Daily Fantasy Golf Preview: The Valspar Championship

The Course

  • Cooperhead Course (Innisbrook Golf Resort)
  • Palm Harbor, Florida
  • Par 71
  • 7,340 yards
    • Undulating over-seeded Bermuda greens
    • One of the hardest courses on Tour (winning score is typically between -7 & -14)
    • “The Snake Pit” closing 3 holes – very hard
    • Pine tree-lined fairways, plenty of doglegs & rolling terrain
    • Risk-and-reward shots with water and bunkers in play off of the tee and into the greens
    • Four par 5’s & five par 3’s
    • Should be somewhat similar to how TPC Sawgrass played last week
    • Weather has been dry so the course should be firm
    • Some wind expected

Key Stats

  • SG: tee-to-green
    • SG: approaching-the-green
    • SG: off-the-tee
  • GIR
  • Bogey avoidance
  • Birdie or better
  • Par 5 scoring
  • Par 3 scoring

The Field

At about half of the purse size and with a WGC next week, it’s no surprise that a lot of players have decided to sit this one out. There are still a few big names in this one like Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia, and Patrick Reed but I would watch for WD’s throughout the week. There have already been a few changes made to the field of 144 including: Out– Daniel Berger, Tommy Fleetwood, Alex Noren, Cameron Smith, Abraham Ancer, Martin Laird, and Bronson Burgoon. In– Tyrrell Hatton, Kramer Hickok, Hank Leboida, Seth Reeves, Joey Garber, Kyle Jones, and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez.

Big Dogs ($8,900 and up on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Dustin Johnson ($11,500 DK – $12,600 FD) – DJ has had 11 straight rounds of -2 or better and is coming off of a nice showing at THE PLAYERS Championship where he finished T5. I see this being somewhat like the Honda Classic where Sergio, Rickie, and Brooks were all in the top 10 on a tough course with a weak field. Three of these highest priced eight guys are almost guaranteed to finish in the top 10… the trick will be figuring out who. Dustin is my best guess.
    • Jim Furyk ($9,200 DK – $10,000 FD) – Furyk has now gone 10 straight events without shooting a round of +2 or worse. That is exactly the style of play that will be successful at the Valspar Championship when -7 can possibly bring home the win. Jim is coming off of two top 10’s and last year in this tournament he was in the top 10 as well so he is a good pick, but probably highly owned.
    • Lucas Glover ($9,000 DK – $10,500 FD) – Glover missed the cut last week but he lost just over 2 strokes putting and his driving accuracy was under 60% for the first time in eight tournaments. Before that he was coming off of three straight top 10’s so I expect him to bounce back on a course that he has a lot of experience on.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Paul Casey ($9,700 DK – $10,900 FD) – quick moment of silence for everyone who had Casey in their lineups last week. He’s in a weird spot this week as the defending champ but he probably resides in the dog house for many DFS players for his last performance. Like Glover, Casey lost over two strokes putting last week so I imagine that will change and if people are sour on Paul then he could be a great pick here.
    • Keegan Bradley ($9,400 DK – $10,100 FD) – Keegan Bradley has shown the ability to go low with four out of his last eight rounds at -4 or better in the last two weeks. Putting is always going to be a problem with him but the ball striking is too good for you to completely over look Keegan, especially in a weaker field where avoiding bogeys will be crucial.
    • Bubba Watson ($8,900 DK – $9,900 FD) – Bubba’s big drawback this year has been his driving accuracy and his putting but he’s still managed to card four top 30’s in five events since the Waste Management. He’s one of the best par 5 scorers on tour and is 2nd in driving distance right now so he can afford to layup and improve his accuracy, and if he can knock down putts he will be a good flier here at $8,900.

Value ($7,200$8,800 on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Jason Kokrak ($8,600 DK – $9,700 FD) – Kokrak continues to roll and even though he only finished 48th last week he shot -4 on Friday to make the cut and finished with a closing round -2. His game fits Copperhead and he even has success here in years past with two top 10’s and a 14th place finish in the last five years.
    • Russell Knox ($8,100 DK – $9,000 FD) – what I like about Knox is his ability to avoid disastrous rounds. He has gone 8 straight tournaments, a total of 32 rounds, without shooting worse than +2 in a single round. In that time he has been bouncing between 10th and 51st place finishes with 0 missed cuts so I’m guessing in a field like this he will be right in the low side of that range.
    • Sungjae Im ($7,700 DK – $9,600 FD) – Sungjae has only had one bad round out of his 10 in Florida this year but unfortunately his E last week wasn’t enough to make the cut. In this field he is 7th in SG: tee-to-green so I like his chances to rebound and find another top 10 like he did at Bay Hill two weeks ago.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Ryan Moore ($8,700 DK – $8,900 FD) – Ryan Moore has started to right the ship with three straight finishes of 33rd or better including a -9, 21st place finish last week. Before his missed cut in the Valspar Championship last year he had an 18th, 3rd, and 5th place finish at Copperhead since 2015 so this should be a course that he feels comfortable on.
    • Russell Henley ($7,800 DK – $8,700 FD) – I’m trying to anticipate a good stretch with Henley on this one: he has two recent top 20’s, Russell was 9th his last time here in 2017, and last year around this time he finished 8th in Houston and 15th at the Masters. He did miss the cut last week at +1 but I think he might be on the verge of some good finishes so I want to beat the rush hour traffic on this one.
    • Sung Kang ($7,200 DK – $7,900 FD) – in 13 starts this season Sung Kang has had 6 top 30 finishes and 2 of those have been top 10’s including two weeks ago at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. His best stats are par 3 scoring, par 5 scoring, and bogey avoidance so he should continue to roll at Copperhead and add to his five straight made cuts.

Sleepers ($7,100 and under on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Trey Mullinax ($7,100 DK – $8,600 FD) – Mullinax did miss the cut last week after starting -3 in the first round and then +3 in the second. Before that narrowly missed cut he made 7 straight and had 3 consecutive tourneys in the top 25. He’s been good tee-to-green, scoring on par 5, and avoiding bogeys so I really like his scoring potential at $7,100.
    • Roger Sloan ($7,000 DK – $8,000 FD) – Sloan doesn’t really blow you away with any of his statistics but he is coming off of three straight top 30’s which include the Honda Classic and Arnold Palmer Invitational. He’s really starting to score better, especially on par 3’s and par 5’s, so I think he could be a pretty decent sleeper pick this week.
    • Rory Sabbatini ($6,900 DK – $8,600 FD) – Sabbatini is coming off of a 5th place finish at the Valspar and two recent 36th place finishes, both in Florida. He’s had some ups and downs but out of his last 8 rounds at the Honda and THE PLAYERS he has 4 rounds of -3 or better. With his form, course history, and ability to score recently I imagine he is a decently owned player even for his low price tag.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Roberto Castro ($7,100 DK – $8,600 FD) – Castro has three straight made cuts and two straight events placing 25th or better. He’s 8th overall in SG: approaching-the-green this season, good with getting to the GIR, and his scoring numbers are all pretty solid so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him flirting with the top of the leaderboard throughout this week.
    • Wyndham Clark ($6,900 DK – $8,600 FD) – Clark had the ole unintentional, intentional WD last week with the incorrect scorecard signage DQ. He shot an opening round 80 (which he signed as a 79) last week so I’m sure that will have his stock down but before that he had two straight top 10 finishes. He’s 4th in driving distance and his putter has been very good this year so if his iron play doesn’t kill his chances at Copperhead he should have a good week.
    • Carlos Ortiz ($6,800 DK – $8,000 FD) – Carlos is 3 out of his last 4 cuts and the cut that he did miss was at the Honda where he was only a stroke back from the line. Two of his last three events were a 29th and 9th place finish and he does have two made cuts out of two tries at the Valspar in 2015 & 2016 so he knows how to get into the weekend here.

Dark Horses

  • Risky (GPP)
    • Nick Taylor ($7,300 DK – $8,000 FD) – Taylor hasn’t had a terrific last year or so but he’s turned in four consecutive events at 33rd or better and his last three rounds on a tough course at TPC Sawgrass were -3, -3, and -5 so maybe Nick is feeling confident and can keep that momentum going forward.
    • Max Homa ($6,300 DK – $7,800 FD) – Max Homa’s last four events have all been finishes between 10th and 37th so I’m confused why his price tag is so low. It almost looks like they are weighing course history more heavily into their prices this week but he hasn’t played here in over three years so I’ll take the experience at Copperhead over the negative results from so far back.
    • Jonas Blixt ($6,200 DK – $7,800 FD) – Blixt is a lot like Homa for me this week, he’s made four out of his last five cuts with all finishes between 15th and 38th. His last two times at this course he finished 22nd and 23rd so for a guy at $6,200 he seems to have a relatively high floor.

 

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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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