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$10,300
2Kevin Harvick$10,800
3Kyle Busch$10,500
4Denny Hamlin$9,700
5Brad Keselowski$10,100

1. Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,300) – Sometimes it seem like a slight on Truex’s driving ability when people praise the 78 car. Truex has been the fastest thing at intermediate tracks, but the speed doesn’t stop there. He was the best fantasy pick last week, at a Richmond race track where he’s been average over his career. (5.6 fppk)

2. Kevin Harvick ($10,800) – It’s not that hard. Harvick has the best average finish at intermediate tracks this season (5th place finish). How about this stat – In 26 races, Harvick has 18 top 5 DFS finishes. (6.5 fppk)

3. Kyle Busch ($10,500) – At the beginning of the season, Rowdy and Harvick were the kings of the intermediate tracks. Harvick is still a king, but Rowdy has handed his baton to another Toyota driver, Martin Truex. Busch is a top 5 guy, but he’s a slight step behind the big two. (4.9 fppk)

4. Denny Hamlin ($9,700) – If you would have told me Halmin was a favorite to win the championship two months ago, I would have laughed. No one’s laughing now. This is the hottest driver in NASCAR and for once, he’s having a controversy-free season. (3.8 fppk)

5. Brad Keselowski ($10,100) – In terms of Chicago track history, BK has the best stats. The pessimist says that the 2 car has been good at intermediate tracks in 2016, but not great. The optimist says that they’re just a smidge behind the top 2 cars. Which one are you? (4.9 fppk)

RankDriverSalary
6Kurt Busch$9,000
7Matt Kenseth$9,400
8Carl Edwards$9,200
9Joey Logano$9,900
10Jimmie Johnson$8,800

6. Kurt Busch ($9,000) – Before Darlington, Kurt had the best average finish at 1.5 mile tracks. He never dominated, but he never finished outside of the top 10, but then he wrecked at Darlington. The top 10 Kurt should return this weekend. (3.9 fppk)

7. Matt Kenseth ($9,400) – In three races with JGR at Chicago, Kenseth has 3 top 10s (including a win in 2013). A speeding penalty and a wreck ruined his first two intermediate track races this year. Since then, he’s finished 11th or better. (3.7 fppk)

8. Carl Edwards ($9,200) – There were times this season where Edwards seemed like a favorite to win the championship. Right now, he looks like a top 5 car, but not the leader in the JGR garage. Edwards’ 43 points per race average at 1.5 mile tracks is steady, but he’s only had one big race at an intermediate track this season. (4.4 fppk)

9. Joey Logano ($9,900) – Last season, Logano entered the playoffs in a similar fashion. He was steady, but was not a fast lap and laps led points hog. In the Chase, he scored over 90 points in back-to-back intermediate track races (Charlotte and Kansas). (3.8 fppk)

10. Jimmie Johnson ($8,800) – This year, Johnson has been the worst top tier pick. He nearly has the worst fppk in the rankings. That being said, it’s playoff time and this is 6 time champion Jimmie Johnson. Will the 48 team turn it on or burn DFS players again? (3.4 fppk)

RankDriverSalary
11Kyle Larson$9,600
12Jamie McMurray$7,800
13Kasey Kahne$7,500
14Ricky Stenhouse Jr$6,600
15Chase Elliott$8,500

11. Kyle Larson ($9,600) – The 42 team struggled at the beginning of the season with a new crew chief, Chad Johnston. Eventually, the team started building cars to his liking. We all know what has transpired this season. Larson is hot and the track doesn’t matter. He could win at a mirrored Mario Kart track. (4.3 fppk)

12. Jamie McMurray ($7,800) – Before you count out McMurray, remember that McMurray doesn’t wreck. He might not make it out of round 2, but while other drivers wreck in round 1, McMurray will cruise his way into the next round. That makes him a solid cash play baed on his consistency. (4.2 fppk)

13. Kasey Kahne ($7,500) – The fun thing about this pick is that Kahne has nothing to lose each week. He’s racing for wins. In 26 races, Kahne has topped 25 fantasy points 20 times. (3.7 fppk)

14. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($6,600) – In the last two races (Darlington and Richmond), Stenhouse finished inside the top 20. In 7 intermediate track races this season, Stenhouse has 6 top 20 finishes. Dare we say he’s safe at Chicago? In three Chicagoland races, Stenhouse has 3 top 20s. (3.5 fppk)

15. Chase Elliott ($8,500) – The question that DFS players will ask on Sunday is, “Will Elliott return value?” He has not been a fast lap or laps led force at 1.5 mile tracks, but he has 5 top 10s at these tracks. If Elliott can scratch out a couple place differential points, then he’s in play. (3.9 fppk)

RankDriverSalary
16Paul Menard$6,500
17Ryan Blaney$7,100
18Ryan Newman$7,600
19Austin Dillon$8,300
20Aric Almirola$6,000

16. Paul Menard ($6,500) – In the last three intermediate track races, Menard has finished inside the top 20 in each race. He has 5 top 20s at 1.5 mile tracks this season. In the last 5 Chicago races, his worst finish is 22nd. If he muffs qualifying again this week, he’ll be a very popular play. (3.0 fppk)

17. Ryan Blaney ($7,100) – At his price, he’s definitely in play. A quasi Penske car for $7,100? Where do I sign up? The problem is that Blaney has been inconsistent in his rookie season. Blaney has 2 top 10s at intermediate tracks, but has three finishes of 25th or worse. (3.2 fppk)

18. Ryan Newman ($7,600) – After Tony Stewart wrecked Newman and his playoff hopes, Newman dropped one of the most over-the-line insults during an interview. Google it. Now we get to see a rare side of Newman. What happens when he isn’t point racing? He could be a GPP hero this week. (3.7 fppk)

19. Austin Dillon ($8,300) – I hate the price tag, but it’s correct. In 7 intermediate track races this season, Dillon is averaging a 12th place finish. His average score is 37 points. That’s not 5x value, and his price tag makes it very difficult to roster top tier drivers. (3.9 fppk)

20. Aric Almirola ($6,000) – The 43 car changed crew chiefs this week. This might be the spark that Almirola needs. This season has been rough, but Almirola has raced well at Chicagoland over his career. In 4 races at this 1.5 mile track, his average running positions are 10th, 18th, 11th and 16th. (3.1 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.