Recap of the Travelers
We had a great bounce back week after the US Open dumpster fire. My apologies for Luke List, though. At least nearly everyone else smashed, including JB, Bryson, & Bubba! Big congrats to FTA's own @dezrin3 for the top 40 finish in DK's giant $6 tournament last week! Let's keep the winners coming!
TPC Potomac at Avenele Farm
This course is difficult. -7 won last year in a playoff (Kyle Stanley), and only 25 players finished under par. The cut was +4. This tournament has bounced around some fine golf courses in the past ten years, with this being Avenele's second year. Using Datagolf's historical event data, we find that putting played an exceptionally small role last year, and driving picked up nearly all of that slack. While that's just a one year sample, judging by the course's difficulty, it wouldn't be surprising to see ball striking play an even larger role than usual again this year.
Quicken Loans Draftkings Picks
We're going to do things a little differently this week. Draftkings has priced up nearly every player of interest, so I'd feel like going tier by tier price-wise wouldn't stress the need for finding value wherever we can. Instead, I'm going to put players in tiers by what I consider to be their priority. It's important to note that while I'll comment on ownership in each player's blurb, the tier in which they fall does not factor in ownership. Let's get to it.
Tier One - Locks?
of all people is my top priority. If that doesn't tell you everything you need to know about this week's pricing, I don't know what will. Woodland is $8.1k, but ranks 4th in my earnings model, and 2nd in cut odds. He's gaining .862 strokes per round driving and exactly a third of a stroke per round with his irons. He's the best driver of the golf ball in this field.
is only $500 more than Woodland at $8.6k. He ranks fifth in the earnings model and fifth in the cut odds model. While he isn't quite as dominant off the tee, he's even better approaching the green than Woodland (.688 OTT, .492 APP).
Neither player projects to be low owned, but they're also not expected to be as chalky as a few similarly priced players. I'll probably have 100% exposure to both.
Tier Two - Guys I want to fit into my lines
If we lock in the two players from the first tier, we'll be left with $8,325 per player. Thus, in order to get up to the higher priced players, we'll need some super cheap value. Luckily, there are two players who fit this bill.
got off to an excellent start last week before a disastrous second round resulted in a 66-78 MC. He rates out very well in my earnings model (14th in the field) and solidly in the cut odds model (12th, but a there's a big drop-off from the top 5). For reference, the lowest priced player that the model rates above Kokrak is Jamie Lovemark at $8.3k. He's projected for sub-5% ownership, making him an outstanding GPP play. Kokrak gains most of his advantage off the tee (.374).
is not a well known player, despite making 17/22 cuts on the year. It's unusual to find a player this consistently cheap who gains strokes in both ball striking stats. He also gains in putting, so I'm surprised he's still this cheap. He's had top 40 finishes in each of his past two starts, and a third in a row would pay off his price-tag and a whole lot more.
With one or both of these players, we can actually afford to pay up.
Rickie Fowler, Tiger Woods, and Francesco Molinari
all project similarly in my models.
Fowler is the most expensive and projects to be the highest owned player in the field. With Tiger rated a little higher and Stanley being $1500 cheaper, Fowler will be a full fade for me. He has the highest Vegas odds to win by a wide margin, so I won't argue if you want to pay all the way up.
Tiger is gaining nearly a stroke per round approaching the green. In his past few starts, he hit the ball great, but putted extremely poorly. I wish he were driving the ball better, but I love his chances to reverse the recent struggles on the green. Plus, he's been great on difficult courses this year (Torrey Pines, PGA National, and The Copperhead at Innisbrook).
Molinari is second in the field in SG:OTT behind Woodland, gaining .815 strokes per round. In his last three events, he's won and finished runner up on the European Tour, then tied for 25th at Shinnecock. He's been one of my favorite targets all year, but his price and ownership are finally on the rise.
Charles Howell III and Jamie Lovemark
are fine plays in the 8k-9k range. Howell is outpacing his past performance off the tee, reinforcing his reputation as an elite ball striker. Surprisingly, Lovemark is average off the tee this year (he has historically gained more off the tee than anywhere else), but is still gaining plenty tee-to-green.
Tier Three - Guys I'll play if they fit well
Sticking with the studs and scrubs theme of Tier Two, we have Corey Conners, Adam Hadwin, Kyle Stanley, and JB Holmes.
Conners and Hadwin rate similarly in my models, but it feels like Hadwin is a bit safer. Conners will be lower owned so I give him the edge in upside.
Stanley and Holmes are both players who have had a ton of success for us this season at low ownership (including and especially last week!). Their strokes gained profiles are similar, too. They're both gaining over half a stroke per round off the tee and a little less than that with their irons. These prices are inflated by the recent surge of success for each, but in a week where pricing is difficult across the board, I still like both.
In between the stars and scrubs, we have Kevin Tway
(awesome pick by @dezrin3 last week!), gaining just under a third of a stroke per round driving this year.
A similarly owned and priced pivot is Andrew Putnam, who is quietly on a very hot streak. He has three top 10s in his past seven starts. His irons have been excellent, but he's still losing strokes off the tee on the season. Consequently, I slightly prefer Tway.
Tier Four - Guys I will reluctantly play if I can't find a better fit
This is a short list.
Keith Mitchell and Stewart Cink
are high risk - previously
high reward plays I've recommended frequently this year as salary relief with upside. However, Mitchell is struggling now and Cink's outstanding iron play is no longer under the radar (to the public or DK).
nearly made the third tier. He rates just below Conners and Hadwin for nearly the same price. He's had a crazy season; he made 11 consecutive cuts to start the season, missed four in a row, and has now made two in a row again. He's gaining strokes off the tee and approaching the green, albeit just a little for each.
Tier Five - Chalky plays I want no part of
- Marc Leishman - losing strokes off the tee in 2018
- Beau Hossler - losing nearly half a stroke per round approaching the green
- Kiradech Aphibarnrat - losing nearly a third of a stroke per round approaching the green
- Chesson Hadley - actually a fine play, but I want the leverage over him that An and Woodland create
Thanks again for reading and please let me know what you think of this format. I plan on returning to tiers based on price in deeper field events, but I'll stick to this method in weaker fields if I get positive feedback on it.
Good luck all!