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Fantasy NASCAR Rankings: Coke Zero 400

By Brian Polking
Edited by Nicholas Minnix

Thanks to his dominance at the plate tracks over the past couple of years, Matt Kenseth was the easy choice to open the week atop the driver rankings for Daytona. After a solid showing in practice and a second-place effort in qualifying, the two-time Daytona 500 winner retains his hold on the No. 1 spot heading into Saturday night's race. Keep in mind that since the start of the 2012 season, Kenseth leads all drivers in wins, top-five finishes, top-10s, laps led and points scored at the superspeedways. At Daytona alone, he has reeled off three finishes of third or better in his last four starts. Kenseth deserves to be owned in just about every fantasy format this weekend.

NASCAR driver Danica Patrick
Take your chances with Patrick?

While Kenseth holds his ground in the rankings, Dale Earnhardt Jr. slides up into the No. 2 spot after looking very comfortable in practice Thursday. Of course, the guy is also a seven-time winner at plate tracks at the Cup level and has been one of the safest options at Daytona for the past decade. In fact, Junior's 12.9 average finish at the track since 2003 is the best in the series, and in his last seven starts, he has four finishes of fourth or better, including three runner-up efforts. He can help fantasy teams in a big way this weekend.

Another driver who has the potential to help out owners is Greg Biffle, and he cracks the top five in the final set of rankings. Biffle followed a strong showing in practice with a top-10 effort in qualifying, and his recent runs at Daytona suggest a trip to victory lane could be on tap at the track sooner rather than later. After all, Biffle has been running second on the final lap in the last three races at Daytona, and he has a pair of top-six finishes to show for his efforts. Even if he doesn't win Saturday night, he should be well worth a roster spot.

Outside the top 10, Michael Waltrip and A.J. Allmendinger are two sleeper options that warrant serious attention. Waltrip qualified seventh for Saturday's race, and in addition to his three Daytona wins, he finished in the top 10 at the track last July. Meanwhile, Allmendinger turned in the fastest lap and posted the best 10-lap average speed in practice Thursday and will be behind the wheel of the No. 51 car that has finished in the top 10 at both plate track events in 2013. Both drivers land in the top 20 of the final rankings, and both have a chance to sneak into the top 10 this weekend.

In deeper and survival-type leagues where a different driver must be used each week, fantasy owners may want to gamble on Danica Patrick. She practiced in the top 10 Thursday and qualified 11th Friday, moving her into the top 25 of the final rankings. Of course, she did start on the pole and finish eighth in the Daytona 500 earlier this year, so it's not like Patrick would be a complete shot in the dark. More importantly for owners in survival-type leagues, this weekend's race is probably the last realistic chance to grab a top-10 finish from Patrick this season.

Rk
Driver
Car
No.
Make Sponsor Team
Starting
Pos.
1
Matt Kenseth
20
Toyota Dollar General Joe Gibbs Racing
2
2
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
88
Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew Hendrick Motorsports
16
3
Tony Stewart
14
Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops Stewart-Haas Racing
13
4
Clint Bowyer
15
Toyota 5 Hour Energy Michael Waltrip Racing
3
5
Greg Biffle
16
Ford 3M Roush Fenway Racing
10
6
Carl Edwards
99
Ford Fastenal Roush Fenway Racing
12
7
Kevin Harvick
29
Chevrolet Budweiser Richard Childress Racing
26
8
Brad Keselowski
2
Ford Miller Lite Penske Championship Racing
15
9
Paul Menard
27
Chevrolet Menard's Richard Childress Racing
6
10
Jeff Burton
31
Chevrolet Caterpillar Richard Childress Racing
17
11
Jimmie Johnson
48
Chevrolet Lowe's Home Improvement Hendrick Motorsports
8
12
Kyle Busch
18
Toyota M&M's Joe Gibbs Racing
1
13
Kasey Kahne
5
Chevrolet Farmers Insurance Hendrick Motorsports
4
14
David Ragan
34
Ford Taco Bell Front Row Motorsports
38
15
Jeff Gordon
24
Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger Hendrick Motorsports
23
16
Joey Logano
22
Ford Shell/Pennzoil Penske Championship Racing
18
17
Michael Waltrip
55
Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine Michael Waltrip Racing
7
18
Kurt Busch
78
Chevrolet Furniture Row Furniture Row Racing
22
19
Denny Hamlin
11
Toyota FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing
24
20
A.J. Allmendinger
51
Chevrolet Guy Roofing Phoenix Racing
33
21
Jamie McMurray
1
Chevrolet McDonald's Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
27
22
Danica Patrick
10
Chevrolet GoDaddy.com Stewart-Haas Racing
11
23
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17
Ford Best Buy Roush Fenway Racing
9
24
Ryan Newman
39
Chevrolet Quicken Loans Stewart-Haas Racing
21
25
Martin Truex Jr.
56
Toyota NAPA Auto Parts Michael Waltrip Racing
5
26
Juan Pablo Montoya
42
Chevrolet Target Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
14
27
Bobby Labonte
47
Toyota Kroger JTG Daugherty Racing
34
28
Aric Almirola
43
Ford Smithfield Richard Petty Motorsports
30
29
David Gilliland
38
Ford Love's Travel Stops Front Row Motorsports
28
30
Trevor Bayne
21
Ford Motorcraft Wood Brothers Racing
20
31
Marcos Ambrose
9
Ford Stanley Black & Decker Richard Petty Motorsports
25
32
Casey Mears
13
Ford GEICO Germain Racing
19
33
Travis Kvapil
93
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
40
34
Landon Cassill
33
Chevrolet Honey Nut Cheerios Richard Childress Racing
43
35
Dave Blaney
7
Chevrolet GoPro Tommy Baldwin Racing
29
36
J.J. Yeley
36
Chevrolet United Mining Equipment Tommy Baldwin Racing
32
37
Terry Labonte
32
Ford Federated Auto Parts FAS Lane Racing
39
38
David Reutimann
83
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
41
39
David Stremme
30
Toyota Swan Racing Swan Racing
35
40
Scott Speed
95
Ford TBA Leavine Family Racing
36
41
Josh Wise
35
Ford Blockbuster.com Front Row Motorsports
37
42
Michael McDowell
98
Ford Phil Parsons Racing Phil Parsons Racing
31
43
Joe Nemechek
87
Toyota AM FM Energy NEMCO-JRR Motorsports
42


 


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