1) Brad Keselowski (Starting – 6th)
Talladega Fantasy Spin – Brad Keselowski is the premiere restrictor plate driver at Talladega. On Sunday I expect him to have a very strong showing. I think he’ll finish in the top five, and compete for the win. When it comes to restrictor plate racing Keselowski is arguably the best in the business. He knows how to make big moves in the draft, and once he gets to the front he’s very hard to get around. Recently Penske Racing has owned Talladega. They’ve won 4 of the last 6 races and have won the last three fall races. Keselowski is currently below the Playoff cut-line so look for him to race aggressively and stay up front all race long.
Talladega Track History – Brad Keselowski has been very successful at Talladega. He’s a four-time winner who’s finished in the top ten 59% percent of the time. This spring he had a good car. He earned the 2nd best driver rating, led 31 laps and finished 7th. Additionally he won Stage #1. Last fall he had the car to beat but his engine couldn’t go the distance. Before his early exit he was the class of the field and led 90 laps. In spring 2016 he raced his way to victory lane, earned the best driver rating, led the most laps (46) and had a 5th place average running position. In fall 2015 he earned the 3rd best driver rating and finished 4th.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $9,800
2) Joey Logano (Starting – 3rd)
Talladega Fantasy Spin – Joey Logano should be on your short list of favorites at Talladega. This weekend he’s going all out for the win and his mindset is “Checkers or wreckers.” At Talladega he’s won back to back fall races and has been very competitive in many of the other recent events despite what his track record shows. “Performance Wise” I think he’s been a top five competitor over the last four Talladega races. On Sunday I think he has a great chance to finish in the top five, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets his third straight fall win.
Talladega Track History – Joey Logano has been really good in recent Talladega races and has won the last two fall races. This spring he had one of the better cars but finished an Asterisk Mark 32nd after getting caught up in a wreck with 20 laps to go. Two laps prior to wrecking he was running in in 5th. Additionally it should be noted he earned the 4th best driver rating and led 10 laps. Last fall Logano led the final 45 laps, earned the best driver rating and raced his way to victory lane. What makes it more impressive is that he had to overcome a pit penalty. Once Logano took the lead nobody could get around him. In spring 2016 he was likely Keselowski’s toughest competition but he was collected in a late wreck which led to his 25th place finish. In fall 2015 he held off a fast Dale Earnhardt Jr. and got his first career Talladega win. Additionally in that race he earned the 2nd best driver rating, had a 6th place average running position and led 20 laps.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $10,200
Further Recommended Reading – Talladega Post Qualifying Predictions (another fantasy take), Talladega Starting Lineup, DraftKings Playability Value Chart, Likely Finish Ranges, DraftKings Start Page, Yahoo Start Page
3) Kyle Busch (Starting – 16th)
Talladega Fantasy Spin – Kyle Busch is a strong performer at Talladega who’ll be one of the drivers to beat. In recent races he’s been very strong here. Over the last 10 races he has 5 top fives, and 7 top twelve finishes. The three races he finished outside the top 12 over this stretch he either wrecked or raced with zero effort. This spring he had a great car and “Performance Wise” I thought he was the best (PROS Rankings). After his problems last week at Charlotte, Kyle Busch is pretty close to the cut-line so he’ll be forced to run up front trying to accumulate as many points as possible. On Sunday I think Busch has a great chance to compete for a top five finish.
Talladega Track History – This spring Kyle Busch had a great car and if there wasn’t a late caution I think he would’ve won. When the checkered flag waved he finished 3rd, earned the best driver rating and led a race high 48 laps. Last fall he finished 30th but you can’t read into that because he raced with zero effort because of Playoff implications. In spring 2016 he finished runner-up, earned the 2nd best driver rating and led 12 laps. In fall 2015 he was solid. When the race reached its conclusion he finished 11th, had a 12th place average running position and earned the 9th best driver rating. In spring 2015 he missed the race due to injury. In fall 2014 he was collected in a wreck and finished 40th. In the two Talladega races prior to that he finished 5th and 12th.
Yahoo A Driver / DraftKings $10,400