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.
1. Austin Cindric ($11,000) - It’s possible that someday Cindric might become the greatest road course driver in NASCAR history. He’s won at Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio and Road America. No other driver in NASCAR history can make that claim.
2. A.J. Allmendinger ($11,400) - His price only dropped $600 despite losing 20 place differential points. Allmendinger can win and still not be optimal. Cindric will likely lead all of stage one. At best, Allmendinger leads half of the race for seven laps led points. Add that to a first place finish, and that’s 62 points for a return of 5.4x value - and that’s if he wins.
3. Justin Allgaier ($10,600) - Wrecks happen on restarts at road courses. Last week was Allgaier’s week. He should go right back to being a top 5 road course driver. He’s cheaper than Allmendinger, offers more place differential points and he can win, too.
4. Preston Pardus ($7,700) - There isn’t a free square on the board this week. His price hasn’t changed, but he’s lost 20 place differential points. If he earns his third road course top 10 this season, then Pardus might squeeze into the optimal lineup.
5. Jade Buford ($7,500) - The Lamborghini racer is fitting in just fine in the Xfinity Series. In two road races, he’s finished 14th and 19th. He checks all of the boxes this week. It’s a Bobby Dotter car starting in the back and it’s affordable.
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6. Earl Bamber ($9,900) - This week the No. 21 RCR car goes to Earl Bamber. Who is this guy? He’s a road ringer from New Zealand with quite a few wins and a lot of experience on the Daytona Road Course.
7. Brandon Gdovic ($9,400) - There were concerns about the No. 26 Sam Hunt Racing car in the Indy GP race. This car suffered a DNF at Darlington, so how could they build a road course car? They did it, and Gdovic finished 12th. Why can’t he do it again?
8. Josh Bilicki ($6,900) - The story hasn’t changed from last week. If Bilicki can put together a clean race, then he can earn a top 10. If he makes mistakes or other drivers use him up, then he DNFs or finishes around 20th. He was close to a top 10 last week, but the same old mistakes happened, and he settled for a 17th place finish.
9. Alex Labbe ($8,300) - Much of NASCAR’s popularity stems from outlaw culture and the general disrespect for authority. Labbe illegally tested a stock at the Daytona Road Course several weeks ago, but he got away with it. He’s one of the best road racers and he’s the only driver with stock car experience at this track.
10. Daniel Hemric ($10,200) - The problem with Hemric is that he jumps into the car cold every other week. That will not be a disadvantage this weekend because everyone is coming into this race blind. The biggest concern with Hemric is the setup. It will be a complete guess by crew chiefs, and the No. 8 team hasn’t been able to guess right on normal weeks.
11. Myatt Snider ($8,100) - Another week, another disappointing finish for Snider. He was running well before his Road America wreck, but how many times has that been said this year? How many wrecks is Snider afforded until he is unceremoniously labeled a wrecker?
12. Noah Gragson ($9,700) - Last week, Gragson delivered his typical road course performance. He’s never in contention for a win, but he’s always around the top 5. In six road races, his worst finish is 10th and his average finish is sixth.
13. Chase Briscoe ($9,600) - This is worth repeating: Briscoe’s road course wins were the result of pit road more so than driver skill. Last week, the pits were frozen and the only way to win was on the track, and not surprisingly, Briscoe had nothing for Cindric and Allmendinger on the track.
14. Andy Lally ($8,800) - As predicted, the road ringers are back in NASCAR. They had all but vanished in the sport, but due to the economic distress of the series, the road ringers can compete. Teams are underfunded and good teams rely on the funding of untalented kids. This means a great road racer in decent equipment can earn top 5s at the road courses.
15. Jeremy Clements ($8,500) - Before his wreck last week, Clements wasn’t having his best road race, but he still could have pulled out a top 10 finish. Preparing for the Daytona Road Course on short notice may be too much to ask from a small one car team.
16. Ross Chastain ($9,000) - His salary is too high. Chastain deserves credit for his top 10 finishes at road courses this season, but those races are meaningless to DFS players. Chastain can finish a career best fifth at the Daytona Road Course and still be irrelevant.
17. Harrison Burton ($8,700) - The JGR rookies have been in a hole all season without practice, but this weekend is asking way too much. It’s one thing to race at an oval cold, but it’s impossible to competitively race at a road course without practice. Last week, Burton ran the Trans Am race for practice. He gets nothing this week.
18. Riley Herbst ($7,100) - Like his teammate, Herbst used the Road America Trans Am race as a way to familiarize himself with the road course. It didn’t work for Burton, and it didn’t work for Herbst. It’s hard to imagine that Herbst will do better with even less experience at the Daytona Road Course.
19. Justin Haley ($9,200) - He’s talented, but not nearly as talented as he thinks he is. Haley moves cars like Kyle Busch, but without the resume. The clock has been ticking. At some point, one of the Xfinity drivers is going to get their revenge.
20. Brandon Jones ($7,900) - While Cindric might become the best road racer of all time, Jones might be the worst. His finishes aren’t awful, but he has not improved the slightest bit over five years. That’s five years with great equipment and good teams.
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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.