NASCAR Picks for Talladega
David Gilliland, #38 Love's Travel Stops/A&W Restaurants, Front Row Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
Gilliland has quietly been a fantasy stud at Talladega the past few years. In his last six starts at the track, he has piled up five top-15 finishes, with four straight. Not to mention the fact that Gilliland finished second and seventh in two starts at Talladega last season.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., #17 Best Buy/Valvoline/Zest, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class B]
In his brief Cup career, Stenhouse has been his best at the plate tracks. In six starts, he has compiled an 11.0 average finish, with an 8.0 average finish in two starts at Talladega. Meanwhile, Stenhouse has never finished outside the top 20 at a plate race, and he has cracked the top 15 in five straight starts.
Brian Vickers, #55 Aaron's Dream Machine, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class B]
His starts at Talladega have been few and far between recently, but Vickers was pretty solid at the track early in his career. In fact, he has seven top-15 finishes in his last 11 starts at the track (and during the stretch, he has five finishes of sixth or better, including a win). Vickers could make a solid addition to fantasy rosters this weekend.
Martin Truex, Jr., #78 Furniture Row, Furniture Row Racing [Yahoo Class B]
After struggling at Talladega early in his career, Truex has been in a groove at the track recently. He has finished 13th or better in seven of his last eight starts at Talladega, and he has four top-10s at the track during the stretch. In fact, Truex finished seventh and eighth in two starts at Talladega in 2013, and he could make a great sleeper play this weekend.
Tony Stewart, #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
After several close calls, Stewart finally broke through and won at Talladega in the fall of 2008. However, he has managed just one top-15 finish in nine starts since the win. Granted, he has added a couple of more wins at Daytona since his Talladega win (so he can't be written off), but Stewart is far from a sure thing this weekend.
Paul Menard, #27 Menards, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
He might not have the most upside of the sleeper picks this weekend, but he has been somewhat dependable at Talladega. In his last 12 starts at the track, he has managed eight finishes of 17th or better, with seven top-15s. Granted, he only has two top-10s during the same stretch, but Menard's consistency could make him an asset to owners this weekend.
Ryan Newman, #31 Caterpillar, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Although he went through a dreadful slump at the plate tracks starting in 2009, Newman has seen his luck change the past year or two. In fact, he ranks seventh in the series in points scored at the plate tracks since 2012. Newman has five top-10s in nine starts during the stretch, with two of those top-10s coming in his last three starts at Talladega. He could be worth a look in some formats.
Denny Hamlin, #11 FedEx, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Hamlin has been tough to predict at Talladega throughout his career. In 16 starts at the track, he has six top-15 finishes, including five top-10s. However, he has finished outside the top 20 in his other 12 starts at the track. Depending on the format, it might just be best to save Hamlin for another week.
Kasey Kahne, #5 Farmers Insurance/Quaker State, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
Despite a couple of runner-up efforts at Talladega, Kahne has been largely unreliable at the track. He has just three top-10s in 20 starts to go along with a forgettable 22.2 average finish. Kahne was particularly unlucky at Talladega last year, finishing 42nd and 36th in his two starts. It is tough to justify the risk given the infrequency of his good runs at the track.
Michael Waltrip, #66 PEAK BlueDEF, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class C]
Although Daytona has definitely been his better track both for his career and recently, Waltrip has still provided useful results at Talladega. He has three top-20s in his last five starts at the track, picking up a pair of top-10s during the stretch. In fact, Waltrip finished fourth at Talladega last spring. He is a great C-List option in Yahoo! leagues this weekend.
Aric Almirola, #43 Smithfield Foods, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
Almirola actually hasn't been terrible at Talladega the past couple of seasons: He has a 15.8 average finish in his last four starts at the track, and he finished a career-best 10th last spring. Almirola doesn't have a ton of upside, but as long as he is finishing in and around the top 15 at Talladega, he has decent value in deeper formats.
Kurt Busch, #41 Haas Automation, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class A]
Busch was a plate track stud early in his career, but he has really struggled to find good finishes in recent years (especially at Talladega). He has finished outside the top 15 in his last seven starts at the track, and during the stretch, he has four finishes of 30th or worse. It is tough to justify taking a chance on him until he shows some sign of breaking out of his current slump.
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