Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for that day. These are the drivers in the lowest tier of salaries that have the opportunity to score 30 or more DFS points.
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Top 15 Value Plays
1. Casey Mears ($6,500) – Starting 32nd – Over the last 2 years, Mears has averaged over 55 fantasy points at Daytona. He’ll be in familiar territory starting from the back of the field.
2. Ryan Newman ($7,500) – Starting 38th – His price is right on the edge of value. His place differential ceiling doesn’t exist. With a top 10 (Newman’s 32% top 10 rate ranks 12th), he scores in the 60s for a top 3 fantasy day.
3. Paul Menard ($7,300) – Starting 37th – In the second Duel race, Menard looked good running up front for most of the race, but he shuffled to the back after a tire rub. Menard had a top 5 driver rating at plate tracks last year.
4. Clint Bowyer ($7,600) – Starting 31st – His salary pushes the limit of what is considered to be value, but his place differential ceiling is too high for Bowyer to be left off the list. Statistically, he’s a top 5 plate driver, and could score 60 pts.
5. Regan Smith ($5,500) – Starting 29th – Everyone outside of the top 25 with a salary in the $5,000 range deserves a look. Smith deserves more than just a look. Here are his last 4 plate race finishes going back to 2012 – 16th, 6th, 7th, and 5th. It should be noted that he was driving top of the line equipment, but the shouldn’t matter too much.
6. Michael Waltrip ($6,300) – Starting 36th – At Talladega in 2015, Waltrip his 10x value. He’s in a spot where he can do it again. Just a top 25 finish from Mikey, and he’ll hit 5x value.
7. Aric Almirola ($7,200) – Starting 34th – Three top 15s at restrictor plate tracks in 2015 is an impressive statistic. If Almirola can survive and slide into the top 15, then we’re talking about a 48 point day.
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8. David Ragan ($5,900) – Starting 29th – When it comes to value picks, Ragan has one of the best top 20 finish percentages. He also benefits from having three BK racing teammates to work with on Sunday.
9. Landon Cassill ($5,700) – Starting 24th – In the summer Daytona race, Cassill started 22nd. Even though his salary was in the $5,000 range, most players faded him because of his low ceiling. He finished 13th and hit his ceiling (42.5 points).
10. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,100) – Starting 19th – This is a tough one. Stenhouse did not qualify high enough to fade, or low enough to load up on. His ownership should drop, but his ceiling is around 40 points.
11. Bobby Labonte ($5,900) – Starting 33rd – This isn’t his first rodeo. Last year at Talladega, the former Sprint Cup champ scored 25 and 33 points. He’s scored 40 points or more in 2 of the last 4 Daytona races.
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12. AJ Allmendinger ($6,600) – Starting 30th – Waltrip and Mears will have higher ownership percentages, as they should. Statistically, AJ is not the play, but he is a clever contrarian pick to differentiate your lineup from others.
13. Trevor Bayne ($6,900) – Starting 23rd – The good news is that the Roush-Fenway Fords worked together and raced well during the Duel. The bad news is that they killed their place differential possibilities.
14. Brian Vickers ($5,600) – Starting 18th – It’s more likely that Vickers will score negative place differential points than positive. If everyone fades Vickers, he could be a really cheap contrarian play.
15. Brian Scott ($5,700) – He is awful at plate tracks. He wrecked again during his Duel race. Why roster him? He’s cheap, he’ll be very low owned, and he has a high place differential ceiling.