar to the last section, I’m going to include a pair of teammates here. Sammy Smith starts on the pole for this race after scoring his first career win last week at Phoenix and, similar to the last section, he starts on the same row as his teammate, John Hunter Nemechek. JHN has had a rocket ship the first four race and both drivers have an easy path to early laps led depending on who gets out in front. JHN does cost $1,200 more and there are PD targets we can start in that range. Realistically you can start a build with Smith, Allgaier, Haley, and find three other drivers offering PD and some strong finishes. I like JGR today, but they are mostly Tournament-only plays since they start so high.

Chandler Smith ($9,100; Starting P6)

Smith has really come into his own in recent weeks. He grabbed three straight top five finishes on the West coast and this is his home track so he’s coming home with a ton of momentum. Smith came up just short of winning this race last year in the Truck Series and he’s coming in hungry for his first Xfinity Series win and he’s on the right team to do it. It’s easy to see that Kaulig could work very well together in this race and you have to imagine all the Chevy’s will be pitting together during the longer runs. This is a week where momentum can easily be derailed but he desperately wants a win in front of his hometown crowd after Corey Heim stole the hometown glory in this Truck race a year ago.

Brandon Jones ($8,700; Starting P21)

We are starting to get more and more of a discount on Jones because of his poor start to the season. He doesn’t have a single top ten finish through four races. That’s not exactly great for a Jr. Motorsports driver. But here we are once again with Brandon Jones starting outside the top 20. With JGR last year, Jones finished 7th and 11th in both races. Jones easily pays off his price tag today with a top ten finish and he certainly has that upside despite the poor start to the season. I’d still be okay playing him in Cash games, but he’s definitely a driver worth targeting in Tournaments. He’s due to break out of this slump eventually.

Riley Herbst ($8,100; Starting P5)

I noticed that we no longer make fun of Riley Herbst like we used to. He used to be a fairly unreliable driver, but he has become more consistent the last two years. He’s qualified and finished well in all four races so far this year including a top five last week at Kansas. This is also a style of racing he’s performed well in recently. He finished ninth here last Summer with seven fastest laps and he was fourth in the Spring race. He has three top ten finishes in his last four Daytona races, and similarly at Talladega he's finished 11th or better in three of his last four races on that monstrous track. I try to emphasize as much as possible that no one is immune to the big one, but Herbst has been consistent and in the running for the most part.

Connor Mosack ($7,400; Starting P25)

Mosack didn’t have an outstanding day last week, but still returned 30 points at Phoenix so he hit his floor. He’s back in the 24-car for Sam Hunt Racing and will likely work with Kaz Grala to try and get to the front to maybe coordinate with the JGR cars. It’s just a theory, but the Toyota’s should work together heavily today. Mosack has a top 12 finish in him in a race like this but even if he finishes 15th he’s still hitting 5X value. 

Brett Moffitt ($7,200; Starting P12)

This is purely a Tournament gut play. Moffitt starts P12 which is probably too high for most people. He’s had a pretty good start to his 2023 season with AM Racing after getting the boot from Our Motorsports last year. Think of Moffitt this week the way we thought of Jake Garcia two weeks ago at Vegas in the Truck Series. He was a guy we just wanted to hang around and finish right around where he started. He was low-owned and sure enough he paid off for us in Tournaments. Moffitt’s similar. I think most of the field will be scared off by the starting spot and rightfully so because he could easily lose the draft and go backward. But I think there’s top ten upside here and he has plenty of experience in all three series racing in a draft. If he comes in around 10-15% owned, I’d love to be overweight compared to the field at maybe 25%.

Kaz Grala ($6,700; Starting P28)

Grala’s a good play this week and he’s Cash game eligible. The problem with Grala is that he sucks when he’s a great play and then he can break the slate when he’s not a great play. Through four races this year he only has one performance of over 20 DraftKings points. He didn’t run Atlanta last year, but still has plenty of experience in the draft so I imagine he acclimates himself just fine. He’ll be popular in all formats so I might be a little underweight. Truthfully, he’s a road course specialist so next week might be the better track to target him for DFS.

Kyle Weatherman ($6,500; Starting P20)

There was simply no way I was leaving Weatherman out of this article. The kid is a good driver evidenced by the back-to-back top 20 finishes his scored at Phoenix and Vegas. The price tag hasn’t really budged either and because qualifying was rained out, we get him at a good starting spot. With DGM a year ago he started P28 in this race and finished in the top ten. I wouldn’t expect that again today because that race had a little more variance, but that is his ceiling and you all know I love targeting this kid in Tournaments.

Joe Graf Jr. ($6,200; Starting P27)

I’m probably wrong, but I really don’t think Graf sees much ownership today. A lot of folks may avoid this play because he’s not in JGR equipment and they may try to fit in more drivers starting outside the top 30. Again, I could be wrong, but I think I’ll be overweight on Graf in Tournaments. He’s still in RSS equipment which is the same equipment as the Sieg brothers. He didn’t have great results here a year ago with a lesser team but he did score a top ten at Talladega in 2022 and he finished 7th in this car at Daytona last month. 

Jeffrey Earnhardt ($5,900; Starting P31)

Truthfully, there are so many different directions we could go for this race. You could mix and match any of the sub-$7K drivers into your lineup and find value. I’m going to roll the dice on Earnhardt as one of my recommended targets. He started inside the top 20 at both Atlanta races last year for Sam Hunt Racing and he finished 19th and 13th. This weekend he’s in Alpha Prime’s equipment which hasn’t led to great finishes for Earnhardt so I understand the hesitancy in wanting to get exposure here especially if he loses the main draft or the lead lap. I still think there’s top 20 upside, but he’s not a driver worth going all in for.

Kyle Sieg ($5,700; Starting P26)

So here’s the thing. We can’t view this track as a full-blown superspeedway, because it isn’t. It still has characteristics of an intermediate. To a point, you do still need decent equipment to make it around this track. Sieg and Graf have some of the better equipment among the drivers starting outside the top 25. If we don’t see too many drivers wreck out, then the back markers will likely stay there and potentially lose the main draft. But Graf and Sieg have the equipment to move up with or without carnage. Sieg started P31 in this race a year ago and finished 24th. In the Summer he started P29 and finished 16th. He only needs a top 20 for value and he could easily flirt with 6X value if he finishes 17th or better.

Chad Chastain ($5,000; Starting P37)

Rolling off dead last and probably a Cash game piece is Chad Chastain. Chastain doesn’t have a ton of experience. Even looking at his time in the Truck Series he’s not a full-time driver. Maybe it’s nepotism, but he finds himself in a decent ride on Saturday with DGM Racing. He can’t get negative points since he’s rolling off last, hence why I’m okay playing him in Cash games. But also, don’t go too heavy on him because historically he’s never finished well. I think people expect more from him because of his last name, but he has an okay floor if you’re punting way down here, but there are far better options in Tournaments.

Joey Gase ($4,600; Starting P33)

There are a ton of options to go to in the back of the pack and I actually can’t believe Joey Gase is $4,600 after he was $5,700 a week ago for Phoenix. Not quite sure what happened, but he’s the second-cheapest driver in the field and he starts outside the top 30. This is purely a finishing position play that maybe has a top 20 if there’s chaos. Otherwise, he’s probably closer to a top 25 finish. Gase raced here in July of last year and started P32 while finishing 26th. A top 25 finish today would be 25 points, well exceeding 5X value. He also finished top 20 last month at Daytona if that makes you feel any better. Similarly, for $100 less you can also go to Patrick Emerling, Gase’s teammate, but I think Gase has a safer floor and potentially higher ceiling.


Cash GamesTop TierMid-TierValue Tier
 Justin HaleyBrandon JonesJoe Graf Jr.
 Justin AllgaierKaz GralaJoey Gase
TournamentsTop TierMid-TierValue Tier
 Austin HillBrandon JonesKyle Sieg
 Josh BerryKyle Weatherman 

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