Daily Fantasy Golf Preview: Wells Fargo Championship

The Course

  • Quail Hollow Golf Club
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Par 71
  • 7,600 yards
    • Hosted PGA Championship in 2017, so Wells Fargo was at Eagle Point Golf Club that year
    • Some major changes were made to the course before the PGA Championship
      • Holes 1 & 2 were conjoined to form the new, first hole: a long par 4
      • The par 5 fifth was split into two new holes: a par 4 and par 3
      • The 11th green was moved further back
      • All of the greens were re-grassed
      • Thousands of trees were cut down
    • Tree lined course with some water in play on the back
    • Bermuda grass & fast, unpredictable greens
    • Nine of the Par 4’s are 449 yards or longer – a lot of driver holes
    • Last three holes are known as The Green Mile: a 506 yard par 4, 223 yard par 3, and a 494 yard par 4

Key Stats

  • Birdie or better
  • SG: tee-to-green
    • SG: around-the-green
  • Driving distance
  • Par 4 scoring

The Field

The field is set at 156 with 22 golfers listed at $8,000 and above on DraftKings this week with some elite level players at the top, but after that, the strength of this field really takes a hit. Rory McIlroy is the clear cut favorite and tops the pricing list at Quail Hollow but he is followed by names like Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama, and Sergio Garcia. The PGA Championship is in two weeks so this might be the last chance for some guys to get tournament action in before the next major.

Strategy

This week I see a couple guys near the top of the pricing list that will get some ownership, especially Rory, so my strategy will be to avoid anyone $10,000 or higher. Another big reason for this is that below $7,400 I don’t see many golfers that I want to take a chance on and at this course in years past it seems like the top of the leaderboard is loaded with talent. I want to fit as many top-level players into my lineups as I can this week, which means that the balanced approach is more ideal than the stars and scrubs here (there is also a bigger field here than there was at The Heritage so more players will be cut this week).

Big Dogs ($9,000 and up on DK)

Solid (Cash)

  • Webb Simpson ($9,700 DK – $10,800 FD) – Webb Simpson is coming off of three out of four finishes inside of the top 20 including a T5 at The Masters several weeks ago. He also has a good track record here only missing one out of his last five cuts at Quail Hollow and even having a 2nd place finish in 2015 (I’m substituting the 2017 PGA Championship in for the Wells Fargo Championship that year because the event was moved so that Quail Hollow could host the PGA Championship). Webb isn’t the longest off of the tee but his game is really good everywhere else and he seems to like this course so I think he’s one of the safest picks up here.
  • Gary Woodland ($9,000 DK – $11,100 FD) – Woodland did miss the cut here last year but before that he had four straight finishes of 24th or better including a 4th place finish in 2015. He’s top 10 in SG: off-the-tee, SG: tee-to-green, driving distance, GIR, birdie or better, par 5, and par 4 scoring. Even though he has had some lackluster outings recently, he’s still a great fit for this course and will probably garner a decent amount of ownership.

Risky (GPP)

  • Sergio Garcia ($9,900 DK – $10,300 FD) – Sergio’s only time on this course in recent history was the 2017 PGA Championship where he missed the cut but he seems to be a better player now than he was back then. He is coming off of a 54th at The Valspar and 66th at The Masters in his last two events so his course history and recent form leave something to be desired. On DraftKings he is also priced above Webb, Casey, Finau, Mickelson, and Woodland so I think many people will opt out of Garcia and play someone with seemingly better value; leaving Sergio ripe for the picking.
  • Paul Casey ($9,500 DK – $11,300 FD) – both of these next two guys seem to have big boom or bust potential just based off of, well, who they are. Casey and Phil have both missed two out of their last three cuts but wedged between Casey’s missed cuts is a win (and before that he had a 2nd, 25th, and 3rd place finish in his prior three events). Both finished T5 at the Wells Fargo Championship last year and Phil even has two additional 4th place finishes here in 2015 and 2016. The strategy here might be to pick one in GPP’s and fade the other, they could be potential high owned plays with their upside so it’s best to only have one and hope the other misses the cut.
  • Phil Mickelson ($9,100 DK – $11,200 FD) – (see Paul Casey’s write-up above).

Value ($7,400 – $8,900 on DK)

Solid (Cash)

  • Lucas Glover ($8,500 DK – $10,400 FD) – Glover did miss the cut two weeks ago at The RBC Heritage (the last normal event — I’m not counting The Zurich Classic) but so did the entire range this week from $8,300 – $8,600 so I’m guessing that won’t effect ownership much. He won here in 2011 and has another top 10 finish in 2016, and on top of that he is the highest ranked guy in my stats model this week for course correlation so he might be the foundation to my lineups this week.
  • Keegan Bradley ($8,000 DK – $10,600 FD) – Keegan has only missed two cuts over the last year so if everyone is leaning towards building balanced lineups this week then he could become a popular pick. I like him in Cash games where you are almost guaranteed to get him past the cut line, but if he does go highly owned, then I’m not crazy about a guy who is probably going to finish 30th-40th and be on 20% of all lineups.
  • Joel Dahmen ($7,600 DK – $8,700 FD) – Dahmen has made five straight cuts heading into this event with three of those being 16th or better. The only time he’s played at Quail Hollow in the last five years was last year where he finished 16th. He’s got a good well-rounded game, with decent form, and course history, so I could imagine at $7,600 he’s a popular play this week.

Risky (GPP)

  • Byeong Hun An ($8,300 DK – $9,800 FD) – from Kevin Streelman at $7,700 to Jason Kokrak at $8,700 there are 14 guys here that I will be referring to as “Chalk Alley” for this week. It’s tough to tell where the ownership is going to go in this range but I’m going to go with the two guys that rated out the best for this course over the last two years: Ben An and Jhonny Vegas. Ben An is part of that group that missed the cut at The Heritage but he had two top 10’s in his last three events before that. He has some experience here and even has a 28th place finish at Quail Hollow in the 2017 PGA Championship. He’s also first in SG: around-the-green this year and 13th in driving distance which are two of the biggest stats this week.
  • Jhonattan Vegas ($8,200 DK – $9,500 FD) – like I said earlier, Jhonny Vegas over the long haul has had a game that fits this course but his history here doesn’t show it. In his last five times playing at Quail Hollow he has missed the cut three times and his highest finish was a 42nd last year. Vegas’s average drive is 305 yards, which is 4 yards behind Ben An, and he’s really improved his touch around the green where he rates out at 32nd in SG: around-the-green and 21st in scrambling.
  • Michael Thompson ($7,400 DK – $9,200 FD) – Thompson added to his top 10 count this season at The Heritage last week bringing his total up to four on the year. He’s not the longest guy on tour averaging 285 yards per drive but last year he averaged 296 yards so I’m hoping people will overlook him this week and that he has a little extra in the tank that he’s been saving for a long course. Despite losing distance on his drives, he’s improved his tee-to-green game by locking in with his irons and going up and down when he misses the greens (which could be big at Quail Hollow where the distance makes it tough to find greens in regulation).

Sleepers ($7,300 and under on DK)

Solid (Cash)

  • Matt Jones ($7,200 DK – $8,900 FD) – this is about the least confident I’ve felt in my Sleeper and Dark Horses categories all year so my advice for this week is tread lightly down here. Matt Jones has now made seven straight cuts since the Farmers Insurance Open but has missed two of his last three cuts here dating back to 2014, 2015, and 2016. The course has been renovated since then and his game looks much different this year so I expect him to be one of the safest picks down in this range. He’s lost a little distance off of the tee but has gained in accuracy and is 22nd in SG: off-the-tee which helps him to be on of the better par 5 scorers on Tour (33rd).
  • Sam Burns ($7,200 DK – $8,500 FD) – Burns is one of the longest hitters in the game and has great touch on the green; ranked 18th in driving distance, 24th in SG: putting, and 1st in three putt avoidance, so I expect him to get a lot of buzz at this price as a young bomber that could make some waves if his mid-range game looks sharp.
  • Harold Varner III ($7,000 DK – $7,900 FD) – Varner rates out really well for this course, more so than years past, and he finished T55 at Quail Hollow with Sam Burns last year and 24th two years prior. I could imagine with the success he had earlier in this season, how he fits this course, his name recognition, and extremely low price tag… he could reach the teens in ownership this week.

Risky (GPP)

  • Bud Cauley ($7,100 DK – $8,900 FD) – behind Ben An, Bud Cauley is the 2nd best player on Tour at gaining strokes around the green. He’s also 23rd in scrambling and 21st in par 5 scoring so his ability to save par and find low numbers on the par 5’s should help him to advance into the weekend at a course where he has plenty of experience.
  • Chesson Hadley ($7,000 DK – $8,400 FD) – Hadley is undoubtedly one of the best iron players in the game, ranking 16th in SG: approaching-the-green and 2nd in proximity. He also has three straight top 20 finishes in the Wells Fargo Championship so depending on where his ownership goes this week, he could be a very good pick.
  • Denny McCarthy ($7,000 DK – $8,800 FD) – if Haldey becomes too popular this week, then a nice pivot play off of that would be McCarthy. Denny has much more consistent recent form and is top 25 in SG: putting, scrambling, one putt percentage, bogey avoidance, par 5 scoring, and par 3 scoring. He seems to have one big hole in his game which is accuracy into the greens so if he can close that hole he could put together a solid tournament.

Dark Horses

Risky (GPP)

  • Hank Lebioda ($6,800 DK – $7,900 FD) – the $6,000’s look to be somewhat of a wasteland this week but there were a few diamonds in the rough. Lebioda has a very well rounded tee-to-green game where he ranks 35th in gaining strokes total this year and he’s 17th in SG: around-the-green. His putting hasn’t been great but these greens are fast and can be near impossible to figure out so that might level the playing field for Hank this week (a guy who has made six straight cuts).
  • Adam Schenk ($6,700 DK – $8,300 FD) – Schenk finished very poorly here last year but fortunately for him he has vastly improved since then. He’s missed two out of his last seven cuts but every cut he made was a 33rd place finish or better. He’s another guy that has only one hole in his game, which is SG: around-the-green, so if he can fix that aspect of his game for a few days then he could be a steal at $6,700.
  • Nate Lashley ($6,200 DK – $7,900 FD) – Lashley has only played 11 times in the last year on Tour and is one of the shorter guys off of the tee so I think he will largely go overlooked this week. Even with his lack of distance he is 20th in GIR which is due to his accuracy with driver and fantastic iron play (55th in driving accuracy, 23rd in SG: approachin-the-green, and 3rd in proximity). This makes him a good par 4 scorer (6th) and a sneaky good dark horse.

 

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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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