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.
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1. Justin Haley ($9,200) - It’s better to be lucky than good, at least at a plate track. Haley has gotten lucky four times at plate tracks, and in some cases very lucky. In all three of his Xfinity plate track wins, he took the lead on the final lap.
2. AJ Allmendinger ($10,600) - HIs plate races have been eventful. In 2019, Allmendinger lost a top 5 finish when he was DQ’d. Last year at Daytona, Allmendinger was on his way to the win, but his teammate, Ross Chastain, wrecked him on the final lap.
3. Ty Dillon ($7,900) - Apparently, he did not quit after all. He’s purchased another ride with JGR, and it’s not a bad investment. Talladega is Dillon’s best chance at getting a win, but it’s the worst way to prove that he deserves a Cup ride. He’s never going back to Cup, so it’s a good deal.
4. Noah Gragson ($10,000) - He’s one of the few plate track winners in the field, and Jr Motorsports has a history of putting together good plate track cars. Gragson is very aggressive and that’s necessary to win, especially if this race turns out to be a safe single file affair.
5. Justin Allgaier ($10,400) - The Xfinity Series can be just as chaotic as the Cup Series. It can also be very tame. A third option is chaos in the back for the plebes while the contenders stay safe up front. Two of those three scenarios favor Allgaier.
6. Daniel Hemric ($9,400) - It would be fitting, if Hemric earned his first NASCAR win at a plate track. It would also be fitting, if he wrecked for the gazillionth time. Hemric has a top notch ride and in the Xfinity Series, there is less equipment parity at Talladega. Don’t rule out a win, but don’t rule out a wreck either.
7. Harrison Burton ($8,500) - This is where analyzing the stats at a plate track will lead you astray. Burton has three top 5 finishes at Daytona and two wrecks at Talladega. What does this mean? Absolutely nothing. At least he’s been lucky enough to earn top 5 finishes at Daytona.
8. Jeb Burton ($8,200) - When the Kaulig cars are not wrecking each other, they are a dominant force at the plate tracks. Replacing Ross Chastain with Jeb Burton should be addition by subtraction because Chastain was not much of a teammate. Unfortunately, Burton is just as desperate to prove his talent as Chastain.
9. Alex Labbe ($7,500) - This is a quality car and a quality driver starting 30th. Most of the picks in the back of the field are ugly and riddled with problems. The only problem with Labbe is that his ownership will be sky high.
10. Landon Cassill ($7,100) - The JD Motorsports cars have no problem competing at plate tracks as long as they stay off of the wrecker. Cassill is one of the most experienced plate racers in the series and a popular driver. He will be one of the most owned drivers this weekend.
11. Jeffrey Earnhardt ($6,300) - His name will drive ownership whether it is deserved or not. His quality equipment will increase his ownership. Finally, the red 33 next to his name will push a lot of DFS players to click his name.
12. Joe Graf Jr ($5,700) - Bobby Dotter cars do not break down, but Joe Graf does wreck. He’s wrecked in all of his plate races except the last one. Graf finished 11th at Daytona in February. If he replicates that performance, then he’ll be optimal at Talladega.
13. Colby Howard ($6,700) - Every JD Motorsports car is in play. The JD Motorsports stack is in play, but not because they’ll work together. There isn’t any analytical reason for this stack. It just so happens that all of the JD cars are starting in the back. If they all avoid wrecks, then they could all be optimal.
14. Joey Gase ($6,900) - The Rick Ware car should have enough speed to earn a top 10, if Gase does not wreck. Gase has plenty of plate racing experience and he has four top 15 finishes at plate tracks. That’s better than most of the field.
15. Timmy Hill ($5,000) - His stats aren’t great, but he’s a talented driver and Carl Long cars can finish this race. He just needs to catch some breaks, but he doesn’t need a miracle. His 27th place starting position only requires a 10th place finish to score over 50 fantasy points.
16. Natalie Decker ($6,000) - This one is not for the faint of heart, but it is for the DFS players with big hearts. Natalie WRECKER has likely caused significant DFS losses for most players, so they will avoid rostering Decker. Her ownership will be low, but too low for the only female driver to ever earn a top 5 finish at Daytona in the Truck Series.
17. Ryan Vargas ($6,500) - One of these JD Motorsports cars has to hit. They can’t all wreck and even if this race is a tame one-lane affair, one of these guys has to make their way forward. Vargas is mathematically the best JD car because he’s starting second to last. Even if he wrecks, he’ll likely gain points as long as he is not the first car to wreck.
18. Gray Gaulding ($5,300) - The car should freak everyone out, but Gaulding has done a great job of taking care of his Jimmy Means equipment this season. The equipment should last the length of the race just as long as Gaulding does not wreck like he did at Daytona.
19. Caesar Bacarella ($6,800) - He’s starting in the back and he’s starting to get better at plate racing. This will be his tenth plate race and he’s finished 17th or better in his last three plate races.
20. Matt Mills ($5,900) - Some of these picks are ugly, but that’s par for the course when it comes to Xfinity Series plate racing. While the Cup teams build dependable cars, the Xfinity teams do not. Mills has to be lucky enough to avoid the wrecks and his car dying, but that’s what he has done in three of his six plate races.
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