Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: 3M Open
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Let's take a look at some golfers to target this week.
|Key Stats for the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Strokes Gained: Off the Tee|
|Birdies or Opportunities Gained|
|Par 5 Scoring|
|Par 4 Scoring (450 to 500 Yards)|
Another week, another course that's new for the PGA Tour. TPC Twin Cities has hosted an event on the Champions Tour since 2001, but that still means it's scant on stats, as we have just the basics to dig into and try to figure out what matters here.
The course should result in another birdie-fest, like we saw last week at Detroit Golf Club, and that -- in a sense -- can cut down the edge that the elite golfers have over the field. We did see that pan out last week.
The Champions Tour has played the par 72, on average, nearly two full shots under par (70.1) over the past five years. Excluding a dozen golfers who were at least 10 over (there are always some), the course was played, on average, at 69.8.
So we need scoring chances, and those come from, generally, great ball-striking and actually converting putts. The more predictable part of that is ball-striking, so that's why strokes gained: approach and off the tee are at the top of my list yet again.
Birdie or better rate is also in there -- opportunities gained or proximity should be sprinkled in to help balance out putting success and actual scoring chances. Par 5 scoring and par 4 scoring from 450 to 500 yards also on the list, which of course, factor in putting conversion, but until we can figure out how to get greens in regulation on certain holes and such, it's the best we can really do.
So that makes it a pretty straightforward week for me: target the golfers who can go low and avoid those who generally don't. That's the tiebreaker.
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 | Paddy Power Win Odds: 6/1) - Koepka will have to find a way to treat this event like a major, something he tried in his last outing at the Travelers (T57), but he said he was just too drained because of the heavy schedule. He's had some time to rest, and he could abuse this course if he's all there. Koepka ranks 3rd in strokes gained: off the tee, 17th in strokes gained: approach, 4th in opportunities gained, 2nd in greens in regulation gained, 1st in strokes gained on par 5s, and 1st in strokes gained on par 4s from 450 to 500 yards. He's so good that he's a hard fade, even if he doesn't show up 100%.
Hideki Matsuyama ($11,500 | 9/1) - Matsuyama has four top-10 finishes in 15 events in 2019, and he just keeps trucking along as a model of consistency. The stats are great as always, too. Hideki is 25th in strokes gained: off the tee and top-five in approach, opportunities, greens in regulation, and par 5s in our sample. He does everything we need and is a neutral putter on bentgrass. Of the four studs, he's clearly second for me, again, just like last week.
Bryson DeChambeau ($11,000 | 14/1) - I'm ready to hop back on the DeChambeau train. Over the past 100 rounds, only three golfers rank inside the top 10 in both strokes gained: off the tee and strokes gained: approach. DeChambeau is one. The other two are also in this article. Bryson is also second in birdie or better rate and strokes gained on par 5s in our sample. He absolutely can win this thing, and that makes him well worth considering at a full $1,600 cheaper than Brooks Koepka.
Joaquin Niemann ($10,200 | 25/1) - Jason Day ($11,400), Bryson DeChambeau ($11,000), and even the trending-up Patrick Reed ($10,700) are in play this week in such a weak field, but of the studs, I'm prioritizing Koepka, Matsuyama, and DeChambeau and will be light on the rest. This leads to a jump down to Niemann (if we skip over the struggling Tony Finau at $10,600). Niemann grades out seventh off the tee and fourth in approach over the past 100 rounds, making him one of three golfers in the field to rank top-10 in both key ball-striking stats. He really is one of the best ball-strikers we have on tour, and the putting has gotten a lot better. He's actually a positive putter on bentgrass, too. Even at this price, he's in play.
Viktor Hovland ($10,100 | 25/1) - Hovland has emerged as a real threat on the PGA Tour, making five of six cuts in 2019 with two top-15s (including one at the U.S. Open). The sample is small, of course, but he's a great ball-striker (top-24 in both strokes gained: off the tee and strokes gained: approach), and that's not something that's as fluky as the short-game. He's as good a bet to lead in greens in regulation as just about anyone this week.
Kevin Streelman ($9,800 | 40/1) - Streelman grades out 14th in strokes gained: off the tee and 9th in strokes gained: approach. The scoring conversion isn't elite (84th in birdie or better) because of the putting (104th), but he's 38th in opportunities gained. Streelman grades out ninth in adjusted strokes gained (my adjustments) in 2019.
Sungjae Im ($9,800 | 33/1) - Im started his PGA Tour career hot, faded, and is now back on track. He's used a hot putter to finish 7th at the RBC Canadian Open and 21st at the Travelers, but the tee-to-green performance has been trending back up. Im grades out eighth in birdie-or-better rate over the past 100 rounds, and he's top-seven in strokes gained on par 5s and par 4s from 450 to 500 yards.
Ryan Moore ($9,700 | 40/1) - Moore ranks third in approach over the past 100 rounds, but his two at the Rocket Mortgage Classic sure didn't help that rank, as he lost 3.1 strokes via approach shots. In 21 measured events over the past year, Moore has lost approach strokes just five times, and only two of them cost him more than a stroke.
Charley Hoffman ($9,300 | 80/1) - Hoffman's form has picked up the past 24 rounds, and even while phrasing it that way, he's still 19th in approach and 32nd off the tee over the past 100 rounds. He's not a great bentgrass putter, but the field really drops off after the mid $9,000 range, so nobody is perfect. He ranks 33rd in adjusted strokes in 2019.
Cameron Tringale ($8,900 | 80/1) - Tringale has been on fire since April: 17th, cut, 23rd, 11th, 71st, 5th. He's doing it with plus putting, but the real key is that approach game: 4.9, -1.6, 2.1, 5.3, 0.6, and 4.3 in that span. That helps us buy into a small sample size. But even if we open that up, he's eighth in strokes gained: approach and has neutral bentgrass putting form.
Talor Gooch ($8,900 | 80/1) - Gooch's strong suit is the approach play (16th) and not the off-the-tee play (126th). He ranks 54th in opportunities and 30th in birdie or better rate while showing very, very strong putting splits on bentgrass over just 30 rounds. The sample needs to grow, and he won't be quite that good, but it's probably safe to say that he's not a horrible putter on bentgrass. I like the potential Gooch offers.
Corey Conners ($8,600 | 100/1) - Conners is the final golfer in the field -- of the three that there are -- who is top-10 in both strokes gained: off the tee and strokes gained: approach. He's fifth and seventh, respectively, and that puts him in position to convert birdie chances. The putting has held him back (141st), and he isn't particularly good on bentgrass greens, but this is still a spot where we can look to Conners' upside.