Travelers Championship: June 22nd through June 25th
Well that was a massacre. Less than 1% of lineups ended up getting 6/6 through the cut at Erin Hills, a course with a bunch of unknowns that I’m not sure we know much more about now. Just looking at the top 20 or so we have a staggering array of bombers, ballstrikers, grinders, putting specialists, guys who can’t hit 280 and guys that can’t hit the broad side of a barn. Same view from the bottom, as many of the world’s finest never got it going and missed the cut entirely. The fescue did not seem as dangerous as we may have initially thought with most players able to pop out a layup. The penalty for getting into it was more like being in the trees than the automatic snowman sentence I was projecting.
I was saved by close to 40% Brooks and being quite a bit over the field on Snedeker and Reed, but I certainly had a number of epic swing and misses. Largely I tried to stack skill sets, something we talked about a bunch last week as a good strategy for a course that we didn’t have a great handle on. Unfortunately that led to a lot of lineups that looked like these ones:
Horschel actually ended up hurting my lineups the most. Normally one can write off teams with a MC on Friday, but with the nature of last week a bunch of 5/6 and 4/6 teams were able to do really well. If Horschel had been able to just pull off 25 like a respectable MC (the only guys you’ve heard of that scored less than his 11.5 points were the withdrawals) it would have helped a lot.
We return to some comforting familiarity this week, suburban Hartford’s TPC River Highlands for the Travelers Championship. This might be the easiest course on tour, with average to slightly better than average numbers for birdies/round and bogeys/round. This is despite traditionally drawing a pretty weak field and also being a par 70, which means it is short a couple of scoring holes. Taking risks is going to be rewarded here, and even with some water and less-than-friendly rough the course is not enough of a challenge to hand out a lot of big numbers. On top of that we have some big names in the field that don’t traditionally play here in Rory, Day, and Spieth. Has the makings of a solid week.
Length/Fairways: This is definitely a shorter course so I’m not putting as much emphasis on tee work as I might usually. The rough is long, although hitting the fairways doesn’t seem particularly difficult. There is a drivable par 4, so I definitely will take length where I can get it. The big difference distance will get is more second shots in the 100-150 range instead of 150-200. There won’t be as many super long approaches for anyone.
Greens: We do have some slower, hopefully receptive greens this week. This, combined with the shorter approach shots, should leave a number of birdie opportunities for those dialed in with the irons. They should also help with cutting down on three putts, as you won’t see slight misses roll 8 feet past like you did so often last week. I think this could turn into a 130 yard pin hunting competition for those that are feeling it.
Weather: No major concerns right now. Traditionally not very windy, not looking like it right now. Could be a little rain, but that will only help the assumptions made above.
On to the golfers:
Pricey (9.0K+ DK):
Steele, Rory, Webb, Hoffman, Stanley, Hillbilly, Mullinax, Berger, Casey, Thomas, An, Na
Rory McIlroy-11.6/18.5: This is actually a kind of silly price tag when you put it in context. I know this field is pretty decent but he was $400 less at the U.S. Open, one of the best field’s we get made better by the fact that Phil didn’t show. He was owning the approaches last week despite the rust, and just couldn’t figure out those glassy greens. The double per round he racked up shouldn’t be an issue here and the slow greens should help his aggressive advances on the pins and on the holes themselves.
While they are certainly affordable, I’m not as sold on Jordan Spieth and Jason Day, as both have not been able to get back the best parts of their game (Spieth’s putter, Day’s approaches) despite being in a great spot to do so last week. I will pass for now unless it starts to look like Rory is going to be 30-40% to their 10-20.
Justin Thomas-10.2/17.6: Par 4 scoring competition and the approaches are short?!? Yes please.
Paul Casey-9.7/16.5: He makes me a little nervous when the birdies may be flowing like wine, but hard to argue with the form right now. I’m a little reticent to spend up for the top 3 guys in cash so may start here and see what happens.
Brendan Steele-9.0/15.7: Has carved up this course before, and decided to go full Honda with the multi-colored scorecard last week. Amazing GPP play, assuming that isn’t what the whole world is thinking.
As they fit what I’m looking for and treated me right last week, I don’t mind some shots on Patrick Reed-9.5/16.3 and Brandt Snedeker-9.4/16.1, although my early guess is that both are likely to be triple the ownership they were last week.
Mid-range (7.5-8.9 DK):
I don’t particularly love this range as there are a lot of guys you can make a good argument for from Steele to Thomas, but I will have a couple lineups with true bankroll slayers Bubba Watson-8.4/15.9 and Russell Knox-7.8/14.2. Totally different skill sets but both can get buckets quickly when they are on and clearly have a thing for this course (Knox defending champ, Bubba is the gold standard here).
Cheapies (below 7.4 DK):
Still loaded down here.
Webb Simpson-6.9/14.6, Kevin Na-6.9/13.5: Amazing iron players who get left behind sometimes due to their lack of distance off the tee. Should not be an issue here.
Byeong Hun An-7.1/14.8: Barely missed last week due to some struggles down the stretch. Been very good with shorter approaches for some time now, I like his chances to win if he can sink every 4th 15 footer.
Scott Piercy-6.9/12.6: Clearly a little sketchy here, but I think this should be an easy low owned GPP play. The guy is better than he’s been playing and is quietly racking up the scoring on par 4s. I think the big numbers have been hurting him and I’m not so worried about that here.
Trey Mullinax-6.5/12.5, Grayson Murray-7.3/12.4: Listen, this is about skill set. Trey, I’m sorry to throw you in here with this trash human (Hillbilly’s latest outburst about how one should act around police is truly sad/clueless/disheartening), but this is about scoring. You guys hit the ball a mile and are perfect for the DK format of birdie first, ask questions later. I do think Mullinax is going to pick up some ownership this week due to a couple nice finishes in a row and some screen time at the U.S. Open. Murray, meanwhile, has put himself in yet another hole with the public and is $800 more expensive, so should stay pretty low owned again. I like both, though probably slightly lean Murray for GPP due to contextual factors.
Actually, throw Jhonny Vegas-6.4/12.4 into that paragraph above for all the golf reasons. He just didn’t fit because he’s not a rookie and I haven’t spent 2,000 words comparing him to J.B. Holmes this year. Which I avoided this week. Mostly.
Adam Hadwin-6.8/14.2 and Charley Hoffman-7.3/15.5 are both kinda wacky price tags that I think are good spends in cash.
Site Specific Values:
FantasyDraft: Has stuck with the looser pricing, which makes it a little less important to identify extreme punts. Still tougher than DK and not particularly feasible to play multiple super studs, but playing a couple of Piercy/Mullinax/ Murray/Na/Vegas gives you the freedom to get in a Rory or Spieth if you want. For construction I do personally prefer getting a few from the Steele through Casey range than spending up for a stud and getting forced onto their 14k plays.
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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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