Daily Fantasy Golf: Tournament Targets and Avoids for the TOUR Championship
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 the volatility -- top-tier golfers can miss the cut, and longshots can win outright -- makes it a unique daily fantasy sport.
Ownership won't always matter, and favorites will win and thrive some weeks, but when the chalk struggles and the pivots hit big, you can put yourself in a great position to succeed when playing large tournaments on FanDuel.
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 in GPP tournaments on FanDuel.
|Key Stats for the TOUR Championship at East Lake GC|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
|Greens in Regulation Gained|
With just 30 golfers in the player pool, the golf season comes to an end as $15 million is up for grabs at the TOUR Championship. All 30 golfers have been assigned starting strokes based on their current FedEX Cup standings, and Justin Thomas currently sits at the top of the leaderboard at 10-under par. The pricing on FanDuel has been adjusted to compensate for the different starting positions, and golfers at -- or near -- the bottom of the leaderboard will have to shoot lights out in order to compete.
East Lake is a second-shot golf course which, per usual, brings strokes gained: approach into play as a key stat while fairways gained will impact the ability to target the pin. With the change in format, golfers not named Justin Thomas (although he'll need to bury a good amount) will need to make birdies in order to move up the leaderboard -- which will not be easy at East Lake -- and compete for the hefty pay day.
Stats cited below come from FantasyNational and include the past 50 rounds on the PGA Tour unless noted. Ranks are among the field.
Top-Priced Tier ($14,200 - $9,000)
Target: Rory McIlroy ($11,400) - Winning the TOUR Championship in 2016 and racking up three top-seven place finishes over his last four appearances at East Lake, McIlroy is obviously capable of overcoming his starting five-shot deficit to Thomas. The ownership is the issue with McIlroy as he is currently projected by FantasyNational to have ownership over 40%. While ownership is important, it can not always be the driving factor, and this might be the time to "eat the chalk" and look for other opportunities to be unique with the other five spots in the lineup. Over the last 24 rounds, McIlroy comes inside the top-20 (I know, there's only 30 golfers in the field) in all five key stats while sitting first in birdies or better gained and fourth in fairways gained.
Target: Dustin Johnson ($10,100) - Clearly not playing his best golf, Johnson has not cracked the top-15 since his second place finish at the PGA Championship in May. Johnson will start the TOUR Championship at three-under par, seven shots behind Justin Thomas, and his stats over the last 24 rounds are not intriguing as ranks inside the top-20 in just birdies or better gained (10th). However, if we are looking at golfers who can possibly run someone like Thomas down, then Johnson -- who has four top-six finishes over his last five appearances at East Lake -- clearly has that ability. With only 30 players in the field, being unique is going to be key in order to take down a large-field tournament, and Johnson will likely be one of the lowest owned golfers in this large tier.
Avoid: Brooks Koepka ($12,100) - Easily capable of overcoming a three-shot deficit, winning the TOUR Championship, and driving off in a "Brinks truck", Koepka is currently projected at just over 30% ownership. Over his last three appearances at the TOUR Championship, Koepka has finished better than 18th just once, and he has not cracked the top-five. Over the last 24 rounds, Koepka ranks outside the top-10 in all five key stats, while sitting 26th in strokes gained on par 5s. Over his last six events, Koepka has lost strokes with his approach in four events, finishing outside the top-20 in all four occurrences over that span. East Lake is considered a "second-shot" course.
Bottom-Priced Tier ($8,800 and below)
Target: Lous Oosthuizen ($7,500) - Over his last two tournaments, Oosthuizen has been on fire with his approach shots, gaining over 14 stokes over that span. In comparison, Patrick Cantlay and Rory McIlroy both gained under four shots over the same two tournaments. Oosthuizen is well off the consensus radar this week, yet his stats over the last 24 rounds look great for a golfer at this price point. He sits eighth or better in four of the five key stats while sitting 27th in strokes gained on par 5s. Oosthuizen will start the TOUR Championship at even par, 10 stokes behind Justin Thomas, and while a win may not be in the range of outcomes, Oosthuizen is capable of making a run up the leaderboard, which would gain DFS players massive leverage over the field, especially in a 30-man field.
Avoid: Paul Casey ($8,300) - Casey, who has not cracked the top-10 since the Travelers in June, is currently projected to be one of the three most popular golfers in the field. Casey will start the TOUR Championship at two-under par, and while he is one of the most recognizable names in this tier, he currently ranks 15th in birdies or better gained over the last 24 rounds. Casey does sit inside the top-eight in three of the other four key stats while coming in at 18th in strokes gained on par 5s. While playing the chalk is fine in some instances, this bottom tier may be the place to focus on differentiating lineups, and Casey would be a great avoid for that purpose.
Ben Fisher is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ben Fisher also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Gvsubrickwall. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.