The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – The Players Championship

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte March 13, 2019 02:33

The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – The Players Championship

It felt great last week to bounce back so quickly after things did not go my way at the Honda Classic two weeks ago. PGA National always has a way of playing tricks on me, but I felt much better last week going into the Arnold Palmer Invitational and it proved to be our best week of the year for Team FGI. I promised it would be a good week for cash games with such a strong field and so many excellent players coming in at really low salaries and by Friday afternoon, with six through the cut and cash games clinched, all that was left to do was to wait to see how much upside we could capture in GPP contests for the week.

The four golfers that I focused on for cash last week all performed well with Tommy Fleetwood, CHIII, Rafa and Poulter all surging during different rounds, but each doing well in paying off their salaries. The other two players that I used for cash were Benny An and Hideki. I meant to roll in Molnari for Hideki in cash last Wednesday night, but since I was on the road, I fell asleep a little early and was highly agitated upon waking up to see Hideki at +4 and Molinari at -3 with a hole in one on his card. It worked out fine as Hideki stormed back to close the first round out at even on the day and scored enough over the weekend to make me happy in cash, but the right move would have been to opt out after he pulled out of the Pro Am as we do want to try to minimize our risk going into an event and certainly taking a risk on a guy who is not 100% goes against that so I feel fortunate that it did not come back to bite me.

Overall, it was a fantastic week for my core as only Justin Rose and Bryson proved to be a disappointment in underperforming badly over the weekend right when it looked like they would be able to make a charge the last couple of rounds. However, the rest of the group played really well. Obviously, we nailed Molinari who played out of his mind on Sunday. I thought there would be a good chance that he would come in lightly owned considering his price, the other players around him and his lack of play so far in 2019. I liked what I saw in Mexico and did not see a lot of rust so I felt really comfortable using him in a spot where he seemed likely to play well and at a smaller share of ownership than normal.

We were not done with just Molinari, we had plenty of other great performances from key players. Tommy Fleetwood and RCB finished tied for 3rd. Jason Kokrak, Benny An and Lucas Glover tied for 10th. CHIII finished 15th and Ian Poulter finished 23rd. We had a good share of Rory, List, Sungjae Im and Stenson as well. When you look at just these players, you have the formation of a lot of potentially winning teams and many of you found the perfect combination as we had at least seven people take down good sized GPP wins last week with countless others taking down 2x or more on their entries for the week.

So now that you are all revved up and ready to go after last week, I am going to start this column by throwing a little cold water on you as we begin our preparation for The Players Championship. This is an event that has always given me problems over the years. Webb Simpson’s win last year propelled both Jeff and myself to strong performances last year, but the three years prior to that were just mayhem for my rosters as I was nowhere close in 2017 when Si Woo Kim came out of nowhere to win. In 2016, Jeff hit Jason Day, but I was not onboard and in 2015, the Rickie Fowler back nine miracle on Sunday was magical, but not for me. This event has been a bit of a nemesis for me over the years so I am going into it very cautiously during this iteration.

The first thing that we have to consider is that this event has been held in May since 2007. The advantage of holding the tournament in May versus March is that typically, the weather is a little more unpredictable this time of year with high winds and rain being more of a factor. On the positive side, the temperature will be much cooler this time of year and the greens should not be quite as baked out in the afternoons. To assure that the course would be up to standards for play in March, the course was overseeded with rye grass back in the fall. For a quick read on the overseeding process, you can read about it here at this link. This should have the greens playing a little softer and it will be interesting to see if they are still as fast as what we’ve been used to seeing.

The course itself is a Pete Dye design, though it does not really compare all that favorably to other Pete Dye courses so it has never made a lot of sense to me to compare it to those other courses. It is a Par 72 and plays at just under 7,200 yards. There is water everywhere so keeping the ball in the fairway is paramount this week which is why Driving Accuracy makes a rare appearance in the key stats category this week. It has been a less than driver course over the years, but there is some speculation that with the overseeding, the fairways may be a bit more receptive so driver may make a few more appearances than in recent years. The scoring opportunities will come on the four Par 5 holes this week as they are on the shorter side and mostly reachable in two shots for players with any amount of distance off the tee. The fairways are narrow and tree lined which usually forces players to club down off the tee. As a consequence, this becomes a second shot course where approach play, particularly long iron play becomes increasingly important as the greens are on the small side, though they should be receptive due to overseeding. Of course, for a deeper look at the course this week and every week, be sure to check out The First Tee from Adam Daly each week. It’s the first place I start my research each week and always gives a nice, detailed look at each course.

When I think about how to approach this event, it is tough to tell you to pull back for a week. Considering the field and the prestige associated with this tournament, it is difficult to not jump in with both feet and play it the same way as we would for a major. However, over the years, this has been a spot where I have been roughed up as this is a course that gives even the best players in the world a tough time. People say course history does not matter. Yet, how many golf courses are there in the world where Dustin Johnson could play nearly every season and never contend in his career? Rickie Fowler has a win and a runner up finish here, but the other seven starts have been a nightmare. Every great player in the field this week has been tripped up here at some point in their career and many in spectacular fashion. When trouble is lurking off of nearly every tee shot and big numbers can be found all over the course, players either take what is given to them or get aggressive and are rewarded or punished justly.

My issue with playing cash games here is that it is a spot where it is tougher than normal for me to project made and missed cuts. That said, there are a lot of great value plays in the middle of this field in the lower 9k range and especially in the 7-8k range this week. As I was building out my initial lineups, my cash game team actually came together really easily after just a few small tweaks to the default version of the model. However, like the Honda Classic, another event that puts the hurt on even the best players in the world, TPC Sawgrass has a way of ruining a lot of weeks unexpectedly. It is one of those tournaments each season that I put a big red X next to at the start of the year as a warning. Although I do not want to dampen your enthusiasm too much this week, it would be prudent for each of you to take your normal bankroll exposure down a notch or two. I am sure that I will have trouble following my own advice and as promised, I will be in the trenches with you always in cash games (the easiest way to find my cash lineup is in the $250 double up which can be tracked live during the tournament). We’ve been on an incredible roll for cash games and I love seeing so many of you moving up to higher stakes with me. I would love to crowd out the rest of the field with FGI logos up top throughout the season. If you scrolled through the types of garbage lineups we were matched up against last week in such a loaded field, you now know why I think we can still be profitable consistently in cash this season. In PGA, it all comes down to risk minimization each week. Sometimes we’ll have good players collapse and blow the cut, but it will be rare when we look back at our rosters and wonder how we ever allowed ourselves to land on certain golfers.

Key Stats

Strokes Gained Tee to Green: 25%
Birdie or Better Percentage: 20%
Strokes Gained Putting: 15%
Proximity: 10%
Scrambling: 10%
Driving Accuracy: 10%
Par 5 Scoring: 10%


*Note – If you want to build your own custom stat model each week, there is no easier place to do it than our model. It takes just seconds to select which key stats you want to highlight, weight each one individually until you get to 100%, then weight key stats at 100% in the overall category and sort from high to low and you’ve got your custom stat model. You can do this with the other categories as well as I always find it interesting and beneficial to highlight form, odds and course history to see which under the radar players stand out in one category or other each week.

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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte March 13, 2019 02:33

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