In this series, I’ll highlight six guys that my PGA models identify as high-upside players who are projected for low ownership. Note: these will not always be my core plays. For my core, find me in FTA+ chat each week!
Finally, here’s a breakdown of my model. You’ll find I refer to the top 10/3/1 percentages a lot. In my mind, Cut Odds is a floor projection, Earnings is a median/average projection, and the probabilities of a top 10/3/1 finish are akin to a ceiling projection.
Let’s get to it.
Course Breakdown – Colonial CC
I hate course history. The sample size for each player is too small to get a reliable sense of how a player fits at the course, or whether that fit even matters. However, what if we could see how numerous players perform at a given course in order to dramatically increase the sample size? Thanks to DataGolf’s Historic Event Data, we can.
To begin, I take the top 25 and bottom 25 golfers in CH Index (DG defines CH Index as “the average (adj. for field strength) strokes-gained at the course”). Next, I regress the CH Index of each player on their strokes gained profiles, bogey avoidance, and birdie or better percentage to find out which stats best translate into success at the course of interest. This strategy makes the model predictive, whereas most course breakdowns are inherently more descriptive. The difference is simple; predictive tells us what will happen while descriptive tells us what did happen. DFS is all about the former. Put another way, what use does knowing iron play plays a key role if you can’t predict whose irons will be on that week? The CF Model combines what will be important with what we can best predict.
This week, the model of best fit uses the players’ SGOTT, SGAPP, SGATG, SGP, and bogey avoidance. As much as I hate to say it, putting rates as the most predictive metric this week. Don’t go too crazy looking for putters, though, every aspect of tee-to-green is significant this week.
CF Model Favorites
Sticking with the theme of six players, these are the six whose CF Model ranking stand out the most, given their price (in order).
- Rickie Fowler
- Jim Furyk
- Matt Jones
- Paul Casey
- Ian Poulter
- Brian Stuard
One final note: it will be windy this week, so whenever torn between two players, I will look for the guy who has performed better in windy conditions.
With putting an uncharacteristically predictive measure of success this week, it’s no surprise to see Fowler thrive in the CF Model. There’s more to this pick, though. He’s in great form, coming in second in my recent form model, and projects well from a true-talent standpoint. He’s third in top ten odds, fourth in projected earnings, and third in odds to make the cut.
In his career, Rickie has gained more strokes in “Windy AF” rounds (as defined by Fantasy National) than any other wind condition. No matter how you slice it, Rickie stands out as an excellent play this week.
This pick is all about projected ownership and upside. For his price, the 11% ownership projection makes sense when considering the following ranks:
- 17th in CF Model
- 15th in Rec Form Model
- 8th in Odds to Make the Cut
However, it’s glaringly low for these:
- 6th in Top Ten Odds
- 3rd in Earnings Projection
- 3rd in Top Three Odds
- 2nd in Odds to Win
Bryson was born to be played in GPPs.
Some recent missed cuts have really dropped Im’s stock, but I’m still upping my position on him. He’s likely going to be under 10% owned, and is still gaining .4 strokes off the tee, .25 with his irons and wedges, and .1 putting per round. It’s hard to find guys with such a complete golf game at this price, let alone with such low ownership.
If you’re hesitant, I understand, but consider this. Even with his struggles of late, he is 24th this week in the recent form model, while the 28th most expensive player. He rates out as significantly underpriced everywhere else.
Matt Jones continues to shine for us, so why stop now? Jones is 10th in the CF Model and 8th (!) in the Rec Form Model. Jones will certainly be < 10% in most tournaments, making him damn close to a core play for me. Jones has gained strokes off the tee in every event he’s played since the middle of January, continuously putting himself in position to succeed.
Jimbo! It’s not just the CF Model Rank, though that sure helps. At just 7300, Furyk is sixth in the CF Model. Wow. However, what really has me on Furyk this week is his longterm trend. Using Datagolf’s true strokes gained tool, we can see that Furyk appears to be returning to the pre-injury version of himself that would never in a million years be this cheap.
Fade – Jon Rahm
Rahm is projected for the highest ownership of the studs, which seems unwarranted to me. Rose is first in the CF Model and my recent form model. He’s also first in top ten odds and projected earnings, while second (how disappointing!) in odds to make the cut.
Then there’s Fowler, who I detailed above. At such restrictive prices, you can only have so much exposure to this top tier until you run out of value to pair them with. As such, I want all my top-tier exposure to be with Rickie or Rose, who I consider better plays even before you factor in the lower ownership.
BONUS – Cameron Champ
I’m not crazy, I swear. Let’s look at some Cam Champ trends using Fantasy National. When he began to miss cuts after a strong fall, he was actually losing strokes off the tee. However, here are his last three events.
The driver is working! As for the rest of it, there’s reason for optimism even without it turning around. Take a look at how Champ’s SG profile looked while he was hot in the fall (the columns are the same as above).
At his best, Champ gains off the tee and on the greens. Surprisingly, he has a true-strokes-gained average of .47 strokes per round gained on the greens this season. That should translate well here and I love what I’m seeing from him lately off the tee.
Champ is projected for a comically low 0.6% ownership and, finally, in *extremely* small samples, has performed well in wind. See, I’m not crazy!
Good luck this week and find me on Twitter at @alexblickle1!Fantasy Golf