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NASCAR All Star - Lesson 04 - Value Play: Place Differential

In the infamous words of Ricky Bobby from Talledega Nights “If you ain’t first you’re last.” Fortunately, for DraftKings fantasy NASCAR players this isn’t actually the case. In DK fantasy NASCAR your driver doesn’t necessarily have to win the race to score you a lot of fantasy points. One of the easiest ways for your driver to score points is by a positive place differential.

Place Differential Rules

In the DraftKings NASCAR rules, place differential is defined as the starting position minus the finishing position. An example of this would be if a driver starts in 40th position and ends in 10th position then his place differential would be +30. A less popular and unfortunate example would be a driver starting in 10th, blowing a tire, and finishing in 40th. This drivers place differential would -30. One important factor to remember is that place differential is based on a driver’s qualifying position. If a driver qualifies in 5th, but has a gear change, engine change, or for any reason must change their starting position (these instances can cause a driver to start from the rear of the field) then place differential is calculated from their qualifying position. This is why it is extremely important to follow pre-race news, especially after practice and qualifying. If a top qualifying driver has to go to the back of the field then they already start off with negative place differential points. Obviously this can be very detrimental to your DraftKings fantasy NASCAR scoring output.

Finding Value

There are ways to use place differential to your advantage when finding value. One of the easiest ways is by watching qualifying. If a driver that is basically a lock to perform well during the race has a poor qualifying effort then there is definitely the potential for positive place differential points. A great example of this can be found in the 2015 Charlotte race. In qualifying for that race Kasey Kahne blew a tire and ended up qualifying in the 33rd spot. Most NASCAR guys knew that based on track history and the success of his team at Charlotte he was a lot better than a 33rd place finish. He ended up finishing in 12th and put up 21 place differential points for a total DraftKings score of 58.5. Anytime a driver qualifies worse than they should finish then they are in play.

Another way to use place differential when finding value is by looking for a part time driver that is running for a big team. These drivers usually qualify higher than they will run in the race due to team/pit strategy. An example of this would be from the 2015 race at Pocono. Ty Dillon ran the race for Hendrick Motorsports in a part time spot. He qualified in the 29th position, but due to the team and his ability he was touted as a top 25 driver. His price was extremely cheap at $7,400 which made him a great play. He ended up finishing in 18th and putting up 11 place differential points. At his price this was a huge win for a lot of daily fantasy teams.

Practice/Qualifying Results

It has been said in all of the trainings, but we must continue to reiterate the importance of practice and qualifying. If a driver has great practice times and a poor qualifying effort the potential for place differential scoring is there. Make sure you either watch or study both practice and qualifying before the race.

Continue Reading NASCAR Training Camp

NASCAR All Star – Lesson 01 – Contrarian Picks
NASCAR All Star – Lesson 02 – Laps Led, Fast Laps, Clean Air
NASCAR All Star – Lesson 03 – Short Tracks
NASCAR All Star – Lesson 04 – Value Play: Place Differential

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