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 YellaWood 500 at Talladega slate locks at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday.
1. Aric Almirola ($6,900) — Forget about plate racing. Think of DFS plate racing. Which drivers score points at the plate tracks (super speedways)? Since the inception of Daily Fantasy NASCAR at DraftKings, Almirola leads the Cup Series with 10 optimal lineup appearances.
2. Austin Cindric ($7,900) — He won the Daytona 500 and followed that with a third-place finish in the summer race at Daytona. He also finished third at Atlanta and has an Xfinity Series plate-track win.
3. Denny Hamlin ($10,800) — His average finish of 15th over the last 30 plate races is the best in NASCAR. He is the best plate racer. He has four wins and 11 top-5 finishes over that span.
4. Joey Logano ($10,200) — His three wins at Talladega (2015, 2016 and 2018) have led to spots in the optimal lineup in DraftKings contests. He’s also been an optimal DFS pick at Talladega on three other occasions. His six appearances rank second in the Cup Series.
5. Chase Elliott ($10,000) — He won the last race at Atlanta and finished sixth in the first Atlanta race. In the last Talladega race, Elliott finished seventh. He won at Talladega in 2019.
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6. Kevin Harvick ($8,100) — The name of the game is pick drivers that do not wreck. Easier said than done. Harvick has a top-10 finish in each of the last three Talladega races and four of the last five.
7. Ryan Blaney ($10,400) — In 2019, Blaney won at Talladega. In 2020, Blaney won at Talladega. In 2021, he earned two top-15 finishes. In the spring, he finished 11th.
8. Martin Truex Jr ($9,700) — It may not be possible but Truex is making a run at no longer being statistically the worst plate racer in the Cup Series. Truex has a top-15 finish in six straight plate races.
9. Brad Keselowski ($7,400) — Could it have been the car all along? Keselowski nearly won the 2021 Daytona 500. He did win and finished second at Talladega in 2021. This season, Austin Cindric has been on a roll at the plate tracks in the Team Penske No. 2 Ford.
10. Ross Chastain ($8,700) — His Kaulig Racing cars were an enormous aid in his Xfinity Series plate-track wins, but Chastain has the plate-track chops. He won the spring race at Talladega and finished second in both Atlanta races.
11. Austin Dillon ($7,200) — Did he get lucky at Daytona? Yes. Every plate-track winner gets lucky. That’s how this works. Dillon tends to get lucky more than others. At birth, he got pretty lucky. In the 2018 Daytona 500, he got pretty lucky. His 39% top-10 rate over the last 30 plate races is the fourth-best.
12. Erik Jones ($8,300) — In four of the last five Talladega races, Jones has a top-10 finish. He has a plate-track win under his belt and his seven DFS optimal lineup appearances in a plate-track race ranks second in the Cup Series.
13. Justin Haley ($6,200) — Kaulig Racing and Justin Haley have owned the Xfinity Series plate tracks for the last couple seasons. They haven’t been bad in the Cup Series either.
14. Ty Dillon ($5,300) — Simply by not participating in a scripted reality show, Ty has become the favorite Dillon. The spring Talladega race did not work out, but before that race, he had a streak of eight straight finishes of 17th or better.
15. Michael McDowell ($6,600) — For most of his career, Daytona has been his preferred plate track. However, McDowell has a top-10 finish in two of the last three Talladega races.
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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.