The PGA Tour swings back to Florida this week for one more brief visit, as the Valspar Championship makes its way back on the schedule after being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The new May date is a bit of a change from its regular spot, and sunny skies and little wind is in the forecast for 2021. That could be a big help for those looking for every edge possible when making daily fantasy golf picks on DraftKings and FanDuel. The Valspar Championship is hosted by the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook, a resort just outside of Tampa. The venue has become known as one of the truest tests on tour (of the regular venues anyways) and played as the sixth toughest in 2019.
It sets up as a par 71 but features five demanding par 3’s and four par 5’s, none of which are easy birdie holes. The finishing stretch (the Snake Pit) may actually be the toughest finishing chute in golf as well. The venue has water on as many as 10 holes, but it’s more tree-lined than traditional Florida stadium venues and has quite a few doglegs. Good approach and solid tee-to-green play is key here. Spraying it off the tee won’t help, but it is worth noting that three of the last four winners here did lose strokes off the tee.
Stats and Info
- Driving distance here tends to be around 10 yards under tour average. Doglegs and thick rough means player chose accuracy over power on many holes.
- Greens in regulation here are also low, as the greens tend to play quite firm and players have a lot of longer approaches thanks to the winding layout.
- Approaches from 175 to 200 and over 200 yards make up over 47% of the approaches here, so long iron play is crucial.
The greens at the Valspar Championship are TifEagle Bermudagrass, the same style that was in play last couples week. The greens at Copperhead were replaced a few years back and have been firmer ever since. Here is a more general look at some of the best and worst Bermudagrass putters in the field, relative to their strokes gained on other surfaces. Use caution with these in your daily fantasy golf picks; they aren’t the be-all, end-all, but they make for a nice tiebreaker.
Negative Bermudagrass Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds
- Justin Rose: -1 strokes on Bermudagrass, +22 strokes on all other surfaces
- Wyndham Clark: +2 on Bermudagrass, +28 on all other surfaces
- Louis Oosthuizen: +6 on Bermudagrass, +23 on all other surfaces
*+ equals total strokes gained | – equals strokes lost
Positive Bermudagrass Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds
- Peter Uihlein: +32 on Bermudagrass, +6 on all other surfaces
- Charley Hoffman: +18 on Bermudagrass, -12 on all other surfaces
- Sungjae Im: +38 on Bermudagrass, -6 on all other surfaces
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Valspar Championship Daily Fantasy Golf Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel
Patrick Reed: Grades: +A, A | Values: B
Reed has been nails since the start of the 2021 season and comes in with seven top-15 finishes over his last 10 starts. He has had the most consistent season of his career by many measures and has also turned into a far more reliable fantasy producer. Over his last nine starts, he has managed to gain 74 or more DraftKings points in seven of them and has just two missed cuts in his last 17 starts. While his price is up a little for DFS purposes, Copperhead has been one of his best venues, as he has been runner-up here twice and lost in a playoff to Jordan Spieth back in 2015.
From a model perspective, Reed’s play has finally transferred to the spreadsheet, as he ranks out with the third-best points projection this week in our Awesemo PGA DFS projections and the best of anyone under $11,000. He is one of only three players with a win percentage of 4% or higher here, and he also has the best value score of anyone above $10,000. Reed is a solid target for an event that should benefit in-form players like himself.
- He ranks second in total strokes gained at this venue over the last five seasons; has finished inside the top 12 here three times in five years.
- He is 22nd in bogies avoided and third in the field in birdies or better.
Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 13%
Jason Kokrak: Grades: A | Values: B
Kokrak appeared in this same section last week with partner Pat Perez and produced another solid start. He and Perez finished 21st at the Zurich Classic, and the finish marked Kokrak’s 10th straight made cut in PGA Tour events. He has turned his game around over the last year or so, and he comes into this week ranked 18th in birdies gained (which isn’t anything new for him) and 13th in bogey avoidance. His improvement on the greens over the last year has been mammoth, and it has turned him into a reliable fantasy target.
Kokrak’s strong tee-to-green game has always made him a good target at Copperhead, and he has produced three top-10s here in just six starts. His salary this week on DraftKings is also going to catch some eyes, as he is priced well below the $9,000 mark. The Awesemo daily fantasy golf projections agree here, as he has the ninth-best points projection this week (despite being 16th in salary on DraftKings) and has the best value score of anyone above $8,000 this week. Kokrak is becoming a staple of this article, and he will remain as such until his play stops or his price climbs.
- Six previous visits to Copperhead have produced four finishes of 14th or better and ranks sixth in strokes gained over the past five years 0f the event.
- He is 13th in bogey avoidance over the last 50 rounds and ranks fifth in strokes gained putting and 19th in strokes gained tee to green over the same span.
Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 20.1%
Low-Owned PGA DFS GPP Flier
Scheffler’s price on DraftKings may keep the masses off him this week. He hasn’t done anything to deserve such an exodus though for fantasy purposes, as he bounced back nicely after a missed cut at The Players to grab an 18 at the Masters — his second top-20 there in six months — and an eighth last week at the team event with Bubba Watson. This will be his first time playing the Valspar Championship, but lack of experience hasn’t impeded recent winners like Paul Casey and Charl Schwartzel here. Plus, Scheffler comes in ranked 13th in strokes gained tee to green over the last 50 rounds.
While his approach game can be hot and cold, Scheffler’s around-the-green game should help him on this tough venue, and he has been solid in that regard all year, coming in ranked 14th in strokes gained around the green over the last 50 rounds. Scheffler has drifted well under 10% in the Awesemo daily fantasy golf ownership projections. With only good signs of late emanating form his game, going overweight as a pivot play here makes a lot of sense if multi-entering.
Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 7.3%
DraftKings Top Three Under Five
I am targeting three players here that I ultimately think will end up under (or close) to 5% ownership in bigger DraftKings GPPs. We are searching for boom/bust players here with an almost 100% focus on upside.
Keith Mitchell ($7,000)
Mitchell is coming off three straight made cuts. He carried his team for much of last week (to fourth) at the Zurich Classic and looked locked in with his irons again. He is a great Bermuda putter who gained 8.1 strokes on approach here in 2017 when he finished 11th.
Peter Uihlein ($7,000)
Uihlein is playing some great golf and was also the catalyst for his team last week, which finished third. The result got him another PGA start, and he also has a win and a runner-up in his last three starts on the Korn Ferry Tour as well. He should be targeted while in good form, and low ownership seems likely again.
Kyle Stanley ($6,800)
Stanley has played solid golf for portions of 2021, and it was just a few starts ago that he gained 3.1 strokes on his approaches and finished 14th at another tough venue in Texas at the Valero. When he’s striking it well, Stanley sets up great for tough golf courses and will have next to no ownership. Stanley could be a sneak daily fantasy golf pick this week.
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