2018 NASCAR® Fantasy Driver Rankings: 1000Bulbs.com 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.)

1. Joey Logano ($10,700) – Team Penske has the best plate cars, plate drivers, and plate spotters. Logano expects to win these races, and that’s exactly what he did at Talladega in the spring. (4.0 fppk)

2. Brad Keselowski ($11,100) – The #2 car is the fastest car every time it unloads at Daytona and Talladega. It handles better than any other car. Keselowski has more wins than any other active driver. Unfortunately, he cannot avoid the wrecks (six wrecks in the last eight plate races). (3.8 fppk)

3. Clint Bowyer ($9,200) – In 51 plate races, Bowyer’s average finishing position is 16th. That ranks 2nd among active NASCAR drivers. The only more consistent finisher is Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (4.9 fppk)

4. Kurt Busch ($9,800) – Daytona and Talladega are the same, but if you’re looking for a tiebreaker, then you can separate them. Busch has been better at Talladega over the last two years with finishes of 2nd, 25th, and 6th. (4.6 fppk)

5. Aric Almirola ($8,800) – Even with his 27th place finish in the summer Daytona race, Almirola still ranks as the best plate race over the last two seasons. Almirola’s average finish was 6th in the extreme low downforce package. It’s s too bad that NASCAR added downforce in the summer plate race. (4.7 fppk)

6. Ryan Newman ($7,100) – Over the last two years, Newman has the second best average finish at the plate tracks. If you’ve been playing him at Daytona and Talladega, then you have probably been winning money. (3.7 fppk)

7. Austin Dillon ($7,600) – His Daytona numbers are better, but that doesn’t really matter. Dillon has 13 top 15 finishes in his 19 plate races as a full time Cup driver. He was always a good plate racer in the lower series, too. (3.8 fppk)

8. Kevin Harvick ($10,100) – Tell me if this sounds familiar. Harvick wrecked in the Daytona 500, finished 4th at Talladega, and wrecked at Daytona in the summer race. That’s the basic plate race trend. Drivers earn a top 10 around 33% of the time, and wreck the rest. (6.0 fppk)

9. Kyle Larson ($8,000) – So far, Larson has wrecked in every restrictor plate race this season. He surely can’t wreck again, can he? Larson desperately needs a top 10 finish and stage points this week. Desperation at Talladega never goes well. (4.3 fppk)

10. Kyle Busch ($9,400) – He was one of 20 drivers that Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wrecked in the summer Daytona race. That’s not an exaggeration. Busch has 2 top 5 finishes in the last 5 Talladega races. (5.5 fppk)

11. Martin Truex, Jr. ($8,400) – In his last 10 plate races, Truex has one top 10 finish. That was a 2nd place finish in this summer’s Daytona race. His average finish at a plate track over that span is 23rd. (4.7 fppk)

12. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($9,000) – It’s better to be the wrecker than the wrecked. Stenhouse single-handedly took out half of the field in the last restrictor plate race. Somehow, after all of the chaos, he was still running at the end. That’s all that matters. (3.3 fppk)

13. Chase Elliott ($10,300) – He’s not really a plate racer. His average finish ranks 27th, but Elliott has something going for him. He’s on a hot streak and every break seems to be going his way. That’s all a driver needs to win at Talladega. (4.0 fppk)

14. Erik Jones ($8,300) – Normally, Jones would not make the rankings, but he won the summer Daytona race. The winner of the last plate race has to make the rankings because often drivers win two plate races in a row. (3.8 fppk)

15. Denny Hamlin ($10,000) – Over his career, Hamlin has been a very good plate racer. He does not have a lot of wins, but he consistently earns top 5 finishes. Hamlin only has seven DNFs in 51 plate races. (3.8 fppk)

16. Chris Buescher ($6,400) – This is a little bit surprising, but the numbers do not lie. Buescher has the seventh best average finish at plate races over the last two year. He’s earned five top 15 finishes in the last 7 plate races. (3.9 fppk)

17. Jimmie Johnson ($8,200) – When he was good, he was not a good plate racer. Now that he’s washed up, he’s the exact same plate driver. Drivers do not get better or worse at plate tracks. A strong argument can be made that no one is a good plate racer. (3.5 fppk)

18. Alex Bowman ($8,600) – Winning at Talladega is Bowman’s only chance of advancing to the next round of the playoffs. It’s always good to pick drivers that are racing for wins, and not playing it safe. However, not playing it safe leads to DNFs at Talladega. (3.9 fppk)

19. Bubba Wallace ($6,900) – It’s too early to decide if Bubba is a good plate racer. One thing is certain, the restrictor plates level the playing field. In the #43 car, Bubba has finished 15th, 2nd, 14th, and 16th at the plate tracks. (2.8 fppk)

20. Paul Menard ($7,800) – Last year, Menard was the best plate racer. Last year, Menard was the luckiest driver at the restrictor plate tracks. The latter is closer to the truth. This year, Menard hasn’t been as lucky, but luck changes fast at Talladega. (3.6 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.