What’s goin’ on fantasy golf fans?!I hope everyone had a profitable RBC Canadian Open. We sure came close last week and had bullets all around the top of the leaderboard. Let’s get the winner this time!
It has been a while since we have had a no cut event, but here we are. The WGC Bridgestone Invitational is just that. The field will only have 76 golfers in it and every player is guaranteed 72 holes of golf. That’s if no one pulls a Daniel Berger from last year, who took one tee shot and collected his $60,000 paycheck. No cut events allow for us DFSers to take more risk in our lineups, target golfers who are prone to scoring a ton of DraftKings points and really focus in on ownership projections this week. Having lower owned golfers who perform well will differentiate your lineups more than they typically would.
The Bridgestone Invitational is held at Firestone Country Club’s South Course, which has been the host of this event since 1962. That’s lots of course history. It is a long 7,400 yard Par 70 track that rewards an all around elite game. You have to be long and straight off the tee, be able to hit a variety of different length approach shots and be able to scramble well do to the smaller greens. Tiger Woods won this event eight times, so yeah, that’s the type of golfer that wins here. Dustin Johnson is your defending champ, with other recent notable winners being Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott. The key stats I am focusing on this week are SG: Off the Tee, SG: Approach, Proximity from 200+, Par 4 Scoring Average and of course, Birdie or Better Percentage. BoB% will be very important this week because it has the greatest impact on DraftKings scoring. Give me 72 holes out of a known birdie maker over a guy like say…Bill Haas.
Alright, let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Rory McIlroy – $11,400
It’s Rory’s week. He is the guy I am committing to at the top and building the majority of my rosters around. I will have small pieces of most of the top guys, but I will go down with the ship if Rory does not show up this week. The latest buzz around McIlroy is he “parted ways” with his long time caddie. Instead of looking at it like a negative, I think this will give him a fresh start and a new opinion on the bag. He showed his form was back at the Open and he is now entering the stretch of the season where he dominated last year. Rory won this event back into 2014 and there would be no better way to head into the PGA Championship next week at Quail Hollow with a win at Firestone.
Jon Rahm – $9,700
Sign me up for 72 guaranteed holes of Jon Rahm. The birdie making ability of Rahm alone makes him an outstanding play this week. When he gets it going, he is up there with Rory and DJ in terms of heaters and birdie runs. He has showed this a few weeks ago at the Irish Open when he lapped the field winning by six. In Rahm’s last two WGC events, yes one was the match-play, he has a second and a third place finish. His distance will be a huge advantage this week over most of the field – Firestone seems to set up for him perfectly even though he has not played in this event. His $9,700 price tag is easy to fit in alongside one of the top tier players. If Rahm can get off to a hot start on Thursday and stay out of his own head, he will be in the hunt all week long.
Daniel Berger – $8,300
There are few golfers in the world playing as well as Daniel Berger right now. He ranks 2nd in my weighted stats model showing incredible SG:APP, 200+ Proximity, Par 4 Scoring and Birdies Gained numbers over his past 12 rounds. You are going to have to eat some Berger chalk this week if you want to roster him. He is the 6th most tagged golfer on FanShareSports, with good reason. He has three top five finishes in his past five events, including a win at the St. Jude. Berger is a lock in cash games at $8,300 and is a smart bet to win at 40/1.
Kevin Chappell – $7,500
Kevin Chappell was my guy last week and he paid off until he couldn’t quite find it on Sunday. I am going back to the well on Chappell for Bridgestone, even though he is getting a little more attention than he was last week. Chappell gained strokes in all categories last week at the Canadian Open. In his past 12 rounds, he ranks 12th in SG:APP, 11th in Prox from 200+ and 11th in Birdies Gained. Chappell and Berger have a very similar skill set heading into the week, both being very sneaky options to take down a WGC title.
Kyle Stanley – $6,700
The Stat God is back, this week at a price we can all find room for on our roster. Kyle Stanley is only $6,700 in a no cut event. 72 holes from one the purest ball strikers on tour is one thing I am going to have a lot of shares of. Even if his putter goes cold for a couple of rounds, he will have the chance to continually attack pins all weekend long. He is one of the best off the tee players in the field, which will be super important as these fairways are tough to hit. Pencil Stanley into your cash lineups now and enjoy the free spending you can do at the top.
WGC Bridgestone Invitational 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.
Hideki Matsuyama – $10,200
As the old adage goes, if there is a no cut event and Hideki Matsuyama is playing, he is a must start. It has worked in the past at numerous events. Hideki has two wins and a runner up finish in three of the last four no cut events on tour. He is one of the best birdie makers in the world and when he is guaranteed 72 holes, he typically rises to the top. Matsuyama only has 18 tags on FanShareSports and is being completely overshadowed by Rickie Fowler, who looks to be chalk this week. Hideki will be less that 15% owned in GPPs and no one would be shocked to see him lifting the trophy on Sunday.
Jason Day – $9,400
Jason Day has started to turn things around after a less than stellar start to the season. His 27th place finish at the Open isn’t great, but it is encouraging after back-to-back missed cuts before then. I do not remember the last time Day’s price was this low on DraftKings either. He represents tremendous value at a low ownership because everyone is just too afraid to roster him. He only has 12 tags on FanShareSports, the lowest of anyone above $9K. With ownership being such an important factor in no cut events, Day is an outstanding GPP pivot. Oh, he also came T3 at this event last year.
Alexander Noren – $8,100
Let’s keep pounding the ownership topic. Alexander Noren only has seven tags on FanShareSports, the lowest of anyone priced above $8K. It is easy to predict that Noren will be the lowest owned golfer in the $8K and up range. Noren might not have the ideal distance for this course, but he is an accurate driver who can score on Par 4s and is good around the greens. That seems like a solid recipe for success at Firestone. If Noren is in the 5% owned range, then he is a must start in GPPs and someone it is easy to go overweight on.
Ross Fisher – $7,200
If you are looking for a golfer to pivot from off of Xander, Dufner or Schwartzel, look no further than Ross Fisher, who rates out as one of the best golfers in the field over his past 12 rounds. Fisher comes in at 15 in my weighted stats rankings over the last 12 rounds, where he has been crushing it on SG:APP, Proximity from 200+ and birdies gained. He was a popular pick at Augusta earlier this year and was fairly popular at the Open. With only six tags on FanShareSports, he is back to flying under the radar.
Bryson DeChambeau – $6,800
I am in no way a big Bryson DeChambeau guy, but in the scenario, the numbers do not lie. In his past 12 events, Bryson ranks 3rd in my weighted stats model. He has been extremely impressive lately, ranking 8th in SG:OTT, 19th in SG: Par 4 and 2nd in birdies gained. At $6,800, there is next to no risk in rostering Bryson. If he has found something that everyone thought he had when he first turned pro, four rounds of whatever he found could turn into DraftKings gold. He only has eight tags on FanShareSports – a great GPP pivot off of Kyle Stanley.
Bad course fit? Highly owned for the wrong reason? Players I will have no shares of.
Matt Kuchar – $9,300
Matt Kuchar made a ton of sense at Royal Birkdale. He was $7,200, seemed like a lock to make the cut and was highly owned because of it. Last week Kuch was $11,400 and only managed a T32. Now in a no cut event with field equally as strong as the Open Championship, rostering him at $9,300 makes little sense. He has had success at this event in the past, but Kuch has been playing a ton of golf lately and showed signs of an illness last week in Canada. His cut making ability isn’t a factor and he isn’t known to be on the best birdie makers in the field. I don’t see the upside to rostering Kuchar this week when playing it safe will likely not pay off.
Branden Grace – $8,600
Branden Grace simply doesn’t do it for me this week. This doesn’t seem like an event where Grace would have a ton of success. He has one top 10 here in the past five years, and his birdie rate as of late is not going to translate to a lot of DraftKings points. Grace ranks 49th in the field in BoB% and struggles to score on Par 4s. His $8,600 price tag is too rich as well, especially when I want to pay up for some of the big dogs.
Charl Schwartzel – $7,200
I guess it is fade the South Africans this week. Charl Schwartzel is getting a lot of buzz heading into Thursday. He currently sits as the 9th most tagged golfer on FanShareSports, with 21 tags. This stems from his solid course history where he has two top 7 finishes in the past three years. If Charl is going to be a chalkier option in the low $7,200 range, I will completely pass on him. Before his T12 at the Porsche European Open, Charl came T62 at the Open and missed the cut at the US Open, two big time field events.
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 – $9,900
Justin Rose was a popular play at the Open Championship, where he was $10,300 and garnered 28 tags on FanShareSports. He finished with a mediocre 54th place finish and people have quickly turned the page. Right now, he only has 15 tags on FanShareSports, the fewest of any golfer priced above $9,500. In the past five Bridgestone Invitationals, Rose leads the entire field in total strokes gained. He has three top 5s in the past five years at Firestone. Sure his recent form hasn’t been the greatest, but he is still the one the best ball strikers in the world and is back a course that fits his eye.
Justin Thomas – $8,200
Remember, 72 holes are guaranteed this week. Birdies will be king and there isn’t a single player in the field that makes birdies at a higher rate than Justin Thomas. JT leads both BoB% and Par 4 BoB%, and he will have 48 opportunities to show off his prowess on Par 4s. He showed he has the capabilities to perform in strong fields, on long courses at Erin Hills. JT can easily show up at Firestone this week.
Louis Oosthuizen – $7,800
Louis Oosthuizen may have the biggest chance to withdraw this week, making him a perfect GPP play because his ownership should be around 5%. He is gaining no attention this week and it shows on FanShareSports with only two tags. Louis also burned everyone at Royal Birkdale with his brutal missed cut. He is super risky but the reward should be very worth it. He has a top 5 finish at this course back in 2012. If targeting low owned golfers is your thing, Louis has to be on your radar.
Kevin Kisner – $7,100
It wasn’t that long ago when Kevin Kisner was everyone’s fantasy darling. He has been priced way higher than $7,100 and was usually one of the most talked about golfers each week. Now his price is affordable and his tag count on FanShareSports is at three. There was some chatter a few weeks ago that Kisner could contend at Royal Birkdale and at Quail Hollow next week. His T54 at the Open wasn’t the best result, but he does have a T16 at Firestone last year. If Kisner has created some buzz for major events, why can’t he show up this week too?
Thanks for reading the WGC – Bridgestone Invitational 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!!