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above the cut

Above the Cut: PGA DFS Picks for The Charles Schwab Challenge

Ben Rasa

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DraftKings & FanDuel Daily fantasy golf Picks Charles Schwab Challenge expert projections and ownership with Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth

The PGA Tour heads to Texas for the Charles Schwab Challenge. The drama of last week’s PGA Championship won’t be replicated here, and the week after a major often induces a minor hangover effect. There’s no need to worry, though; that will quickly go away once the players tee off and things get underway. There may not be quite as much up for grabs, but in daily fantasy golf there are monster tournaments and a lot of cash up for grabs on both DraftKings and FanDuel. The field, course and hype aren’t anywhere near those of last week, but this is still a solid PGA event for fantasy golf lineups.

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The Course

This is no major, but it is a quality PGA Tour week at Colonial Country Club where players will be dealing with a par-70, 7,200-yard layout. This event had been known as the Dean & DeLuca Invitational and the Fort Worth Invitational in past years, and the Crown Plaza was the title sponsor from 2006 to 2015. Unlike Kiawah Island last week, this course is a familiar one for PGA Tour golfers.

Colonial Country Club is a pretty typical par 70, which means players will only have two par 5’s and eagle chances will be at a minimum. Taking advantage of the par 5’s is going to be important, but it will not be enough to separate, so look for players who can score well on par 4’s. They will be dealing with 12 of them, mostly in the 400- to 475-yard range. Most players will club down off the tee, as this is a positional golf course and spraying it all over the place will be a fast track to a missed cut. Some players choose to be aggressive at times off the tee, so even though it’s a second-shot course, there is some merit to targeting some bomber stacks on a few lineups.

Shots gained on approach will be important as always, and with difficult-to-hit greens, the ability to scramble will help avoid some bogeys. Greens are bentgrass for anyone digging into putting splits on the various surfaces. Overall, scoring will be at a premium, especially if the wind is up.

The Field

This is a slightly smaller field than usual, with around 120 players to choose from. It is also back to normal top 65 and ties making the cut. The difference between a full 156-man field and this one is important, as it will give golfers much more room to find the weekend and get all four rounds. It will help 6-for-6 in general, so expect that number to be higher than recent weeks.

 
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Pricing begins with Jordan Spieth taking over the top spot in his home state, followed by Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa. With this being a standard PGA Tour event, the depth of the field and the top end isn’t nearly as strong as last week’s. There are five options north of $10,000, but most of these players are going to feel slightly priced up.

The mid-range is where the weakness of the field is really felt, as it’s littered with PGA Tour regulars. Last week there were some top-end talents in the mid-$8,000 range, but that was a major-level field. It is not to say some of these guys can’t or won’t compete, but lineups will look a lot worse on paper this week. Working down, there are a bunch of cheap options, most of whom have serious red flags in recent form or overall talent. Let’s take a look at a few players who stand out.


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Top Priced: Justin Thomas $11,000 DraftKings, $12,100 FanDuel

Thomas’ missed cut was unexpected, but even less expected was that it was actually mediocre ball striking that caused him to be one shot out of the cut line after 36 holes, not a cold putter. Although that was a bad performance, Thomas’ game is in fine shape and he can bounce back here.

Thomas has been lethal with the irons and short irons all year, and depending on how aggressive he is here, that could be a huge part of his shot selection. He finished 10th at this event last year but gained seven strokes with the irons. He should offer more of the same, and coming off a disappointing PGA Championship could be the perfect spot to hop on the best player in the field. In Awesemo’s early daily fantasy golf Ownership Projections, Thomas is sitting just north of 10%, which is a fantastic number considering the field strength.

Also considering – Abraham Ancer, Tony Finau     

Mid-Range: Emiliano Grillo $7,900 DraftKings, $9,900 FanDuel

Grillo is a regular in the Above the Cut article. Lately, writing this blurb has been much easier, as Grillo’s form has vastly improved. He comes into Charles Schwab Challenge having made four of five cuts, including a second-place finish at RBC Heritage. Finishing runner-up anywhere is a good sign, but Harbour Town is a corollary course to what he will face here.

Grillo is an incredible ball striker, but more importantly, his putter has seen an uptick. It is normally the weak link in the game, and at one point in 2020 he had lost strokes putting in 13 of 14 events. He seems to have found something of late, as he has been positive on the greens in three of his last four weeks. If that holds, this price is a joke and he should be set up to easily return value with a quality showing. Looking at Awesemo’s premium Pro Plays, which rank Awesemo’s golf experts’ favorite daily fantasy golf picks, I have Grillo No. 1 on the week.

Also considering – Si Woo Kim, Brian Harman

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Lower Priced: Luke List $6,900 DraftKings, $8,900 FanDuel

Before diving into Luke List, know that Vince Whaley is $6,200 and a clear value with his recent form. It is still better to avoid the lower-$6,000 range if possible, but he is playing quality golf and underpriced in this field. Now, List is also in the $6,000 range, and despite shakier form, the upside is there. There are a few guys on tour that are longer hitters who benefit from tracks that force them to club down in certain spots, and List is one of them. He should be able to hit more fairways off the tee, and the iron game is in form, having gained in four straight tournaments.

Similar to Grillo, List seems like he is a good putting week away from a major breakout. He has lost at least 3.5 strokes putting in three of four weeks, and that is what prevents top-end finishes. There isn’t much to point to that would indicate a massive flip of the putter except that putting is extremely volatile and carries a ton of variance. List has shown even he can get a hot putter, and his ball striking is reliable even with the issues on the greens. Furthermore, Awesemo’s daily fantasy golf ownership projections have him at just 2% right now, so it is easy get solid leverage on the field. Fire up List in tournaments, as the reward certainly outweighs the risk in this spot.

Also Considering – Patrick Rodgers, C.T. Pan


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Looking for more PGA DFS picks and PGA DFS picks for DraftKings? DraftKings PGA DFS rankings for this week will be posted at least a day in advance of any tournament. The Yahoo! DFS PGA projections for today, the DFS PGA showdown projections and the DFS PGA ownership projections for DraftKings are made and used by Alex Baker, the No. 1 DFS player in the world.

*Ben Rasa (aka Jazzraz)* has been involved with sports and numbers for quite some time dabbling in the poker world , sports wagering and of course finding a home in the DFS world. While he enjoys playing NFL, NCAAF and NBA he has found his best advantage on the links with PGA and the Euro Tour. Jazzraz focuses on GPPs and uses a analytical approach to try and find pricing inefficiencies as well as trying to go against the grain to find those under owned lesser know players that can make the difference in giant field tournaments. You can contact Ben by emailing [email protected].

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