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NASCAR Fantasy Rankings: DFS Picks on DraftKings for NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500

Pearce Dietrich gives his picks and ranks his top drivers for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500, which locks at 3:04 p.m. ET on DraftKings.

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 Daytona 500 slate locks at 3:04 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Set your DraftKings fantasy NASCAR lineups here: NAS $2.25M Fantasy Racing Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Semis Entry] (Cup)



1. Denny Hamlin ($10,500) — This pick encapsulates Daytona Fantasy NASCAR strategy. Hamlin will be the most popular DFS pick for the Daytona 500, but it’s not completely due to his track history. He’ll be popular because he is starting in the back and those drivers have the ability to score finishing position points and place differential points.

2. Aric Almirola ($8,000) — Fantasy NASCAR Plate Racing 101: Play drivers starting in the back and preferably drivers with good cars and past plate track success. Almirola checks all three boxes.

3. Cole Custer ($6,500) — Lesson No. 2 for DFS NASCAR plate racing: Play drivers in the back that are good drivers with good cars but lack experience or success at plate tracks. Drivers like Custer are just as capable of avoiding the carnage and will be lower owned.

4. Corey LaJoie ($5,500) — His equipment cannot compete at the short tracks or the intermediate tracks, but at Daytona and Talladega, LaJoie is fine. He has been an optimal pick in five of the last 10 restrictor plate races (yes, they do not use restrictor plates anymore, but the tracks still race the same).

5. Ty Dillon ($5,200) — Remove the plate pick prerequisites and the ownership gets lower. Dillon has experience and success at plate tracks, but his car is not on the same level as Custer’s SHR Ford. However, in a plate race, that doesn’t really matter and Dillon’s car isn’t that slow.


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6. Austin Dillon ($8,400) — He’s starting in the back and he’s a former Daytona 500 winner. In 10 Xfinity races at Daytona, Dillon has a win and seven top-5 finishes.

7. Daniel Hemric ($7,000) — There might be some concerns about his Kaulig Racing equipment. It’s not a JGR car, but it’s plenty fast. Possibly, these concerns will lower his ownership, but it’s unlikely that any well known driver starting in the back goes under owned.

8. Todd Gilliland ($4,700) — This is his Cup Series debut, but it’s not much different from racing at Daytona in the Truck Series. If Gilly avoids the wrecks, then he will likely drive his Front Row Motorsports car (winners of the 2021 Daytona 500) into the Top 10. That finish will likely make Gilliland an optimal pick.

9. William Byron ($9,400) — This is a Hendrick car starting in the back half of the field. There is nothing else to discuss. Byron has a second-place and fourth-place finish in the last three Talladega races. At Daytona, he has a win and a second-place finish in the last five races.

10. Joey Logano ($9,800) — There are global supply chain issues, so NASCAR teams are struggling to build backup cars. Logano will be in a backup car. Will it be slow? Will DFS players avoid him? It’s probably nothing, and he is starting in a spot where he can score a lot of place differential points.

11. Kevin Harvick ($9,200) — If Harvick can repeat his plate track performances of late, then he will be optimal with his starting position of 22nd. In the last eight place races, Harvick has five top-10 finishes.

12. Noah Gragson ($5,300) — This is not a great car and plenty of DFS players will take safer options in the back. Gragson’s Beard Motorsports Chevy earned a top-10 finish in both Daytona races in 2020 (Brendan Gaughan driving). The car can get it done if Gragson avoids every single wreck.

13. David Ragan ($5,100) — With all of the options in the back, most DFS players will not feel the need to go to David Ragan and a Rick Ware car. Too bad for them. Josh Bilicki earned a 10th place finish for Rick Ware at Daytona last season, and David Ragan finished fourth for Rick Ware at Daytona in 2020.

14. Cody Ware ($4,800) — The fourth place finish for David Ragan will draw ownership to Ragan’s Rick Ware car. Cody Ware — driving a Rick Ware car — will not be rostered by many players. The Rick Ware cars can finish. All Cody Ware has to do is avoid the wrecks. Easier said than done, but if he does, then he becomes the key to winning the Milly Maker.

15. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,900) — It wouldn’t be a plate racing article if Wrecky Spinhouse wasn’t mentioned. Stenhouse is aggressive, but that means he’s driving for wins not top-5 finishes. A win, which would be his third plate track win, would likely be optimal from a starting position of 18th.

Set your DraftKings fantasy NASCAR lineups here: NAS $2.25M Fantasy Racing Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Semis Entry] (Cup)


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.


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