This column is a quick-hitter article to give you the stats you need to make informed PGA DFS picks for your DraftKings + FanDuel daily fantasy lineups and give you a couple of recommendations for the second round of the CJ Cup. On a typical Showdown contest, DraftKings will offer upwards of $50,000 to first for rounds 2 and 3 showdown and sometimes up to $100,000 for the final-round contests. They also provide weekend-long contests that have been offering $25,000 to first for most weekends. Lastly, FanDuel has also tried to get into the weekend-long and final-round contests, offering $10,000 and $5,000 to first.
Previous Round Recap
Well, my hedge off betting Xander Schauffele to win is now my rooting interest for the week-long slate. He’s looked incredible on and around the greens, that it doesn’t matter how the rest of his game is going. He only hit four fairways on the day and still shot eight under. Pretty impressive stuff for him, as his form has been simmering as of late with six top 25s.
The closest competitors heading into the weekend sit three and four back. Ty Hatton putting in another good day at the office, a four-under 68, sits there back. As did Russell Henley, who sits four back after two days. Collin Morikawa seems to be getting better and has put a new putter in the bag, even though he just won a major not three months ago. He went from a traditional offset blade to a mallet style, and it certainly worked today.
Jason Kokrak & Talor Gooch, with Lanto Griffin & Tyler Duncan, are the four big surprises through 36 holes, all playing good enough to be in the top 10 heading into the weekend. Others that are streaming into the weekend, including Hideki Matsuyama, Harry Higgs, Viktor Hovland & Justin Thomas, all who shot 68 or better on Friday.
Birdie or Better Leaders Through Round 2
- Xander Schauffele & Tyrell Hatton (15)
- Matthew Fitzpatrick & Rickie Fowler (13)
- Jason Kokrak (12)
- Russell Henley, Tom Hoge (11)
Strokes Gained Ball-Striking vs. Putting
Another day and another stroke lost putting for Cameron Champ whose been cold with the putter for quite a while now. He’s gained an average of 3.39 strokes more strokes ball striking than putting in the first two rounds. Not far behind him are Carlos Ortiz, Bubba Watson, Joel Dahmen, & Dylan Frittelli, all of whom gained at least three more strokes ball striking.
On the other hand, Tommy Fleetwood looked like he found his ball striking over in Europe and has not found it here over the first two days. But, if he finds it over the weekend, his putting may end up giving him a chance to get back into the mix for at the very least a top 10. Certainly not to win, sitting 17 shots back, that’s too far, but ten might not be.
Strokes Gained Ball-Striking Round by Round Differential
Joaquin Niemann was able to find his iron play in round two, as well his off the tee game, gaining 5.17 on the day, good enough for a 4.6 stroke differential over day one. He looks to be in good shape at a top 5 run come Sunday. Talor Gooch was also able to put his good putting to work today, firing one of the day’s low rounds with a 65. Today he matched up the hot putter with a good ball striking performance gaining just over four and half more strokes on Friday. However, both fall short of Jeongwoo Ham, who lost 5.68 in round one and just about matched the field in round two for a 5.68 stroke differential. Justin Thomas, Harris English & Sungjae Im all perked up as well.
PGA DFS Slate Preview
- DraftKings is offering $25,000 to first and $100,000 guaranteed for the third-round slate
- DK is offering $10,000 to first and $30,000 guaranteed for the weekend-long slate
- Fanduel is offering $1,000 to first and $5,000 guaranteed for the weekend-long slate
General Strategy & PGA DFS Picks
I wouldn’t necessarily attempt to do it the way Xander is, but by golly, it’s working. The fairways are playing firm this week, so in reality, distance off the tee is a bit mitigated as even the shorter hitters are able to get quite a bit of roll out there. Granted, elite length like Rory, Rahm, Champ, and others can still have an advantage…It’s not as great.
So again, we’ll try and find some guys that have been able to navigate their short game over the first two days, and all are either hitting well off the tee or on the approach. Or at least trending up in either category.
Collin Morikawa ($9,700)
When his irons are in form, they really get out of it. Now his off the tee hasn’t followed. He lost a bit in round two today, with a good chunk of it coming on 18 when he flailed it right, and into the hazard, it went. I suspect that’ll get better over the weekend. Add that into the fact his short game looks good, gaining strokes in both rounds.
Stud or Value Pick Outside the Top 10
Rory McIlroy ($10,000)
I can’t recall the last time I saw Rory lose over two strokes on his approaches in a really long time. I really doubt that to be a trend, and rather just an outlier, but I’ve been proven wrong plenty of times before. His short game and tee ball look very good, so if we can just turn the irons around a bit, he could be in for a low one over the weekend. His ownership should be depressed a bit with all three of the other studs above him, four including Morikawa.
Sneaky Pick Outside the Top 10
Kevin Na ($6,900)
Streaming into the weekend with a 66, NA had a great day on the greens and with his approaches. We know how hot he can get with his putter, to the tune of over three strokes on the day today, and that’s not something I want to fade anytime soon. He’s dynamic with that club, and the fact that the fairways are overly firm, he’s getting plenty of roll of the tee to mitigate his lack of distance, as I noted at the top. Rolling with Kevin Na in Vegas this weekend should be a fun ride.
Rickie Fowler ($7,600)
Sebastian Munoz ($7,800)
Justin Thomas ($10,400)
Mark Hubbard ($6,600)
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