Golf Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy PGA Picks and Betting Guide for DraftKings & FanDuel – The PLAYERS Championship
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The Florida swing continues this week with one of the biggest non-major events of the season, the PLAYERS Championship. An elite field including nine of the Top 10 and 44 of the Top 50 players in the World will be teeing it up at TPC Sawgrass this week .
The course is an average length(7,256 yards) Par 72 setup and a classic Pete Dye design that forces a ton of positional play, especially off the tee. Not only do you have to position yourself to have a shot at the small greens, you also have to avoid disaster with water hazards on 17 of 18 holes. This somewhat takes away the advantage of the long bombers and most definitely brings more players into the mix when looking to narrow down your player pool.
Looking at the hole design, there is one long Par 3(8th hole-237 yards) and three shorter Par 3's. The Par 4's are pretty standard distance on the front nine outside of the 5th hole that stretches out to 471 yards. On the back nine, there is the exciting risk/reward driveable Par 4 12th hole and the three final Par 4's on the course(14th, 15th, 18th) are all over 450 yards. Add in the famous Island Green 17th hole and players have a very tough closing stretch. While I mentioned distance being not nearly as important here, it can come into play on the Par 5's where the eagle rate has been higher than the Tour average over the last four to five years.
Like almost all of the Florida courses and/or Pete Dye courses, it is going to take a strong Tee to Green game to contend but there are a few stats that definitely stand out above the rest in my model. First of all, this is another great week to target Good Drive % which identifies players who hit lots of greens in regulation regardless of hitting the fairway. That works here as positioning is king and in some cases missing the fairway in the right spot is better than hitting the fairway in the wrong spot. Next up and the highest-rated stat in my model is Strokes Gained: Approach which is the highest correlated stat to success in my research model. Proximity distance ranges will really depend on the player you are looking at but 175-200 and 200+ stand out the most with forced layups and five par 4's over 450 yards. Finally, with the small greens and lower average GIR %'s, I will also be looking very close at Strokes Gained: Around the Green/Scrambling. Getting up and down and saving par is going to be huge this week!
With all that said, let's look at the course, previous winners, and then dive into some picks.
Par 72 - 7,256 Yards
Greens - Bermuda
**Click the image above to see a hole-by-hole breakdown from PGATour.com**
Previous Five Winners
- 2022 - Cameron Smith(-13)
- 2021 - Justin Thomas(-14)
- 2020 - Rory Mcilroy(-16)
- 2019 - Webb Simpson(-18)
- 2018 - Si Woo Kim(-10)
Course History Targets
World Golf Ranking (#9)
Vegas Odds (16/1)
Course history isn't as important this week and it shows with the inconsistency in results for almost every player in the field, especially the top guys. Justin Thomas has been an exception to the rule not only making the cut in six of seven trips to TPC Sawgrass but he won here in 2021 where he led the field with a whopping 13 strokes gained tee to green. He has three finishes of 11th or better and also leads the field in Strokes Gained: Total and DraftKings scoring here at TPC Sawgrass. JT has also been solid this season so far making all six cuts with five straight Top 25 finishes including a T4 at the Phoneix Open. At a mid $9K price on DraftKings, JT is one of my favourite payups this week.
World Golf Ranking (#21)
Vegas Odds (80/1)
After missing three straight cuts here at TPC Sawgrass from 2013 to 2015, Keegan has been very consistent here over the last six years. He has not only made every cut but he has also tallied four straight finishes of 29th or better including two Top 10's and is 6th in Strokes Gained: Total and 4th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green here during that stretch. It is always a wild ride with Keegan and last week showed just that as he nearly missed the cut on Friday after a 77 and with a tremendous 67 on Sunday, back-doored a Top 10. It was his second Top 10 and third Top 20 in his last four starts. At these prices, I will have exposure to Keegan in all formats.
Also Consider: Corey Conners who has finishes of T26, T7, T41 in three trips to TPC Sawgrass and is coming off his fifth Top 25 finish in his last seven events
Current Form Targets
World Golf Ranking (#24)
Vegas Odds (35/1)
Day is one of only a few players in this field that checks every box including a value price, especially on DraftKings at just $8K. I say that as he has been one of the hottest players on tour outside of the top 3(Rahm, Scheffler, Rory) and comes into this year's Players Championship with four straight Top 10 finishes, all of which had elite or near-elite fields. For the season, he has made nine of 11 cuts and of those where he played the weekend, he has five Top 10's and no finish worse than T21. He also fits the stats profile ranking(in this field) 11th in SG: Tee to Green, 7th in Good Drives Gained, 2nd in Par 4 scoring, and 2nd in Strokes Gained: Putting over the last 24 rounds. He is 3rd in my model, one of my core plays in all formats of DFS, and I will likely be betting him outright with some prop bets and matchups, as well.
World Golf Ranking (#47)
Vegas Odds (60/1)
Killer Keith has been consistent all season making 9 of 11 cuts but has been most impressive during 2023 as he enters this week not only having made five straight cuts but with four Top 25's and two Top 5 finishes. During that stretch he ranks 6th in this elite field in SG: Tee to Green and looking at my cheatsheet(more long-term stats perspective) he is the only golfer in the field to rank Top 10 in driving distance and accuracy and one of just 10 players to rank Top 30 in both Par 4 and 5 scoring. He has only made the cut in two of four trips to TPC Sawgrass but the good news is that he is coming off a career-high T13 here last year and comes in with excellent form. Fire up Mitchell in all formats.
Also Consider: Jhonattan Vegas who has made four straight cut including three Top 25 finishes and returns to TPC Sawgrass having made the cut in six of his last eight trips including two Top 10's and four Top 20's
Stats Model Targets
World Golf Ranking (#13)
Vegas Odds (25/1)
Despite the fact he is running a golden cross of top form(seven straight Top 25's) and a declining price, I feel this is a spot we can get Tony a bit underowned considering most are likely loading up at the top this week. The course history might also scare some people off as he has missed the cut here in four of six trips but that bothers much much less at this volatile course. More importantly, he absolutely nails the stats model this week ranking 4th in SG: Tee to Green, 15th in Good Drives Gained, 2nd in SG: Approach, 5th and 33rd in Prox from 175-200 and 200+ yards, 8th in Par 4 scoring, and 3rd in opportunities gained. He is also not ranked worse than 39th in any of the 15 stats in my L24 model. Is this the breakthrough week for Tony at TPC Sawgrass?
World Golf Ranking (#33)
Vegas Odds (110/1)
Hoge is #8 in my stats model this week which is the highest rank of any golfer under $8K on DraftKings(124 golfers). He checks almost every single box ranking 1st in SG: Approach, 8th in Good Drive %, and for a super accurate driver he is also 1st in fairway proximity and Top 25 in Proximity ranges 150 through 200+ yards. Taking into account he is coming off two missed cuts in his last three events and a loaded low to mid $7K range, he should also come a bit lower owned this week. That is great news considering he has made the cut here in all four trips and has finished T33, T22, T30 over the last three years.