Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for Saturday’s Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart at Kentucky 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. Martin Truex, Jr. ($11,000) – The Kentucky night race belongs to Truex. He’s scored more than 120 points in the past two Kentucky races. The new package is concerning, but the same could be said of the Richmond night race, where Truex continued his dominance in the 2019 race. (5.3 fppk)
2. Kyle Busch ($11,500) – If a driver catches a bad break like Kyle Busch did when he suffered front end damage at Chicago, it’s very difficult to salvage the race unless there are a lot of cautions. That didn’t happen, but Busch still managed to earn 12 fast lap points with a damaged race car. (5.8 fppk)
3. Joey Logano ($10,300) – The summer schedule features a variety of tracks, but few traditional 1.5-mile ovals. The Chicago race at the end of June has been thr only intermediate track race in the past month and a half. In that race, Logano drove a car set up for a hot day, on a cool overcast day, and still managed to finish third. (4.7 fppk)
4. Brad Keselowski ($10,000) – The 2019 season began just about as good as possible at the intermediate tracks for Keselowski. He won at Atlanta and finished second at Las Vegas. Several months later, he won again at Kansas. Kentucky is an intermediate track, but it’s lack of banking makes it a unique 1.5-mile oval. (4.7 fppk)
5. Kevin Harvick ($10,600) – At Chicago, Harvick scored 48.5 hog points, but he wasn’t in the optimal lineup. This isn’t a new phenomenon. Harvick’s expensive price tag and his inability to finish races have killed his fantasy value this season. (4.0 fppk)
6. Alex Bowman ($8,500) – That escalated quickly. In early April, no one really cared about Alex Bowman. Now, he’s one of the best drivers in NASCAR. Since his emergence at Talladega, he’s earned six-top 10s, including three second-place finishes and a win. (4.8 fppk)
7. Chase Elliott ($9,700) – Chicago was the perfect example of how NASCAR DFS has changed from 2018 to 2019. Elliott had the best green flag speed in the race, but one mistake on pit road ruined his day. Drivers struggle to rebound from a single mistake in the 2019 package. (4.6 fppk)
8. Denny Hamlin ($9,100) – JGR has 10 wins this season. Two of those wins belong to Hamlin, and he’s capable of adding more — if his team can avoid making pit road mistakes. The penalties have been ticky-tacky, but Hamlin’s public criticism of officiating has drawn the Eye of Sauron. Hamlin has to be perfect in order to earn a win. (4.0 fppk)
9. Kurt Busch ($9,300) – The 2019 package keeps the field together. Leaders cannot pull away, and that’s good news for Kurt. He’s not the best driver and he does not have the best car, but he’s one pit road move away from a win. (4.6 fppk)
10. Daniel Suarez ($7,600) – It looked like it was a lock that Suarez was going to be optimal at Chicago. He was too cheap and he was starting in the back, but he blew a tire. A sub-$8,000 salary for Mr. Optimal in an SHR car is too cheap. (4.4 fppk)
11. Kyle Larson ($9,500) – There isn’t a secret formula. Larson didn’t figure something out at Chicago. The reason Larson nearly won was because he didn’t make any mistakes and his car was upfront in clean air the entire race. (3.5 fppk)
12. Clint Bowyer ($8,700) – It looked like Bowyer might turn his season around last week at Daytona, then Austin Dillon drove in front of him and wrecked the entire field. That’s pretty much the way it’s been going in 2019 for Bowyer. (3.1 fppk)
13. Ryan Blaney ($8,300) – This season is a wash. Blaney is averaging a 19th-place finish at the intermediate tracks this season. He’s had some fast race cars and some duds. He’s had mechanical failures and pit road mistakes. He might get a win, but the consistency is not there. (3.9 fppk)
14. Paul Menard ($7,000) – So far this season, Menared has been priced $7,000 or less 11 times. In nine of those races, Menard earned a top-20 DFS score. He has not been in an optimal lineup once this season, but he is cash-game staple. (3.8 fppk)
15. Chris Buescher ($7,300) – Some drivers have struggled in the 2019 package, but one driver’s loss is another driver’s gain. One of the most telling moments was when Busecher passed Kevin Harvick inside the top five at Richmond. That’s a track where Buescher has struggled in the past. (4.3 fppk)
16. William Byron ($7,500) – Bowman got his win at Chicago. Byron’s win might not be too far down the road. The No. 24 car is fast enough to hang in the top 10. One ingenious call by Chad Knaus is all Byron needs to visit victory lane for the first time in his Cup career. (4.4 fppk)
17. Jimmie Johnson ($8,100) – The 2019 package is weird. Johnson doesn’t like it, but in this package, he’s having his best season in the past couple years. This package has helped Hendrick Motorsports catch up to JGR and Penske. (4.1 fppk)
18. Aric Almirola ($8,200) – Stewart-Haas Racing has struggled to adjust to the 2019 package. Last year, all four SHR drivers earned a win, but this year the team has not secured one win. Almirola has not reverted to the old RPM driver, but he’s not the breakout star he was last season. (3.9 fppk)
19. Ryan Newman ($7,900) – This has been one of Newman’s best seasons in years. It’s been a productive fantasy season as well. Newman is averaging the 16th most fantasy points per race; that works at his price. (4.9 fppk)
20. Erik Jones ($8,900) – The word is Erik Jones will have a ride at JGR next season. There are rumors Jones’ seat might be hotter than we are being led to believe. JGR are has 10 wins this season, but none of those belong to the young driver with an average finish of 16th. (4.0 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.