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NASCAR Fantasy Rankings: DFS Picks on DraftKings for NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington

Pearce Dietrich gives his picks and ranks his top drivers for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington.

The DFS NASCAR rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings Fantasy NASCAR salaries. The order is not based on the highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by the DFS value of each driver.

Set your DraftKings fantasy NASCAR lineups here: NAS $350K Engineer [$100K to 1st] (Cup)


1. William Byron ($10,200) — He won the spring race at Darlington and should have won the 2022 spring race at Darlington. In four of the last five races at The Lady In Black, Byron has a top-5 driver rating.

2. Martin Truex Jr ($10,800) — Over the last 10 Darlington races, Truex is the highest rated driver. His average driver rating over that span is fifth and his lowest rating is ninth. Four times his score was second or better.

3. Kyle Larson ($10,500) — There’s 500 miles to be run on Sunday night. That’s a lot of laps and laps-led points. DFS NASCAR players must nail the lap leaders. Larson is a lap leader at Darlington (715 laps led in 11 races).

4. Denny Hamlin ($11,000) — In six of the last eight Darlington races, Hamlin has a top-5 driver rating. He has the highest driver rating in two of the last three at this historic, egg-shaped intermediate track.

5. Kyle Busch ($10,000) — The No. 8 RCR Chevy has been strong at Darlington. Tyler Reddick earned two podiums at Darlington in 2022. Busch scored the third-best driver rating in this season’s spring race. In four of the last five Darlington races, Busch has a top-5 driver rating.

For NASCAR insight and quick DFS help, follow Pearce Dietrich (@Race4thePrize) on Twitter.


6. Kevin Harvick ($9,800) — The No. 4 SHR Ford was strong at Darlington in the spring. Bad pit stops were a thorn in the side of Harvick. If crew chief Rodney Childers brings back the same car, then Harvick could turn the playoffs on its head.

7. Tyler Reddick ($9,300) — Darlington is a single-groove track, and that groove is near the wall. The closer the driver gets to the wall, the faster they go. Few get closer to the wall than Reddick.

8. Chase Elliott ($8,400) — Watch Elliott win multiple races in the playoffs now. Darlington could easily be the first of several wins to close out 2023. Darlington is one of his better tracks and he can utilize unconventional strategies as a non-playoff driver.

9. Christopher Bell ($9,400) — In 2022, Bell entered the playoffs as the No. 1 JGR Toyota and qualified for the championship race. He’s No. 3 this season, and a distant No. 3 to his teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex.

10. Ross Chastain ($9,600) — Some things never change. Chastain battled for the win at the end of the spring Darlington race. Chastain battles all end the same. He wrecks himself and his opponent. It’s the tale of The Scorpion and The Frog.

11. Joey Logano ($9,000) — His 2022 spring Darlington win feels like a long time ago. Team Penske has not looked great this season, but the diverse NASCAR schedule makes it difficult to get a good read on the true status of each team.

12. Ryan Blaney ($8,600) — Darlington is one of Blaney’s worst tracks. He has two top-10 finishes at Darlington since 2016 (12 races). His best finish is eighth, but he did finish ninth in the spring race.

13. Michael McDowell ($7,400) — It’s easy to overlook McDowell. He could be dismissed as an inevitable early exit in the playoffs. That’s not fair to his body of work this season or his recent results at Darlington. He finished sixth in the 2022 Southern 500 and seventh in the 2022 spring race.

14. Todd Gilliland ($5,200) — This is a challenging track, but Gilliland has been up to the task. He has earned a top-10 DFS score in two of his three Darlington races. While he has overcome the track, he has not overcome the race. In his lone Southern 500, he finished 28th.

15. Justin Haley ($7,000) — Similar to Todd Gilliland, Haley’s 2022 Southern 500 wasn’t great but 19th isn’t bad. In the last two spring races at Darlington, Haley has top-10 finishes.

Set your DraftKings fantasy NASCAR lineups here: NAS $350K Engineer [$100K to 1st] (Cup)


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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.