The first round of the FedEx Cup Playoffs is in the books and we are seeing a number of big names reemerge on the scene. Dustin Johnson got the W last week beating out Jordan Spieth in extra holes at the Northern Trust and will look to stay hot at this week’s Dell Technologies Championship, the second tournament of four in the FedEx Cup playoffs. The field is now narrowed to 100 players and will be cut to 70 for next week. There are a few guys in the field this week that chose to sit out week #1, making things even more interesting. From a DFS standpoint, we will look to find variation this week rather than sticking to the chalk, as hard as that may be with so many guys getting either real hot or real cold during August. One thing I found interesting this week is the way DFS sites chose to price some guys. It has been very apparent that the previous week’s winner/runner up (especially since the PGA Championship) will be the priciest, but what stood out to me this week in particular is the fact there are some real contenders that seemed to have an off week at the Northern Trust, who are priced way way…way down this week. These guys have the potential to give you both the price savings that will allow for going for a two or maybe even three stud line (maybe even four on FanDuel) and the variation that will be needed to set yourself apart from the rest of the field in those GPPs.
This week’s Dell Technologies Championship (formerly the Deutsche Bank Championship) is taking place at TPC Boston. It’s a huge tournament for the remaining guys as FedEx Cup points are once again juiced up, giving the bubble guys the potential to put themselves back in the running and for the guys up top to solidify their position. Two of the last four TPC Boston winners have gone on to win the FedExCup. Last year, Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, Ryan Moore, and Jason Kokrak (all in the field this week), posted a top-10 in both of the first two weeks of the playoffs. Last year’s Deutsche Bank Champ was Rory McIlroy, after just barely edging out Paul Casey who more or less choked on Sunday. As we all know, Rory is on a bit of a comeback trail and seems to have been on this trail for quite some time. Other TPC Boston winners (outside Rory last year) include Rickie Fowler (’15), Chris Kirk (’14), Henrik Stenson (’13) – not in the field this week, Rory again in 2012, Webb Simpson (’11), and Charley Hoffman (’10).
TPC Boston is a par 71, totaling just under 7,300 yards. It’s relatively long and is covered with 58 bunkers (yikes) in addition to the tricky (and fast) greens and long fescue-esque rough, to top things off. This is the kind of course that makes golf fun to watch again. For reference, here’s the 7th hole:
Scores won’t be absurdly low, but we all know what these guys are capable of. The course contains four par 3’s, eleven par 4’s, and three par 5’s. The par 3’s average about 210 yards (pretty typical), the par fours are all over the place but average to 435 yards, and the par 5’s spread from 530 yards to 600 yards. Safe and preferably long drives, precise approaches, and ability to 1-putt will all be characteristics of this week’s champion.
Here’s this week’s card:
All of these things considered, here are the stats I dove into this week, once again all spanning over a 24-round time frame: strokes gained tee-to-green, driving distance, good drives gained, GIR gained, strokes gained putting, strokes gained approach, birdies gained, bogeys avoided, sand saves gained, strokes gained par 4, par 4’s 400-450 yards, and the past three year’s results at this tournament. That’s a handful, so let’s break it down to some guys that will make a nice base for your lineup building process.
Rory McIlroy: After seemingly an entire season of bad Rory, we’re definitely starting to see his other side. Though his finishes weren’t entirely impressive the past two weeks, it’s clear he’s been in the mix. His past at TPC Boston is clearly atop the list. He’s won twice in the past 5 years (2012 and 2017), came in 5th in 2014, and 29th in 2015. He finished in 4th at the British Open after a poor start, 5th in his next start at the WGC Bridgestone, then 22nd in the PGA Championship and 34th at the Northern Trust. Everyone knows I am not a Rory fan, but I truly feel like he is a safe play this week especially at his price. On DK he’s priced at $9,800, significantly less than the two top dogs Spieth and DJ. This will give you room for more down low and you can be confident he will not only make the cut, but finish in contention if not win. For 24-round stats, Rory sits in 1st in driving distance – downside: he’s not in the top 30 for good drives gained, 6th in strokes gained tee to green, 24th in birdies gained, 32nd in bogeys avoided, 3rd in sand saves gained, and is in the 30’s for both strokes gained par 4 and par 4’s 400-450 yards. The driving distance is clearly his big stat here, and whether he can keep them in the fairway and drain some birdies will decide his fate this week.
Jason Day: Day and McIlroy are two guys I have barely rostered at all this season, but I think this tournament could be a turning point for both. Day is another semi-affordable, stud-tier player here who is clearly getting hot. His finishes in his past four events beat Rory’s and are hard to ignore: 27th at the British Open, 24th at the WGC Bridgestone, 9th at the PGA Championship, and 6th last week at the Northern a 7th Trust. He also doesn’t have the TPC Boston wins like Rory, but what he does have is place in 2014, a 12th in 2015, and 15th in 2016. For 24-round stats he is in 36th for strokes gained tee to green, 9th in driving distance, 7th in strokes gained putting, 7th in birdies gained, 4th in strokes gained par 4, 8th in par 4’s 400-450 yards, and currently sits in 8th in the FedExCup rankings. At his price, he’s a great start this week.
Rickie Fowler: No, I am not putting Rickie in here just because I always do and I am just waiting for him to actually win, I’m putting him in here because he’s simply not slowing down. He is always in contention and this is his kind of golf course and his kind of event. He’s never won a major, but we all know he can win. He’s finished top-10 in five of his past 7 starts, made 17 of 19 cuts this year, has 10 top-10 finishes, came in 5th at the PGA Championship, and 20th last week. He also won here in 2016. If that isn’t enough, maybe this will convince you: for 24-round stats, Fowler is in 20th GIR gained, 2nd strokes gained putting, 2nd in birdies gained, 5th in bogeys avoided, 8th in sand saves gained, 14th in strokes gained par 4, and sits in 5th in the FedEx Cup rankings. Let. Go. Rickie.
Others we can’t count out here: Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, John Rahm
Paul Casey: Warning – he’ll be chalky, again. Bottom line, his consistency is a PGA DFS players dream. The real problem here is that people have caught on. In last week’s DK Fantasy Golf World Championship Round #1 he was 57.6% owned, but for good reason. He has 5 top-10 finishes this year, four of them being between late June and now. He finished 11th at the British Open, 5th at the WGC Bridgestone, 13th at the PGA Championship, and 5th last week. At TPC Boston, he finished 2nd to Rory last year in a final round semi-meltdown, so he may be seeking revenge (not a bad trip down narrative street if you ask me). Here is the kicker for me: for 24-round stats, Casey is 2nd in strokes gained tee to green, 4th in good drives gained, 1st in GIR gained, 1st in strokes gained approach, 11th in birdies gained, 1st in bogeys avoided, 2nd in strokes gained par 4, and 19th in par 4’s 400-450 yards. Both of those second places above (tee to green and par 4) are just behind the one-and-only Jordan Spieth. Whether Casey can pull his first win off when it counts the most remains to be seen, but from a DFS’ers perspective, he’s chalky, has a good price, and won’t hurt you.
Patrick Reed: Last week at the Northern Trust, Reed had a bad Sunday (similar to Kuchar and Casey), and dropped down the leaderboard to finish in 20th. Outside of that round, he’s been great lately. He has played a ton this year, making 21 cuts in 26 starts and notching 4 top-10s. Before the Northern Trust, Reed finished in 2nd at the PGA Championship. He seems to like TPC Boston too, finishing 4th in 2015 and 5th in 2016. For 24-round stats, he’s in 33rd strokes gained tee to green, 3rd in strokes gained putting, 15th in birdies gained, 15th in bogeys avoided, 18th in sand saves gained, 11th in strokes gained par 4, and 1st in strokes gained par 4 400-450 yards. He sits in 33rd in the FedEx Cup rankings and would likely feel good getting into that top 30 before the final week. He’s priced lower than last week, and we all know if he shot 70 instead of 75 on Sunday, he’d be $11,000+ on DK. Keep that in mind.
Charley Hoffman: I’m hoping his so-so performance of last week will get us away from the chalk. But, he’s Sunday 65 was one of the best of the day and people may notice that. He ended up finishing in 17th, a step up from his 48th in the PGA Championship. Before that, he finished 3rd in the WGC Bridgestone, 2nd in the RBC Canadian Open, and had 4 other top-10s throughout the year. He is definitely playing well this year and it’s worth mentioning that he finished 3rd at TPC Boston in 2015. For 24-week stats, Hoffman sits in 15th strokes gained tee to green, 20th in driving distance, 3rd in good drives gained, 8th in GIR gained, 5th in strokes gained putting, 6th in birdies gained, 3rd in strokes gained par 4, and 7th in par 4’s 400-450 yards. He isn’t the most consistent guy on tour but he’s had a great season and Sunday’s round last week is a definite selling point.
Other Midrange to keep an eye on (Note: there are a lot of them, here are my favorites): Adam Scott (great price here), Louis Oosthuizen, Kevin Chappell, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose
Zach Johnson: ZJ missed the cut by one stroke last week and I think that is what makes him qualify for the potentially low-owned and underpriced candidate of the week. He has been playing good golf, finishing 5th at the John Deere Classic in July, 14th at the British Open, 2nd at the WGC Bridgestone, and making the cut/finishing 48th at the PGA Championship. It would be nice to see what he could have done with two extra rounds last weekend, but hey…..it makes him that much more affordable this week. He’s made 15 cuts in 20 starts, performed decent in majors, and we know he can beat just about anyone on tour in any given week. He finished 16th at TPC Boston in 2014 and 22nd in 2015. For 24-round stats, ZJ is in 7th in good drives gained, 12th in GIR gained, 26th in strokes gained putting, 27th in birdies gained, 25th in bogeys avoided and just barely made the list in strokes gained par 4. He has the opportunity to advance in the playoffs and has shown us he’s still got what it takes.
Ian Poulter: Week in and week out this guy is hard to predict. Last week he just barely squeezed by into the weekend, basically saving my DFS hopes and dreams from crumbling in front of my own eyes. He then continued to have quite the rough weekend, but…it only helped his pricing yet again. On DK he’s down under $7k this week and that’s one of his biggest selling points right now. He has made 19 cuts in 21 starts this season with 3 top-10’s. Two of those top-10’s were in July. He finished 22nd in the PGA Championship and ended up placing 66th last week. His TPC Boston history is decent, finishing 23rd in 2014 and 33rd in 2015. For 24-round stats he’s still impressing. He’s currently 20th in strokes gained tee to green, 22nd in strokes gained putting, 3rd in strokes gained approach, 18th in birdies gained, 1st in sand saves gained, 6th in strokes gained par 4, and 4th in par 4’s 400-450 yards. His pricing will free up space but he is a gamble. If he makes the cut, he’s worth it. If you ask me, he’ll make the cut.
Xander Schauffele: Not-so-impressive stats: 2 top-10’s this season, 12 cuts in 19 starts. Impressive stats: 17th last week, 13th at the WGC Bridegstone, 20th at the British Open, 1st at the Greenbrier, 14th in the Travelers, 5th at the US Open. Schauffele has got to be the most successful PGA Tour rookie, making a lot of noise so far this year. He obviously has not played this tournament yet, but his 24-week stats stand out. He is currently in 13th for driving distance, 11th in good drives gained, 13th in GIR gained, 11th strokes gained putting, 10th in birdies gained, 14th in sand saves gained, 32nd in strokes gained par 4, and 3rd for par 4s 400-450 yards. He also sits in 27th in the FedEx Cup standings, and is definitely looking to stay in the top-30 and see what he can do in these last three weeks. I like him a lot this week at $6,900 on DK.
Other value options to keep an eye on: Keegan Bradley, Chez Reavie, Jason Kokrak, Daniel Berger, Francesco Molinari, Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Dufner, Kevin Kisner, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Jhonattan Vegas, Robert Streb, Hudson Swafford, Chad Campbell, Kyle Stanley, Bill Haas, Adam Hadwin, Jamie Lovemark
That’s all for this week, good luck & see you next week!
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