Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for that day. 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.)
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NASCAR Price Check – Coca-Cola 600 – Fantasy Salary Review
1. Martin Truex Jr. ($10,600) – The long runs did not materialize. During the one lengthy run, Truex made his way to the front. The Coca-Cola 600 is a long race that should have long runs, but Charlotte’s narrow track makes for a cornucopia of cautions in this racing package. There were 16 cautions last year, the most at Charlotte in 15 years. (2.7 fppk)
2. Kyle Busch ($11,500) – Darlington 1 was a disappointing race, but a lot had to go wrong to ruin Rowdy’s race (he failed inspection, hit the wall and had a loose lug nut). It was the first race in 70 days, so a mulligan is allowed. In Darlington 2, Rowdy drove from 26th to second. (2.9 fppk)
3. Chase Elliott ($9,700) – It’s very likely that Elliott was going to win at Darlington. He had fresher tires than Denny Hamlin, but Kyle Busch attempted to slide into a spot that wasn’t there and Elliott’s day was over. Elliott should be a favorite this weekend. The Hendrick cars are fast, but more importantly his fast pit crew is necessary to win a 600-mile race. (4.7 fppk)
4. Kevin Harvick ($11,200) – It’s difficult to separate Harvick’s Darlington performance from his pit stall. Most of the position changes inside the top 10 happen on pit road at Darlington. He looked great in the two Darlington races, but how much of that had to do with having the No. 1 pit stall? (6.2 fppk)
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5. Denny Hamlin ($10,800) – He’s the tire whisperer. When it comes to managing tires on a long run, Hamlin is a wizard. There is just one problem with this approach. Speed late in the run comes at the expense of speed early in the run, and last year’s Memorial Day race was filled with short runs. The average green flag run was only 19 laps. (4.7 fppk)
6. Ryan Blaney ($8,100) – Matt Kenseth cutoff Blaney early in the race. The resulting damage to the front of Blaney’s car made him incredibly loose. Blaney eventually pancaked the wall and was trapped laps down for the rest of the race. (3.1 fppk)
7. Joey Logano ($10,000) – Darlington was a disappointing week for Logano, but the good news is that Darlington is not the norm. Darlington is closer in comparison to Fontana, a race where Logano struggled. Charlotte is closer in comparison to Las Vegas, a race that Logano won. (3.9 fppk)
8. Alex Bowman ($9,400) – The top groove at Darlington was the fastest, but at night with plenty of grip, it was not necessary. During the day race, Bowman clearly had an advantage running the wall. His two career wins were at high groove, high tire wear race tracks (Fontana and Chicago). Charlotte is not a high groove, high tire wear track. (5.2 fppk)
9. Kurt Busch ($8,700) – On Sunday, Kurt had one of the best Camaros on the track. Three days later, it looked like he was driving a Chevy Spark. If Kurt does not offer automatic place differential on Sunday, then most of the field will shy away. (3.8 fppk)
10. Brad Keselowski ($10,300) – His new crew chief Jeremy Bullins nearly played the game right at Darlington. BK had a 10th place car, but he stayed out on the last long green flag run and caught a caution. He wasn’t able to win, but he managed to steal a top 5 finish. (4.2 fppk)
11. Erik Jones ($8,500) – A fast pit crew can cover for average drivers and small mistakes. Once again, the No. 20 car pit crew put Jones in a position to win. Jones took the lead after Ryan Newman tried to block the entire field with his jalopy, but he lost the lead after hitting the wall. Last year, Jones was one of the many Toyotas that wrecked out because of tire issues. (4.0 fppk)
12. William Byron ($9,000) – On a hot track, Byron raced his way from 18th to the lead on Sunday afternoon. On a cool track, Byron struggled to crack the top 10 Wednesday evening. Byron will probably look good during the day portion of the Coca-Cola 600, but he might struggle during the final two stages. (2.4 fppk)
13. Jimmie Johnson ($9,200) – At Fontana, Johnson struggled in practice and opted to blindly follow the Alex Bowman setup. Johnson finished with the fourth highest driver rating at Fontana. Last year, Johnson switched to the Bowman setup for the Charlotte Memorial Day race, and he finished eighth. (3.1 fppk)
14. Clint Bowyer ($8,300) – His first Darlington race was ruined by debris. His second Darlington race was ruined by “The Kidney Stone” Ryan Newman. Is this why Newman returned to racing after nearly dying at Daytona? Not to win races, but to annoy competitors with petty blocks? Has Ryan Newman become the Steve Urkel of NASCAR? Bowyer would agree. (4.5 fppk)
15. Ryan Newman ($6,500) – Some of the new DFS NASCAR players may be shocked by Newman’s shenanigans. Newman is a mid-major team playing full court press despite trailing Duke by 30 points. It should be to no one’s surprise that Ryan Newman did the exact same thing in the 2019 Coca-Cola 600. (5.0 fppk)
16. Tyler Reddick ($7,900) – Restarts are a big deal in the high downforce package. Reddick admitted that he struggled on the restarts in his first high downforce race this season at Las Vegas. Since then, he’s earned a top 15 finish in each high downforce race. (5.1 fppk)
17. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,400) – Just about no one wants to have anything to do with Wrecky Spinhouse. It’s risky, but this is a great low ownership opportunity. Stenhouse wrecked in the Coca-Cola 600 last year, but bounced back to finish fifth in that 400 lap race. (3.0 fppk)
18. Chris Buescher ($6,700) – After two bad races, it’s reasonable to worry that Buescher has lost his magic. It’s probably too early to go that far; he was running inside the top 20 on Wednesday night before contact with Jimmie Johnson started his tailspin. (4.5 fppk)
19. Aric Almirola ($7,500) – Last season, Almirola’s average salary was $8,200. This discount does not matter, if Almirola starts too close to the front of the field. Last season, Almirola averaged an 11th place starting position, but a 15th place finish.
20. Christopher Bell ($6,600) – Before he spun out in the first Darlington race, Bell was running inside the top 15. In his second chance, he finished 11th. It’s been a rough start to the season, and the rookie mistakes will continue. However, occasionally he’ll put it all together just like Wednesday night at Darlington, he’ll be an optimal play. (2.4 fppk)
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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.