WATCH: NASCAR PRICE CHECK FOLDS OF HONOR QUIKTRIP 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
1Martin Truex Jr.$9,800
2Kevin Harvick$10,200
3Jimmie Johnson$10,600
4Matt Kenseth$8,600
5Kyle Busch$10,400

1. Martin Truex, Jr. ($9,800) – The JGR Toyotas have been the best in class in the Monster Cup Series for several years. When Truex jumped from an RCR Chevy to a Toyota last year, many wondered how much he would improve. Truex finished #1 in fantasy points at intermediate tracks in 2016. (5.4 fppk)

2. Kevin Harvick ($10,200) – Over the last two years, Harvick has averaged the most fantasy points per race. At intermediate tracks (ubiquitous 1.5 mile long oval tracks), Harvick has the second best average finish, average running position and average fantasy points per race. (5.7 fppk)

3. Jimmie Johnson ($10,600) – If you’re asking yourself, how did he win the championship last year? You would not be alone. The funny thing is that’s how a lot of Johnson’s races go as well. How did he win last year at Atlanta? Pit strategy. With the 48 team, you thought you were playing checkers, but it was chess. (4.2 fppk)

4. Matt Kenseth ($8,600) – Google Matt Kenseth and Atlanta. He should have won this race last year or at the very least cruised into a top 5 finish. Harvick, Truex and Kyle Busch live in the intermediate track spotlight, but on the edge of the limelight is Kenseth. (4.3 fppk)

5. Kyle Busch ($10,400) – The new segment system does not favor the long run. It’s a dash. The drivers that run as fast as possible on each lap will earn more points. The M&M’s car running upfront is nothing new, but it could become a permanent fixture. (5.0 fppk)


RankDriverSalary
6Joey Logano$9,700
7Brad Keselowski$10,000
8Dale Earnhardt Jr.$9,500
9Kurt Busch$8,800
10Denny Hamlin$8,900

6. Joey Logano ($9,700) – They say you have to lose a championship before you can win one. He’s now lost two. Atlanta has been good to Joey. His average running position in the last 4 Atlanta races is 7th, and he’s led over 78 laps in two of those races. (4.2 fppk)

7. Brad Keselowski ($10,000) – In 2015, BK had the best average finish at intermediate tracks. His 2016 numbers weren’t as impressive, but it was not a step backwards; the field took a bigger step forward. (4.3 fppk)

8. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ($9,500) – He’s likely not going to win the race, but top 10 DraftKings points are in play. Last year, the Hendrick Chevys were fast all weekend in Atlanta. Junior finished 2nd, while his teammates, Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott, finished 1st and 8th respectively. (3.5 fppk)

9. Kurt Busch ($8,800) – He dominated the first half of last year’s Atlanta race, but then faded a little. In the first half of the 2016 season, he was a lock for a top 10 each week. This is Stewart-Haas Racing’s first intermediate track race in the new Fords, so Kurt is a little risky this week. (4.0 fppk)

10. Denny Hamlin ($8,900) – There were flashes of brilliance last year, but this was the weakest of the JGR cars at intermediate tracks. Hamlin eclipsed a measly 4 laps led points just one time last season. He only cracked the top 10 in 5 of the 12 intermediate track races. (3.9 fppk)


RankDriverSalary
11Kyle Larson$9,100
12Ryan Newman$7,600
13Ty Dillon$6,100
14Chase Elliott$9,300
15Austin Dillon$8,200

11. Kyle Larson ($9,100) – Nothing has changed. Sure, Larson has a Cup win, but that doesn’t make him any better. He’s an aggressive, young driver that can dominate a race. That’s the same reason he is at risk for a wreck. (4.4 fppk)

12. Ryan Newman ($7,600) – Be careful with NASCAR box scores. Newman finished 24th at Atlanta last year, but that’s not indicative of his performance. Late in the race, Newman was hit with a penalty and he blew a tire. His average running position was 9th. (3.8 fppk)

13. Ty Dillon ($6,100) – The 13 Geico car has been good at Atlanta over the last two years (top 20 average running position). This team is a part of the RCR Chevy alliance, but something tells me that the alliance will be stronger this year. Dillon has two top 25 finishes in his two Atlanta Cup races. (4.0 fppk)

14. Chase Elliott ($9,300) – You can’t expect a rookie to earn a win, but Elliott checked everything else off of the rookie checklist. His success at Chicago and Charlotte near the end of the season (178 combined laps led) is very encouraging. (4.1 fppk)

15. Austin Dillon ($8,200)RCR snuck a car into the playoffs without a win again. That’s a small consolation because Dillon and RCR were nowhere near winning a race in 2016. In comparison to Kyle Larson’s growth, Dillon is stagnating, if not in decline. (3.6 fppk)


RankDriverSalary
16Ricky Stenhouse Jr.$6,900
17Erik Jones$7,400
18Kasey Kahne$8,000
19Danica Patrick$6,300
20Daniel Suarez$7,900

16. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($6,900) – The Roush-Fenway Fords showed up to race at Atlanta. Biffle and Bayne looked good, but Ricky’s average running position was 9th. With the fresh crop of rookies, Stenhouse could go overlooked this weekend. (3.4 fppk)

17. Erik Jones ($7,400) – Theoretically, the new, short segments favor aggressive drivers. In the truck and Xfinity series, Jones often looked like a young and reckless Kyle Busch. He has a few Cup races under his belt, but he’s a rookie, so it’s boom or bust this season. (3.3 fppk)

18. Kasey Kahne ($8,000) – The slump isn’t officially over until he wins, but Kahne turned a corner last season. He earned seven top 10 finishes at intermediate tracks. He won the Atlanta race in 2014. (4.0 fppk)

19. Danica Patrick ($6,300) – In the last three Atlanta races, Patrick has scored 30 fantasy points or more. She’s not exciting, but she provides salary relief and can score just enough points. She’s also very safe. Surprised? Her worst finish at an intermediate track in 2016 was 24th. (4.2 fppk)

20. Daniel Suarez ($7,900) – It’s a discounted JGR Toyota. Suarez earned his spot in the Cup series regardless of the Carl Edwards drama. Until we see Suarez in a couple non-plate races, we’re purely picking him based on machinery. (n/a 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.