2018 NASCAR® Fantasy Driver Rankings: Federated Auto Parts 400

WATCH: NASCAR Price Check — South Point 400 — Federated Auto Parts 400

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. Martin Truex, Jr. ($11,000) – Richmond and Kentucky are flat ovals with front stretches that bulge in a way that makes the tracks almost giant circles. Both tracks are usually night races. The #78 team knows how to setup the car for these particular tracks. (4.6 fppk)

2. Kyle Busch ($11,800) – The setup was off last week and the pit crew made mistakes on pit road. Bad went to worse when Busch spun out in the speedy dry. Richmond is great a rebound race. Busch had the fastest car in the first Richmond race and drove from 32nd to first. (5.7 fppk)

3. Kevin Harvick ($12,200) – There is no doubt Harvick is the best driver with the best car every week. He had the best car at Las Vegas, but his day was ruined by the fact that NASCAR plays roulette with tires and teams are randomly assigned good and bad sets. (5.9 fppk)

4. Brad Keselowski ($10,200) – The #2 car is not the fastest in NASCAR, but the pit crew is elite. Keselowski grabs at least two spots on pit road under every caution. If there are five cautions (low estimate), then that’s 10 spots. That’s how he’s winning. (3.8 fppk)

5. Joey Logano ($8,700) – Team Penske has figured something out on pit road. Who knows how long this advantage will last. Logano’s car has been slightly faster of late, but that’s because he’s driving in clean air due to his lightning fast pit crew. (3.9 fppk)

6. Kurt Busch ($ 8,500) – During the first spring race, Kurt had speed during the day portion of the race (38.5 hog points). This time around, there won’t be much daylight, and when the sun goes down, Truex gets up. (4.7 fppk)

7. Kyle Larson ($10,500) – It usually takes two bad breaks for Larson to lose. At Las Vegas, Larson blew a tire and went a lap down, but battled back to the lead. Larson was the fastest on long runs, and only needs one long run at the end to win. Instead, the race finished with a million cautions. (4.4 fppk)

8. Aric Almirola ($8,300) – Richmond is Almriola’s best track. All he has to do is play it safe this week. Almost half of the playoff contenders wrecked at Las Vegas. A top 10 this week will almost guarantee him a spot in round two of the playoffs. (4.7 fppk)

9. Clint Bowyer ($9,100) – In the spring race, Bowyer earned the fifth most hog points. He also wrecked when William Byron’s two-tire restart collected a lot of the field. Somehow, Bowyer drove his damaged car to a ninth place finish. (5.0 fppk)

10. Chase Elliott ($9,900) – If half of the playoff contenders wrecked, then of course Elliott was going to be one of them. Elliott and Larson never seem to catch a break. Elliott was fast in the spring Richmond practice, and he ran up front during the race, but he just didn’t have enough to take control of the race. (3.8 fppk)

11. Denny Hamlin ($9,600) – The JGR playoff drivers all wrecked at Las Vegas. Hamlin dug himself the biggest hole with his wreck, but he can get out of it at his hometrack in Richmond. He is one the best flat, short track drivers in NASCAR. (3.7 fppk)

12. Ryan Blaney ($8,900) – This is not Blaney’s track. Here are his finishes in his five races at Richmond: 22nd, 18th, 36th, 39th, and 28th. Thanks to last week’s top 5 finish and all of the wrecks, a 20th place finish this week won’t hurt his chances to advance in the playoffs. (4.0 fppk)

13. Jimmie Johnson ($7,900) – Given how bad this season has been, it’s surprising that Johnson made the playoffs. It’s not surprising that Johnson finished 22nd last week. His price tags says it all. (3.5 fppk)

14. Erik Jones ($9,300)JGR rushed the kids up to Cup to fast. Last week was a perfect example of Jones not being ready for Cup. Jones won the pole and had the fastest car in practice, but then immediately faded to around 10th place during the race. (3.9 fppk)

15. Austin Dillon ($6,900) – He didn’t wreck last week. Dillon was a 20th place car, but half of the top 20 wrecked. There will likely be a lot of wrecks on restarts at the end again this week. Dillon might be on to something. (3.8 fppk)

16. Ryan Newman ($8,100) – There probably isn’t a ride for him next year, but every NASCAR fan would love to see Newman get one more shot in a good car. It’s a shame that he’s finishing his career in RCR garbage cans on wheels, but he has looked good in those garbage cans over the last couple months. (3.6 fppk)

17. Jamie McMurray ($7,300) – At least when he’s out of a ride next year, there won’t be weekly articles reminding everyone that he’s a 15th place driver. Who will finish 15th when he and Newman retire? They’re not gone yet, pencil them in for 15th at Richmond. (3.1 fppk)

18. Daniel Suarez ($7,500) – Raise your hand if you thought Suarez was going to be the only JGR car that didn’t wreck last week. The pressure is off because Suarez doesn’t haven’t to worry about the playoffs, but the pressure is on because he has to worry about getting a ride next year. (3.8 fppk)

19. Alex Bowman ($7,700) – Las Vegas was similar to the Michigan race. Bowman flirted with the lead during the first third of the race, but then faded during the last two-thirds of the race. The problem with Bowman and other above average drivers is that pit road mistakes are game over. (3.9 fppk)

20. Cole Custer ($5,800) – He finished 25th and 26th in his first two cup races. He’s a top 5 driver in the Xfinity series with two years worth of experience in the division. At the end of the day, $5,800 is too cheap for a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. (3.8 fppk)


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