What’s goin’ on fantasy golf fans?! Sadly, the end is near as we have reached the third leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs. Football season is in full force, but for you golf grinders out there, I appreciate your commitment to finishing the season strong!
The BMW Championship is on the schedule this week, played at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois. Conway Farms is a 7,200 yard Par 71 that hosted this event in 2013 and 2015. If you glance at the leaderboards from those two years, you will see similar scores at the top, but completely different styles of golfers. In 2013, Conway Farms played as accuracy style course, with Zach Johnson leading the way, beating the likes of Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and Luke Donald. In 2015, Jason Day took it down with Berger, Rory and DJ hot on his tail. Shoutout to Ryan Baroff (@RBaroff427) for this info tip, but in 2015, Conway Farms got rained on heavily, giving an edge to the bombers. I expect this season to play closer to the 2013 leaderboard, making me lean towards accuracy and stronger approach players.
With all that said, let’s look at some stats. First, Strokes Gained: Approach will carry the heaviest weight. Give me the guys who are knocking it close more often for 72 guaranteed holes. That’s right – this week is a no-cut event so birdie makers are king. That’s why Birdie or Better Percentage is my second highest weighted stat. No-cut allows us to gamble a bit more and have some volatility in our lineups. I’ll take a few bogeys with birdie upside over a guy like Bill Haas who is out there playing it safe. A few other stats I am sprinkling in is Par 3 and 4 Scoring Average and Strokes Gained: Putting. Par 3s this week will offer a few holes for golfers to differentiate themselves and score while others just make pars. The Par 5s are pretty much unreachable in two by most, so I’m less concerned than usual. Finally, the Bent grass greens at Conway will offer pure putting conditions giving everyone a bump, but also give the better putters a better chance from distance.
Alright, let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Jordan Spieth – $11,800
Jordan Spieth is going to win one of the next two weeks, so may as well load up now and not miss the boat. Spieth has two runner up finishes so far in the playoffs, and could arguably have two wins if it weren’t for an unfair playoff hole and the Justin Thomas buzzsaw. Conway Farms seems like a perfect fit for Spieth. His lack of distance won’t matter as much and he’ll have the chance to roll in a ton of birds. He also has two respectable top 16 finishes at this course. One more thing, Spieth ranks 1st in weighted star model. Okay, that should be enough, Jordan Spieth is an absolute must play.
Paul Casey – $9,200
When will this run end? Definitely not this week. Paul Casey is playing incredible golf and it is mind boggling he does not have a win. Casey had four top 5s in six events, the other two being a T11 at the U.S. open and a T13 at The Open. Every facet of his game is dialled in and he is priced $1,000 cheaper than he should be. There is no reason to believe Casey’s ball striking game won’t correlate well to Conway Farms. Lock him into your cash game and enjoy another top 10 finish.
Henrik Stenson – $8,900
Henrik Stenson is on quite the run himself, although not as impressive as Casey’s, impressive nonetheless. Since his MC at the U.S. Open, he has six top 20s in seven events, including a win at the Wyndham Championship. He ranks inside the top six of all the stats I am looking at over the past 12 rounds, lead by his incredible birdie percentage and par 4 scoring. Stenson also has a T10 under his belt at Conway Farms in 2015. Even though that year lent itself to bombers succeeding, we all know he isn’t that style of player. Stenson has all the tools to contend this week and I fully expect him to be there come Sunday.
Louis Oosthuizen – $8,800
Priced right below Stenson is my favorite GPP play of the week, Louis Oosthuizen. He is flying under the radar in the touting world, with only three tags on FanShareSports.com. Over his past 12 rounds, Louis ranks 8th in the field in SG:App, 9th in SG on Par 4s and 14th in SG: Putting. I’m shocked to see him generating as little buzz as he is, despite his two top 10s in his last three events. Conway Farms seems like a perfect setup for his style of game, and at a projected less than 10% ownership, makes for an outstanding tournament option.
Hudson Swafford – $7,000
With the lowest priced golfer set at $6,900 this week, it is crucial to find some low priced guys in order to jam in Spieth. Hudson Swafford is that guy this week and will be in a ton of my lineups. He ranks 25th in my stat model and really turned a corner last time out at the Dell Tech Championships. He gained 6.1 strokes on approach shots in Boston on his way to a T13 finish. It is slim pickings at the bottom of the DraftKings pricing this week, but Swafford is one guy I feel very comfortable with in about 30% of lineups.
BMW 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:
Identifying the chalk, and going elsewhere.
Jon Rahm – $10,500
If it weren’t for Spieth, it would obvious that the player who is knocking on the door the hardest is Jon Rahm. He has a 3rd and 4th place finish so far in the playoffs and yet only has 12 tags on FanShareSports. It’s true that his biggest weapon won’t be as big of a factor as it usually is, however Rahm has been getting it done with the flat stick as of late. He leads the field in SG:Putting over his past 12 rounds, and did gain 6.1 strokes on approach shots two events ago. His last two events cannot be ignored and another win for Rahm could very well be in the cards.
Jason Dufner – $7,800
Finding low owned plays with upside this week will be crucial. Jason Dufner is one of those golfers. He only has two tags on FanShareSports at the moment, compared to Na and Leishman who both have over 11. Dufner didn’t fair the best at the Dell Tech, but his short game really let him down, losing 5.9 strokes around the green. I do not expect that to carry over to the BMW, as that was his worst around the green performance in five years. Dufner is a pure accuracy golfer, who depends on his approach game to score. A strong bounce back is well within the range of outcomes for Dufner this week, and his ownership in GPPs could fall below 5%.
Ryan Moore – $7,400
Ryan Moore was a very popular pick two weeks ago at the Dell Tech. He withdrew after a terrible first round and now people have moved on. Moore only has two tags on FanShareSports, even with his run of solid form and course history. Moore came T11 at Conway Farms in 2013, the event I believe will be the most similar to this year. In his past 12 rounds, not counting the Dell Tech, Moore ranks 2nd in the field in SG:APP, and 17th in SG on Par 3s. Like Dufner, Moore could very well be around 5% owned and show the form we were all hoping for two weeks ago.
Bad course fit? Highly owned for the wrong reason? Players I will have no shares of.
Rory McIlroy – $9,400
There is no way in the world Rory will make one of my rosters this week. He is clearly injured and there is no reason why he should be playing out the rest of the season. At the Dell Tech, Rory was only $9,800 and missed the cut of a field of only 100. I highly doubt this extra week off would have healed his ailing back/rib injury that he has been dealing with all season. Don’t let the $9,400 price tag entice you – Rory is a trap this week and is probably the most likely to withdraw.
Sergio Garcia – $8,700
There is something up with Sergio Garcia’s game at the moment that is forcing me to steer clear of him this week. His lack of top 20s recently is alarming, and over the past three events he has played, he has lost 3.6 shots on approaches. Typically, Garcia is flawless tee to green. His price tag doesn’t allow us to take on the risk he presents right now either. If he was in the low $8K range, I’d be more intrigued, but I am finding it way too easy to find a few extra bucks and spend up for Oosthuizen or Stenson priced right above him.
Charley Hoffman – $7,600
Early signs are pointing towards Charley Hoffman being a popular pick this week at the BMW Championship. He has had an outstanding, consistent season, not having missed a cut since the RBC Heritage. However, last time out at was the first time Charley has lost strokes on the field since his last missed cut. Combine that with his less than impressive course history, T53 in 2015, 68th in 2013, and that creates some cause for concern. There are some other intriguing options in the $7K range that may offer some more upside at this point in time – Leishman, Schwartzel, Berger to name a few. Since there is no cut this week, aiming for guys trending towards a top 5 or top 10 finish is where you want to go in GPPs.
Chez Reavie – $7,500
Chez Reavie has been a sneaky play lately, making cuts and having a reasonable price tag. However, red flags have popped up when considering his strokes gained stats from the Dell Tech. He did make the cut, but he lost nine strokes tee to green. His putter was his saving grace two weeks ago, a facet of his game that cannot be relied upon. If Reavie continues to lose strokes in the ball striking categories, he could find himself in 70th place at the end of the week, in other words, DFL.
So, you got burned?
Recently got screwed by a missed cut or a poor performance? Looks like a good time to jump back on.
Hideki Matsuyama – $9,900
It’s now been two weeks in a row where Hideki has disappointed. Missing the cut at the Northern Trust and a ho-hum T23 at the Dell Tech have certainly shifted attention away from him. The motto I have lived by in the past, one that has been successful. Is there a cut? No. Is Hideki playing? Yes. Play Hideki. In his last five no cut events, Matsuyama has three wins and a runner up. Incredible. At $9,900 and four guaranteed rounds, Hideki is definitely worth going overweight on. His ball striking will eventually lift him to the top of the leaderboard.
Kevin Chappell – $8,400
Two weeks ago Kevin Chappell was everyone’s darling, racking up 37 tags on FanShareSports. His T35 at the Dell Tech has clearly left DFSers yearning for more as he only has four tags heading into the BMW Championship. Over his past 12 rounds, he still ranks inside the top 10 in SG:T2G at 15th in birdie percentage, which should translate real well at Conway Farms. Chappell falls in a dead range in the DraftKings pricing, which will help keep his ownership below 10% making him a perfect bounce back candidate.
Tony Finau – $7,800
For the last few events, Tony Finau has seemed like an obvious mispriced due to his recent form. In his past three events, he has finished T44, T54 and T65, three subpar results for a golfer who was garnering a ton of ownership. After a stretch of poor golf, DraftKings decides now is a great time to raise his price, which will further deter people from using him this week. He is not that far removed from a run of very consistent golf. If you have been standing by Finau for his past few events, don’t jump ship when now we have arrived at the best time to roster him in GPP formats.
Thanks for reading the BMW Championship preview article! 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!!