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The Approach – The Players Championship (FREE)

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Last week review

KEEGAN!!!! in predictable fashion, Keegan went full Keegan on Sunday, firing of rounds of 75 and 78 to finish in 46th spot. Do betting sites offer wagers on players finishing DFL when leading after two-rounds? If so, sprinkle that cheddar the next time he’s leading. My favorite play of the week, Luke List, managed a more than respectable T-10, and sleeper of the week Corey Conners missed the cut by two.

The Players Championship

Just two legs left in the Florida swing before we head over to Texas to finish out most of the Spring. The Players Championship, played at TPC Sawgrass, shares some similarities with the other Florida courses we’ve seen over the past few weeks – with lots of water hazards on tap, wind in play, and fast(ish) bermuda greens.

With a number of doglegs at Sawgrass and a shorter course distance, we’re going to place a slight emphasis on approach game over strokes gained off the tee. Keep in mind, that whenever water comes into play, increased variance comes with it. Players are going go into the drink and put up some big numbers on occasion.

There’s talk that switching this event from May to March may bring more OTT game into play (the ball won’t fly as far in colder weather). I think that’s a bit of guesswork, and we really won’t know until after the tournament has started. But if that’s an angle you want to play, you should be able to get some elite OTT players at reduced ownership (Rahm).

The Course

  • 7,200 yard, par-72
  • Lots of doglegs – distance will be mitigated
  • Pete Dye design
  • Overseeded Bermuda greens, 12-13 stimp
  • 14 water hazards, 73 sand traps
  • 31-yard-wide fairways
  • Wind is supposed to pick up on Thursday afternoon (wave stacks are an option)

Slate strategy

With such soft pricing this week it’s going to be difficult to get off these great chalk plays in the 7k and 8k range. How can you lay off Paul Casey at $7900 on DraftKings? Or Matt Kuchar for just $100 more? Or Marc Leishman, Gary Woodland, or Rafa Cabrera-bello? With below averaged priced bargains available, the 6K range on DK and the 7K range on FD are going to go overlooked. Expect the majority of stacks to concentrate on a handful of players. That’s probably for good reason though: The gap between a Marc Leishman and most of the golfers priced below him, is substantial.

The good news is that there are a lot of bargains, so ownership likely won’t concentrate on one player.

Thinking about macro-roster construction is going to be important: make sure you’re sprinkling in some low-owned options into your good-chalk lineups. My strategy this week is going to be exactly that – eat the chalk on some of these excellent plays, then find 1-2 spots in each lineup to differentiate. Another option is to load up on the chalk, but set that Fantasy Cruncher total salary to $500 under the max. At least you know you’ll have differentiation, without sacrificing much upside.

The Plays:

Francesco Molinari: Grades: A, Values: A

Because pricing for these big tournaments comes out sooner than usual on our DFS sites, Francesco Molinari’s amazing Sunday at the AP invitational wasn’t factored in to his salary. As such, we’re getting a bargain on the Open champion, coming off his first win of the 2019 season. It’ll be interesting to see where ownership ends up on Molinari this week, given that DFSers often hesitate to play a golfer coming off a win. From his track record last year, we know Molinari can get on a roll and keep it up for months at a time. I’m going to take the price discount, and fire up Molinari and his slate best Vegas bargain rating on BOTH sites this week.

Ownership projection: DK: 20%, FD: 26%

The stats:

  • 12th in MT SG: APP
  • 9th in MT SG:T2G
  • Plus Bermuda putting splits
  • 9th in MT SG:T2G on Pete Dye courses.

Tommy Fleetwood: Grades: A, Values: A

Hey, I touted Corey Conners last week, so I get a break with a couple slam dunk picks for the Players. Fleetwood is coming off a third place finish at the Arnold Palmer and ever since travelling over from the European Tour a month ago, he’s been trending upwards. He’s second in strokes gained in the field on shorter courses, and he has one of the better Vegas bargain ratings in the field. Fleetwood feels like a good course fit here, even though, in limited action, he hasn’t had much success on Pete Dyes. You’re getting one of the top five to ten players in the world, on the upswing, priced at a reduced rate.

Ownership projection: 20% on both sites

The stats:

  • 6th on the tour in weighted scoring average over the past year
  • 2nd in SG P72, 7200 yards.
  • 4th in SG P4, 450-500 (five holes)

Sub 6K, low 7K options to differentiate:

  • Daniel Berger (C, B) might get some ownership down here, but he won’t be as chalky as some of the plays in the 7K range. He’s been all over the place since returning from a wrist injury in January, gaining 11 strokes total one week, then losing four strokes two weeks later. His approach game is not firing on all cylinders and that is worrisome, but he has played well on Pete Dye designs in the past, ranking 10th in the field over the past two years.
  • Chesson Hadley (D, B) is getting a bit of buzz this week (our own Ben Rasa touted him on the Pat Mayo show), mainly due to his obscene recent SG: APP numbers. Last week he gained nine strokes on approach. If he can figure out his OTT game, he’s got a shot to make some noise this week. I don’t mind an outright at 160-1 or a sprinkle at 110-1 FRL: if the forecast holds, he’ll be on the right side of the draw.
  • Jim Furyk has quietly been rounding into form lately. I’ve recommended him in the past and he hasn’t disappointed. He ranks 11th in SG: APP and tends to play better on shorter courses. Furyk ranks 5th in weighted scoring average this season.
  • Sungjae Im has also been excellent on shorter courses in a small sample. He’s only poor tournaments thus far have come on poa.

Low owned GPP flier:

He usually doesn’t fit the bill as a flier, but Brandt Snedeker is cheap and has almost no ownership (less than 1% on both sites). This is, in part, because he’s offered up middling form of late. But we’ve all seen Brandt at the top of his game, sinking 20 footers like they’re tap-ins and cruising to rounds of 63. Maybe he’s got one of those on tap this week. At that price, I’m willing to take the risk.

Ownership fade:

Is it just me, or is ownership a little more spread out these days? It’s been a while since we’ve had one of those, DJ at 48% ownership on FanDuel weeks. Perhaps that just speaks to the strengths of these fields. At any rate, I’m not seeing anything that stands out. I’d rather take some of this spread out chalk and reserve a spot in my lineup for a low-owned play. Three MCs in row here is concerning – so don’t go buck a wild. But he does have a T8, back in 2013.

I've been obsessed with fantasy sports since as long as I can remember. Back in 1993, while seated in the last row of Mr. MacMillan's math class, I'm fairly certain a few buddies of mine and I invented daily fantasy sports -- popping down our fivers and using nothing more than a newspaper box score, we'd make our NHL player picks for the night's action. Twenty years later I started out playing DFS on DraftStreet, when three-max tourneys with 490 people were a big deal, and I've been hooked ever since. More than anything, I'm interested in getting better as a player, and in helping you become a better player. Armed with Awesemo's grades and the projections from our experts, we're here to help you take the next step. You can contact me by emailing support@awesemo.com.