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PGA DFS: Horse For The Course - 2018 PGA Championship

Hello golf fans and welcome back to Horse For The Course! After something of a quiet stretch, Justin Thomas reminded the world that he's still pretty good at golf by taking down the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. JT dominated the final two rounds against a field full of elite talent. The win seems especially significant as we head to the year's last major this week, the PGA Championship, an event that Thomas won to close out 2017.

The PGA Championship is always slightly bittersweet, as it signifies an end to the golf season's major championships. That tradition will change next year when the PGA moves to May and becomes the second major of the season, thanks to the revamped 2019 Tour schedule. This week's PGA Championship takes us to Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri. Unfortunately, we won't have any notable course history to draw from, as Bellerive last hosted a PGA Tour event in 2008. I find myself gravitating toward players that might be considered "against the grain" this week. The Pony list is heavy on ballstrikers and is geared toward plays that I like for the popular DraftKings Millionaire Maker tournament. I hope the piece will highlight some options that you might not have considered otherwise.

I would also like to remind readers that although this is the last major of the year, Horse For The Course will continue to bring you coverage for the rest of the PGA Tour season! Thanks for being with me this week, let's find some players that will have success at Bellerive!

Horse For The Course will take a look at players that have traditionally flourished at the course that hosts this week’s PGA TOUR event. This is not a traditional picks column, but rather an attempt to pinpoint players that have outstanding results at a specific course. "The Horse" is a player with an elite course history and that has a great chance to repeat his success in this week's tournament. "The Ponies" are players with very good course history, that might be entering this week's tournament under the radar or have a DFS price that is a great value. Because we have no applicable course history to draw from this week, we will simply identify the best DFS plays available.

For a full review of the DraftKings PGA Slate this weekend, check out Seth Finklestein's column reviewing picks at every price point.

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

Editor's Note: Our friends at Fantasy National have built some incredible DFS Golf lineup tools including a Lineup Optimizer, Stat Engine, Ownership Projections and Course Breakdowns. They are by far the best daily fantasy Golf tools in the industry. Seriously. You can read all about them here and see screenshots. 

Sign Up Now!

 

The Course: Bellerive Country Club - Par 70 - 7,317 Yards

Bellerive is a course with major championship pedigree. It hosted a U.S. Open way back in 1965 and the 1992 PGA Championship. We can't draw much from those events because there was a Rees Jones redesign in 2005. Unfortunately, it's slightly difficult to get a bead on a course that has been out of circulation for so long. Bellerive did host the BMW Championship in 2008 where Strokes Gained: Approach seems to be a significant stat. One notable feature of the course is huge bentgrass greens. There is some water present and over 75 bunkers are scattered around the course. Reports coming in are describing the rough as quite penal. I'm looking for ballstrikers that can find fairways and greens. Though the course is long, I don't believe distance off the tee will be a huge advantage this week.

 

The Horse

Tommy Fleetwood (DraftKings - $9,300 & FanDuel - $11,400 )

Before diving into my thoughts on this week's Horse Tommy Fleetwood, let me quickly touch on a few of the players priced above him on DraftKings since this is a major championship.

Both DJ and Rory are excellent plays that have the ability to dominate this week or any other. I can't wrap my head around Jordan Spieth this season and Rickie Fowler just has too many blowup holes for my taste. I was hoping to see more from Tiger at Firestone, a course that he has won on eight times. Justin Rose was forced to withdraw from last week's WGC-Bridgestone with a back injury, which is a scary injury for a golfer. JT tends to win in bunches and is a very interesting play coming off a win. Brooks Koepka is always a threat to win any major.

Of the above mentioned players, I will be squeezing DJ and Rory in some "Stars & Scrubs" lineups this week. I plan on fading Spieth, Tiger, and Fowler for the most part, though I wouldn't be shocked if any or all did well this week. JT and Koepka are plays that I feel good about. I will be monitoring Rose's injury status up until lineup lock and will utilize him as a contrarian option if his ownership is projected to be low.

Ok, enough about those guys. Let's talk about my man Tommy Fleetwood! There are so many things to love about the Englishman this week. Perhaps my favorite trait of Fleetwood's, besides his awesome beard, is his ability to go just crazy, stupid low. This is a guy that dropped a 63 at Firestone last week, a 65 in the Open Championship at Carnoustie, and almost stole the U.S. Open with a breathtaking final-round 63 on a brutal Shinnecock Hills layout. If we can get four rounds from Fleetwood this week, I like his chances of posting the low round of the tournament.

Fleetwood has plenty of length and can find fairways successfully. He is 12th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green and ninth in Total Strokes Gained. I'm drawn to Fleetwood this week in large part due to his versatility. He doesn't have any glaring weaknesses and there doesn't seem to be a course type that he struggles with, which I really like as we head to a Bellerive track that is a bit of an unknown.

This guy seems to be on a collision course with a major championship. He plays well on the big stage and has been rock-solid in this season's three previous majors. Fleetwood grinded out a T17 at the Masters, had the electric runner-up finish at the U.S. Open, and logged a T12 at the Open Championship.

At the end of the day, we are DFS players that are looking for golfers that can provide us with fantasy points. I will put Fleetwood's fantasy point potential up against anyone in the field. When we take into account his $9,300 DraftKings price tag, we are getting a significant discount for his fantasy point upside when compared to the "elite" class of golfers price above him. At this price, I do expect Fleetwood to be a popular choice this week, but I will be using him heavily, while trying to differentiate lineups in other spots.

 

The Ponies

Patrick Cantlay (DK - $8,400 & FD - $9,700 )

Let's drop from Tommy Fleetwood all the way down to Patrick Cantlay. The $8,000-$9,200 range on DraftKings has some excellent players that I plan to utilize this week, but I wanted to highlight Cantlay because he is a guy that could easily go overlooked by casual DFS players with all the great choices that are around him.

I feel like I'm going out on a limb with Cantlay a little bit, because up until his recent T12 at the Open Championship he had been a total disaster in the 2018 majors. Cantlay badly missed the cut at the Masters and was never a factor in the U.S. Open. So why feature the 26-year-old in this article? Because Cantlay is a lean, mean, ballstriking machine. If Bellerive trends toward ballstriking as much as I expect, the rising star could very well find himself in the mix over the weekend.

Cantlay currently ranks ninth in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. That is very rarified statistical air. Just to give you some perspective, that puts Cantlay ahead of players like McIlroy, Rahm, Spieth, and Fowler in the most comprehensive measure of overall skill on the PGA Tour. Cantlay also ranks 25th in Strokes Gained: Approach and 20th in Greens in Regulation. His weakness is the flatstick and he ranks a dismal 152nd in Strokes Gained: Putting. This is obviously a concern, but thanks to Francesco Molinari we have seen what can happen when great ballstrikers get hot with the putter.

I'm recommending Cantlay as a large-field, contrarian GPP selection. His game can be volatile and he does carry a bit more risk than some other players in this price range. Cantlay's ballstriking does seem to be dialed in right now, so we are hoping for just a decent week with the flatstick. I love his upside and think that he has Top-10 potential this week.

Keegan Bradley (DK - $7,500 & FD - $9,200 )

Let's keep the ballstriking train rolling with Keegan Bradley, a player who exploded on to the professional golf scene by winning this event in 2011 as a rookie. There have been a lot of ups and downs for Bradley since that breakthrough victory, but I am very intrigued by some of the form he has flashed recently.

Bradley is basically Patrick Cantlay on steroids. He is an elite ballstriker, but a garbage putter. Bradley ranks second in Strokes Gained: Approach, 11th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and a standout third in Proximity to the Hole. He is one of the players that was really hurt by the long putter rule change a few years ago and sits at a horrid 193rd in Strokes Gained: Putting. We have seen what Bradley is still capable of when he has just an average week on the greens, he recently logged a fourth at the RBC Canadian Open and a surprising T7 at The Players Championship against an elite field.

A lot of DFS regulars avoid Keegan like the plague. I get it. He is an extremely volatile option. His erratic putting and emotional swings can lead to him shooting 65 in one round and 75 in the next. I'm willing to accept his shortcomings this week in an attempt to capitalize on the elite side of his game. If we hope to win a large tournament like the DraftKings Millionaire Maker that has over 160,000 entrants, we will have to take some calculated risks. Bradley is not for the faint of heart and isn't someone you can rely on if you are only firing a single bullet this week, but I love him as a contrarian play in the Milly Maker.

Kyle Stanley (DK - $7,100 & FD - $8,500)

If we are targeting ballstrikers this week, let's talk about a player that is quietly one of the best in the business. Kyle Stanley doesn't get much media attention, but the 30-year-old is one of the most accurate golfers on the PGA Tour.

Stanley ranks fourth in Greens in Regulation Percentage and fifth in Driving Accuracy Percentage. He is coming off a strong performance in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he finished runner-up to Justin Thomas, while ranking third in the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, but only 37th in Strokes Gained: Putting. This is a recurring theme for Stanley, who ranks 55th in Strokes Gained: Putting on the PGA Tour.

The knock on Stanley is his tendency to disappear on the big stage. His career record in majors isn't pretty. He is 0-for-3 in the PGA Championship and struggled at both the Masters and U.S. Open earlier this year. It is scary to hope Stanley can break this trend, but I'm willing to gamble on his talent leading him to a major championship breakthrough at some point. He has flirted with victories on tough courses this season...Firestone last week and a playoff loss at The Memorial. The PGA isn't quite as pressure packed as the Masters and U.S. Open, so it might be the right setting for Stanley to finally find some major success.

Stanley offers great value on both sites. His $7,100 DK price gives us tremendous flexibility when constructing lineups. His finish at the Bridgestone will probably garner Stanley some ownership this week and I expect him to be a popular value play. Those that favor the "Stars & Scrubs" approach should give Stanley a long look. He allows players to easily fit DJ or Rory in GPP lineups.

Thorbjorn Olesen (DK - $6,700 & FD - $8,600)

Those that read this column regularly know that I am not too proud to feature the same player multiple times. I'm going right back to the well with one of our selections from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Thorbjorn Olesen made me look really smart at Firestone last week when he was able to fire a final-round 64 and secure a T3 finish. As a reward for his excellent play, Olesen's DraftKings price has dropped from $7,500 last week to $6,700 for the PGA Championship! This is obviously a product of DraftKings offering early pricing for major championships, but it is an edge that I plan on taking full advantage of.

The young man from Denmark is a streaky player that is in the midst of some hot play. Over his last seven worldwide starts, Olesen has four top-six finishes with a win and a T12 at the Open Championship. The downside to Olesen is his volatility, as evidenced by two missed cuts mixed in with the previously mentioned results over his last seven starts. However, at the moment, Olesen seems to have all facets of his game working. He ranked inside the top-10 in multiple categories at last week's WGC-Bridgestone including: Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, Approach, and Putting. He was also able to find 51 of 72 greens at the tough Firestone layout, a skill that should come in handy at Bellerive.

I usually give a "Handle With Care" disclaimer with my value plays. This week is no different. Olesen is the perfect discount player, but does bring volatility to the table. We must weigh his realistic top-10 upside versus a possible missed cut. In a week that lots of DFS players will be going with solid lineup builds, I'm willing to take a calculated risk with Olesen in large-field GPPs. For those of you looking for cheap plays, I would also recommend checking out Russell Henley and Stewart Cink, but Olesen will be my "go to" salary saver this week.

 

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PGA DFS: Horse For The Course - WGC Bridgestone Invitational

Hello golf fans, welcome back to Horse For The Course! Dustin Johnson took down the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey in convincing fashion. I hope you read last week's edition, as he was our top rated Pony heading into the tournament. DJ could be included in this article almost every week (hint, hint, he won at Firestone in 2016), but I try to keep things interesting. This week we head to Akron, Ohio for the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. Like most of the WGC events, this one is totally stacked with elite-level talent and includes the top 50 players in the world. This will be the last hurrah for Firestone Country Club, a PGA host venue for over 50 years. Players are very familiar with the confines of Firestone and we have great course history to lean on this week.

One very important DFS note...this is a WGC event, so there is no 36-hole cut. Players will play all four rounds, unless there is a dreaded WD. These WGC events always remind me of the legendary Daniel Berger incident from a couple years ago, when he hit one shot off the tee in order to pick up his 50k paycheck and then withdrew, leaving some DFS players high and dry. Don't guess you can blame the guy for getting paid, but what a sick beat for those with Berger in their lineups that week. Anyway, we are thinking positive thoughts and hoping for a tournament free from those types of shenanigans this week. We will need players with winning potential that can rack up fantasy points in all four rounds. Let's dive in!

Horse For The Course will take a look at players that have traditionally flourished at the course that hosts this week’s PGA TOUR event. This is not a traditional picks column, but rather an attempt to pinpoint players that have outstanding results at a specific course. "The Horse" is a player with an elite course history and that has a great chance to repeat his success in this week's tournament. "The Ponies" are players with very good course history, that might be entering this week's tournament under the radar or have a DFS price that is a great value.

For a full review of the DraftKings PGA Slate this weekend, check out Seth Finklestein's column reviewing picks at every price point.

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

Editor's Note: Our friends at Fantasy National have built some incredible DFS Golf lineup tools including a Lineup Optimizer, Stat Engine, Ownership Projections and Course Breakdowns. They are by far the best daily fantasy Golf tools in the industry. Seriously. You can read all about them here and see screenshots. 

Sign Up Now!

 

The Course: Firestone Country Club (South) - Par 70 - 7,400 Yards

Opened in 1929, Firestone Country Club was constructed by Harvey Firestone, the founder of Firestone Tire Company. Originally meant to be a perk for his employees, Firestone eventually entered the world of professional golf and has been connected with the PGA Tour for over 50 years. The club has hosted the WGC event since 1999. The classic layout features long and difficult par-4's, but is perhaps highlighted by the 600-plus yard par-5 16th hole that is has been dubbed "The Monster". Firestone is a difficult course, but players will be able to make some birdies this week and low scores are possible. Last year Hideki Matsuyama tied the course record with a final round 61 to take home the title. It's not a requirement to be a bomber to compete here, but we have seen long-hitters like DJ and Rory win this title and I believe players with distance do have an advantage this week.

 

The Horse

Tiger Woods (DraftKings - $10,800 & FanDuel - $11,300 )

Eight times. It's sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud, but Tiger Woods has won this tournament on this course an unbelievable EIGHT TIMES! If you are a believer in course history like I am, this should be Tiger's week to finally get back in the winner's circle. I won't bore you with Woods' stats at Firestone, just trust me when I say they are flat-out dominant. This is also the site of his last PGA Tour win in 2013.

This is a week that DFS players can take advantage of a perfect storm between course history and current form. As noted above, the course history doesn't get any better and Woods heads to Firestone in excellent form. He was soooo close to a win at The Open Championship two weeks ago, before settling for a T6. We also saw Tiger play well at the Quicken Loans National, logging a T4 to close out the month of June.

This is not simply a "nostalgia" pick (though I am a Tiger fan). Woods is absolutely striping his irons lately. He ranks third in Strokes Gained: Approach and sixth in SG: Tee to Green, skills that will be needed to succeed at Firestone. He is 10th in Scoring Average and a recent putter change seems to have him headed in the right direction on the greens. What we have yet to see from Tiger is a complete 72-hole effort. He has only been able to play well in spurts, usually with a huge mistake killing his round. I believe that his familiarity with Firestone will help him avoid the blowup holes this week.

Tiger's success at Firestone will get a lot of media attention in the lead up to the tournament this week. Unfortunately, this will only inflate his ownership. I expect him to be extremely popular in all formats this week. This is a problem that we run into frequently with players we expect to be popular. As I always advise, don't be afraid to use picks that you fear will be chalky, but make sure to differentiate your lineups in other spots. Leaving a few hundred dollars in salary on the table is a nice little trick to change things up.

 

The Ponies

Rickie Fowler (DK - $10,000 & FD - $11,300 )

It always makes me a little squeamish to recommend Rickie Fowler. He seems to be contractually obligated to do two things: wear orange on Sundays and make at least one triple-bogey every weekend. He always seems to struggle closing out tournaments. In short, I'm a huge fan of Rickie, but he doesn't find his way into my DFS lineups very often. Fowler might not be the greatest winner in the game, but I can't deny his record of success at Firestone. His performances over the last several years at the WGC-Bridgestone have forced me to make the fan favorite a Pony this week.

Fowler has reeled off an impressive string of finishes at Firestone. He has logged four consecutive Top-10's at the Bridgestone, going T8 in 2014, T10 in 2015, T10 in 2016, and ninth last year. As is often the case with Rickie, there are no wins on his Firestone resume, but that is quite a solid stretch of golf against WGC fields that are always stacked. Fowler's success at this venue can probably be tied to his elite ability on par 4's. He ranks sixth on the PGA Tour in par 4 scoring this year and should be able to take advantage of Firestone again this week.

Fowler should be an excellent pivot play this week. He has burned a lot of DFS bridges in both the U.S. Open and Open Championship, which I believe will push his ownership down a bit. Options priced above and below Fowler should be more tempting to the casual DFS player. Fire Rickie up in large-field GPP's as a semi-contrarian play.

Paul Casey (DK - $8,600 & FD - $10,800 )

Let's go from the rockstar Rickie Fowler to Paul "Old Faithful" Casey. The Englishman has been rock-solid at Firestone over the past three years. Casey logged a T17 in 2015, a T16 in 2016, and a Bridgestone career-best T5 finish last year.

Despite a disappointing performance in The Open Championship, Casey has been a machine in 2018. In what has arguably been his best season as a professional, he picked up a win at the Valspar and let another win slip away at the Travelers. Casey plays well at tough courses against difficult fields, logging top-20 finishes at the Masters, the U.S. Open, and BMW PGA Championship.

I love Casey's DraftKings price of $8,600. He is a great place to start lineups this week and should be a cash-game anchor, as well as a nice GPP play with upside. Casey will be popular, but I'm willing to swallow the ownership in exchange for the consistency that he brings to the table.

Zach Johnson (DK - $8,100 & FD - $9,800)

If I have learned one thing from doing this article, it's that Zach Johnson has quietly had an unbelievably successful career. It seems like his name pops up almost every week when researching course history. It is quite remarkable that the short-hitter from Iowa has been able to flourish on so many different types of courses. He is a little against type, when it comes to the sort of players we are targeting this week, but it's hard to argue with Johnson's results in the WGC-Bridgestone.

Johnson has had tremendous success at Firestone over the years. ZJ notched a T11 way back in 2007 and has been very consistent since, including a T6 in 2011, a T4 in 2013, a T10 in 2016, and a solo second last year. Johnson has continuously put himself in the mix in tournaments this year and seems primed for a win. Since a T12 at the U.S. Open, Johnson has reeled off three consecutive top-20 finishes.

Zach's $8,100 DK price is very reasonable, but the best value on him can be found at FanDuel, where he is priced below guys like Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson. I concentrate the majority of my play on DraftKings, but I will be going out of my way to build some ZJ-centric lineups on FanDuel this week.

Thorbjorn Oleson (DK - $7,500 & FD - $8,100)

Let me throw a little curveball at you with my last selection of the week. Normally it takes more than one course appearance to make this list, but I'm willing to make an exception for Thorbjorn Oleson in this case. The young man from Denmark is a Euro Tour regular and has only played in America once this year, missing the cut at the U.S. Open. Oleson did cross the pond to play the WGC-Bridgestone in 2017, when he nabbed a T10 by improving his scoring everyday, capping off the week with a final round 65.

This dude is the definition of "boom or bust" and his exactly the type of player we love to target in large-field GPPs. Check out Oleson's results over his past six tournaments: Win-MC-T2-MC-T6-T12. The beauty this week is that we gain all that pure upside with no danger of a missed cut. In these WGC events with no cut, it is very important from a DFS perspective to rack up fantasy points. In both his win at the Italian Open and his T2 at the BMW International, Oleson racked up 24 birdies per tournament!

Oleson isn't very well known in the U.S. and offers a wonderful way to differentiate lineups this week. I love his price, upside, and expected low ownership. He is very affordable on DKings and almost criminally underpriced at just $8,100 on FD. Don't be afraid to pair Oleson up with Tiger Woods in GPP lineups this week. He's a perfect play for those that multi-enter tourneys. Great sleeper potential!

 

Golf DFS News and Player Outlooks

 

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PGA DFS: Horse For The Course - RBC Canadian Open

Hello and welcome back to Horse For The Course! Francesco Molinari claimed his first major at the Open Championship by holding off a star-studded leaderboard. The Italian has long been known as an elite ballstriker, but has been able to put it all together over the past few months. The win at Carnoustie was his third this season. This week we head to the great white north for the RBC Canadian Open. This week's event boasts a surprisingly strong and rather deep field that features eight of the top 30 players in FedEx Points. Jhonattan Vegas has won this tournament two consecutive years and will be looking for a three-peat. This edition will be a little abbreviated, as I'm on vacation with the family this week. Let's get to it!

Horse For The Course will take a look at players that have traditionally flourished at the course that hosts this week’s PGA TOUR event. This is not a traditional picks column, but rather an attempt to pinpoint players that have outstanding results at a specific course. "The Horse" is a player with an elite course history and that has a great chance to repeat his success in this week's tournament. "The Ponies" are players with very good course history, that might be entering this week's tournament under the radar or have a DFS price that is a great value.

For a full review of the DraftKings PGA Slate this weekend, check out Seth Finklestein's column reviewing picks at every price point.

Editor's Note: Our friends at Fantasy National have built some incredible DFS Golf lineup tools including a Lineup Optimizer, Stat Engine, Ownership Projections and Course Breakdowns. They are by far the best daily fantasy Golf tools in the industry. Seriously. You can read all about them here and see screenshots. 

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The Course: Glen Abbey Golf Course - Par 72 - 7,253 Yards

The Jack Nicklaus designed course will host the Canadian Open for the 30th time and fifth time in six years. After a week at a tough Carnoustie course, we are back to a player-friendly course that yield lots of birdies. Players will be able to swing away with drivers off the tee and will need to take advantage of the four Par 5s. Vegas won last year's edition with a score of 21-under par, so player's will have to pile up birdies and eagles to contend this week.

 

The Horse

Charley Hoffman (DraftKings - $8,700 & FanDuel - $10,800 )

Instead of opting for one of the more elite players in the RBC Canadian Open field, I'm making Charley Hoffman this week's Horse. The Californian has been quite comfortable in Canada throughout his career and has three Top-20 finishes in his last three starts at Glen Abbey. Hoffman nabbed a runner-up finish last year after finishing at 21-under par and falling to Jhonattan Vegas in a playoff.

After a spotty start to 2018, Hoffman has been rounding into form over the past month. The veteran has reeled off four consecutive Top-20s over his past four tournaments, including a T20 at the U.S. Open and a T17 at last week's Open Championship.

I love Hoffman's $8,700 DraftKings price tag this week. I have to admit, I was a bit shocked at how cheap he was when pricing was posted. I do think the affordable price tag will elevate his ownership, but I will gladly eat the chalk this week. I love the combination of Hoffman's course history, current form, and price. Use him in all formats.

 

The Ponies

Dustin Johnson (DK - $11,700 & FD - $12,500 )

This might be the rare week that DJ will go a bit overlooked. That might not be the right word, but Johnson definitely let lots of people down in last week's Open Championship. He played poorly at Carnoustie, logging a missed cut as the most expensive player. A very popular selection last week, DFS regulars might not be in a huge hurry to jump back on the DJ wagon. He once again carries the highest DK salary on the board.

The big difference in last week and this week is that DJ has actually always played well in the Canadian Open. Despite his spotty Open Championship history, DFS players opted to trust his talent last week. DJ has been a force at Glen Abbey, finishing T8 last year, with a pair of second place finishes in 2016 and 2013. Last week hurt, but I expect the most talented player in the world to bounceback in Canada.

Jhonattan Vegas (DK - $7,500 & FD - $8,700 )

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the back-to-back RBC Canadian Open champion in an article that focuses on course history. Vegas finished at 21-under par and outlasted Charley Hoffman in a playoff to take home the title last year. In 2016, Vegas came out on top at 12-under par with the likes of Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm just one stroke behind.

Vegas had a wild week at Carnoustie when some visa troubles almost prevented him from getting into the country and making his tee time. Hopefully, the Venezuelan will find his way to Glen Abbey with no issues. Vegas hasn't displayed much form in 2018 and has missed his the cut in his last two tournament appearances. He is strictly a GPP-only option that is a pure course history selection.

Chad Campbell (DK - $6,700 & FD - $8,000)

Those searching for some value this week might want to give Chad Campbell a long look. The veteran ballstriker from Texas isn't in the greatest form in 2018, though he did pop-up to log a T7 at the John Deere Classic two weeks ago. Digging in to Campbell's Canadian Open history reveals a surprisingly solid track record. He has made four consecutive cuts at Glen Abbey, finishing T32 in 2017, T26 in 2016, T11 in 2015, and grabbing a T16 in 2013.

Campbell is a value GPP-only option due to his current form. I love his record at Glen Abbey for the bargain basement price of $6,700 on DraftKings. His play at the John Deere recently gives us reason to believe that Campbell is still capable on certain courses. His ballstriking will be a huge asset at the Nicklaus-designed course this week. He is a perfect play for those multi-entering large field GPPs.

 

Golf DFS News and Player Outlooks

 

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PGA DFS: Horse For The Course - 2018 Open Championship

Hello and welcome to the The Open Championship edition of Horse For The Course! This is the granddaddy of them all, golf's oldest test and the only major championship that is held outside of the United States. Similar to the U.S. Open, the British version rotates venues, with a different course hosting every year. The 2018 Open takes us to Carnoustie, perhaps the most difficult course in the Open Championship rotation. As with all majors, the field is loaded with the most talented players in the world. Unlike the other majors, weather is a crucial factor at the Open, especially at Carnoustie. It's possible that some of the favorites will basically be eliminated on day one if they get unlucky with weather. I have to advise all my readers to keep an eye on weather reports when making lineups this week. We often see either the morning or afternoon start times gain a significant advantage based on changing conditions. For those that will be multi-entering lineups this week, it's not a bad idea to stack based on start times, just so you are covered both ways. DFS sites are offering tons of options this week, including DraftKings "Millionaire Maker", which you can enter for a modest $20 entry fee. If you haven't played it in the past, I definitely recommend it. In honor of The Open Championship, I will be expanding the number of selections this week. Let's toss on our rain gear and get to it!

Horse For The Course will take a look at players that have traditionally flourished at the course that hosts this week’s PGA TOUR event. This is not a traditional picks column, but rather an attempt to pinpoint players that have outstanding results at a specific course. "The Horse" is a player with an elite course history and that has a great chance to repeat his success in this week's tournament. "The Ponies" are players with very good course history, that might be entering this week's tournament under the radar or have a DFS price that is a great value. Due to this week's tournament being played on a course that is not a regular Tour stop, we are forced to veer away from our normal course history strategy. This week's column will attempt to identify the best DFS plays available.

For a full review of the DraftKings PGA Slate this weekend, check out Seth Finklestein's column reviewing picks at every price point.

For those looking for insight into tournament odds and matchups, try our PGA DFS: Vegas Report by Las Vegas resident Spencer Aguiar.

Editor's Note: Our friends at Fantasy National have built some incredible DFS Golf lineup tools including a Lineup Optimizer, Stat Engine, Ownership Projections and Course Breakdowns. They are by far the best daily fantasy Golf tools in the industry. Seriously. You can read all about them here and see screenshots. 

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The Course: Carnoustie - Par 71 - 7,402 Yards

Widely recognized as the most difficult course in the Open rotation, Carnoustie will offer a significant challenge to this year's participants. At over 7,400 yards, it will be the longest course to ever host The Open. This will be Carnoustie's eighth time hosting The Open, with the first coming in 1931 and the last in 2007. Padraig Harrington won the 2007 version over Sergio Garcia with a score of 7-under par in relatively good weather conditions. Compare that to Paul Lawrie's winning score of 6-over in 1999 and it is easy to see that weather will play a huge factor this week. Thick rough and fescue, along with tons of scary bunkers are part of Carnoustie's defenses, but when the wind blows in off the Angus coast, things can get extremely difficult in a hurry. The fairways are narrow and we will see lots of players hitting less than driver off the tee. Carnoustie has had very little rain recently and is playing extremely firm and fast at the time of this writing.

 

The Horses

Justin Rose (DraftKings - $10,200 & FanDuel - $12,200 )

My top Horse for the U.S. Open was Dustin Johnson and I came very close to going back to the DJ well again, as I love how Carnoustie sets up for him. My second U.S. Open favorite was Justin Rose and I can't talk myself out of rolling with the Englishman again. Rose is a better value on DraftKings, where he comes in as the fourth-highest priced player. Let me say a quick word about the three players priced above Rose. I love DJ this week, he is probably the elite player whose game would be the least impacted by wind or weather, unless he just gets extremely unlucky. Rory should be a great play this week, but I prefer him at the more birdie-friendly courses where he can go crazy low. Carnoustie will be a grind and Rory's struggles with the putter might hurt him this week. I have no clue what to tell you about Jordan Spieth other than I wouldn't be surprised if he missed the cut, but I also wouldn't be surprised if he won the tournament...that's how unpredictable his game is at the moment.

Ok, enough about the other guys, let's talk about our man Justin Rose. I feel like Rose has been on a collision course with a major win for two years and Carnoustie sets up very nicely for what Rose does. He will find fairways and greens, make putts, and minimize damage when he does get into trouble. He has the talent, the experience, and the mental toughness to hang around for four days in the pressure-cooker that is The Open Championship. Rose's stats are impeccable, he ranks in the top 25 of every Strokes Gained category on the PGA Tour. Raised in England, Rose will be very comfortable on the links layout.

The downside to deploying Rose will be his ownership. I expect him to be the chalk this week. I'm talking Chalky McChalkerson. There is some valid game theory arguments that can be made to always "fade the chalk" in large fields like the Millionaire Maker. I'm not going down that rabbit hole in this article, but I do understand the concept. With all that being said, if Rose goes out and wins this tournament, you want him in your lineups. We have to combat Rose's high ownership by differentiating our lineups in other spots.

Brooks Koepka (DK - $9,200 & FD - $12,100)

Watching the U.S. Open recently, I had a thought about Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka. DJ is like the Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator, an awesome and unstoppable machine. This week's second Horse, Brooks Koepka, is like the upgraded Robert Patrick liquid metal Terminator in T2 and you're like..."Holy f**k! This one is even more scary than the Arnold Terminator!" Koepka is a golf machine, he doesn't care about the weather or the score or the layout or the fans, he's just there to hit 350 yard laser three woods and destroy the other golfers on the way to victory.

At the time of this writing, I'm not hearing tons of chatter about Koepka around the DFS industry. The silence is music to my ears, because the reigning back-to-back U.S. Open champion is perhaps my favorite play this week. Koepka is a player that came up through the ranks of the Challenge and European Tours. For an American, he is extremely comfortable playing on a European links course. He has played very well on tough layouts and in his previous Open Championship appearances, including a T10 at St. Andrews in 2015 and a T6 last year at Royal Birkdale.

Koepka's stats won't blow you away and are a bit skewed by the time he missed with a wrist injury earlier this season, but I have learned to look past his stats and focus on his results. Koepka is a gamer that shows up on the big stage. I kind of love the idea of starting GPP lineups with Koepka as my highest priced player. With the relaxed major pricing, at $9,200 on DraftKings, Koepka can be the base of some unbelievably balanced lineups. I expect Tommy Fleetwood to soak up a ton of ownership at this price point, but I'm all-in on the T-1000 golf killing machine this week.

 

The Ponies

Patrick Reed (DK - $8,400 & FD - $11,400 )

Our first Pony this week is the reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed. It's an understatement to say 2018 has been a great year for Reed. He picked up a T2 at the Valspar, which he followed up with a T7 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Then Reed won a little tournament down in Augusta, Georgia that gives a green jacket to the winner. On the heels of his major breakthrough at the Masters, Reed mounted a Sunday charge at Shinnecock Hills and very nearly stole this year's U.S. Open.

Like Brooks Koepka, Reed's stats don't blow you away. Unlike Koepka, Reed doesn't have tremendous physical tools. So what makes Patrick Reed a good option at this week's Open Championship? I can't offer a definitive answer for what makes Reed a great player, but it seems that he possesses an almost immeasurable drive to win. This is a guy that played his way onto the PGA Tour by playing Monday Qualifiers. Those of you that know the sport well, know how impossible that is. How does a guy that plays his way onto the PGA Tour in the most difficult way possible stare down and defeat Rory McIlroy in a Ryder Cup? How does that guy hold off Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler to win a green jacket? I'm not sure, but I don't think it's measured by ShotLink. If the guy can handle grinding out Monday Qualifiers, he can handle Carnoustie.

This is not a news flash, but Patrick Reed isn't popular. He has some questionable things in his past, a strained relationship with his parents, and almost no friends on the PGA Tour. I say all this not to trash Patrick Reed, but to illustrate that he probably won't be a popular choice with casual DFS players this week. I expect his ownership will be less than what it should be, simply due to the fact that he is not a guy that most people like pulling for. I love him as a contrarian GPP option. He is great to pair with Justin Rose in order to differentiate lineups.

Alex Noren (DK - $8,300 & FD - $9,800 )

Is this the Swede you were expecting? Make no mistake, I love Henrik Stenson this week...but so does everyone else! Let's pivot to Alex Noren, who with a salary $100 more expensive than Stenson, will garner much less ownership. Noren kicked off the year by going on a heater during the early portion of the PGA Tour season. The Swede has also been known to go on winning binges on the European Tour. In short, when Noren is on, he can play at an elite level. His reputation as a streaky player really makes me love the fact that Noren staged a Sunday charge to capture the HNA Open de France title two weeks ago in Paris.

Like Stenson, Noren is a ballstriking extraordinaire. He ranks 26th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 14th in Strokes Gained: Approach, and 38th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. Noren has also been elite on the greens in 2018, coming in at ninth in Strokes Gained: Putting. He's a veteran of the European Tour and is familiar with both links golf and Carnoustie.

Echoing some of the game theory principles we have discussed with our other options, Noren makes great sense as a pivot play. I expect Stenson to draw huge ownership at his $8,200 price tag. Moving to Noren at an almost identical price gives us a play that the casual DFS fan might not be as familiar with and helps to differentiate our lineups from the masses. Fire Noren up in the Millionaire Maker.

Ian Poulter (DK - $7,800 & FD - $9,400 )

I'm going with what some might consider a boring play at this price point. The veteran of 16 Open Championships, Ian Poulter has experienced a career resurgence in 2018. Surprise, surprise, it's a Ryder Cup year! The Englishman captured his first ever PGA Tour stroke-play title earlier this season at the Houston Open, after finding a spark with a putter change at the WGC Match Play event. Poulter has continued his excellence after the win, logging a Top-10 at the RBC Heritage and a T11 at The Players Championship. Poulter was most recently in the mix at the U.S. Open, before fading into a T25 finish.

While Poulter's rediscovered putting stroke certainly kickstarted his comeback earlier this year, his elite ballstriking has allowed him to continue finding success. Poulter ranks 21st in Strokes Gained: Approach, 36th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 25th in Driving Accuracy Percentage. Fairways and greens might not be exciting, but they will be of the utmost importance at Carnoustie this week.

Poulter should be the cornerstone of cash game lineups this week. He offers a great deal of safety, with sneaky upside at his $7,800 DraftKings price tag. The veteran is a sleeper GPP play and is not especially a fan favorite on this side of the Atlantic. Poulter has been through the ups and downs that come in Open Championships. I would not be surprised at all if Poulter grinds away and backdoors a Top-10 at Carnoustie.

Stewart Cink (DK - $6,600 & FD - $8,000)

My Open Championship value play is Stewart Cink, Attorney-At-Law (Check out Cink's DraftKings profile picture!) He can represent you in a lawsuit or carry your DFS team in The Open Championship. I'm having a little fun with Cink, but in all seriousness, he is a tremendous value play this week. The 45-year-old has some mileage on the tires, but I actually think his experience will be an advantage at Carnoustie. Cink captured the 2009 Open Championship and has played very well on links courses throughout his career.

Cink isn't just a salary-saver this week, the veteran has been playing excellent golf recently. He logged back-to-back Top-5 finishes in June, with a T4 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic and a T2 at the Travelers Championship. Cink followed those performances with a solid T23 at the Quicken Loans National. He is a tremendous ball striker and currently sits ninth in Strokes Gained: Approach and 12th in Proximity to the Hole on the PGA Tour. Cink also has the mental toughness to withstand the challenges that Carnoustie and the weather will throw at players this week.

I normally specify that value picks are GPP-only plays, but this week I feel comfortable mixing Cink in some cash game lineups. His price is borderline ridiculous and will probably inflate his ownership a bit, but it will still be reasonable. The pricing is so soft that most casual players won't feel the need to look this far down the salary scale. Cink is an excellent option for those that want to get super-aggressive with the Stars & Scrubs approach. I love him in large-field GPP formats this week and will be heavy on him compared to the rest of the field.

 

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PGA DFS: Horse For The Course - John Deere Classic

Hello and welcome back to Horse For The Course! Kevin Na scored an emotional win at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier last week. It was Na's second career win and first in almost eight years. Those of you that haven't had a chance to see his post-round interview with CBS should track it down, it is a great reminder of how much these guys want to win. Anyway, on to this week and the John Deere Classic. My theme for this week is "There Will Be Birdies"! We've got some great course history to examine this week. We have seen several players repeatedly do well at TPC Deere Run and that's when this column accomplishes what its meant to do...give you a leg up on the DFS competition. I am even throwing in an extra Pony this week. Let's get on our tractors and get into it!

Horse For The Course will take a look at players that have traditionally flourished at the course that hosts this week’s PGA TOUR event. This is not a traditional picks column, but rather an attempt to pinpoint players that have outstanding results at a specific course. "The Horse" is a player with an elite course history and that has a great chance to repeat his success in this week's tournament. "The Ponies" are players with very good course history, that might be entering this week's tournament under the radar or have a DFS price that is a great value.

For a full review of the DraftKings PGA Slate this weekend, check out Seth Finklestein's column reviewing picks at every price point.

Editor's Note: Our friends at Fantasy National have built some incredible DFS Golf lineup tools including a Lineup Optimizer, Stat Engine, Ownership Projections and Course Breakdowns. They are by far the best daily fantasy Golf tools in the industry. Seriously. You can read all about them here and see screenshots. 

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The Course: TPC Deere Run - Par 71 - 7,268 Yards

There will be birdies! Over the past few weeks we have seen several "player friendly" courses, but TPC Deere Run might be the king of them all. The D.A. Weibring designed layout ranks as one of the easiest tracks on the PGA Tour year-in and year-out. We traditionally see a winning score in the area of 20-under. Players will need to take advantage of the three Par-5's and the manageable Par-4's. Length off the tee isn't a huge advantage at TPC Deere Run. However, finding fairways and greens will be of the utmost importance. Approach shots play a huge factor and a hot putter is a necessity. Birdies will be required to win this week.

 

The Horse

Zach Johnson (DraftKings - $11,200 & FanDuel - $11,700 )

This week's Horse is two-time major champion Zach Johnson. The guy is so synonymous with this tournament that he literally sits on the board of the John Deere Classic. The 2012 John Deere champion, Johnson has an unbelievable seven Top-5's in his last nine appearances, including three runner-up finishes. Over his last 42 rounds in the John Deere, Johnson has shot even-par or better in 41 of them.

Though he has dominated at TPC Deere Run over the years, Johnson is far from a one-trick pony. He has played well in 2018. The veteran hasn't been able to win a tournament this year, but has found himself in the mix several times. Johnson is mostly thought of as a grinder, but he has the ability to go low. He recently fired a first-round 63 at the Travelers Championship on the way to a T19 finish. He ranks 17th in Strokes Gained: Approach and an impressive 2nd in Proximity to the Hole.

Similar to Russell Henley last week, we are forced to pay a "course history premium" for Zach at the John Deere. He carries steep price tags on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Over the past few PGA events we have been wrestling with paying much higher DFS prices for players we target in fields that are thin. I'm firing away on Zach Johnson this week, despite the high price tags. He should be a cash game staple and will still be GPP-worthy. I do expect high ownership, but I'm willing to roll with the chalk in exchange for the unbelievable consistency that Johnson offers at TPC Deere Run.

 

The Ponies

Bryson DeChambeau (DK - $11,400 & FD - $12,100 )

This week's first Pony is one of the hottest players in the world right now. Bryson DeChambeau has made quite an impression on the PGA Tour over the past year and it can be traced back to the 2017 John Deere Classic. After entering the professional ranks with high expectations, DeChambeau was playing brutally bad last year and at one point missed eight consecutive cuts, before doing some soul searching and finding his swing in June. He was able to get back on track and secure his first career win at last year's John Deere Classic.

The win seems to have buoyed DeChambeau's belief in himself and his scientific approach to the game. He has been on a tear this season, logging a second place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a T3 at the RBC Heritage, and a fourth at the Wells Fargo Championship. His great play culminated with a second career win at the prominent Memorial tournament last month. "The Mad Scientist" brings excellent form with him to TPC Deere Run this week, he is 10th in Birdie Average and a scorching 15th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green.

As I mentioned when discussing Zach Johnson, this week is almost eerily similar to last week in many ways. We saw Tony Finau with his highest DFS price tag ever at The Greenbrier and now we have Bryson DeChambeau listed at $11,400 on DraftKings, just a couple of hundred bucks behind Francesco Molinari. Unlike last week, I'm not surprised that DeChambeau is this expensive. He has played amazing golf over the last few months. When we combine his current form with his success at TPC Deere Run last year, he is a no-brainer. I will have him deployed heavily in cash and GPP lineups.

Steve Stricker (DK - $9,800 & FD - $11,500 )

Steve Stricker is the only player that can rival Zach Johnson for the title of "Mr. John Deere". Improbably, Stricker's track record at TPC Deere Run may be more impressive that Johnson's. Stricker is the last person on the PGA Tour to win a tournament three consecutive times, pulling off the feat in this tournament in 2009, 2010, and 2011. The veteran from Wisconsin will be making his 17th career appearance at TPC Deere Run.

Stricker is playing a mixed schedule this season, splitting his time between the PGA Champions Tour and the regular PGA Tour. Don't let that scare you away this week. "Strick" has played exceptionally well on both tours. Because of his limited playing time on the PGA Tour this year, Stricker doesn't have enough rounds to qualify in statistical categories, but we know what we are getting from him. Stricker will play the style of golf that has worked so well for him over the years...he will hit fairways and greens, and hopefully make a ton of putts.

Is anyone else noticing a theme this week? Stricker carries a stout $9,800 DK price tag. Is he worth it? My answer is that I have zero hesitation using him across the board. He is a terrific cash game anchor this week. His ownership will be high for GPP use, but I expect Stricker to be fighting for a Top-10 at the John Deere.

Wesley Bryan (DK - $9,100 & FD - $9,000)

Up is down, black is white...Wesley Bryan is $9,100 on DraftKings. We have reached that point of the season. I wanted to touch on Bryan because of his stellar history at TPC Deere Run. The trick-shot artist turned PGA Tour Pro has been exceptional in two John Deere appearances. Bryan logged a T3 last year and a T8 in 2016, with a round of 64 in both years. It is hard to ignore those type of results, no matter who the player is.

Bryan has struggled mightily at different points this season. He missed six of seven cuts during one particularly bad stretch. However, he seems to be rounding into form over the past month. He logged a T12, his best finish of the season, at the FedEx St. Jude Classic to kickoff the month of June. He made the cut and carded a couple of sub-70 rounds at the Travelers Championship. Last week at The Greenbrier, Bryan finished T26 while ranking fifth in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting and 10th in Scrambling. I like where Bryan's short game is heading into the John Deere, a course where wedge-play and putting will be absolutely crucial.

Bryan is strictly a GPP-play this week. I do think his game is heading in the right direction and he is playing on a course that he's obviously very comfortable on, but I do have a difficult time swallowing the $9,100 DK price tag. He is not for the faint of heart, but he is the type of large-field GPP play that can win a tournament for you.

Johnson Wagner (DK - $7,900 & FD - $8,500)

Our Bonus Pony this week is Johnson Wagner. We had to find a player that offers a bit of salary cap relief and Wagner fits the bill. I can't believe I'm saying this, but Wagner has been downright dominant at TPC Deere Run since 2014. That year kicked off a stretch of three consecutive Top-10's for the former Virginia Tech Hokie. Wagner logged a T7 in 2014, followed by back-to-back T5's in 2015 and 2016. Unfortunately, Wagner's run ended in a missed cut last year, but a three-year stretch like he had can't be overlooked.

Wagner has been making cuts fairly consistently this year. He had a nice stretch back in the spring that saw him go T20-T13-T32 in consecutive weeks at the Valero, Wells Fargo, and Byron Nelson. He fired back-to-back 68's at The Greenbrier last week, but faded over the weekend. His lack of driving distance won't be a huge handicap this week and his short game numbers are encouraging, as he ranks 20th in Strokes Gained: Putting and 10th in Scrambling on the PGA Tour this season.

Wagner is a GPP-only play. I think he will fly under the radar this week and is a perfect flyer in large-field tournaments. He offers a much-needed salary break in a week that pricing is a bit out of control. Wagner is not without risk, but he does have sneaky Top-10 potential and is a great option for DFS players that enter multiple lineups.

 

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PGA DFS: Horse For The Course - A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier

Hello and welcome back to Horse For The Course! Francesco Molinari was a runaway freight train Sunday at the Quicken Loans National, firing a final-round 62 to win his first PGA Tour event by an eight shot margin. Tiger Woods finished tied for fourth and continued his inconsistent ways. The Horses didn't fare as well as we've become accustomed to, with Rickie Fowler leading the way in a 12th place finish. This week we head to beautiful West Virginia for A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier. Xander Schauffele took home the title in last year's edition and he is back to defend this week. The Greenbrier began hosting this tournament in 2010, so we have a decent base for course history. There was no event held in 2016 due to the tragic flooding in West Virginia that year, but we still have seven years worth of Greenbrier events to draw from. Let's get back on track and get to it!

Horse For The Course will take a look at players that have traditionally flourished at the course that hosts this week’s PGA TOUR event. This is not a traditional picks column, but rather an attempt to pinpoint players that have outstanding results at a specific course. "The Horse" is a player with an elite course history and that has a great chance to repeat his success in this week's tournament. "The Ponies" are players with very good course history, that might be entering this week's tournament under the radar or have a DFS price that is a great value.

For a full review of the DraftKings PGA Slate this weekend, check out Seth Finklestein's column reviewing picks at every price point.

Editor's Note: Our friends at Fantasy National have built some incredible DFS Golf lineup tools including a Lineup Optimizer, Stat Engine, Ownership Projections and Course Breakdowns. They are by far the best daily fantasy Golf tools in the industry. Seriously. You can read all about them here and see screenshots. 

Sign Up Now!

 

The Course: The Old White TPC - Par 70 - 7,286 Yards

The Old White TPC has been around for over a century and played host to the PGA Tour since 2010. Massive flooding in West Virginia two years ago forced a redesign of Charles Blair McDonald's original layout. There is a definite Scottish feel to the Greenbrier layout. Players can score on the Par 70, as evidenced by Stuart Appleby's final-round 59 in 2010. Xander Schauffele won last year's edition at 14-under par and Danny Lee took home the 2015 title at 13-under. We will look for player's that can rack up birdies and eagles this week. The Old White TPC has very generous fairways and players that have length off the tee should be able to fire away. The Greenbrier greens are bentgrass, so its helpful to identify players that do well on that putting surface.

 

The Horse

Tony Finau (DraftKings - $11,500 & FanDuel - $12,000 )

This week's Horse is one of my personal favorite players on the PGA Tour. Tony Finau has a sick amount of game. He hits it a mile and is slowly, but surely, figuring out the short game. Those that watch the majors probably noticed Finau's name pop up on leaderboards at both The Masters and the U.S. Open this year. The young star from Utah logged a T10 at Augusta National and a fifth at Shinnecock Hills...pretty impressive stuff. Finau only has one career victory on the PGA Tour, the 2016 Puerto Rico Open, but he seems primed for a breakthrough win. I would not be at all surprised if that win comes this week in West Virginia.

Though Finau's course history at The Old White TPC is not as extensive as we normally require in this article, it is positive. The Greenbrier has been kind to Finau in just two starts, he notched a T13 in 2015 and a T7 last year. While those results aren't eye-popping, they illustrate that Finau's game translates well to the course. In DFS we always want to be ahead of the trends and Finau's course history blends well with his current form and career trajectory. Another PGA Tour win for Finau is coming soon and he is perhaps the most talented player in this week's field. He ranks third on the PGA Tour in driving distance and 18th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green.

Finau is the highest priced player on DraftKings this week at $11,500. Though he is the odds-on Vegas favorite for The Greenbrier, this is new pricing territory for him. I wonder if lots of DFS regulars will suffer from "sticker shock" when they see Finau's price? In a way, the high price can work to our advantage, especially in GPPs. If Finau was priced at $9,500 we would see his ownership be at ridiculous levels. With the high price tag, we should be able to stick him in GPP lineups at fairly reasonable ownership levels. At this price, Finau basically needs to win the tournament, but I believe that the big hitter is very capable of leaving West Virginia victorious this week.

 

The Ponies

Bubba Watson (DK - $11,000 & FD - $11,800 )

I featured Bubba Watson as a Pony for the Travelers Championship two weeks ago and he went on to win the tournament. I'm not too proud to ride the hot hand and I'm going back to the well with Bubba. Like TPC River Highlands a few weeks ago, The Old White TPC is a "Bubba course". I mentioned in my last write-up on Bubba that perhaps more than any other player on tour, course history is especially crucial when evaluating Watson's chances in an upcoming tournament. He is very course-dependant...usually playing extremely well at his favorites and not so well at courses he dislikes. Watson owns a home in The Greenbrier community, so it's pretty safe to say he's fond of the place.

Watson's finishes at The Greenbrier don't blow you away, but they are solid. He finished an ugly T70 last year, in his worst year as a professional. If we throw out 2017, we like what we see; a T13 in 2015, T16 in 2014, and a T30 in 2013. Though the finishes aren't spectacular, I'm encouraged by Bubba's play at The Old White TPC...14 of his 16 rounds have been scores in the 60's. Fans that follow golf know that Bubba is streaky and can chalk up wins in bunches. His fondness for The Greenbrier combined with his recent hot play, make me a believer in Bubba's chances this week.

As I mentioned before the Travelers Championship, Bubba isn't allowed anywhere near my cash game lineups. Once again, I believe he is an excellent GPP-specific play. His style of play and salary this week just don't lend themselves to those going the conservative route. Watson is always a boom-or-bust option, but that is especially true this week, as he sports an $11,000 DK price tag. I think Bubba is in great shape both physically and mentally right now. I will be counting on him in large-field GPP lineups this week.

Russell Henley (DK - $10,400 & FD - $10,500 )

We go from one streaky player to another. Russell Henley has certainly been trending in the right direction lately. The former Georgia Bulldog flirted with the lead early at the recent U.S. Open, before a T25 finish. In his most recent outing at the Travelers Championship, Henley fired four rounds in the 60's on the way to a T6. He also had a nice Masters outing earlier this year, finishing T15 in 2017's first major.

On top of his excellent recent form, Henley has the type of resume at The Old White TPC that we look for. He has logged back-to-back Top-5 finishes at The Greenbrier in 2015 and 2017. Henley also tossed in a T30 in 2013, so we have to love his comfort level in West Virginia. Henley isn't flashy, but he hits fairways and greens at an excellent clip. He ranks 10th on the PGA Tour in Driving Accuracy and 22nd in Greens in Regulation.

Like so many other players this week, Henley's DFS price feels high. He's typically not a player that we are willing to pay over 10k for. However, like Tony Finau, I think the pricing will push Henley's ownership levels down. I believe that many DFS players will skip over Henley in favor of Xander Schauffele or Webb Simpson, two players that he is sandwiched between on DraftKings. He is a GPP play and the perfect player for those multi-entering large tournaments to get heavy exposure to.

Ted Potter Jr. (DK - $7,600 & FD - $8,100)

I wish I had a "silver bullet" value play to give my regular readers after the disaster that was Peter Malnati last week. The best I can come up with on the lower end of the pricing spectrum this week is Ted Potter Jr. If "TPJ" doesn't get your blood pumping, I don't know what will! All jokes aside, Potter Jr. has phenomenal course history at The Old White TPC. The veteran seems to wake up and win a PGA Tour event about once every five years and he took home The Greenbrier Classic title in 2012. In addition to the 2012 win, Potter has played exceptionally well in this tournament over the years; he followed up the win with a T6 in 2013, a T26 in 2014, and a T37 last year.

Potter has flashed some form in 2018. He won the AT&T Pebble Beach title earlier this year in stunning fashion by holding off superstars Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, and Phil Mickelson. He has been relatively quiet since the upset win, save a T16 at Harbour Town and a T27 at the Wells Fargo Championship. Potter did pop a bit last week and scored a T23 at the Quicken Loans National despite a horrid short game performance. He is definitely a tough player to figure out, as his stats don't stand out much, but he can seemingly go low out of nowhere like he did with a 62 at Pebble Beach earlier this year. He is certainly capable of making birdies at The Old White TPC, as he posted back-to-back 64's during his 2012 victory.

This is a tough week to find DFS value. The site's seem to be making us work hard this week. Potter offers some relative safety at a reduced $7,600 price point. He gives us some much-needed salary relief when constructing GPP lineups. I normally don't recommend my value plays for cash game lineups, but in a week that pricing is extremely tough, those with some gamble can deploy Potter in all formats. I will go light on him in cash, but will be slightly heavy in large-field GPPs.

 

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PGA DFS: Horse For The Course - Quicken Loans National

Hello and welcome back to Horse For The Course! It was another great week for this column at the Travelers Championship. One of our Ponies, Bubba Watson, surged past last week's Horse Paul Casey to claim the title. It was Bubba's third win at the Travelers and continues a huge comeback season for him. This week the PGA Tour heads to Washington D.C. for the Quicken Loans National. While this tournament has been around for several years, this is just the second time that TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm will be the host course. The long-time venue host Congressional Country Club gave way to TPC Potomac last year and a field that includes Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler will take another shot at the tough layout. There is a noticeable lack of depth in this field, with Fowler and Woods arguably in a league of their own. It will be interesting to see if Tiger can pick up his first win since his comeback against a field that is noticeably short on star power. Unfortunately, we have very minimal course history to work with, so we will have to dig into our bag of tricks a bit this week, but we will not let that stop our hot streak! Let's get to it!

Horse For The Course will take a look at players that have traditionally flourished at the course that hosts this week’s PGA TOUR event. This is not a traditional picks column, but rather an attempt to pinpoint players that have outstanding results at a specific course. "The Horse" is a player with an elite course history and that has a great chance to repeat his success in this week's tournament. "The Ponies" are players with very good course history, that might be entering this week's tournament under the radar or have a DFS price that is a great value. We have limited course history to draw from this week, so we will rely on a combination of history, recent form, and course fit to find our players this week.

For a full review of the DraftKings PGA Slate this weekend, check out Seth Finklestein's column reviewing picks at every price point.

Editor's Note: Our friends at Fantasy National have built some incredible DFS Golf lineup tools including a Lineup Optimizer, Stat Engine, Ownership Projections and Course Breakdowns. They are by far the best daily fantasy Golf tools in the industry. Seriously. You can read all about them here and see screenshots. 

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The Course: TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm - Par 70 - 7,107 Yards

We go from the birdie-fest at the Travelers Championship to a course that should offer the field a much stiffer challenge. This course played tougher than any non-major venue in 2017. Kyle Stanley took home the title last year at TPC Potomac with a score of seven-under par. The 36-hole cut line was a fairly high 4-over par, so we should expect players to be forced into grind mode this week. TPC Potomac tests players with several long par-4's, but offers some slight relief on some reachable par-5's and one driveable par-4. The fairways are tight and the rough is penal. Players will be need to be accurate both off the tee and into greens.

 

The Horse

Rickie Fowler (DraftKings - $11,700 & FanDuel - $12,600 )

I'm probably not going out on a limb by naming Rickie Fowler this week's Horse. Fowler is by far the class of the Quicken Loans National Field. He is ranked 8th in the Official World Golf Ranking, while only two other competitors in the field, Francesco Molinari and Marc Leishman, are inside the top-20. Fowler is also the heavy odd-on favorite at all sportsbooks this week and it's not particularly close. While we only have one year of course history to evaluate, Fowler checks that box also. He competed at TPC Potomac in last year's Quicken Loans National and played well, finishing tied for third after a brilliant final-round 65.

Fowler's recent form has been steady. He has logged three consecutive top-20 finishes in his last three starts, including a roller coaster outing at the U.S. Open that resulted in a T20. As you can imagine, Fowler's stats are solid across the board, but I feel that his ability to take advantage of the Par 4's will be of particular importance this week, Fowler ranks fifth on the PGA Tour in Par 4 scoring average. He hits greens, ranking 21st in Greens in Regulation Percentage and he has the ability to save par even when he doesn't, ranking seventh in Scrambling.

The obvious drawback to Fowler this week is his substantial price tag. Fowler is the highest priced player on both DraftKings and FanDuel. We will have to make some sacrifices to get him in lineups this week. When we start DK lineups with Rickie, we are left with an average salary of about $7,600 per remaining player. Not wonderful in a field that lacks depth, but it is definitely workable in GPPs. We can hope that the lack of depth down the price ladder will lead many DFS players toward a more solid lineup build that would leave Fowler out of their lineups. Many might think that Fowler is a no-brainer pick this week, but isn't that what we are always searching for? It can often be easy to get cute and overthink things in DFS, but this week I'm riding the best player in the field.

 

The Ponies

Charles Howell III (DK - $8,900 & FD - $11,400 )

Let's move down from Rickie to another seemingly obvious play, Charles Howell III. CH3 is Matt Kuchar lite, always racking up solid finishes, but never taking home the trophy. Howell last won a PGA Tour event over a decade ago, but that's not stopped him from being a very serviceable player throughout his career. The 39-year-old has been rock-solid once again this season, racking up two top 10's and six top 25's in 2018. Howell has only missed one cut this calendar year, the Honda Classic way back in February.

Howell was oh-so-close to putting an end to his winless streak at TPC Potomac last year. He fired three sub-70 rounds to finish tied for the lead at seven-under par, before falling to Kyle Stanley in a playoff. Like Fowler, CH3 excels on Par 4's, ranking 31st in Par 4 scoring average. Howell plays tough courses, like TPC Potomac, well in large part due to his ability to avoid big numbers, Howell ranks 10th in Bogey Avoidance on the PGA Tour this season. He possesses a very solid overall game, ranking an impressive 35th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green.

For those that are leaning in the direction of a balanced lineup construction, I recommend starting your lineups with Howell. His $8,900 DraftKings price tag is a bit higher than we are used to seeing for CH3, but it is reasonable when we look at the lack of talent in this week's field. I like Howell in both cash games and tournaments, but we must be prepared to eat the chalk, as I expect him to be an extremely popular play across the board. I'm willing to deal with the high ownership in exchange for Howell's remarkable consistency, a trait that is hard to come by in this week's player pool.

David Lingmerth (DK - $8,200 & FD - $7,900 )

I told you we would be forced to dig a bit this week! David Lingmerth is one of the few players in this week's field with some course history at TPC Potomac that extends past last year's Quicken Loans National. Lingmerth played well in the National in 2017, opening with back-to-back 65's to lead at the halfway point, before struggling over the weekend and falling into a T5. In addition to his excellent play at last year's PGA event, Lingmerth won the 2012 Web.com event that was held at TPC Potomac. It's fair to say that the Swede is comfortable with the layout.

A dive into Lingmerth's stats returns some pretty ugly results. However, I do like that he sits 17th in Driving Accuracy, a skill that will be crucial this week. He has mostly struggled in 2018, but has shown signs of life over the past month, finishing T29 at the Memorial and logging a T19 at last week's Travelers on the strength of a final-round 66. Lingmerth is a streaky player that can get hot seemingly out of nowhere. He won the 2015 Memorial and lost in playoffs at various tournaments in both 2016 and 2017.

The goal in PGA DFS is to identify players before they get hot. Lingmerth fits squarely in that category this week and I believe he is a prime candidate to surprise at TPC Potomac. That belief is reinforced by recent signs that he is finding his game and the successful results he has logged at this week's course. His $8,200 DraftKings price tag makes me slightly sick to my stomach, but we have to follow our instincts and be willing to pull the trigger on players we like in fields that lack tons of talent. For those that play on FanDuel, Lingmerth is an absolute steal at $7,900 and should be fired up in all formats.

Peter Malnati (DK - $7,000 & FD - $8,100)

I'm continuing tradition this week with another under-the-radar value play. I have a soft spot for Peter Malnati, one of the truly good guys on the PGA Tour. For those of you that have ever seen TV coverage of Malnati, you can see what I'm talking about. Like me, Malnati went to a small high school in rural East Tennessee and calls Knoxville home. (Standing invitation for dinner on me in K-Town Peter!) With all that being said, you don't make Horse For The Course for strictly sentimental reasons. He logged a solid T38 at TPC Potomac last year and he plays well on tough golf courses. Malnati has a PGA Tour win to his credit and is a legitimate contrarian option this week.

Malnati is another streaky player that seems to run hot and cold. A look at his game log shows stretches of missed cuts, followed by strings of solid play. I believe that Malnati is finding his form in the month of June. He has performed well over his last two tournaments, logging a T30 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic and a T26 at last week's Travelers Championship. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Malnati's recent play is the scores he has been able to post. Over his last eight rounds, six have been sub-70 scores, including a 64 last week.

As is customary with my value pick, I'm specifying Malnati as a GPP-only play. He is not a cash game or single lineup play, but is a perfect contrarian option for those multi-entering large-field GPPs. His $7,000 DK price tag offers the salary cap relief we need to deploy Rickie Fowler. We are searching for a made cut at this price and Malnati is capable of playing past Friday. We even have an outside shot at a sneaky top-25 in this field. The masses will flock to Adam Hadwin in this price range, while we can pivot to an under-the radar play that should have ownership at 5% or less.

 

Golf DFS News and Player Outlooks

 

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