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 Bucked Up 200 slate locks at 9:00 p.m. ET on Friday.
1. Kyle Busch ($15,000) - There’s only been one occasion where Kyle Busch was not optimal in a DFS NASCAR Trucks contest. In that race, NASCAR kneecapped Kyle Busch with not one, but two speeding penalties. Just jam him in.
2. Austin Hill ($11,000) - He didn’t have the best truck at Las Vegas in the fall, but he held off a very fast Sheldon Creed for the win. That race is a testament to how much Hill has grown over the last two seasons. If NASCAR ties one of Kyle Busch’s arms behind his back with a penalty, it opens the door for Austin Hill to lead laps.
3. Zane Smith ($10,600) - One of the surprises of the 2020 season was Zane Smith. The rookie did not pile up wins but he was consistently a top 5 car and ended the season with three consecutive top 3 finishes. This year has not started off how he would like it, but there were basically two plate races to start the season. The real season begins this week.
4. Sheldon Creed ($9,800) - If Kyle Busch wasn’t racing, Creed would be the favorite to win. He put on a clinic last season at Las Vegas in the fall. Creed led 88 laps, but was unable to win because of a bad restart on the final green flag.
5. Chandler Smith ($7,300) - This is a big week for Chandler Smith. After several amazing performances in 2019, his 2020 part time work was disappointing. Now, he’s in a fulltime ride with seasoned crew chief Danny Stockman. This could be a great year, but this might not be the week because his boss, Kyle Busch, is racing.
6. Brett Moffitt ($9,200) - We’re going to see what these Niece trucks have this weekend, but if last season is an indicator, then it doesn’t look good. This is likely the worst truck that Moffitt has ever driven.
7. John H. Nemechek ($9,500) - His team calculated fuel mileage incorrectly and this cost him the win at the Daytona Road Course. Nemechek will bounce back this week, but it’s hard to beat your boss, a 59 time truck winner, when your boss is tougher than an NES boss.
8. Ryan Truex ($6,300) - The driver might be better than the truck, but that doesn’t say much. Truex is an above average driver in average equipment. It’s possible that Niece has stumbled into funding and now has a fleet of fast trucks. Even if that’s the case, the top tier teams (KBM, GMS, Thor, and Hattori) are still better.
9. Tanner Gray ($7,000) - When Gray wasn’t wrecking last season, he looked good. He earned 13 top 15 finishes. Gray finished 3rd at Las Vegas and he had a 3rd place race car. It wasn’t smoke and mirrors. Gray ran the 4th most laps inside the top 10.
10. Parker Kligerman ($10,100) - Sometimes it still feels like it’s 2020. Kligerman starting in the back was a regular occurrence post COVID-19 last season. When he was cheap, it was a free square. When he was expensive, it seemed mathematically impossible, but he made it work at Michigan with a $10,800 price tag (note: a lot of expensive top tier drivers had issues in that race).
11. Conor Daly ($7,700) - He made his debut in the Truck Series at Las Vegas last year. Daly played it safe and brought home an 18th place finish. Expect the same, but with a little more aggression.
12. Hailie Deegan ($6,400) - DFS players just need her to go out and turn laps. She’s raced at intermediate tracks in ARCA and she finished 16th at Kansas in a truck last fall. If she tries to race too much, then we’ll have some problems.
13. Matt Crafton ($8,600) - It’s going to be hard for Crafton to outscore some of the chalk in the back. It’s possible that he can be more efficient on a point per dollar basis. Maybe, Crafton can lead some laps before Busch charges to the front, but that might only take 10 laps.
14. Tyler Ankrum ($8,200) - A surprising fuel mileage win at Kentucky in 2019 put Ankrum on the map. Before that and after that, he hasn’t done much. Last year, he had great equipment, but was the weakest link at GMS. He has the truck and the talent, but he just needs to put it all together.
15. Raphael Lessard ($7,400) - His only win is a plate track win, but he’s only run one full-time season in the trucks. Last year, he showed improvement in the second half of the season. Lessard did not earn a top 10 finish until half way through the season, but he closed the season with three top 5 finishes in the last five races.
16. Christian Eckes ($7,900) - There were times in the spring Las Vegas race where Christian Eckes was faster than Kyle Busch. This likely has little to do with Eckes and everything to do with genius crew chief Rudy Fugle building a fast truck. Eckes wrecked out of that race.
17. Ben Rhodes ($9,000) - The pole sitter in the high downforce truck package at an intermediate track is not a lock to lead laps. When the pole sitter is surrounded by Sheldon Creed, John Hunter Nemechek, and Matt Crafton on the starting grid, it’s not a good sign.
18. Johnny Sauter ($8,100) - So far, Sauter’s stint at ThorSport has been a failure. The first two weeks of this season have been okay, but they are outlier races in the grand scheme of things. The Friday night race will answer the big question: Will 2021 Sauter be ThorSport Sauter or the old GMS Sauter?
19. Grant Enfinger ($8,800) - This is not a ThorSport truck. Enfinger is driving Codie Rohrbaugh’s truck at Las Vegas. Enfinger should be able to hang on to the lead lap, and he has a chance at a top 10, if there are wrecks in stage three. If this race goes green in stage three, Enfinger will be in trouble.
20. Stewart Friesen ($8,400) - As bad as last season was, Freisen still earned 12 top 10 finishes. In 2019, he earned 16 top 10s. The biggest difference was wins and top 5 finishes. In 2019, Friesen earned 2 wins and 12 top 5s. Last year, Friesen struggled in his new Toyota equipment. He never won and earned just 3 top 5 finishes.
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