DraftKings Rankings: Darlington – Nascar

Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for that day. The ordering is not based on highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by value of each driver.

(fppk = average fantasy points per $1,000 of salary. The typical median fppk for a 2016 race was in the threes. Plate tracks tend to be lower and short tracks tend to run higher due to the amount of laps.)

1. Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,700)
– In order to emphasize his greatness at intermediate tracks, here are Truex’s scores at those tracks this season: 39, 116, 76, 61, 105, 149, 75, 127 and 100 points. The only time he scored less than 60 points was the second race of the season. (6.1 fppk)

2. Kyle Larson ($10,300) – His median finish in nine intermediate track races this season is second place. Just sit and think about that for a second. Half of the playoff races are intermediate tracks. Larson better clear space in his trophy case. (5.4 fppk)

3. Kyle Busch ($10,600) – The Bristol win will play games with your memory. Busch has been fast all summer, but he routinely makes mistakes. He’s had two clean races: Pocono and Bristol. The rest were textbook “what could have been” races littered with self-inflicted wounds. (5.5 fppk)

4. Denny Hamlin ($9,900) – Every driver is one step behind the group of Truex, Kyle Busch and Larson. Most are a few steps away, but Hamlin is just one step. If the race breaks his way and he gets into clean air, Hamlin can finish with a top-three DFS score. (4.0 fppk)

5. Jimmie Johnson ($9,100) – The only big fantasy NASCAR score from Johnson at an intermediate track came at Texas. That shouldn’t be a surprise. Johnson leads NASCAR with seven Texas wins. Johnson has three Darlington wins, but two of those were 13 years ago. (3.6 fppk)

6. Kevin Harvick ($9,700) – The track history statistic will be tested this weekend. Harvick’s past Darlington races check all of the boxes (four straight top-fives at Darlington). Those were all in a Chevy. This season SHR switched to Ford, and Harvick has just two top-fives at intermediate tracks. (4.3 fppk)

7. Joey Logano ($8,600) – There are several ways to look at Logano’s 2017 season. Compared to previous seasons, statistically, it appears that Logano has taken a step back. That perspective ignores Truex’s domination. Logano is a consistent top-10 driver; he’s just not Martin Truex, Jr. (3.0 fppk)

8. Chase Elliott ($9,300) – At Kansas and Charlotte, Elliott had two bad luck wrecks. Before those wrecks, he was a contender. In the four other 1.5-mile track races, he has three top-fives and a top-10. (3.6 fppk)

9. Jamie McMurray ($8,500) – It’s far enough into the season that we have a good idea of who McMurray is. He’s a consistent top-10 driver, but he is not leading laps or running fast laps. (3.4 fppk)

10. Erik Jones ($8,800) – His Bristol performance was impressive. Kyle Larson did not control a race until his second season (it was also at Bristol). Austin Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse still have not led the field for a significant period. Jones led for half of the race at one of the hardest tracks in NASCAR. (4.1 fppk)

11. Brad Keselowski ($9,200) – His win at Atlanta and big fantasy day at Las Vegas seem like a lifetime ago. Somehow his teammate Blaney has speed, but the rest of the Penske cars have been left behind. Look at the Michigan race. BK had the pole and ran upfront, but it was only a matter of time before Truex took over. (4.1 fppk)

12. Matt Kenseth ($9,500) – He has a JGR car, but it’s like the Kasey Kahne ride at Hendrick. Just being on the team isn’t enough. Kenseth has three top-10s at intermediate tracks in 2017. He can point in his way into the playoffs if he plays it safe. (3.6 fppk)

13. Ryan Blaney ($8,700) – The Wood Brothers have found a way to add speed to this Penske car. Blaney has been consistently faster than Keselowski and Logano at the intermediate tracks this season. He led more than 80 laps at the Texas and the Kansas 1.5-mile tracks. (2.8 fppk)

14. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,300) – The typical track history stats for Stenhouse are either impressive or terrible, but Darlington is neither (three top-20s in four races). In the last four intermediate track races this season, Stenhouse has four top-15 finishes. (4.2 fppk)

15. Daniel Suarez ($7,800) – The fastest cars in NASCAR are the JGR Toyotas. This one is priced less than $8,000. Suarez finished seventh at Kansas and 11th at Charlotte. His 18th-place finish at Kentucky seems like a step backward, but his average running position was 12th. (4.0 fppk)

16. Ty Dillon ($6,800) – Every week he figures it out. He never shows anything during practice, but by the end of the race, he’s right there in 20th. He may not be in the fantasy NASCAR lineup that takes the top spot, but he’s usually in a lot of lineups that win. (4.5 fppk)

17. Clint Bowyer ($8,400) – Bowyer doesn’t have the speed to run out front all race. He has to get cute with pit stop strategy. The fuel mileage game can mean first or 25th. (3.8 fppk)

18. Ryan Newman ($8,100) – He has four top-10 finishes in his last six Darlington races. He finished 13th and 23rd in the other two races. Newman is always safe, but he seems unusually safe at a track that has a lot of intimidating nicknames. (4.2 fppk)

19. Kurt Busch ($8,200) – Since his win at Daytona, Kurt has just been turning laps. Sometimes you forget that he’s still a Cup driver. His average finish at intermediate tracks this season is 17th, but that number is saddled by a couple of bad races. He usually runs around 10th to 15th. (3.1 fppk)

20. Matt DiBenedetto ($5,700) – Darlington is a messy race. This is a week where fantasy NASCAR players will punt (pick a low-priced driver in order to roster several expensive drivers). DiBenedetto has a knack for not wrecking at volatile race tracks. (3.7 fppk)

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 I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.


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