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
1Martin Truex Jr$9,800
2Kyle Busch$10,400
3Kevin Harvick$10,600
4Brad Keselowski$10,200
5Matt Kenseth$9,000

1. Martin Truex, Jr. ($9,800) – Darlington is the 7th intermediate track race this season. In the previous 6 races, Truex finished inside the top two in fast laps 5 times. Last year at Darlington, Truex’s average running position was 5th. (5.2 fppk)

2. Kyle Busch ($10,400) – This pick never feels safe. Kyle has the 3rd most points at 1.5 mile races this season and the most fantasy points at Darlington over the last 6 races (74 ppr). He was made for this low downforce package at intermediate tracks. Still, for some reason I never feel safe picking Kyle Busch. (5.1 fppk)

3. Kevin Harvick ($10,600) – Death, taxes and Harvick scoring over 50 fantasy points. Harvick is tied for the best average finish at intermediate tracks this season (6th). In the last 6 Darlington races, Harvick is averaging 69 fantasy points per race (2nd). (6.3 fppk)

4. Brad Keselowski ($10,200) – Last year, BK dominated Darlington with over 100 fantasy points. This year, Keselowski has just one top 3 fantasy point performance at an intermediate track. His average finish is the 3rd best at 1.5 mile tracks. (4.8 fppk)

5. Matt Kenseth ($9,000) – The numbers are misleading. Kenseth has top 10s in the last three intermediate track races (out of 6), but his first three finishes are outside the top 10. Do you remember that part of the season? There was a penalty at Atlanta, a wreck at Vegas and another penalty at Texas. (3.8 fppk)

RankDriverSalary
6Kurt Busch$8,800
7Jimmie Johnson$9,300
8Denny Hamlin$9,600
9Carl Edwards$10,100
10Joey Logano$10,000

6. Kurt Busch ($8,800) – A driver has to run up front to score fast laps and laps led points. Kurt Busch is always up front this season. His average finish of 6th at intermediate tracks is tied for the best finish in NASCAR. Unfortunately, he has only led 5% of the laps at intermediate tracks. (4.1 fppk)

7. Jimmie Johnson ($9,300) – The summer hasn’t been kind to the 48, but it started out well. Martin Truex, Jr. was unstoppable at Charlotte, but Jimmie Johnson had a pretty good car as well (72 fast laps). Salaries are tight this week, and DFS players need to save anywhere they can. Johnson is a top tier bargain in my opinion. (3.6 fppk)

8. Denny Hamlin ($9,600) – Intermediate tracks have not been a strong suit for Hamlin in 2016, but many of those races were when his team was struggling. Hamlin performed at Charlotte (4th), and he’s the hottest driver in NASCAR. (3.4 fppk)

9. Carl Edwards ($10,100) – His 48 point average at intermediate tracks this season ranks 7th. He took a victory from Brad Keselowski at Darlington last year. Edwards’ average running position was 18th, but after a late pitstop Edwards took the lead and rode the clean air to victory lane. (4.7 fppk)

10. Joey Logano ($10,000) – Everything went right for the darling of last week’s Fantasy NASCAR Cheat Sheet and Rankings. Logano started on the pole and led until the first caution, and then that was that. There were better cars. Logano has taken a step backwards at 1.5 mile tracks this season. (3.7 fppk)

RankDriverSalary
11Kyle Larson$9,100
12Jamie McMurray$7,400
13Kasey Kahne$7,500
14Trevor Bayne $6,200
15Tony Stewart$7,800

11. Kyle Larson ($9,100) – Will Darlington be a victory lane hangover or have the floodgates opened? Back-to-back wins are rare in NASCAR. Larson probably won’t win again, but this summer he’s looked like a top-tier driver and his Chase birth is the proof. (4.0 fppk)

12. Jamie McMurray ($7,400) – For most of the season, McMurray has been a safe play, but that’s not a fair assessment. This middle tier driver has scored 30 points or more in 14 races, and he’s on a three race top 10 streak. (4.2 fppk)

13. Kasey Kahne ($7,500) – At Michigan, Kahne scored 28 points. That’s not enough for GPPs, but he’s been a solid cash play this season. With two races remaining in the season, Kahne has to win to make the playoffs. Expect risky moves from Kahne. It may be wise to hit pause on his cash game usage until the playoffs begin. (3.5 fppk)

14. Trevor Bayne ($6,200) – The $6,000 value range is always tough. At intermediate tracks, the challenge to return more than value is daunting. Bayne hasn’t been a home run pick, but he doesn’t strike out either. He’s a solid single guy that occasionally squeaks out a double. (4.6 fppk)

15. Tony Stewart ($7,800) – This shouldn’t be a surprise, but in the last 46 intermediate track races, Smoke has led more than 20 laps just once. He’s only led laps in 7 of these races. If you’re picking him, then it’s for place differential and finishing position points.(3.6 fppk)

RankDriverSalary
16Chase Elliott $8,500
17Greg Biffle$7,200
18Ryan Newman$8,000
19Austin Dillon$8,200
20A.J. Allmendinger$6,800

16. Chase Elliott (8,500) – The good news is that Elliott has rebounded from his summer stumble. The bad news is that Elliot has been terrible on restarts this season, and a driver cannot score big points without winning restarts. (3.8 fppk)

17. Greg Biffle (7,200) – This year has been better, but it looks like Biffle is going to fade away and not burn out. Speaking of burning out, he hasn’t smoked his tires in victory lane in a long time. He’s been dependable at Darlington with 12 top 20s in 15 races and two wins. (3.5 fppk)

18. Ryan Newman ($8,000) – The play-it-safe plan doesn’t work in today’s NASCAR. Newman needs the driver that has wrecked the least this season to wreck, or Newman needs to win. The isn’t likely to happen. We are likely to see a rarely seen side of Newman – the risk taker. (3.7 fppk)

19. Austin Dillon ($8,200) – A 16th place finish at Michigan is disappointing for fantasy NASCAR players, but it’s exactly how Dillon planned it. He’s going to play it safe over the next two races and point his way into the playoffs. (3.9 fppk)

20. AJ Allmendinger (6,800) – It’s not a playoff year for Allmendinger, but this has been one of the best years of his career. He has top 15 finishes in each of his last 4 races. (4.0 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.