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.
1. Noah Gragson ($10,300) - This is a wall riding race track. Most drivers will run the high groove, but only a few daring souls will ride the wall. Gragson will be one of those dare devils. It didn’t work out for him last year. After contact with the wall multiple times, he had to pit twice for damage. However, earlier this year, Gragson ran the wall to perfection in both Homestead races.
2. Austin Cindric ($11,200) - He has the best car and the best team, but he’s not the best driver. The 2019 Kansas race was the worst race of Cindric’s career. He wrecked three times and had tire issues two other times in just the first two stages.
3. Chase Briscoe ($10,900) - How does Briscoe win races? He wins on pit road. Scour YouTube and you will be hard pressed to find a past race win where Briscoe passed the leader. He almost won at Kansas last fall because his pit crew got him a spot on the front row and Ross Chastain refused to push the leader Cole Custer during a pivotal stage 3 restart.
4. Justin Allgaier ($10,600) - His nickname is Wall-gaier, but that’s not because he’s an expert at running the highest groove on the track. It’s because of his frequent contact with the wall. Last year at Kansas, many of the contenders faced issues. It was a prime spot for Allgaier to capitalize, but he settled for a 5th place finish because he had run into the wall too many times.
5. Ross Chastain ($10,000) - His car isn’t fast enough to compete with the top tier teams. Last year, Chastain was hard to pass at Kansas and he held his position up front, but this required Chastain to push his inferior equipment to the edge. Eventually, he got loose and a freight train of faster cars zoomed past him in one turn. It’s the same situation this year. Chastain has race winning talent and aggression, but he doesn’t have the ride.
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6. Harrison Burton ($9,800) - Kansas is not kind to rookies. It’s not a treacherous track, but the top speed is close to the wall. Burton will need practice before he dares to venture that close to the wall, and it’s unlikely that his team gives him permission to run that groove. He got one stage of experience at Kansas last year before Austin Cindric dumped him.
7. Joe Graf Jr. ($6,200) - In the last three intermediate track races, Graf is averaging a 19th place finish. If he does that on Saturday night, he’ll hit 6x and very likely be in the optimal lineup. As long as he doesn’t wreck, he should easily be able to squeeze into the top 20.
8. David Starr ($4,700) - When a capable driver wheels the #07 car, it’s around a top 15 car. Last week, the veteran finished 14th at Texas. Smithley finished 16th at Kentucky in this car and J.J. Yeley finished 11th at Homestead.
9. Ryan Sieg ($6,600) - Just when it looked like Sieg was turning things around, his car breaks down in consecutive races. If Sieg’s car holds up, he’s easily a top 15 driver, but that appears to be a major if this season.
10. Riley Herbst ($8,600) - COVID-19 has effectively ruined Herbst’s rookie season. NASCAR has cancelled practice for the remainder of the year, so Herbst’s season is effectively over. Kentucky was a perfect example of Herbst’s problem. In the second race at Kentucky, he was a 2nd place driver. The kid needs laps and it’s a shame that NASCAR is denying developing drivers the opportunity to advance their careers.
11. Brandon Jones ($9,400) - He shouldn’t need practice, but he does. Jones has been in the Xfinity Series for years, but every year looks like his first year. Jones won the 2019 Kansas race, but that is because Custer, Bell, Briscoe, and Gragson wrecked.
12. Kyle Weatherman ($5,900) - Mike Harmon cars are risky. Weatherman’s lap 1 wreck at Kentucky isn’t the concern. It’s the Texas race where Weatherman’s car broke down after stage 1. He finished 22 laps down, but the good news is that they fixed his car and he ran all of the stage 3 laps.
13. Colin Garrett ($7,600) - Sam Hunt Racing is back for their first race since June. Garrett finished 21st and 14th at Homestead in the #26 car. It’s hard to trust a small sample size, and the small teams that run part time are more likely to suffer mechanical failures, but Garrett is starting dead last.
14. Jesse Little ($5,200) - For years, Ross Chastain finished around 15th place in the JD Motorsports #4 car. It’s the best car in the stable, but there were concerns about Little moving up from the Truck Series and piloting this ride. All questions have been answered, and the #4 car continues it’s 15th place ways.
15. Jeremy Clements ($9,600) - In eight of the last ten races, Clements has earned a top 15 finish. Currently, he’s riding a five race top 15 finish streak. There’s always the fear of a mechanical issue with Clements, but that’s true of 75% of the Xfinity field.
16. Michael Annett ($7,900) - Mistakes and bad breaks plagued Annett earlier this season. Over the last two months, Annett has run clean races and is finishing exactly where a Jr Motorpsorts car should finish. Annett has earned five consecutive top 10 finishes and he’s averaging a 9th place finish over the last nine races.
17. Myatt Snider ($9,200) - The #93 car isn’t the greatest car, but it doesn’t have to be in the Xfinity Series. Snider isn’t the greatest driver, but he’s good enough to race in the Xfinity Series. If his car holds up, the biggest problem that he’ll face this weekend is being a rookie at Kansas without practice, and that’s a pretty large problem.
18. Justin Haley ($9,000) - Over the last nine races, Haley has seven top 10 finishes. He has four finishes of third or better over that span. The Kaulig cars are top 5 cars, but they’re not racing winning cars. Last year at Kansas, Haley ran inside the top 15 for 100% of the laps.
19. Daniel Hemric ($8,800) - The plan was for Hemric to run 20 Xfinity races and prove that he deserves a ride in the Cup series. After 10 races, it doesn’t appear that Hemric deserves an Xfinity ride. Four DNFs and 10 laps led this season isn’t impressing anyone.
20. Kaz Grala ($7,700) - The #21 car has been fast this season, but its recent success is likely due to Anthony Alfredo spending consecutive weeks in the car. Grala takes over this week. He is a talented driver, but this is his first race of the season and he doesn’t get any practice.
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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.