NASCAR® Rankings: Food City 500

WATCH: PRICE CHECK


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

(fppk = average fantasy points per $1,000 of salary. The typical median fppk for a 2016 race was in the 3s. Plate tracks tend to be lower and short tracks tend to run higher due to the amount of laps.)

RankDriverSalary
1Kevin Harvick$10,400
2Kyle Busch$10,600
3Chase Elliot$9,400
4Joey Logano$10,000
5Kyle Larson$10,100

1. Kevin Harvick ($10,400) – Late last summer, Bristol doctored its track to make the low racing line work. Kevin Harvick loved it. Of course he did, he won the August race. Low line or not, Harvick is a point hog at Bristol. He’s averaging 82 fantasy points per race over the five races. (4.2 fppk)

2. Kyle Busch ($10,600) – There is a love/hate relationship between Rowdy and Bristol. Busch has not won at Bristol since it has gone through continuous major changes. DFS players do not care about wins. In two of the last three Bristol races, Busch has scored over 80 fast lap/laps led points. (5.4 fppk)

3. Chase Elliott ($9,400) – Every track they throw at him, he masters. Last year at Bristol, Elliott finished fourth and 15th. In the six races since the Daytona 500, Elliott has finished with a top-five fantasy score in all of them. (6.1 fppk)

4. Joey Logano ($10,000) – At Phoenix, Logano was banking fantasy points until a penalty and a subsequent wreck while mired in traffic. At the other races (excluding Daytona), Logano has finished sixth or better. Logano is right there on the verge of having a giant fantasy performance. (5.2 fppk)

5. Kyle Larson ($10,100) – The 42 car was not the best ride at Martinsville, so they moved on. The next week at Texas, Larson cruised to his fourth second-place finish this season. At Bristol, Kyle Larson’s aggressive style allows him to score fast lap points from anywhere in the field. (6.1 fppk)


RankDriverSalary
6Brad Keselowski$10,300
7Martin Truex, Jr.$9,500
8Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.$7,100
9Jimmie Johnson$9,700
10Ryan Blaney$8,200

6. Brad Keselowski ($10,300) – Based on a return on investment, Keselowski has been the second-best fantasy NASCAR driver this season. He’s just a smidge below Truex. It could dip a little this week, though. After back-to-back wins at Bristol in 2011-12, BK only has three top-10s between 2012-16. (6.2 fppk)

7. Martin Truex, Jr. ($9,500) – The 78 car is a monster at tracks that are a mile and a half or longer. That statement leads fantasy NASCAR players to believe he struggles at short tracks. That’s not the case. Look at it this way: At long tracks, he’s platinum. At short tracks, he’s gold. (6.3 fppk)

8. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,100) – Since the inception of the DraftKings NASCAR rankings, Stenhouse has been lauded as a great pick at Bristol. He has yet to let the rankings down. He’s finished sixth or better in four of the last six races at Bristol, and his worst finish is 21st at a track notorious for wrecks. (4.1 fppk)

9. Jimmie Johnson ($9,700) – The only lap that matter is the last lap, and no one knows that better than Jimmie Johnson. He won the Texas race, but only led the fifth-most laps. He doesn’t consistently pile up fantasy points, but when he starts in the 20s, he’s a no-brainer. (4.6 fppk)

10. Ryan Blaney ($8,200) – Time to eat crow. Blaney is still the king of negative place differential points, but at Texas, he proved himself to be a lap leader. This could be another good week for Blaney. Last year, his average running positions were 15th and 10th at Bristol. (5.3 fppk)



RankDriverSalary
11Dale Earnhardt, Jr.$8,600
12Kurt Busch$7,700
13Jamie McMurray$8,000
14Denny Hamlin$8,800
15Erik Jones$7,800

11. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ($8,600) – If you look at the record books, then you’ll be impressed by Junior’s average finish of 13th (third best). Actually, he has the best average finish among drivers with 10 or more races. Debbie Downer time: Those stats are from his early in his career. (2.6 fppk)

12. Kurt Busch ($7,700) – The good news is that Kurt finished a race, and in 10th place. The typical Kurt Busch top-10 is fine if he does it every week. This year he’s too volatile and lacks upside. He has a low fantasy point ceiling and very low floor. (2.3 fppk)

13. Jamie McMurray ($8,000) – Chip Ganassi Racing figured something out. The 42 and 1 car are fast. Jamie Mac has four top-10s in the last six races this season. In the last 10 Bristol races, he has nine top-20s. That’s impressive at this chaotic bullring. (2.5 fppk)

14. Denny Hamlin ($8,800) – Flip the switch in your DFS brain. It’s a short track, so Hamlin is back in play. Now, turn the knob on the volatility setting to the maximum. In the last 10 Bristol races, Hamlin has four finishes of sixth or better, and six finishes of 20th or worse. (2.0 fppk)

15. Erik Jones ($7,800) – Dare we dive into the Xfinity series stats? In four lower level races at Bristol, Jones scored three poles, three top-10s and a win. He’s been a top-15 driver every week this year. There is no reason for that to change this week unless he’s caught in a wreck. (4.1 fppk)



RankDriverSalary
16Ryan Newman$7,500
17Clint Bowyer$8,400
18Matt Kenseth$9,100
19Austin Dillon$7,300
20Landon Cassill$5,300

16. Ryan Newman ($7,500) – Bristol will take out the best drivers and not think twice. Not that Newman isn’t a good driver, but he submits to the universe. He’s glad to take his top-15 and shuffle on down the road. DFS players should be glad to take a top-15 driver and get to shuffling. (3.0 fppk)

17. Clint Bowyer ($8,400) – One of his few bright spots in 2016 was Bowyer’s eighth-place finish in the spring Bristol race. How did he achieve this with inferior equipment? It’s simple, he didn’t wreck. Bowyer may not be the car out front, but at the end, he could be swimming in the top-five. (4.0 fppk)

18. Matt Kenseth ($9,100) – In the last three Bristol races, Kenseth has suffered a mechanical failure or wrecked. It can’t happen four times in a row. That was probably said before the third Bristol wreck last August. (1.5 fppk)

19. Austin Dillon ($7,300) – This has clearly been the worst season of Austin Dillon’s career. That’s not just Monster Cup; that’s every level of racing. Dillon is skilled enough, the car is fast enough, and he’s cheap enough. He has four top-15s in six Bristol races. (3.0 fppk)

20. Landon Cassill ($5,300) – A punt enters the rankings. First of all, this race can see a lot of good cars wreck. Why not save some salary? Last year, in his first season with Front Row Motorsports, Cassill finished 20th and 22nd at Bristol. (3.5 fppk)

 


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.