Welcome in Lineup Logic! It’s been a great couple months in golf and I’m happy to be back to give a first-look breakdown of this year’s “fifth major” aka The PLAYERS Championship. Jason Day is back yet again, taking down last week’s Wells Fargo Championship and this week’s field is stacked, to say the very least. At first glance, DFS pricing seems to be a bit padded, soft, loose, open-ended, whatever you’d like to call it. Really what it comes down to is this tournament has historically been pretty hard to get a handle on who may actually be able to buckle down and put four rounds solid rounds of golf together. In my humble opinion, that is the first key ingredient to what makes for a great week in fantasy golf. Add to it just about every top-50 golfer in the world, a course more well known (and more difficult) than probably 90% of the courses we’ll see this year, at a tournament that has been a staple on tour for decades, AND a tournament that historically offers one of the largest purses of the season – and that my friends is exactly what we are looking for. With all of that said, we have a lot of information and stats to dig into this week, as you could probably imagine, so let’s jump on in.
The Course: TPC Sawgrass (The Stadium Course) – 7,189 yards, par 72
We’re heading back on down to Florida this week, to a course a majority of the field will have some sort of experience with. TPC Sawgrass is known first and foremost for it’s par 3 17th hole (think island green, think balls going in the water) – yup, that’s the one. A par 72 totaling 7,189 yards – that doesn’t sound all that tough, right? Wrong. Fast Bermuda greens, narrow fairways, plenty of water, deep bunkers, and just an overall tricky layout are some of what makes this course so unique and so uniquely difficult. The full field of 140+ will be cut to top-70 and ties after Friday. The historical cut line has ranged from -1 to +3 over the past five years, and judging by a recent semi-redesign, I wouldn’t be surprised if that cut is in the positive numbers again this year. A few of the key stats I’ll be focusing on this week while attempting to narrow this field down to a handful of players to target are: Fairways gained, strokes gained approach, strokes gained around the green, sand saves, strokes gained putting on Bermuda, and strokes gained par-4. Before highlighting a few of my early favorites by DraftKings pricing tiers, here’s a breakdown of some notable performances at TPC Sawgrass by players in the field over the past five years:
Studs: $9,000+ (DraftKings Pricing)
Jason Day ($11,400): Going into last week’s Wells Fargo Championship, there wasn’t all that much Jason Day hype around the industry, all things considered. The fact he hasn’t had quite as many starts as some of the other big names out there could have something to do with that. No matter which way you spin it, Day is scorching hot. Not only has he made seven cuts in seven starts – his worst finish in those seven starts was 22nd place. He took down the Farmers Insurance Open in January and notched another one last week. His putting is unstoppable, and seeing what he was able to do on very fast Bermuda greens last week is very encouraging for this week. To make it even more enticing, he won here in 2016 – chalk?
Rory McIlroy ($11,600): Simply put, Rory has been VERY expensive his past couple outings. However, if it weren’t for his 2nd round 76 last week, he would have done just about enough for those who rostered him to be satisfied. He’s got some solid tournament history and is coming back into a more consistent form that maybe just maybe can start to be trusted. We all known Rory likes the big tournaments too. The price is the only thing that may hold both myself and others back this week.
Dustin Johnson ($10,300): Something about DJ this week is reminding me of Jason Day last week. Under priced, potentially put in the shadows by the names around him for really no reason at all? He is yet to finish outside of the top 20 in any of his starts so far this season. Historically, he hasn’t done anything overwhelming at the PLAYERS, but managed to finish T12 and T28 the past two years. At this price, barring extreme chalk (which I don’t see being too likely considering the amount of options up top), he’s all systems go in my book.
Other studs to consider: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler
Mid-Range: $7,500 – $8,900
Paul Casey ($8,900): Consistency at it’s finest (let’s just ignore that RBC Heritage…it doesn’t count anyway). Paul Casey is a cash game building block week in and week out. He makes cuts, he’s constantly under priced, and his game works just about anywhere. Solid tournament history, good recent form, ability to perform on the big stage. Yes please.
Bryson DeChambeau ($8,300): It’s becoming harder and harder to deny. This guy has some real talent and is undoubtedly making a name for himself on the PGA Tour. He can really do it all. If you thought it was his putting that was holding him back, well…he’s kind of proved you wrong. His numbers are on an upswing and he’s proven his ability to putt on very fast greens, like we’ll probably be seeing this week. He won’t be high owned at this price, and he’s notched three top-5 finishes in his last four starts. Very, very hard to look past that.
Emiliano Grillo ($7,500): Another guy I hope gets lost in the sea of big names this week. Grillo has been doing some pretty spectacular things lately, unbeknownst to some. Some highlights: 14 cuts in 14 starts on the season. Three top-20’s in the past three starts. Five top-10’s on the season. Fairway hitting machine. GIR machine. Finished T11 here last year – need I say more?
Other mid-range options worth taking a look at: (I’ll start with the obvious ones: Henrik Stenson, Patrick Reed, Tiger Woods) Phil Mickelson, Francesco Molinari, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Zach Johnson
Disclaimer: This $7,500 – $8,900 range is loaded. Check in on the Lineup Logic “Sweet Spot” podcast later this week for a more in depth breakdown and a couple different perspectives on all the options. You won’t regret it.
Value: < $7,500
Kevin Chappell ($7,400): Chappell has gone through a bit of a cold streak as of late, but I’d like to be ahead of the curve here and catch him early on. It’s a great price and he’s shown he can play this course. He’s got some real distance off the tee and serious talent on the approach game side. If he can avoid the big numbers, I see him resurfacing in the very near future. Very interesting option who will likely go low owned after some disappointing outings in the recent past.
Luke List ($7,400): The Luke List heater decided to take a week off at the Valero Texas Open, but came right on back last week at the Wells Fargo Championship. I’d be remiss to not mention this guy being priced back down in the low $7k’s. He missed the cut in his one outing at the PLAYERS but simply put, he’s a new man as of this year. He’s got the distance that can help at just about any course, and his short game has shown some real improvements. He always stats out well, and after seeing the comeback last week, I’m ready to fire him up once again.
Adam Hadwin ($7,300): If it weren’t approaching the middle of the night right now, I’d probably spend a little while trying to figure out why Hadwin is priced at $7,300. This price, though in line with many weeks past, is just not enough for what he’s been doing on Tour over the past couple months. Three top-10’s in 2018 and six straight top-25’s. Twelve made cuts in twelve starts. His stats for his last six tournaments compare favorably to just about everyone in this entire field. And he doesn’t even have that poor of a tournament history to offset all these positives. If I had to choose one guy down here that should be chalky, Hadwin would be that guy.
Other value to keep an eye on: Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Brendan Grace, Ryan Moore, Jimmy Walker, Bud Cauley, Austin Cook
Again, we will go much more in depth for some value-grabs on this week’s podcast, so be sure to listen in.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week. Follow us on Twitter at: @donaldremington @Roto_Wan @LineupLogicDFS