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 2015 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
1Carl Edwards$10,100
2Kevin Harvick$9,400
3Kyle Busch$9,200
4Jimmie Johnson$9,800
5Kurt Busch$8,800

1. Carl Edwards ($10,100) – Before he won, he was labeled the most consistent, top driver this season. After back-to-back wins, he’s the best driver in NASCAR. (7.9 fppk)

2. Kevin Harvick ($9,400) – The song is stuck on repeat. Harvick didn’t win, but he led laps and ran a ton of fast laps at Richmond. The track does not matter for the 4 car. This is the safest high-level pick ever. (7.7 fppk)

3. Kyle Busch ($9,200) – As always, fade Kyle Busch at your own risk. It worked at Bristol, but everywhere else, Kyle’s shoved it in your face. Between Harvick and Kyle Busch, these high salary drivers are making it very difficult to pick against them. (7.0 fppk)

4. Jimmie Johnson ($9,800) – After practice, it looked like Jimmie was about to “rule the world from a castle in the sky.” I’m sick of the commercial, and I’m sick of drivers failing to live up to my lofty expectations. Jimmie looked good, but he wasn’t the best. (5.6 fppk)

5. Kurt Busch ($8,800) – Finishing position does not always tell the real story. Richmond may have been Kurt’s best race, but one bad restart at the end sealed his fate. (5.0 fppk)

RankDriverSalary
6Dale Earnhardt Jr.$10,300
7Brad Keselowski$9,000
8Martin Truex Jr.$8,900
9Kasey Kahne$8,000
10Joey Logano$9,600

6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($10,300) – The 13th place finish was disappointing for the 88 team. They ran much better than that. It’s possible that Junior could have won, but the race turned into a caution fest. Pit road times meant more than long run speed. Forget it, on to ‘Dega. (5.4 fppk)

7. Brad Keselowski ($9,000) – Richmond has been one of BK’s best tracks, but he was never a part of the story on Sunday. Brad won at Talladega in 2014 and has 8 top 10s in 14 Talladega races. (4.2 fppk)

8. Martin Truex Jr. ($8,900) – Starting in the 20s prevented the 78 car from fighting for the win. It was fast enough, and had it no problem piling up the most place differential points at Richmond. Truex has quietly become one of the best plate racers. Keep him on your radar. (5.1 fppk)

9. Kasey Kahne ($8,000) – Can we trust and believe Kasey Kahne? Normally, another good race would give us a clear picture, but this week is Talladega. The mystery will remain. Nonetheless, Kasey Kahne looked like the old Kasey Kahne at Richmond. He’ll turn it around eventually. (3.2 fppk)

10. Joey Logano ($9,600) – Here’s another driver stuck on repeat, but in a bad way. Logano started up front and quickly faded, but unlike other races, Logano made his way back to the front. Logano finished inside the top 10, but at his price, fast lap and laps led points are needed. (4.2 fppk)

RankDriverSalary
11Ryan Blaney$7,300
12Denny Hamlin$10,000
13Austin Dillon$8,600
14Aric Almirola$6,700
15Chase Elliott$8,400

11. Ryan Blaney ($7,300) – According the Blaney’s crew chief the car wasn’t bad. The problem was their track position and they got stuck in the wrong lane on the last two restarts. In last Spring’s Talladega race, Blaney finished 4th. (3.1 fppk)

12. Denny Hamlin ($10,000) – The problem with Hamlin is that he won the Daytona 500. How does that make any sense? Hamlin locked up his playoff spot. His team is using the regular season races to experiment. It hasn’t worked out, but there won’t be any experimenting this week at Talladega. (3.4 fppk)

13. Austin Dillon ($8,600) – It will be interesting to see how the young driver deals with his first career funk. The 3 car’s early season success has created greater expectations. Fortunately for Dillon, Talladega is an easy place to turn things around or dig the hole deeper. (4.3 fppk)

14. Aric Almirola ($6,700) – Just when I was about to drop Almirola from the rankings, he restores my in faith in the King of 50/50s. Richmond could have been a better day, but it was a step in the right direction. Almirola’s average running position was 15th. (3.1 fppk)

15. Chase Elliott ($8,400) – The knock against Elliot was that he was too expensive for a driver that has not led laps. The only way he was playable was if he could score place differential points. Elliot did not finish inside the top 10, as we’ve come to expect, but he did in terms of fantasy points. (3.8 fppk)

RankDriverSalary
16Matt Kenseth$9,100
17Jamie McMurray$7,900
18AJ Allmendinger$7,200
19Ryan Newman$7,500
20Trevor Bayne$6,500

16. Matt Kenseth ($9,100) – Let’s look at the pros and cons. Kenseth finished inside the top 10 for the race and for fantasy points. What are the cons? Kenseth can’t blame anything/anyone else this week. Kenseth has great numbers at Richmond, but he was never a contender. (3.3 fppk)

17. Jamie McMurray ($7,900) – His salary is just too high. McMurray started in the deep 20s and finished 16th, but he did not hit 5 times value. (3.7 fppk)

18. AJ Allmendinger ($7,200) – A high qualifying position should scare DFS players away from a value pick. It’s a principle that should be followed, but Allmendinger was an attractive pick. He has run near 10th all season and he looked good in practice. He wasn’t awful, but in terms of fantasy, he was poison. (4.6 fppk)

19. Ryan Newman ($7,500) – Is Newman a good fantasy option? He’s racing well this year with an average finish of 17th, and he’s only had one bad race (Newman had the least amount of bad races last season). Newman’s fantasy points average is 27. At his price, he’s just barely a cash game option. (3.6 fppk)

20. Trevor Bayne ($6,500)NASCAR is not like other sports. It’s incredibly difficult for “the next big thing drivers” to push the experienced superstars to the side. Bayne is finally starting to nudge his way through. His average finish of 19th is a career best. (3.9 fppk)