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.
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1. Martin Truex Jr. ($10,900) - At the roval type tracks and the high speed road course in Watkins Glen, Chase Elliott might be better than Truex. At the technical road course in Sonoma, Truex is still the king of wine country (Sonoma winner in 2019 and 2018).
2. Chase Elliott ($10,500) - Everyone knows that Elliott is the best road course driver at the moment. Most DFS players will remember that he dominated the Daytona Road Course until a questionable caution flag created by NASCAR, but most do not remember that he had a race winning car in the last Sonoma race until a mechanical issue ended his race early in stage 3.
3. Kyle Larson ($9,700) - The more things change, the more things stay the same. The NASCAR circuit is heading west to a different track type, but nothing has fazed Larson so far. He struggled at Sonoma in the past with Chip Ganassi Racing, but the same thing can be said about Larson at nearly every track. With Hendrick, this is a whole new game.
4. Kyle Busch ($10,300) - In three of the last five Sonoma races, Kyle Busch has the second best average running position. In the other two, he had the 4th best average running position and the 9th best average running position (he damaged his car in a wreck with A.J. Allmendinger).
5. Kurt Busch ($9,100) - He’s starting in the back, and place differential is the major scoring category at road courses, so jam him in. Sonoma is a technical track that doesn’t just favor road course drivers, but Sonoma drivers. Kurt Busch has the best average finish at Sonoma, so again, jam him in.
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6. Denny Hamlin ($9,900) - At the Daytona Road Course last season without practice, Hamlin finished 2nd. This year, there wasn’t practice again, and Hamlin finished 3rd. He seems to be pretty good at going into a road course race cold.
7. William Byron ($9,500) - In the last Sonoma race, Byron led all of stage one and kept Truex and Elliott at a comfortable distance. He chose to race for stage points and started stage 2 and stage 3 buried in the field. He didn’t get the finish that he deserved because of strategy; Byron was a top 5 driver in that race.
8. Kevin Harvick ($8,900) - In the last race at Sonoma, Harvick could not get the feel in the high downforce car. This race marks a return to low downforce racing at Sonoma. In the low downforce races (2016-2018), Harvick never scored fewer than the 2nd most fantasy points at Sonoma.
9. Ryan Newman ($6,300) - Drivers do not need the best car at Sonoma. They just need to play the pit sequencing game correctly and block like your life depends on it. Sonoma is not an easy passing track, and with the addition of the carousel turn, it became even harder to pass. The track became harder to pass at in 2019, and Newman went from a 24th place finish in 2018 to a 7th place in 2019. That’s not surprising.
10. Christopher Bell ($8,400) - He’s a past Xfinity road course winner (Road America), and he won this season’s Daytona Road Course Cup race. More importantly, he’s starting 20th. Bell has a huge scoring advantage this weekend because he has the opportunity to score place differential points. Some top tier drivers are fringe plays because even if they have great days they cannot score points due to their starting position.
11. Chase Briscoe ($6,900) - Only one Cup driver signed up for the ARCA West race at Sonoma on Saturday. That is shocking, but at least Briscoe had the sense to acquire a ride. He’ll get plenty of laps in ARCA practice and the race. He also won two road course races in the Xfinity Series.
12. Michael McDowell ($7,600) - At COTA, McDowell was way too cheap ($7,400) for his starting position of 23rd. He was chalk and he was optimal. At the Daytona Road Course, he started 2nd, so DraftKings was forced to lower his price to $6,800, but that was still too high. No one played him, and he was irrelevant in DFS. This week he’s too cheap.
13. Brad Keselowski ($8,500) - This track has never clicked for Brad Keselowski, and this won’t be the weekend that he figures it out. If Keselowski was going to master Sonoma, it would have happened by now. It’s definitely not happening without practice.
14. Joey Logano ($10,100) - Sonoma is not one of his best tracks. Over the last three races at Sonoma, Logano’s average finish is 18th. In his defense, his worst finish was in the high downforce package.
15. Ryan Blaney ($9,300) - The Daytona Road Course and COTA have not worked out for Blaney, but those races aren’t great indicators for success at Sonoma. A good indicator for success at Sonoma is success at Sonoma, and Blaney finished 3rd in the last Sonoma race.
16. Matt DiBenedetto ($8,200) - In the 2019 Sonoma race, DiBenedetto used pit strategy to gain some spots, but in order to fully take advantage of this loophole in the system, drivers need to run inside the top 15. DiBenedetto didn’t just get lucky or game the system, he earned his 4th place finish.
17. Aric Almirola ($7,900) - Does this play ever work? How much money has Almirola cost DFS players? Almirola needs a top 10 to work, and he only has one this season, but it’s all been bad luck. He doesn’t need good luck, just no luck would suffice. Almirola has top 10 finishes in the last two Sonoma races.
18. Alex Bowman ($8,700) - Hendrick Motorsports can do no wrong. Bowman does not look like a great play, but it’s hard to ignore what HMS has done this season. It will be hard to play Bowman at his price, but if he holds on to his track position at a track where passing is difficult, it’s possible that he could squeeze into the winning lineup.
19. Ross Chastain ($7,700) - He does have laps at Sonoma (2019 with Premium Motorsports), and that’s more than some in the field. Chastain is an aggressive driver and this play could go south fast, but his equipment is good and there are games to be played on pit road. If place differential is the end-all be-all at road courses, then Chastain has to be in the DFS pool of drivers.
20. Cody Ware ($4,600) - The Ware name is not just synonymous with NASCAR, the Ware family does open wheel racing, too. Cody Ware raced in the Rolex 24 at Daytona this season and has plenty of road course racing experience. He’s starting dead last and can move forward on his own, and could crack the top 25, if cars have mechanical issues.
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