GOLF

Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: TOUR 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 TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club

- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
- Driving Accuracy
- Birdie or Better Rate
- Strokes Gained: Putting on Bermuda

For a more detailed breakdown on the course, check out my course primer.

Historical Optimal Lineup Analysis for the TOUR Championship

Because this event is so unique, I wanted to look at some past optimal lineups and trends.

YearGolferFanDuel
Salary
FanDuel
Points
Draft
%
Starting
Position
Starting
Score
2019Brooks Koepka $12,100 86.846.51%3rd-7
2019Rory McIlroy $11,400 123.146.55%5th-5
2019Xander Schauffele $10,500 103.718.91%6th-4
2019Adam Scott $9,300 89.320.00%11th-3
2019Paul Casey $8,300 86.814.33%16th-2
2019Chez Reavie $7,100 81.94.22%21st-1


And for 2020:

YearGolferFanDuel
Salary
FanDuel
Points
Draf
%
Starting
Position
Starting
Score
2020Dustin Johnson $14,400 114.935.25%1st-10
2020Justin Thomas $12,000 112.238.36%3rd-7
2020Xander Schauffele $9,500 115.841.72%11th-3
2020Scottie Scheffler $8,600 10721.24%16th-2
2020Tyrrell Hatton $8,200 97.324.26%16th-2
2020Mackenzie Hughes $7,000 83.76.73%26th0


We've seen a near-minimum (or minimum) salary golfer in each of the past two optimals, and that golfer has been the only golfer (of 10) to start worse than T16. So, historically, one of the golfers starting at even or 1-under make a push, but other than that, we're maximizing golfers in the top-20.

Daily Fantasy Golfer Picks for TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club

All stats cited below originate at FantasyNational. Strokes gained data includes stats from the past calendar year and is adjusted based on my field strength and recency tweaks. Putting surface splits also come from FantasyNational and include the past 50 rounds when possible, unless noted. All ranks and percentile ranks are among the field.

Best of the Best

Jon Rahm (FanDuel Salary: $13,000 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: +380) - Rahm begins four shots off the lead of Patrick Cantlay, but they're co-favorites at +380, and Rahm has the higher salary. Though my win simulations do prefer Cantlay outright, it's just impossible to nitpick Rahm right now. He's the best long-term golfer in the field and ranks in the 93rd percentile in adjusted strokes gained: ball-striking.

Abraham Ancer ($10,400 | +3400) - East Lake certainly doesn't demand distance and actually rewards driving accuracy a good deal, so that shapes up well for Ancer, who ranks in the 97th percentile in fairways gained over the past 50 rounds on Tour. Ancer's combination of starting score, long-term form, and stats for East Lake have him ranked third in my model overall.

Others to Consider:
Patrick Cantlay ($12,800 | +380) - Well worth the salary given the form and 10-under start.
Cameron Smith ($10,800 | +2200) - Hard to imagine starting at "only" 5-under will affect the cool-headed Smith, and he's in the 97th percentile in birdie or better gained. He can make up ground.
Xander Schauffele ($10,500 | +2600) - Arguably the best golfer at East Lake (has gained strokes in all 16 rounds); starts at just 2-under but is accurate

Mid-Range Picks

Viktor Hovland ($9,600 | +4200) - Hovland gets a boost at a course that rewards driving accuracy (79th percentile), and he can score well (86th percentile in birdie or better rate gained and 97th percentile in opportunities gained). Hovland's just a baseline putter on bermuda greens but starts at 3-under, keeping him in the middle of the pack to start Round 1.

Sam Burns ($9,900 | +3700) - Burns generally gets targeted on longer courses, but it's not bad to be long ever, and he still checks the box as a bermuda putting specialist. His 0.80 strokes gained per round on bermuda over the past 100 rounds is easily the field lead. Burns, in total, ranks 41st percentile in adjusted ball-striking, which is nothing to be ashamed of compared to 29 of the world's best.

Others to Consider:
Harris English ($10,100 | +3700) - English gets kicked up on accuracy-heavy courses with bermuda greens.
Collin Morikawa ($9,700 | +3700) - Not getting a lot of love after losing strokes from approach and putting last week; benefits from a fairway-finder's course.
Sungjae Im ($9,600 | +3300) - Like with English, Sungjae should fare well with fairways and bermuda putting.

Low-Salaried Picks

Brooks Koepka ($9,000 | +5000) - Koepka starts at 2-under, but if anyone is up to the challenge, it could be Koepka. Running down this field for the $15 million prize should bring out the best in Koepka. Brooks ranks in the 86th percentile in opportunities gained, and he is in the 79th percentile in bermuda putting. That combo could lead to plenty of birdies and eagles, even if he can't get back into the mix.

Corey Conners ($7,700 | +16000) - Conners' driving accuracy is best in the field, and his lack of distance won't bog him down as it can at other courses. Conners sits in the 79th percentile in opportunities gained (though 24th percentile in birdie or better rate gained because he can't putt). But he is in the 90th percentile in adjusted ball-striking. That's fourth-best by ranking standpoint, and the salary ranks him 23rd. He's also the best long-term adjusted golfer with a sub-$9,000 salary.

Others to Consider:
Scottie Scheffler ($8,500 | +10000) - Can play from behind (starts 1-under) and grind his way up the leaderboard with birdies (66th percentile; 86th percentile in opportunities gained).
Daniel Berger ($7,600 | +16000) - Starts at just even par but the second-best long-term golfer below $9,000.
Sergio Garcia ($7,000 | +21000) - Is 62nd-percentile in adjusted tee-to-green, which keeps him viable despite starting at even par.

Ranking the Field

Here are the salary-adjusted ranks that account for current form, stats that matter at East Lake, and starting score based on my model. Just a note that these may not be exactly how I'd rank the players myself. You can check out my win simulations for more of a raw expectation for this week.

Golfer Starting
Score
FanDuel Sportsbook
Odds
FanDuel
Salary
Jon Rahm -6 +380 $13,000
Patrick Cantlay -10 +380 $12,800
Abraham Ancer -4 +3400 $10,400
Bryson DeChambeau -7 +500 $12,600
Viktor Hovland -3 +4200 $9,600
Tony Finau -8 +650 $12,300
Louis Oosthuizen -3 +4500 $9,500
Collin Morikawa -3 +3700 $9,700
Cameron Smith -5 +2200 $10,800
Xander Schauffele -2 +2600 $10,500
Justin Thomas -4 +1800 $11,500
Corey Conners -1 +16000 $7,700
Jordan Spieth -4 +2600 $11,000
Dustin Johnson -3 +2200 $11,300
Harris English -4 +3700 $10,100
Sungjae Im -3 +5000 $9,200
Daniel Berger 0 +16000 $7,600
Sam Burns -4 +3700 $9,900
Rory McIlroy -2 +2200 $10,900
Brooks Koepka -2 +5000 $9,000
Scottie Scheffler -1 +10000 $8,500
Hideki Matsuyama -1 +12000 $8,100
Joaquin Niemann -1 +16000 $7,200
Patrick Reed 0 +21000 $7,300
Jason Kokrak -2 +10000 $8,200
Kevin Na -2 +16000 $7,800
Sergio Garcia 0 +21000 $7,000
Billy Horschel 0 +28000 $7,000
Stewart Cink -1 +42000 $7,000
Erik Van Rooyen 0 +21000 $7,000