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. Martin Truex Jr. ($10,900) - After two months of top five finishes, it looked like Truex was finally going to win last week. Truex hasn’t won since May, but his last win was at a short, flat track. Richmond is short and flat, and he’s won the last two Richmond races. (4.7 fppk)
2. Kevin Harvick ($11,300) - Giving Harvick the pole and the number one pit stall is not fair. This is a big race for Harvick. It’s one of the last chances to dial in the low downforce setup at a flat track before Phoenix. Rodney Childers might tinker a little, but it’s more likely that they treat this race like it’s do or die. (5.7 fppk)
3. Brad Keselowski ($10,100) - At Bristol, the race broke his way, but he put himself in position to catch the breaks. In a more comparable race at New Hampshire, Keseolwski dominated. The #2 car has been the best low downforce car this year, and it’s not debatable. (4.7 fppk)
4. Joey Logano ($9,300) - Team Penske has won three low downforce races this season. Logano won at Phoenix, he should have won at Bristol, and he finished 4th at Martinsville and New Hampshire. There’s not a lot of buzz around Logano, but there should be. (3.6 fppk)
5. Denny Hamlin ($11,600) - In the last low downforce race at a flat track, Hamlin finished second. He had a good car at New Hampshire, but Brad Keselowski was unstoppable. Although Hamlin isn’t necessarily the driver to beat this week, he’s not too far behind. (5.0 fppk)
6. Christopher Bell ($7,200) - The JGR rookie is a phenomenal short track racer. So far, the short track races have not gone his way, but as far as talent and equipment go, he’s ready to compete this week. In last fall’s Xfinity race at Richmond, Bell put on a clinic, leading 238 of the 250 laps on his way to victory lane. (3.4 fppk)
7. Kyle Busch ($9,800) - It’s 2020, and if you’re playing Kyle Busch, you’re burning money. Someone has to offset the Federal Reserve, so keep rostering Kyle Busch. There’s rational thinking and rationalizing. Rational thinking looks at the data and fades Busch. Rationalizing finds a way to work Busch into lineups. (3.0 fppk)
8. Chase Elliott ($10,500) - Last year wasn’t a great season for Elliott at Richmond, but that was in a different racing package. In the last low downforce race at Richmond in the fall of 2018, Elliott had the 5th highest driver rating. (4.3 fppk)
9. Clint Bowyer ($8,300) - He’s a short tracker, and he almost won the spring Richmond race last season. That was in a different package, so his setup might be off, but his skill will not be. At New Hampshire, Bowyer was a top five driver until his car fell off on the last long run to end the race. (3.9 fppk)
10. Aric Almirola ($8,500) - Phoenix, Martinsville, and New Hampshire are low downforce races at tracks with flat banked turns. Almriola has a top 10 finish in two of those three races. He can very likely earn a quiet top 10 that goes unnoticed by the casual fan, and ignored by the DFS fan. (4.4 fppk)
11. Erik Jones ($8,900) - Add Darlington to the list of optimal lineup finishes for Jones. His numerous optimal performances are not because he’s a great racer, but because NASCAR has killed him with their silly starting grid rules. His average starting position is 18th, the worst of his career. (3.8 fppk)
12. Jimmie Johnson ($8,700) - The farewell tour is reaching the back stretch. Unless NASCAR allows Johnson to cheat or calls up a timely debris caution, which is within the realm of possibilities, his final win has already occurred. (3.7 fppk)
13. Kurt Busch ($9,100) - In three races this season, Kurt Busch scored 25, 13, and 14 points. In each of those races, Busch started the race on the front row. He needs fast laps and laps led to work this week, but he’s not starting on the front row. (3.8 fppk)
14. Ryan Newman ($7,000) - Last year, Newman scored double digit place differential points and top 10 finishes in both Richmond races, but that was a different package. In 2017, Newman earned two top 10s from starting positions of 27th and 13th. (3.3 fppk)
15. Matt DiBenedetto ($7,500) - Don’t ignore New Hampshire. He finished 6th and had the 7th best average running position. It was not a fluke. On the last green flag run of the race, an 82 lap run, DiBenedetto started 6th and finished 6th. On lap 290 of 301, he ran a 31.4 second lap and the leader posted a 31.3. A top five is within reach. (3.8 fppk)
16. William Byron ($7,400) - At most tracks, Byron has taken a step forward this season, and the low downforce races have not been any different. He has a top 11 finish in each of the three low downforce flat track races (Phoenix, Martinsville, and New Hampshire). (3.8 fppk)
17. Tyler Reddick ($6,900) - He’s not a short track racer, but he’s a racer. It’s hard to count him out. New Hampshire was a struggle for Reddick in the Xfinity series, but he earned a top 10 finish in the New Hampshire Cup race in August. (4.3 fppk)
18. Ryan Blaney ($9,500) - The first round of the playoffs do not set up very well for Blaney. Darlngton and Richmond are not tracks where he’s experienced a lot of success. His saving grace is that Team Penske has built great low downforce cars this season. (4.1 fppk)
19. Ryan Preece ($6,100) - The high horsepower and low downforce package has been Preece’s only strength in the Cup series. Preece finished 16th at New Hampshire and 18th at Phoenix. His finish at Martinsville does not show it because of a yellow flag penalty on lap 329 and a green flag penalty on lap 332, but his average running position was 21st. (3.2 fppk)
20. Austin Dillon ($7,900) - This is an extreme contrarian play. Most DFS players will immediately skip over Dillon, and rightfully so. Although it took some strategy, once Dillon’s car was running in the cleaner air in the top 10 last week, his car was as capable as a top five car. He’ll start in clean air, and will stay in clean air as long as Dillon doesn’t make a mistake, which can easily happen. (4.5 fppk)
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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.