Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. 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. Chase Elliott ($9,700) - Rarely does a driver take the lead on the track. Real passing scenarios simply do not happen in the high downforce, low horsepower package; it’s science. Elliott took the lead at Las Vegas several times on race moves, not pit road luck. He had a great long run car, but he lost the win because his pit crew busted a valve stem. Few laps later, Elliott was in the wall. (4.3 fppk)
2. Kevin Harvick ($11,700) - Just plug him into your lineups. Is there anywhere that Harvick has not run well this season? He led the most laps in the first Vegas race, but his car fell off during the second half of the race. With the improvements that this team has made over the last eight months, the late race fall off is unlikely this time. (5.9 fppk)
3. Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,600) - He recorded 18 fast laps and ran inside the top five for 156 of the first 167 laps. A bad pit stop to start stage 3 forced Treux to restart deep in traffic, and the damage he suffered on the ensuing restart ended any chance of a win. (4.5 fppk)
4. Denny Hamlin ($11,000) - Kansas is the closest comparison to Las Vegas, and Hamlin won at Kansas in July. The last month has not been great for Hamlin, but the schedule of tracks included plate racing, high downforce, low downforce, and Bristol. (4.9 fppk)
5. Ryan Blaney ($9,100) - After Elliott wrecked late in the race, Blaney had the best car. The race was his to win, but just like several other races this season, the win slipped through his hands. After a late race caution, Blaney chose to hit pit road, and he was unable to race his way back to the front during a chaotic green-white-checkers finish. (4.1 fppk)
6. Joey Logano ($10,300) - His car wasn’t the best, but even the best car (Chase Elliott’s No. 9) wasn’t great. Logano hung in the top five and won the Las Vegas race by winning restarts, quick pit stops and accidentally not pitting during the lap 263 caution. (3.7 fppk)
7. Brad Keselowski ($11,400) - Since the middle of 2019, intermediate tracks have been a bugaboo for Keselowski. The low downforce, high horsepower package has been a strength for the No. 2 car, but the intermediate tracks not so much. (4.8 fppk)
8. Erik Jones ($8,500) - Mr. Optimal lineup did it again last week. It was his ninth appearance in the optimal lineup and second time in three weeks. The last time NASCAR raced at cookie cutter intermediate tracks was the end of July. Jones was optimal in both of those races. (3.9 fppk)
9. Christopher Bell ($7,100) - This might come as a surprise, but Bell has not earned a top 10 since early July. He’s finished outside of the top 10 in 12 straight races. Did JGR pick the right driver or is the high downforce, low horsepower package still undefeated when it comes to ruining careers? (3.5 fppk)
10. Clint Bowyer ($8,100) - In the first Las Vegas race, he hated his car. That was almost a year ago, but nearly nothing has changed. Bowyer has never been good at intermediate tracks and this package has only exacerbated his deficiency. (3.9 fppk)
11. Kyle Busch ($10,000) - This is a track where Busch and his team struggle with the setup. They can never get the track dialed in during practice. The good news is that they won’t waste their time with practice this week. (3.3 fppk)
12. Aric Almirola ($8,300) - He’s Clint Bowyer without personality. Statistically, Almirola is slightly better in terms of average finish, but he’s never won a real race (plate races do not count). Bowyer can win, but he can also sink outside of the top 10. (4.5 fppk)
13. Kurt Busch ($8,700) - Las Vegas is his hometown, but he never runs well for friends and family. Busch has finished outside of the top 20 in five of the last six Las Vegas races. In the February race, he suffered damage on a restart, then later got hit by Ross Chastain. (3.8 fppk)
14. William Byron ($9,400) - His 18 fast lap points are misleading. In stage 3, he was the only top 10 car that took four tires. His fast laps weren’t a complete trick. Before getting wrecked on the last restart, Byron had turned the sixth most laps inside the top 5. (3.5 fppk)
15. Alex Bowman ($7,300) - This feels like another season. Way back in February at Las Vegas, Bowman’s car came alive and he was running down Ryan Blaney. The late caution, and subsequent restart pile up ruined Bowman’s day, but he had a fast car. (3.6 fppk)
16. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,800) - This is a track where Stenhouse can search for speed, but he won’t find it. In the February race, Stenhouse hit the lotto multiple times. He ran long in stage 2 and barely hung onto the lead lap. He did it again in stage 3 and was bailed out by a caution. Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good. All the time, it’s better to be lucky than Stenhouse. (2.8 fppk)
17. Cole Custer ($6,600) - His car is fast enough and there is no pressure. At Kentucky, Custer was in the right place every time on the final restarts, and he snuck away with an intermediate track win. He doesn’t have to win for DFS players. He just has to restart in the right spot and make the right moves again. (3.9 fppk)
18. Ryan Newman ($7,400) - He didn’t race in February because of the Daytona wreck, but if he would have, then it’s easy to imagine him earning a top 15 finish. The #6 car was pretty good in the February race when Ross Chastain wasn’t busy wrecking into everything in sight. (3.2 fppk)
19. Jimmie Johnson ($8,900) - The Hendrick cars were fast at Las Vegas. That was a long time ago and a lot has changed, but a pandemic does not change the setup. Johnson ran the ninth most laps inside the top 10 in the February race (164 laps). (3.7 fppk)
20. Austin Dillon ($7,600) - He’s in the playoffs because he won at an intermediate track. He won that race because a lapper caused an egregious caution. The No. 3 car has speed and can hang around up front, but Dillion needs legit magic to win, and not David Blaine magic. He needs Harry Potter sorcery. (4.7 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.