Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for Sunday’s Gander RV 400 at Pocono Raceway. 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 ($12,300) – In the first Pocono race, Kyle Busch won and scored 91 fantasy points. His performance is highlighted by his Lap 75 pass of Clint Bowyer to take the lead. A pass might seem pedestrian, but hardcore NASCAR fans know passing is impossible this season, passing the leader is even more rare, and to do it at Pocono seems like something out of the Matrix. (6.0 fppk)
2. Joey Logano ($9,800) – Nothing much happened in the first Pocono race. For the most part, drivers started, ran and finished in the same spot. One of the few standout moments was the start of the race. Logano leapt from the 16th position into the top 10 when the green flag dropped. (4.7 fppk)
3. Chase Elliott ($9,500) – Kyle Busch won the race, but an in-depth look at the numbers reveals two other standout drivers. Logano and Elliott both earned top-10 finishes and +8 place differential points. They didn’t win, but they passed top-10 cars at a track where drivers struggle to pass top-20 cars. (4.3 fppk)
4. Denny Hamlin ($10,200) – Google “Hamlin Pocono Repave” and previous Fantasy NASCAR Rankings article state Hamlin was much better at Pocono when this was a low-grip, flat track. That is his strength and why he almost won at New Hampshire last week. Unfortunately, Pocono’s surface has yet to deteriorate into the slick track where Hamlin won four times. (4.5 fppk)
5. Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,500) – Mechanical failures happen. Truex’s engine blew up in the first Pocono race, so that’s a wash. In terms of current form, it seems Truex’s hot streak has come to an end. (5.1 fppk)
6. Kyle Larson ($8,500) – Stage racing is a thing this weekend. Larson took the guaranteed points and forfeited track position in order to win stages in the first Pocono race. Despite giving up track position, Larson nearly finished with a top-five, but he wrecked on a late race restart. (3.5 fppk)
7. Brad Keselowski ($11,100) – One of the problems with Pocono is no one really knows who had the best car in the first race. Kyle Busch was fast and started on the front row. Everyone else turned triangles behind him. Keselowski was the runner-up that could have been better than Busch, but he was never in clean air. (4.4 fppk)
8. Kurt Busch ($8,700) – Be careful rostering Kurt Busch this week. He was a popular play due to his starting position in the first Pocono race, and he would have blown up many cash-game lineups, if it wasn’t for a multitude of cautions that allowed Kurt’s team to finally get the setup correct. (4.6 fppk)
9. Kevin Harvick ($11,700) – Everyone wants to believe Harvick is back. He can win this week, but it won’t be based on speed. Harvick won last week because his team made the right strategy call and everyone else made the wrong call. (4.1 fppk)
10. Alex Bowman ($9,300) – This is a fantasy NASCAR test. Are you a hardcore DFS NASCAR player? If so, can you explain Bowman’s first Pocono race? The stat sheet won’t tell you, nor will most NASCAR articles. If you read the rankings weekly, you’ll know Bowman’s shifter broke late in the race causing him to drop out of the top 10. (4.8 fppk)
11. Clint Bowyer ($8,900) – It’s been a rough summer for Bowyer, but the lone bright spot is Pocono. Bowyer earned one of his five top-five finishes in the first Pocono race. This time around, Bowyer needs stage points, and he likely will trade a good finish for points in each stage. (3.2 fppk)
12. Paul Menard ($6,800) – One of the fun parts of fantasy NASCAR is it creates storylines for extraneous drivers. NBC doesn’t care about Menard or his traditional stats, but fantasy NASCAR players are intrigued by the fact Menard has earned a top-20 DFS score in 85% of the races where he’s priced $7,000 or less. (4.0 fppk)
13. Daniel Suarez ($7,800) – Buescher and Suarez are neck-and-neck for the best fantasy NASCAR value pick of 2019. The slight edge goes to Suarez because he’s been in seven optimal lineups this season (including Pocono). (4.4 fppk)
14. William Byron ($7,100) – He won the pole and would have led every lap in Stage 1 if it wasn’t for a competition caution. Even after losing the lead on pit road and forfeiting track position to earn stage points, Byron still managed to be optimal. (4.4 fppk)
15. Jimmie Johnson ($7,600) – In the first Pocono race, Johnson ran well the entire race until the very end. What happened? After the race, Johsnon tweeted the team discovered a track bar issue when they loaded the car onto the hauler. Finally, Twitter is good for something. (3.6 fppk)
16. Erik Jones ($8,300) – The No. 20 car is fast enough to win. Jones has enough skill to win. His team gambled last week and it almost paid off. Jones is in the position Kurt Busch was several weeks ago. One perfect call on pit road, and Jones will head to victory lane. (4.2 fppk)
17. Chris Buescher ($7,400) – He’s 2019’s fantasy NASCAR darling. In the first Pocono race, Beuscher was in the optimal fantasy lineup. He’s been optimal six times this season; that’s the second most in fantasy NASCAR. (4.5 fppk)
18. Ryan Blaney ($9,100) – Once upon a time, Ryan Blaney won at Pocono. Once upon a time NASCAR Cup cars were race cars not go-karts. Track history doesn’t seem to mean much anymore. In the first Pocono race, Blaney ran just outside of the top 10 and finished just outside the top 10. (4.0 fppk)
19. Aric Almirola ($8,100) – In the June race, Almirola started 13th, ran 13th and finished 10th. That’s a nice day, but it’s irrelevant in fantasy NASCAR. Almirola likely will need to have a poor qualifying effort to be on the board this week. (3.9 fppk)
20. Ryan Newman ($8,000) – Hold onto your seats. Point per dollar wise, Newman is the second best driver in fantasy NASCAR. His 5.2 fppk only trails Kyle Busch. Unfortunately, his salary is finally matching his performance, and it seems his fantasy stock has peaked. (5.2 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.