The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – John Deere Classic

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte July 10, 2019 02:38

The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – John Deere Classic

I know that some golf fans were not all that excited to see Minnesota land on the schedule for the PGA Tour this season with the addition of the 3M Open over the weekend of the 4th of July. It looked like a fairly nondescript event that would be a part of the four events that help to bridge the gap between the US Open and The Open Championship. I was encouraged early on this season by some of the players that committed to play in the tournament as it would form a nice base to build off of for the rest of the field. As the season wore on, we were also incredibly fortunate to see a group of young rookies emerge through the college ranks and then onto the tour, barely taking a breath between the NCAA Championships and their professional debuts. It proved to be the perfect combination of players for a very memorable tournament this season.

I was not sure what to expect going into the week as far as how the course would be set up or the logistics around the tournament, but was really impressed with the way everything ran. I enjoyed the risk versus reward style of the course that offered plenty of scoring opportunities, but also disaster lurking around the corner. Both finishing holes had some great drama throughout the tournament. The Par 4, 9th hole produced quite possibly the most astonishing cut sweat and finish that I have ever observed in the nearly five years I have had in covering fantasy golf. It is a challenging hole and played at over 500 yards with water on the right side, tricky bunkers and a rolling green. When Cam Davis walked up to the tee on Friday, he need to simply make a bogey to keep the cut at -4 and prevent a big MDF the following day. Even a double bogey would have saved him while moving the cut to -3. Instead, Cam triple bogeyed the final hole after struggling to get from the bunker and onto the green, miraculously saving the likes of Brooks Koepka, Jason Day, Talor Gooch and Lucas Glover just to name a few.

The 18th hole also provided its shares of fireworks. On Saturday, Brooks Koepka began to get a little momentum going until hitting his second shot into the water twice in a row. On Sunday, the reachable Par 5 was a part of the best finish we’ve seen all year. Bryson DeChambeau stepped up to the final hole, down a shot and with the leaders behind him. He hit two perfect shots to the green, nailed his eagle putt and went up a shot with the leaders staring him down from the fairway. Collin Morikawa hit a great approach shot to the green and had a decent look for eagle. Matthew Wolff hit his approach to just off the green. In dramatic fashion, the 20 year-old Wolff drained his eagle chip while Morikawa missed his putt by inches, giving Wolff his first win on tour in just his 4th start.

For me, it was a great all around experience. Once again, the PGA Tour went all out for the military and provided free tickets to active duty and veterans for all rounds. There was a special military tent set up on the 14th hole and they grilled food and provided drinks during each round. On Friday, they had extra tickets for the Zac Brown Band that evening after the second round that they gave to us for free allowing us to enjoy a great show where the band played their hits and even covered a variety of music ranging from Billy Joel, Metallica and then closed with Sabatoge from the Beastie Boys. I cannot recommend the experience enough to all of you who could not make it out this year. We had such a great time meeting folks from the FGI community and walking the course and talking golf. The weather was great and the crowds were not bad. We followed Brooks during his round on Saturday and while he attracted more attention than others, it was not difficult to get up close and we had a great look at all of his shots.

After a thoroughly enjoyable event, we are now only one week away from The Open Championship next week, the final major of the season. It is hard to believe how fast this season has gone and with the truncated schedule, the playoffs are nearly upon us as well. After The Open, the tour heads to Memphis for a WGC event, the Wyndham the following week and then three weeks of playoff events which wrap up before the NFL season kicks off in September. Fear not, golf fans, the fall is going to be even better than ever for us here at FGI. We have eleven full weeks of golf beginning the second weekend in September and running all the way through the HERO in December.

Once again, we will also be providing free NFL coverage for all Edge and Pro Pack subscribers since we know that so many of you love football as well. I write a weekly cash game column, Jeff focuses in on the GPP side and Aaron has built us some excellent research tools (Points projections for DK & FD, a WR/CB coverage ranking chart showing the best and worst matchups and he’s even adapted our lineup generator to make it work for all of your lineup building needs). Give us a shot for your NFL needs this year. I know that there are a lot of great tools and analysis out there in the industry, but we’ve had amazing success the last few years. Jeff has won well over six figures and made it to the live final in 2017 and my cash game success has been strong year after year, compiling a 37-20 record over the last three seasons since I first started publishing my column in 2016. We’ve been rabid NFL fans since kindergarten and playing fantasy football since Jeff introduced me to it when we were 11. Give our tools and analysis an opportunity this fall and you will not be disappointed.

This week marks the last of the filler events on the calendar. The Wyndham will not have the strongest field either in a few weeks, but everything is on the line in that event which gives it its own playoff feel. Most of the other three filler events at least have a handful of top ranked players in the world to provide a little inspiration and to keep some of the pricing inflation under control. That is not the case with the John Deere Classic as a group of kids leads the way in terms of salary this week which means that we have a wide open tournament this week. I said it for weeks, events like these are made for young players to get a breakthrough win and this will be no different. Last season, Michael Kim came out of nowhere to throttle the field by an astounding seven strokes. He’s made it to Sunday just twice in events with a cut since that win so realize that anything can happen this week.

I think this is a week where your strategy needs to shift from what we normally use in approaching a tournament. There is going to be more variance in finishing position versus salary this week. What I mean by that is that normally, you can gauge the top players and come up with a fairly reasonable range for where they should finish in a week. Now, I fully understand that the top players in the world can and do underperform throughout the year (Hello there, Brooks), but by and large, you know with some certainty that at least a couple of names near the top will be in contention. This week, that may or may not be the case. These rookies are solid players, but they are still going to go through some growing pains. Before his incredible performance last weekend, Matthew Wolff dropped a couple of duds in the events leading up to his win. We’ve seen Viktor Hovland play amazing golf, but he has yet to crack a Top-10 finish and now he’s the top priced player in the field.

I’ve discussed at length the way that DraftKings prices out the field each week. The best players in the world rarely move up or down much in price. DJ is an $11-12k player regardless of the field. However, we have other like Webb Simpson or Matt Kuchar who move from one extreme to the other depending on the strength of the field. When the field is strong, we can get these golfers for $7600. When it is weak, they might be $10-11k. Those players do not exist in this field this week which means that we are forced to deal with some serious pricing pressure from below. If you look at much of the $8-10k range this week, you will see golfers that are normally priced around $7-8k on a normal week. These golfers are better in relative term to the field, but this is not basketball or football where you regularly see lesser players pushed into starting roles and be solid immediately. In golf, many of these players will get the price boost, but still play about as well as we’ve seen them play throughout their careers.

In an event like the JDC, it is more important than ever before to really find value in this field. Who’s price has not appreciated despite strong recent play? There are several notable names that fit this category. Who gets the biggest price jump this week? Are they still an attractive play at that price or are we stretching our dollars too far? When I approach a field like this, my first thought is to flatten my ownership levels at the high end of the player pool. There is a lot more boom or bust potential for these players and while I do feel good about a few of the upper names, this is not a week to get overextended at the top. If you go too big up top, it is going to push you too deep into this field and  I do not want to have a lot of exposure below $7k this week.

The other idea to consider when building your player pool this week is to stretch yourself to accommodate more players than normal. Last week, we were able to work in some shares of Matthew Wolff by giving ourselves some extra shares to play around with at the low end for the week. Unfortunately, the lineup builder did not pair him with one of my many Bryson/Morikawa lineups, but at least we had him in the mix. This week, I suggest a similar approach in expanding your player pool by 10-20% overall. This has been a spot where guys have broken through over the last few years and there have been plenty of surprise performers that have come out of nowhere to either win or finish near the top. I fully expect ownership to be well dispersed outside of the top range of golfers this week. You will not need to own a huge percentage of a particular player below $8k in order to gain leverage on the field. In looking over that range, I see maybe three or four names that will be on the chalky side this week while most of the others will be low single digits. If another Michael Kim (or literally Michael Kim) comes along this week, we are likely out of luck, but if we can latch onto 5-10% of a 2% owned player (or two or three) who performs well this week, we will have a shot at a big payday. The key this week is balance. 1) Avoid overspending on inexperienced, volatile players  2) Expand our player pool  3) Understand ownership among the field to gain leverage at the low end, but without taking unneeded risk

I am not going to talk much about the course this week. It is the easiest course on tour most years and provides the field with a lot of generous scoring opportunities. The three Par 5 holes offer a lot of eagle and birdie chances and failing to score on them will end a player’s chance to contend. The fairways are wide so it is easy for most players to be well positioned off the tee. The battle this week is between golfers that hammer it off the tee and play their wedge to the green and those golfers that are on the short side off the tee, but sharp with their irons. Given that we never really see the true bombers out at this event, it is not surprising that the shorter golfers off the tee have performed well over the years. The bentgrass greens are about average in size, but are hit a high percentage of the time given the favorable position off the tee. Putting is more important than usual this week. You are not going to win this event by grinding out a -15 score for the week. We have seen plenty of mediocre putters excel here so I am not immediately counting out the bad putters, but its relevance is higher this week and in general on courses where the winning score drifts into the -20 to -25 range.


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

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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte July 10, 2019 02:38

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