What’s up folks? Welcome back to another exciting edition of your DFS fantasy golf preview. This week the Tour heads to Palm Harbor for the Valspar Championship. This is traditionally one of the hardest golf courses that the pros play and it is rather unique too with 5 par 3s and 4 par 5s. The course is a 7,300 yard par 71 course with water in play on many holes and very small greens. I am looking for elite ball strikers, good all-around players and also par 5 scorers as most of the good scoring opportunities are on the par 5s.
As a result, my stats of the week are: Greens in Regulation, Strokes Gained Approach, Par 5 Scoring, Proximity and Strokes Gained Total. Let’s see what we came up with.
If you have any questions – don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter at @AssemblyNeil.
Jordan Spieth ($11,800 DraftKings/$12,400 FanDuel) – Spieth is the highest priced golfer in the field and I thought he would be fairly chalky, though many touts I listen to seem to be fading him. I will not join those touts as Spieth is one of only two golfers in the field who rank in the top 25 of all five of my key stat categories (I will get to the other one later). His course history is also pretty good at this event with four straight top 20s, including a win and his recent form is underrated too as he has three straight top 20 finishes overall. I think Spieth will be great this week.
Paul Casey ($9,800 DraftKings/$11,400 FanDuel) – From Spieth there is a fairly big pricing drop off to my next play as I am skipping over Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and (begrudgingly) Henrik Stenson. Instead, I will be starting a lot of my builds with Casey who is in the top 20 on Tour in Greens in Regulation, Strokes Gained Approach and Strokes Gained Total. His course history is pretty spotty with two straight missed cuts and his recent form is good but not great, but I think this may take people off this play. I think Casey is a nice play in both cash games and tournaments.
Upper Middle Class
Webb Simpson ($8,500 DraftKings/$10,700 FanDuel) – I have been hearing a lot of people touting last year’s winner, Adam Hadwin, as a top play this week, and while I don’t hate that play, I will have 0% of a highly owned Hadwin at $8,800. Instead, I will be pivoting to Webb Simpson, whose recent course history is not great, but who had four straight top 20 finishes from 2010-2013 on this course. Simpson is 37th on Tour in Strokes Gained Approach, 7th in Par 5 Scoring and 14th in Strokes Gained Total. Together this is a recipe for a nice finish. I am hoping for sub-10% ownership on this pivot play, making it ideal for GPPs.
Byeong-Hyun An ($8,400 DraftKings/$9,400 FanDuel) – I was hoping for a lower price for An on DraftKings, but I will have to just settle for his low price on FanDuel. Truth be told, I will be playing An on both sites as he seems tailor-made for this course. An ranks 10th on tour in Strokes Gained Approach, 13th in Par 5 Scoring and 18th in Strokes Gained Total. His form is also rock solid, with top 10 finishes in 2 of his last 3 events. I feel like this could be a top 5 finish for the young South Korean.
Chez Reavie ($7,900 DraftKings/$9,400 FanDuel) – Chez is way too cheap on FanDuel and will likely be chalky on that site, but again, I like this play on both sites. Reavie ranks in the top 20 on tour in Greens in Regulation, Strokes Gained Approach and Proximity, meaning he is as elite as they come when it comes to ball strikers. Reavie has been good, but not great on this course, making the cut 5 of his last 6 times with 4 of those being solid top 30 finishes. Chez has struggled in his last two tournaments, but he was the hottest player on Tour before that with consecutive runner-up finishes. I think Reavie rights the ship this week and gets back into the top 10.
Zach Johnson ($7,700 DraftKings/$10,000 FanDuel) – Remember in the Jordan Spieth section when I said he was one of two guys who rank in the top 25 in all 5 of my stat categories this week? If you guessed Zach Johnson as the other dude who ranks in the top 25 of all those categories you win a prize (please contact my editor Jim for your complementary Fantasy Assembly thimble). Johnson has not played this course in several years and when he did, his course history is nothing to write home about. I am hoping that leads to lower ownership, because I will have ZJ in over 60% of my GPP lineups.
Bang for your Buck
Kevin Streelman ($7,500 DraftKings/$8,800 FanDuel) – This FanDuel price is quite yummy as I will have Streelman in nearly 100% of my lineups on that site. Streelman is an excellent ball striker, ranking 1st in Greens in Regulation, 21st in Strokes Gained Approach and 39th in Proximity. Streelman has also proven that he likes this course as he won this event back in 2013 (when it was called the “Tampa Bay Championship”). He also has two other top 20 finishes here in the last 5 years. Streelman is also a steady cut maker and should be a staple of your cash game lineups.
Charles Howell III ($7,400 DraftKings/$9,300 FanDuel) – CH3 is another course history monster as he has made 8 of his last 9 cuts here, including an impressive 4 top 10 finishes. You can see why Howell likes this course as he ranks 12th on Tour in Greens in Regulation and 18th in Strokes Gained Approach. CH3 disappointed many folks in his last start at the Honda Classic and I hope this leads to lower ownership as I will have a bunch of shares.
Keegan Bradley ($7,000 DraftKings/$9,000 FanDuel) – I really like this price for Bradley on DraftKings as he is a pretty decent scorer for this low a price. Bradley famously missed the cut at this event two years ago after having the first round lead, but to me that just shows that he is capable of shooting a low round here. Bradley ranks 9th on Tour in Greens in Regulation, 4th in Strokes Gained Approach and 11th in Proximity. If he can get the flat stick rolling, there is no reason that Keegan can’t have a nice finish in Tampa this week.
Ryan Armour ($6,800 DraftKings/$8,000 FanDuel) – The last time I wrote about Ryan Armour he flopped badly, though maybe that is because I kept referring to him as Tommy Armour. Tommy Armour was a great golfer, winning 3 Major championships, but the last of those came in 1931. (In fairness to me, Armour’s grandson, Tommy Armour III was a Tour player fairly recently). But I digress. Ryan Armour is an excellent ball striker and seems to be a good course fit, ranking in the top 30 on Tour in Strokes Gained Approach, Par 5 scoring and Proximity. Armour’s form has been mediocre of late, but I am willing to give him a chance here – especially in GPPs.
OTHERS OF NOTE:
Here are some other guys that will make their way into my lineups:
Bryson DeChambeau ($7,400 DraftKings/$9,300 FanDuel) leads this field in Par 5 scoring and is also a pretty good ball striker, ranking 25th on Tour in Greens in Regulation.
Gary Woodland ($9,000 DraftKings/$10,300 FanDuel) has disappointed many in the last couple of weeks after a hot start to the season but he is 2nd on Tour in Greens in Regulation and 12th in Strokes Gained Total. Woodland has also won this event before (2011).
Bill Haas ($7,600 DraftKings/$9,500 FanDuel) will probably be very low owned as he is making his return after a tragic car accident which took the life of his friend. If he can withstand the mental rigors, his stats line up nicely and he has a runner-up finish at this event two years ago.
Chesson Hadley ($7,400 DraftKings/$9,300 FanDuel) is having a dynamite season and ranks 5th on Tour in Strokes Gained Approach and 8th in Strokes Gained Total.
Ollie Schniederjans ($7,700 DraftKings/$9,200 FanDuel) double bogeyed on 18 to miss the cut here last year, but I will ignore that. He is an elite ball striker ranking 12th in Strokes Gained Approach and 26th in Strokes Gained Total.
Good luck to all of you this week!
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