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 NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta slate locks at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday.
1. Denny Hamlin ($10,100) — The drivers seem to believe that Atlanta will race like a plate track. That should make Hamlin the favorite at the DraftKings Sportsbook, but he isn’t because there isn’t a clear-cut favorite. This never happens, not even at plate tracks.
2. Ryan Blaney ($10,700) — Not much makes sense heading into the weekend. However, Blaney being tied for the best odds to win makes complete sense. He’s a great plate racer, and he has a great car this season.
3. Kyle Larson ($10,500) — The DraftKings Sportsbook tells us everything we need to know. Larson is the favorite — not by much — with +1000 odds to win. There is a chance that this isn’t a plate race, if that’s the case, then these odds are a steal. If Atlanta is a plate race, +1000 is a rip off.
4. Chase Elliott ($10,300) — The wider Talladega circuit has been kinder to Elliott than the tighter Daytona track. Atlanta will be even more claustrophobic. Elliott will be cozy at his home track, but 40 feet in the corners might be too cozy.
5. Joey Logano ($9,900) — Plate racing is a fickle beast. Logano is one of the best, but even the best suffer through dry spells. Logano has two top-10 finishes in the last 10 races at Daytona and six outside of the Top 20.
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6. Aric Almirola ($7,600) — He was in the optimal lineup for the Daytona 500. That was the ninth time he was optimal at a plate track in the last 27 plate races. That’s the best mark in the field.
7. Kevin Harvick ($9,600) — The old Atlanta is dead. The rough, worn-out surface has been paved over. This breaks the hearts of fans, but it hits Harvick even harder. He owned this track and was a DFS lock in the past. The way things are going for Harvick, it might be better that this track races like a plate track than an intermediate track.
8. William Byron ($9,400) — The results do not show it (average finish of 24th), but the No. 24 Hendrick Chevy is fast. In the last three races, Byron’s driver rating ranked sixth, third and eighth.
9. Kyle Busch ($9,800) — If this isn’t a plate race, then Kyle Busch is way too cheap. Kyle Larson as well. The entire field is mispriced if the new Atlanta is just another intermediate track. If it’s a plate race, then it all depends on Busch’s starting position.
10. Bubba Wallace ($7,300) — This could be a survival race. Plate racing — NASCAR does not implement a restrictor plate anymore, but 510 horsepower is plate racing for all intents and purposes — on a narrow track sounds like a disaster. Bubba has been incredible at avoiding disasters at Daytona (eight top-15 finishes in his 10 Daytona races).
11. Todd Gilliland ($5,600) — Plate race or not, Gilliland remains the best punt play of 2022. His salary is below $6,000 every week, and he earns a top-25 finish every week (excluding Daytona).
12. David Ragan ($5,400) — Get this, Ragan has been optimal the second most over the last 27 plate races. What’s even more peculiar is that Ragan only competed in 21 of the races.
13. Michael McDowell ($6,600) — Front Row Motorsports and McDowell always show up at plate tracks. They won the 2021 Daytona 500, and they earned a top-10 finish at Talladega last spring and in the 2022 Daytona 500.
14. Noah Gragson ($5,800) — This is Gragson’s first Cup Series race in quality equipment (Kaulig Racing). Gragson is on a heater in the Xfinity Series, and he’ll get plenty of reps running both races this weekend.
15. Justin Haley ($6,100) — If this isn’t a plate race, then Haley loses a lot of his value. He’s been a plate racing virtuoso in the Xfinity Series, and he even has a Cup Series win at Daytona.
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