Byron Nelson – May 18th through May 21st
Well that was…different. With most of the world’s best golfers shooting a round near or above 80 on the weekend, the Players Championship became an ugly affair. After the smoke cleared, the man who was holding the hardware was completely out of nowhere (I’m talking about one in 700 teams rostered him across DK tournaments) Si Woo Kim, followed by should-have-just-lost-his-tour-card-but-kept-it-on-a-technicality Ian Poulter.
Personally my GPP life had a number of shares of solid plays in RCB, Steele, Scott, and Grillo offset by MCs from Knox, Charl, and Finau. Mr. Finau missed SIX sub ten foot birdie putts on Friday, firing a debacle of a birdie free 74 to miss on the number. Bermuda narrative lovers rejoice.
Okay, so I probably wasn’t taking down any tournaments with so many of my preferred lower owned plays missing. However, I’d made four cash teams, all of which got 6/6 through, so was feeling pretty good about at least breaking even. Then there was Saturday. Jon Rahm happened to be on all four of those teams with Matt Kuchar making his way onto two of them. The Rahm 82 was legitimately shocking, as it wasn’t like he hung a nine on a hole (that was Kuch) or hit a bunch of water, he just got absolutely buried on the putting surfaces, losing over five strokes in that single round. As always, putting comes and goes, as Rahm had looked like one of the steadiest we have thus far this season.
Oh, and Sergio turned in by far the highest scoring performance of the top tier despite coming out of the gate ice cold, outscoring anyone else above 9k by 17.5 DK points. Cool hole in one bonus.
Anyway, golf happens, and it’s best to have a short memory.
This week we move to suburban Dallas for the wind swept Byron Nelson Championship. While this is not considered one of the most esteemed events on tour, the field is surprisingly solid this year, at least at the top. It does get ugly at the bottom, but honestly, after an event where it looked like 2/3s of the field was in play (NOT including Kim or Poulter, sheesh), it will be nice to have some more clarity.
This course plays close to 7,200 yards, which may sound on the shorter side, but it is a par 70. There are some brutally long par 4s here, and by wiping out a couple of par 5s we should have tougher scoring conditions. People did carve it up here last year (almost 2.5 DK points/round more than historical average), but wind appears to have been down significantly, with average speeds below 10 MPH the first three days. Early forecasts are looking like we’ll have a fair amount to deal with this week, in addition to some heavy rains that should lengthen the course.
Length/Fairways: I am back in on driving distance as being a key after a couple of weeks marginalizing it. I mentioned the long par 4s, so biting off as much as possible from the tee box is always going to be a plus. In addition, while the fairways are not particularly wide, the rough does not appear very punishing, as players on the whole have gained strokes from it over the years. Typically the longest hitters tend to sacrifice a little accuracy (and if they don’t they are gonna cost you), and it looks like distance is more important here. The rain should also stop the ball from rolling as much, giving those who can really carry an advantage in length and the added bonus of making them less likely to roll/bounce balls off the fairway. I’m not penalizing accuracy, and there are some bargains with the straight and short guys, but I’m taking distance if I can get it.
Greens: These greens are a little bit slower than average, which should normalize the putting game (read: less 4 putts for our dudes that struggle) as well as make pin hunting a bit easier. Rain will help in both cases. This also lowers the importance of around the green work, with 2-4% less shots coming from 0-50 yards than what we have seen lately. Also of note is an increased number of second shots being fired from the 150-200 yard range (nearly half), which will be my key area of approach.
Weather: The wind looks bad, so let’s make sure we hit the right side of it if we can. We kick off our Wednesday night, Deeper Dive style show this week, where we will be discussing our updated thoughts on tee times, weather, and ownership. A lot can change from when these articles are initially published to lock time, so come check it out!
Where last week it made some sense to fade the super expensive guys due to depth of field, there is a pretty clear 1st and second tier at the top, somewhat distantly followed up by the pack. It will come down to lineup construction and how comfortable you are with some of the cheapies but Dustin Johnson-12.5 DK / FDraft 20.7 rates out as my best per dollar play despite the big price tag. I don’t think I need to say much else about him but I would put it in the 25-30% range that he is the highest score on the slate, which is astronomically high.
Next up are Jason Day-10.1 DK / 17.4 FDraft, Sergio Garcia-11.0 DK / 18.1 FDraft, and Jordan Spieth-10.8 DK / 18.4 FDraft, in that order for me.
-Nice to see Day turning it around a little, and I’m willing to ignore his Sunday 80. Can be erratic off the tee but with the signs of life that price tag is too tempting, would rather buy early.
-Sergio is just on one right now, recovering from a dismal start to the Players to get right into contention before fading with everyone else on Sunday.
-Spieth is putting like garbage right now, and we all know a) how fast that can turn around and b) how deadly this guy is when on with the flat stick. I’m not a big Spieth guy but I think he might come at an ownership discount this week.
Not entirely sure how I feel about Brooks Koepka-10.2 DK / 17.4 FDraft yet, but he stands out as a bit overpriced and possible mega chalk. This course should mask some of his weaknesses but his iron game gets worse the closer to the hole he gets.
Cash: Matt Kuchar-8.7 DK / 15.9 FDraft and Ryan Moore-7.6 DK / 15.5: Kuchar probably comes down to the Deej or not to Deej in cash question, as playing both leaves you forced onto some sketchy plays. I am probably going to Deej as there aren’t a ton of 8k guys that I am super amped to get my hands on, but I think starting Sergio/Kuchar is viable too if that is your speed. Moore is the Martin Kaymer of last week, a price tag that stands out so much you might as well jam it in for cash and work to fade in tournaments. Actually, Marc Leishman-7.8 DK / 15.2 FDraft may have worked himself into that same spot.
GPP: J.B. Holmes-7.9 DK / 14.9 FDraft: That was two weeks in a row I had little to none of my favorite golfer because I didn’t like the course fit, and two weeks in a row where he nearly killed me for it. I wasn’t exactly rooting against him, but I did breathe a sigh of relief at the Sunday collapse. Bombs away with not the worst rough in the world, and the potential for rain and wind to accentuate his incredible strength? Sign me up!
Gary Woodland-7.7 DK / 14.4 FDraft: Uh, basically what I just said but without quite as much love.
Sung Kang-7.4 DK / 14.5 FDraft: Maybe I’m hanging out with Mayo too much lately, but he’s got me sold. This dude is smashing on par 4s (remember, there are 12 here), and seems to be around every week. Riding the hot hand.
Keegan Bradley-6.9 DK / 13.9 FDraft: Whhhhhhyyy?!? Did they have to make him so cheap? Mostly kidding, I think this is a great buying opp. I know he stinks but he’s totally fine tee to green, more talented than just about anyone down here, and the slower greens should at least stop some of the three and four putts. If you are playing studs you’ll need some relief, and I actually believe Keegan is one of the “safer” ones down here.
Anirban Lahiri-6.4 DK / 12.7 FDraft: This is definitely a little bit suspect but this guy can score like crazy when he’s on. He will undoubtedly have a blow up round at some point, but if it’s on the weekend rather than pre-cut he could get you 70 points for next to nothing.
Site Specific Values:
FantasyDraft: Unless you want to full punt and trust your skills as getting the other six guys through (not something I would suggest), you are going to be pretty tied to the middle values on our sponsor site. I do like the prices on Jamie Lovemark-12.6 and J.J. Spaun-13.1 as a way to free up a little cap so you can at least play four or five solid mid-range guys. It’s a fun challenge over there, and something I’m still working on myself.
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Also, a shout out to the DeeperDive MLB crew and all of our content providers, I managed to place second on Monday in the $25 entry $10,000 Home Run for a nice score! What a phenomenal run our guys have been on these last couple weeks!
Go and get it everybody.
Find me on Twitter @andrewmbarron or in the FanVice Premium Slack @hotmajik if you wanna talk strat/make jokes/argue