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Horse For The Course: PGA DFS (DraftKings) - Sentry Tournament of Champions


Hello again friends and thanks for joining me here at RotoBaller as we slide into 2020! After a brief (but long feeling) break from golf, we're ready to gear up for the new season. As is tradition, the brand new golf year will get kicked off in Hawaii this week.

I'd like to take a second to explain what you can expect from Horse For The Course this year. Some of you might read it religiously and some of you might be stopping in for the first time - either way - I really appreciate you checking out this article! HFTC is a weekly piece, which means if there is a PGA DFS tournament on DraftKings there will be an article up (I always drop a link on Twitter when the article is posted if you want to follow me @JoeNicely and stay up to date).

This will be the third year that I've written this article - all of them here at RotoBaller - and it has evolved over the years, morphing from what was originally a strict course history article into more of a way for me to express my thoughts on the players that I really liked on any given week. Thankfully, the popularity and demand for PGA content here at RB has continued to grow, which will allow us to start offering Premium PGA Content in 2020! This a really exciting new chapter for both me and the site, and as a result, I'll have more avenues to write about different aspects of PGA DFS each week. For that reason, I'll be taking HFTC back to its roots this season and tightly focusing in on the players in the field with strong course history. Don't worry...HFTC will always be available for free (as will lots of our other great PGA articles), but those of you that want to dive deeper down the PGA rabbit hole with me each week, and that want to truly learn and improve as a PGA DFS player, should strongly consider becoming a Premium PGA Member here at RotoBaller. Ok, now that we have all that stuff out of the way, let's dig into the Sentry Tournament of Champions!

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!

 

Sentry Tournament of Champions Overview

The Sentry TOC is the traditional start to the new year on the PGA Tour. It's a small field of 34 players that's comprised of tournament winners from the previous season. There's no cut with guaranteed prize money and FedEx Cup points for every player in the field. The event is annually held at the beautiful Kapalua Resort in Hawaii. So...it probably goes without saying that this isn't exactly a high-stress environment. These guys are winners and most of them already have successful, established careers, which is why we'll see the majority of this field looking at this tournament as an opportunity to knock the rust off after a winter layoff. That said, these guys all want to win and we'll see their intensity levels dial up as the week progresses. There are some big names that qualified for this event but elected not to play, with Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, and Brooks Koepka the most notable players that will sit this week out. Xander Schauffele will be back to defend his title and will be joined by some of the game's best players like Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, and Jon Rahm. It's great to be back! Let's tee it up!

You can also find out who the smart money is on by checking out Spencer Aguiar's PGA DFS: Vegas Report every week.

 

The Course: Plantation Course at Kapalua

Par 73 - 7,518 Yards, Greens: Bermuda
The Plantation Course is one of the most beautiful stops of the PGA Tour season. Designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, it was opened in 1991. The Plantation Course sits at the foot of the West Maui Mountains and incorporates drastic elevation changes into the layout. We will see some of the longest drives of the season this week, as players will have several downhill tee shots. We are dealing with a rare Par 73 course that features four Par-5s. Weather conditions, specifically the wind, can sometimes be a factor at Kapalua, but the conditions are usually mild to moderate enough to allow for very low scoring. Every winner of this tournament since 2014 has been at least 20-under par, so we definitely want to pay attention to players that can make birdies. This a true "resort course" layout: wide fairways, slow greens, and low scores.

 

The Horse

Justin Thomas (DK - $11,200)

Notable Course History: 3rd ('19), T22 ('18), Win ('17), T21 ('16)

I'll be honest, I'm chomping at the bit to roster Justin Thomas this season. If they were selling stock on JT's prospects for 2020, I would be an all-in buyer! Luckily, we don't have to wait to play Thomas, as he qualified for this TOC field via his win at the BMW Championship.

JT has exhibited huge upside in his previous appearances at the Plantation Course, winning the event in 2017 and recording a solo-third last year. A lot of these guys haven't played much golf over the past couple of months, but Thomas heads to Kapalua in excellent "recent form". He saw action at the President's Cup last month, logged a T5 at the Hero, and won at Nine Bridges back in October. These results came on the heels of a super-strong closing push during the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Stats are always a little skewed at this time of year, but if we look at this field's last 24 rounds, JT leads in Strokes Gained: Total, T2G, Ball Striking, and Approach, as well as DK Points scored.

Thomas is pricey, but with the small field and no-cut nature of this event, we can take on some risk at the bottom end of the salary scale in order to grab his tournament-winning upside.

 

The Ponies

Jon Rahm (DK - $11,400)

Notable Course History: T8 ('19), 2nd ('18)

Not to wander too far down "narrative street", but isn't this a perfect "Jon Rahm tournament"? No pressure, bombs away with the driver, Par-5s galore, and tons of birdies. Yep, it's the perfect setup for the young Spaniard and his track record on the Plantation Course reflects just that, as Rahm has recorded a T8 and a solo-second in his two previous TOC appearances.

I mentioned earlier that Justin Thomas probably has the best current form in the field, but Rahmbo is neck and neck with him. He won in both Spain and Dubai during the fall season and scored a runner-up at the Hero last month. Those performances aren't going to track statistically because they were overseas, but we know what Rahm does well...he finished sixth on the PGA Tour in both Scoring & Birdie Average last season, as well as ranking fifth in SG: Off The Tee.

If you want to go ultra "Stars & Scrubs" this week it can be done fairly easily. You can roster both JT and Rahm if you are willing to take some chances on the low end of the salary scale.

 

Dustin Johnson (DK - $10,100)

Notable Course History: T4 ('19), Win ('18), T6 ('17), T10 ('16)

If you want to pivot away from the 1 and 1A options of Thomas and Rahm, Dustin Johnson is an intriguing candidate. DJ offers a bit of salary relief and should come in with lower ownership than either of his pricier counterparts. We are taking a bit more risk with Johnson though, as he didn't look at all like himself down the stretch last year and struggled in a way that we haven't seen from him in recent years. He underwent an offseason knee surgery and looked so-so in his return to action at the President's Cup which makes his current form a legitimate concern. That concern is somewhat offset by DJ's MONSTER track record on this Plantation layout. He's hasn't finished outside the top-10 in four appearances since 2016. We know that Johnson is one of the best drivers of the ball in the modern era and he ranked fourth on the PGA Tour in SG: Off The Tee last season while averaging 312 yards per drive. If - and it is still an if at this point - DJ is healthy, he has a great chance of playing well here once again.

 

Patrick Reed (DK - $9,000)

Notable Course History: T25 ('19), T6 ('17), 2nd ('16), Win ('15)

Look...I don't like Patrick Reed and you probably don't like Patrick Reed, so let's just get that out of the way. I guess I understand if you have some type of moral objection to playing Reed in a fantasy golf lineup, but I will have no such trouble rostering Justine's husband if I feel it's a money-making opportunity. That's what we're looking at this week with Reed at Kapalua, a track where he's been downright dominant in previous appearances. Last year's T25 was his worst-ever finish in the Sentry, having went: T6/2nd/Win in his three prior starts. So yeah, there's some baggage to unpack here with Reed - and he didn't play well at all in the President's Cup - but the guy is a gamer that loves this course and had played well throughout the Swing Season before the drama at the Hero.

 

Brendon Todd (DK - $8,100)

Notable Course History: T8 ('15)

BRENDON!!! (I've always wanted to do that, hopefully some of you get it!) I say this with true sincerity...Brendon Todd is one of the better comeback stories we will ever see in golf and I have an unbelievable amount of respect for what he's been able to get through. This is a guy that battled THE FULL SWING YIPS(!) which is a big problem to have when you are a professional golfer. However, instead of just fading away, Todd went about rebuilding his swing and game. After a truly dark period, he emerged from this year's Korn Ferry Tour finals with a PGA Tour card and wasted no time making the most of it, winning twice this fall at the Bermuda Championship and the Mayakoba Classic (he also came damn close to winning three straight before finishing in the top-five at the RSM). His history at the Plantation Course only consists of one appearance - a T8 back in 2015 - but it's enough for me to put him in consideration when we add in his reasonable DK price tag and scorching-hot form over the past couple of months.

 

Kevin Kisner (DK - $7,700)

Notable Course History: T17 ('18), 9th ('16)

The Kiz is the only player under $8k with any real track record on the Plantation Course, but I did want to include a player with a cheaper price tag in this week's article. Kisner had a solid, if unspectacular 2019. He did take down the WGC-Dell Match Play event which punched his ticket into this week's Tournament of Champions. Kiz was remarkably consistent throughout last year, making 22 of 25 cuts with 11 top-25 finishes. He's a quality iron player that has the ability to get red-hot with the putter. Kisner doesn't fit the traditional profile of the type of players that we target on this layout, but he's a solid lineup option and something of a proven commodity at this price point.

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Of the 1,015 hitters sampled(1) between 2015 and 2019, there were only 14 instances of hitters making more productive contact against pitches outside of the strike zone than against pitches inside of the strike zone based on xwOBAcon. Based on the same sample, the average hitter was a whopping .116 points better against pitches inside... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 23rd, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 23rd, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Lineup Order Risers and Fallers: AL West 2020 Review

It’s the offseason and there are about to be a bunch of moving parts. This allows for speculation in terms of players gaining or losing playing time, moving up or down a batting order and much more. The idea here is to highlight some lineup situations for each team and some potential winners or losers... Read More


2021 1st & 2nd Year Players with James Anderson - Benched with Bubba (Episode 317)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) on episode 317. The guys will go over 30+ first and second-year players. They will discuss their current ADP's in the 2 Early Mocks, what to expect of the players in 2021, and much more. They also go over some listener questions, compare Juan Soto to Mike... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 21st, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 21st, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 20th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They go over some of the positions and look at players with similar ADPs and debate. Going around the diamond discussing some players people are high on and some they are down on with a... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 18th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 17th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 17th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


2021 Early Mock ADP Values & Reaches: WPC+ Videocast

Pierre Camus and Nicklaus Gaut prepare for the 2021 fantasy baseball season with a look at early mock draft results from the RotoBaller Expert mock. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller... Read More


Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More