The rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for that day. 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.
1. Denny Hamlin ($10,900) - The current form box is checked and so is the track history box. Hamlin was running inside the top 5 at Kentucky in stage 2, but got hit with a green flag penalty. He received the lucky dog going into stage 3, and drove from outside of the top 20 into 4th place with 18 laps remaining. (4.8 fppk)
2. Kevin Harvick ($11,600) - The 2019 season wasn’t the best year for Harvick, so it’s not surprising that he struggled at Kentucky last year. However, it is surprising how much he struggled. Harvick was terrible at Kentucky, but with how great he is this year, that race can be dismissed. (5.7 fppk)
3. Kyle Busch ($10,100) - The #18 car was fast, but Busch got tight on the last run and was passed by Joey Logano. On the last restart, he battled his brother door to door to the finish line, but came up three feet short. (2.9 fppk)
4. Joey Logano ($9,600) - One of the rare moments in NASCAR happened at Kentucky last year, as Logano passed the leader during a green flag run on equal tires. Technically, it doesn’t count because it wasn’t for the lead because Ryan Newman had not pitted yet. Logano had the win in the bank until a caution caused an overtime finish. (3.7 fppk)
5. Kurt Busch ($7,600) - Even with the best car and the best restarts every single time, Kurt Busch was not going to win at Kentucky last year. He took four tires on his final green flag stop and trailed the leader by 8 seconds with five laps remaining. Busch caught a break when a caution forced an overtime restart. His four tires powered past his brother by the length of a hood at the finish line. (4.0 fppk)
Curious about when major leagues and events will return? Check out our DraftKings Sports Calendar for the latest updates.
6. Brad Keselowski ($9,000) - Last year, Kentucky was a perfect Brad Keselowski race, but he didn’t do anything because he wasn’t very good last year. This race will be won or lost on pit road. There will be four tires, two tires, and fuel only calls. No one can pass the leader in this package especially at a poorly designed Kentucky track. The way to the front is on pit road, and BK is a gambler. (4.8 fppk)
7. Erik Jones ($8,400) - The #20 JGR car was a top 10 car at Kentucky. Jones and his team advanced his position by using a two tire strategy during their green flag stop in stage 3 and finished 3rd. No one doubts the speed of the car or the talent of the driver, but the post Covid break has been an up and down roller coaster for Jones and the DFS players that have swallowed the Jones chalk. (4.0 fppk)
8. Chase Elliott ($10,500) - Even before his flat tire in stage 1, Elliott did not have a top 10 car at Kentucky. He battled all night, but it just wasn’t his race. During overtime, Elliott got into the wall, but even if his finish was clean, he wasn’t going to earn a top 10. (4.5 fppk)
9. Aric Almirola ($7,300) - SHR has looked good over the last three races, but Kentucky isn’t a long flat track. In the last intermediate track race, Almriola finished 5th at Homestead. Kentucky and Homestead aren’t comparable, but Pocono and Indy do not compare well to Kentucky either. (4.4 fppk)
10. Ryan Newman ($6,100) - As usual, Newman had a 15th place car at Kentucky. As usual, he played games and stayed out long during stage 3. Newman used a short fuel only pit stop to secure a top 10 finish. (3.3 fppk)
11. Michael McDowell ($5,700) - It doesn’t seem like McDowell is going to come back down to Earth anytime soon. In fact, he’s getting better each week. It’s unlikely that McDowell finally figured it out in his 13th season. What is probably happening is that the no practice format really suits McDowell for whatever reason. (5.4 fppk)
12. Tyler Reddick ($8,200) - In the 10 races where Reddick hasn’t wrecked or suffered a mechanical failure, his average finish is 12th. This will be his first race at Kentucky in this package, but that hasn’t slowed him down at any other first time races this season. (4.2 fppk)
13. Alex Bowman ($7,400) - Kentucky was the first intermediate track race to follow Bowman’s Chicago win in 2019. He was inside the top 5 in stage 2, but a loose wheel required a second pit stop, and he was never able to work his way back through traffic. (3.6 fppk)
14. William Byron ($8,600) - There are opportunities abound at Kentucky because of the lack of tire fall off. Pit strategy put Byron in second place in stage 3, but he jumped a restart. A pass through penalty during a nearly completely green stage 3 ruined his chances. (3.4 fppk)
15. Christopher Bell ($11,200) - Xfinity Series stats aren’t the best stats for predicting Cup races, but rarely are Xfinity stats the best stats. Bell’s Kentucky stats are the best. In two Xfinity races, he has a win (2018), and a 2nd place finish in 2019 that should have been a win, but his pit crew surrendered the lead twice. (3.6 fppk)
16. Ryan Blaney ($9,800) - A 13th place finish is better than what he deserved. His Kentucky setup was off from the beginning to the end. Blaney has been fast this season, but he’ll come into this race with an empty notebook. His best hope is that his new crew chief Todd Gordon has a plan, and he should. Gordon and Logano would have won this race last year if it wasn’t for a Bubba Wallace spin with 5 lap laps remaining. (4.4 fppk)
17. Martin Truex, Jr. ($9,200) - In the low downforce package, Truex was great at Kentucky. Truex is also great in day/night races. Unfortunately for Truex, this is a high downforce race track and the race will be during the day time this year. (3.8 fppk)
18. Clint Bowyer ($9,400) - Either the best SHR car was the #14 car or Bowyer’s team played strategy correctly and benefited from clean air. His chance of a win disappeared when he decided to take four tires on the final green flag pit stop, a two tire stop was the move. (3.8 fppk)
19. Cole Custer ($6,900) - Last year, the #41 SHR car won the pole, led 52 laps, and earned a top 10 finish. Custer is trending in the right direction and he’s starting deep in the field again. His price has increased, but not nearly enough. (3.4 fppk)
20. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,100) - Kentucky does not have multiple racing grooves, but it is wide, and drivers will try to create multiple grooves on restarts. And by drivers, that means Stenhouse. He is also very likely to gamble and run long in stage 3. This strategy earned him a 3rd place finish at Las Vegas earlier this season. (3.3 fppk)
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.