WATCH: PRICE CHECK AUTO CLUB 400


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.)

RankDriverSalary
1Jimmie Johnson$9,800
2Kyle Larson$9,100
3Chase Elliott$9,600
4Kevin Harvick$10,800
5Joey Logano$10,300

1. Jimmie Johnson ($9,800) – As is the case with every track, Jimmie Johnson has great stats at Fontana. Let’s take a gander at the back of his baseball card: six wins, five second place finishes, two third place finishes, and a 73% top 10 finish rate at this California track. (3.5 fppk)

2. Kyle Larson ($9,100) – Wins do not mean that much in fantasy NASCAR. Outside of the Daytona race, Larson has finished seventh or better in DraftKings fantasy points. Last year, NASCAR tested the 2017 rules package at Michigan; Larson won that race. (5.6 fppk)

3. Chase Elliott ($9,600) – Were you an early investor in Google? Did you play Chase Elliott the last three weeks? He’s averaging the best finish on the fantasy scoreboard over that span. It’s late, but you can still buy Chase Elliott stock. (5.8 fppk)

4. Kevin Harvick ($10,800) – It’s been a frustrating start to the season for the daily fantasy players that have rostered Harvick: a penalty at Atlanta, an early wreck at Las Vegas, and only 57 fantasy points at his best track last week. The expectations are always high. He scored 103 points at Fontana last year. (4.7 fppk)

5. Joey Logano ($10,300) – Since joining Team Penske, Logano has three top-10s in four races at this Penske track. At Auto Club’s sister track, Michigan, Logano scored a win and a 10th place finish in 2016. (4.2 fppk)


RankDriverSalary
6Kyle Busch$10,500
7Dale Earnhardt, Jr.$8,700
8Denny Hamlin$8,500
9Kurt Busch$8,200
10Brad Keselowski$10,000

6. Kyle Busch ($10,500) – A late race caution cost Rowdy a win last week. There has been a late race caution in each of the last four races at Fontana. Kyle Busch caused last year’s caution. In the four races before that wreck, he had two wins, a second and a third place finish. (3.1 fppk)

7. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ($8,700) – The season hasn’t started out well for the 88 team. A mechanical issue ruined a pretty good car at Phoenix. At Fontana, Junior’s worst finish in the last seven races is 16th and his average finish is ninth. (1.2 fppk)

8. Denny Hamlin ($8,500) – The 28th and 25th place finish at Auto Club will scare some fantasy players away, but don’t be fooled. This is Auto Club Speedway; there is almost always a wreck at the end. Hamlin’s average running position has been strong over the last four races in California (7th). (2.5 fppk)

9. Kurt Busch ($8,200) – After another mechanical issue last week, Kurt might be better off racing in the Clampett’s jalopy. Kurt had a rough weekend at Auto Club in 2016 (two wrecks). From 2012-2015, he was great in California (four top-10s). (3.0 fppk)

10. Brad Keselowski ($10,000) – The #2 team got busted last week. Maybe the win and the two fifth place finishes in the last three races were the giveaways? BK led one lap at Auto Club in 2015, but it was the only one that mattered – the last lap. (5.4 fppk)


RankDriverSalary
11Matt Kenseth$8,900
12Martin Truex, Jr.$9,400
13Erik Jones$7,700
14Clint Bowyer$7,800
15Ryan Newman$8,000

11. Matt Kenseth ($8,900) – Top tier drivers wreck. It happens. Fantasy NASCAR players are more hung up on the wreck than the actual driver that lived through it. Over the last six years at Fontana, Kenseth’s average running position is ninth (4th best in NASCAR). (1.2 fppk)

12. Martin Truex, Jr. ($9,400) – This is not a Truex track, but that was said a lot last year, and it didn’t stop him. The 78 and 77 Front Row cars have a lot of speed. Truex was dominating at Las Vegas and better than his average at Phoenix. (6.6 fppk)

13. Erik Jones ($7,700) – Finally, Jones finished where he raced (8th). His average running position outside of Daytona is 10th. We’re four races into his rookie season, and Jones is consistently a top-10 driver. In his two Xfinity races at Fontana, his average running position was third. (3.5 fppk)

14. Clint Bowyer ($7,800) – The world is a better place when Clint Bowyer is having fun. Bowyer’s worst finish since the mayhem at Daytona is 13th. The last time Bowyer was good at Fontana was when he was Kevin Harvick’s teammate at RCR. He’s Harvick’s teammate again. (3.2 fppk)

15. Ryan Newman ($8,000) – If you win last week’s race, then you are guaranteed a spot in my rankings. I don’t expect another win, but Newman is always a top-20 driver. In the last five Fontana races, Newman’s worst average running position was 16th. (3.3 fppk)


RankDriverSalary
16Ryan Blaney$8,300
17Aric Almirola$6,500
18AJ Allmendinger$6,600
19Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.$7,000
20Paul Menard$6,800

16. Ryan Blaney ($8,300) – Don’t attack Junior on your in-car radio unless you want to make some enemies on the internet. Then again, this is a Penske driver. We don’t have time for hate in fantasy NASCAR. If a driver is good, then pick them. Blaney may not have the finishes, but the car is fast. (5.2 fppk)

17. Aric Almirola ($6,500) – For the second week in a row, Almirola finished at least six spots better than his average running position. Before your cautious side talks you out of Almirola, remember that the last four Fontana races have ended with a restart. (5.9 fppk)

18. AJ Allmendinger ($6,600) – In the last seven Fontana races, Allmendinger has six top-20 finishes. The Auto Club race seems to always come down to a late race restart. Fantasy NASCAR players want drivers that are within striking distance, and that’s what Allmendinger does. (4.6 fppk)

19. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,000) – The Roush-Fenway Fords raced well at Phoenix, and that’s been a tough track for the team. They are clearly making strides this season. Stenhouse has finished fifth and 15th in last two Auto Club races. (3.5 fppk)

20. Paul Menard ($6,800) – Not every pick has to be exciting. Menard runs inside the top-20 and provides salary relief for daily fantasy NASCAR players. In the last four races at Fontana, Menard has three top-10s and a 15th place finish. (4.4 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.