FedEx St Jude Classic: June 8th through June 11th
With it all on the line…the golfer who….smashes a putt from 33 feet…to win the damn tournament…is……..…Jason Dufner?!?
Well, putting remains pretty silly. As I guy I roster often it was nice to see him pull it off, but I wish it could have been during a week I was a little more on him (ahem…RBC!…ahem). Technically I was a little bit overweight as he was only about 4% owned but I didn’t have enough to make a meaningful difference anywhere. The price tag seemed a bit much, but PGA is sort of like MLB where it doesn’t really matter what the dude costs if he double dongs or wins the tournament.
Strange week at the top as mega chalk DJ and Rahm unceremoniously missed the cut at the warmup to the U.S. Open, where an approx. 12,700 yard course will make DJ the favorite and Rahm presumably not far behind. I mixed in both but was really tied to Rickie and Hideki, of whom the former crushed while the latter turned in an okay performance thanks to an eagle and some streaks.
I’m bummed that I was too chicken to play more than 10% of that dude Bubba, who turned in the 3rd most DK points at 6600 after repeatedly pooping in the punchbowl that is my DFS portfolio to start the year.
The guy who really stopped me from big bucks was Tony Finau. I’m a big fan but when I started to hear more and more about how bad the rough looked (he’s a big sprayer) and it was looking like he would approach 30% ownership I pulled out the fade. Was looking great until he decided to streak his way through the cut and pile up a ton points on the weekend. I thought he was a great play in a vacuum, I just felt he had a really strong chance of blowing up and thought it was worth the risk to get ahead of the field. Such is the life when calculating EV.
We roll into Memphis this week for the St. Jude Classic, a pretty weak field tournament that is going to require a good start off the tee. This can be done with distance or accuracy, but the fairways are on the narrow side and the rough is much tougher than average. There is a lot of water in play, and people have traditionally been in it often. The greens aren’t easy to hit despite this not typically being a course that gets much wind, so being in the right spot on the fairway and having a solid approach game is, as usual, at a premium. The greens will be missed, so around the green work will be very helpful, and it doesn’t look as brutal to get up and down as it was last week. There is not a ton of scoring to be had, partially due to it being a par 70 (two less par 5s, where scoring is typically plentiful) and partially due to a weaker field not carving the place up. I generally don’t love to look at odds vs. DK price to make a lot of decisions, but a better argument can be made for it this week without the ability to make up for a mediocre finishing position with birdies, eagles, streaks and the like.
Length/Fairways: The fairways are hit below tour average and strokes gained numbers from both cuts of rough are well below tour average, so hitting the fairway is extra important. There is also a ton of water, so blowup holes will happen and we aren’t going to be able to make that up with tons of scoring. Water will hurt both shots, and is another argument for a guy who can hit it straight off the tee as taking a second shot from the rough will make that water much more of a scary reality. I do count 12 or 13 driving holes though, so distance will obviously help.
Greens: Smaller greens means approach is going to be pivotal, as is the ability to get up and down when missing in the first place. All things being equal I am going to prefer a ballstriker who can hit the fairway and get a good look at the green, but around the green work is going to be nice for when that inevitably goes awry from time to time. Over 30% of iron shots come from 150-200 yards, with another 30% coming from 0-50 after a presumed missed GIR.
Weather: It feels nice to say the weather doesn’t look like much of a factor. Not a ton of wind in the forecast but make sure to check back. Tennessee in June is also hot AF, which will make the ball travel a little further, giving some additional distance to even the old guys.
On to the golfers:
These write ups are DK centric, with FantasyDraft prices included. I get into the cheap guys I will use in order to buy a few of these more expensive players in the site specific values section below.
While I’d love to play Rickie-12.0/19.0 or Adam Scott-11.0/17.6 as I think they are as solid as it comes, they both strike me as overpriced. We don’t have any mega studs here so apparently someone has to fill that price void, and the bottom isn’t as loaded as it was last week, so it’s going to be tougher to jam them in. Either could definitely win, but without a ton of scoring available, if they cruise to 10th place or whatever you are unlikely to feel good about it. I think the chances at being one of the top 3-4 golfers on the week are less than their ownerships will be.
The one super premium guy I can get behind is Brooks Koepka-11.5/18.0, who I also think may be a little overpriced but does have the ability to go really really low even on tougher courses. I see a lot of similarity to this place and Valero, where Brooks finally broke out of his slump this year. IF Scott looks to be half the ownership I may pivot there some (or off this range entirely), but if Brooks is looking like low 20s I will try to be overweight.
I am very interested in a trio of low 9k guys in Billy Horschel-9.5/16.1, Daniel Berger-9.3/16.4, and Ryan Palmer-9.0/15.6. All three hit the ball long enough, are not excessively wild, and come packing a nice bag of irons. Horschel and Palmer will look overpriced to most people too, which should be an advantage as far as ownership goes. Both have an appealing track record here and at Valero, and I’ll likely be building a number of lineups around them.
Speaking of guys that have dominated Valero, Kevin Chappell-8.8/15.8 looks to have the requisite skills and is coming in playing well. He hung around until Sunday last week, when the first windy day caused a fair bit of chaos. Good place for the obligatory I’m-not-sure-if-I-can-tell-you-the-defference-between-Chappell-and-Scott Piercy-8.5/14.4 comment. Although Chappell is playing better, I think that he’s going to have double the ownership and Piercy being a couple hundred bucks overpriced makes him a nice tourney play.
Charl Schwartzel-7.9/15.8 is a much better golfer than this tag indicates (on DK, he is priced fairly on FantasyDraft), and he has shown the ability to get magma hot with the putter, which when it all comes down to it will be the most important stat.
Smylie Kaufman-7.8/14.1 has actually been playing okay of late, and has the pedigree/prior results to be someone to invest in. Add in the fact that people have been trying to jump back on for a couple weeks to mediocre results (he’s still putting like crap, could turn any second) and I think this is a buy low spot without being a total dart throw.
Luckily not so many options down here this week, as the return of some really weak players has pushed the normal guys we tend to play on DK up a few hundred bucks. A couple of guys to talk about though:
Peter Uihlein-7.2/14.7 will be the chalk, and probably for good reason. He has played quite well, albeit primarily on the Euro Tour, but this is a comparable field. I think he’s a cash lock but at what should be exorbitant ownership I’m going to consider being pretty far underweight in tournaments. It is pretty scary as the birdies have been there too, but I’m not sure he’s going to be able to do that here, which means banking on a top 10-15 at high 20s ownership. JT Poston-6.7/13.0 is a fairly similar argument, although he doesn’t possess the upside of Uihlein so I’m even more comfortable fading in tournaments.
One guy down here I am excited to play is Grayson Murray-6.5/12.8. Listen, Hillbilly may not act with much decorum, but that doesn’t have anything to do with DFS scoring. He hits the ball a mile and doesn’t spray too bad, and quietly has not missed a cut since Florida while usually being good for at least one birdie barrage round. Very boom or bust, but his continued real life idiocy and mediocre finishing places have kept him off the public’s fantasy radar. That should continue this week and I will be way over the field.
Similar to Bubba last week, DK continues to troll me by putting one of my favorite players in the bargain bin. J.B. Holmes-6.8/14.8 is too wild for a place with this much water, but he’s also far too good for this price tag in this field. I’ll invest a bit in GPPs but am not going out of control.
Site Specific Values:
FantasyDraft: With the sharper pricing you typically are going to need some mega bombs over on FantasyDraft and to hope for the best. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot this week due to the ugliness at the bottom of the field, leaving me contemplating straight-from-the-old-folk’s-home Bob Estes (11.1, has shown up here and at Valero in the past), iron specialist is horrendous form Roberto Castro (11.2), wild cards who can maybe rack up some scoring points in Brandon Hagy (11.9) and Seamus Power (12.3), Sung Kang (13.4), as well as Poston, Hillbilly, and the rest of the gang above. Palmer is the real prize from my previous write ups from a price tag standpoint.
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FanDuel is back, with a roster of eight golfers counting for all four rounds. A potential improvement for sure, and duplicate lineups won’t be anything to worry about. However, if we say traditionally 10-15% of lineups get 6/6 through that implies around a 70% hit rate for DFS players. Add two more guys to the roster and you can halve that 10-15% for the number of 8/8 teams. We will be seeing weekend golf there sooner rather than later.
Go and get it everybody.
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