The rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for Saturday’s race at Road America. 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. Austin Hill ($10,100) - Hatorri has won this race two years in a row, and crew chief Scott Zipadelli has built a race winning truck in three of his five Michigan races. Hill is the favorite to win and to lead the most laps.
2. Brett Moffitt ($9,700) - Last year, Moffit earned the most fast laps, but that does not mean that he had the best car. He did in fact have one of the best cars, but his fast lap points are the product of the Michigan draft and a divergent four tire strategy on the final run.
3. Zane Smith ($8,400) - NASCAR truck series debates are rare because there are few topics and few actual fans to carry forth such meaningless debates. However, one interesting debate has emerged - is Zane Smith the best driver in the Truck Series? At first glance this seems farcical, but after a close inspection of the video and data, it no longer seems to be simply a contrarian stance.
4. Christian Eckes ($9,300) - In six of the last eight races, Ecekes has a top-5 driver rating. His team was way off with the setup in Kansas 1, but they rebounded with a setup that earned the third highest driver rating at Kansas 2.
5. Matt Crafton ($9,900) - A clutch issue forced Crafton to start from the rear of the field at Michigan last year, but he had no problem driving his way into the top 10. On the penultimate restart, Crafton lined up behind the leader and proceeded to dump Tyler Ankrum causing a massive pile up.
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6. Chandler Smith ($9,500) - He’s a great young racer, but a flat footed race is foreign to him. His skills honed on the short tracks won’t be of great use this weekend. Smith has a great truck, but this race is closer to a plate race at Daytona than it is to a traditional intermediate track race, let alone a short track race.
7. Grant Enfinger ($7,900) - He finished third in both Kansas races. That’s Grant Efinger this year and his career. He’s not a winner, he’s a good driver. Sure, the stat sheet says otherwise, but no one that is serious values a plate track win, and his Atlanta win was the result of a caution that erased a 16-second deficit.
8. Derek Kraus ($7,700) - The Truck Series rookie crop provides hope for the future of the sport, but the realists know that the economics of this industry have long since abandoned meritocracy. Enjoy this moment while it lasts. Kraus and McAnally Racing are having a breakthrough season in their first full-time year, and Michigan’s plate track tendencies open the possibility for a first win.
9. Ben Rhodes ($8,100) - Matt Crafton finally got his win last week, so it could be Ben Rhodes’ turn. His other ThorSport teammate, Grant Enfinger, another notorious bridesmaid, broke through and earned two wins this season. The heat is on Rhodes. Why can’t he win like his teammates?
10. Ty Majeski ($6,700) - For a rookie, Majeski is having a solid season. In fact, it’s fair to say that he is having a great season when lack of practice and strength of field are considered. DFS players have high expectations for Niece trucks following Chastain’s performance last season, but comprehensive analysis can easily diminish the significance of those wins.
11. Sheldon Creed ($8,500) - Following his rain-shortened win at Kentucky, Creed has wrecked in two of the last three races. His truck is fast and he is talented, but DFS players have struggled with Creed’s volatility over the last two seasons.
12. Stewart Friesen ($9,100) - After a win at Phoenix, Friesen was on the cusp of becoming the 2019 champion. What followed was a manufacturer change, a global pandemic, and a long string of forgettable performances.
13. John Hunter Nemechek ($11,100) - It’s never a lock when it’s a Nemechek. This is a very nice spot, but last year and this year, Nemechek flopped in prime spots. His dad was able to finish 20th in this truck at Michigan last year.
14. Parker Kligerman ($10,800) - This is a fairly safe cash play, but Kligerman might not work in GPP lineups. His path to 50 points is easy and very likely, but there are a handful of drivers that are over $1,000 cheaper that have an easy path to 50 points as well.
15. Brennan Poole ($7,000) - Nothing has changed since last season. Poole is a top-20 intermediate track driver. Sometimes, he gets a little greedy and chases a top 10 and his aggression is rewarded with a DNF. However, most of the time he plays it safe and takes what his small team can get.
16. Tanner Gray ($7,600) - The tale of two Tanner’s can best be understood by comparing two data points. Tanner Gray’s average driver rating ranks 17th. His average finish is 14th. In the second Kansas race, Gray was the 12th best driver, but he earned a fourth place finish.
17. Raphael Lessard ($7,400) - The good news is that this rookie is a 15th place driver, but the bad news is that he is not improving at all. His driver rating has remained static all season. He was a 15th place driver at Las Vegas and six months later, he was a 15th place driver at Kansas.
18. Johnny Sauter ($10,400) - It’s inexcusable for a past champion in great equipment to earn two 33rd place finishes in two of the last three races. Unfortunately, these types of performances have become common for Sauter since joining ThorSport in 2019.
19. Tyler Ankrum ($8,700) - He was in the catbird seat with three laps left in the 2019 Michigan race. All Ankrum had to do was get a clean start and handle Matt Crafton’s push into turn one. Ankrum spun the tires slightly and Crafton sent Ankrum into the wall.
20. Todd Gilliland ($8,900) - This race is a mess on restarts and it’s likely that Gilliland wrecks during one of them, but he needs them. Gilliland is not going to win this race on a long run. He needs chaos and Michigan needs to do its best impression of Daytona.
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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.