What’s going on fantasy golf fans?! What an incredible event the WGC Mexico Championship was. Phil got off the scheid and Justin Thomas jugged in from the fairway on the 72nd hole, which has to be the early favorite to win shot of the year. Mexico provided us with four days of solid entertainment. We can only hope the Valspar Championship is half as good.
To Tampa we go, for the Valspar Championship, hosted at Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Golf Resort. Copperhead has held this event since its inauguration in 2000. Copperhead is a 7,300 yard Par 71 track, consisting of five Par 3s and four Par 5s. Best known for the “Snake Pit” – the three closing holes are the toughest stretch on the course. No lead is safe while standing on the 16th tee. The Par 3s at Copperhead are all very difficult, all of which are over 200 yards except one. To make up for this, the Par 5s are the four easiest holes on the course.
With tight, tree-lined fairways and a lot of doglegs, golfers will be forced to keep the headcover on the big stick and club down off the tee. That places a greater emphasis on iron play, specifically long irons, as golfers will be looking to just keep the ball in play and get in the ideal positions This is a similar scenario we saw at the Honda Classic a couple of weeks ago. Bombers still have a slight advantage, but the accuracy guys definitely have a better chance to contend than usual.
Stats for the Week
SG: Ball Striking
Good Drives Gained
SG: Par 3s
Par 4s 400-450
2017 – Adam Hadwin (-14)
2016 – Charl Schwartzel (-7)
2015 – Jordan Spieth (-10)
2014 – John Senden (-7)
2013 – Kevin Streelman (-10)
Alright, let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Sergio Garcia – $10,900
Jumping down to Sergio from Spieth or Rory, is the safer, smarter and best way to build a cash game lineup this week. The saving you get will allow you to jam another stud into your lineup, before going down the board to mine value. Garcia played great last week, even though he struggled a bit on Sunday, his T7 finish was encouraging. He gained strokes everywhere but around the green. Ball striking, approach, accuracy off the tee and Par 4s from 400-450 are all aspects of the game Garcia crushes – that is why he ranks 2nd in my weighted stat ranking over the past 24 rounds. He will be in the hunt as we sit down for dinner on Sunday evening.
Paul Casey – $9,800
Paul Casey continues to churn out high finishes, posting another top 15 finish last week, despite being out of it for the entire length of the event. Casey pops in every single statistically category, which is too be expected from someone who is as consistent as him. Accuracy, ball striking, greens in regulation. They will all be factors this week and are all areas in which Casey excels at. Casey could easily become chalk this week, but a good way to own him and still differentiate, is to make sure Casey is the highest priced golfer in your lineup. This is a unique way to construct a roster, as the majority of lineups have a +$10K golfer.
Adam Hadwin – $8,800
The 2017 Valspar Champ begins his defence while playing some incredible golf as of late. He now has back-to-back top 10s in some pretty loaded fields, The Genesis and WGC Mexico. He gained seven strokes on approach shots last week, climbing up the leaderboard through the weekend. His final round 66 was the third lowest on the day. His price is high, and hopefully it is high enough to deter the masses from piling on the defending champ.
Adam Scott – $8,700
Adam Scott continues to show signs of life. He has now recorded back-to-back events where he has gained over 4.2 strokes on approach shots. Last time out at the Honda Classic, Scott only lost strokes putting, which is to be expected, on his way to a T13 result. If the trend continues, and his approach game continues to improve, the old Adam Scott should emerge. His price has increased significantly over the last couple of events, but that won’t deter me from getting onboard before he shows up in a final pairing on Sunday.
Kevin Streelman – $7,500
This is Kevin Streelman’s event. A former winner at Copperhead, Streelman enters the 2018 Valspar in fantastic form. He has gained strokes on approach shots in 11 straight events, highlighted by his T6 at Pebble Beach. Streels ranks 7th in my model over the past 24 rounds, thanks to his ball striking and good drives gained. To go along with his win here in 2013, Streelman has made three of the last four cuts at Copperhead.
Keegan Bradley – $7,000
Generally I am not a Keegan guy because of his tendency to completely blow up (see 2016 Valspar). But at his price tag this is a no brainer. He enters this event with some of the best ball striking stats in the field and ranks 5th in my weighted stat model over the past 24 rounds. Fairways, approach game, long irons. Keegan has been playing very well and this course should fit his game, if he can just make some putts, and that is a big IF. He lost 8.9 strokes putting at the Honda, and still made the cut. If he improves that slightly he will easily pay of his $7,000 price tag.
Valspar Championship Interactive Data
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Identifying the chalk, and going elsewhere.
Tiger Woods – $9,500
Tiger Woods, a pivot? That’s right! I don’t see Tiger’s ownership getting out of hand this week, as he falls in a bit of a dead range in the DraftKings pricing. This is the first week all season I feel comfortable rostering Tiger, mainly because the driver will be out of his hands most of the week. He is obviously feeling very comfortable and confident in his game to add the Valspar to his schedule. Tiger gained 4.5 strokes on approach shots at the Honda, putted great and didn’t lose strokes in any category. He only has two tags on FanShare Sports, which for Tiger Woods’ standards is incredibly low.
Byeong Hun An – $8,400
Benny An put on a ball striking clinic at the Honda Classic on his way to a T5 finish. He was 6th that week in SG:APP and also had a solid week putting on the bermuda greens, gaining 3.3 strokes. An’s price at first glance seems a bit steep, and with the likes of Scott, Kuchar and Louis all priced around him, it will be tough to imagine his ownership exceeding 10%. An made his first and only cut at this event here last year, where he struggled on the greens as expected. It’s hit or miss with his flat stick, but the risk is well worth if his ball striking remains elite.
Chez Reavie – $7,900
Chez had his run a few weeks ago, putting together great results at Phoenix and Pebble. After a couple of weeks off, he returned last week and struggled to get it going, finishing T52. Now that the rust has been shaken off a bit, Reavie can return to a course that seems to fit his game perfectly. He has made the cut the last two times here, finishing T27 and T22. He is accurate off the tee, even with his driver, crushes Par 3s and is excellent on Par 4s ranging from 400-450 yards. Reavie is primed to bounce bag in a big way.
Ross Fisher – $7,600
Ross Fisher could not figure out the poa greens in Mexico to save his life. He lost 5.5 strokes putting on his way to a T46 finish. What is nice to see, is that he gained 6.4 strokes on approach shots, which was the second most on the week. If Fisher can carry that ball striking over to the Valspar, he has a legit shot a top 5 finish. Fisher currently has zero tags on FanShareSports and is priced right above the likely popular Kevin Streelman. People will see his result from last week and be scared off, but a change of putting surface could be all Fisher needs.
Bad course fit? Highly owned for the wrong reason? Players I will have no shares of.
Rory McIlroy – $11,300
I think this will be a popular fade option this week, as Rory has been struggling to find his feet in North American soil. At the Honda Classic, Rory lost 4.8 strokes on approach shots and 2.3 around the green. We know Rory’s biggest weapon is his driver, and that typically gets taken out of golfers hands this week at Copperhead. The average driving distance here is just over 270, compared to the tour average 282 yard. With driver out of the bag, Rory will have to rely on that shaking approach game and his suspect putter. Add on the fact that he has never played in this event before and his giant price tag becomes even tougher to swallow.
Gary Woodland – $9,000
Gary hasn’t been the same since his win at the Waste Management. Perhaps he got a little too fat and happy after his victory. He followed up his win with a missed cut, a T49 and a T50 last week in Mexico, where he lost an ugly 5.7 strokes on approach shots last week. Woodland is a previous winner at the Valspar, and if that information reaches enough people, there will be temptation to roster him. He has also missed the cut here twice in the past five years, and at $9,000 there is way too much risk here to invest.
Branden Grace – $8,600
Branden Grace doesn’t quite have it all working right now, recording mediocre finish after mediocre finish. His $8,600 price tag is steep, especially in a price range with tons of other excellent options. His winning potential seems low at the moment, by not excelling in any one stat category, or having good course history. There are no scenarios where I am putting Grace into a lineup and not finding an extra $100 to move up to Scott, or just dropping down to Benny An.
Luke List – $7,800
The last time we saw Luke List, he was losing in a playoff to Justin Thomas at the Honda Classic. That is a vivid memory for a lot of DFSers and they will be eager to get back on List while he is hot. The thing about Luke List is, that can turn it on and off better (or worse) than any one in the game. List is a notoriously terrible putter, yet gained 5 strokes on the green at the Honda, his forth best putting performance of his recorded career. The last time List was popular, he around 9% owned at the CareerBuilder and he fittingly missed the cut.
So, you got burned?
Recently got screwed by a missed cut or a poor performance? Looks like a good time to jump back on.
Justin Rose – $10,000
Rose was less than stellar last week in Mexico, as he entered the week as a sneaky GPP play at $9,700. He managed to only gain strokes off the tee on route to a T37 result. Rust? Let’s hope. Last week was Rose’s first event back since the Farmers and he clearly wasn’t sharp. He now gets a price increase in a field where saving money isn’t a huge issue because of all of the value. Know that prior to last week, Rose was playing some of the best golf of his career. He had finished inside the top 10 in 11 out of his last 12 events, including three wins.
Matt Kuchar – $8,200
Kuch was awful last week. He was only $7,600 and even though it was a no-cut event, his safety was intriguing and a top 20 seemed like a lock. However, he went on to lose a whopping 7.4 strokes on the green and settled into a tie for 58th. Not your usual Kuchar result. Luckily, the Valspar is an event where you can expect your top 20 Kuchar finish. He has made seven straight cuts here, with four top 15s. Show your loyalty to Kuchar like he does to the Sketchers brand, and you shall be rewarded.
Ollie Schniederjans – $7,700
Ollie didn’t only burn every at the Honda, he has been burning everyone all year. We have been chasing his first career PGA Tour win since the fall swing season, and yes he has come close a couple times, but his last few results have been pretty ugly. His T3 at the Waste Management has been surrounded by two missed cuts and a T64. He has missed the cut both times he has played here. Don’t worry, all of this is good news in terms of Ollie’s ownership. People are tired of Ollie, not talking about him and he will fly under the radar. This is the time to capitalize.
Chesson Hadley – $7,400
Hadley was supposed to win the Honda Classic, at least according to my Twitter timeline. Instead, he lost six strokes around the green and missed the cut, leaving everyone who rostered him at $7,700 seething. His $300 price reduction will help keep a few people around, but don’t expect him to reach 31 tags on FanShare Sports like he did a couple weeks ago. His ball striking this season has been incredible and he also has had success at this event in the past. Hadley has also made the cut here all three times he’s teed it up.
Thanks for reading the Valspar Championship preview article! Follow me on Twitter @EPattersonFS for more DFS and golf betting talk! Also, don’t forget to check out FanShareSports.com to get a full look at who the DFS golf community is talking about this week!
Good luck this week everybody!!