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.
1. Jimmie Johnson (13,200) – Johnson is the GOAT of the modern era at CMS (technically GOAMT). His 7 wins are rivaled only by his teammate (Number 9 on this list) Jeff Gordon with 5. Johnson has led a whopping 1733 laps at CMS and has the potential to lead a lot more this weekend.
2. Kevin Harvick (14,200) – Harvick has been on fire for the past year and a half. The Sprint Cup points leader and reigning champ has led 1006 laps this season, the closest contender (his teammate) Kurt Busch comes in at 541 laps led. Harvick has 3 wins at CMS and an impressive Sprint All-Star performance should silence anyone thatone that doubtssHappy this weekend.
3. Martin Truex (9,900) – Don’t let the small Furniture Row Racing team fool you. Truex is having a great season and presently sits 2nd in the Sprint Cup standings. With engines supplied by Earnhardt-Childress Racing, Truex has the machinery to compete with the big dogs. Finding Finding the top 10 has not been a problem for the 78 car hasn’t been a problem for the 78 car, they’ve been there 10 times this year. At his price you can’t afford to leave a true contender out of your lineup.
4. Kasey Kahne (10,100) – If you are looking for excellent track history, then look no further than Kahne. Just like his Hendrick teammates, Kahne has found great success at CMS. Sitting just 11th in points, it hasn’t been the season that Kahne had dreamed about. Khane will be fighting for his 5th victory at CMS, but if he comes up short, a top 10 finish will be excellent at his price point.
5. Joey Logano (12,200) – Logano has constantly been touted as having the potential to be the best driver ever. With the way he has driven over the past couple of years this may not be a bad assessment. With a victory at the Daytona 500 this year, Logano has solidified a place in the Chase and is now looking to rack up victories. Although Logano hasn’t won at CMS, he has proven he can run intermediate tracks with 2 past victories.
6. Brad Keselowski (12,300) – The Blue Deuce was the 2012 Sprint Cup Champion and sits in 7th place in the 2015 standings. His only win this year at Fontana, comes under a lot of scrutiny due to some controversy about a late lap caution. However, BK feeds on controversy and this has only fueled his fire. With a win at CMS (in the Fall race) and 7 wins overall at intermediate tracks it is hard to deny his ability this weekend.
7. Kyle Busch (10,300) – I am worried that Kyle Busch’s first full race after returning from injury is a 600 mile run. I love the combination of his price and how his driving style fits with the 2015 rules package. Let’s say Kyle Busch cannot finish the race, then Erik Jones will take over. Kyle Busch will still receive all of the statistics, and dont worry about Jones’ abilities. He’s already impressed many of the high ups at intermediate tracks this year.
8. Kurt Busch (13,000) – “I could have been a contender.” Kurt Busch is having a great year, and his car was fast at Charlotte last weekend. If you are going to pay top dollar, then the play is 48 or 4. Kurt is at 8th, but he can dominate this race and he makes for a solid contrarian play.
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (11,800) – “June Bug” is definitely the fan favorite at CMS this weekend. He was on track for his first 600 win in 2011 until he ran out of gas on the last lap and was passed by Kevin Harvick. Dale Sr. won this race 3 times, so Jr. definitely wants the 600 trophy in his case. With his first win in 2015 coming at Talladega, the pressure is off and Jr. is set up for a great run. As much as it pains me to say, there are definitely better plays at his lofty price.
10. Jeff Gordon (11,700) – The Rainbow Warrior has had great cars all year and he’s driven well, but silly mistakes have cost him. The 24’s bad start to the year can be chalked up to bad luck. If he wasn’t getting wrecked in races, then he was getting wrecked in practice. He’s consistently running top 10s (ignore the restrictor plate race) and a win will come soon. Why not in race where Hendrick engines dominate?
11. Jamie McMurray (9,300) – Too often fans overlook Jamie Mac. If you’re building a mid priced team with a high floor, then he should be a part of it. At 2015 intermediate races, Mac has crashed and finished 11th and 6th (wrecks happen people). His last two races at CMS are both Top 5s.
12. Carl Edwards (10,700) – Edwards has been extremely vocal about his displeasure with Sprint Cup cars at intermediate tracks in 2015. I translate that as “he’s having trouble performing at intermediate tracks” and his 2015 stats prove it. In the past, Edwards has been successful at 1.5 mile tracks and CMS, but with the new rules package and his switch to Joe Gibbs Racing, Edwards has struggled.
13. Ryan Newman (9,100) – Ryan Newman has had two bad races this year: a short track race and restrictor plate race. Generally, we can ignore those results at 1.5 mile tracks. Another great thing about Ryan Newman is that he has proven in 2015 that he will cheat to do well, and as far as we know post race penalties do not affect DK outcomes. The Rocket Man has 7 top 10s this year (tied for 3rd most) and he has run well at intermediate tracks. At 9,100 he’s a great deal, but the only draw back is that Newman hasn’t proven that he can be a contender to win a race.
14. Denny Hamlin (10,900) – The only NASCAR driver in Jordan’s (Jordan Brand Sponsored) is a million dollars richer thanks to his Sprint All-Star race win Saturday night. However, only 7 times has the All-Star winner gone on to win the 600 the next weekend. Hamlin proved to us that he can perform at CMS at a short clip, time will tell if he has the endurance to pull off the 600 win.
15. Kyle Larson (9,500) – This kid has GPP written all over him. He has a high ceiling, but a low floor. He’s young and doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. On Sunday, Lar-SON will go out and run as hard as he can. For being an erratic, young driver, Larson ranks 11th in top 10% and top 20% at 1.5 mile tracks (small sample size).
16. Matt Kenseth (11,300) – When it comes to intermediate tracks, Kenseth has always been one of the best. Unfortunately, Joe Gibbs Racing has struggled this year at the 1.5 mile cookie-cutters. He can still get it done at Charlotte, but Kenseth drops to 16th because there are simply better options at this price point.
17. Aric Almirola (8,000) – Almirola doesn’t drive as good as his boss (Richard Petty), but at his price point he does have the ability to push your GPP entry into the money. Almirola has had a decent season and has produced 8 top 15s. The thing that makes him most enticing is his ability to score place differential points. Since the Daytona 500, Almirola has only been in the negative for place differential once. Follow Almirola’s qualifying closely, but this could potentially be a week he cracks the top 10.
18. Clint Bowyer (9,400) – As we dig to the bottom of the rankings, there are a lot of questions about consistency. Bowyer is in one heck of a funk, and his price tag confirms that. You are paying for a top 20 with the outside chance that things click for Bowyer on Sunday. There are a lot of better options at the 9,000 range, but as you dig deeper in the field of 43, not so much. Bowyer defaults his way into the rankings, which is sad for a guy that almost won the 2012 championship.
19. Paul Menard (8,400) – There isn’t much upside with this pick, but Menard has a consistent floor. At intermediate track in 2015, Nard Dog has finished 13th, 12th, 41st, and 18th. His average finishing position at Charlotte and intermediate tracks is the low 20s. $8,400 is a little less than Bowyer for a little less performance (sounds like my life). You’ve got to save safely somewhere, so Menard will slide into a lot of 50/50 lineups.
20. Chase Elliott (8,300) – There are several Sprint Cup regulars that did not make the list, but Elliott at 20 should not be a surprise. He has the pedigree, the car, and the experience. He should be a regular right now, but Hendrick doesn’t have the ride for him yet. What differentiates Elliot from the rest of the regulars is that he has a much higher upside.