GOLF

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

Key Stats for THE PLAYERS Championship
at TPC Sawgrass
Strokes Gained: Approach
Driving Accuracy
Strokes Gained: Around the Green
Birdie or Better Rate


I'm keeping the key stats a little tighter than usual because we see a few clear trends emerge in the data.

First, strokes gained: approach is always the most important tee-to-green stat because it simply accounts for the most of the tee-to-green data possible. Approach play typically explains 34.7% of the scoring dispersion across the average PGA Tour course. At TPC Sawgrass, it jumps up to 38.5%.

There's a pretty sizable de-emphasis on the importance of driving distance in favor of driving accuracy, as well. I wouldn't fault anyone for going with strokes gained: off the tee over just raw driving accuracy.

Putting and around-the-green play are about as important as average, but there are 88 bunkers, and strokes gained: around the green (or scrambling) has been something that past PLAYERS champions have typically thrived in.

For a more detailed breakdown on the course, check out our course primer from Mike Rodden.

All stats cited below come from FantasyNational. Strokes gained data includes stats from the past calendar year and is adjusted based on my field strength adjustments. Putting surface splits also come from FantasyNational and include the past 100 rounds when possible, unless noted. All ranks and percentile ranks are among the field.

Best of the Best

Jon Rahm (FanDuel Salary: $11,700 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: +1700) - Tough fields like this one make for the perfect time and opportunity to differentiate. The big-hitting Rahm is actually good at hitting fairways (72nd percentile), which is part of why he's so good in adjusted strokes gained: off the tee (99th percentile). He's in the 90th percentile in adjusted strokes gained: approach, too, and is a positive putter on Bermuda over his past 100 rounds. He was 12th here last year, as well. You have to nitpick, and with Dustin Johnson being so hot right now, Bryson DeChambeau coming off a win, and Rory McIlroy with a PLAYERS title to his name (he's technically still the defending champ), Rahm could go overlooked.

Webb Simpson ($11,200 | +2000) - Webb's a former winner at TPC Sawgrass from 2018 and bookended that win with a pair of 16th-place finishes at this course. He does exactly what he needs in order to contend once more. Simpson ranks in the 80th percentile in fairways gained over the past 100 rounds and is 87th-percentile or better in all three strokes gained categories once he leaves the tee box. He's also an S-tier Bermuda putter (greens are overseeded) gaining a very nice 0.69 strokes per round.

Others to Consider:
Collin Morikawa ($11,300 | +2000) - Is hyper accurate (90th percentile) and field leader in adjusted strokes gained: approach.
Viktor Hovland ($10,900 | +2400) - Elite driver (97th percentile) with distance and accuracy; 97th percentile in adjusted strokes gained: approach.
Tyrrell Hatton ($10,600 | +3100) - Was on fire tee-to-green last week and excels in all key stats aside from around-the-green play.

Mid-Range Picks

Sungjae Im ($9,800 | +4700) - Though Im missed the cut at TPC Sawgrass in 2019, that does mean he has played here before and did gain 1.8 strokes tee to green in his two measured rounds. The hyper current form is pretty wild: he's gaining strokes with the driver and putter but not in between. However, he's still in the 45th percentile in adjusted strokes gained: approach. He's also in the 93rd percentile in fairways gained. He's rounding back into form and could thrive at TPC Sawgrass.

Abraham Ancer ($9,400 | +8500) - Ancer looks like a really strong fit for what I'm seeking. He's in the 80th percentile in both adjusted ball-striking stats (off the tee and approach) and is in the 95th percentile in fairways gained. The distance (32nd percentile) isn't great, but it's not prohibitive. He also finished 12th here in 2019 by gaining 8.1 strokes tee to green. His up-and-down 2021 includes a 17th at the Tournament of Champions, a missed cut at the Sony Open, a 5th at the American Express, a missed cut at the Genesis, and an 18th at the WGC-Workday by gaining, respectively, -5.4, 2.7, 4.3, -0.9, and 7.0 strokes tee to green.

Others to Consider:
Daniel Berger ($10,300 | +4000) - Fits a balanced build and has the game -- accuracy, irons, and putting -- to thrive at TPC Sawgrass.
Corey Conners ($9,200 | +9500) - Elite ball-striking (91st percentile or better off the tee and with approach) and 97th percentile in accuracy. Can't putt.
Harris English ($9,100 | +9500) - Cooled off since his win and has missed six straight cuts at TPC Sawgrass but came back to life last week at API. Went 7-under on Thursday last year here.

Low-Salaried Picks

Russell Henley ($9,000 | +14000) - My model loves Henley this week, and it's pretty easy to see why: he ranks in the 98th percentile in adjusted strokes gained: approach and in the 78th percentile in adjusted strokes gained: around the green. He's also in the 88th percentile in driving accuracy and is about baseline in putting overall. He's finished 24th, cut, 35th, cut, and cut in his past five starts at TPC Sawgrass. His form then has generally not even compared to what it is now. He easily leads all golfers at or below $9,000 in long-term adjusted strokes gained (1.10 with the next best being 0.83).

Si Woo Kim ($8,900 | +13000) - Kim is a former winner at TPC Sawgrass (in 2017) and has made all four cuts at this event. He did withdraw last week, and that's a red flag. However, he fired a first-round 80 and finished his round, so perhaps it was more score related than injury-based. Assuming he's healthy, we should put approximately zero stock into 80 shots when we have a much larger sample to trust. Kim rates out in the 82nd percentile in adjusted strokes gained: tee to green. He also ranks fifth in the field in strokes gained at Pete Dye Courses, via FantasyNational. He was seven-under on Thursday last year before the tournament was postponed.

Others to Consider:
Ian Poulter ($8,700 | +15000) - Knack for Pete Dye courses (30th, 57th, 2nd, 11th, 56th here, specifically, the past five years). Ball-striking is just around 30th percentile.
Talor Gooch ($8,500 | +18000) - Has a very balanced game and can fit anywhere, really. Cut here in 2019 but had gained 4.7 strokes from approach in it.
Brian Harman ($8,400 | +18000) - Has a great short game and should benefit from accuracy-heavy course. Two top-10s here the past five years