Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: Travelers Championship
Daily fantasy golf requires a new approach for each and every event.
The course and field change week after week, making no two contests alike. That means you need to refine your approach for each PGA Tour event to try to find golfers who are primed to excel for your daily fantasy golf lineups.
This Week’s Course
TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut hosts the Travelers Championship this week, in what is a stronger than normal field for the annual follow-up to the US Open. This 6,841-yard, par-70 course was originally designed by architect Pete Dye and features poa annua greens. Because so few events are held in the New England area, course comparisons are fairly limited. Combining past performance at the Travelers with results at other Pete Dye courses and short courses can provide some additional insights.
Strokes gained: approach correlates more highly than off the tee or around the green here, and as with all par-70 courses par 4 scoring and bogeys avoided play a major factor in projecting performance. Eight of the par 4s measure between 400 and 450 yards, so additional weight should be placed on that range. The short course usually yields plenty of scoring chances, so birdies or better gained is important to identify which players make the most of those chances.
|Key Stats for the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Strokes Gained: Par 4s (400-450 yards)|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
Now, on to the picks.
All stats are from Fantasy National Golf Club and are for golfers in the field over the last 50 rounds, unless otherwise noted.
Justin Thomas (FanDuel-DraftKings Price: $12,300-11,500 | PaddyPower Win Odds: 12/1) - Thomas limped his way to a T25 at the U.S. Open, his worst finish of the season. In other words, his lowest finish is generally considered a mark of success at any given event for most golfers. JT is ranked first in both birdies or better gained and bogeys avoided, second in strokes gained: tee to green and fourth in strokes gained: approach. He’s deservedly the highest-priced golfer on DraftKings this week.
Rory McIlroy ($11,800-10,900 | 12) - Sandwiched between last week’s U.S. Open winner and the Travelers' defending champ, McIlroy could make for a strong tournament play this week. He loves architect Pete Dye’s layouts, and he is 11th in birdies or better gained and 14th in bogeys avoided. His other stats don’t quite pass muster and he missed the cut last week, but McIlroy’s A-game is just about unbeatable. He is a worthy pivot off the chalk in this range.
Patrick Reed ($11,600-10,000 | 18) - Reed once again proved his mettle in the toughest of conditions last week, finishing 4th at the U.S. Open. He has found some magic with his short game and putter this season, leading to ranks of fifth and seventh in birdies or better and bogeys avoided, respectively. His strokes gained stats are strong (15th tee to green, 33rd approach, and 34th putting) but still undersell his performance, as they don’t include his masterful work at Augusta National.
Patrick Cantlay ($10,600-8,400 | 28) - Cantlay emerged as a trendy longshot pick for the U.S. Open, and the oddsmakers have rated him highly again this week. Cantlay is 3rd in strokes gained: par 4s (400-450 yards) and 14th in strokes gained: approach. He has done well at Pete Dye courses in the past, most recently posting back-to-back top-25s at THE PLAYERS, another Dye design.
Bubba Watson ($10,400-8,800 | 22) - Watson’s stats are decent but not eye-popping: 27th in bogeys avoided, 28th tee to green, and 42nd in birdies or better gained. But his odds tell a different story, as they compare favorably with golfers $500-$700 more on DraftKings. More than half of Bubba’s 11 career wins have come at just three events, and the Travelers is one of them.
Ryan Moore ($9,800-9,000 | 33) - Moore’s missed cut at the Wells Fargo Championship was his only finish outside the top 30 in the last three months. He is third in bogeys avoided, eighth in strokes gained: approach, and ninth in par 4s (400-450 yards). His putting stroke has been his downfall lately, but returning to his preferred surface this week should help him get back on track. He is a great pay-down pivot from the previous two guys.
Luke List ($9,800-7,900 | 80) - List also missed the cut last week and has surprisingly long odds given how strong his game has been this year. Although he has an earned reputation as a big hitter (fourth on the entire Tour in driving distance), he has actually fared very well at shorter courses this season. Even with some of the biggest names in the world teeing it up this week, List is ranked first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green. He is also 8th in bogeys avoided and 13th in birdies or better gained.
Keegan Bradley ($9,700-7,900 | 50) - Another popular pick last week, Bradley was horrible at the season’s second major and missed the cut. He heads to much cozier confines this week, where he has finished no worse than 39th over the last 5 years. Bradley is a native New Englander and the early exit at Shinnecock Hills allowed him to take advantage of two extra days of home cooking. He is first in the field in strokes gained: approach and has done well historically at Dye tracks, including a T7 at THE PLAYERS last month.
Brendan Steele ($9,500-7,600 | 70) - Steele has finished no worse than 25th in his last five trips to the Travelers, and enters this week 13th in strokes gained: tee to green and 17th in strokes gained: approach. His biggest statistical red flag is a 78th in bogeys avoided, but he at least has been able to minimize the damage when he finds himself in trouble, as he ranks 3rd in doubles avoided.
Chesson Hadley ($9,500-7,300 | 80) - Prior to missing the cut at the U.S. Open, Hadley had made eight straight cuts and posted six top-25s in that span. He was 11th at THE PLAYERS and 7th at the RBC Heritage. Hadley has the elite stats to back it up, too. He is fifth in strokes gained: approach and sixth in birdies or better gained.
Si Woo Kim ($9,000-7,500 | 90) - Kim’s out-of-nowhere win at the 2017 PLAYERS solidifies his Pete Dye chops, but he followed it up with a T25 at the Travelers. He does not rate out well statistically (36th in strokes gained: tee to green and 137th in approach), but his Dye record and 2nd place finish at the short RBC Heritage earlier this year give him major upside at low ownership.
Jamie Lovemark ($8,900-7,800 | 80) - Lovemark has been uncharacteristically consistent this season. Other than the missed cut at the Wells Fargo Championship, he has finished no worse than 41st in any event over the last 4 months. He ranks 14th in par 4s (400-450 yards) and 22nd in both strokes gained: approach and bogeys avoided. His marks across the board are trending upward, and when he put it together with his 7th at the Honda Classic it makes for a strong argument in his favor.
William McGirt ($8,200-6,900 | 175) - McGirt is 5th in bogeys avoided and 28th in strokes gained: approach. He has had decent form in this event in the past, with finishes of T43-T25-T31-T30 in the last four tries. A made cut at this price is asking a lot, and McGirt at least offers some modicum of safety for DFS players trying to fill out their rosters after starting with one of the studs at the top.
James Hahn ($8,300-6,700 | 175) - Hahn has been flat out bad lately. Prior to a T45 at the St. Jude Classic, he had missed five straight cuts. His stats are decent, with ranks inside the top-30 in strokes gained: approach, par 4s (400-450) and bogeys avoided. As a total dart throw, Hahn at least offers some upside, more so on DraftKings than FanDuel. His lone win on Tour came at the 2016 Wells Fargo Championship coming off eight consecutive missed cuts.
J.J. Spaun ($7,600-7,200 | 150) - Spaun's win odds are, as you can see, ahead of golfers priced comfortably above him in the pricing pool on FanDuel. But he's appealing on both sites for good reason. He's seventh in strokes gained: approach with three top-10s and five top-25 finishes on the season. He'll run the risk of missing the cut, but the upside is there at a low price.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.