GPP Plays and Strategy
The NFL is here, the Ryder Cup is near. How on Earth does the PGA expect us to be interested in this event after a week off? Lucky for them, DFS exists. It’s the last week of the year so as a special thank you for making my article a staple of your DFS golf process, I’ll be sharing the strokes gained profiles of everyone in the event. These profiles will be for the entire 2018 season. As many of you already know, I think the public consistently overrates recent form, mistaking the variance of golf for new, significant patterns. After a week off, it’s even more important than usual to focus on long term numbers.
East Lake GC
Fantasy National‘s course breakdown paints the picture of a ball striker’s paradise. Fairways are hit at a significantly lower rate than tour average, yet the average proximity to hole for hit greens is closer than tour average. In other words, those who drive it well will be in position to hit it close and make birdies in bunches.
The best player in the world just lost his #1 ranking in the world, but he still has a stranglehold on the top spot in my models. As a bonus, he’s projected to be the lowest owned player in this top tier. Considering his dominant SG profile, it’s surprising he hasn’t won more this year.
The other stud I’m interested in this week is Koepka. His SG profile isn’t overly impressive, but stats from the US Open and Open Championship are blocked and obviously would improve his seasonal numbers. In his past ten events, he’s gained an entire stroke per round off the tee, and just under half a stroke per round with his irons.
Tiger has excelled with his irons throughout the season, and especially lately. Additionally, his driver has continued to improve, so he could have plenty of opportunities this week to take advantage of his elite iron play.
Matsuyama’s last four starts have been more reminiscent of the superstar 2016 and 2017 Hideki than 2018 Hideki. His iron play has been so good that his season long SGAPP is now over .5 per round, despite hovering around .2 for most of the season.
In Finau’s breakout season, his game has been solid all-around. While every part of his game has been good, the best aspect of his game is still driving, with iron play rapidly catching up. Finau will be among the chalkiest players of the week, but he’s unquestionably viable in all formats.
Bryson’s driving has been impressively consistent and consistently impressive. In the past three events, he’s gained 3, 3.3, and 3.1 total SGOTT. His two wins were fueled in large part by a hot putter, but his irons were also dialed in. Bryson is my second favorite play in this tier, behind:
Look at those ball striking numbers! Molinari finally had the breakout season us Moli-truthers have been expecting for a while. He’s simply been too good of a ball striker in his career not to see the wins come his way. Only DJ and JT have a higher SG: ball striking average for the year.
The first thing that jumps out to me in this tier is the giant separation at the top in birdie or better percentage. Those are top tier percentages, not 7k-range. It’s no surprise that I love both…
Not only does he make a lot of birdies, but his strokes gained off the tee is excellent, and he backs that up with safely above average iron play. Like Koepka, his SG profile would be even better if stats from The Open and US Open were factored in.
For all Rahm’s disappointment this year, he’s still elite off the tee and an elite birdie producer. That alone makes him viable at 7.7k. Furthermore, he’s gained .4 strokes per round with his irons in his past five events. For most of the season, it was his irons holding him back. This is very encouraging.
Cantlay needed the week off. His ball striking was holding strong, but his putting became increasingly detrimental. I love his chances to use the week off to get his putter back in order and vastly outperform his price tag. He’s too good for 7.1k.
Woodland has been in my core a lot this year and this week will be no different. Woodland is essentially Bubba Watson with really good irons. Yes, please.
I won’t have Phil because I’m hoping his presence in this tier will keep people off Woodland. However, his birdie or better percentage certainly stands out. We know what Phil can do.
I’m so happy for Keegan for getting back in the winner’s circle. I’m less happy that he did so the ONE week I didn’t take him this year (only a slight exaggeration), but he finds tons of fairways and his SG approach is incredible. If you’re looking for a reason to fade him, he gained 7.2 strokes putting in his win… one week after losing 6. This is evidence of the variance in putting, not evidence that Keegan figured something out and will continue to putt well.
One last time, let’s get it! Good luck everyone, and thank you again for valuing what I’ve had to say all season. See you in NFL chat on FTA!
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