Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for Sunday’s Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. 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.)
1. Kyle Busch ($11,500) – His 2018 Chicago victory was made possible by fast pit stops that jumped him to the lead in Stage 3. In 2019, passing on track has been difficult to say the least. A speedy pit crew could come in handy once again for Rowdy. (6.2 fppk)
2. Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,900) – The switch to JGR has worked out pretty well for Truex. He’s won at a short track, a one-mile track, a 1.5-mile track and a road course. The No. 19 car seems to be capable of anything at the moment. (5.7 fppk)
3. Joey Logano ($10,100) – He has been the best intermediate track driver this season. He won at Las Vegas and Michigan, and finished second at Charlotte and Fontana. Mechanical failures, penalties and damage ruined what would have been top finishes at Atlanta, Texas and Kansas. (4.9 fppk)
4. Brad Keselowski ($10,600) – If the forecast holds up and the weather stays cool this weekend, then the old worn out Chicago track could be racey. Atlanta, Las Vegas and Kansas are the races that come to mind. Keselowski won two of those races and finished second in the other. (5.2 fppk)
5. Kevin Harvick ($11,200) – According to the loop data, Harvick leads NASCAR in green flag speed, yet he has not won a single race this season. Wins aren’t necessary in fantasy NASCAR but hog points are, and Harvick averages 18 hog points per race (fourth). (4.2 fppk)
6. Chase Elliott ($9,700) – It’s Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Martin Truex, Brad Keselowski and then Chase Elliot. That’s the season-long ranking. Elliott’s lone win was at an inconsequential plate race, but no one else is winning races or consistently finishing alongside Elliott in the top five. (5.1 fppk)
7. Daniel Suarez ($7,400) – If not for a late-race pit road penalty, Suarez would have been in the optimal lineup again last week. However, excluding plate races and road courses, Suarez has been in the optimal lineup in eight of the past nine races. Plug him in. (4.8 fppk)
8. Kurt Busch ($9,300) – The Ganassi cars are not on the same level as the JGR or Penske cars. That slots a handful of cars above Kurt from a technical perspective, but from the talent perspective, Kurt Busch has worked his way to the top. On a good week, Kurt wills the No. 1 car into the top five. (4.8 fppk)
9. Alex Bowman ($8,700) – It appears Bowman’s hot streak is over, but a deeper look at the stats and the actual race events says otherwise. At Pocono, Bowman was running in top five late in the race when his shifter broke. At Michigan, Bowman had the sixth highest driver rating. (4.7 fppk)
10. Denny Hamlin ($8,500) – His two wins are misleading. Hamlin is the same declining driver as last year and the year before that. Hamlin won at a plate race and got lucky at Texas with a perfect pit stop. Hamlin ranks 10th in green flag speed. That’s good, but nothing special for a supposed elite driver in elite equipment. (4.3 fppk)
11. Aric Almirola ($8,200) – The 2018 Chicago race was dominated by Almriola until a loose wheel ruined his day. Unfortunately, none of that matters this year because of the 2019 racing package. Almirola ranks 11th in driver rating. (3.9 fppk)
12. Jimmie Johnson ($8,000) – In the past three 1.5-mile intermediate track races, Johnson has earned three top-10 finishes. A win might be asking too much, but at Johnson’s price, positive place differential and a top-10 finish might be optimal. (3.8 fppk)
13. Clint Bowyer ($9,100) – Here’s another sad story. Bowyer’s career nearly came to an end with the closure of Michael Waltrip Racing, but Bowyer kept grinding and revitalized his career last season. Two weeks ago, a visually frustrated Bowyer admitted the new package wasn’t real racing and inferred that all of his work was for naught. (3.6 fppk)
14. Ryan Newman ($7,600) – His average finish this season is 15th. Over his career, his average finish is 16th. The best thing about Newman is DFS players know exactly what they are getting. Sometimes 15th works. (4.8 fppk)
15. Kyle Larson ($9,500) – The most exciting moment of the 2018 season was the late-race battle between Larson and Kyle Busch at Chicago. Larson nearly rode the wall to victory lane. Unfortunately, that style of racing has become extinct in the 2019 package. (3.5 fppk)
16. Erik Jones ($8,900) – There can be 100 elite baseball players in a given year, but in NASCAR, it’s less than a handful of drivers because it’s a zero-sum game. For Jones to become elite, a current elite driver must decline. As if that challenge isn’t hard enough, Jones makes matters worse by continuing to be an inconsistent driver. (4.0 fppk)
17. Ryan Blaney ($8,400) – His hot start and cold spring have been well documented in the rankings. If confidence is a major factor for young drivers, then it might be a hot summer for Blaney. He had the fourth best driver rating rank at Charlotte and the third best last week at Sonoma. (4.1 fppk)
18. Chris Buescher ($6,800) – If Buescher had one good race at an intermediate track, then his success could be ignored or written off. Success at two intermediate tracks could be dismissed, but Buescher is averaging a 13th-place finish in the six intermediate track races. (4.2 fppk)
19. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,100) – There are specific tracks that suit Stenhouse in the 2019 package. Intermediate tracks with multiple racing grooves play into Stenhouse’s dirt racing background. Stenhouse was a top driver at Las Vegas, Kansas and Charlotte. (2.9 fppk)
20. William Byron ($7,800) – The No. 24 car seems to have qualifying figured out, but not so much racing. Byron has been optimal four times this season, but it’s risky to roster Byron starting up front when the probability of negative place differential points looms. (4.1 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.