Hello RotoBaller PGA family! Jason Kokrak took down an elite field at Shadow Creek to claim his first victory on the PGA Tour. Kokrak, as well as many of the other CJ Cup contenders, were highlighted in this column last week, so I hope you some of you guys had a nice payday on FanDuel!
This week's ZOZO Championship shares lots of similarities to the CJ Cup. It's an elite, limited field with just 78 players in a no-cut format. We're also dealing with a golf course in Sherwood Country Club that we don't regularly see on the PGA Tour's schedule. In this article we'll discuss some of the standout PGA DFS plays available on FanDuel for the ZOZO Championship. While it's impossible to hit on every player, we'll touch on some different plays across all price ranges, breaking the groups down into "High", "Mid", and "Low" price options.
Like always, the purpose of this piece is to help you put together your optimal daily fantasy golf lineups for FanDuel, whether that be from a GPP perspective or a cash-game mentality. Be sure to also read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS and betting articles to help you win big!Editor's Note: Golf is back! Come join the fun and win big with RotoBaller. Get our full-season PGA and DFS Premium Pass for 50% off! Our exclusive DFS Lineup Optimizer, Research Station, DFS Projections and weekly DFS/betting articles! Sign Up Now!
ZOZO Championship @ Sherwood - PGA DFS Overview
Sherwood Country Club
7,006 Yards - Par 72 - Greens: Bent - Designer: Jack Nicklaus
Sherwood Country Club is a beautiful Jack Nicklaus layout that contains both breathtaking views and difficult decisions for the players. It's a strategic golf course with several risk/reward holes, including the drivable Par-4 opener and FIVE Par-5s that can be played either aggressively or conservatively. In true Nicklaus fashion, this is a layout that places emphasis on position off the tee and requires a precise second shot. The length will be no problem for the players in this week's field, but Nicklaus' routing - that includes multiple doglegs - will prevent an all-out "Bomb & Gauge" assault. We already mentioned the layouts unique number of Par-5s (five) and Sherwood will also throw five Par-3s at this field...which will force me to weight both Par-5 and Par-3 scoring fairly heavily. Like last week, players will face Bentgrass green surfaces.
Despite Sherwood's lack of length on the scorecard, I look for it to provide a fairly stern test for the field. I'll be leaning accuracy and total driving over sheer distance when considering off the tee stats, while attempting to target sharp ball strikers with hot irons. I never give too much weight to putting, but I'll glance at splits on Bent, while also sneaking a peek at scrambling/bogey avoidance.
Let's Look At The Stats
|Stat||Sherwood CC||Tour Average|
|Average Three-Putts Per Round||N/A||0.55|
- Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Par 5: Birdies or Better Gained
- Par 3: Birdies or Better Gained
- SG: Putting (Bent)
- Driving Accuracy
Fantasy Golf Lineup Picks for FanDuel (PGA DFS)
We have tons of great weekly PGA articles, DFS analysis, tools and DFS advice. Be sure to read our other fantastic articles regarding this week's event including DFS lineup picks for DraftKings/FanDuel, betting advice and DFS prop picks.
High-Priced FanDuel DFS Players
Justin Thomas ($11,800)
Justin Thomas demonstrated some frustration by tossing his ball in the water as he walked off the 72nd hole at Shadow Creek last week. I imagine JT's anger continues to grow as he just can't seem to put it all together as of late. Thomas by no means played bad at the CJ Cup en route to a T12, but the putter continually failed him, as he gained six strokes T2G yet lost nearly a stroke on the greens. At some point in the near future, JT will have everything clicking and there's a strong chance that happens this week at the ZOZO on a Sherwood layout that rewards accuracy off the tee, strategic thinking, and sharp iron play...all tools that Thomas possesses in spades.
Xander Schauffele ($11,600)
Xander was one of our favorites in this column last week and he rewarded us by nearly winning at Shadow Creek, eventually settling for a runner-up position in spite of a final-round 66. There are some rumblings that Schauffele isn't closing out golf tournaments, but I find that argument to be pretty thin, as actual wins can sometimes be flukey (Jason Kokrak shot 64 Sunday, not much you can do about that). Rather than nitpicking the fact that he lost, I'm focused on the positive that Xander continues to reliably offer great DFS returns for us by giving himself chances in tons of tournaments. There is a tiny concern of a "hangover" this week, but we have to believe that his rock-solid tee-to-green abilities will once again put him in great position at Sherwood.
Webb Simpson ($11,300)
I don't remember ever feeling bad about rostering Webb Simpson. The dude is just always consistent. Since missing the cut at the Charles Schwab in the first event of the restart, Webb has posted a win, four top-10s, and two top-25s, against just one missed cut over 10 starts. The only layouts that I'm somewhat reluctant to roster the light hitter are long ones, but this week's 7,000-yard Sherwood course is certainly nothing to worry about. The Jack Nicklaus-design will actually play right into Webb's strengths...accuracy off the tee, great iron play, and the ability to scramble & make putts. Simpson logged a top-five on this course in 2013 at the World Challenge charity event and he's perhaps my favorite play on the board this week due to his ever-consistent form and the course fit.
Collin Morikawa ($11,100)
Morikawa has been rather quiet since his huge PGA Championship win, but there are some signs that he's emerging from the post-major-win haze. He posted a that's-more-Morikawa-like mark of +5.8 strokes on Approach last week at the CJ Cup - his best iron performance since the PGA. We also have to believe that Sherwood CC is tailor made for his game with its demand for precision. The youngster emerged victorious on a Jack Nicklaus-designed Muirfield Village layout earlier this year at the Workday Open and has the tools needed to get the job done this week. He stands just 51st in this field in Driving Distance over the last 24 rounds, but ranks fifth in Fairways Gained...the aspect off the tee that I'm targeting on this golf course.
Tyrrell Hatton ($10,900)
The Englishman heads to the ZOZO in the midst of an absolute heater. Hatton captured the BMW Championship in Europe two weeks ago and followed the victory up with an eye-opening performance last week at the CJ Cup. He gained a MASSIVE 9.2 strokes on Approach at Shadow Creek to lead the field in that category en route to a T3 finish. Like some of the other players we've already discussed, Hatton isn't a bomber, which won't be a huge detriment to him this week. My only concern is "narrative based" and I worry that he might simply run out of steam at some point after flying to Las Vegas and contending on the heels of a win in Europe. Mental and physical fatigue is something that we just can't accurately predict for DFS purposes, but we have seen it happen with these guys before, so I feel that it is worth a mention. All that said...Hatton is a terrific play on paper.
Tiger Woods ($10,300)
Call me sentimental, but I'm gonna at least give the Big Cat a look this week. Tiger's play hasn't exactly been encouraging in the limited starts he's made this year, but this week's situation seems to be the best one for him in quite awhile. He's won on this Sherwood layout FIVE times and finished runner-up FIVE times over the 13-year period that it played host to his charity World Challenge event. This is a second-shot golf course that requires strategic thinking and - while he's struggled in many ways this year - he's still gained strokes on Approach in every start he's made in 2020. We have to imagine that Woods is gearing himself up for a title defense and - if he's physically able - will be competitive at his old stomping grounds this week.
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Mid-Priced FanDuel DFS Players
Matthew Wolff ($10,200)
If you guys read this column last week, then you know that I was in on Matthew Wolff. That decision proved to be disastrous on what was an otherwise awesome week at the CJ Cup. Wolff played shockingly-bad at Shadow Creek - so bad that I was actually apologizing to people in the RotoBaller PGA Premium Slack thread - posting an opening-round 80 and never improving much. So, the emotional side of me wants to avoid Wolff in every way possible this week due to him tanking many lineups for me last week, BUT the analytical side of me says this is actually a sharp bounce-back spot for the youngster.
He literally grew up at Sherwood CC, living just seven miles away from the course. Wolff says that he's played it "1,000's of times", which should give him a leg up on this week's field with many competitors that have probably never seen the course. It doesn't seem like a great fit on paper for the "Bomb & Gauge" specialist, but - prior to last week's debacle - he had been trending up both with his iron play and his around the green game. Despite the frustration I feel from his "performance" at Shadow Creek, I'll keep an eye on his ownership projections and will use him in GPPs if he's going underowned.
Viktor Hovland ($10,100)
This kid just continues to impress me and remains one of my favorite young players on the PGA Tour. Hovland stumbled out of the gate a bit last week with an opening-round 75, but played the rest of the week in 11-under par to snag a share of 12th place in the CJ Cup. His strength lies in his world-class ball striking and he heads to Sherwood ranked second in this field in both Good Drives & Greens In Regulation Gained over his last 12 measured rounds. Yes, the short game is still a work in progress, but the youngster has actually gained strokes both around and on the greens in his last two starts, both of which were on very difficult golf courses (Winged Foot & Shadow Creek), and Bent has been by far his preferred putting surface. The only drawback with Hovland is that he's struggling to put four rounds together, but I love his explosive tee-to-green ability on tough layouts and like getting four guaranteed rounds out of him in these no-cut events.
Bubba Watson ($9,900)
We were ahead of the curve on Bubba last week, as he was one of our favorites at Shadow Creek. We snagged him at $8.4k in the CJ Cup, but FanDuel has bumped him all the way up to $9.9k on this slate. Can we stick with him? The ball-striking numbers indicate that we probably should, even at this higher price point. Bubba has been a machine as of late and leads this field in SG: T2G, Good Drives Gained, and GIRs Gained over his last 12 rounds. We can also consider that he's one of the few players in the field that has some actual competitive rounds at Sherwood under his belt. Watson went 6th/9th/3rd over his last three appearances in the World Challenge charity event that was held here from 2000 to 2013. The putter is the big concern here, as he managed a T7 last week despite once again losing strokes putting (-1.7) at Shadow Creek.
Joaquin Niemann ($9,700)
Yet another player that we liked at the CJ Cup, Niemann has also received a FD price bump on the strength of a sixth-place finish last week. As with Bubba Watson, the numbers indicate that we can stay the course with the young Chilean. He gained 7.6 strokes T2G at the CJ Cup and his irons were especially sharp, as a mark of +4.7 SG: Approach indicates. Niemann checks multiple boxes for us at Sherwood...he stands 17th in the field in Good Drives Gained, ninth in GIRs Gained, and fourth in Scrambling Gained. As a bonus, Bentgrass is traditionally his best putting surface. Overall, just a lot to like tee-to-green for the youngster this week.
Low-Priced FanDuel DFS Players
Russell Henley ($9,200)
Man...Henley was sooo close last week. We loved his ball-striking ability going into the CJ Cup and - while he certainly performed in that area, gained 3.4 strokes on Approach - we were lucky enough to have his spotty putter wake up and get him into contention. His ridiculous mark of 9.0 SG: Putting is undoubtedly an outlier that he won't be able to repeat this week, but he's still a very solid DFS option on a Sherwood layout that caters to ball strikers. Henley has quietly been the best iron player on the PGA Tour since the restart and grades out first in this field in SG: Approach over the last 36 rounds. We're hoping the putter stays at least warm this week, as his irons should once again give him plenty of scoring opportunities.
Sebastian Munoz ($8,700)
He's been easy to overlook with all the star-studded fields we've seen over the past couple of months, but Sebastian Munoz has been under-the-radar excellent since late summer. His T9 last week at the CJ Cup was his THIRD top-10 finish since August. Munoz is getting it done by being solid in all facets of the game and he's now gained strokes T2G in seven of his last 10 starts. There's a strong chance that he'll go overlooked again this week, but he's one of the stronger value options available on this slate.
Cameron Smith ($8,600)
As long as the DFS sites continue to price Cameron Smith too cheap, I'm going to continue going to the well with the Aussie. FD has raised his price tag this week, but $8.6k still feels like a value for what we're getting with him. Smith's usual downfall is his often-inconsistent ball striking, but he's now gained strokes on Approach in seven consecutive starts, including last week at the CJ Cup, where he posted a very solid T11. In addition to his trending iron play, Smith boasts one of the best short games in the world and grades out seventh in this field in SG: Short Game. He's posted top-25 finishes in five of his last six starts and feels way too cheap here.
Brian Harman ($8,300)
Speaking of too cheap...Brian Harman feels like a he's on the clearance rack here at $8.3k. Harman managed a decent T28 last week on a Shadow Creek track that was very long. He should find Sherwood's 7,000-yard scorecard much more manageable. Harman is by no means a statistical beast, but he's very accurate off the tee (10th in the field in Fairways Gained) and has been a consistent performer over the last couple of months, posting top-15 finishes in half of his last six starts.
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