Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: Honda Classic
By now, you've probably dabbled in daily fantasy sports, but if not, don't worry. Now is a great time to start, especially with FanDuel now offering a revamped version of PGA golf.
Golf can be one of the most exciting DFS sports to follow, as tournaments span four days and allow ample time to prepare each week, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the basics of building a lineup on FanDuel, the scoring setup, and advanced stats to know about the PGA.
But whether you're brand new to the PGA or daily fantasy sports in general, we have you covered -- and we have daily fantasy golf projections and lineup building tools, too.
Let's take a look at some golfers to target this week.
|Key Stats for the Honda Classic at PGA National (Championship)|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Par 4 Scoring (Primarily from 450 to 500 yards)|
|Strokes Gained: Off the Tee|
|Greens in Regulation|
Strokes gained: approach is just a given at this point. It has been more important than both strokes gained: off the tee and strokes gained: around the green combined over the past five years at PGA National.
Par 4 scoring on this par 70 is pretty much vital. Outside of Justin Thomas last year (12th), the past four winners were top-five in strokes gained on par 4s: Rickie Fowler (5th), Adam Scott (1st), Padraig Harrington (3rd), and Russell Henley (1st). All five were top-nine in par-4 strokes gained on holes 450 to 500 yards, via FantasyNational.
Off-the-tee play still matters, however, but neither distance nor accuracy alone really popped as overly vital (the r-squared between distance and total strokes gained is 0.10, and between fairways gained and total strokes gained, it's 0.04 the past five years). Driving still matters, however, as good drives (0.26) and off-the-tee (0.24) play stand out relative to other stats.
Greens in regulation matter a lot, too, but we can kind of see all this naturally with the importance of ball-striking already highlighted.
Bogey avoidance isn't really how we gain positive fantasy points, but this is a tough course, and that means we need our golfers to avoid blowups in order to make the cut and score points on the weekend. Eagles are virtually impossible. For that reason, bogey avoidance makes the list this week.
Stats cited below come from FantasyNational and include the past 100 rounds on the PGA Tour unless noted. Ranks are among the field.
Best of the Best
Justin Thomas (FanDuel Price: $13,000 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: 5/1) - Thomas Is a heavy, heavy favorite this week, and he costs $13,000, so he's priced as such. However, over the past 100 rounds, he ranks first among the field in strokes gained: approach and on par 4s and in bogey avoidance. He won here last year and was third in 2016, missing the cut in 2017 and 2015. He's obviously not foolproof, but after a third, second, and ninth over the past month, he's knocking on the door for a win.
Brooks Koepka ($11,400 | 11/1) - Koepka really can stand out in tough fields and at tough courses. He finished 27th at the WGC-Mexico last week but was fifth in strokes gained: tee to green -- he just lost 5.7 strokes putting. His best putting surface is Bermuda, which we get this week. Koepka is an enticing pivot from Thomas, and spending up for both has merit, even though it's tough to do.
Sergio Garcia ($11,200 | 15/1) - Sergio is top-12 in both ball-striking stats over the past 100 rounds and ranks sixth in strokes gained on par 4s in that span. Over the past five years, Garcia leads this field in strokes gained: tee to green at PGA National (Championship), which does get some extra weight this week, given the course difficulty.
Cameron Smith ($10,700 | 29/1) - Smith is a pivot away from the red-hot Adam Scott ($10,800), who is a former winner here and who is transitioning from poa (his best putting split) to a more neutral Bermuda. The same is true for Smith's putting splits, unfortunately, but he is a preemptive alternative option from Scott's likely heavy ownership. Smith ranks eighth in par 4 scoring and 15th in bogey avoidance over the past 100 rounds.
Emiliano Grillo ($10,300 | 36/1) - Grillo has gained strokes with his approach play in all four events in 2019, and avoiding bogeys is a strength of his (12th over the past 100 rounds). He grades out 10th in approach in that span and 22nd in strokes gained: off the tee. He was 58th last week but tanked with the short game (-6.2 strokes gained: around the green and -4.3 strokes gained: putting). Grillo finished eighth here last year.
Byeong-Hun An ($9,800 | 41/1) - An grades out top-13 in both of our ball-striking stats and top-18 in par 4s and bogey avoidance over the past 100 rounds, a really solid profile for this course. He's not a good poa putter (nor a good Bermuda putter), but he's close to neutral on this week's surface, at least. He's a bounce-back candidate after a 45th last week.
Jason Kokrak ($9,400 | 65/1) - Kokrak checks almost every box, primarily the ball-striking stats (15th in approach and 16th off the tee). He is 88th in bogey avoidance but carries good recent form. He has missed the cut here in 2015 and 2016, but we can probably gloss over that given his run of recent form.
Sungjae Im ($9,200 | 75/1) - Maybe the week off and two missed cuts will help with the fatigue of recommending Im. He grades out top-45 in all of our key stats and has the all-around game to avoid disaster at this course. The biggest issue is that he hasn't played here.
Trey Mullinax ($9,100 | 90/1) - Mullinax has an imbalanced ball-striking profile (fifth off the tee and 91st in approach). He enters with three straight top-25 finishes (though nothing since Pebble Beach three weeks ago). He ranked 115th in approach and 112th in putting during a missed cut here in 2017.
Graeme McDowell ($9,100 | 55/1) - McDowell has an up-and-down history at this course (46th, cut, 5th, 14th, cut), and his finishes go pretty much as his tee-to-green game goes at PGA National. He's a plus putter on Bermuda and carries a balanced but not great stats profile (50th through 70th in every stat). He owns a few restaurants in the area, so comfort is a plus.
Talor Gooch ($8,600 | 120/1) - Gooch could find trouble off the tee (118th) but is 38th in approach and has had positive Bermuda splits in his career (41 rounds). He ranked 122nd off the tee and 90th in approach here last year, obviously in a missed cut. He has bookended a third (Farmers) and fourth (Desert Classic) with four missed cuts.
Harold Varner ($8,600 | 120/1) - Varner always brings a balanced stats profile to the table and is 33rd in bogey avoidance to help with our low-end picks. We need to avoid blowups here. He missed the cut here in 2016 and was 57th in 2017 and 72nd in 2018, so he's just been getting it done, but what more do you expect at this price?
Vaughn Taylor ($8,400 | 190/1) - Taylor ranks 21st in approach and 3rd in opportunities gained (a great FantasyNational stat that accounts for birdie opportunities from within 15 feet plus greens and fringes under regulation) over the past 100 rounds. He finished 59th here last year while ranking 36th tee-to-green.