2019 NASCAR® FANTASY DRIVER RANKINGS: Auto Club 400 at Fontana

Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for Sunday’s race in Fontana, California. The ordering is not based on the highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by value of each driver.

(fppk = average fantasy points per $1,000 of salary.)

WATCH: NASCAR Price Check — Auto Club 400


DRIVERRANK SALARY
1Martin Truex, Jr. $10,000
2Joey Logano $10,400
3Kyle Busch $12,600
4Kevin Harvick $12,100
5Brad Keselowski$11,500

1. Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,000) – The East Coast driver won the West Coast race in 2018. Truex finished second at Fontana in 2017. He’ll be a favorite this week. Truex is not leading laps, but he’s turned 96 fast laps in dirty air. This car is for real. (4.5 fppk)

2. Joey Logano ($10,400) – A loose wheel cost Logano a win in the first race of the high downforce, low horsepower era. The next week, he won at Las Vegas. Fontana will be round three of this experimental package and Logano is on the short list of favorites. (5.0 fppk)

3. Kyle Busch ($12,600) – This package is similar to the 2015 package, and Busch won the 2015 championship. Rowdy won five times in only 25 races that season. If not for a wreck in practice at Atlanta and a penalty at Las Vegas, Busch could be going for his fourth straight win. (7.5 fppk)

4. Kevin Harvick ($12,100) – It’s an overreaction to write off Harvick. Expecting Harvick to replicate his 2018 performance is unrealistic. Forget about last season and measure Harvick based on his performance thus far. He’s the top driver in terms of driver rating. (4.1 fppk)

5. Brad Keselowski ($11,500) – Penske has found the balance of speed and handling in the high downforce, low horsepower package (I’ll call this package Hid-Lop until someone thinks of something better). BK nearly passed Logano on the last lap at Las Vegas, and he was coy when asked about his surge of speed at the end. (5.2 fppk)



RANKDRIVERsalary
6Kyle Larson $10,800
7Ryan Blaney $8,400
8Clint Bowyer $8,600
9Erik Jones $8,200
10Kurt Busch $9,100

6. Kyle Larson ($10,800) – The 2017 Fontana race was won by Larson on a late race restart. Last week, Larson continued to display his excellent restarting skills. He raced from 31st to 6th, and he claims that he gained all of those positions on restarts. (6.7 fppk)

7. Ryan Blaney ($8,400) – Pit road mistakes ruined Blaney’s Atlanta and Las Vegas races. At Phoenix, Blaney was almost mistake free and his fast Penske ride scored the second most fantasy points and a second place finish. (4.0 fppk)

8. Clint Bowyer ($8,600) – His Phoenix finish does not show it, but last week was a step forward for the No. 14 team. Bowyer started deep in the field, but he made his way to second. The team gambled by making a four-tire pit stop late in the race, but he ended up mired in traffic. (4.0 fppk)

9. Erik Jones ($8,200) – A mechanical failure ruined his race at Phoenix, but in the first Hid-Lop race, Jones was an optimal play. At Atlanta, Jones raced from 15th to 7th. Sure, he benefited from other drivers making mistakes, but that’s the only way to pass cars in 2019. (4.6 fppk)

10. Kurt Busch ($9,100) -It’s impossible to pass cars in the dirty air on green flag runs. The only time to pass is on restarts, and Kurt is one of the best drivers on restarts. Busch has finished third, fifth, and seventh in his first three races in this package with Chip Ganassi Racing. (5.2 fppk)



RANKDRIVERSALARY
11Denny Hamlin $9,400
12Chase Elliott $8,800
13Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.$7,600
14Jimmie Johnson $7,800
15Paul Menard $6,700

11. Denny Hamlin ($9,400) – The last three weeks have been decent real-life races for Hamlin, but they were poor fantasy races. Hamlin’s strong qualifying efforts have hurt his upside, but sometime soon, he’s going to stick around up front. (4.3 fppk)

12. Chase Elliott ($8,800) – Hendrick’s annual early season struggles continue. Regardless of Elliott’s penalty to start the race or his last race spin, he didn’t have a winning car or a top-5 car. It’s hard to imagine that Hendrick finds speed this weekend, but it’s not hard to imagine Elliott’s luck turning around. (3.3 fppk)

13. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,600) – As predicted, the new rules package suits Stenhouse’s style. He finished eighth at Las Vegas and 13th at Phoenix. His 18th place finish at Atlanta is disappointing, but that was due to a pit road penalty. (3.5 fppk)

14. Jimmie Johnson ($7,800) – Coming off an eighth-place finish at Phoenix, Johnson will look to build momentum this week at Fontana. Unfortunately, Fontana marks a return to the Hid-Lop package, and Johnson’s best finish in this package was 19th. (3.5 fppk)

15. Paul Menard ($6,700) – This year has begun slightly better than most of Menard’s ho-hum seasons. He’s finished 14th, 15th, and 17th in the last three races. Why is Menard a top-15 driver this season? It’s because he ranks 12th on restarts. (2.9 fppk)



RANKDRIVERSALARY
16Aric Almirola $9,700
17Ryan Newman $7,300
18Chris Buescher $7,100
19Austin Dillon $7,400
20Daniel Suarez $8,000

16. Aric Almirola ($9,700) – A good driver in a good car will likely earn a top 10. In the new rules package, a good driver in a good car will always earn a top 10. The top 10 should be the same JGR, Penske, and SHR drivers every week. (4.3 fppk)

17. Ryan Newman ($7,300) – The Hid-Lop Package might as well be called the Ryan Newman Package. The high downforce spoiler creates dirty air that makes passing impossible, sort of like being trapped behind Newman. He was the 12th-highest rated driver at Phoenix. (4.8 fppk)

18. Chris Buescher ($7,100) – The JTG Daugherty cars are struggling in qualifying trim, but their race setups are solid. Buescher was in the optimal DFS NASCAR lineup at Atlanta and Las Vegas. (4.4 fppk)

19. Austin Dillon ($7,400) – The No. 3 team guessed wrong with the setup at Atlanta. The next week, the pit crew earned a penalty and the team played the wrong strategy. At Phoenix, they gambled on fuel and lost. When the No. 3 team runs a clean race, Dillon will be optimal. (2.4 fppk)

20. Daniel Suarez ($8,000) – Stewart-Haas Racing is finding out exactly what Joe Gibbs Racing already knew. Suarez just doesn’t have it. There will be weeks where Suarez rewards DFS players’ patience, but most of the time, he will light your money on fire. (3.1 fppk)


Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.


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.