The rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for Saturday. The order is not based on the highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by the value of each driver.
The DraftKings Pocono Organics CBD 325 NASCAR slate locks at 3:00 p.m. ET on Saturday.
In celebration of @DraftKings as the primary partner of the No. 23 @23XIRacing Camry at the @NASCAR Cup Series Race on Sunday, June 27, @DKSportsbook is hosting a free-to-play $1K Pool including a @BubbaWallace-signed giveaway. For more details & to enter: https://t.co/ubY1OIdmRj pic.twitter.com/puIRVWZRlp— DraftKings News (@DraftKingsNews) June 24, 2021
1. Kyle Larson ($12,500) — He’s been optimal in six of the last eight races. He didn’t work at COTA and he just missed at Darlington because of two penalties. His price appears to be too high this week, and that’s true, if enough of the competition steps up. If not, he’ll be optimal even with a poor point per dollar performance. Betting against Kyle Larson has not been a lucrative endeavor.
2. Chase Elliott ($11,000) — NASCAR returns to its regular format this weekend and that means Elliott starts in the back. It also means that DraftKings knows the drivers’ starting position when setting salaries. Elliott got saddled with a large price tag for Saturday’s race, but it might not be large enough. A 60-point day only requires a sixth place finish.
3. Denny Hamlin ($9,700) — Early in his career, Hamlin was great at Pocono, but then the track was repaved and his performance suffered. The track has finally aged, and in the last three Pocono races, Hamlin has two wins and a second place finish.
4. Kyle Busch ($10,000) — Can anyone beat Kyle Larson? The answer is probably no, but in a make believe world where Larson loses, Kyle Busch is a contender. After finishing third in the last high downforce race, Busch radioed to his team, “We’ve got a Hendrick problem.”
5. Ryan Blaney ($10,200) — Once upon a time, Blaney won at Pocono, but that’s not the story for Saturday’s DFS contest. Blaney is starting in the back in a race with few laps. Place differential points are at a premium at Pocono and only the drivers starting in the back have access to that scoring category. Blaney will be very popular on Saturday.
Refer a friend and get $20 DK Dollars! Head to the DraftKings Playbook Promo page for more details!
6. Kevin Harvick ($9,300) — Last season, Harvick was the best driver at the high downforce flat tracks. He won at Pocono and Indianapolis. Last season, Harvick was the best driver in the high downforce package. Last season is not this season, and Harvick looks like a different driver this season.
7. Alex Bowman ($8,600) — There are three ways for a driver to score — finishing position points, place differential points, and hog points (fast lap and laps led points). Kyle Larson will likely gobble up the hog points, so that leaves only two categories for the rest of the field. Some drivers cannot earn place differential points. Bowman has the opportunity to score finishing position and place differential points, and he is affordable.
8. William Byron ($9,000) — “It’s impossible to pass at Nashville,” said everyone. Byron drove from last to third last week. The Hendrick cars are the best and are only getting better. Rudy Fugle was the best crew chief in the Truck Series and he might be the best crew chief in the Cup Series.
9. Martin Truex Jr. ($10,700) — If a DFS player is going to pay for Truex, then why not find the extra $300 and take Chase Elliott starting deeper in the field? Most DFS players will pick Chase Elliott, that’s why Truex is a viable option as the contrarian GPP play.
10. Brad Keselowski ($9,500) — In 2020, Keselowski struggled in the high downforce package, but he was great in the low downforce package. This season, the reverse has been true. Keselowski has the sixth-best driver rating in the high downforce package. One theory that explains this change is that NASCAR is using a tire similar to 2019, and Keselowski was good in the high downforce package in 2019.
11. Joey Logano ($8,800) — In the five high downforce races, Logano’s best finish is ninth at Las Vegas. His average driver rating in this package is 14th. Last season and again this season, the strength of the No. 22 car has been low downforce races.
12. Matt DiBenedetto ($7,100) — The Wood Brothers car is a 15th to 20th place car, but it can earn top 10 finishes and even top 5 finishes from time to time. Pocono is a track where this team can earn a surprise top 10. DiBenedetto is one of the best drivers on restarts in the high downforce package, and the only opportunity to pass at Pocono is on restarts.
13. Tyler Reddick ($7,900) — The RCR/Hendrick engines looked good once again last week, but that was a 750 horsepower race. In the high downforce package, the RCR/Hendrick 550 horsepower engines still have an advantage, but the playing field is much more level. That’s not good news for Reddick. He finished 30th and 35th at Pocono last season and needs any advantage that he can get.
14. Cole Custer ($6,300) — No one likes playing Cole Custer, but this is a place differential race. His SHR car should finish 20th by default, and that’s half of the battle. All DFS players need from Custer are slightly above average restarts.
15. Aric Almirola ($7,300) — The No. 10 car is fine and Almirola did not forget how to drive. Every year, one unfortunate driver is cursed, but the spell may have finally been lifted. Almirola ran well at Texas and he finished fourth last week. Last season, he earned a top 5 finish in both Pocono races. If the dark cloud hanging over his head has dissipated, then he should be good for another top 5 finish on Saturday.
16. Chris Buescher ($8,000) — His price seems a little too high, but his price places him in an interesting lineup construction zone. DFS players find their high priced drivers first, then the value plays that work. That leaves them in the $8,000 zone, so they roster the driver that was initially deemed a bad point per dollar play.
17. Ryan Preece ($6,200) — He’s not a good driver and he’s driving 20th place equipment. Also, his ownership will likely be very high because he is cheap and starting in the back. The DFS theorists will declare that this is a “fishy” play, but it’s a Pocono lineup — we’re not splitting the atom.
18. Chase Briscoe ($6,900) — His name is fitting for DFS. The only reason to place Chase is when DFS players are chasing place differential points. This chase rarely results in capture. Briscoe was optimal at COTA and he got extremely lucky with perfectly timed cautions at Darlington.
19. Ryan Newman ($5,800) — It’s very rare that Newman is priced below $6,000. His starting position required a price decrease, but this might be too extreme. It’s true that Newman’s upside is limited, but Pocono features a limited amount of passing. It’s not a stretch to imagine that Newman holds his position and earns a spot in the optimal lineup when other value drivers fail to move through the field.
20. Erik Jones ($6,400) — All of the data goes against this pick. Anyone that has watched Erik Jones race will feel uncomfortable clicking his name. The only thing that Jones has going for him is his price and starting position, and that’s a terrible reason to roster a driver on a normal week. This is Pocono, it’s not a normal week. This isn’t a regular race track and bad DFS picks can work.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.
21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.