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DraftKings Rankings: Talladega

Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings' NASCAR salaries for that day. The ordering is not based on highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by value of each driver.


(fppk = average fantasy points per $1,000 of salary. The typical median fppk for a 2016 race was in the 3s. Plate tracks tend to be lower and short tracks tend to run higher due to the amount of laps.)

Drivers 1-5
Rank Driver Salary
1. Brad Keselowski $10,500
2. Joey Logano $10,700
3. Denny Hamlin $10,200
4. Kurt Busch $8,000
5. Kevin Harvick $9,300

1. Brad Keselowski ($10,500) – Last year, Keselowski won at both restrictor-plate tracks (Daytona and Talladega). This year, he wrecked at Daytona. That pretty much sums up plate racing. (6.2 fppk)

2. Joey Logano ($10,700) – Team Penske has won five of the last nine plate races. Logano owns three of those wins. In seven of those races, he finished 11th or better. (5.6 fppk)

3. Denny Hamlin ($10,200) – When Junior retires, Hamlin will be nominated to be President of Plate Racing. With only two wins, he likely won't be elected. However, his eight top 10s in the last 13 plate races makes a compelling argument. (3.2 fppk)

4. Kurt Busch ($8,000) – This season has been a disaster other than Kurt's Daytona 500 win. Returning to a restrictor plate track may be just what he needs. Kurt has nine top 15 finishes in his last 10 plate races. (2.5 fppk)

5. Kevin Harvick ($9,300) – It's been seven years since Harvick has won a plate race. It probably won't happen this week, but a top 15 finish is highly likely. Harvick has eight top 15 finishes in the last 10 plate races. (4.5 fppk)

Drivers 6-10
Rank Driver Salary
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. $9,400
7. Kyle Busch $9,600
8. Austin Dillon $7,700
9. Jimmie Johnson $9,700
10. Chase Elliott $9,200

6. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ($9,400) – In 2015, Junior was a plate race lock. He was a part of winning GPP lineups at Daytona and Talladega. In 2016, he absolutely hurt lineups by finishing 21st, 40th and 36th. In 2017, he has continued his ravenous ways. (1.8 fppk)

7. Kyle Busch ($9,600) – Don't try to figure it out. Kyle Busch finished 30th and 38th in his last two plate races. In the three plate races prior to his funk, he finished 2nd, 2nd and 3rd. Wrecks happen at restrictor-plate tracks. (4.4 fppk)


8. Austin Dillon ($7,700)
– He's one of the most consistent restrictor-plate racers in NASCAR. By his standards, his 19th place finish in the 2017 Daytona 500 was disappointing. As a full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver, Dillon has 11 top 15s in 13 plate races. (3.6 fppk)


9. Jimmie Johnson ($9,700)
– The only thing that sets drivers apart this week is experience. Johnson has been running Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series plate races since 2002. He hasn't earned a top 15 finish since 2015, but he had three top 5s that season. (5.1 fppk)


10. Chase Elliott ($9,200)
– The 24 car was always a threat at plate tracks, and that hasn't changed with Elliott behind the wheel. In his five plate races, Elliott has won three poles. He obviously has the car, but he hasn't quite mastered the skill of plate racing if there is such a thing. (5.3 fppk)

Drivers 11-15
Rank Driver Salary
11. Martin Truex Jr. $9,900
12. Kyle Larson $9,000
13. Trevor Bayne $7,100
14. Aric Almirola $7,000
15 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. $7,200

11. Martin Truex, Jr. ($9,900) – In 2015, Truex put up monster fantasy points by driving through the field at plate tracks. In 2016, he lost the Daytona 500 by a foot but closed the season with a wreck and an engine failure in plate races. (6.5 fppk)

12. Kyle Larson ($9,000) – This is not a Kyle Larson type of race. In his first two seasons, he finished outside of the top 20 in six of eight chances. Last year, he figured something out, or maybe he just didn’t wreck (three top 10's and a 12th place finish at this year's Daytona 500). (6.4 fppk)

13. Trevor Bayne ($7,100) – His Daytona 500 win feels like a lifetime ago (2011), but it doesn't appear to be a fluke. Bayne has experienced recent success at restrictor plate tracks. He has three top 10 finishes in the last four plate races. (5.4 fppk)

14. Aric Almirola ($7,000) – Richard Petty Motorsports downsized this season. The move to a one car team has paid off. Almirola hasn't had a great year, but he's been pretty good. At the plate tracks, he’s been pretty good with seven top 20 finishes in his last nine plate races. (5.4 fppk)

15. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,200) – Over the last two seasons, Bristol and Talladega were the only tracks that you could trust Ricky. If you combine his knack for surviving Talladega and his current momentum, he's a real threat to win this race. (4.7 fppk)

Drivers 16-20
Rank Driver Salary
16. Clint Bowyer $8,200
17. Ryan Blaney $8,700
18. Matt Kenseth $9,100
19. AJ Allmendinger $6,800
20. Cole Whitt $5,200

16. Clint Bowyer ($8,200) – The last season where Bowyer had a competitive car, he earned three top 10s at plate tracks. At the Daytona 500 in February, Bowyer finished 32nd. Looks like it's top 10s from here on out. (4.1 fppk)

17. Ryan Blaney ($8,700) – He didn't win the Daytona 500, but he won a DraftKings player a lot of money that weekend. Blaney scored the most fantasy points by driving from 36th to 2nd. The Wood Brothers' car is legendary at plate tracks. (3.6 fppk)

18. Matt Kenseth ($9,100) – You can't ignore the fact that Kenseth has teammates. At plate tracks, teammates help each other by blocking and pushing. You also can't ignore the fact that Kenseth has only one top 20 finish at plate tracks in the last three seasons. (2.8 fppk)


19. AJ Allmendinger ($6,800)
– At the end of the day, daily fantasy NASCAR players are looking for drivers that will finish the race. Allmendinger has finished on the last lap in nine of the last 10 plate races. (4.0 fppk)

20. Cole Whitt ($5,200) – This is a week where DFS players pick underfunded, small team drivers that start in the back. These drivers, if they avoid the wrecks, can sneak away with a top 10 and bag full of place differential points. Whitt has a top 20 finish in each of his last three plate races. (4.4 fppk)


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.

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