The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – 3M Open

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte July 3, 2019 11:45

The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – 3M Open

It is the weekend we have all been waiting for all season. Let me rephrase that. It is the weekend I have been waiting for all season. Yes, the PGA Tour is coming to Blaine, Minnesota this week, the new home for the 3M Open and though this is hardly a tournament that is packed with star power, it will be a great way to spend my 4th of July weekend in being able to take some golf in person for a couple of days and to see some of our FGI subscribers for the first time. Jeff and I have always had a great time over the years seeing folks who listen to our podcast or read our articles and it is really unbelievable how kind people are to us in making us feel like old friends.

The plan is for us to be out at the course on Friday and Saturday for sure. I know that Jeff may get out to the course early on Thursday morning, but as I am not known to be the best morning person, he may be making the trip alone. On Friday, as of now, it appears that we will have nearly our full Minnesota FGI staff contingent in attendance as Jeff, Statboy, Aaron and myself will be out there for much of the day. If you can only make it for one day, this would be the day to circle. We’re pretty easy going guys so we’d be happy to let you know where we are throughout the day and to walk a few holes with you. We would enjoy hearing your thoughts on the site and any tools you would like to see added on over the next six months before 2020 arrives. In my mind, I always know what the next tool is that I want to add, but it is helpful to hear directly from the users themselves to let us know what we can do to improve the site for you.

If we have enough interest, we would be happy to organize a Happy Hour after the round on Friday afternoon. Aaron and I will have some site updates to do to prepare for weekend golf, but it would be great to get everyone together for a couple of drinks and to talk about any solid lineups that we have going into the weekend. So far, it looks like there is a chance that the weather may cooperate with us this weekend. As of now, in the hour to hour forecast, I am not seeing any rain for Thursday. On Friday, it does look like there may be some rain starting late in the morning and going into the afternoon. It looks like it will be fairly light as of now, but it does look like the sun will break out later in the day so I am hoping we do not get dumped on too hard. If the rains do come, I am going to head over to the military tent where it looks like they have complimentary food and drinks. If it is anything like Torrey Pines, they do a really great job going all out for military folks. If you are currently active duty, retired or a veteran, you can get in for free on any day of the tournament. Simply show your Military ID at the gate and you will receive free admission.

Before we leap into the 3M Open, let’s do a quick recap of the Rocket Mortgage Classic last week in Detroit. It seems like we have had a lot of really great stories this season for the winners on tour. Golfers like Corey Connors, Max Homa, Adam Long and now Nate Lashley have all broken through almost out of nowhere the weeks they won and changed their lives overnight. Lashley is someone who has an incredible back story as his mother, father and girlfriend were killed in a plan crash 15 years ago after going to see him play in a college tournament. It took another 13 years for him to grind his way onto the PGA Tour last season and we saw some flashes of talent, but an injury derailed his season. This year, he did not have full status and had to qualify in many weeks. He made it in last week as an alternate and was the last man put into the field. His runaway win was very impressive and secured his tour card for the next few seasons. The only real downside for us as DFS fans is that he was put into the field so late that DK was unable to get him into the player pool which meant that nobody had the winning player on their rosters for the week which is the first time I can remember that happening.

For the tournament, it proved to be a really easy course setup and led to a very low cut line with the number moving down to -5 by the very end of the day on Friday after it looked like it might hang on at -4 to save a few key names. In cash, that move to -5 hurt me in that it wiped out Kevin Tway, but t did also eliminate the possibility of an MDF on Saturday which to me, made it a break even trade as players like Brian Harman, Jason Dufner and Sam Ryder were also wiped out which took out a few other cash game teams that I was up against. I had hoped to have five solid names up at the top of my lineup and threw one dart with Hank Lebioda, who blew the cut with a stupid double bogey late in the second round. With four golfers going to the weekend, I had a good shot of getting paid, but needed good performances to make it happen. While Billy Horschel lagged on Saturday, he roared to life on Sunday firing a -8, 64 and moving up the board. Kevin Streelman started slow and did not contribute a lot on Sunday, but did enough not to hurt me with a 35th place finish. My two stars for the week, Rory Sabbatini and Joaquin Niemann both played outstanding over the weekend and finished 3rd and 5th respectively and also picked up the four round under 70 bonus points. By the time the tournament was over, I had cash rather easily which felt great after it looked like it was going to be a very tight race.

On the GPP side, I did lose a few key to players to the cut with DJ, Ryan Moore and Kevin Tway failing to make it to the weekend. Fortunately, I had a lot of other top names in my player pool that fought through and finished strong: Rory, Niemann, Hideki, An, Im, Horschel, Hovland, Tringale, Hughes, Spaun and Malnati. It certainly was not a perfect week, and I had written off my GPP rosters by Saturday. However, by Sunday, the handful of 6/6 rosters that survived for me in the mini max and the $5 started to work their way up the leaderboard so that by the end, even GPP contests turned slightly profitable for the week. Overall, it marked my third winning week in row and I took some satisfaction as I did not feel like I was in great shape going into the weekend.

One thing that I want to note about my cash games that I discussed on the podcast is that there are still people making silly mistakes with their cash builds each week. In the $250 double up for the week, 55% of owners used Dustin Johnson. What a foolish mistake for a tournament with such a weak field. It is already tough enough to put together a team when the field is soft so throwing a $12k golfer on your roster really kneecaps your ability to add any depth to your team. The middle range of the field was already a little soft on talent so if you used DJ, you put yourself in a position where you needed to hit on a lot of volatile players in the $7k range and hope that those players in the $8-9k range whiffed.

I do not mind using DJ in cash when there is some depth in the field, especially at a major. You can capture the potential upside, but you also have a better group of golfers in the $7-8k range to work with, all of whom are easier to value in terms of cut making ability. Even if DJ does not contend, you can still get strong performances from your mid tier players to carry the week. In weeks like last week, if DJ does not contend, you have made a huge error in the way you constructed your team. When you factor in the type of event that is being played, it makes it an even more dubious play. You never really know how the top golfers are going to approach the tournament from a mental perspective. It’s like picking a star running back going into Week 17 when his team has nothing to play for and may or may not give him a full work load. There was better value below and certainly more clear motivations for many of the upper mid level golfers in the field last week.

This week is going to be very similar to what we witnessed a week ago in Detroit. It is a new course for the PGA Tour and the course officials have made it known that they want the fans to be entertained. They want to see a lot of scoring or they want to see players go of the rails in a thrilling manner. That seems to fit this course perfectly as there is water in play on about half of the holes and plenty of bunkers all around the course. That said, the fairways here are generous and should not be too difficult to hit. The large, bentgrass greens were supposed to play fast, but newsflash, we’ve had a lot of rain over the last week and more projected to come so hitting and holding these greens should not be a problem. The course is over 7,400 yards and plays as a Par 71 with three Par 5 holes that play between 590-600 yards. There are five Par 4 holes that play over 450 yards so this should be a week where bombers who can score should thrive. I anticipate the winning score reaching the -20 to -25 range this week so you’ll need golfers that a either long off the tee or excellent from longer approach shots.

Key Stats

Strokes Gained Tee to Green: 25%
Strokes Gained Putting: 25%
Birdie or Better Percentage: 25%
Proximity: 10%
Strokes Gained Off the Tee: 5%
Scrambling: 5%
Par 5 Scoring: 5%

 

PLAYER POOL

I have been cautioning you to take it easy in cash the last couple of weeks, but we have been successful so hopefully you’ve been able to profit along with me. These events between majors are always tricky with such soft fields and salaries that are out of hand on DK for mediocre players. I really like what they did over at FanDuel this week. There are only a handful of golfers that are priced above $10k (the average salary on FD). This gives you a lot more room to maneuver when building your roster which I like particularly in cash games. I am almost always able to build cash teams that I really like on FanDuel as it puts the elites back in range to be used on rosters without having to completely skip over the other strong value plays in the field for the week. On DK, it is not so simple. The pricing model that they use takes the odds for each player in the field and then prices them out from 12k down to 6k. You will always see about the same number of players between 8-12k each week on DK. It does not matter how strong or weak the field is for the event, that is just the way it works.

What this means for us as owners is that we have to more carefully consider the field when building our cash lineups this week. There are going to be a lot more golfers that fit into a cash game roster this week that we would not normally see in this section. We are going to need to rely on recent form and key stats much more than normal to help us out this week on a new course and we’ll likely use some players that may have limited upside, but who are known for finding ways to make the cut more often than not.

There are a couple of different approaches that you can use for cash games this week. I will likely be using a more balanced approach overall as you will see from my Core 4 this week, but I think you can get away with stretching things. I do think the Doc Redman and Mackenzie Hughes are cash viable this week. Obviously, Redman is still a little raw and Hughes, while excellent of late, has not been consistent all season. Using these players could help you to get all the way up to Rory Sabbatini and Joaquin Niemann, golfers that I wanted to play together in cash, but could not this week based up their salaries.

The other approach, and the one I am likely to use this week will be a balanced methodology. I will have two players from the Upper $8k to low $9k range, a couple in the lower $8k range and two in the upper $7k range to fill things out. It took literal hours for me to settle on my team this week, which is not necessarily the most encouraging factor for me, but I am pleased with the final team and understand that others are likely also ripping out their hair during the process as well

 

CASH GAME PLAYS

Rory Sabbatini 9500
Joaquin Niemann 9300
Viktor Hovland 9100
Sungjae Im 9000
Kevin Streelman 8900
Keegan Bradley 8800
Ryan Moore 8700
Kevin Na 8600
Charles Howell 8400
Scott Piercy 8200
Adam Hadwin 8100
Collin Morikawa 7900
Nick Watney 7900
Peter Malnati 7800
J.J. Spaun 7800
Cameron Tringale 7700
Jimmy Walker 7500
Mackenzie Hughes 7400
Doc Redman 7200

 

Joaquin Niemann – I had hoped to put a similar roster together to what I had for cash games last week, but DraftKings had other plans and pushed the prices for my featured cash game players up just high enough so that I could not make it work without feeling like I was too vulnerable at the bottom of my lineup. Instead, we will settle for Niemann at the top who has found the game he had last summer and seems to be closing in on a win here before long. He’s always had the elite ball striking skills to keep him on the tour, but the putter has been a problem. Of late, he seems to have found a fix and over the last 16 rounds, he ranks 24th among this field in SGP. He’s now made five straight cuts and six of seven overall, with two consecutive Top-5 finishes. I think the strong play continues over the last two months of the season.

Kevin Streelman – He had some chances to move up into the Top-20 on Sunday last weekend, but missed a couple of short putts to fall back to 35th. Either way, it was his 7th straight cut made in a row and he continues to strike the ball really well as he ranks 5th in SGTG and 5th in SGTOT over the last 16 rounds among this field. His putting has been a problem during the season, but like Niemann, he’s been on the positive side of late and with these soft greens, he should be able to keep things going this week. I never get excited to pay this much for a golfer like Kevin Streelman in cash games, but he should get through the cut and offer some upside.

Scott Piercy – Piercy crushed us in Canada two starts back, but perhaps he was more focused on the US Open that was coming up the next week instead. He started out strong at Pebble Beach before falling back to 52nd, but overall it was an okay bounce back performance. In looking at Piercy’s play over the last 24 rounds within the field, he’s been really solid. Typically, the tee to green game is his strength, but he’s also been very good with his putter, ranking 10th during that time frame. He’s missed just three cuts in 20 starts on the season and in this weak of a field, I think we are getting a slight discount on his price considering the up and down play of the next 5-6 players priced above him.

Peter Malnati – If the most recent tournaments were only two or three rounds, Peter Malnati would be a much richer man today. He’s been able to start strong in recent weeks, only to fall back on Sunday. In this case, we do not need a big performance out of him, merely a made cut and a few birdies to round out the weekend which is what we should get this week. His game is typically one where he’s a disaster off the tee, short and wild, but better on the approach and with a solid short game, capped off by a strong putter. His approach game has been the strength of his most recent run as he ranks 7th among this field over the last 24 rounds in SGAPP and 3rd in that same category over the last 16 rounds. His putter has not been quite its normal self during his recent play and he is only ranked 47th in SGP in his last four starts which is below his normal abilities. If he can putt to where we’ve come to know him over the last couple of years, he should have one strong run in him this summer that puts him in contention in one of these softer fields.

 

GPP PLAYER POOL

 

CORE

Hideki Matsuyama 11100
Jason Day 10900
Bryson DeChambeau 10500
Rory Sabbatini 9500
Joaquin Niemann 9300
Viktor Hovland 9100
Kevin Streelman 8900
Scott Piercy 8200
Peter Malnati 7800
J.J. Spaun 7800
Mackenzie Hughes 7400
Doc Redman 7200

 

Hideki Matsuyama – The one thing you know with Hideki each week is that he is going to show up and do his job. Though some call him a robot with regards to his consistent, strong play, I look at it more from his mental side. He’s pretty unflappable on the course each week and never takes an event off the way we see Brooks or DJ do during the year. Of course, he does not have the overall resume of those two, but he’s very capable of winning in any given week and you always know that his floor is as high as any player in the field given that he’s 17/17 in making the cut with twelve Top-25 finishes on the season. His ball striking is always tremendous and his iron play is unquestionably good. However, of late, he’s been putting extremely well and ranks 13th among the field over the last 16 rounds in SGP. This is the type of event where he could easily run away from the field if he can stay hot on the greens.

Jason Day – With new caddy, Stevie Williams on the bag, Day has looked good in his first couple of starts. I really like this course for Day who is one of the best on tour in gaining strokes off the tee and lately, his iron play has shown some signs of life as he’s finally gaining strokes in the SGAPP category again as opposed to losing ground. He should be in such good position off the tee this week and with such big greens, I do not think he will find himself in trouble all that often with his approach shots. Historically, he’s one of the best short game players so he should be able to rack up the birdies this week. It marks Day’s last chance to tighten up his game before The Open so as long as he’s feeling healthy, I think he finds his way into contention this week.

Bryson DeChambeau – This has been the time of year that Bryson has found something in his game and has been able to turn it on and get some wins over the last couple of years after getting out of a slump. He did it two years ago at the JDC and last year broke out at Memorial for a win. He is always a serious student of the game so I suspect that rather than cruising through the week, he will be very focused on fine tuning certain parts of his game which means that he should be able to avoid a letdown performance. After missing three straight cuts, he’s bounced back nicely with three straight solid performances and looked especially good in finishing 8th at the Travelers two weeks ago. His long irons have been a strength all year and he’s been dominant in both Par 5 Scoring (5th) and BoB% (5th). With the setup for the course this week, it should be a spot for him to keep the momentum going in the right direction.

Rory Sabbatini – At this point, I think we just have to keep paying for Sabbatini, especially at these types of easy courses. He’s playing too well to fade him and at this price, I still do not think he will be that chalky given the number of other talented players around him. He’s now made 13 straight cuts with five Top-5 finishes during that run. His rolling numbers are really impressive of late. Over the last 24 rounds among this field, he ranks 2nd in SGTG, 16th in SGOTT, 21st in SGAPP, 3rd in SGATG, 14th in SGP and 2nd in SGTOT. There are no weak areas of play in his game right now. He is not the type that usually would merit such a high price, but he seems to be a new man this year and the sample size is now large enough for me over the last three months to ride it out with him.

Viktor Hovland – How high is the ceiling for Viktor Hovland? After two strong performances as an amateur at Augusta and Pebble Beach, Viktor has picked up a couple of paychecks as a pro headed into this week and capped off last weekend with a 64 in the final round to notch another Top-15 finish. His ball striking is already at an elite level as we saw at Pebble and again last week. So far, it has only been his short game that has presented any problems, but last week was encouraging and his putter was great. On a course like this where he should have little issue hitting greens, I think he has another chance for a big week given how well he is playing from tee to green.

JJ Spaun – We expected big things from JJ Spaun this year as it seemed like it was time for him to break through for a big win or at least to be in contention more regularly. After a promising start in the fall, however, the beginning of calendar year 2019 was very forgettable over the first three months of play. Fortunately, he seems to have worked through those issues and has looked good over the last two plus months, making the cut in seven of eight starts including a 13th place finish last week in Detroit. Over the last 16 rounds, he ranks 14th among this field in SGTG and 16th in SGAPP. Though he’s not a precision iron player, he ranks 32nd in GIR% on the season and with the bigger greens this week, I think he will be in good shape. The only question for Spaun will be if his putter can hold up as he’s typically not great on bentgrass greens.

Mackenzie Hughes – At the start of the season, Hughes was simply unplayble, making the cut in only three of his first ten starts and looking lost during that stretch. Now, he is a cash game play and in my GPP core for the week after a run where he’s made nine of eleven cuts with five Top-25 finishes. He’s been especially good over his last four starts where he ranks 12th in SGTG, 15th in SGP and 7th in SGTOT. The beginning of the season muddled his season long stats, but you can see that since a terrible start, he is back on track and he’s been able to chew up some of these easier tracks during that stretch which should bode well for the week.

Doc Redman – Yes, I know, we are chasing here, but the price for Redman did not rise enough to stay away this week and in looking at the other players priced around him, there are not a ton of other great pivots that I feel all that enthused about in this field. In two outings on the PGA Tour this season, Redman has made the most of his chances, finishing 18th at Quail Hollow and then 2nd last week in Detroit. While last week was impressive, we should really be impressed with his performance at Quail, a very challenging course even for seasoned players. His rolling numbers over those eight rounds are obviously very good and I like that he’s been strong in all areas so that we are not too worried at this point that it has been all short game or all tee to green play. Outside of the PGA Tour, Redman has been good on the MacKenzie Tour up in Canada going 5/5 with two Top-10 finishes. Will his recent play hold up this week? It’s another easy track like last week and he’ll have plenty of motivation as another Top-10 could keep him around another week and also start to get the attention of sponsors for future events.

 

SECONDARY

Sungjae Im 9000
Keegan Bradley 8800
Collin Morikawa 7900
Nick Watney 7900
Cameron Tringale 7700
Talor Gooch 7600
Jimmy Walker 7500
Sepp Straka 7500
Wyndham Clark 7100
Sam Ryder 7100
Max Homa 7000
Troy Merritt 6900

 

TERTIARY

Cameron Champ 7500
Matthew Wolff 7300
Nick Taylor 7200
Dylan Frittelli 7200
Jonas Blixt 7200
Wes Roach 7000
Beau Hossler 6900
Hank Lebioda 6900
Matt Every 6900
Ryan Armour 6800
Stephen Jaeger 6800
Sebastian Munoz 6700
Harris English 6600

 

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte July 3, 2019 11:45

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