"Captain America" came out swinging at Liberty National, as Patrick Reed notched his first victory since the 2018 Masters at the Northern Trust. Reed entered Sunday with the 54-hole lead and answered the bell with a final-round 69 to finish at 16-under par for the week, one shot clear of up-and-comer Abraham Ancer.
Reed has struggled through some serious peaks and valleys this season, with his game basically falling off a cliff back in March after a particularly-brutal outing at the Valspar Championship. He (and his wife) called in veteran instructor David Leadbetter and things have been trending up over the latter portion of the season.
Reed's victory shot him up to second in the FedEx Cup points standings and he will have a great chance to win the FedEx Cup with two more good performances. This week we head to a legendary golf course for the second leg of the Playoffs race, the BMW Championship.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!
BMW Championship Overview
After getting the postseason kicked off with 125 qualifiers at last week's Northern Trust, the contenders have been whittled down to this field of 70 for the BMW Championship, with only 30 advancing to next week's Tour Championship. Brooks Koepka maintains his lead in the points standings with Reed, Rory McIlroy, Matt Kuchar, and Jon Rahm nipping at his heels, but things can change quickly in these events, as we saw Abraham Ancer jump 59 spots in the standings with his performance last week.
The BMW will present players with a challenging test with Medinah Country Club playing host this year. Normally reserved for major championships, this will be Medinah's first appearance on the big stage since hosting the infamous "Miracle at Medinah" Ryder Cup in 2012. It's long, it's tough, and we should expect the cream to rise to the top in this event.
With this being just a 70-man field, there will be no cut. You can attack it like you would a WGC event, as all players are guaranteed four rounds barring a WD. Speaking of WD's...Tiger Woods was forced to withdraw from the Northern Trust after one round last week. As of this writing he's still in the field, but make sure to keep an eye on his status as we get closer to Thursday. Keegan Bradley won last year's BMW, but course history from last year's tournament will be of no use. Those of you that want to do some deep-dive research can check out results from the 2012 Ryder and the 2006 PGA Championship which were both held at Medinah.
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: Medinah Country Club (Course 3)
Par 72- 7,613 Yards, Greens: Bent w/ Poa
Golf fans are in for a real treat this week, as the BMW Championship heads to one of the finest golf courses in the world, Medinah Country Club. Opened in 1928, the Illinois layout has a championship pedigree. It's played host to three U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships, and the 2012 Ryder Cup among other prestigious events.
Medinah is a beast. It measures a robust 7,612 yards with long par-4s, two monster par-5s that each measure more than 600 yards, and a trio of dangerous par-3s with forced carries over water. Players will be tested with multiple doglegs (the majority to the left) and will be faced with many long approach shots to elevated greens. Tiger Woods won both the '99 & '06 PGA Championships that were held at Medinah, which is a pretty good indicator that approaches with long irons will be of the utmost importance this week. While the course is ridiculously long, it's not fair to call it a bomber's paradise, as multiple tee shots will require just a 3-wood or hybrid to find the fairway in the proper spot. I'll be targeting players with strong approach games from 175-plus yards, as well as golfers that play long par-3s, 4s, & 5s well.
Louis Oosthuizen (DK - $8,700 & FD - $10,400)
Notable Course History: None
Recent Form: T6 (Northern Trust), T20 (WGC FedEx), T20 (Open Championship)
Very few things in PGA DFS are 'slam dunks'. Sure, sometimes you'll come across the perfect storm of player, price, and course fit/history (Webb Simpson at the Wyndham a couple of weeks ago is a good example), but those blissful times of having absolutely zero doubt when rostering a player are pretty few and far between. Things aren't usually black and white, but more often than not just many different shades of gray. A nice stat here, a bad finish there...you work through it and eventually (hopefully) the pieces start to fall into place and make sense.
I say all this to explain that this is one of those weeks when I definitely didn't see Louis Oosthuizen as the Horse coming. In all honesty, I have rostered Oosthuizen very sparingly this season due to concerns about his injury status and his inconsistent play, so it's not like I'm a 'Shrek' truther or anything. I was aware of his strong effort at the U.S. Open (and the Masters), but dismissed it as a really hot putting week (he gained over eight strokes putting at Pebble Beach en route to a T7). However, his recent play has become much harder to ignore.
Oosthuizen picked up a T6 at Liberty National last week while losing 1.6 strokes putting. The South African gained a MASSIVE 9.3 strokes on approach at the Northern Trust and iron play is something I'm targeting heavily at Medinah. Louis also stands first in this field in Proximity from the key 175-200 yard range over his last 12 rounds.
I didn't expect to be writing up Louis Oosthuizen this week, but here we are. His inconsistency is a nagging worry, but I feel that we're getting a ton of upside at what should be very low ownership this week. I don't have that "push all my chips in the middle" feeling about him, but I'm really intrigued by his recent play and the seeming statistical fit. Add in a price that should keep his ownership suppressed and Oosty shapes up as a great GPP play.
Tony Finau (DK - $8,500 & FD - $10,300)
Notable Course History: None
Recent Form: T30 (Northern Trust), T27 (WGC FedEx), 3rd (Open Championship), T23 (3M)
I originally had this spot reserved for one of the high-priced options in the field like Rory or J.T., and while I really like both of them this week, do you really need me to tell you to play them at this point in the season? So instead of spending our time and energy on guys we know are great players and great fits this week, let's talk about Tony Finau for a minute.
I've been a Finau fan since he's been on the PGA Tour. Then all of a sudden the guy that started out as "my personal little DFS secret" a few years ago started morphing into the most popular DFS play every week last year. Fast forward to 2019 and Big Tony has had a strange year. It certainly feels disappointing if you're a fan, because it seemed like 2019 was going to be a "win multiple big tournaments" type of breakout season for Finau. Instead, we've seen less-consistent play and underwhelming finishes this year. The problem is, just when you are ready to write Finau off and call 2019 a bust, he pops up for a top-five at the Masters or a solo-third at the Open. Why do you torture us like this Tony??
While he's been very tough to peg this year, I do like the spot this week for Finau. He's never been the front-runner we want in weak fields, but he really excels in these big tournaments with deep, star-studded fields when he can almost become an afterthought. We know that Medinah is very long, which suits him perfectly. Finau ranks 13th in the field in Driving Distance, but he's also adept at finding fairways, and stands 12th in Fantasy National's 'Good Drives Gained'. Like the previously mentioned Louis Oosthuizen, Finau is deadly from long range with his irons. He ranks eighth in the field in Proximity on approaches from 175-200 yards and 24th from 200-plus yards.
Finau's ownership has shot back up since his performance at the Open Championship, so I don't think we'll be sneaking up on anybody with him this week, but his price on DK is reasonable for the type of upside he brings to the table. He's a great core piece for those leaning in the direction of a "solid type" roster build.
Ian Poulter (DK - $8,000 & FD - $9,300)
Notable Course History: T9 ('06 PGA), 4-0 Record at 2012 Ryder Cup
Recent Form:T10 (Northern Trust), 8th (WGC-FedEx), M/C (Open Championship), T88 (U.S. Open)
Ian Poulter is another player that I didn't expect to be writing up this week. When you think of a course that stretches over 7,600 yards, the light-hitting Englishman isn't exactly the first guy that comes to mind. However, after digging a bit deeper, I really like Poulter this week.
He's one of the few players in the field that has some experience at Medinah and it's pretty impressive stuff. Poulter logged a top-10 finish at the last major championship held here, the 2006 PGA Championship and he also starred for the European team in their 2012 Ryder Cup victory at Medinah, going a perfect 4-0 that week. Outings from 2006 and 2012 aren't really predictive of what will happen this week, but it is reassuring to know that Poulter has played well here in the past.
It's been a season of hot and cold stretches for Poulter. After beginning the year on fire he cooled off substantially as we moved into the heart of the season. However, it appears the Englishman intends to finish off 2019 in strong fashion, as he's put together a couple of top-10 outings in his last two starts at the WGC and the Northern Trust. Last week's finish was powered by some unbelievably sharp iron play, as Poulter gained 7.2 strokes on approach at Liberty National and nine strokes T2G.
Poulter's $8k price meshes well with both Oosthuizen and Finau, and lends itself to the "balanced" lineup construction. There will probably be a lot of chatter around the industry about his prior trips to Medinah, so unfortunately his ownership might be a bit elevated.
Jason Kokrak (DK - $7,800 & FD - $9,100)
Notable Course History: None
Recent Form: T12 (Northern Trust) T6 (Wyndham), T32 (Open Championship), T29 (Rocket Mortgage)
Lately, I've been guilty (if that's what you want to call it) of writing up the same player multiple times in a short time span. I do not do it lightly, but I'm gonna throw Jason Kokrak at you again this week. If you read the Northern Trust edition of HFTC, you know I loved Kokrak last week at Liberty National. He came through for us in a big way, with a T12 finish at just $7.4k. While he's received a bit of a price bump this week, I'm still screaming at the top of my lungs that the guy remains underpriced!
After a lull in form (during which I'm fairly sure he was fighting an undisclosed injury of some sort), Kokrak has stormed back into DFS relevancy over the past month. Last week's T12 came on the heels of a T6 at the Wyndham, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see his name pop up on the leaderboard at the BMW Championship. On a course where we are placing a premium on ball striking, Kokrak has been absolutely striping it. He stands second in this elite field in SG: Ball Striking over his last 12 rounds, a mix of solid execution both off the tee (third in SG: OTT) and with his irons (16th in SG: Approach). He's averaged 4.6 strokes T2G over his last five tournaments, which indicates to me that he has rediscovered his form of early 2019.
I know this field is stacked, but Kokrak feels underpriced to me at $7.8k. He doesn't have as much name recognition as lots of the stars in this field, but his play has been doing the talking recently and I'm willing to continue riding the heater on this week's stretched-out track.
Max Homa (DK - $6,100 & FD - $7,000)
Notable Course History: None
Recent Form: T38 (Northern Trust), T61 (WGC FedEx), M/C (3M), T42 (Rocket Mortgage)
We've talked about a lot of mid-priced DFS options this week, but let's close things out with a little deep-dive-GPP-bomb play. Max Homa probably isn't a player that we ever expected to be in the BMW Championship field when this season began, but here we are, as the resilient 28-year-old logged a life-changing win at Quail Hollow earlier this year. Homa heads to Medinah at 56th in the FedEx Cup points standings and would need a huge week to keep his Cinderella season alive.
While Homa has failed to record a top-25 finish since his win at the Wells Fargo, he catches my eye due to his ability with his long irons. I made a mixed condition model for the BMW Championship on Fantasy National using just two criteria, each weighed at 50% : Proximity from 175-200 yards and Proximity from 200-plus yards. Surprisingly, the number one player in that model from this elite field is Max Homa. He grades out fourth in proximity from 175-200 and 10th from 200-plus. Obviously, there's a few more factors involved in playing well this week, but it does pique my interest enough to give him a look at his bargain-basement price tags on both sites. I won't be going nuts, but I'll use Homa in some 'Stars & Scrubs' builds in large-field GPPs.