WATCH: NASCAR PRICE CHECK DAYTONA 500


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
1Denny Hamlin$9,600
2Joey Logano$9,900
3Dale Earnhardt, Jr.$10,600
4Brad Keselowski$10,300
5Kyle Busch$9,400

1. Denny Hamlin ($9,600) – After Earnhardt Jr.’s disappointing plate track runs last year, it’s clear: Hamlin is the best restrictor plate racer in NASCAR. Hamlin won the 2016 Daytona 500, and he has top 10 finishes in eight of the last 12 plate races. (3.9 fppk)

2. Joey Logano ($9,900) – Anyone can wreck and anyone can score a top 10 finish at a plate track. Wins are not as egalitarian, neither is Logano. With wins in three of the last eight plate track races, the new king of the plate tracks refuses to share victory lane. (4.2 fppk)

3. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ($10,600) – It feels good to type Junior’s name in the rankings. Last year, the plate tracks were rough on the 88 car. That’s a plate track for you, top of the world in 2015, bottom of the Earth in 2016. Narrative street says he wins his comeback race for his 11th plate track victory. (3.5 fppk)

4. Brad Keselowski ($10,300) – Consistency and plate tracks do not go together, yet somehow Team Penske has won five of the last eight races at Daytona and Talladega. The previous narrative was that BK was better at Talladega, then he won the 2016 summer Daytona race. (4.3 fppk)

5. Kyle Busch ($9,400) – Both of his legs were broken in a wreck at Daytona in 2015. One would assume that this would linger in the back of Rowdy’s mind, but he’s a racer. In 2016, Busch had three top 3s and an 11th plate finish at the plate tracks. (5.0 fppk)


RankDriverSalary
6Austin Dillon$8,200
7Kevin Harvick$9,700
8Clint Bowyer$7,800
9Martin Truex, Jr.$9,000
10Jimmie Johnson$10,000

6. Austin Dillon ($8,200) – However you slice it, some drivers are good at restrictor plate tracks. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Xfinity series or the Monster Energy Cup. In 12 plate races as a full time Cup driver, Dillon has 11 top 15s. (3.6 fppk)

7. Kevin Harvick ($9,700) – DraftKings players may erroneously downgrade Harvick at plate tracks based on the nature of the race. Harvick cannot produce at the his customary, superior level. However, in the last 15 plate races, Harvick has 13 top 15s. That’s dominant. (5.7 fppk)

8. Clint Bowyer ($7,800) – Normally, when a driver changes teams, they get a freebie year. After the last two years, it’s put up or shut up time for Bowyer. With a win at Daytona, Bowyer can be his usual laid-back self this season. It’s possible, he has the 3rd best average finish at plate tracks. (4.2 fppk)

9. Martin Truex, Jr. ($9,000) – For DraftKings purposes, all that matters at Daytona is the 200th lap. Last year, the JGR Toyotas were running first through fourth on the last lap. They practice together, they run together – they win together. Truex’s second place finish stings, but not for fantasy players. (5.4 fppk)

10. Jimmie Johnson ($10,000) – Last season is a distant memory. Only Daytona matters this week. This isn’t necessarily a must play Johnson week for me, but over the last five Daytona races, Johnson has the highest driver rating (101.1). (4.2 fppk)


RankDriverSalary
11Kyle Larson$8,500
12Matt Kenseth$8,700
13Kurt Busch$8,800
14Ryan Newman$7,500
15Michael Waltrip$6,100

11. Kyle Larson ($8,500) – From 2014-2015, Larson was probably the worst plate racer ever. That was then, this is now. In 2016, Larson scored three top 10s at plate tracks. Did he figure it out? No. He learned to stop worrying and love the restrictor plate. (4.4 fppk)

12. Matt Kenseth ($8,700) – A great philosopher once said, “Go make yourself some friends or you’ll be lonely,” or maybe that was a Danish pop band. The point is that in a plate race, Kenseth has NASCAR’s premier team, the JGR Toyota’s, blocking for him and pushing him. (4.3 fppk)

13. Kurt Busch ($8,800) – In 63 restrictor plate races, Kurt has has zero wins. That’s the longest drought among active drivers. Wins are overrated in DraftKings Fantasy NASCAR. Kurt’s top 10 percentage at plate tracks is tied for the best (53%). (4.0 fppk)

14. Ryan Newman ($7,500) – Daytona is goofy, atypical racing. It’s hard to predict, and it’s hard to find statistical indicators that you can trust. Newman has 60 official plate races under his belt. It’s not just experience; his 18 top 10s at plate tracks ranks 8th among the field. (3.8 fppk)

15. Michael Waltrip ($6,100) – It’s time for the former Daytona 500 champion to dust off his firesuit. Mikey may not win, but this is not an honorary run. Every year he scores big points at the plate tracks. Waltrip has topped 40 points in five of his last nine plate races. (6.7 fppk)


RankDriverSalary
16A.J. Allmendinger$6,700
17Ryan Blaney$7,300
18Michael McDowell$5,800
19Chase Elliott$9,200
20Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.$7,000

16. A.J. Allmendinger ($6,700) – He’s a road course racer. He’s a flat track guy. He’s a plate racer? His lowest fantasy point performance at a restrictor plate track in 2016 was 41 points (47.75 avg. pts). He had a 44 and 48 point race in 2015 at the plate tracks. (3.9 fppk)

17. Ryan Blaney ($7,300) – We’re looking for a little more consistency in his sophomore year, but this is Daytona. I’m not counting on it this week. Blaney is the unofficial third Penske car, and Penke has been crushing at the plate tracks. (3.3 fppk)

18. Michael McDowell ($5,800) – Last year, McDowell’s best starting position at a plate track was 31st. That’s what we want, place differential. McDowell is not known as plate track expert, but last year he avoided the wrecks and scored 58, 34, 63 and 47 pts. (4.3 fppk)

19. Chase Elliott ($9,200) – Are Talladega and Daytona different? Yes, but not entirely. It’s fine to separate Talladega and Daytona stats, if you live on narrative street. If you live in the real world, Elliott wrecked twice at Daytona last year, but finished 12th and 4th at Talladega. (4.1 fppk)

20. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,000) – No one terrifies DraftKings NASCAR players more than “Wrecky” Stenhouse. All he needs to do is avoid the big one. Which he has done; he hasn’t wrecked at a plate track in two years. Stenhouse rolls into Daytona with back-to-back 5th place finishes at plate tracks. (3.4 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.