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Fantasy NASCAR Rankings: Coke Zero 400

Fantasy NASCAR Expert Brian Polking ranks the top drivers racing at the Coke Zero 400 Saturday night!

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Coke Zero 400

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Fantasy NASCAR owners were thrown a bit of a curveball last weekend with a road course event at Sonoma Raceway. Unfortunately, things don't get any easier this weekend when the Sprint Cup Series heads to Daytona International Speedway for a 400-mile race under the lights.

Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 is the third restrictor-plate race of the year, and if you are new to NASCAR, restrictor plates are used to control speeds at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway. However, the side effect of reducing speeds is that every car runs essentially the same speed, creating one big pack that can erupt into a violent multi-car wreck at any point.

Plain and simple, restrictor-plate races are the most chaotic and toughest to predict. Any driver that can survive to the end has a chance of coming away with a solid finish, and it isn't uncommon to see drivers that typically run in the back of the pack finish in the top 10 at Daytona and Talladega.

With that in mind, a highly recommend relying exclusively on sleepers in each tier in the Yahoo game. Even in the A-List, there are certain drivers that stand out above the rest, and the last you want to do is use one of their starts only to have them swept up in a wreck. Yes, any driver can wreck any given week, but the chances of a driver wrecking at a plate track are exponentially higher.

You are flipping a coin with any driver you pick this weekend at Daytona, but at least if you pick a bunch of sleepers, you don't hurt your long-term lineup flexibility.

1. DENNY HAMLIN, #11 FEDEX, JOE GIBBS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]

His win in the Daytona 500 to open the year was his fifth straight finish of sixth or better at Daytona, and Hamlin has a series-leading 3.2 average finish at the track during the stretch. He also leads all drivers with an 11.2 average finish over the last 10 restrictor-plate events.

2. DALE EARNHARDT, JR., #88 NATIONAL GUARD/DIET MOUNTAIN DEW, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS [YAHOO CLASS A]

Although he crashed out of the Daytona 500, Junior still leads all drivers with a 10.1 average in the last 10 races at Daytona. He has five finishes of third or better during that span, including a win in the July race last season.

3. KEVIN HARVICK, #4 BUSCH BEER/JIMMY JOHNS, STEWART-HAAS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]

He has always been one of the more reliable options at the restrictor-plate tracks, and his 11.6 average finish in the last 10 plate events ranks second in the series. He has been particularly impressive at Daytona lately, finishing second, fourth and fourth in his last three starts at the track.

4. JOEY LOGANO, #22 SHELL-PENNZOIL, TEAM PENSKE[YAHOO CLASS A]

Logano has been coming on strong on the restrictor-plate tracks, winning two of the last six plate races, including the 2015 Daytona 500. He also owns the fourth-best average finish in the last 10 races at Daytona and ranks in the top five in points scored in the last 10 plate races overall.

5. KURT BUSCH, #41 MONSTER ENERGY, STEWART-HAAS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]

The move to Stewart-Haas Racing has caused Busch to return to form in restrictor-plate events. He has three top 10s in four starts at Daytona in the No. 41, and he has seven straight finishes of 12th or better at plate tracks. Don't hesitate to use him as an A-List play this weekend.


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