The 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.
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NASCAR Price Check
1. A.J. Allmendinger ($10,800) – He’s starting in the back again because of owners points, and he’ll likely drive his way to the front again. Last year at Daytona, Allmendinger finished 3rd (he was DQ’d post-race for cheating, but the DK points still count).
2. Harrison Burton ($10,300) – Xfinity plate racing is not quite the same as Cup plate racing. The playing field is even in the Cup series, but that’s not the case in the Xfinity series. The JGR cars will be faster and will handle better than most of the cars in the field. Burton’s 2nd place finish at Daytona should not be surprising considering that he was driving great equipment.
3. Justin Allgaier ($10,500) – In his last six races at Talladega, Allgaier has five top 10 finishes and is averaging a 5th place finish. Allgaier finished 2nd in the 2016 race at Talladega, and he won the 2016 Daytona summer race, but NASCAR later claimed that Almirola was actually leading before the final caution, and took the win away.
4. Noah Gragson ($9,800) – It’s not always a good idea to roster a driver with terrible luck going into a race that requires a lot of good luck. Gragson had two wins stolen from him last week by harmless spins and a trigger happy caution control. If luck doesn’t matter this week, and skill wins out, then Gragson might win his second plate race of the season.
5. Chase Briscoe ($10,100) – This is not the Cup series. The big teams have a clear advantage. That stats bear this out. Briscoe is not known as a plate track wizard, but very rarely are Xfinity stars plate track experts. If a driver has extensive place track experience, then they have been in the series too long, and aren’t good drivers.
6. Austin Cindric ($9,600) – In three of the last four plate races, Cindric has finished 5th. That’s likely his floor considering he drives for Penske, but that might also be his ceiling. Team Penske has only won two Xfinity plate track races ever.
7. Jeff Green ($4,600) – He’s been better at Daytona than Talladega, but he knows what he’s doing. Green has a top 15 finish in half of the plate races since 2016. With his starting position, a 15th place finish will earn more than enough points for a spot in the optimal lineup.
8. Myatt Snider ($8,600) – The #93 RSS car is still outside of the top 24 in owners points. The RSS cars have been top 15 cars at plate tracks in the past. In Snider’s two truck races at Talladega, he finished 2nd and 3rd.
9. Colin Garrett ($6,500) – The driver and the team do not have any plate track experience because they graduated from K&N to the Xfinity series. At the intermediate tracks, when the car doesn’t die, Sam Hunt Racing has fielded a top 20 car. That should be the same at Talladega; the question is the driver.
10. Ross Chastain ($10,000) – Talladega is a risky proposition for most drivers, but it’s just another week for Chastain. The likelihood of a wreck increases for all drivers, but due to his aggressive style, Chastain’s wreck probability meter is already maxed out. His simulacrum in the Cup series, Ricky Stenhouse, has an advantage at plate tracks because he lives on the edge every week. This could explain Chastain’s win at Daytona last summer.
11. Riley Herbst ($7,600) – All Herbst has to do is get out of his own way and let the car do the work. That might be too much to ask because he’s wrecked in his first two JGR plate races.
12. Brandon Jones ($9,400) – His stats are more proof that the Cup series and the Xfinity series are not the same at plate tracks. How is it possible that sub-par Brandon Jones has five top 15s in the last seven plate races? He drives a JGR car, and JGR cars handle better at 180 mph than a JD Motorsports car or a Mike Harmon car.
13. Anthony Alfredo ($8,200) – He doesn’t have any experience, but it’s a plate race – just mash the gas pedal to the floor. If Alfredo doesn’t wreck, the #21 RCR car should at least default to a top 10 finish.
14. Gray Gaulding ($6,300) – This is not a cash play. Gray has nothing to lose. He finished 2nd in this race last season, and he’s probably thinking to himself that he can win this time. A top 10 doesn’t mean anything to a part-time driver. Gray is going for the win.
15. Justin Haley ($7,400) – Kaulig builds great restrictor plate race cars (with the exception of a couple mechanical issues at Daytona in February). Last summer at Daytona, Kaulig finished 1-2-3. Haley has a top 10 finish in each of his last three plate races.
16. Alex Labbe ($9,200) – This isn’t his first rodeo. Labbe isn’t starting completely in the back, but he has a car that can stick around until the end. Some of these Xfinity cars cannot be trusted. Some of these drivers cannot be trusted. Labbe and this car have performed well at plate tracks in the past.
17. Michael Annett ($8,300) – He won the worst plate race ever. The 2019 Daytona Xfinity race was a single file snake from start to finish, and Annett was the head of the snake. In more traditional plate racing wreck fests, Annett’s average finish is 20th.
18. Timmy Hill ($6,700) – This isn’t iRacing Timmy Hill. This isn’t high expectations post-iRacing Timmy Hill. It’s just Timmy Hill, and that’s okay. Regular start-and-park Timmy Hill has been good at plate tracks. He finished 3rd at Daytona in the spring and was running inside the top 10 late in the 2019 Daytona summer race before a wreck took him out.
19. Matt Mills ($6,900) – In four of his five plate races, Mills has finished on the lead lap. A lead lap finish from a driver starting 37th will work. The one time that he did not finish on the lead lap was not because of a wreck, it was a mechanical issue.
20. Vinnie Miller ($5,200) – Let other players get greedy and pass on Vinnie. He’s not starting deep enough for most, but he’s been consistent. He finished on the lead lap in both of his Talladega races. He finished on the lead lap in three of his five Daytona races. In the other two, he was one lap down, but still managed to earn a top 20 finish.
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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.