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 – Harbour Town Golf Links
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, and SGATG. Harbourtown’s small greens are significantly more difficult to hit than tour average, so it’s not shocking to see SGATG lead the way. Remember the “what we can best predict”? I believe there’s a lot of that going on here. Because more greens are missed, we have a larger sample of around the green shots each year at this course. That means better information going into the CF Model, and higher likelihood that a player’s SGATG for the week reflects their true talent around the greens.
Charles Howell III
Truth be told, Howell seems fairly priced. However, he’s going completely overlooked. He’s an astonishing 4th in odds to make the cut, yet projected for around 7.5% ownership. His Course Fit and Recent Form model ranks are both top 15. Howell’s ownership projection is surprising, but it makes sense since Poulter and Kokrak are projected as chalk and sandwich CH3 in terms of price.
Leishman is another guy being overlooked because of the people around him. His course fit and recent form are solid (but not great). What makes Leishman pop as a GPP play are his top 10 odds and earnings projection. He is sixth in the field in top ten odds and 11th in earnings projection. Both of those scream that he’s underpriced for his ceiling, so the ~10% ownership is icing on the cake.
Here we go again. List is not playing as well as we’d like, as evidenced by his 38th recent form model ranking. However, he’s 8th in the CF Model, 8th in top ten odds, and 6th in earnings projection. The bright side of his recent form is that we’re going to get him at well under 10% ownership. It’s a scary play, but his upside is unparalleled for the price and ownership.
Mitchell consistently rates out well for his price across the entire board. Let’s take a look at his ranks:
- CF Model – 17th
- Recent Form – 22nd
- Top Ten Odds – 12th
- Earnings Projection – 14th
- Made Cut Odds – 19th
As the 40th most expensive player in the field, he’s one of the clearest values of the week no matter what you look at. Once again, ownership is a cherry on top, as he’s projected for 7% ownership.
I didn’t think I would ever write up Sabbatini, but here we are. Sabbatini “pops” this week because of a 24th CF Model rank. The reason? He has two strengths: around the green and off the tee. He gains .24 strokes per round off the tee and .16 per round around the green.
I’m not a huge fan of this play, but if you need a punt to fit something you love, Sabbatini is my favorite.
Fade – Jason Kokrak (again)
Kokrak is playing by far the best golf of his career, but there’s reason to be concerned this week. Kokrak struggles around the green, resulting in a CF Model rank of just 29th. Kokrak will be at least twice as owned as Howell. The reason for concern and the existence of a clear, direct pivot option is enough for me to recommend fading him.
Good luck this week and find me on Twitter at @alexblickle1!Fantasy Golf