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NASCAR DraftKings Fantasy Driver Rankings: Super Start Batteries 400 Presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts DFS Picks

Pearce Dietrich gives his picks and ranks his top drivers for Thursday’s Super Start Batteries 400 race, which locks at 7:45 p.m. ET on DraftKings.

The rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for Thursday’s race at Kansas Speedway. The ordering is not based on the highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by value of each driver. Note: fppk = average fantasy points per $1,000 of salary.

The Super Start Batteries 400 slate locks at 7:45 p.m. ET on Thursday, July 23. Set your DraftKings lineups here: NAS $400K Front Row [$100K to 1st] (Cup)

1. Kevin Harvick ($11,500) - Texas has been very good to Harvick. He didn’t get the win, but he had the second-highest driver rating last week. The last two night races, on the other hand, have not been great for Harvick. The COVID-19 rules have created a guessing game for teams. Harvick’s team has made some good guesses in day races, but they have been striking out with their night time setups. (5.6 fppk)

2. Chase Elliott ($11,000) - The No. 9 car has been fast all season, but it has been particularly fast at intermediate tracks in cool temperatures. During the Charlotte, Darlington and Homestead night races, and the night time portion of the Memorial Day race, Elliott was the best car on the track. (4.3 fppk)

3. Denny Hamlin ($10,200) - His best intermediate track races have been at night. Hamlin won the second Darlington race and he destroyed the field at Homestead. Last year, Hamlin was much better in the day race than the night race at Kansas, but the Kansas night race was early in the season. JGR struggled with this high downforce setup early in 2019. (4.5 fppk)

4. Ryan Blaney ($9,900) - Luck has been a strange factor in Blaney’s career. His three Penske wins were all lucky (two plate wins, and a Roval win in which the two leaders wrecked each other on the last turn). In races where luck should not be a factor and Blaney had a race-winning car, he’s gotten unlucky. (5.0 fppk)

5. Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,600) - His strength has been daytime races (Atlanta, Kentucky and Texas), and not the night races. The day/night factor is normally not as big of a deal, but that’s because, in the past, teams were able to practice and adjust setups. In the new NASCAR, it’s a complete guessing game. There appears to be a trend among teams that guess right for day races and those that guess right for night races. (3.9 fppk)

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6. Kurt Busch ($8,000) - When Busch starts on the front row he earns hog points (Charlotte, Pocono and Kentucky). When he is in traffic, he’s a top-10 driver, but not a threat to earn hog points. The magic of clean air reveals that Busch’s car isn’t that great. (4.2 fppk)

7. Kyle Busch ($9,700) - He looked better last week, but he only recorded 5.5 fast lap points. That was just the sixth-most at Texas. Given his struggles over the last 12 months, it’s not a surprise that Busch was only the sixth fastest car last week. (3.4 fppk)

8. Alex Bowman ($8,500) - This might be the week where Bowman’s season gets back on track. There are two reasons to explain Bowman’s possible rebound. He nearly won the 2019 Kansas night race, but he struggled in the day race. This season, Bowman has been noticeably better in the night races and the cooler temperature races. (3.4 fppk)

9. Joey Logano ($9,300) - Even before the chaos and his wreck at the end of the 2019 Kansas fall race, Logano struggled. It wasn’t Logano’s fault, his crew chief decided to set the car up with a lot of downforce to give Logano better handling. The excessive downforce created too much drag and Logano spent most of the day trapped in traffic. (3.7 fppk)

10. Tyler Reddick ($8,300) - The RCR cars were good last week, but they were not contenders. Their only chance was to get on a different pit schedule. This strategy paid off when Quin Houff wrecked laps before Reddick was going to pit under green. (4.6 fppk)

11. Brad Keselowski ($9,500) - The second half of the 2019 season was not a pleasant experience for Keselowski. The No. 2 car lacked speed at the intermediate tracks, and the Kansas fall race is a perfect example. He was stuck in the teens all day and went a lap down on the last long green-flag run. (4.7 fppk)

12. Christopher Bell ($8,100) - With a couple of wrecks last week at Texas, Bell reminded DFS players that he’s still a rookie. His starting position and price were very appealing last week, but his propensity to make mistakes was a big red flag. (3.7 fppk)

13. Aric Almirola ($8,700) - SHR is giving Almirola very fast cars every week. They’re so focused on speed that they didn’t even give him brakes last week, but he was able to overcome his brake issue at Texas. After a questionable penalty that NASCAR invented in the middle of a race last weekend, Almirola was able to drive out of a major hole and record his seventh consecutive top-10 finish. (4.8 fppk)

14. Erik Jones ($9,000) - NASCAR DFS can be maddening. Erik Jones is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. He has been optimal five times since the season resumed. In the other nine races, he’s averaging 19 fantasy points per race. (4.0 fppk)

15. William Byron ($7,800) - Hendrick Motorsports has figured something out with their night time intermediate track setup. Byron is averaging an 11th place finish in night time races this season. Byron hasn’t been great in these races, but he’s been consistently good as opposed to his results in the day races. (3.2 fppk)

16. Clint Bowyer ($7,500) - This car has been fine in clean air, but it struggles when it has to start in the teens. Due to the new random draw qualifying format, Bowyer will continue to start outside of the top 12. Kansas is his home track, but he’s never had a good race at this intermediate track. (3.9 fppk)

17. Michael McDowell ($6,200) - Last week was a bounce-back week for McDowell, or was it? In the first 250 laps, his average position was 25th. Several laps before a scheduled green-flag pit stop a caution came out, and McDowell was able to cycle forward 10 spots ahead of the drivers that had pit under green. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. (5.5 fppk)

18. Austin Dillon ($7,200) - Give credit to Richard Childress. He knew his drivers lacked talent and his cars weren’t that fast, so he hired Rho AI in 2017. This data firm creates predictive models for real-time pit road strategies. Every non-plate track Cup win (4) for RCR since 2013 have been based on a lucky strategy call. (4.4 fppk)

19. Ryan Preece ($5,800) - The clock is ticking for Preece. After a lackluster rookie season, Preece has only gotten worse. Preece has finished in last place in each of the last three races, a feat only achieved by four drivers in NASCAR history. He’s due, he’s cheap and he’s starting 35th. (2.6 fppk)

20. Ryan Newman ($6,600) - Finally, Newman can earn a little bit of place differential. His 18th place starting position doesn’t make him a lock, but his price tag might make him popular. Unfortunately, a 15th place finish is only 5x. (3.6 fppk)

Set your DraftKings lineups here: NAS $400K Front Row [$100K to 1st] (Cup)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.