The rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for Sunday. The order is not based on the highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by the value of each driver.
The DraftKings NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas slate locks at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.
1. Denny Hamlin ($11,100) — At Darlington, Hamlin earned the highest driver rating. His driver rating ranked fifth at Kansas and ninth at Texas. Las Vegas might be Hamlin’s best opportunity to punch his ticket to the championship.
2. William Byron ($9,700) — This might be a sneaky pick this week, but publishing those words ruins the chances of that. Byron has not finished well in the last three intermediate track races, but analytically, he’s been the best driver over that span.
3. Joey Logano ($8,900) — In the last three intermediate track races, Logano has the second-best Dietrich Data score (a statistic that comprehensively synthesizes every lap of a race). This might surprise some DFS players and could lead to lower ownership.
4. Christopher Bell ($10,500) — If there is one lesson to learn this season, it’s to not overreact to a poor finish. Tire failures and mechanical gremlins are an epidemic in 2022. Bell had a tire problem at Texas, but he had a top-5 driver rating at Darlington and Kansas.
5. Tyler Reddick ($10,100) — It’s checkers or wreckers. Reddick does not lay up. He may not know how. Reddick will push the Next Gen car to the limit and it will die (35th at Kansas) or he will win (first at Texas and third at Darlington).
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6. Kyle Busch ($9,300) — Las Vegas bookends the season. With so much time between races, Busch’s near win in February is meaningless, or is it?
7. Martin Truex Jr ($9,100) — Before the late race caution in the first Las Vegas race, Truex was running down the leader, Kyle Busch. The JGR Toyotas have continued that excellence at nearly every intermediate track this season.
8. Kyle Larson ($10,300) — This season was a major disappointment for Larson following his legendary 2021 season. This season was a disappointment for everyone. That includes drivers and fans. The Next Gen car just wasn’t ready. Larson lost another year in his prime, but this time through no fault of his own.
9. Ross Chastain ($9,900) — Greatness takes a backseat to consistency in 2022. It’s better to safely finish each week than to chase wins and push the Next Gen car to the limit. Chastain has a driver rating of 11th or better in each of the last three intermediate track races.
10. Ryan Blaney ($9,500) — At Texas, he scored 15 hog points (fast lap and laps led points). The last time he scored more than 15 hog points was way back at Gateway (20 points).
11. Chase Elliott ($10,700) — The summer and fall have been pretty good for Elliott. His only weakness has been the most recent intermediate track races. That’s not a good sign heading to Vegas. However, with only two Hendrick cars remaining in the playoffs, Elliott should receive additional resources that could boost performance.
12. Kevin Harvick ($8,300) — Hell hath no fury like a Harvick scorned. It’s not just Harvick. Rodney Childers and Tony Stewart are at war with NASCAR. Based Harvick nearly won at a road course last week. He’s been terrible at road courses this season. This team is fired up and Childers has a good history of crew chiefing remotely.
13. Noah Gragson ($7,300) — Alex Bowman at $7,300 would be a steal. This isn’t just about the No. 48 Hendrick Chevy. Gragson has turned a corner, and double-duty reps at an oval should translate to success on Sunday.
14. Michael McDowell ($6,200) — He’s been good everywhere this season and that includes the intermediate tracks. McDowell finished sixth at Darlington, 16th at Kansas and 11th at Texas.
15. Erik Jones ($7,100) — The reigning Southern 500 winner is awfully cheap this week. Jones also finished sixth at Texas. The Petty-GMS cars have speed.
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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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.