Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: THE PLAYERS 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's daily fantasy golf offering.
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. It's a great balance between time to research and time spent tracking your team.
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|
|Scrambling/Strokes Gained: Around the Green|
|Par 5 Scoring|
|Birdie or Better Rate|
We've actually seen some golfers with suspect form entering this event fare pretty well in recent years, so that skews the data and could be relevant. Still, I'm going to be heavily emphasizing current form for THE PLAYERS.
Strokes gained: approach is at the top of the list, as usual. It's just such a big part of the game each week that we can't overlook it. According to datagolf.org, 38.5% of scoring dispersion at TPC Sawgrass is explained by approach play, up from the Tour average of 34.7%. Further, putting has been less vital with regards to explaining scoring at TPC Sawgrass (31.3%) than the Tour average (35.9%).
There's also reason to place emphasis on driving accuracy, which matters quite a lot at TPC Sawgrass when compared to other courses.
Of the 17 golfers to finish tied for fifth or better over the past three years -- and who had 50 rounds of PGA Tour form entering THE PLAYERS -- all 17 rated out above average in scrambling gained. We should take note and factor in scrambling or strokes gained: around the green (which aren't the same thing, but recovery matters).
Stats cited below come from FantasyNational and include the past 50 rounds on the PGA Tour unless noted. Ranks are among the field.
Best of the Best
Rory McIlroy (FanDuel Price: $12,200 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: +650) - I'm going to be honest: there is separation between the top three golfers -- McIlroy, Jon Rahm ($12,000), and Justin Thomas ($11,900) -- over the rest of the field this week. I factor in other things, but when looking only at my recent stats model, these three guys rank top four (McIlroy is first, Thomas is second, and Rahm is fourth). McIlroy is around 9.1% likely to win, per my simulations. Rahm is at 6.8%, and Thomas is at 4.7%. So this suggests McIlroy is the first place to look, and I can't argue that. However, TPC Sawgrass has quite a bit of variance to it, as water is in play, and wind can get aggressive. I'm totally fine with any of the three, and I'd rank McIlroy first easily. But given how wacky THE PLAYERS can be, I'm fine letting ownership dictate which of the three I have the most exposure to. It seems like a lame approach, but this is a great week to seek leverage opportunities and avoid the chalk whenever possible.
Webb Simpson ($10,700 | +2500) - Simpson will probably draw ownership -- for good reason. He has finished 16th, 1st, and 16th at THE PLAYERS over the past three years, and he enters with good -- albeit sporadic -- form. He finished 3rd at the Sony Open, he won the Waste Management, and he was 61st at the WGC-Mexico, when he struggled pretty much everywhere. The approach play had been great entering that event, and elevation changes really screw with golfers at Chapultepec. Webb ranks 11th in strokes gained: approach among the field over the past 50 rounds, and over the past 100 rounds on Bermuda greens, he is 4th in strokes gained: putting.
Others to Consider:
Dustin Johnson ($11,800 | +2900) - Big-time pivot potential away from the top three. Quietly two great tee-to-green showings in a row.
Xander Schauffele ($11,200 | +3000) - Fifth in my stats-only model; runner-up here two years back but missed the cut last year. Has 5 top-10s in 11 major tries. This ain't a major, but still.
Patrick Reed ($10,500 | +3600) - Recent win at WGC-Mexico and great all-around game (8th in the stats model). Just no top-20s at TPC Sawgrass in six tries.
Sungjae Im ($10,400 | +2700) - Red hot with great driving accuracy (21st) and Bermuda putting (22nd). Easy to love if building a balanced lineup.
Marc Leishman ($9,700 | +3500) - I don't love Leishman's overall win odds, but his irons have been spicy recently: datagolf's adjusted strokes gained data shows Leishman with the fourth-best approach play in the 2020 season -- among all players in the world. Off the tee and around the green, he's lacking, yet we're getting a FanDuel price discount for someone with hefty win odds based on FanDuel Sportsbook. Leishman charged his way to a second at Bay Hill last week and has a recent win at the Farmers.
Tyrrell Hatton ($9,000 | +3800) - Hatton should carry ownership, but the case for him is very easy to make, and that's who I'm trying to profile here. After winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week and being priced where he is, Hatton is in the conversation for chalkiest golfer in the field. In a volatile sport like golf and in a volatile event like THE PLAYERS, there's legitimate leverage to be gained by fading him outright. Hatton, though, has elite 2020 stats over just four starts, and he ranks 36th in Bermuda putting over a large enough 54-round sample when compared to every player's last 100 (when available). Point being: Hatton has an all-around game that should allow him to buck the trend of two straight missed cuts at TPC Sawgrass. For cash games, he's very promising. For tournaments, well, maybe we avoid him and hope for the missed cut.
Others to Consider:
Collin Morikawa ($10,000 | +3700) - Terrible Bermuda splits over 24-round sample but 20th in fairways gained and 1st in approach. 3rd tee to green last week.
Viktor Hovland ($9,600 | +8500) - Chipping sucks, and he has said so himself. Need all the tools to contend here, but $9,600 is a fair price.
Matthew Fitzpatrick ($9,200 | +5500) - Stands out when comparing odds to price, 8th in Bermuda putting, top-50 in all three tee-to-green stats, 9th last week.
Byeong-Hun An ($9,000 | +9000) - Can't ever fully quit someone so good tee-to-green (8th) who is also elite around the green (3rd) but 132nd in Bermuda putting. Was 9th tee to green last week at the API but finished 58th because of the flat stick.
Abraham Ancer ($8,900 | +13000) - Ancer played here a year ago and finished 12th. He did so by gaining strokes in all four areas, including 3.7 each in terms off-the-tee and approach play. Overall, he ranked eighth in strokes gained: tee to green. Ancer has not shown good putting splits on Bermuda (110th), but he has played the weekend at all five events in 2020. Ancer's irons are good but not always consistent, yet it's a week to buy back in on him at such a low salary.
Scottie Scheffler ($8,700 | +11000) - Scheffler ranks 15th in my stats model, which is really, really good for someone priced down here. We will assuredly see long shots in contention here, and if Scheffler doesn't implode on the greens (he's 123rd in Bermuda putting), we could see him near the top again. Just last week, Scheffler lost 4.8 strokes on the greens despite leading the field in strokes gained: tee to green.
Others to Consider:
Erik Van Rooyen ($8,700 | +17000) - Contender at WGC-Mexico and could go overlooked in loaded field. Great predictive stats.
Max Homa ($8,500 | +20000) - Elite recent form (five straight top-25 finishes). Neutral Bermuda putter but just gained 6.3 strokes from approach at API last week.
Joel Dahmen ($8,100 | +12000) - Great ball-striker with good form and consecutive top-fives. 12th at THE PLAYERS last year.
Sebastian Munoz ($7,500 | +28000) - Actually 12th in the stats model but coming off a missed cut and no TPC Sawgrass history.
Carlos Ortiz ($7,100 | +26000) - Bad Bermuda putter but decent stats carried him to three straight top-26 finishes before a cut at the API.