What’s goin’ on fantasy golf fans?! The last week of the season is here! Thanks for sticking with us the entire way – we hope it was a fun and profitable season for everyone. Luckily the golf season never really ends as the fall swing season is right around the corner. But for now, let’s focus on the Tour Championship.
The Tour Championship will be held at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. This event has been played here since 2004 and a variety of golfers have won here. It is a 7,400 yard Par 70, which rewards an all around style of game. It is worth noting that they use Bermuda grass at East Lake, so make sure if you are considering putting stats to factor that in. Statistically, golfers who have been average both off the tee and around the greens, but excelled in approach shots have done well here. For that reason, Strokes Gained Approach will be the number one stat for the week. Strokes gained off the tee, around the green and tee to green will also be considered. Birdie or Better Percentage will carry a heavy weighting because this event has no cut. I will also be looking at Fairways Gained and Strokes Gained – Par 4s.
As mentioned, there is no cut this week and the field is limited to just 30 golfers. That will make DraftKings lineup construction extremely important, especially for tournaments. Never be afraid to leave hundreds of dollars in salary on the table. The majority of lineups still spend the entire $50,000 salary cap, so the easiest way to differentiate is by spending much less. Ownership will be extremely important as well. Stay up to date on the which golfers are trending towards higher ownerships, and be ready to pivot off the chalk if an opportunity opens up and makes sense to do so. With only 30 of the PGA Tour’s best golfers, there aren’t that many duds in this field. If the chalk busts, and you have pivoted off of it, enjoy your winnings.
Alright, let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Justin Thomas – $9,900
This is a rare one. Despite the elite of elite at the top of the DraftKings pricing, starting lineups with Justin Thomas, an elite player in his own right, allows you to create loaded lineups from top to bottom. At $9,900, JT provides you with the winning potential and savings required this week. The bottom of the board is fairly ugly for this tight 30 man field. Thomas is one of five golfers who can win the FedEx Cup with a win this week at East Lake. Ignore his 47th last week at the BMW. He knew he was sitting pretty heading into this week and used it as a week off. A win this week solidifies his “Player of the Year” title and also lines his bank account with $10 Million. Motivation shouldn’t be an issue this week.
Justin Rose – $8,900
Likely the chalk of the week, Justin Rose at $8,900 is a must play. Not only is his recent form incredible (T10, T10, 2nd) but Rose has contended at East Lake a lot over the past few seasons. In his last four Tour Championships, Rose has two runner ups, a 4th and a 6th. He ranks 3rd in my weighted stat model over the past eight rounds, lead by his 2nd in SG:T2G and 4th in BoB% for this field. Pairing him with JT to begin your cash game will provide you with a bunch of wiggle room to fit other studs into your lineup. Rose is a lock for a T5 this week – jam him in.
Kevin Chappell – $7,600
In the $7K range, Kevin Chappell is the go to guy. He ranks 13th in my weighted stat model for the past eight rounds. He ranks 6th in BoB% and 7th in SG:Par 4s. As East Lake is a Par 70, Par 4 scoring will be a big factor over the four rounds. Chappell was the runner up here last year losing to Rory McIlroy in three man playoff. Patrick Cantlay and Matt Kuchar are priced right above Chappell and will soak up a lot of ownership. However, I expect Chappell to still be popular across all formats, so make sure you are overweight in GPPs.
Gary Woodland – $6,400
If lineup construction has forced you to dig deep into the DraftKings pricing, make sure you have at least $6,400 to roster Gary Woodland. He is the obvious value play this week because of his small run of good form. In the past eight rounds, he leads the field in SG:APP and is inside the top 10 in BoB% and SG:Par 4s. To pile on the good Woodland news, he has two top 10s at East Lake in his last two trips here. With his length and birdie making ability, DraftKings points should be flowing in all week long.
TOUR 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.
Ownership will be vital this week for all you GPP players out there. Check out FanShareSports.com to get a glimpse of who is being talked up and who is being ignored.
Rickie Fowler – $10,900
For as popular as Rickie Fowler is, he isn’t being mentioned as much as some of the other big boys this week. Fowler only has 12 tags on Fan Share Sports – compared to Rose with 29 and Spieth with 26. Fowler’s price could be causing the overlook. Since most people will be targeting Spieth or DJ, they cannot afford to roster two golfers over $10K. Fowler will be lower owned just because of his price. Staring GPP lineups with Fowler could turn out to be the most profitable decision of the week.
Brooks Koepka – $8,100
Brooks Koepka falls in the perfect situation if you are hunting for a low owned – high upside play. At $8,100, Brooks is below the uber chalk of Justin Rose and Marc Leishman and right above even more chalk, Cantlay, Kuchar and Chappell. Brooks will be completely ignored because of these other options even though he has some solid form entering the week. He has an outside chance to win the FedEx Cup, giving him the little (or a lot of $$$) extra motivation he needs to come out and perform.
Russell Henley – $6,600
It is not recommended to drop too far below the $7K mark, but if you are looking to go contrarian down there, Russell Henley at $6,600 is a solid option. Pat Perez looks to be the chalk this week, but Henley is right there with him in terms of key stats. Russ ranks 4th in the field in SG:APP over the past eight rounds, and has also been known as a Par 4 scorer. He came 12th here in 2014 – his only trip to East Lake in the past five years.
Bad course fit? Highly owned for the wrong reason? Players I will have no shares of.
Hideki Matsuyama – $9,000
This one hurts, as I am a huge Hideki in no cut events promoter. However, Hideki has lost it since the PGA Championship and is having a very substandard playoffs compared to the other elite golfers. Although you are getting an almost guaranteed four rounds of golf from one of the world’s best ball strikers, his putting has been terrible and his approach game has been hit or miss. Hideki won’t be making any of my lineups this week.
Patrick Reed – $7,500
Patrick Reed came near DFL last week at the BMW Championship, losing strokes in all aspects of the game. Reed is rarely a golfer I target, so it doesn’t take much convincing to fade him. He has had no success at East Lake in the last three years, with only one finish inside of the top 20, a T19. The mid $7K range is loaded with other, better options, so there is no reason to risk it with Reed.
Kevin Kisner – $6,700
Unfortunately, Kevin Kisner’s season is over. Sure he is teeing it up this week in Atlanta, but he check out after the PGA Championship and the results show. He hasn’t had a finish inside the top 40 in the last four events and ranks last in my weighted stats ranking. He had a child recently and it can be assumed he is dying for the season to end to go home and spend some time with the family. Don’t be surprised if we see a Kisner WD early in the week.
So, you got burned?
Recently got screwed by a missed cut or a poor performance? Looks like a good time to jump back on.
Dustin Johnson – $11,400
Similar to the Justin Thomas situation, DJ was going through the motions at the BMW Championship, taking a semi week off, looking ahead to East Lake. DJ is another golfer who can win the FedEx Cup with win this week. If you are going to pay up for a +$11K golfer and dodge the Spieth chalk, DJ is a fine secondary option. He has played this event four times in five years and his worst finish is a T10. If you are going to fade DJ, don’t do it because he played poorly last week.
Paul Casey – $8,600
Paul Casey let us all down last week after he was deemed a lock by many as a T5 finisher. Surprisingly, Casey finished T33, his worst result since March. This is definitely not the time to abandon ship, as Casey is returning to a course he has back-to-back top fives at. He only has 13 tags on Fan Share Sports, so it’s clear people are looking elsewhere in the mid $8K range. Like Finau last week, this is the perfect time to continue to ride the Casey wagon.
Thanks for reading the Tour Championship preview article! You can follow me on Twitter @EPattersonFS 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!!