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. A.J. Allmendinger ($11,500) - Chase the place differential. Embrace the place differential. Salary doesn’t matter because there are plenty of cheap options that can be optimal. Allmendinger has a great Kaulig car. He finished 3rd in this race last year for Kaulig.
2. Justin Haley ($9,600) - Kaulig builds strong plate racing cars and they’re incredibly lucky. Chastain won at Daytona last summer and Haley won at Talladega several months ago. Haley even won a lightning shortened Daytona Cup race. He’s probably the luckiest driver in NASCAR.
3. Gray Gaulding ($7,300) - Bobby Dotter and Gray Gaulding nearly made the Xfinity playoffs last year in the No. 08 car. They finished 2nd at Talladega. Gaulding is starting 28th and will be one of the most popular plays Friday night.
4. Harrison Burton ($10,100) - There’s always a few drivers that perfectly illustrate plate racing. Burton finished 2nd at Daytona and 32nd at Talladega. That’s plate racing. When the best cars and best drivers finish last half of the time, there are no best cars or best drivers.
5. Justin Allgaier ($10,400) - His plate race stats are what most DFS players expect. Half of the time, Allgaier earns a top-10 finish. The other half are wrecks. Allgaier will need to lead laps and avoid wrecks Friday night. It will be difficult, but not impossible.
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6. Noah Gragson ($8,500) - His season has stalled out, and Gragson has regressed to the rough around the edges racer that bought a ride with Jr Motorsports in 2019. He won the last race at Daytona, and can win again, but winning a plate race doesn’t turn a season around.
7. Ross Chastain ($8,300) - Dover was a great weekend for Chastain, but it was clear that he’s not a championship contender. Chastain was nearly perfect in both races, but he could not hang with the leaders. He does not have the car to win on regular weekends, but he can win at plate tracks where the playing field is even.
8. Jeffrey Earnhardt ($5,900) - This race can go many sorts of ways, but the classic bet is to count on a wreckfest. Although 75% of the field cannot afford to wreck, especially during the current Covid financial crisis in the Xfinity Series, the drivers will wreck a bunch of cars. Jeff has never been lucky, and his last name has not guaranteed him plate racing success, but maybe he gets lucky for once.
9. Austin Cindric ($10,700) - Someone has to lead laps and someone has to win. That driver is typically a top-tier driver. It’s possible that the lap leader can wreck at the end, and the winning lineup is full of nobodies, but typically the winning lineup has one or two stars.
10. Chase Briscoe ($9,400) - This has been a great year for Briscoe and it might be a great real life race, but it’s a tough sell for DFS players. Brisoce has to stay out front all race. Starting first and finishing first is not good enough. He’ll need to lead laps along with avoiding wrecks. Most drivers only need to avoid wrecks to score points, but Brisoce has to do that and lead laps.
11. Brett Moffitt ($9,000) - His 5th-place finish resulted in the second-most fantasy points at Talladega, but he started that race in 20th. Moffitt will need to win to be optimal.
12. Anthony Alfredo ($9,800) - This isn’t the Cup Series. DFS players cannot stack their lineups with drivers starting in the back because most of those cars are bad. DFS players can’t stack drivers in the front either. Alfredo is comfortably in between and has a great RCR car.
13. Timmy Hill ($7,500) - Don’t worry about the double start and park last weekend. Carl Long always finds the money and resources to run the plate races. Hill finished 3rd at Daytona in February.
14. Joey Gase ($5,400) - He’s not an exceptional plate racer, but he has 20 Xfinity plate races under his belt. His BJ Motorsports car isn’t the best, but it can make it to the end. Finally, he’s starting 33rd.
15. Brandon Brown ($7,200) - He’s finished 7th in the last two races at Daytona. His finish might not be the most interesting statistic. Brown avoided 10 cautions that wrecked over 50 cars in those races.
16. Vinnie Miller ($7,000) - This one doesn’t feel good, but they never do at plate tracks. Miller is starting 30th and he’s earned a top-15 finish in each of the last two Daytona races. That sounds safe, but he did not finish on the lead lap at Daytona in February.
17. Jesse Little ($4,700) - He makes it easier to roster Allmenindger, but the savings might not be necessary for most builds. Little is starting close enough to the back and he has a car that is good enough to finish. Little does not have a lot of Xfinity or Truck Series plate racing experience.
18. Josh Williams ($6,400) - What’s the difference between a contrarian play and a bad play? Williams has one top-10 plate track finish and his average finish at Daytona is 27th. No one will play him, but he can get lucky and give the contrarian’s an enormous ownership advantage.
19. Jeremy Clements ($7,900) - Sometimes the Xfinity plate races can be snoozes because the teams are poor. Wrecking cars is not an option, so the teams barely even race. If that happens, the place differential value plays fail, and extremely conservative picks score enough points to be optimal.
20. Myatt Snider ($8,900) - Jeff Green routinely finished inside the top 15 in the No. 93 car at the plate tracks, but he was always dirt cheap and starting in the back. Snider is not cheap and he’s starting in the front half of the field, and he’s not as talented as Jeff Green.
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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.