What's up RotoBallers? The Rocket Mortgage Classic drew strong crowds in the city of Detroit and the layout provided plenty of scoring opportunities. Nate Lashley was the last man into the Rocket Mortgage field, but also ended up being the last man standing on Sunday, as he used a pair of 63s to record a crazy-low total winning score of 25-under par.
It was the first victory of Lashley's career and the cap to a wild DFS week in which we saw both huge favorite Dustin Johnson and newly-crowned U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland miss the cut at Detroit Golf Club. Birdies were the order of the day at the Rocket Mortgage and if you weren't scoring you were dropping down the leaderboard quickly.
This week we head to another new stop on the PGA Tour schedule and I have a funny feeling that we will see more of the same from a scoring perspective.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!
3M Open Overview
The PGA Tour continues its barnstorming tour of the Midwest with another brand new event. This week we head to Minnesota for the 3M Open, the state's first regular PGA Tour event in around 50 years.
You will see a lot of similarities between last week's Rocket Mortgage field and the players that will be teeing it up in this week's 3M. Brooks Koepka, Jason Day, and Bryson DeChambeau headline a field that probably has a little more depth than last week, but still drops off fairly quickly after the top 10 or so players at the top of the board. Players like Hideki Matsuyama and Tony Finau add solid quality to the lineup. Phil Mickelson brings more name recognition than form to Minnesota, while 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed heads to the Twin Cities on the heels of his first top-five finish of 2019 last week.
Unlike last week's Detroit Golf Club, which was a totally unknown commodity going in, we do have some sense of how this week's host course - TPC Twin Cities - will play due to its time hosting an annual PGA Tour Champions tournament.
Once again this week, we have no course history to build around, so I'll simply be highlighting some of my favorite DFS plays from different price ranges. 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: TPC Twin Cities
Par 71 - 7,458 Yards, Greens: Bent
While this TPC Twin Cities layout is a longtime host of a PGA Tour Champions event, this will be its first shot at the big time. The Arnold Palmer layout (with tons of input from Tom Lehman) opened in 2000 and has been long-been considered one of the best tracks on the Champions Tour schedule. The course has been upgraded in preparation of this week's tournament and will play at just over 7,400 yards to a par of 71.
We can take the term "upgraded" to mean longer and more difficult, but it's hard to imagine that this layout will be super tough for the best players in the world. TPC Twin Cities ranked first or second in birdies among Champions Tour stops in each of the past seven years, so we can safely project very low scores to be needed this week. There are 27 bodies of water in play on this course that takes advantage of its natural contours and rolling landscape, but players will be able to swing away with drivers as the fairways at TPC Twin Cities are VERY WIDE. Over the last few events we've leaned in the direction of accuracy off the tee, but I'm definitely giving the bombers a bump this week.
I will be targeting players in a similar fashion to last week; solid tee-to-green games, good ball striking, and the ability to make birdies in bunches. I'll also look for bombers with length off the tee and glance at Bentgrass putting splits.
Bryson DeChambeau (DK - $10,500 & FD - $11,000)
Notable Course History: None Available
Recent Form: T8 (Travelers), T35 (U.S. Open), T22 (Memorial), M/C (Charles Schwab)
This week's 3M Open is almost eerily similar to last week's Rocket Mortgage Classic. Both are new events on the PGA Tour schedule, both courses come with lots of unknowns (but birdies are expected in bunches), both fields feature a few elite players at the top with the quality running out very quickly, and many players under $10k being overpriced. Last week we had Dustin Johnson in sort of a league of his own at the top of the salary scale, this week we have Brooks Koepka. I'll be the first person to admit that Koepka is capable of dominating any tournament he plays (and this course should set up PERFECTLY for him), but we just haven't seen it outside of major championships. While it's always scary to fade him, I think that's the direction I'm headed this week.
I'm not totally opposed to paying up this week, and there are merits to rostering guys like Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama, and a surging Patrick Reed, but I'm perhaps most interested in Bryson DeChambeau in this spot.
I've resigned myself to the fact that Bryson is going to run hot and cold. After a scorching fall and start to 2019, he's been living in an ice age for several months. However, there are signs that things are starting to come back around, as he logged a T8 in his last start at the Travelers. The 'Mad Scientist' gained 6.1 strokes tee to green at the Travelers and was on the plus side of every major strokes gained category, a sign that his game is indeed trending in the right direction.
It's not necessarily that I think Bryson is better than Koepka, Matsuyama, or Day...but he has shown a propensity for winning these type of events in his short career (John Deere Classic and Shriners Hospitals Open). DeChambeau is also a talented birdie maker and he ranks ninth in the field in Birdies or Better over his last 12 rounds, despite standing 35th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green in the same time frame.
I imagine DeChambeau will be a fairly popular option this week, as it doesn't take a genius to spot the trending form he brings to Minnesota. I will keep an eye on his ownership projections and will stick with him unless a pivot to Hideki, Day, or even Koepka offers a ton of leverage.
Joaquin Niemann (DK - $9,300 & FD - $10,200)
Notable Course History: N/A
Recent Form: T5 (Rocket Mortgage), T5 (Travelers), T31 (RBC Canadian Open), T27 (Memorial)
I have to admit, I became pretty enamored with Joaquin Niemann's game last year. While I was able to capitalize on his amazing start on the PGA Tour last season, I've proceeded to dump all those profits back by continuing to roster him over the past 6-8 months. Well, what goes around comes around, and my man Joaquin is coming around the bend like a freight train!
The 20-year-old from Chile heads to Minnesota on the heels of back-to-back top-five finishes at the Travelers and Rocket Mortgage, but even before the top-five outbursts we have seen his game steadily trending in the right direction. He's averaged 5.6 Strokes Gained T2G over his last five tournaments and stands 28th in the field in Birdies or Better Gained and second in Bogeys Avoided over his last 12 rounds. Niemann is slowly coming out of what can be described as 'putting purgatory' as he's gained strokes putting in three of his last five starts, which isn't bad for a kid that was maybe the worst putter on the PGA Tour for the first part of 2019.
Yeah, the price is a little ridiculous...but whose isn't this week? It's early in the week, so I'll closely monitor ownership projections, but you have to figure that Tony Finau will get some attention at $9.2k, $100 less than Niemann. I can't imagine that Niemann's ownership will be big at this price, which makes me eager to get him in GPPs lineups this week.
Collin Morikawa(DK - $7,900 & FD - $9,100)
Notable Course History: N/A
Recent Form:T36 (Travelers), T35 (U.S. Open), T14 (RBC Canadian)
I'm dropping from Joaquin Niemann at $9.3k all the way down to Collin Morikawa at $7.9k. Why? Because I honestly think I like what's available in the $7k price range more than the options in the $8k range.
Some guys like taking a 'wait and see' approach with young guys that are new to the PGA Tour. I get it, but I'm the complete opposite. I want to jump on them before their price (and ownership) get out of hand. My goal is to roster players like Jon Rahm and Tony Finau before they become JON RAHM and TONY FINAU, and I feel the same way about a couple of these guys that recently turned pro, like Viktor Hovland and Collin Morikawa. It's like stocks, you wanna get in on the ground floor.
Morikawa has been impressively sound in his three professional starts to date. He recorded a T36 in his most recent outing at the Travelers and was a third-round 75 away from a much better finish. The Cal product is 19th in this 3M field in SG: T2G over his last 12 rounds and ranks fifth in the field in Birdies or Better Gained in his last three starts.
The rookie has received a fairly significant price bump of $1,000 from his DK salary of $6,900 at the Travelers. I'm hoping that the increase will scare people away from Morikawa this week. Do I wish he was cheaper? Of course, but I'm willing to spend the $7.9k on a hungry young player that's solid tee to green and has amassed 50 birdies over the first three starts of his professional career.
Cameron Tringale (DK - $7,700 & FD - $8,900)
Notable Course History: N/A
Recent Form: T5 (Rocket Mortgage) MDF (Travelers), T11 (Travelers), T23 (Byron Nelson)
Let's stay in the mid-$7k price range with Cameron Tringale. The 31-year-old journeyman might not be well known to casual golf fans, but if you're a PGA DFS regular you've probably noticed noticed his performances as of late. He racked up 24 birdies at Detroit Golf Club last week on the way to a top-five finish and the ability to post low numbers will once again be crucial at TPC Twin Cities this week.
Tringale's recent finishes are noteworthy, but it's the stats behind them that truly stand out. He ranks second in this field in Birdies Gained and sixth in Opportunities Gained over his last 12 rounds. Tringale is an impressive second in this 3M field in SG: Approach and fifth in SG: T2G over his last 3 starts, and has averaged gaining strokes in every major strokes gained category over his last five tournaments.
I love the price here. You can almost construct your lineups from the inside out this week using a core of $7k guys like Tringale, while mixing and matching up top. We know that there are risks involved with this type of field and the lack of standout options at higher prices gives me the motivation to lean heavily on a guy like Tringale in this spot.
Max Homa (DK - $7,000 & FD - $8,300)
Notable Course History: N/A
Recent Form: T42 (Rocket Mortgage), M/C (Travelers), T37 (Memorial), T27 (Charles Schwab)
Max Homa's recent finishes haven't been spectacular, but I'm still interested in the Twitter legend this week. It really feels like we are getting a lot of bang for our buck with Homa at $7k in this field.
We all know that he logged the life-changing win earlier this year at the Wells Fargo, but Homa has put together a solid season outside of his Quail Hollow victory. In his five starts since the win he's averaged 2.1 SG: T2G. He has a lot of qualities that should be a nice fit for the 3M...he stands ninth in SG: OTT and 30th in Driving Distance over his last 24 rounds, while ranking 18th in the field in Birdies or Better Gained & 11th in Opportunities Gained.
As I mentioned, my favorite thing about Homa this week is the price tag. At $7k, makes rostering a Koepka, Day, or DeChambeau very doable. While his last two outings haven't been great, I was still really surprised to see that Homa's price had actually decreased in a field of this caliber. Fire him up in GPPS!