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. Note: fppk = average fantasy points per $1,000 of salary.
1. Kevin Harvick ($9,600) - In the 2019 Roval race, Harvick led the second most laps and had the best average running position. Daytona will race the same high horsepower, high downforce package on a similar track layout. Starting from the pole should result in similar numbers. (5.7 fppk)
2. Alex Bowman ($8,200) - The closest track comparison to the Daytona road course is the Roval in Charlotte. In the two Roval races, Bowman has finished 2nd and 4th. With a 27th place starting position, a 50 to 60 point outing seems likely for Bowman. (3.1 fppk)
3. Chase Elliott ($10,300) - His back-to-back Watkins Glen wins and his 2019 Roval win are hard to ignore. Is Elliott a natural? Is Alan Gustafson a genius when it comes to setting up a car for a road course? Maybe it’s both. Elliott is a streaky driver and has been mired in a funk. Several years ago, he jump started his season at a road course. (4.2 fppk)
4. Ryan Blaney ($11,000) - He won the 2018 Roval race because he was good enough to run upfront. When Jimmie Johnson wrecked Truex, Blaney cruised by both of them for the win. Blaney hasn’t been the best road racer, but he’s been pretty good and he’s starting deep in the field. (4.4 fppk)
5. Brad Keselowski ($10,600) - A lot of drivers do not have wins at road courses, but it’s not because they are poor road racers. It’s simply a probability problem. Elite drivers have plenty of intermediate track wins because most of the races are at intermediate tracks. Keselowski is winless at the courses NASCAR infrequently visits, but his average finish is the 7th best. (4.9 fppk)
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6. Michael McDowell ($7,000) - DFS players may not know about McDowell’s background as a road course driving instructor, but a quick glance at the stat sheet reveals that he is a competent road racer. McDowell starting inside the top 20 would be popular, but starting 30th, he might be the most popular player this weekend. (5.1 fppk)
7. Kurt Busch ($8,400) - Only the old timers have extensive road racing experience. Busch has 11 top-10s in the last 15 road races. That’s with three different teams and various different cars. Once upon a time, he raced Gen 3 cars at the L.A. Street Circuit. He’ll be prepared for the Daytona road course. (4.1 fppk)
8. Kyle Busch ($9,800) - This could be the weekend that Kyle Busch turns his season around or at least gets a win. Busch has always been great at Watkins Glen and Sonoma. His Roval races on the other hand could not have been worse (a wreck and a mechanical failure). (3.0 fppk)
9. Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,100) - He has won the last two races at Sonoma and finished 2nd in the last two races at Watkins Glen. Truex should have won the 2019 Roval race, but Jimmie Johnson wrecked him on the last turn. (4.2 fppk)
10. Denny Hamlin ($9,400) - Early in his career, Hamlin had a streak of solid finishes at the road courses, but he’s also had an even longer cold streak during his career. This has been a great year for Hamlin, but this is a good week to step away from Hamlin in DFS. (4.9 fppk)
11. Joey Logano ($9,200) - He won at Watkins Glen in 2015 when Kevin Harvick ran out of fuel. That win was part of five consecutive finishes of 6th or better. In the last 10 road races, his average finish is 17th. (3.6 fppk)
12. Erik Jones ($9,000) - Surprisingly, Jones has developed into a good road racer. In 2018, he was having a terrible weekend at Sonoma, then all of the sudden in the middle of the race it clicked. He’s earned a top-10 in the last two races at Sonoma and Watkins Glen. The Roval is another story. (3.9 fppk)
13. Christopher Bell ($7,200) - He won at Road America last year, but the best two cars wrecked and Bell benefited by pitting right before a caution forced everyone else to pit. Not to mention, the competition at Road America is putrid. (3.9 fppk)
14. William Byron ($8,600) - Does iRacing help? This weekend will answer the question once and for all. The only way to practice for the Daytona road course with the added chicane is on iRacing. If the simulation matters, then Byron will be the most prepared driver this weekend. (3.5 fppk)
15. Clint Bowyer ($8,800) - The theory is that since Bowyer supposedly suffers from ADHD, the active tracks suit his attention span (short tracks and road courses). He’s a good road racer, but his Watkins Glen and Sonoma finishes have not been great lately. On the other hand, he’s been great in the two Roval races. (3.8 fppk)
16. Ryan Newman ($6,300) - Over his 20 year career, every stat for Newman is 15th place. Road courses are not any different. In 38 road course races, Newman’s average finish is 15.9. (3.5 fppk)
17. Cole Custer ($7,600) - He wasn’t a specially talented road racer in the Xfinity series, but he was decent. This weekend is a rare occasion where rookies are not at a huge experience disadvantage. The high horsepower package should elevate his car above the small and middle tier teams. (4.3 fppk)
18. Aric Almirola ($7,900) - In 23 road races, Almirola has two top-10 finishes. His road course average finish ranks outside of the top 20. This is not his strong suit, but with the track being a complete unknown to everyone, the playing field is even. (4.6 fppk)
19. Chris Buescher ($6,600) - In the last eight road races, Buescher has earned a top-20 finish. He won a road race in the Xfinity Series in 2014. It makes sense to chase place differential in a race with a limited amount of laps and unlimited unknowns. Buescher might not be starting deep enough for some DFS players, but most of the drivers in the back are real dart throws. (3.7 fppk)
20. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($6,500) - As always, this is for GPPs only. Most drivers will take it easy, and knowing this, Stenhouse will jump at the opportunity. In the first race back from the Covid break, everyone took it easy on lap one, except Stenhouse, who wrecked on the first lap at Darlington. He’ll push it again and there is about a 75% chance he DNFs, but there’s a 25% chance that he is optimal. (2.8 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.