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 the value of each driver.
The DraftKings Andy’s Frozen Custard 335 NASCAR slate locks at 3:00 p.m. ET on Saturday.
1. John Hunter Nemechek ($10,700) — This should be exciting. The last time Nemechek drove superior equipment in an Xfinity race, he won the 2018 Kansas race in the legendary No. 42 CGR car. This weekend at Texas, he’ll be driving an even more legendary ride — the No. 54 JGR Toyota.
2. Justin Allgaier ($10,200) — Stage 3 at Texas in the spring was very similar to another long, flat oval race at Nashville. The race ended with a series of restarts and a battle between Kyle Busch and Justin Allgaier. Several of the restarts were won by Justin Allgaier, but when Kyle Busch decided it was go-time, Allgaier was easily outclassed.
3. Noah Gragson ($9,600) — He was one lap away from winning at Texas last fall and he ran the fourth-most laps inside the top 5 in the 2021 spring race. In the last intermediate track race, he finished third behind his JRM teammates (Josh Berry and Justin Allgaier).
4. Harrison Burton ($9,900) — Last fall, Burton had a good long run car and was able to do the unthinkable at Texas — pass the leader. He took the lead just before the end of stage 2 and took the lead on the final lap of the race.
5. Austin Cindric ($9,800) — In the last intermediate track race, he lost the lead on a restart before the end of stage 1, and was never able to return to the lead. Las Vegas is not a single groove race track, so there is no excuse for Cindric. Texas is a single groove race track, so if he loses the lead again, he’s not getting back up front.
6. Daniel Hemric ($8800) — The Daniel Hemric Career Winless Streak Clock — the name is a work in progress — reached 205 last week. He’ll probably win by the time a decent name is created, but probably not. There are moments in races where Hermic is sitting in second, and it looks like it will finally be his day, but that moment quickly passes.
7. AJ Allmendinger ($10,500) — In the spring Texas race, Allmendinger did not like his car. His 171 laps inside the top 10 were the most of any driver, but he only ran the ninth-most top-5 laps.
8. Brandon Jones ($9,000) — Last season, Jones took a big step forward. It took years to happen, but now it seems more like an aberration because he’s back to doing Brandon Jones type things. When he’s not wrecking, he’s just out there taking up a spot inside the top 10.
9. Brett Moffitt ($9,400) — This is tricky. Moffitt is not starting in an unfamiliar position. He has frequently wrecked and inconsistently earned top-15 finishes. This week, his starting spot is mainly due to a poor Roval race which should not weigh heavily on the Texas outcome, but Moffitt hasn’t been great at the ovals either.
10. Austin Hill ($7,100) — The No. 61 Hattori Toyota is supposed to be an upgraded car when Hill drives, but sometimes it looks like the same old Carl Long car. Last season, Hill earned a top 10 at Kansas in this car and he earned a top 10 at Nashville earlier this season.
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11. Jeremy Clements ($6,100) — His starting position is a concern, but his price tag ameliorates any DFS worries. Clements’ finishes have been all over the place, but the circuit has been all over the place. At a one-groove oval, Clements can be a top-10 driver.
12. Riley Herbst ($8,600) — Even with a starting position of 20th, it’s hard to get excited about Herbst. Take his name away from the equation, and this is a lock. The No. 98 SHR car is starting 20th and is only $8,600, but you can’t take his name away.
13. Ryan Sieg ($7,300) — It can be difficult to get a true read on Sieg. Developmentally — mechanically and fundamentally — he’s made gains and then given them right back. On top of that, this team gambles on strategy which can be a boon or a bust in DFS. Sieg benefited from the late race restarts in the spring Texas race and finished 11th.
14. J.J. Yeley ($7,400) — His results have been underwhelming in the Rick Ware car this season. In the last intermediate track race (Las Vegas), Yeley was running in 17th place, but wrecked along with half of the field on the restart following the competition caution.
15. Tommy Joe Martins ($6,400) — Rarely, does Martins start far enough back in the field to be DFS relevant. However, his routine bad showing at a road course has pushed him deep into the field and his price tag was not appropriately increased.
16. David Starr ($4,900) — This isn’t rocket science. Starr is a 27th-place driver and he’s starting in the back. His price should be north of $6,000 not south of $5,000. Of course, a lot can go wrong with a Carl Long car, but this is Starr’s home track and his sponsor’s home track.
17. Kaz Grala ($11,200) — His price tag is too high. Maybe, Tyler Reddick is worth that price starting 32nd in the Jordan Anderson car, but not Grala and not with this car’s history of mechanical failures.
18. Sam Mayer ($8,300) — As mentioned above, the JR Motorsports cars finished 1,2 and 3 in the last intermediate track race (Las Vegas). What happened to Mayer in that race? He wrecked for the 100th time this season. You’ve been warned.
19. Bayley Currey ($5,200) — How many times has this been written in an DFS NASCAR Xfinity article? A driver starting in the back is priced under $6,000 and could be in the optimal lineup. How about this one: This Mike Harmon car does not match the talent of the driver and very likely won’t make it the distance. Guess what? Currey isn’t driving a Harmon jalopy, he’s with JD Motorsports this weekend and this is his home track.
20. C.J. McLaughlin ($4,700) — Mike Harmon cars break, but they break more often when they’re not allowed a couple warm-up laps during practice to diagnose small mechanical issues. This car could die on lap 1, or McLaughlin turns laps and through attrition, finishes 30th, good enough for a spot in the optimal lineup. We’ll have a good idea what will happen by lap 2.
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