What’s goin’ on fantasy golf fans?! I doubt anyone profited from the Brian Harman win at the Wells Fargo Championship, so let’s quickly move on to The PLAYERS!!!
The season’s unofficial 5th Major is upon us. The world’s best golfers will take on the famous TPC Sawgrass in hopes of taking home huge first place prize, at just under $2 Million. TPC Sawgrass has been the host of this event since 1982, and the water that surrounds the iconic 17th green has swallowed thousands of golf balls over the years. TPC Sawgrass is designed by Pete Dye, who is known for his strategic layouts that take the drivers out of a lot of golfers hands. However, The PLAYERS has been won by all sorts of different golfers in it’s history, so you cannot focus on one style of play to succeed at this event.
TPC Sawgrass is a 7,215 yard Par 72 course that has reachable Par 5s and dangerous Par 3s. The 12th hole has been talked about a lot this season, as it has been redesigned to a drivable, 300 yard Par 4 that offers golfers the ultimate risk reward. As with many Pete Dye designs, strong approach games will be crucial if golfers expect to contend this week. For stats, I will be keying in on Strokes Gained Approach, Ball Striking, Good Drive %, Birdie or Better % and Scrambling.
Alright, let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Rory McIlroy – $11,200
Cop out – you cannot go wrong at the top. The golfers priced in the +$10K range are priced there for a reason and making a case for or against one of the is a pointless argument. But, the reason I am going with Rory as my favorite play at the top is because he is priced $800 less than DJ and if I were going to pick one golfer to win this week it would be McIlroy. I will take the savings he offers and my gut feeling that he will win and gladly plug Rory into my cash lineup. He has yet to make his splash in the 2017 season. What better time than the PLAYERS.
Rickie Fowler – $9,300
It is all or nothing for Rickie Fowler at TPC Sawgrass. Literally. In his past five trips to this event, he has missed the cut three times, came 2nd in 2012 and won it in 2015. Besides Rory and DJ, Rickie has the next best recent form entering The PLAYERS. He already has a key win under his belt this season at the Honda Classic, and had a strong showing at the Masters even with a disappointing Sunday. Fowler has all facets of his game dialed in, especially his approach game, which ranks 4th in the field entering this event. Even though his course history has been boom or bust, I am rostering Fowler in cash and will roster him on 30%-40% of my lineups.
Adam Scott – $8,400
Adam Scott should not be $8,400 and he should not, not, be put into your cash game lineup. Scott is an elite talent that is being priced below golfers who have shown very inconsistent games as of late. Scott won The PLAYERS all the way back in 2004 and hasn’t missed a cut in his last five tries. We are all well aware of Scott’s ball striking ability that can put him in contention week after week. It is just a matter of if his putter will show up or not. He did gain strokes on the field putting last week at the Wells Fargo, so that is definitely a good sign. Scott is a lock for my cash lineup and at his salary, will be easy to fit into the majority of my lineups. I am putting my name on it – Scott and McIlroy will be the last pairing to tee off on Sunday.
Martin Kaymer – $7,300
Martin Kaymer will be the most popular player this week and he is still a staple for me in cash and GPP lineups. Kaymer is currently the most tagged golfer on FanShareSports.com, as he is the most mis-priced golfer on the slate. Kaymer hasn’t missed a cut in what seems like forever (actually was the 2016 Valspar) and also has never missed a cut at TPC Sawgrass. He won this tournament in 2014, adding to the pile of good Kaymer narratives this week. He is a lock for me in cash, and GPP, but there are plenty of other solid pivots in this price range if you are looking to create leverage.
Adam Hadwin- $6,800
It is time for me to jump back on Adam Hadwin, after falling out of love with him his last couple of events. He finally took a few weeks off of golf to spend time with his new wife, who he has been avoiding during the crazy schedule he has been playing. I expect Hadwin to come into The PLAYERS feeling refreshed and recharged after burning out at the Valero Texas Open. He is having an incredible season and should no way in hell be priced at $6,800.
Identifying the chalk, and going elsewhere.
Jason Day – $10,000
The defending champ is a Perfect Pivot? It sure looks like it. According to FanShareSports.com, Day is the 29th most tagged golfer so far this week and is the only golfer above $9K with single digit tags. In a week where there will be a ton of fresh faces to DFS golf due to the increase in contest sizes, Day makes for a fantastic GPP play. People will look at his recent form, combined with the recent form of golfers around him and steer clear. If you are building multiple lineups this week and multi entering large GPP contests, grab a good chunk of Day. I expect his ownership to fall in the 10% range, so it won’t be hard to be overweight on him.
Pat Perez – $8,100
Pat Perez has been treating loyal DFS followers very well lately. He has been a popular pick so far this season and consistently seems to produce when required. He came T2 last week at the Wells Fargo, now just a week later, has fallen off people’s radar. Perez only has four tags this week, the same amount as David Lingmeth. There are few golfers in the field who have been playing as well as Perez this year. At $8,100, which is a reasonable price, and expected low ownership, Perez makes for a perfect pivot off of the chalky $8K golfers like Adam Scott and Paul Casey.
Tyrrell Hatton – $7,600
It wasn’t too long ago when Tyrrell Hatton had all of our attention when he seemingly couldn’t finish outside of the top 5. Now, he is a mere afterthought. As DFSers, we have serious ADD. Hatton is being overshadowed by golfers like Kevin Kisner, Matt Kuchar and Francesco Molinari, all priced slightly ahead of Hatton. He only has six tags on FanShareSports, one of which was the recommendation to sit him. Hatton makes for a sneaky GPP play as a golfer who has shown form recently and will have the ability to play well at TPC Sawgrass. He ranks 10th in the field in strokes gained approach, the highest rated stat in my model.
The PLAYERS Championship Research Spreadsheet
Note that this spreadsheet is FREE each week for Pro Members. If you are not a Pro Member, use code “ERIC” for 15% off:
Bad course fit? Highly owned for the wrong reason? Players I will have no shares of
Henrik Stenson – $8,800
Henrik Stenson made me look like an idiot over and over earlier this year, as I kept putting him in my “So, you got burned?” section and he kept missing the cut. Well now he an Automatic Fade for me, and I will be super tilted if he makes me look dumb one more time. Stenson’s form has been non-existent this year ever since his run in with the dirty water in Mexico. He enters The PLAYERS with three straight missed cuts and even though he is a previous winner of this event, there is no way he will find a way onto my rosters this week.
Billy Horschel – $7,400
The Florida native will not be on my radar this week. He is out of form and over priced, and I find myself moving down to the much better plays priced at $7,300. Horschel has missed the cut in back-to-back events and only has three top 25 finishes in 10 events in 2017. He ranks 110th in the field in Bob% and 126th in strokes gained around the green. If Billy isn’t knocking his approach shots to inside 15 feet consistently, he will be trunk slamming on Friday.
So, you got burned?
Recently got screwed by a missed cut or a poor performance? Looks like a good time to jump back on.
Kevin Kisner – $7,700
We got the perfect storm brewing for Kevin Kisner’s suppressed ownership. Everyone saw the shot he made at Zurich Classic to get his team into the playoff. And everyone loaded up on him last week at the Wells Fargo to have him miss the cut, crushing cash game lineups along the way. Now in a loaded field, Kisner will get overlooked with all of the other options on the board. He also falls in a dead zone in the pricing because lineup construction this week will have most people glossing over the high $7K range. Kisner lost in a playoff to Fowler in 2015, so the winning upside definitely is there.
William McGirt – $7,300
Another very popular play at the Wells Fargo was William McGirt, and he did exactly what is required to find yourself in the “So, you got burned?” section the following week – miss the cut. Dirt McGirt does not have a single tag on FanShareSports.com this week, meaning his ownership is going to be at an all time low. In two of his three starts before the missed cut last week, McGirt had a T3, T9 finish, both coming on Pete Dye designed courses. He also performed well at The Masters. The form is there and his game should suit a more accuracy based course. He also makes for a great pivot off of super chalk Martin Kaymer.
“The Price is Wrong, Bob!”
The pricing on these golfers doesn’t seem right.
Patrick Cantlay – $7,700
In a week where there are endless value options and lineups created with money left on the table look amazing, there are still golfers whose price is way too high. Patrick Cantlay is one of those this week. Cantlay has burst back onto the season this season in a big way, but there is no way in hell he is going to return value in his first trip to TPC Sawgrass as a pro. Cantlay came to play at the RBC Heritage and Valspar Championship, and news flash, The PLAYERS is a much tougher beast than those events. Kisner, Dufner, Kuchar and Louis are all way better plays than Cantlay in this price range.
Branden Grace – $6,800
As I just mentioned, there are so many value plays this week and the $6,800 range is loaded with them. Branden Grace does not deserve to be priced down in this range, and if you flipped him with Cantlay, no one would think twice. Grace is entering this event with back-to-back top 11 finishes and a respectable T27 at The Masters. Grace has had success on Pete Dye designed courses in the past, which makes sense as he is more of a plotter than a bomber. He has the same betting odds as Russell Henley, who is priced $1,400 more. Other than Hadwin, Grace is my favourite of the mis-priced golfers in the $6K range.
Thanks for reading The PLAYERS preview! You can follow me on Twitter for more golf and betting talk! Also, make sure you check out @FanShareSports. They track and curate content produced across the DFS Golf industry, and highlight which players are being tagged or talked about the most, translating to an excellent ownership guide.
Good luck this week everybody and enjoy the best week in golf!