Daily Fantasy Golf Preview: The PLAYERS Championship

The Course

  • TPC Sawgrass
  • Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
  • Par 72
  • 7,189 yards
    • Small Bermuda greens (which might be over seeded with the tournament being earlier in the season & colder)
    • Greens and bunkers were rebuilt after 2016 & should be softer by now
    • Another somewhat hard course (winning score usually in the low teens under par)
    • No two consecutive holes play in the same direction (good mix of doglegs)
    • More of a tree-lined course in a swampland with tight fairways and plenty of undulation
    • The rough is cut low this year
    • Famous island green on 17

Key Stats

  • SG: tee-to-green
    • SG: approaching-the-green
  • Birdie or better
  • Bogey avoidance
  • Course history

I’m keeping it simple this week with the stats. It’s a tough course that throws a lot of different looks at you so anyway you can get to the green is going to help: whether it’s off-the-tee, scrambling, or on approach shots (which will be weighted highly every week). The key at this event will be to go after guys who are good tee-to-green and golfers who can score — no need to overthink it.

The Field

There will be slightly more golfers in the field this week compared to last week with 144 in total. Tiger has WD from the last two events with a neck strain so he will be one to watch throughout the week as well as Jason Day who is swinging and apparently feeling better this week. Talor Gooch also pulled out last week due to injury and should be a guy to look out for, and finally, there’s Lefty. Mickelson has a terrible course history here and is likely to pull out if he isn’t feeling the course.

So far Pat Perez and Whee Kim have WD, making way for Wyndham Clark and Dominic Bozzelli. This is the most stacked field of the season so far and is typically one of the best all year. The unofficial 5th Major Championship will bring a unique dynamic with a loaded field that reaches up to 144 golfers, which will affect both DFS and betting strategies.

Big Dogs ($9,000 and up on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Rory McIlroy ($10,800 DK – $11,800 FD) – I believe a majority of lineups will start with one of the top three guys and with a lot of depth this week I think people are going to look for the bargain (Rory) and he will be the highest owned of the three. When you take the $600 dollar difference between him and DJ, which there isn’t a big difference between those two results wise, you could hypothetically upgrade from Stenson and Oosthuizen to Paul Casey and Hideki — which would be a much use of cap space.
    • Bryson DeChambeau ($9,300 DK – $11,400 FD) – it’s tough to tell where some of the ownership will go at the top of the field here but with Jason Day right under Bryson I could imagine a lot of Day’s ownership will move to Bryson. For that reason I like him in Cash lineups vs. GPP. He had a rough week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational but finished strong with a final round -3 and I still see him as being a great value in this region of the board.
    • Xander Schauffele ($9,000 DK – $11,000 FD) – with Xander between Day and Spieth and the fact that he shot -14 at Sawgrass last year I envision him being a bit chalky this week as well. His numbers have been phenomenal this year and he seems to matchup well on this course so I wouldn’t hesitate to play him in Cash this week.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Dustin Johnson ($11,400 DK – $12,300 FD) – DJ isn’t outside of the top 30 in any of the main SG statistics this season so I think he is the best pick of the three highest priced guys (if the cheaper options taking more ownership: Rory and JT). I’m not a specialist when it comes to ownership and accurate numbers probably won’t come out until later in the week so I would make sure to check those before making your picks.
    • Justin Rose ($10,200 DK – $11,700 FD) – it turns out I was somewhat right in labeling Rose as a risky pick last week because he ended up finishing 63rd. His ownership was high, which I was wrong about, but I bet it drops after that showing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational so now might be a good time to swim against the current and take the former number one on the Official World Golf Ranking.
    • Jon Rahm ($9,500 DK – $11,300 FD) – Rahm’s SG: approaching-the-green numbers aren’t the best (116th) but he’s still 21st in SG: tee-to-green and has good scoring numbers this season. His record on this course isn’t great and he’s coming off of a 45th place finish so I think people will be looking the other way on Rahm but before his last event he had an impressive string of six top 10’s in a row.

Value ($7,400 – $8,900 on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Patrick Cantlay ($8,700 DK – $10,000 FD) – from $9,300 to $7,900 it is going to be a gauntlet of highly owned golfers. The guy who I have the most confidence in within this range is Patrick Cantlay so he’s my Cash lock of the week. He checks the boxes in recent form, long-term success, course history, and course fit.
    • Ian Poulter ($7,600 DK – $9,800 FD) – underneath the real chalky range that I pointed out in Cantlay’s blurb, but still inside of the value category, I see three guys being picked quite a lot — Poulter, Leishman, and Woodland. Poulter is in as good of form as both of the other two but has a far superior course history with five cuts made in the last five years and a 2nd and 11th place finish in the last two years.
    • Rafa Cabrera Bello ($7,400 DK – $9,800 FD) – Rafa was the first round leader last week and has made his last two cuts here finishing 4th and 17th. He ended up in 3rd place last week and that was after putting one in the water on the final hole. I’m assuming he will be a high percentage pick but if not he will be a great GPP play as well.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Webb Simpson ($8,500 DK – $10,300 FD) – from $8,800 to $8,200 there are seven guys who I think will be some of the most highly owned this week, but they can’t all be picked. With Webb coming off of back-to-back finishes in the upper 30’s I think people will be pivoting off of him although he is the defending champ. That alone would make me want to increase my Webb Simpson stock.
    • Hideki Matsuyama ($8,300 DK – $10,500 FD) – the guy who I think is knocking on the door for his next win in this price range is Hideki. He’s 2nd in SG: approaching-the-green and 3rd in SG: tee-to-green while losing over half of a stroke putting. If he cleans up his act on the dance floor then I could easily see him in the winners circle yet again.
    • Cameron Smith ($7,600 DK – $9,900 FD) – this one feels wrong but I want it to be right so bad. Smith is wedged between Poulter and Leishman who I think take most of the ownership at $7,600 because Cameron has missed his only two cuts here which were last year and the year before. He also missed his last cut at the Honda but he’s been great from his approaches and around the green so if the shorter rough this year can help his inaccuracy off the tee then he might surprise people.

Sleepers ($7,300 and under on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Charles Howell III ($7,300 DK – $9,600 FD) – Howell in my eyes this week is the best pick per dollar on the market. He has six top 20’s in his last seven events and the one where he finished outside of 20 was a 34th place finish. He’s 1st in par 4 scoring, 1st in GIR, and 2nd in bogey avoidance while being solid from tee-to-green and coming off of a 17th place finish here last year… which means he’ll probably miss the cut and break my heart.
    • Lucas Glover ($7,100 DK – $9,200 FD) – I floated the theory around early last week that Glover was over performing and was bound for a collapse. He went on to top 10. In his last three tries here he has two missed cuts and a 6th place finish, but the two missed cuts were close calls so he’s still an excellent play here.
    • Keith Mitchell ($6,800 DK – $8,900 FD) – Mitchell could go very highly owned coming off of a win and a 6th place finish the last two weeks while being priced at $6,800. He finally got his putter to match his tee-to-green game but I see him as being somewhat of a risky pick so if you want to avoid him altogether, I wouldn’t blame you.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Byeong Hun An ($6,800 DK – $8,700 FD) – Ben An is priced the same as Keith Mitchell and Sungjae Im who finished 6th and 3rd respectively (just ahead of An at 10th). With those finishes I could see people flocking to those other two while Ben An, the better of the three in my opinion, goes into Thursday lower owned. He’s been the best around the green this year and 4th tee-to-green so he has a shot at placing decently high this week.
    • Chesson Hadley ($6,700 DK – $8,500 FD) – Hadley was tied for the lead after one round at TPC Sawgrass last year and ended up in 11th place. He’s 1st in proximity and 4th in SG: approaching-the-green so if the rest of his game is there, he could be a very good pick.
    • Jason Kokrak ($6,700 DK – $9,000 FD) – Kokrak has an awful track record at THE PLAYERS Championship going: missed cut, missed cut, missed cut, missed cut, and 46th, in his last five years here. This might steer some people the other way but he’s been so good tee-to-green that it’s safe to stay on him despite his poor finishes here.

Dark Horses

  • Risky (GPP)
    • Keegan Bradley ($7,400 DK – $9,200 FD) & Emiliano Grillo ($7,200 DK – $9,200 FD) – I don’t know what to do with these two. They’re my boys and they consistently make cuts but they don’t do well enough to take them at high ownership. But… if they get good at putting for one four day stretch then they could finish top 10 easy — so do with them what you like.
    • Luke List ($7,000 DK – $9,000 FD) – List has dropped off of the radar this week even though he finished 10th last week. But I guess he has gone: 4th – missed cut – 4th – missed cut – 40th – missed cut – 15th – missed cut – 10th – this season so statistically speaking, he’s gotta miss this cut. He also missed his only two cuts on Sawgrass (the last two years). I would like to see him buck the trend though.
    • Matt Wallace ($6,700 DK – $8,500 FD) – Wallace could end up being a somewhat low level, chalky pick in GPP’s this week coming off of back-to-back good finishes in the Florida circuit (20th and 6th). If not, I would like to sprinkle him into a few lineups.
    • Ryan Palmer ($6,600 DK – $8,800 FD) – Ryan Palmer is my new Sam Ryder, my new Danny Lee, my new (whoever else super cheap that I’ve been big on in the past)… well, at least for this week. He’s coming off of a 4th place finish at the Honda Classic and is 10th in SG: approaching-the-green, 8th in GIR, 15th in proximity, 7th in birdie or better percentage, and 6th in par 4 scoring. He also has two finishes here of 23rd place in the last three years. If the rough is low, like they are saying, and Palmer has a good week around the green (which is his kryptonite) then he could be a problem.

 

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Mark Lee

Written by 

Detroit sports fan, also sufferer of seasonal depression (the two might be related). Avid golfer and former college baseball player. Would've been in the league if it weren't for my lack of ability. Accountant by day, fantasy sports guru by night.

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