When filling out a DraftKings lineup, picking among the favorites is a fairly safe proposition. It’s when you have to choose between a pool of golfers down the line is where you make or break your chance to win big.
Here’s the critical decisions you’ll face as you fill out your lineup this weekend (with values courtesy of DraftKings):
Golfers Valued $8,000-$8,900
- Jordan Spieth – $8,900
- Tommy Fleetwood – $8,800
- Patrick Cantlay – $8,700
- Francesco Molinari – $8,600
- Webb Simpson – $8,500
- Tony Finau – $8,400
- Hideki Matsuyama – $8,300
- Adam Scott – $8,200
- Patrick Reed – $8,100
- Matt Kuchar – $8,000
Patrick Cantlay has quietly put together one of the best seasons so far on the PGA Tour. He has five Top 10’s in seven starts and is striking the ball beautifully tee-to-green. He ranks 7th in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green and 24th in Strokes Gained – Approach in 2019, and he’s gained over a stroke on the field tee-to-green in five of six ShotLink measured tournaments on the season. What’s holding him back is his putting, which has been very up and down. But with consistent ball-striking statistics like he’s had, he’s very useful for DFS lineups this week, especially if the putter heats up. He’s valued similarly to Molinari, Fleetwood and Simpson, who should all be popular picks this week in DFS. Cantlay serves as a pivot to those who are in need of a player to differentiate a bit in GPP’s.
Last week at Bay Hill was the typical Hideki Matsuyama tournament – 3rd in the field in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, 4th in Strokes Gained – Approach, 125th in Stokes Gained Putting. The man just can’t get out of his own way on the greens. In prior years, I’d overlook Matsuyama on the tough and fast bermuda greens. But with the move to March, the greens are overseeded with Rye and will run a little slower than normal. That should help Hideki, who has putted well on overseeded surfaces in the past like at TPC Scottsdale. The change in putting surface won’t do it alone – he must find something with his putter. But his ball-striking is about as money as a DFS Contestant can ask for. His results do not reflect at all how well he’s playing – he has nowhere to go but up.
Golfers Valued $7,500-$7,900
- Phil Mickelson – $7,900
- Paul Casey – $7,900
- Louis Oosthuizen – $7,800
- Henrik Stenson – $7,800
- Si Woo Kim – $7,700
- Cameron Champ – $7,700
- Ian Poulter – $7,600
- Cameron Smith – $7,600
- Marc Leishman – $7,600
- Alex Noren – $7,500
- Gary Woodland – $7,500
- Charl Schwartzel – $7,500
Full disclosure – I was writing up the eulogy for Henrik Stenson after the 1st Round at Bay Hill last week. After touting him as a viable DFS pick and on the better end of a matchup prop in this space, Stenson repaid my faith in him by losing two strokes tee-to-green, on his approach shots and with his putting on the way to a miserable first round 77. Considering he bombed out in the Middle East and at Bay Hill – places he notoriously plays superb – it looked like it was all over for him.
BAH GAWD HE’S SHOT 66 ON FRIDAY!
Whatever he did between the first and second round that woke up his game, it clearly worked. Stenson gained over seven shots on the field tee-to-green over his next three rounds, including almost eight and a half on his approach shots. Now those are the ball-striking statistics we’re used to from him! Add to it that he’s on a golf course where he has good history, and he’s reunited with his former caddie Fanny Sunesson, the arrow is clearly pointing up for him. He’ll probably be popular in DFS at this price point, but I love him in a lineup anyways.
With the change in date and the overseeding of the golf course, TPC Sawgrass will play differently than in year’s past. But what won’t change will be the importance of having a strong command on the approach shots into the difficult Pete Dye greens, and there’s not a lot of golfers doing that better this year than Cameron Smith. He had an absolutely brutal 2nd round at the Honda Classic to miss the weekend. Before that, though, he fired a 68 in tough scoring conditions in the first round and came into the event averaging 0.75 strokes gained on his approach shots over his last five tournaments. I’m willing to give him a pass on his poor second round at the Honda Classic and roll him out in DFS this week.
Gary Woodland isn’t necessarily the type of player that comes to mind when you think of those who should fare well at a place like TPC Sawgrass. But with the overseeding of the golf course, it should play a lot softer than in year’s past. Combining that with the design of the course that limits the use of a driver, TPC Sawgrass is going to play a lot longer than in past years. Woodland’s length, even without a driver in his hand, could give him an edge on the field right out of the gate. Woodland is also striking the ball beautifully with his irons this year, ranking 9th in Strokes Gained – Approach. He doesn’t have a great track record at TPC Sawgrass, but the changes at the tournament could turn the tides in his favor.
Bottom of the Barrel (Golfers <$7,500)
Luke List – $7,000: Luke List is basically a poor man’s Gary Woodland, and the changes to the tournament this year could help him as well. Like Woodland, List has been solid from tee-to-green and is long off the tee, even without a driver. He’s struggled at times with his putting, but if he can find some magic with it this week his upside is quite high.
Chesson Hadley – $6,700: Hadley seems like he’s busted out of his slump. He has three Top 20 finishes in his last four starts and his ball-striking stats are right back to where they were at the beginning of last year when he got off to a hot start. He’s averaged just under a stroke gained on his approach shots over his last four tournaments and he’s rolling the rock on the greens very well since the Desert Classic. There’s not many guys valued this cheap playing as well in both the long and short game, and if that continues at TPC Sawgrass he’ll return dividends.
Others To Consider:Michael Thompson ($7,200), Lucas Glover ($7,100), Jim Furyk ($7,100), Ryan Moore ($7,000), Russell Knox ($6,900)