2018 NASCAR® Fantasy Driver Rankings: Consumers Energy 400

WATCH: NASCAR Price Check — Consumers Energy 400

Fantasy driver rankings for Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway 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.)

RankDriverSalary
1Kevin Harvick$12,200
2Kyle Busch$11,900
3Kyle Larson$10,600
4Kurt Busch$8,400
5Aric Almirola$8,200

1. Kevin Harvick ($12,200) – He had the best car, but even the best car isn’t the best car at Michigan. The car in first is the best car. Michigan has the tightest racing groove in NASCAR. No one passes; no one passes the leader. If Harvick wins the pole, he’ll be unbeatable. (6.2 fppk)

2. Kyle Busch ($11,900) – Michigan is aging, but not as fast as other tracks. There is still just one narrow racing groove. Until this track gets some character, it will not be a Busch track. It’s slowly getting there. Busch has shown speed in the past two June Michigan races. (6.2 fppk)

3. Kyle Larson ($10,600) – His three-race win streak at Michigan ended in June, but he didn’t run out of talent. He started deep in the field and hustled his car inside the top 10, but he spun out when he pushed his car to the edge. Rain ended the race before Larson could get back up front. (4.1 fppk)

4. Kurt Busch ($8,400) – The pole winner has a huge advantage at Michigan. Busch led the first 46 laps of the race without having the best car. Eventually he conceded the lead, but he hung around upfront for the rest of the race. Busch had the second-best average running position. (4.5 fppk)

5. Aric Almirola ($8,200) – Stewart-Haas Racing had the best cars at Michigan. A month later, Chicago was a similar lap-turner. The SHR Fords dominated again, but every SHR car made a mistake. Michigan is a track where Almirola can win. (5.0 fppk)


RankDriverSalary
6Ryan Blaney$8,700
7Clint Bowyer$9,700
8Brad Keselowski$9,500
9Joey Logano$9,900
10Martin Truex, Jr.$11,700

6. Ryan Blaney ($8,700) – The leader legitimately was passed once at Michigan. That was Blaney passing Kurt Busch. Later in the race, Blaney lost the lead when a couple cars took two tires on a pit stop. Otherwise, Blaney could have led the most laps. (3.7 fppk)

7. Clint Bowyer ($9,700) – A Michigan sweep is not likely, but a top-five finish is expected. Bowyer had the third-best average running position in the June Michigan race. The SHR Fords were rocket ships in the first Michigan race. (5.2 fppk)

8. Brad Keselowski ($9,500) – Penske had top-five cars at Michigan. Keselowski was unable to wrestle the lead away from the leader, but no one passes the leader at Michigan. Last fall at Michigan, no one could wrestle the lead away from Keselowski. (3.2 fppk)

9. Joey Logano ($9,900) – Misfortune has ruined Logano’s past two weeks. Michigan is a perfect track for Logano to bounce back. In the June Michigan race, 98.5 percent of his laps were inside the top 15. Logano won at Michigan in 2016. (3.6 fppk)

10. Martin Truex, Jr. ($11,700) – In 2017, Truex was great at Michigan and Fontana. He followed those performances with a win at Fontana this year. Everyone expected Truex to be great at Michigan in June, but he was barely a top-15 driver. (5.0 fppk)


RankDriverSalary
11William Byron$6,800
12Alex Bowman$6,600
13Chase Elliott$8,900
14Denny Hamlin$10,200
15Ryan Newman$7,000

11. William Byron ($6,800) – Hendrick Motorsports is back. HMS tinkered with the aero and its engines, but its biggest breakthrough has been the new chassis. Byron has back-to-back top-10s going into this weekend. (3.7 fppk)

12. Alex Bowman ($6,600) – Over the past 10 races, Bowman has seven top-15 finishes. He has a top-20 finish in 18 of the 22 races this season. There is no reason for Bowman to be cheaper than Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman and Paul Menard. (4.2 fppk)

13. Chase Elliott ($8,900) – The Watkins Glen win won’t carry over, but the fast cars will. Hendrick Motorsports has been racing with new chassis over the past month, and it is showing. (3.6 fppk)

14. Denny Hamlin ($10,200) – He finished 12th in the first Michigan race. His average running position was 13th. He looks like a fade, right? Wrong. Hamlin had to start in the back, but he worked his way to the front at a track where passing is impossible. (3.9 fppk)

15. Ryan Newman ($7,000) – If you want to understand Michigan, look at Newman’s stats. Michigan is a one-groove race track that indiscriminately rewards and punishes drivers on late race restarts. In June, Newman raced well but finished poorly. Last fall, Newman was average, but he finished fourth. (3.3 fppk)


RankDriverSalary
16Daniel Suarez$7,800
17Erik Jones$8,000
18Jamie McMurray$7,600
19Paul Menard$7,200
20Jimmie Johnson$9,200

16. Daniel Suarez ($7,800) – In his three Cup races at Michigan, he has wrecked in all three races. Suarez earned his first career win in the 2016 Xfinity Michigan race. He didn’t just win, he outraced Kyle Busch. (3.6 fppk)

17. Erik Jones ($8,000) – Michigan is Jones’ home track, but the home track narrative in fantasy NASCAR is worthless. A more telling number is Jones has a top-five finish in each of the past two races (Pocono and Watkins Glen). Jones’ worst finish in the past two months is 16th place. (3.9 fppk)

18. Jamie McMurray ($7,600) – The first Michigan race was a typical McMurray race. His average running position was 13th, and he finished 10th. If he starts 24th again, go ahead and lock him in. (3.1 fppk)

19. Paul Menard ($7,200) – A perfect example of why Michigan is a terrible track is Menard’s June race. Menard could not do anything in traffic. He sat around 15th. Near the end of the race, he took two tires and jumped to the front and stayed there. Michigan is an aerodynamic nightmare. (3.7 fppk)

20. Jimmie Johnson ($9,200) – His 30th-place finish at Watkins Glen isn’t as bad as it looks. He had damage and drove the race without a mirror. The Hendrick cars are fast, and this is not the time to give up on Johnson. He’s expensive, but he should be low-owned. (3.8 fppk)


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