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. In GPP, we want ceiling above all else!
Let’s get to it.
Course Breakdown – Riviera CC
Many of you already know that I hate course history because the sample size for each player is too small. However, I believe I found a way to alleviate this issue. I ran a regression analysis on the top 20 and bottom 20 “course history index” rankings from DataGolf. Doing so increases the sample size to around 40 players averaging just under 20 rounds per guy.
This week, the model of best fit uses the players’ SGOTT, SGAPP, SGATG, and birdie or better %. All four contribute rather uniformly. SGOTT and SGATG do lead the way, however, which shouldn’t be surprising on a tough course with demanding rough. Once again, SGP was comically useless to the model and bogey avoidance also hurt the adjusted r^2. To make the CH Model as predictive as possible (instead of just descriptive), I use career SG stats instead of event-specific SG stats.
Next, I create a custom model with Fantasy National using these four stats and the respective weights from the regression analysis. I’ll refer to this model as the CH Model throughout the picks. The model gives a rolling report of each players’ rank in the field over the last 4, 8, 12, 24, 50, and 100 rounds. I use a weighted average of the L12, L24, L50, and L100 ranks. If you’re interested in seeing the full results of this CH Model, all you have to do is join FTA+, as I post the results in Chat!
Real bold, Alex. Here’s the thing: JT is projected for double the earnings, has over a 37% top ten probability when no one else is at 30%, and rates first in the CH Model in the last 12, 24, 50, and 100 rounds. He is by far the best player in the field, in great form, and only projected for 20% ownership. I think he should be at least 30% this week, but people are struggling to find the value to make it work at his price.
Well, we at FTA have the value so let’s jam in JT.
Surprisingly, people aren’t going from JT to Koepka. Brooks is only projected for around 12% ownership, so I love him this week. Ignoring the L12 rank in the CH Model, Koepka is top 5 across the board. I say ignore the last 12 rounds because only four of them have come since the Tournament of Champions. Last week, Koepka gained 6 strokes off the tee, three more with his irons, but lost it all around, and mostly on, the greens. I’ll take the ball striking and run with it since he’s second in top ten odds at discounted ownership.
Byeong Hun An
An is priced conveniently in between Luke List and Lucas Glover (both of whom I love this week). Consequently, he’s projected for lower ownership than he deserves. He’s a darling of my model and comes in 2nd in the CH Model weighted average (6th, 5th, 3rd, and 3rd over the last 12, 24, 50, and 100 rounds). Needing a spark, he is also my OAD pick this week.
An is gaining a third of a stroke or more per round in each of the three relevant strokes gained categories, with SGOTT being his best.
A final note: this is not a leverage play off the chalkier Glover and List. I want a healthy dose of all three.
Harold Varner III
Like An, Varner’s ownership is being suppressed by similarly priced chalk plays that I also really like. Kokrak and Sungjae Im rate better in my model, but similarly in the CH Model.
What really makes Varner stand out to me is the trend in his overall game. Not only is he improving, but the most stable stat, SGOTT, is the main driving force behind his improvement. Check it out:
It doesn’t hurt that he’s also improving around the green, leading to a weighted average rank of 14.25, the tenth best in the CH Model. I expect his upward trajectory to continue.
Mitchell is a popular pick of ours, but his results have left a lot to be desired. Fortunately, his off the tee performance has remained strong and his CH Model ranking really stands out for his price and 5% projected ownership. His 17% top 10 probablity and 75% chance to make the cut are both the highest among all players under $7k.
I expect his .708 SGOTT per round average to carry him through the cutline this week. That number is elite.
Fade – Sergio Garcia
It took me a long time to decide which player to highlight as a fade. McDowell and Furyk were close, but ultimately I decided to go with a bolder fade. It’s not that I think Sergio is a bad play, but he’s projected for the highest ownership in the field and three players who are cheaper than him rate out better in my models. Woodland, List, and An all have higher numbers in projected earnings, top 10 odds, made cut odds, and CH Model ranking. Thus, Sergio is a fade for me because I’d rather pay up for JT or Koepka, as well as pay down for Woodland, List, or An. If we luck out and Sergio busts, we’re in business!
Good luck this week and find me on Twitter at @alexblickle1!Fantasy Golf