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.
(fppk = average fantasy points per $1,000 of salary.)
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NASCAR Price Check
1. Denny Hamlin ($8,800) – As odd as Pocono can be at times, Hamlin had the best car and won the 2019 Pocono July race. The same can be said of Kyle Busch’s June win. Skill and machine matter; Pocono is not completely random. Hamlin’s five Pocono wins are more than any other driver in the field. (4.7 fppk)
2. Kyle Busch ($9,300) – He got the lead in the spring race and remained in control for the remainder of the laps due to the impossibility of passing at Pocono. In the July race, Busch had one of the best cars, but the cautions came at the wrong time and he ended up on the wrong pit schedule. (3.0 fppk)
3. Kevin Harvick ($10,100) – Despite having track position from the onset, Harvick’s crew chief chose an unconventional three pit stop strategy. It might have worked, if there weren’t cautions — betting against cautions is not the smartest move. Even if Harvick did win, it’s not certain that he would have been optimal given his lofty price last July. (5.4 fppk)
4. Brad Keselowski ($9,900) – On lap four of the July Pocono race, Keselowski hit the wall and was forced to pit under green. He rebounded from the disastrous start and rallied from a lap down to finishing eighth. (4.8 fppk)
5. Ryan Blaney ($9,000) – The best example of the unpredictability of Pocono racing is Blaney’s 2019 July race. He lost a lap because of an unscheduled pit stop and then got into a wreck. Two lucky dogs and several chaotic restarts later, and Blaney finished 10th. (5.0 fppk)
6. Erik Jones ($7,100) – His track bar adjuster broke in the July race, but after several cautions, his team was able to loosen the car up. Jones grabbed the lead on pit road and held on to it until 20 laps remained. Hamlin could not be held back, so Jones settled for a second-place finish. (4.2 fppk)
7. William Byron ($8,400) – Three of his four races at Pocono have been top 10 finishes. What happened in the one finish outside of the top 10? That’s the wrong question. He was a rookie, so the question should be how did he earn a top 10 at Pocono? (3.4 fppk)
8. Joey Logano ($10,400) – In the July race, Logano was running in second place with 30 laps left. During a pivotal caution, Logano took four tires and the rest of the field took two tires. Logano had to restart close to 20th place and was never able to dig out of the hole. (4.1 fppk)
9. Martin Truex Jr. ($9,700) – It’s a matter of track position and being on the winning strategy. Truex was a top 10 driver for most of the July race, but a smart two-tire call on lap 116 of 160 boosted Truex to a third-place finish. (4.2 fppk)
10. Austin Dillon ($6,200) – DraftKings must be taking into account that Dillon has a newborn at home and he’s not getting much sleep. A couple of Red Bulls and Dillon can easily earn a top 15 finish. Last July, Dillon was in seventh place with 15 laps to go, but after several late race restarts, he finished outside of the top 15. (4.0 fppk)
11. Tyler Reddick ($7,400) – The No. 8 car finished seventh and 13th with Hemric behind the wheel last season at Pocono. Reddick almost won the Xfinity race last year after starting in the back and serving a green flag penalty in stage 3. Unfortunately, Reddick overdrove turn 3 on the last lap and was passed on the homestretch. (4.7 fppk)
12. Ryan Newman ($6,700) – In 36 races, Newman’s average finish is 13th. Over the past six races at Pocono, his average finish is 15th. It is not an exaggeration, Newman literally averages a 15th place finish at every track and has forever. He was never good. He was never bad. (3.8 fppk)
13. Jimmie Johnson ($9,100) – Most of Johnson’s current stats are bad, but his poor Pocono stats stretch into a part of his career when he was still a champion race car driver. Johnson has just one top 10 in his past eight Pocono races. (4.0 fppk)
14. Chase Elliott ($10,700) – He blew a tire last July and his day ended early. Elliott had a top 10 driver rating in each of the five Pocono races before last July’s DNF. The only recent race where Elliott wasn’t in contention was Atlanta, oddly a race where he started on the pole. (4.7 fppk)
15. Kurt Busch ($8,100) – Late in the July race, Kurt Busch got loose and got into Ricky Stenhouse. It was nothing more than hard racing on a late-race restart. Stenhouse did not see it that way and intentionally dumped Kurt Busch on a very dangerous part of the track. This heinous move nearly sent Michael McDowell airborne. Nonetheless, it ruined Kurt’s day. (4.3 fppk)
16. Alex Bowman ($8,300) – This is an awfully low price tag considering that Bowman looked like a championship contender in several races this season. His track history isn’t great, but his track position is. Pocono is a difficult track for passing. If Bowman holds serve and grabs a couple of spots, he could slide into the optimal lineup. (4.2 fppk)
17. Clint Bowyer ($9,500) – A couple of years ago, Bowyer’s spotter joked that Pocono is not a good track for Bowyer. His ADHD can’t deal with the long boring straight stretches. Whether this is real or not, the stats seem to verify that this is not one of Bowyer’s best tracks. (3.6 fppk)
18. Aric Almirola ($7,300) – Since joining Stewart-Haas Racing. Almriola has finished 12th or better in three of his four races at Pocono. He was a chalky part of the June 2018 optimal lineup because he started 34th. Chasing place differential will be popular this weekend. (3.7 fppk)
19. Ty Dillon ($7,200) – Has Ty Dillon been very good at Pocono? No. Is Ty Dillon having a good season? No. Is Ty Dillon starting 34th at a race track that favors place differential in DFS? Yes. (3.8 fppk)
20. Christopher Bell ($11,100) – He wasn’t great at Pocono in the Xfinity series, but it’s Pocono. Skill matters, but this isn’t a wheelman’s track. If a driver has good equipment, and Bell does, then they’ll be fine at this lap turning triangular track. (3.7 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.