DFS Golf Returns!
It feels like it’s been more than two weeks since Luke List let us down immensely. Personally, I had several lines that had takedown potential if he had just made the cut. We won’t hold it against him though, as DK has priced him all the way back down to $7400. For the first time since the Masters, we have a pretty stacked field to sift through, so let’s get right to it.
Quail Hollow is the definition of pure. During last year’s PGA Championship, Brooks Koepka (welcome back!) called the greens the fastest he had ever seen. It’s probably most famous for its finishing stretch, called the Green Mile. Two years ago, when it was last a non-major, 16, 17, & 18 played as the three most difficult holes on the course. These final three holes are truly brutal, so let’s hope all our cut sweating is for guys who started on the back!
Wells Fargo Picks
Like I mentioned, we finally have a true stud tier again.
Rory McIlroy has the highest projected earnings in my model and third highest odds to make the cut. However, if we just consider this year’s form, Justin Thomas leads the way. I think it’s fair to assume JT has made a permanent improvement as a player, so if I’m paying up, it’s for him. He and Rory have been nearly identical this year in three of the four SG categories, yet JT is gaining nearly .8 strokes per round more than Rory with his irons.
I have no problem with playing Rickie Fowler if you have a strong feeling about him, but I would much prefer to fade the top tier or play one of the top 2.
Jason Day comes at a big discount to the other three and is an interesting case study. While putting is unpredictable due to its general instability, Jason Day showed he can dominate on the greens for an entire year in 2016. Why is this so noteworthy? While Day has gained .47 strokes per round off the tee, he has lost a little over half a stroke with his irons. His success this year is being entirely driven by an astonishing 1.386 strokes gained per round putting. He has the same ceiling as the other studs, but the poor iron play could really hurt him on the Green Mile.
Masters Champ Patrick Reed has been priced up to $9700. He was hot going into Augusta, so it’s not like his win came out of the blue. However, he hasn’t played since and while the model doesn’t suggest he’s overpriced, it does suggest there a number of players below him that are better plays.
Hideki Matsuyama and Tiger Woods are two of them. After weeks of Tiger being priced up for the enormous excitement and hype surrounding his comeback, he’s back to a reasonable spot. Matsuyama’s iron play is as good as ever, but he hasn’t been gaining off the tee like the past few seasons. Hence the discount, though, so he’s still a great play.
My favorite play in this tier is also my favorite play overall. Tommy Fleetwood has been a beast. He’s been gaining nearly an entire stroke per round off the tee, and over 1.5 strokes per round tee to green. He leads the field in cut odds and is second in projected earnings according to my model.
Paul Casey and Tony Finau are both excellent plays, and round out the crew that I mentioned are rated better than Reed despite being cheaper. Casey is coming off his first missed cut of the season, but he’s had an extra week to fix whatever is wrong. I like his chances to bounce back, and if he’s his regular self, he’s too cheap. He is second in cut odds behind Fleetwood. Finau was great in the partner event last week and his previous start was his Masters top 10. He’s made a jump this year and has been a favorite target of mine. Let’s hope he breaks through with a win soon!
Interestingly, no one in this tier stands out as overpriced. However, there’s a slew of guys in the mid 7ks who outrank all of them (excluding Finau and Casey).
As usual, Keegan Bradley, Emiliano Grillo, Byeong-Hun An, Tyrell Hatton, and Xander Schauffele are nice value plays. However, my favorite plays in this range (even price aside) are:
Luke List, Adam Scott (ugh, again?), Francesco Molinari, and Sam Burns. List’s missed cut came in a bad weather draw so let’s not overreact. He’s been outstanding all year and should be priced at at least 9k. He’s a close second to Fleetwood for my top priority. While Scott rates very well in the model, his putting has been so consistently bad that I’ll take Moli and Burns over him, but his missed cut was also largely due to the bad weather draw.
Molinari has been as consistent as anyone, yet remains underpriced. His success has come despite putting worse than in years past. He’s never been a good putter, but not this bad. This makes him a perfect target, as his price (and likely his ownership) reflects his poor putting. Burns had three great weeks leading into and including Bay Hill. Though that was his last PGA Tour event, he hasn’t been out of action. He’s had a t20, a win, and a t33 on the web.com tour since.
The 7k-7.9k range is so loaded that you can easily make solid lines without dipping down, but there is one value that stands out here: Lucas Glover is priced at 6.8k again. Due to the value in the tier above, he’s not a lock. That being said, he’s rated above Keegan and Xander, for reference. In other words, playing him isn’t just a punt to fit in an extra player you love. He’s a great play, himself.
If you’re desperate for another value, Trey Mullinax is coming off an excellent week. He’s rated slightly above average in the model.
As always, thanks for reading and you can find me in FTA chat if you have any questions! If you’re not a subscriber, I highly recommend it. The new and constantly improving MLB dashboard is superb.