The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Las Vegas, my second home, for the Pennzoil 400 this Sunday. The DFS tiered rankings is a proven tool that has helped many DFS players bag tournaments in prior years, and it has personally helped me take down first place prize pools in several instances.
I rank every driver and tier them based on price. There is no sense to compare Chase Elliot to Quin Houff, but comparing Chase Elliot to Kevin Harvick, for example, tends to make sense. The rankings will be posted first and represent the “initial pass” on my approach to the slate.
The notes represent my “second pass” and will provide more insight into how I am building lineups, what I have learned from looking around the industry, and mention any situations where I’m “hotter” or “colder” on anyone than when I set the rankings. For example, I may mention that there is a large gap in my interest level after the top three ranked drivers in a given tier. Another example would be to point out that drivers ranked 1-3 are interchangeable in terms of my interest. My suggestion is to enter multiple lineups and use the rankings and notes as a guide as you build lineups.
If you are a more serious player building 40+ lineups, I do suggest purchasing a lineup optimizer tool. These are affordable for our more advanced players and you can get them relatively cheap – especially if you are purchasing for NASCAR only. We will definitely look to partner with a third party or build one in-house for next season. If you need help selecting one, I’m here to help explain and recommend what you need. To reiterate – this is only for advanced players and you do not need this unless you have full command of the tool. In fact, it can do more harm than good if you do not know what you are doing.
NASCAR DFS Tiered Rankings – Pennzoil 400
Tier 1 Notes
I easily could have re-arranged the top 3 here, but gave Blaney the nod since he has the highest floor on the slate. There will be a lot of info on the “platform insights” section on the bottom about this tier, but Blaney is criminaly under-priced on FanDuel considering his track history. I get that he can be a frustrating roster selection, but he deserves respect at Vegas. I will say, it is much easier to get off of him at his price on DK and pivot to other tier 1 and 2 drivers.
Most of my interest and shares of KFB and “Slam Brad K’s” will be on FD because they have great top 5 potential, but less dominator potential than some of these other guys in my mind. They also have better pricing on FD – much like Blaney. Elliot, Joseph L, and Truex are the drivers with the most dominator potential IMO – outside of Mr. Harvick (pole-sitter). I will be targeting 2 dominators in the majority of my DK entries. Potential Dominators include this tier, Harvick, Larson, Hamin, Bowman, Byron, and Kurt B.
Tier 2 Notes
Kevin Harvick has been absolutely screwed by his team and set-up this season and yet he is still finishing towards the front every race. I trust that it will be corrected and we will see Harvick with a race-winning potential car very soon – maybe even today. In lineups that you are not playing Harvick, look to the drivers starting around him to be the early dominator. Going into this weekend, I will say that I was interested in going underweight on Harvick due to the lack of traditional, Harvick speed. However, the price is under 10k and I’m interested. The 4 car has the best dominator history by a large margin with Joseph L being number 2.
Draftkings made pricing extremely tough this week. Basically, you have to decide between prioritizing these expensive dominators or taking the high floor of Matt D and Bacon Boi priced right under them. Both approaches are viable and making combinations with each is my preferred approach. If I had to pick, my priority is the doms on DK and taking the risk of Matt D potentially burning me.
Bowman, Willy B, and Kurt B are three guys that kind of get lost in the rankings because of their low floor and starting positions, but I am giving them GPP consideration and Sports Betting consideration. If you play Byron, be careful playing him with a bunch of others starting in the front. Kurt B and Bowman are guys that can finish in the top 5 and outscore the chalky place differential options – high upside, low probability. Remember, Kurt B has had speed and had a late issue that cost him last week.
Tier 3 Notes
Look – I could have spent an hour on this range and then erase it and completely start over. Almost all of this range projects similarly, and I could literally flip 1-9. My thing with this tier though is that I’m finding myself just saving the money and going to the top of tier 4 to guys like Custer and Buescher. My point is, do not put too much stock into the drivers ranked well here and prioritize those tier 1 and tier 2 plays.
With that being said, the above thought process makes this range a potential spot for a low-owned tournament winner. Guys like Bell, AD, and Stenhouse have more upside, and drivers like Bubba, Briscoe, Chastain, and Erik Jones have the higher floor. Determining who you elect within this range ultimately just comes down to your style and risk tolerance. Just go look at the projections article to see how close this range is in terms of DK points.
Tier 4 Notes
I have already typed a lot of words so keeping this one short. Do your best to stay in the 1-5 range (1-3, mainly). Suarez has crushed for us this season after riding with the backmarkers much of last season. My favorite super punt is Mcleoud, but I would only sprinkle in the super punts if you are entering several lineups.
Platform Insights (DraftKings/FanDuel)
I’m adding this section just to point out a few things across platforms as I’m building lineups. As a reminder, place differential, laps led, and fastest laps are more important on DraftKings. FanDuel is all about finishing position so your goal should be to get as many drivers that can finish inside the top 10/top 5.
- Like I said in tier 1 notes, Blaney is a great play but even stronger on FD
- KFB and Brad K are viable across platforms, but most of my interest is on FD due to finishing position potential.
- Conversely, Harvick makes for a stronger play on DK because of price and dominator potential on DK. He is still in play on FD but priced all the way at 14k (most expensive)
- Matty D and Bacon Boi are two of the highest floor/highest ceiling plays on the board, but FD loose pricing makes them fit my builds more over there. DK is tougher, but I’m by no means fading them or anything like that.
- Erik Jones is ridiculously price on FD at 4.9k. There are two problems though. First, what is his ceiling in that equipment? Gross. Second, pricing is so loose that there isn’t a huge need to go there. I will have some, but less than I originally thought when pricing was released.
- Hamlin should be a pretty cheap pivot off some more expensive dominators and his DK price leaves him as the 9th most expensive compared to 5th on FD.
- Chris Bell is more intereting on DK to me. On FD he is more expensive than both Matt D and Bacon Boi – makes 0 sense. His DK price makes sense because he is at a discount and can outscore them with a strong finishing position.