The rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for Sunday. The order is not based on the highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by the value of each driver.
The DraftKings Explore the Pocono Mountains 350 NASCAR slate locks at 3:47 p.m. ET on Sunday.
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1. Kyle Larson ($12,800) — His methodical pass for the lead with five laps remaining made an uneventful Pocono race an instant classic. When he blew a tire in the final turn, this race became legendary. Only Kyle Larson single handedly writes history. He is the greatest racer of this generation.
2. William Byron ($9,000) — He ran the most laps inside the top five (80 out of 130), and he had the third-best average running position. Byron and Kyle Busch have similar starting positions on Sunday, but Byron is significantly cheaper.
3. Kyle Busch ($11,000) — Kyle Larson had the best car and Alex Bowman won the race, but Busch had the second-best car. He led the most laps, ran the most laps inside the top 10 and recorded the fourth-most laps inside the top five.
4. Alex Bowman ($8,700) — As the saying goes, the drivers that earn lucky wins put themselves in position to get lucky. Pocono was Bowman’s third lucky win this season. When Larson’s tire blew in the final turn, Bowman slid right by to take the checkers.
5. Joey Logano ($9,700) — The No. 22 team has struggled with the high-downforce package this season, but Pocono was a breakthrough for the team. Logano ran 78 laps inside the top five (second-most).
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6. Ryan Newman ($5,500) — He got loose and nailed the wall, so he’ll start second-to-last in Sunday’s race. Newman is cheaper on the Sunday slate than he was on Saturday. It is very likely he will be the highest-owned driver in the second Pocono race.
7. Matt DiBenedetto ($8,100) — He was in 15th place during the stage three green flag pit cycle, but then he got nailed with a “removing equipment” penalty. When he served his pass through penalty, he got busted for speeding. DiBenedetto will be very popular again on Sunday.
8. Cole Custer ($6,800) — Brad Keselowski wrecked Custer early in Saturday’s race, so Custer will receive the honor of starting dead last in the second Pocono race. Custer and Newman are going to be very popular on Sunday.
9. Ross Chastain ($7,700) — Through the first 63 laps of Saturday’s race, Chastain had an average running position of seventh place. On Lap 64, Chastain had a terrible restart and lost 11 spots. Any Chastain truther knew exactly what was going to happen next. Chastain always overcompensates for his mistakes and ends up wrecking — sure enough, he wrecked several laps after his poor restart.
10. Corey Lajoie ($5,900) — Before he got tangled up with Anthony Alfredo, Lajoie spent 44 of the first 46 green flag laps inside the top 25. If Lajoie finishes this race inside the top 25, as he did in seven of the nine races before Pocono, then he has a great shot at being in the optimal lineup.
11. Kurt Busch ($8,500) — He’s an affordable top-10 driver. More importantly, he can earn place differential points. Busch ran the third-most laps inside the top 10 on Saturday and the sixth-most laps inside the top five.
12. Ryan Blaney ($9,200) — He started in the back and ended up scoring the second-most fantasy points. Pocono is a lot like a road course in how the scoring works. There’s really only two ways to score: finishing position points and place differential points. He’s starting 16th on Sunday, so he’s got a shot at being optimal again.
13. Denny Hamlin ($10,500) — On the last restart, Hamlin was in fifth and nearly wrecked several times, but he was able to hold on for a fourth-place finish. He did not look like the dominant Pocono driver from previous races, but Pocono is usually dominated by the current dominant driver. That trend held up with Larson being the fastest car.
14. Chase Elliott ($10,200) — Ryan Preece ran into Elliott at the start of the race. The fender damage acted like a big parachute, and Elliott’s day was over before it even began. The No. 9 car hit pit road six times, but to no avail.
15. Kevin Harvick ($10,000) — In stage one, Harvick looked like a contender, then he disappeared in dirty air. He didn’t return to the top 10 until lap 113. It might be time to completely write off SHR.
16. Martin Truex Jr. ($10,800) — Saturday was a pretty bad day for Truex. He was inside the top five for 25 laps and the top 10 for 56 laps, but he didn’t drive his way there. Each time, he earned those positions through pit strategy.
17. Brad Keselowski ($9,500) — Most fans will likely only remember that Keselowski wrecked Cole Custer in Saturday’s race. The No. 2 car wasn’t bad in the first Pocono race. Keselowski drove through the teens several times, but he never made up much ground inside the top 10.
18. Austin Dillon ($6,600) — During the green flag pit stops in stage three, Dillon earned a speeding on pit road penalty. He dropped from 18th to 33rd, but he was able to work his way back to a 21st-place finish. This might not be a top-10 car, but it’s a very affordable top-15 car.
19. Bubba Wallace ($6,200) — He was in the optimal DraftKings lineup on Saturday. On Sunday, he’ll be in the DraftKings car. Bubba has not earned a top-10 finish this season, but the DraftKings mojo could earn Bubba Wallace and Michael Jordan their first top-10 finish.
20. Ryan Preece ($5,300) — This is simply a pivot away from the chalky value plays. Playing Preece is the definition of “too cute.” But in DFS NASCAR, where it can be difficult to differentiate with a six-driver roster and a 38-driver pool, there’s no such thing as “too cute.”
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