Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: Travelers Championship
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.
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 Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Par 4 Scoring (Especially from 400 to 450 Yards)|
|Greens in Regulation|
|Birdies or Opportunities Gained|
|Good Drive Rate|
TPC River Highlands, a 6,841-yard par 70, is a bit of a tricky course to define in terms of key stats because it can be bested in various ways. We'll get to that soon, but approach play is going to be crucial again, even if it has had less importance toward scoring dispersal than the average event.
Par 4 scoring is basically the same as overall scoring at this event because there are just two par 5s (though four par 3s). Eight of the holes register between 400 and 450 yards, and each of the past five winners at this course have led the field in strokes gained on the par 4s, via data from FantasyNational.
The next three stats on the list tie in together, which is always something to remember when looking at stats: sometimes, they are just different ways to express a very similar occurrence.
Golfers with distance off the tee can gain an advantage on the field -- but only if they pair it with either fairways or greens in regulation. Good drive rate rewards either a fairway hit or a green in regulation after a missed fairway, generally a result of an errant drive that isn't disastrous.
That's the path to birdie chances. Opportunities gained are greens/fringes in regulation within 15 feet or greens/fringes under regulation, a FantasyNational stat. The winners here always go low. The last time a winner wasn't at least 10 under was 1993.
Putting efficiency will be required to convert those chances, but in terms of predictability, we should be seeking greens in regulation or even proximity.
This is a roundabout way to say that all-around golfers should be our preference rather than just bombers or fairway seekers.
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
Brooks Koepka (FanDuel Price: $12,600 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: 15/2) - Absolutely, Koepka is in play, even at a track where distance isn't all that matters. He showed us that last week at Pebble Beach, and even after his U.S. Open in 2018, he played the Travelers the following week and finished 19th. He also followed up a T4 at the 2016 PGA Championship with a T9 at this event. However, he's really pricey in a field that drops off quickly, so he's not exactly easy to play.
Patrick Cantlay ($11,500 | 12/1) - Cantlay comes in a full $1,100 cheaper than Brooks and is in form that's comparable. Cantlay was 21st at Pebble Beach after his win at the Memorial, and he has averaged 2.33 adjusted strokes gained per round (using my own adjustments) in 2019. Nobody else in this field has averaged more than 1.66 (Justin Thomas). Cantlay ranks second in the field in strokes gained: off the tee and fourth in strokes gained: approach over the past 100 rounds. He's first in par 4 strokes gained and second in greens in regulation, as well. He's worth the salary if you can't get to Koepka.
Paul Casey ($11,300 | 18/1) - Casey rode great ball-striking to a 21st-place finish at Pebble Beach last week but came up short on and around the green. Casey has finished 2nd, 17th, 5th, and 2nd at TPC River Highlands the past four years and grades out third in strokes gained: approach, sixth in greens in regulation, and 11th in good drive rate over the past 100 rounds. He's a stud even at an elevated salary, but with Cantlay and Koepka in the field, he's not exactly the first place most users will probably look.
Tommy Fleetwood ($10,700 | 29/1) - Fleetwood has made 27 straight cuts and is coming up on a full calendar year of playing the weekend (he last missed at the French Open to kick off July of 2018). He really stands out as someone who can seek pins and go low, and that's necessary for this event. He leads the field in greens in regulation and is fifth in birdies gained in our sample.
Chez Reavie ($9,900 | 50/1) - Reavie leads the field in good drive rate and is ninth in strokes gained on par 4s. Chez also sits 10th in strokes gained: approach and just had a final-round pairing with Koepka at the U.S. Open, when Reavie tied for third. His price helps in most builds, and he fits the course very well, despite a lack of great results here.
Emiliano Grillo ($9,900 | 50/1) - Grillo has just one missed cut since the 2018 Open Championship (the Honda Classic) but boasts a similar profile to Reavie's. He's 5th in good drive rate and strokes gained: approach, and he's 11th in greens in regulation gained. Grillo has a 43rd and a 19th here the past two years. A 58th at the U.S. Open snapped a streak of three straight top-25s for Grillo.
Kevin Streelman ($9,500 | 50/1) - Streelman won here five years ago despite missing the cut the year prior and then the two years following the win. Since then, he was 8th and 33rd at the Travelers. He's coming in with hot finishes: 6th, 6th, 45th, 31st, and 4th but hasn't played since that 4th-place showing at the Memorial. Streelman ranks fourth in good drive rate, fifth in greens in regulation, and top 20 in both strokes gained: off the tee and strokes gained: approach.
Jason Kokrak ($9,300 | 60/1) - Kokrak's price is a huge discount from where it was just a few tournaments ago, and that makes one of the best ball-strikers on tour a value. Kokrak grades out well in all of our key stats over a large sample (20th off the tee, 7th in approach, 8th in opportunities gained, and 4th in greens in regulation).
Cheng-Tsung Pan ($8,900 | 80/1) - Pan has finished 25th, 8th, and cut here in his past three tries and also missed the cut at the U.S. Open last weekend. But he's a good putter on bent and poa and grades out 12th in strokes gained on par 4s. A balanced statistical profile makes Pan a fine play at a cheap price.
Joaquin Niemann ($8,400 | 100/1) - Niemann is always frustrating, but he is priced appropriately for his volatility (five missed cuts in 15 events in 2019). Niemann ranks 11th in the entire field in strokes gained: tee to green and is 2nd in opportunities gained. Those elite numbers just require even baseline-level putting to make a cut. If some putts fall, he could unlock his top-10 upside.
Andrew Putnam ($8,400 | 100/1) - Putnam is a strong bentgrass and poa putter and grades out 24th in strokes gained: approach and 21st in greens in regulation gained. He's dreadful off the tee (148th) but is still 51st in good drive rate despite that.
Sam Ryder ($7,700 | 260/1) - Ryder ranks 23rd in approach and seventh in opportunities gained in our 100-round sample. Ryder's short game -- both putting and strokes gained: around the green -- is always questionable, but taking a stab at someone below $8,000 unlocks a lot of access to the studs in this field.