Golf Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy PGA Picks and Betting Guide for DraftKings & FanDuel – The PLAYERS Championship
Chris will be bringing you weekly PGA picks, analysis, and breakdowns to help you cash on DraftKings and FanDuel. As every week in DFS PGA changes with the course setup, field of players and weather, Chris will be providing a range of different picks for cash games as well as upside plays for tournaments. If you have any questions to lineup lock you can reach him a variety of ways. Leave your question/comment below in the comments section, find him in the DFSR Chat room or hit him up on Twitter(@Jager_Bombs9). Chris is also providing his DFS PGA Weekly cheatsheet where he provides stats, course history, current form, fantasy points, and much more. Grab your copy today and edge out the competition.
The PLAYERS Championship
This week the PGA Tour heads to TPC Sawgrass for the "Fifth Major", The PLAYERS Championship. With the amateurs in the field for the US Open, Club Pros in the field for the PGA Championship and number of former winners who make up the smaller Masters field, one could argue this is the best field in all of golf. This year's 144-player field is made up of every Top 50 player and 81 of the Top 100 players on the Official World Golf Rankings!
TPC Sawgrass is a shorter, 7,189-yard Par 72 but the Pete Dye design is no walk in the park. Placement and accuracy off the tee are much more important than distance with the tree-lined fairways with tons of bunkers and water in play as well. Approach shots become very important this week, especially the long irons, as these Bermuda greens are smaller than average and play very fast. The Par 5's are very scoreable and play almost a half stroke under par on average but the Par 4's present a challenge for not only the above mentioned obstacles but also as five of them are over 450 yards in length. The average winning score has been around -12 over the last five to ten years so I will also be weighing both Birdie or Better % and Bogey Avoidance as those who avoid the big numbers here give themselves a big advantage as balls will find the water. They always do!
Let's jump in and take a look at the course details, trends, top stats in the model, and then get into the picks.
TPC Sawgrass - Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Par 72 - 7,189 Yards
Greens - Bermuda
**Click the image above to see a hole by hole breakdown from PGATour.com**
Approach Shot Distribution
Previous Five Winners
- 2018 - Webb Simpson(-18)
- 2017 - Si Woo Kim(-10)
- 2016 - Jason Day(-15)
- 2015 - Rickie Fowler(-12)
- 2014 - Martin Kaymer(-13)
Previous Five Cutlines
- 2018 (Even Par)
- 2017 (+3)
- 2016 (-1)
- 2015 (+1)
- 2014 (+1)
Top Stats in the Model
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Proximity from 175-200 and 200+ Yards
- Fairways Gained(via FNGC)
- Strokes Gained: Around the Green
- Putting on Bermuda(via FNGC)
- Performance on Pete Dye Courses(via FNGC)
Top Tier Targets
With the softer pricing this week, a balanced approach to lineup construction makes a ton of sense. For me, it starts with Xander Schauffele who is having a tremendous start to his third season on Tour with wins at the WGC-HSBC Champions and the Sentry Tournament of Champions and has finished Top 25 in seven of his eight events. He now returns to TPC Sawgrass where he finished runner-up last season gaining 5.5 strokes on the approach but failed with the putter losing just over a stroke to the field. He fits the model(#1 on my sheet & #8 on my custom model on FNGC) and at his price, is a great play in all formats.
There is no shortage of options if you want to pay up this week and my favorite option is McIlroy. While he hasn't converted a win yet in 2019, he has been playing extremely well finishing 6th or better in all five events. He missed the cut here at TPC Sawgrass last season but has had success here making the cut in his previous five appearances at the course including three Top 10's. Using Fantasy National Golf Club, I look at the performance of all players on Pete Dye courses over the last 50 rounds and wouldn't you know it, Rory ranks #1. He is also 1st in Proximity from 200+ yards over the last 24 rounds and 16th in overall SG: Approach. I don't think we need to pay up this high in cash but Rory is one of my core players for my GPP builds this week.
Mid Tier Targets
Like I mentioned above with Xander, a balanced approach will most likely be the preferred lineup construction this week and is has to do with all the value in the mid-range. Fleetwood is one of these value and since coming over to the PGA Tour(Euro tour regular) in early February, he has gotten better each and every week. It started with a T45 at Pebble Beach, T28 at the Genesis Open, T19 at the WGC-Mexico, and a T3 in last weeks Arnold Palmer Invitational. He now returns to an event he has had success at with a T41 in 2017 and a T7 last year. He is in play in all formats
With all the value in the mid-range, there are some players who will likely come under-owned and make great GPP plays. Tony Finau is one of these and while he is popular he is surrounded by chalk plays in Molinari, Fleetwood, Cantlay, Hideki, and Kuchar. Also likely helping out the ownership is the fact he missed his first two cuts here in 2016 and 2017 before a less than impressive T57 here last year. What I do like here is that is coming off back to back Top 25 finishes at the Genesis Open and WGC Mexico and while scrambling and Around the Green game raises some red flags, he has gained strokes Ball Striking in eight of his last nine rounds overall. There is some risk here no doubt but with low ownerhsip, you won't need a whole lot of exposure.
Rafa Cabrera Bello
World Golf Ranking (#30)
Vegas Odds (50/1)
The soft pricing on DraftKings this week gives us a ton of under-priced players and probably the most obvious is Cabrera Bello. He is one of the most consistent players on Tour when it comes to making cuts and since the start of the 2018-19 season, he has made all seven cuts including two T3's, one of which came last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He has also enjoyed success here at TPC Sawgrass since missing the cut in his first trip in 2016 with a T4 in 2017 and T17 last year. At $7,400 on DraftKings, another top 20 finish would be more than enough for him to hit value and I will also be betting him outright at 56-1 each way.
World Golf Ranking (#33)
Vegas Odds (50/1)
Going even further down the list we find Matthew Fitzpatrick an absurdly discounted price. He has 50-1 odds to win which is 20th overall in the field while his DraftKings and FanDuel salary rank 61st and 66th respectively. He is a Euro Tour regular and he opened his 2019 PGA Tour season with a missed cut at Pebble Beach but has rebounded nicely with a T27 at the WGC Mexico and an impressive runner-up last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He missed the cut here at the PLAYERS in his first two trips but rebounded last year with a T46. With all the other mid-tier options available to build cash lineups, I will be adding Fitzpatrick to my GPP player pool this week.
Chris Durell has been playing Daily Fantasy Sports for six years and fantasy in general for more than a decade. He is an active player in college football, NFL, MLB, NASCAR, NHL and of course PGA. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife and two daughters. You can follow him on Twitter at @Jager_Bombs9 for advice, strategy, answers to any PGA questions and how he copes with the winters up north.