Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: The Memorial Tournament
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.
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Let's take a look at some golfers to target this week.
|Key Stats for the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village GC|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Greens in Regulation|
|Par 5 Scoring|
|Birdie or Better Rate|
It's really never a bad idea to lead off your list with strokes gained: approach, and that's what I'm doing here yet again, based on the past five years of data at Muirfield Village. It just looks to be the most vital stat overall.
In all, ball-strikers should hold an edge here, as they'll be tested on second shots often at a course with undulating fairways and problematic rough. Hitting fairways is actually quite easy here, but doing that alone isn't enough to contend. Missing the fairways generally proves costly, and there's a big drop off in fairways hit between even the cut makers and those finishing top 25 at Muirfield Village over the past five years.
On a similar theme, picking up greens in regulation is quite necessary to push for the top of the leaderboard. The average greens in regulation gained rank of the top 25 here since 2014 has been 29.1, actually better than the average rank in strokes gained: approach (29.9). Either way, we need our golfers to get into scoring position, and the way to do that is with approach play.
I don't often like to rely on par 4 and par 5 scoring -- because if you score well on those holes, you're going to score well overall -- but there are birdie chances here that can't be wasted. Converting those birdie chances matters a lot at a course where the winning score has been at least 12 under in eight of the past nine years.
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: $12,000 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: 9.5/1) - McIlroy's recent form has been amazing for quite some time, even as he has "cooled off" by finishing 21st at the Masters and 8th at both the Wells Fargo and the PGA Championship. He's the odds-on favorite for a reason, as he grades out top-five in strokes gained: off the tee, birdie rate, greens in regulation, and par 5 scoring in our 100-round sample. Rory also has played here seven times since 2010, culminating in four top-10s, most recently an eighth in 2018.
Patrick Cantlay ($11,000 | 15/1) - I have no issues with Tiger Woods ($11,700), Justin Thomas ($11,600, assuming his wrist is fine), or Justin Rose ($11,500), but the savings go a long way this week if we look to this second tier of studs. Cantlay ranks seventh in strokes gained: off the tee and strokes gained: approach, as well as eighth in greens in regulation over the past 100 rounds. Like McIlroy, the recent form has been there since Augusta, when he finished ninth, as he has followed that up with third-place showings at the RBC Heritage and the PGA Championship. Cantlay also has finished 35th and 4th at Muirfield Village the past two years.
Matt Kuchar ($10,900 | 19/1) - Muirfield Village suits Kuchar, who has finished top-26 in all nine tries since 2009, including a 2013 win. Kuchar's past five events have also resulted in strong finishes: 7th (Valero), 12th (Masters), 2nd (RBC Heritage), and 8th (PGA). Kuchar sits 12th in strokes gained: approach and fairways gained, plus 7th in greens in regulation. All signs are pointing to Kuch.
Gary Woodland ($10,400 | 37/1) - Woodland doesn't seem like the type of golfer we'd want to target, but he's actually accurate (36th) and has that stellar ball-striking (2nd off the tee, 13th in approach) to culminate in elite par 5 scoring (2nd) and greens in regulation (4th). He's consistently near the top of the field in the key stats over large and short samples and has played Muirfield Village nine years straight, missing the cut in 2012 and 2015 but most recently putting up a 23rd last year. With his current form (eighth at the PGA and all those elite stats), he's a cheap stud we can consider.
Henrik Stenson ($10,200 | 50/1) - If we want approach and iron play, then we have to consider Stenson, who ranks third among the field in strokes gained: approach over the past 100 rounds. He also can hit fairways (fourth) and get greens in regulation (first). There isn't a lot of track record for Stenson at Muirfield Village of late, but he has played here from 2010 through 2013 and finished 13th last year.
Emiliano Grillo ($9,700 | 80/1) - Grillo enters off a 23rd at the PGA and a 19th at the Charles Schwab. He's fared well at this course in the past, netting an 11th, 46th, and 23rd the last three years. He can gain strokes on with his approach play (10th) and hit fairways (11th), so he's a firm play from a safety standpoint and should have some upside to consider him in the mid-range.
Jason Kokrak ($9,400 | 70/1) - Kokrak's price is back down to a better number, yet he's not entirely safe. His around-the-green play (110th) is problematic if he misses these greens in regulation. Thankfully, he's throwing darts lately, ranking sixth in approach and second in greens in regulation over the past 100 rounds. Speaking of a lack of safety, on a course where we can prioritize course history a bit more than usual, he has missed three of the past four cuts at Muirfield Village.
Keegan Bradley ($9,200 | 90/1) - Bradley leads this entire field in approach over the past 100 rounds. He's 17th in fairways and 20th in greens in regulation gained. That'll work at $9,200. Also in his favor? He has that course history to help his case: 37th, 8th, 8th, cut, 23rd at Muirfield Village the past five years.
Tyrrell Hatton ($8,700 | 65/1) - Hatton has never played Muirfield Village, which is a bit of a concern, but at his price and with his win odds, we can overlook that a bit. Hatton has positive putting splits on bentgrass in his career and is top-56 in strokes gained: off the tee (25th), approach (56th), and around the green (42nd) in our sample. He never fully stands out when just looking at the PGA Tour stats, but he is coming off of an eighth at the Charles Schwab.
Corey Conners ($8,500 | 120/1) - Conners also has never played Muirfield Village. He finished 31st at the Charles Schwab last week. Where he really stands out is the ball-striking: 10th off the tee and 16th in approach, plus 10th in greens in regulation gained. He almost always struggles putting and averages -0.478 strokes putting on bentgrass over 45 rounds. Still, the upside should be there to consider Conners in tournaments.
Kevin Streelman ($8,400 | 120/1) - Accuracy and approach is Streelman's game. He's 10th in fairways gained and 15th in greens in regulation gained among the field. Streelman is coming off a 31st at the Charles Schwab and has finished 18th, 8th, 13th, and 44th the past four years at Muirfield Village.
Joost Luiten ($7,900 | 160/1) - Luiten's long-term form is enough to consider him here. He's 25th in fairways gained and 22nd in approach in our sample, plus 12th in greens in regulation gained. There's no course form to dig into -- aside from a DQ in 2011 -- but at below $8,000, Luiten lets us roster a second (or third) stud.