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. Kyle Busch ($14,500) — There were a couple seasons where the extra JGR Xfinity car was not great, but Busch was still able to earn wins in the extra car. This season, the No. 54 car is the fastest car in the series. There is no telling what Busch can do with it at an oval.
2. Justin Allgaier ($9,900) — Kyle Busch and the No. 54 JGR car can run away with this race, and Allgaier will still be fine in DFS. With a sub $10,000 salary, a top 5 finish and double digit place differential points go a long way.
3. Noah Gragson ($11,500) — On lap one of the Mid-Ohio race, Noah Gragson was forced to drive through a cloud of smoke. When his car emerged, his front end was gone and his day was over. Gragson has a good car and a good starting position for earning DFS points, but his luck hasn’t been great lately.
4. Harrison Burton ($9,700) — He hasn’t been a race winning driver this season, and his price and starting position often require it in DFS. On this slate, Burton is starting deep enough in the field and is cheap enough that he can fit into the winning lineup with a top 5 finish.
5. Austin Cindric ($11,000) — Here is what needs to happen for Cindric to be a factor. Cindric has to wrestle the lead away from Allmendinger quickly. Inevitably, Kyle Busch is going to take over this race, and Cindric needs to score fantasy points while he can.
6. Josh Berry ($10,200) — This week, Berry is back with JR Motorsports. His car is one of the best in the field and Berry might be the most talented Xfinity regular. Kyle Busch will likely control this race, but a top 5 finish from Berry is all DFS players need.
7. Daniel Hemric ($9,100) — Two months ago, it seemed like Daniel Hemric was on the verge of winning. Going into Texas, rostering the 2021 Daniel Hemric feels like rostering the 2018 RCR Hemric. He’s a top 5 driver, but he’s just missing that extra edge needed to win.
8. AJ Allmendinger ($10,500) — By winning at Mid-Ohio, AJ has earned the pole for Texas. Allmendinger’s only intermediate track win came last season when all three contenders (Chase Briscoe, Justin Allgaier and Austin Cindric) got nailed with pit road penalties before the final restart at Atlanta. He doesn’t have to win at Texas, but he’ll need to lead all of the stage 1 laps.
9. Brandon Jones ($9,400) — He’s starting too close to the front and he’s too expensive. Jones needs to win to be optimal, but a win is not impossible. Jones has stolen a couple wins via late race chaos. However, if there is late race chaos, it could benefit anyone.
10. Brett Moffitt ($7,700) — His season began with three top 15 finishes and four in the first five races. Since that point, Moffitt has one top 15 finish in the last eight races. The schedule has been all over the place and that’s tough for a small team, but they knew what they were getting into at the beginning of the season.
11. Myatt Snider ($7,500) — This has been a disappointing season for RCR, and it’s getting worse each week. Over the last five races, Snider’s average finish is 22nd. Obviously, a 22nd place finish isn’t going to work, but it doesn’t at all seem unrealistic to believe that this car could finish 10th and score 41 points.
12. Riley Herbst ($7,900) — In the last intermediate track race, Herbst got exactly what he was asking for. He got to practice in a fast car and started on the pole. He led 7 laps in that race. Shame on me for believing in him.
13. Justin Haley ($8,100) — Nothing against Justin Haley but he deserves to be in the $6,000 tier with this starting position. He’s a top 10 driver and that’s a great achievement for Kaulig Racing, but these cars lose their DFS relevance when they are priced like top tier cars.
14. Garrett Smithley ($5,700) — Rick Ware Cup Series driver, Garrett Smithley, gets a chance this week in the Rick Ware Xfinity car. Smithley didn’t do much in his chances in this car last season. He earned a 16th place finish at Kentucky, but generally speaking, he was a significant downgrade from JJ Yeley in this car.
15. Jordan Anderson ($6,600) — It only took five months, but Jordan Anderson finally gets to race his own race car. His Truck Series racing career has been up and down depending on his equipment. So far this season, his Xfinity equipment has looked pretty fast.
16. Tommy Joe Martins ($6,000) — For as long as the current qualifying format exists, always plan on playing Tommy Joe Martins on the week after a road course. No one plays him at road courses, so theoretically that lowers his salary for the subsequent race. Martins then goes on to have his typical terrible day at the road course resulting in a starting position deep in the back in the next race.
17. Jeffrey Earnhardt ($6,400) — If a JD Motorsports car does not wreck or fall apart, then it at least earns a top 25 finish. Some of the lesser JD Motorsports drivers will disappoint on occasion, but Earnhardt has the ability to finish 25th in a 25th place race car.
18. Brandon Brown ($6,700) — Do not roster Brown in cash games, but he can work in GPPs. If the other value drivers fail to get lucky, which can happen in lap turner races, then they’re not going to score points. Meanwhile, Brown has to hang on for dear life, and walk away with a top 10 finish. Neither scenario is improbable, but together, they’re long shots.
19. Kyle Weatherman ($4,900) — This play never works, but there are a lot of plays on this slate that aren’t going to work. The trick might be to find the cheap driver that fails the least. If Weatherman finishes where he starts at his price, it won’t hurt your cash lineups.
20. David Starr ($5,500) — Mathematically, he’s the cheapest driver starting outside of the top 30. Reasonably, every car starting behind Starr could pass him. However, Starr might be able to pass a couple of the cars starting ahead of him.
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