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. These rankings are not developed or provided by NASCAR, Inc., or its affiliates.
1. Jimmie Johnson (13,000) – We told you that Jimmie was the play last week at Charlotte. A late race crash put him out, but he still had a top car and was working his way to the front. Jimmie has dominated the “Monster Mile” with 9 wins and 2,976 laps led. At this same race last year Johnson led 272 laps and put up a DK score of 158.75. He will be looking to rebound after his 600 showing.
2. Jeff Gordon (11,700) – The “Rainbow Warrior” is on his retirement tour and would love to end it with a bang. A win at Dover could help make the transition to the booth an easier one. Gordon went from 6th to 1st in the fall race and pulled off the win. The 24 car has won 5 times at Dover and his performance comes close to rivaling his teammate #48. Gordon has led 2,389 laps at Dover.
3. Brad Keselowski (12,100) – BK has gotten a win this year at Fontana. He’s in the Chase and he’s 6th in the standings. Brad has run 10 times at the “Monster Mile” and registered a win in the Fall 2012 race. He came from 10th place and led 14 laps to get his first Dover victory. Brad has posted 3 wins at short tracks over his career and has the ability to get into Victory Lane this week.
4. Joey Logano (11,600) – Joey has performed well in the past at Dover and over his last 15 races (dating back to 2014), he’s recorded a plus 100 driver rating in 13 of 15 races (Bristol wreck was caused by rain, and Dega is Dega). He hasn’t won at Dover, but he has 2 wins at short tracks (Bristol and Richmond).
5. Kurt Busch (12,500) – We called Kurt as the contrarian GPP play last week. It wasn’t Jimmie or Kevin’s week, it was Kurt’s. His Stewart-Haas Chevy has been fast all year. Kurt’s had a spotty past at Dover, but you cannot argue with his performance this year. Take a gander at Kurt’s Fast Laps and Laps Led this year. If you’re trying to pick a top FL/LL scorer, then Kurt is at the top of the board.
6. Kevin Harvick (13,900) – His price has come down this week, but it’s still very hard to roster Happy. He’s not a dominant Dover driver like Gordon and Jimmie, but over the last 15 races, Harvick has been the man. His driver rating has not dipped below 100 once (he’s averaging a driver rating of 127.6).
7. Martin Truex Jr. (10,200) – The guy is number two in the standings, he’s built a home inside the top 10, but his salary won’t budge. He was the clear play last week based on 2015 performance and salary. With Furniture Row Racing, Truex has finished in the top 10 in both of his races at Dover. His troubles at Bristol are a concern, but he’s been successful at other high banked tracks.
8. Kyle Busch (10,300) – Rowdy’s price has not changed after his strong showing last week at Charlotte. We were worried about his endurance coming off of injury, but he has since calmed those fears. Busch is a short track machine and has posted 9 wins at short tracks over his career. He has 2 wins at Dover has led over 1,100 laps. Busch also has 11 wins at Dover across all circuits. He needs a win and a top 30 finish to make the Chase, look for him to start that pursuit this weekend.
9. Carl Edwards (11,500) – Edwards was the surprise winner at Charlotte last week. He ended up using a fuel mileage gamble to ride his way to victory. The 600 win provides a boost in confidence for Edwards after a slow 2015 season. The JGR driver has had a lot of success at Dover in the Sprint and Xfinity series. In 2011, he won an exciting Xfinity race at Dover as a massive wreck happened behind him. Boasting an average finish of 10th place, Edwards will look to post another good showing this week.
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (11,800) – The 88 is a silent killer this year. Many were worried about Junior adjusting to a new crew chief, but the season has gone without a hitch (Greg Ives was Chase Elliott’s crew chief during his 2014 Xfinity championship run). Dale is consistently running in the top 10 and has proven that he can work his way upward through the field. His poor qualifying efforts have led to place differential points, but it’s also prevented the 88 from scoring laps led points.
11. Kyle Larson (9,500) – The kid is a short track wiz. He’s consistently a top performer at Dover and Bristol in the Xfinity and Sprint Cup series. At similar tracks with steep banking (Darlington, Las Vegas, and Homestead), Larson has performed well.
12. Denny Hamlin (10,800) – Hamlin is another JGR guy that faced some early season woes due to equipment. The ship has been righted and Hamlin’s All-Star victory has Joe Gibbs and crew looking up! Hamlin has won the pole twice at Dover, but hasn’t found Victory Lane. His 8 short track wins make him a great choice this week.
13. Kasey Kahne (10,100) – Everybody was on Kasey Kahne last week due to a tire mishap in qualifying. He was 39.01% owned in the big $3 GPP and over 50% owned in Cash games. He didn’t disappoint and posted a strong showing of 58.50 fantasy points (the majority of those points coming from place differential). Kahne has an average finish of 20th at Dover, but has 6 DNF’s which affects his average. When we look back at 2015, Charlotte may be the point where Kasey turned things around.
14. Ryan Newman (9,800) – The biggest price jump of the week was the Rocket Man. He must have dominated, right? Actually, no. The 31 car hasn’t really performed well at all this year in terms of car performance. They’ve lucked out several times and earned good finishes, but this RCR team has not figured things out. Who knows when the luck will run out, but so far in 2015, he’s finding his way into the top 10 every week. The optimist in me says, it’ll be scary when they do figure things out.
15. Clint Bowyer (9,400) – JGR Toyota’s have run well over the last three weeks since Toyota updated their engine package. The Michael Waltrip Racing Toyotas have not run well. This is not a Toyota problem, it’s an MWR problem. Bowyer is a good driver, but if he doesn’t have the car to win, it’s risky picking him. If you’re thinking about Bowyer, watch practice to see if his car has speed.
16. Paul Menard (8,400) – Mr. Consistent and at a bargain price. Menard is not going to set the world on fire, but you can count on him to be in the low teens. At two steep banked tracks this season (Bristol, Las Vegas), Menard finished in the top 15.
17. Tony Stewart (9,200) – Your Dover dark horse. Smoke just looks bad this year. He has the equipment to dominate, but he’s struggled with the new rules package. Guess what is the one place that Tony has not struggled this season? Bristol. Smoke scored a victory at Dover in 2013, and is one of the top drivers at this short track.
18. Greg Biffle (8,800) – The Bif finished 2nd at the 600 in his 450th Sprint Cup start. One of the safer plays at Dover, the Bif has completed 98% of his laps and only has one DNF. He also has 2 victories at Dover and a slew of top 10s. At his price point Biffle makes for a very safe play.
19. Aric Almirola (8,000) – The Cuban Missile is 12th in the standings. He’s consistently finishing in the teens, and his worst finish is 26th (not even Harvick or Jimmie can say that). This is the safest 8,000 you’ll ever spend.
20. Ricky Stenhouse (7,800) – He can be hit or miss, but generally speaking, Stenhouse performs well at high banked short tracks (Bristol, Dover). His last 3 Sprint Cup races at Bristol are top 5s, and four of five Dover races are finishes in the teens (one wreck). His Xfinity races mirror these results.