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 Ally 400 at Nashville slate locks at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday.
1. Kyle Larson ($11,600) — There’s been one Cup Series race at Nashville. Larson won that race and led 88% of the laps. He’s been quiet lately, but that just means he hasn’t won. The car is fast. He’ll be in victory lane soon.
2. Ryan Blaney ($9,500) — Gateway and Texas has similarities to Nashville’s flat banked intermediate track. Gateway is flat on both sides and turns 1 and 2 are flat in Texas. Blaney had the best car at Gateway, and he won $1 million in the Texas All-Star Race.
3. Ross Chastain ($10,500) — His second-place finish at Nashville last season is a bit misleading. He had a tire advantage on the last run. That doesn’t mean it was a fluke. Chastain had a top-10 car at Nashville for a team that was just starting to gel. They’re well beyond gelled now.
4. Kyle Busch ($11,000) — He did not win at Gateway, but he had a perfect Real Rating score of 1.00 (a statistic that comprehensively synthesizes a driver’s race). He did not win at the intermediate track races leading up to Gateway either, but he scored Real Ratings of 0.91, 0.75, 0.97 and 0.78.
5. Martin Truex Jr ($9,700) — The JGR Toyotas are fast. Truex is there, but he needs one of two things to happen. He needs something to break his way. Being fast isn’t always enough. The other is to be really fast. That’s usually enough. If Truex unloads fast on Friday, then he’ll make the short list for Nashville.
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6. Joey Logano ($9,300) — Team Penske is hot. When Cindric is running well, then it’s clear they have found something. In the last two months, Blaney has an All-Star win and some close calls. Logano has two wins at two very different intermediate tracks (Gateway and Darlington).
7. Denny Hamlin ($10,200) — The races that he’s won, he shouldn’t have. The races that he lost, he should have won. The one constant is that Hamlin’s car is fast. If pit road goes well and his car stays in one piece, then Hamlin has a good chance of winning.
8. Christopher Bell ($9,100) — Over the last five intermediate track races, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex have the best average Real Rating (0.88). Bell is tied for third with Ross Chastain (0.85).
9. Daniel Suarez ($7,700) — It’s hard to click his name. Get over it. A lot of DFS players will dismiss Suarez this weekend. “Who cares if he won at a road course?” they will say. He scored 32 hog points at Charlotte (fast laps and laps led points). The Trackhouse cars are fast. It doesn’t matter who is driving them. Click his name.
10. Tyler Reddick ($8,900) — Finishing races has not been his strong suit, but the speed is there. Speed matters in DFS. In three of the last four intermediate track races, Reddick has scored 13 or more hog points.
11. Michael McDowell ($5,700) — The following stat is real. It will seem unbelievable, but it’s real. Over the last eight races, McDowell’s average finish is 12th. The last eight races are a perfect mix of race tracks with intermediate tracks being the majority.
12. William Byron ($9,900) — No one averages more hog points per race than William Byron (14). That number is inflated by excellent short track performances, but he’s been consistent at all of the tracks. He’s scored over 10 hog points seven times.
13. Chase Elliott ($10,700) — Put this in your notebook if it isn’t there already. Dover and Charlotte are very similar. Elliott scored 33 hog points at Dover and 33 hog points at Charlotte. Both of those tracks have quite a bit of banking. Nashville have very little banking.
14. Todd Gilliland ($5,100) — It’s not a flashy pick, but it’s safe. Gilliland has earned a top-25 finish in five straight races. He has a top-25 finish in 11 of the 13 non-plate races this season. He may not have tremendous upside, but he has established a safe floor and has a punt price tag.
15. Justin Haley ($5,900) — Over the last 14 races, his average finish is 18th. Over the last eight races, that number has improved to 16th. Throw out a 35th and 27th place finish at Charlotte and Kansas and his average finish jumps to 11th.
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