2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series Season Preview for DraftKings DFS

Welcome everyone to the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season preview. Here we will be taking a look at the many changes that occurred during the offseason. We will also take a look at what we can expect from these changes as well as some of the preseason top plays and potential fades. This article is brought to you by DFSArmy.com and written by Ryan Larkin. You can catch up with Ryan on Twitter or in the DFSA VIP slack @Larkin8

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2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series Preview

2020 was a massive transition year for the Xfinity Series. We saw tons of turnover which led to a very thin field overall. The series is still finding it’s way in a new world where Cup stars are limited in how much they can participate. The good news is that we do see the large gap between the big, cup affiliated teams and then smaller Xfinity only teams closing. We are also seeing an influx of new teams attempting to fill the rather big void between the big teams and the little teams that have long made up the back half of the field. This makes for more competitive and enjoyable racing. We have had quite a few changes for the 2021 season that we will take a look at in this article. We will start with the driver changes and then focus on the numerous schedule changes for the year. Finally, I will finish things off with a few off my favorite plays and potential drivers to fade for the 2021 season.

Jun 28, 2020; Long Pond, PA, USA; NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Austin Cindric (22) races during the Pocono Green 225 at Pocono Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

 

The Teams

In this section, I am going to break down the main driver and/or crew chief changes that have happened over the course of the offseason. I will also give a little insight into how I believe each driver will run in the 2021 season and how it might impact their DFS viability. I will also use this section to give some quick thoughts on teams that stayed intact.

Penske Racing

Defending Xfinity Series champion Austin Cindric will return to the Penske 22 for one more year. He will certainly be the heavy favorite to win the championship again in 2021 especially with a schedule that now includes SEVEN road course races. He should be the highest priced driver in nearly every race and the main dominator threat in nearly all of them. Penske may also run a few races with the #12 car driven by any one of their 4 Cup affiliated drivers.

Stewart-Haas Racing

2020 was an amazing year for the 98 of Stewart-Haas Racing driven by Chase Briscoe. They won 9 races and led more laps than anyone else in the series. Briscoe has graduated to the Cup Series taking over the #14 previously driven by Clint Bowyer. SHR has picked Riley Herbst to take over the ride for the 2021 season. Herbst was remarkably mediocre driving for Joe Gibbs last year. However, with a year of experience under his belt and moving over to one of the best cars in the series Herbst has another opportunity to make a name for himself. Richard Boswell will stay with the team as crew chief. I expect decent pricing for Herbst and if he can make some improvements could offer some DFS viability.

JRM

Three of the four Jr Motorsports teams will remain the same with Allgaier back in the 7, Annett back in the 1, and Noah Gragson back in the 9 car.  The only change will be Mike Bumgarner taking over as crew chief for Annett. This change will mean very little as Annett will be his normal self. 6th on 1.5-mile tracks and 10th everywhere else. Allgaier and Gragson both had decent years but have to feel like they left a lot on the table. Allgaier for instance ranked 2nd in laps led but only scored 3 wins and 11 top 5s. Briscoe who led the most with 1032 laps, won 9 times. Allgaier’s stats match Brandon Jones (which isn’t someone you want to be compared to if you are Allgaier) who had 3 wins and 10 top 5s but only led 160 laps. I would expect some positive regression from JA.

The 8 car

The only car in the JRM stable that will have a lot of change will be the 8 team. Dale Jr will of course run his 1 race that Unilever request as part of their deal. I would assume that will be Martinsville in the spring but that’s a guess. The 8 car will also be driven by JRM Late Model driver Josh Berry who will get 12 races early in the year while Sam Mayer will take over the car in the 2nd half once he turns 18. Taylor Moyer will return as crew chief though and he has shown a fantastic ability to get speed out of his race cars. There will be growing pains throughout the year with young, inexperienced drivers but it can’t be much worse than the Hemric and Jeb crash fest that was 2020. Miguel Paludo will also drive the car in 3 road course races. The multiple-time Porsche GT3 Cup Brasil Champ.

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Joe Gibbs Racing

In perhaps the biggest move of the 2021 offseason, Daniel Hemric will take over the #18 car full time. He will be paired with elite crew chief Dave Rogers and will have zero excuses if he does not finally deliver wins. I would expect DK has him underpriced early in the year which could give him some viability in this elite situation. Brandon Jones and Harrison Burton will return for 2021 with the only change with those two teams in Jason Ratcliff taking over as Burton’s crew chief. I fully expect Harrison to take another step forward speed-wise in 2021 and for Brandon Jones to continue being very average. JGR will also run the 54 car with a few different drivers. I do believe we will see Bubba Wallace in this 54 car at some point but that is complete speculation.

Kaulig Racing

There is a lot of change happening at Kaulig for 2021. AJ Allmendinger will run full time in the 16 car. There is massive upside with him given the 7 road course, 4 superspeedway, and 2 races at Martinsville. These are all tracks he is elite at. Jeb Burton will take over the #10 vacated by Ross Chastain. Jeb had a rough 2020 at JRM but when things went well he battled for top 5s regularly. I think Jeb could be viable if he becomes more consistent and is priced in the $9,000 range. Lastly, Justin Haley will return in the #11 for another year. Haley is fantastic on the superspeedway but needs to take that next step everywhere else. Kaulig will also start a cup team that will see some attention as well.

RCR

Myatt Snider will take over the #2 full time in 2021. He was a bit crash happy in 2020 so he will need to get that in check but this has been a top 5 car for a decade including winning multiple championships. There is extreme upside here with Snider.

Our Motorsports

Our Motorsports will return in 2021 with a two-car operation. The 02 will be driven full time by Brett Moffitt and will contend for a playoff spot. The second car will be split by a few drivers starting with Tyler Reddick driving it in the season opener at Daytona. Should see some good speed on occasion but pricing will determine their DFS viability.

Quick Hits

  • Brandon Brown will return with his own team in 2021 and look to replicate a successful 2020 season.
  • Colby Howard will return to JDM on a full-time basis in the #15 and Jeffrey Earnhardt will do the same in the #0. The biggest news for JDM however is the return of Landon Cassill to the #4 team. I look forward to exploiting his salary early.
  • Tommy Joe Martins will again compete full time with the #44 car. Offered amazing value last year and I expect that again in 2021.
  • Ryan Sieg will return with his family-owned team but will make the switch to FORD & receive support from Roush-Yates Engines.
  • Josh Williams will return to the 92 with the 90 car being a shared ride for DGM in 2021
  • Hattori will be back with an expanded schedule in 2021 with a plan for 9-12 races with Austin Hill. Phenomenal value play
  • MBM will run the 61 car when Hattori is not but with far less in terms of equipment. They will have Timmy Hill and Chad Finchum back to resume their roles.
  • BJ McLeod Motorsports will return Matt Mills and add Jesse Little to their roster with a third car to be split between several drivers. This is always a viable punt organization. Worth a look on a weekly basis.
  • Sam Hunt Racing made the biggest surprise announcement adding Santino Ferrucci to their driver lineup for a few races in 2021. Ferrucci has racing in F1 over in Europe and IndyCar here in the US. He is a talented driver that has gotten into some trouble with his actions. He should be an entertaining watch. Brandon Gdovic will return for a few oval races as well. Kris Wright has joined the team to run the 7 road course races as well.
  • Big Machine Records will start their own team with Jade Buford as the driver. BMR has been a long time supporter of NASCAR and will now invest their marketing money into a team they own.

What can the DFS Army do for you!!!

I want to take a quick break to let everyone know exactly what we offer in detail here at DFS Army. For the 2021 NASCAR season we will offer the following of premium content:

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  • We will also be offering tutorial podcast and articles throught the season to help our members learn how to be better DFS players.

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Schedule Changes

We have a plethora of schedule changes to the Xfinity Series. Should make for a very fun season overall. Bristol and Dover will both go to one race only and the Series will add Martinsville and Nashville Superspeedway in their place. Califonia, Chicagoland, Iowa, and Kentucky all lose their races for 2021. In their place will be additional races at Darlington, Atlanta, and Talladega.  We will also see the Daytona Road Course ran in February taking the place of the California race. Lastly, the Xfinity Series will race a Circuit of the Americas for the first time. COTA is a current F1 track and perhaps the best road course facility in the country. Change is great for DFS and usually where we can find the biggest edge on the field.

Top Plays

Austin Cindric

Cindric was the man on road course and 1.5-mile tracks in 2020. I expect that to continue this year as well. The expectation for Cindric should be 7-10 wins and to lead over 1000 laps. He is a massive dominator threat most weeks. Cindric had 661 Fast laps in 2020 which was nearly 200 more than the closest returning Xfinity Driver. He also had the best average finish. He is a slam dunk cash play weekly and has massive dominator upside as well. I expect him to have a MONSTER year.

Jeb Burton

In the 10 races that matter for me last year Burton had 4 wrecks. A 40% crash rate is way too damn high. Driving a super-fast car he needed to take his top 5-8 finish and be happy. The good news is we can chalk that up to a small sample size and expect positive regression. In the 6 races he didn’t wreck Burton finished 9th or better and had 3 top 5s. He will be taking over the #10 that Ross Chastain drove in 2020 and should be in line to finish every race inside the top 10. Jeb is a solid driver that I expect will get a very favorable price point on DK. He will be a strong stud to pair with our top dominators in a lot of spots and should score a decent amount of top 10s. If his price creeps too high though he will lack the upside to pay off.

Ryan Sieg

Sieg was horribly underpriced last year on DK and I pray he is again. He scored 11 top 10s and 7 top 5s in what was actually a season in which he lacked mechanical reliability. For the 2021 season, his team will switch to FORD, and with that Sieg will be receiving engines from Roush-Yates engines. RYE is the best engine supplier in the sport in my opinion and will likely boost the HP for Sieg in the 50-75 range. That will be massive for a team such as his. I am expecting a more consistent year overall. The additional road course races are the biggest reason I am tempering my expectations for him as that is his weakest area.

Top Fades

Brett Moffitt

Moffitt is a really good driver but he hovered near $8,500-$9,000 toward the end of last year and that is way too much for a driver who will struggle for top 10s. If Our Motorsports finds more speed and/or Moffitt drops in price then he will offer more value. He just won’t offer the upside needed, unfortunately. He will have a great season relative to real life but in terms of DFS, I expect a completely mediocre year.

Jade Buford

So this is a bit of an odd fade considering we have almost no info to go off of. My thoughts are complete speculation. Buford is a road course ringer who has run 4 Xfinity races in the past. He has been very successful averaging a 15th place finish and never finishing worse than 19th. His pricing could be the issue. DraftKings historically are horrific with context and will often misprice drives as a result. If he is anything over $7,000 we have to be skeptical of him. He has never raced on an oval either. Going to tracks for the first time where there will be no practice should set up for a very interesting year and not one I want to trust too much money with. Also, he is driving for a brand new team…

Start and Parks

If you are familiar with what a start and park is then you can ignore this section. For those unaware, a start and park is a driver who starts a race but has no intention of finishing. We only see this from the back end teams who are looking for a paycheck but don’t want to spend the money on pit crew, tires, etc. There are only a handful of teams that fall into this but it is important to pay attention to who these teams are throughout the year so you can FADE them.

 

Check out some of our other DFS Army NASCAR content for the 2021 season!!!

2021 NASCAR Cup Series Season Preview

2021 NASCAR Truck Series Season Preview

DFS Army Strategy Series – NASCAR Scoring Fanduel vs Draftkings

 

This will conclude the 2021 Xfinity Series Preview. I hope you enjoyed it and picked up some extra knowledge to help going into the new season. If you would like to follow me on Twitter you can @Larkin8. Most importantly I hope you will join us at the DFS Army and become a VIP member. Join today and use my promo code LARKIN for 20% off membership