The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – Quicken Loans National

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte June 22, 2016 13:38

Just like that, the second major of the year is behind us and we are into the summer where we will have two more majors, another WGC event, the Olympics and the FedEx Cup Playoffs. It does not get much better for golf fans over the next few months and if we continue to work at it, we can pad our bankrolls by continuing to stay disciplined with our play and sticking to the process that works.

Last weekend had its share of ups and downs for our pool of players. I can’t take too much credit for picking Dustin Johnson as many analysts were in on him last week, but it was nice to have the winning player in our pool of players for the third week in a row and that we owned enough shares of him to make it meaningful. Our core of players started slowly, but made progress throughout the weekend with the exception of Patrick Reed who bowed out of the tournament after missing the cut by bogeying the final two holes of the second round on Saturday morning. Branden Grace, Brooks Koepka and Jason Day all performed admirably and Matt Kuchar was playing really well until the wheels came off in his final round and he fell back a bit.

Our cash game teams performed well with our primary optimal lineup putting up a dominant performance which a few members chose to parlay into GPP events as well. Two of the three optimal lineups were able to cash for the week so our run of success has continued over the last couple of months which if you are playing as we recommend with your bankroll each week, should mean that you are gradually building up some winnings. As I stated last week and will mention again now, the majors provide us with a great opportunity to be profitable in cash games with the softer pricing and the addition of less skilled players jumping into those contests.

Overall, the week was a little disappointing as the Millionaire Maker came and went and left me no richer for my efforts. We had a lot of the right players, but a handful of golfers managed to miss the cut right at the end of the second round which took its toll on out lineups. The late collapses of Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Chris Kirk and Patrick Reed changed the dynamic for us and left us with very few shots at big money for the weekend. The worst feeling of the golf season is when you get to the end of the second round and realize that you have absolutely no sweat at all for the big contests and unfortunately, we were mostly just riding our cash games at that point. Our best Millionaire Maker rosters were okay going into Sunday as our Lee Westwood exposure was looking great. However, by playing on Sunday he essentially dumped off a ton of points with his miserable effort.

I always hate having to get my energy up the week after a huge event, but it is even more difficult when it has a ridiculous sponsor name giving it a lead in which is what we have this week with the Quicken Loans National. Fortunately, the event is held at Congressional Country Club, site of the US Open in 2011 so at least we get a course with a little history to it and one that will certainly be challenging for the players in the field this week.

When it comes to strategy this week, there are a few things to consider. First, the field is much weaker this week. While it is still better than the weakest of fields, it is still one of the less played in events by the top golfers in the world. The temptation after a big event like the US Open is to put up too much of your bankroll in an attempt to either press your luck or chase your losses. Do not take either of these approaches this week as your results will suffer. In a softer field, it becomes tougher to project who will rise to the top. Even in looking over tournament history, you can see that pat success is not necessarily correlated with a high salary so when a player like Robert Garrigus has some of the best course history for an event, you want to be a little cautious.

The second thing to really consider this week is that the event is an invitational meaning that there are only 120 players in the field, but the rules on the cut are still the Top 70 players and ties. What this means is that a much higher percentage of players than normal will make it to the weekend so keep your celebrations in check over those 6/6 lineups until the event is actually over as it is no guarantee to cash the way it would be for regular weeks. This type of event forces us to get a little more aggressive with our picks as positional points will have added emphasis in the outcome, particularly for GPP events this week.

Finally, the event has less relevant course history than what you see on the spreadsheet this week. After 2009, a major remodel took place at Congressional to make the course much tougher for the US Open that took place there in 2011. You will notice one player in particular who had been stellar there before the remodel, who then dropped off in his results significantly after the redesign was complete. Keep your focus on the 2011-2014 tournaments here with the most emphasis on 2012-2014 as the layout is a little different than what it was in 2011 (Par 71 now as opposed to a Par 70 for the US Open). Of course, those earlier years can still provide a little guidance, but I will give them no weight in our model this week and they will only serve to show additional experience at the course.

As stated above, Congressional is a Par 71, 7,569 yard course with four Par 3’s and three Par 5 holes. It is played on bentgrass greens so be sure to look at players who excel specifically on bentgrass as opposed to Bermuda as there are a handful of players who are very good on one, but awful on the other. As a former US Open course, it will be challenging for players and I expect the cut line to be above par this week. In looking at the relevant statistics this week as supplied by our friends at Fantasy Golf Metrics, we see the following:

Strokes Gained Putting: 30%
Strokes Gained Tee to Green: 20%
Birdie or Better %: 20%
Strokes Gained Approach: 15%
Par 4 Scoring: 10%
Proximity: 5%

We’ve had some nice winners over the last few weeks. I would like to send a quick shout out to Randman3972 who used the optimal lineup last week in the $333 GPP and was leading late until Westwood collapsed, but still managed a 10th place finish for a $4250 payday so excellent work in seeing the potential for that lineup as a GPP play and winning a nice sized prize. Keep us informed if you are sweating out a team in the hunt for a big prize and remember, the $3 GPP this week is paying out $100,000 to the winner so we want to make sure that Team FGI is well represented there and hopefully has a shot at a win.

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Let’s give our ‘stat guy’, Erik a big pat on the back for his hard work last week in generating an amazing optimal lineup for us. For much of the weekend, that team was in contention in every big GPP and easily swept all cash games. It had a good mix of both chalky plays, but also a couple of contrarian picks so it was just the right formula to do well. We have been having great success over the last month with our cash game strategy and while we still have not had a clean sweep in a while, we are getting close as our formula for using 3-5 teams per week has helped with bankroll management and limited the volatility of just trusting one lineup per week to get it done for us.

This week will not be as easy as others in terms of cash games. In terms of total bankroll exposure, plan to take it down a notch week in order to keep some funds at the ready for July when we have two more major events on the calendar. However, I do think there are still some decent opportunities for cash games this week. This week, the model picked up some interesting plays in the lower salary range that pushed a couple of players in the low $6,000 range into the optimal lineup this week. While the optimal is typically a good cash game play, this type of team is really more well suited for GPP events (although I will use it for one of my 3 cash game rosters). This is not that unusual in weeks where the field is so weak and there are not a lot of players that jump off the page in terms of the eye test.

Marc Leishman – $10,900
Charley Hoffman – $10,500
Roberto Castro – $8,600
David Hearn – $7,400
Sean O’Hair – $6,400
Tim Wilkinson – $6,000

As you can see, this is not a team without some risk to it, but as far as the stats were concerned, this was the optimal team based on the rankings this week. The other teams were modified to save a little salary at the top so that we did not have to dig quite as deep at the bottom.

Patrick Reed – $11,700
Jamie Lovemark – $8,200
Daniel Summerhays – $8,100
Adam Hadwin – $7,500
Harold Varner III – $7,100
Hudson Swafford – $7,000

Brendan Steele – $9,900
Tony Finau – $8,500
Charles Howell III – $8,200
Daniel Summerhays – $8,100
David Hearn – $7,400
Harold Varner III – $7,100

With those two lineups, we still get exposure to one top level player but have a little more balance among the rest of our teams. As always, be sure to keep your exposure on players in cash games below 100%. As we have seen time and time again, anyone is susceptible to missing the cut in a given week so the last thing you want to do is have your cash games crushed by one player that you thought was a lock. There are no locks in golf so do not get sucked into that mindset.

CORE

Patrick Reed – 60% ($11,700)
Jamie Lovemark – 60% ($8,200)
Daniel Summerhays – 60% ($8,100)
Adam Hadwin – 60% ($7,500)
Harold Varner III – 60% ($7,100)

Kicking off our core, we are going to go right back to Patrick Reed after he let us down a week ago. My thought on Reed is that he just might not be a big tournament player at this point in his career as he really has not shown up at all for the big events in a big way during his short career. For a player of his talent, he should be posting some Top 10 finishes and that has just not come to fruition at all so far which is worth noting for the next month when we see his price dip down and people start to talk about him as an amazing value. I think Reed is the best play near the top of this field. He does so many things really well that I am just hoping that his putter can catch fire and give us a big finish this week. He has played well at Congressional, making the cut in both starts and finishing 11th in 2014. His tee to green game is elite and he can score a lot of birdies when his game is on. He will be in contention at some point this weekend. Hopefully, that point will finally be on a Sunday.

Jamie Lovemark has not been bad lately, he just has not been as good as he was a couple of months ago. He has made five straight cuts and eight of his last nine, but the last four finishes have been outside of the Top 50 since he lost in a playoff at the Zurich Classic. However, I think he pulls out of his mini slump this week and gets back on track. He is a good tee to green player and has been good throughout his career in putting on bentgrass greens. He ranks 16th in Par 4 Scoring and 25th in Birdie or Better Percentage so I think this will be the week we see Lovemark get back into the Top 25.

Daniel Summerhays has quietly become one of the most consistent players on tour this season in making 16 of 19 cuts, including seven straight made cuts. In that run, he has finished in the Top 25 four times and posted an 8th place finish last weekend in Oakmont. His putter has been his strength this year as he is one of the best on tour statistically this season which has dramatically helped him to boost his scoring average. He has made two of threes cuts at Congressional and is playing the best golf of his career.

Adam Hadwin is another elite level putter who is playing tremendous golf over the last few months. He has made seven straight cuts and 15 of 20 overall this season. He finished in 39th place at the US Open here back in 2011 and has only improved his game over the last few seasons. Like Summerhays, his putter is a weapon and helps to give him a lot of birdie opportunities each week and at his low price of $7,500, he gives us additional flexibility among the rest of our core and secondary players.

If you are going to jump onto a bandwagon, you might as well do it in a big way. With that, we welcome Harold Varner III as our final core player this week. After making a splash in the fall, Varner struggle at the start of 2016, missing five of six cuts at one point. However, since then, he has made seven straight cuts and he has posted four Top 10 finishes this season. He is a solid tee to green player and although his putting stats do not look very good, he has actually been very good in limited action on bentgrass greens. Varner gets a lot of distance off the tee and his long iron game is about as good as it gets in this field which will be really important at a long course like Congressional. It is a bold play this week, but I see a nice opportunity to capitalize on a player in great form who can score and who is priced very affordably in this weak field.

SECONDARY

Marc Leishman – 25% ($10,900)
Charley Hoffman – 25% ($10,500)
Brendan Steele – 25% ($9,900)
Tony Finau – 25% ($8,500)
David Hearn – 25% ($7,400)
Jon Rahm – 25% ($7,300)
Hudson Swafford – 25% ($7,000)
Tim Wilkinson – 25% ($6,000)

Marc Leishman has been solid all season even if he has fallen a bit short of great most of the time. He has made 13 of 17 cuts this season with seven Top 25 finishes. At Congressional, he has a similar record making the cut in four of five starts with two Top 25 finishes, including an 8th place finish two years ago. Leishman is great from tee to green and with his putter, scrambles well, is ranked 9th in Par 4 Scoring and 28th in Birdie or Better Percentage. I am not excited to pay this high of a price for Leishman, but in a field this wide open, he has a real shot at a top finish and his stats point towards success so I will pay up to get him.

I am still trying to get used to seeing Charley Hoffman priced above $10,000 on a semi-regular basis. His numbers are really solid this year in making 13 of 17 cuts and a win just a couple of months ago. He is more of a Top 25 player than a Top 10, but again, there just are not a lot of options to look at this week and we have plenty of shares of other players who will do well so we are paying up for his solid performance this season and his history here of doing well where he has missed just one cut in seven starts and finished 3rd two years ago. Charley is playing really well this year from tee to green and his putter is in good form. It is also worth noting that Charley is a good bentgrass putter. While he probably will not be in the Top 10, he can help our rosters with another solid performance.

Brendan Steele should be a popular play this week. He has made five straight cuts with four of those finishes being in the Top 20, including last weekend at Oakmont. He is also 3/3 in making the cut at Congressional with a 5th place finish two years ago. He is a big hitter off the tee and plays really well from tee to green. His putter is a little shaky, but he is solid in Scoring on the Par 4 and Par 5 holes and scores enough to make him a strong play this week.

Tony Finau looked like he was in good position to make the cut last week after the first round before struggling in the second round. He bogeyed the last hole to miss the cut by one stroke, but that should not drive you away from him this week. Finau’s numbers from tee to green are usually pretty good and he is actually an above average putter on bentgrass. He is excellent on Par 4 and 5 holes and is always capable of pouring in a few birdies or even eagles with his game.

David Hearn has made six of his last seven cuts with five of those finishes being in the Top 30. Though he has only one start at Congressional, he managed to finish 44th in 2013. His tee to green numbers have been very good this year, particularly in Strokes Gained: Approach to Green. He had a rough start to the year with his putter, but that seems to be improving. He leads the tour in Proximity to the hole and he is one of the best players in the field this week in terms of Par 4 Scoring.

Jon Rahm is not getting quite the same buzz as Bryson DeChambeau, but I do not mind since his price is $1,500 cheaper as well. Rahm finished 23rd last week at Oakmont and has looked very good in limited action on the PGA Tour. He finished in 10th at the OHL last fall and 5th at the WM Phoenix Open in 2015 so he has shown that he can play. His limited stats show him to be a very solid player for this event and with some upside potential. I want to get some use out of him before he gets to be too popular among the DFS community.

I never get too excited to be a buyer of Hudson Swafford, but some weeks, I just cannot help myself and since he did reasonably well for us just a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to give him another opportunity this week. Swafford finished in 11th place in his lone start at Congressional two years ago and has made the cut in his last five starts this season after a rocky patch where he missed four straight cuts. His tee to green numbers are not that great, but he is fine in the areas of emphasis this week on the approach portion and he is particularly good with his approach game from over 200 yards which will be huge this week. He is a good player on both Par 4 and 5 holes and can putt well enough to post a few birdies. I think this is a good fit for Swafford this week.

I can’t quit Tim Wilkinson quite yet. He made the cut at the US Open, although his finish was not terribly noteworthy. However, he has been making cuts all season and his stats continue to elevate him in our model each week. His tee to green game and putting put him near the top of the field statistically and his proximity play gives him ample scoring chances. He is one of the best on tour when it comes to scrambling out of trouble and ranks 16th in Par 4 Scoring. He has made the cut at Congressional in both of his starts and finished in 24th two years ago. For $6,000, Wilkinson screams value this week.

Tertiary

Roberto Castro – 15% ($8,600)
Charles Howell III – 15% ($8,200)
John Senden – 15% ($7,200)
Patton Kizzire – 15% ($6,700)
Webb Simpson – 10% ($8,700)
Robert Garrigus – 10% ($8,000)
Lucas Glover – 5% ($6,500)
Ben Martin – 5% ($6,600)
Sean O’Hair – 5% ($6,400)
Rob Oppenheim – 5% ($5,300)

Roberto Castro – Three straight Top 30 finishes here with a 2nd place finish in 2013, has made five straight cuts and seven of his last eight, 29th in SGTG, 47th in SG-App, 5th in Par 4 Scoring, 61st in BoB%

Charles Howell III – 18/21 cuts made this season, thirteen Top 25 finishes, five Top 10 finishes, 3/6 making the cut at Congressional, 32nd in SGTG, 76th in SGP, 60th in SG-App, 9th in Par 4 Scoring, 30th in BoB%

John Senden – 5/5 in making the cut at Congressional, four Top 25 finishes in his last eight starts, 85th in SGTG, 39th SGP, 54th SG-App, 49th in Par 4 Scoring, 50th in BoB%

Patton Kizzire – A value at this price, lower due to particularly poor US Open performance, 14/19 making the cut this year, 94th SGTG, 9th SGP, 61st SG-App, 95th in Par 4 Scoring, 51st in BoB%

Webb Simpson – Seems to be getting his game back, looked poor at the US Open, but solid in his two other previous starts, still a poor putter, but new grip seems to be helping, 3/3 in making the cut at Congressional, 10/14 making the cut on the season, 20th in SGTG, 18th in SG-App, 22nd in Prox, 24th in Par 4 Scoring, 40th in BoB%

Robert Garrigus – A course history play, but has also been playing well over the last month, 7/7 at Congressional w four Top 25 finishes and two Top 10’s, has made four straight cuts this season, terrible putter overall, but much better on bentgrass, 28th in SGTG, 5th in SG-App, 17th in Prox, 55th in BoB%

Lucas Glover – 5/6 making the cut at Congressional, up and down season, reverting back to his ways as a terrible putter, still a decent buy for a cut maker with some upside, 24th in SGTG, 37th in SG-App, 30th in Prox, 24th in Par 4 Scoring, 61st in BoB%

Ben Martin – Finished 3rd in his only start at Congressional in 2014, Martin is a better player than his $6,600 price tag, 70th in SGP, 49th in Par 4 Scoring, 66th in BoB%

Sean O’Hair – 5/6 making the cut at Congressional, made four of his last five cuts this season, volatile player with Top 25 upside at a low price this week, 76th in SGTG, 74th in SGP, 9th in Par 4 Scoring, 59th in BoB%

Rob Oppenheim – a super cheap cut maker this week, playing well in making the cut in six of his last seven starts, 30th in SG-App, 47th in Prox, not much else to get excited about statistically, but at $5,300 we get some much needed salary cap relief and coming off of a solid finish at the US Open, I feel okay using him at another US Open style course

Good Luck,

-myz
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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte June 22, 2016 13:38

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