Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: THE PLAYERS Championship, Presented by Goslings
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 PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Good Drive Rate|
|Par 4 Scoring|
|Strokes Gained: Around the Green|
You can pretty much always lock up approach play as a key stat for any course, as it accounts for par 3s and the majority of strokes overall. Over the past five seasons, the leaders in approach have finished 57th, 48th, 2nd, 42nd, and 34th -- despite just one of them ranking inside the top 100 in strokes gained: putting.
Of the past five winners, four were inside the top-16 in approach. Webb Simpson (last year's winner) ranked 92nd, but before him, it checks out: Si Woo Kim (16th), Jason Day (9th), Rickie Fowler (3rd), Martin Kaymer (4th).
It's not a week to prioritize distance, and accuracy itself doesn't correlate quite as well to total strokes gained as good drive rate -- picking up greens in regulation after missing fairways (plus fairways hit). Again, greens in regulation ties into approach, so overall ball-striking is the real key to TPC Sawgrass. That's not revolutionary.
Part of it is obvious, but scoring well on the the par 4s is vital. Each of the past five winners ranked top-13 in strokes gained on par 4s, and the past three winners all led.
Scrambling and picking up strokes around the green is also important here, which really means that we need our golfers to be without major flaws in their game. That makes sense: the course is tough, and the field is deep. Also, the greens are tiny.
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
Rory McIlroy (FanDuel Price: $11,800 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: 12/1) - Rory is a few bucks cheaper than Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas, who are very much in play if you can get to them, but their extended, great form makes that a bit obvious by now. Rory has been on a tear of his own, finishing top-six in three straight events over the past month and four times in the past 10 weeks. Among the field, McIlroy ranks second in strokes gained: tee to green at TPC Sawgrass over the past five seasons -- despite missing the cut last year.
Justin Rose ($11,700 | 17/1) - Rose leads the field in strokes gained on par 4s over his past 100 rounds and checks every other box, too. It's such a top-heavy field that it's hard to differentiate between the studs (I really advocate making your own picks if you have a gut instinct), but Rose, to me, is a cut above the rest of the $11,000 range (excluding McIlroy). Rose has finished 4th, cut, 19th, 65th, and 23rd at THE PLAYERS over the past five iterations.
Tiger Woods ($11,100 | 21/1) - Woods is not a safe pick, but his injury should dampen his still-high ownership in such a loaded field. Woods says he feels healthy, and that makes him intriguing. Woods ranks sixth in approach, ninth on par 4s, and ninth in opportunities gained over his past 100 rounds. Woods was 11th here last year because of his short game.
Xander Schauffele ($11,000 | 29/1) - I'm a Xander Stan, but we know that he won't be intimidated by the field here, and he showed it last year, finishing second. He led the field in strokes gained: tee to green (67th off the tee, 5th in approach, 2nd around the green, 90th putting). The recent sample is very promising for him, and he stands out in this tier as a realistic win candidate.
Sergio Garcia ($10,900 | 34/1) - Garcia won here in 2008 and has notched 9 top-25 finishes in 19 events (6 top-10 finishes) at TPC Sawgrass in his career. He grades out 8th in good drive rate and 17th in approach. His long-term form and short-term form line up with good history to make him a solid high-end pick.
Francesco Molinari ($10,100 | 21/1) - Molinari will undoubtedly carry ownership after his win last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but in cash games, he is someone to take a long look at this week, given how he played a week ago. Molinari sits 15th in approach and 3rd in good drive rate over his past 100 rounds. Prior to a missed cut last year, he finished 6th, 7th, and 6th at TPC Sawgrass.
Patrick Cantlay ($10,000 | 36/1) - Cantlay has consecutive top-25 finishes at THE PLAYERS and the right recent profile to post another strong finish: 12th in approach, 36th around the green, 8th on par 4s, and 17th in good drive rate. Last year, he graded out fourth in strokes gained: tee to green, and in 2017, he led in strokes gained: off the tee.
Paul Casey ($9,900 | 41/1) - Casey is another great asset in this mid-range. He ranks 5th in approach and 13th in good drive rate over his past 100 rounds. He didn't play here a year ago but finished 22nd and 23rd in 2017 and 2016, respectively, while grading out top-13 in strokes gained: tee to green both years.
Ian Poulter ($9,800 | 55/1) - Poulter grades out 18th in approach and 10th around the green over the past 100 rounds. He has finished top-25 in 5 of 15 tries at TPC Sawgrass, making 12 cuts. His past two tries have been great: T2 and T11, with all eight rounds at or under par. Poulter followed up four top-10 finishes with a 23rd last week at the API.
Keegan Bradley ($9,200 | 90/1) - Bradley hung around for a while last week, ultimately finishing 10th. He's made three straight cuts at TPC Sawgrass (35th, 60th, 7th). A negative putter on Bermuda, Bradley has overcome it of late because his irons have been on fire: he's second in strokes gained: approach over the past 100 rounds.
Jason Kokrak ($9,000 | 120/1) - Kokrak has been on the cusp for a while now and has finished top 20 in five of his past six events. His ball-striking is the main reason, as he's 19th in approach but just 125th around the green. He's struggled at this course in the past, but the recent form still makes him a tournament play.
Sungjae Im ($9,000 | 120/1) - Sungjae Im always brings a balanced profile to the table (44th in approach, 31st around the green, 25th in good drive rate), and that keeps him in play on almost every course. He just finished third at the API. Im hasn't played TPC Sawgrass before, but course familiarity hasn't really caused him issues in the past.
Keith Mitchell ($8,900 | 100/1) - This course doesn't exactly suit what Mitchell does best, but he's really changed things up to help his approach game. He grades out 21st in approach over the past 50 rounds (78th over the past 100). Mitchell finished 77th here a year ago while ranking 105th in strokes gained: tee to green (2nd off the tee, 68th in approach, 143rd around the green, 107th putting).
Byeong-Hun An ($8,700 | 90/1) - Ben An is a bit underpriced here, as he ranks 25th in approach, 14th around the green, and 36th on par 4s over the past 100 rounds. An's coming in off a 10th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He missed the cut in 2016 at TPC Sawgrass but was 30th here last year, grading out top-55 in all strokes gained stats.
Russell Knox ($8,600 | 190/1) - Knox checks all the boxes for someone at his price (42nd in approach, 30th around the green, 60th on par 4s, 18th in good drives). He has missed consecutive cuts at TPC Sawgrass, primarily because he didn't putt well, but he was 19th, 17th, and 34th the three prior years.
Matt Wallace ($8,500 | 90/1) - Wallace doesn't have a lot of info yet, but the early returns are promising enough at his price: 71st in approach, 49th around the green, 61st on par 4s over his 26 measured rounds on the PGA Tour. Wallace has finished 33rd at the WGC-Mexico, a loaded field, 20th at the Honda, and 6th at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational. For the price, he's worth a look to save salary.
Chesson Hadley ($8,500 | 240/1) - Hadley has posted consecutive top-20s (20th at the Honda, 17th at the Arnold Palmer) primarily because of his approach play (9th over the past 100 rounds, 5th over the past 12). Hadley grades out sixth in opportunities gained over the past 100 rounds (just 129th around the green) but has been a positive putter in 64 measured rounds on Bermuda.