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.
The DraftKings NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube at Las Vegas slate locks at 3:47 p.m. ET on Sunday.
1. Kyle Larson ($11,300) — Until further notice, Larson will be ranked No. 1 every week. Some thought that giving Larson the title, “The Michael Jordan of NASCAR” early last season was presumptuous. No one minds now. He’s already on his way to blowing past last year’s 11-win season.
2. Tyler Reddick ($9,300) — The Next Gen car lacks side force, but a clever way to create this downforce is by running right next to the wall. The suction between the car and the wall adds extra grip, and grip means speed. Very few drivers ride the wall and even fewer want to do it. Reddick has no fear.
3. Chase Elliott ($11,000) — Spin outs are going to be common in the new low-downforce package. The Cup Series drivers just aren’t used to this style of racing after three seasons of the forgiving high-downforce package. What will not be common is a car spinning out and later battling for the lead, but that’s what Elliott accomplished last week before Kyle Larson wrecked him.
4. Joey Logano ($10,800) — The Penske No. 22 Ford team struggled with the setup last week, but they got it dialed in at the end and Logano nearly won. This is a great sign. With short practice sessions, in race adjustments will be paramount. Crew chief Paul Wolfe has already shown that he can adjust this new package on the fly.
5. Ryan Blaney ($10,500) — How does the best car finish 18th? Curses. It’s very likely that Blaney is cursed at Fontana. He should have won the last two Fontana races, but instead he doesn’t even have a top-10 finish to show for it. Last time it was a corded tire. This time, his pit crew cost him 93 spots during the race — unreal!
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6. William Byron ($9,800) — In 2021, there was one low-downforce intermediate track race (Nashville). Byron was fast in practice and in that race. He was forced to start in the back, but was still able to finish third. Last week, Byron was running in third in Stage 3, when he wrecked into a wrecking Tyler Reddick.
7. Alex Bowman ($8,700) — On the restart on lap 179 of 200, Bowman was in fourth place. On lap 180, Bowman was in 25th place after hitting the wall. This is life in the new package. This is real racing.
8. Austin Dillon ($8,000) — Due to his silver spoon background, Dillon will never be respected and will often be dismissed in DFS. The naysayers are out in full force this week, but Dillon ran well at Auto Club. He kept his car clean, executed on pit road and nailed the restarts. Dillon once said in victory lane that he’d rather be lucky than good. Now, it’s better to be smart than good.
9. Denny Hamlin ($10,000) — The last time NASCAR ran low-downforce cars at intermediate tracks, Denny Hamlin did not win a race that season. Making matters worse is that the JGR cars weren’t very fast at Fontana and they were suffering overheating issues.
10. Kevin Harvick ($9,100) — At the end of last week’s race, Harvick seemed pleased. He is rarely happy, and he had little reason to be happy after only running 18% of the laps inside the top 10. Las Vegas has been a good track for Harvick in the past, but his preferred bottom groove may not be available this weekend.
11. Martin Truex Jr ($9,500) — In two of the last three low-downforce races at Las Vegas (2018 fall race and 2017 fall race), Truex scored the most fantasy points (110.5 and 115.5 DKFP). However, he scored the most fantasy points in the last low-downforce race at Fontana, and that didn’t help too much last week.
12. Kyle Busch ($10,200) — A mechanical failure ruined his race at Fontana, but Busch battled back and finished 14th. After his early race wreck, he did not make any more mistakes. This is slightly misleading because Busch was down several laps the entire race, so he never pushed the car anywhere close to the limit.
13. Erik Jones ($7,300) — No one doubts his talent, but before last week, no one believed in his car. It’s a small sample size, but it seems that new crew chief Dave Elenz (two-time Xfinity Champion) has improved the GMS Petty No. 43 Chevy. Also, the six-team RCR alliance has been huge.
14. Daniel Hemric ($5,800) — It’s not a typo. He was six laps down at Fontana and still finished ninth. Hemric is pulling double duty again this week. He’ll certainly benefit on Sunday from the experience of two practices and an Xfinity race.
15. Todd Gilliland ($5,000) — Some of these drivers can’t help themselves. They just want to go fast. The drivers chasing the win have a high probability of stepping over the line and wrecking. Gilliland did not make any errors last week and finished 20th because he is not going anywhere close to the line in practice, qualifying or the race. He can be a solid DFS pick through attrition.
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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.
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