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 3s. Plate tracks tend to be lower and short tracks tend to run higher due to the amount of laps.)

1Brad Keselowski$10,300
2Martin Truex Jr.$9,700
3Kyle Busch$10,100
4Denny Hamlin$9,200
5Kurt Busch$8,700

1. Brad Keselowski ($10,300) – There have been some consistent racers at plate races. Brad Keselowski has won the last two plate races. Junior completed the same feat in 2015. Admittedly, this is not an intermediate track, but there is a skill to plate racing, and Keselowski possess that skill. (4.7 fppk)

2. Martin Truex, Jr. ($9,700) – In order for a driver to score big fantasy points, they need to start from deep in the field. Truex has started in the back and moved to the front in 3 of the last 5 plate races. (5.9 fppk)

3. Kyle Busch ($10,100) – Talladega is not a Kyle Busch track, but I think that’s a misconception. Kyle’s finished inside the top 3 in each of the last 3 restrictor plate races. (5.1 fppk)

4. Denny Hamlin ($9,200) – How do you sum up plate racing? Hamlin won the Daytona 500 and wrecked at Talladega in the spring. Other than Dale Jr., Hamlin is considered the best plate racer in NASCAR. (3.7 fppk)

5. Kurt Busch ($8,700) – Over his career, Kurt is 0 for 62 at plate races. Think twice before you cross him off your list, however. He has 7 top 15s in the last 8 plate races. (4.0 fppk)

6Kevin Harvick$10,500
7Jimmie Johnson$9,900
8Joey Logano$9,500
9Clint Bowyer$7,400
10Austin Dillon$8,400

6. Kevin Harvick ($10,500) – At Daytona, he got caught up in a wreck. Before that, he was one of the hottest plate racers in NASCAR with 10 top 15s in the last 11 place races. (5.9 fppk)

7. Jimmie Johnson ($9,900) – Hendrick works as a team at plate races. They block and push for each other. With a win in the bank, Jimmie may be relegated to pushing. Still, if you’re pushing, then you’re up front. (4.2 fppk)

8. Joey Logano ($9,500) – Last year, Logano won at Daytona and Talladega. This year he finished inside the top 10 in both Daytona races. Team Penske does a remarkable job of working as a team at plate tracks. (3.7 fppk)

9. Clint Bowyer ($7,400) – We get to see the old Bowyer this week. His inferior car will not hold him back at Talladega. The restrictor plate creates an even driving field, but it does not even out driver skill. Bowyer has the highest top 10% at plate tracks (53%). (4.1 fppk)

10. Austin Dillon ($8,400) – Statistically, Dillon is the best plate racer in NASCAR. The sample size is small, but his average finish is the best. Dillon has yet to win a Cup race, but he consistently finishes and consistently finishes around the top 10 at Talladega. (3.9 fppk)

11Ricky Stenhouse Jr.$7,300
12Jamie McMurray$8,100
13Cole Whitt$5,200
14Kyle Larson$8,600
15Carl Edwards$9,300

11. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,300) – It’ all about getting your 6 drivers across the finish line this weekend. At Talladega, Ricky is one of the best. In his 6 trips to Alabama, his worst finish is 26th and his average finish is 13th. (3.6 fppk)

12. Jamie McMurray ($8,100) – Last spring and this spring at Talladega, McMurray scored over 50 points (the most points in this spring’s race). It’s not because he’s the greatest plate racer ever. It’s because he started 27th and 30th. (3.8 fppk)

13. Cole Whitt ($5,200) – Whitt is averaging 43 points over the last 5 Talladega races. He scored 57.5 points at Daytona in the summer and was in the winning GPP lineup. (3.1 fppk)

14. Kyle Larson ($8,600) – He’s good because he’s bad. Larson’s restrictor plate career is notorious. It begun with an Xfinity wreck where his engine launched into the stands. This year he has two top 10s at plate races, and still no one trusts him. Interesting. (4.0 fppk)

15. Carl Edwards ($9,300) – Is Edwards a notable plate racer? No, but he has fast teammates. In the last 10 plate races, Edwards has 2 top 5s. In the other 8 races, he was 21st or worse. (4.4 fppk)

16Matt Kenseth$9,000
17Ryan Blaney$7,700
18Landon Cassill$5,800
19Bobby Labonte$5,300
20Chase Elliott$8,800

16. Matt Kenseth ($9,000) – The JGR drivers have a restrictor plate plan. They practice together; they race together. The question is – who’s starting the furthest back in the field? Now the bad news: Kenseth has finished 20th or worse in 8 of the last 10 plate races. (4.2 fppk)

17. Ryan Blaney ($7,700) – In 2 of the last 3 Talladega races, Blaney has finished inside of the top 10. His Team Penske teammates are pretty good plate racers, and they will likely drag him along with them to the front. (3.3 fppk)

18. Landon Cassill ($5,800) – It’s a plate race; Punts aren’t punts. All cars are equal and the only way to score points is by starting in the back. Don’t believe me? Cassill has scored over 50 fantasy points in 3 of the last 5 Talladega races. (4.1 fppk)

19. Bobby Labonte ($5,300) – Like Michael Waltrip (not racing this weekend), Bobby comes out of retirement each year for the plate races. The 2000 Winston Cup Champ has scored 35, 33, and 26 points in his last 3 Talladega races. (5.0 fppk)

20. Chase Elliott ($8,800) – All the cars are even, but some cars are just a smidge better. Earnhardt, Jr.’s 88 car was juiced up at plate tracks last year. It appears that the 24 car has that little edge of speed this year. He wrecked in both Daytona races, but finished 5th at Talladega in the spring. (4.1 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.