Golf Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy PGA Picks and Betting Guide for DraftKings & FanDuel – The Northern Trust
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 Northern Trust
The long grind of the PGA Tour regular season is now over and the Top 125 players will now battle it out in a three-week, three-event showdown for the Tour Championship crown and a $15,000,000 payday. Before getting into this week's breakdown and picks, let's quickly go over the format for the FedEx Cup Playoffs which have been tweaked in 2019.
First of all, the Playoffs have been moved up a month and with the combination of moving to three events instead of four, the season will wrap up by the end of August this season. This likely has some correlation to the Olympics coming next season which has pushed the Fall season to 11 events starting in September(eight this year). The Top 125 make the Northern Trust this week with the Top 70 in the standings making the BMW Championship next week and the Top 30 making the Tour Championship. The other big change is the somewhat simplification of the Tour Championship structure. Win the tournament and you are the FedEx Cup champion. It's that simple and no more multiple leaderboards to track. The only funky part of the new structure is the bonus scores that golfers will receive depending on their place in the standings. Enter the Tour Championship in 1st and you start the event with a score of -10, 2nd starts at -8 and so on with 26th-30th starting at even par. A complete breakdown can be found on the PGA Tour website.
It all starts this week with The Northern Trust and the frist trip back to Liberty National Golf Club since the 2013 and 2009 Barclay's which also opened the Playoffs those seasons. The course will play almost the same as in 2013 but will be a Par 71 this time around with some length added as well. Looking at the stats from the 2013 event, the average fairways hit was 68.5% for the players who made the cut and 71.7% for players who finished Top 10. The big difference maker was the approach shot as the cut makers average was 61.4% while those who finished Top 10 was 67.5%. It makes sense as the greens here are much smaller than Tour average at just 4,653 sq feet. Not only does this put a ton of emphasis on Strokes Gained: Approach and Proximity but also brings scrambling and Strokes Gained: Around the Green into the model. I think we see similar winning scores as 2013(-11) and 2009(-9) events and it could go even lower looking at the forecast with minimal wind which is a big defense of the course.
Let's take a look at the course then jump into the picks.
Liberty National Golf Club - Jersey City, NJ
Par 71 - 7,353
Greens - Bentgrass
**Click the image above to see a hole by hole breakdown from PGATour.com**
*Click to enlarge*
Top Stats in the Model
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Around the Green/Scrambling
- Par 4 Scoring
- Bogey Avoidance
Top Tier Targets
I know, I know, it's not a major and we are talking about Brooks but hear me out. He is the best player in the world right now and gets a field of the best players on Tour and we saw how that turned out a few weeks ago at the WGC St. Jude where he shot all four rounds in the 60's(68, 67, 64, 65) winning his first WGC title by three strokes. It was his third win on the season(CJ Cup & the PGA Championship the others) and he enters the Playoffs as the man to beat and I can totally see him going out there and trying to dominate from the start. He is #1 in my stats model this week on my sheet and it checks out on Fantasy National as well as he ranks 3rd in SG: Approach, 1st in Proximity, 2nd in Par 4 Scoring, 5th in Opportunities Gained, and 5th in Bogeys Avoided over the last 24 rounds. Everything points me to Brooks this week and while I don't think we need to go here in cash games, he will be a staple in my GPP builds.
Cantlay enters the Playoffs 6th in the standings and is in a great spot to challenge for the FedEx Cup. From a fantasy perspective, he is my favorite PTS/$ play on DraftKings in the low $9K range and is a core play in all formats with his safety combined with winning upside. He has been consistent all season making 15 of 17 cuts with a win at the Memorial and eight total Top 10 finishes. From a stats standpoint, he grades out very well as he sits 11th in SG: Off the Tee and Approach, 9th in SG: Around the Green, and 27th in SG: Putting for the season. More recently he ranks(in this field) 9th in SG: Approach, 9th in Birdie or Better Gained, 2nd in Bogeys Avoided and 1st in Par 5 Scoring. I will be starting my cash game lineup around Cantlay this week and while I like his value better on DraftKings, I will have lots of exposure on both sites.
Mid Tier Targets
World Golf Ranking (#24)
Vegas Odds (55/1)
Even with a price drop on both sites, I fully expect Patrick Reed to get back to his usual 10-15% ownership(money spot) this week after a somewhat letdown performance last week which can be blamed on his third round where he lost strokes on approach and putting. I am not concerned, however, as it is only the second round since the US Open where that has happened and overall, he has been playing some of his best golf lately. He comes in having made seven straight cuts with two Top 10's(Rocket Mortgage Classic, OPEN Championship) and five Top 25 finishes. While he ranks 47th in Proximity over the last 24 rounds, he ranks 24th in SG: Approach and 18th in SG: Around the Green. Adding to that, he also ranks 13th in Par 4 scoring, 3rd in Par 5 Scoring, and 10th in Opportunities gained in those last 24 rounds ranks(via FNGC). At these prices, especially on DraftKings, Reed is a core play for me in all formats.
World Golf Ranking (#20)
Vegas Odds (40/1)
Scott was the winner of the 2013 Barclays here at Liberty National but that isn't the only reason for this pick. He price on DraftKings is sandwiched between the large top-tier and value-filled mid-range and that combined with a missed cut(OPEN) and T40(WGC St. Jude) in his last two starts should have him a bit under-owned this week. This checks out over on FanShareSports as he is T26 in overall tags and has just a 75% sentiment rating. The good news here is that he has been gaining strokes on the approach in bunches lately(23.2 over his last four events) while also showing a strong scrambling game(11.9 strokes gained around the green in those four events). The putter is what has let him down lately and more good news as he has been consistent putting all season ranking 45th on Tour in SG: Putting so hopefully we start seeing that positive regression to the mean. Either way, he is on my radar and will be a part of my GPP core this week.
World Golf Ranking (#81)
Vegas Odds (100/1)
Through his first 16 events this season, Niemann has just one Top 25 finish with a 70.9 scoring average. In nine events since the PGA Championship, he has three Top 10's, eight finishes of T31 or better, and a 68.6 scoring average. You could say he is trending in the right direction and seeing as he has been in the $9K range in four of his last five events, this feels like a great opportunity to jump on board with that PTS/$ upside. He comes in having gained strokes on the approach in seven of his last eight events, gained 3+ strokes putting in four of his last five events, and ranks 3rd in par 4 scoring, 13th in Par 5 scoring, and 12th in birdie or better gained. Fire up Niemann in all formats.
World Golf Ranking (#47)
Vegas Odds (140/1)
In no way do I think 49-year-old Jim Furyk wins nor do I think he is an upside play for DFS. What he can provide is somewhat of a safety net for cash games in terms of making the cut with his ceiling likely around a Top 25 finish, which I would be thrilled with this week. He has nice form coming in having made six straight cuts with only one finish outside of T33. As a bonus to his projection, he is also familiar with the course having finished T13 and T6 in the 2009 and 2013 Barclays. I will have limited exposure in GPP's this week but love the play in cash at these prices on both sites.
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.