The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – Wells Fargo Championship

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte May 4, 2016 13:03

Thank you, Dustin Johnson. Once again, not listening to my own advice screwed me over today. I had so much great feedback last week about the new format for my column that I decided to make it permanent. We have so many questions from week to week about GPP lineup construction and there is so much confusion about how to attack them that I finally just decided to give you a breakdown of how I construct my 100 $3 GPP lineups each week. So I did my research last night, made some decisions and set percentages for all of the players that I wanted to use this week. After I generated my 100 lineups at The Fantasy Fanatics website, I uploaded a CSV file to DraftKings and thought, I might as well just throw them into the contest now and I won’t have to worry about doing it later. It takes just a few clicks to get all 100 teams into an event so I felt great about how efficient I had been with my time…until this morning.

I looked at my phone in the middle of the morning to see that Dustin Johnson has withdrawn from the event. This is actually a very DJ type move the week before a big tournament and with The Players Championship a week away, it should not surprise me to see him WD. Unfortunately, for me, that meant that I now had 100 lineups entered and would now need to delete them all to start the process over as I had made DJ a core play with a 60% weighting. I tell all of you each week, wait to build your lineups until Wednesday night. This is one very good reason to listen to this advice as you never know who will withdraw or when it will happen. If you simply wait until Wednesday to hit submit, you will save yourself many headaches and more than a few dollars as well. I paid the price by having to take a few extra hours tonight to do the research I needed in order to give you my $3 GPP lineup weightings for the week.

We need to get folks away from the approach of firing two or three shots in total at GPP events each week and thinking with any sort of confidence that they have a potential winning strategy. Playing like this is a way to throw your money away because the only thing you have to go in in that type of approach is luck. Now, if you can advance to a high enough buy-in ($300 and above) to where the field is small, now you only need a few lineups to have a chance to be effective in a given week. But the strategy that I am going to teach you here is one to focus on for the common player aiming at the $3 GPP and $0.25 GPP from week to week.

The biggest problem that most beginner players need to correct is bankroll management. Often times when I get questions from a struggling player and I ask about how they are managing their bankroll, they will say that they are doing just as we told them and doing 70-80% cash and 20-30% GPP events. This is a great start, but then when we discuss the contests that they are choosing for the GPP events, the trouble begins. Typically, they are playing 3-5 line ups in total in one event of another. So someone with a $400 bankroll might be playing for $60 in a given week with $45 in cash games and $15 in GPP events where they have 5 entries in the $3 GPP.

With over 105,000 entries in the $3 GPP, you are going to need to hit the perfect lineup in order to win. You will need a near perfect lineup just to hit a nice score for the week in a contest like that. The reason it is so tough is that the odds are that you will probably only get 1-2 teams through the cut fully intact and on those teams, you then have to hope you had just the right mix of players. Maybe you were lucky that week and had the winner on one of your six teams…but that team only had four players make the cut. If you are lucky, your team with all six players still alive gets into the weekend and does well, but even then, you cannot afford for any of those players to fall off at all. The $3 GPP is highly sensitive to any change in score so one or two bad holes by one of your players and that team is out of the chase.

Whenever I talk to folks like this, my first piece of advice is to drop down to the Quarter Arcade event. Rather than five teams, you will now have 60 teams to work with each week. Now when you have the winner, they are going to be on multiple teams with multiple groups of players around them. Instead of getting just one lineup through the cut, maybe now you get 10-15 with multiple teams to cheer for so that one player struggling does not kill the dream for the weekend. With DFS golf, we need to set aside the ‘get rich quick’ mindset that pervades the industry through ad campaigns and images of live final events. If you want to get to that place in the game, it starts from refining your process and then moving up (or down) as your bankroll dictates and knowing the reasons why you are moving up or down.

It is time consuming to build all of those extra lineups each week. It is much easier to just throw together a few teams and hope that it all works out, but I promise that taking the time week in and week out will bring you better results over the long term. As you get better at selecting your core players from week to week the results will follow. Jeff and I are committed to bringing a lineup building solution to our members so hopefully we will be able to make this a less painful process in the year ahead so that you will be able to dial in your percentages and hit the numbers and get close on the the weightings.

In looking at this week, the tour moves back east to Charlotte for the Wells Fargo Championship. Last week we had three stars at the top and not a lot of high quality value players that were also priced in the value range. With a thin field, I did not use a lot of players to make my rosters and tried to limit myself to around 20 golfers. This week, with more depths at all levels, I allowed myself a few extra players as there are enough talented players capable of doing big things that I wanted to be in on as many as I liked, but still stay pretty reasonably concentrated as well.

Remember, when we are building lineups, we want to go no lower than a 5% weighting on any individual player. If you build 100 lineups and use a few players only once, you are mostly wasting your time in adding those extra players to the full list. Again, if that player does really well, you must then hope that the one roster you put him on also crushes it in order to see the benefits of using him. Give each player a fair chance to succeed. It is the big reason to do a large number of teams at a really low buy-in.

The course this week is Quail Hollow which has hosted this event going back to 2003 so we have a lot of great historical data to work with. The course is 7,442 yards and is a Par 72 with four Par 3’s and four Par 5’s. The Par 3’s are mostly really long so it will be important not to lose ground there, but in order to win, in addition to all the normal key stats that are big, players are going to need to take advantage of scoring opportunities, particularly on the Par 5’s and some of the shorter Par 4 holes around the course. Bombers tend to do really well at this event as Rory (two time winner), Rickie and JB Holmes have all been winners in recent years although accurate players with strong putters have also found success with Top 10 finishes as well. The key stats for the week broke down as follows (Fantasy Golf Metrics):

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

Good luck this week with building your lineups. If you have not done it in as technical of a manner as I have described, give it a shot this week to see how it goes for you. Start with a simple Excel spreadsheet and add in your weightings as you go before actually building your teams. Give yourself a way to ballpark your progress and have some goals before your start punching in teams just for the sake of entering lineups. If it helps you to use my weightings for core, secondary and tertiary players, then go for it. If you want to adjust them to be more or less aggressive in certain areas, then that is reasonable as well. The numbers that I provide are for guidance and not hard rules for how to do it perfectly. As always, please feel free to hit me up through Twitter or email with any questions and I will do my best to respond to everyone. If your e-mails are long with many paragraphs and a lot of questions, it might take me a few days, but I will get back to you…I just need extra time to craft a full and comprehensive response.

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Once again, the optimal lineups for the week were split with one losing thanks to the collapse of Justin Rose, while the other was an easy winner and never in doubt. Overall, I was able to win with two of my three cash game teams for the week so things worked out well overall and were profitable. This week, with a stronger field, it is not real essential to go after the big name players above $10,000 for your cash game lineups and that is reflected in the optimal lineup as well as the secondary lineup. With weeks like this, there is so much mid level talent that should do well that you do not need to take any extra risk by dipping into the lower ranges.

Patrick Reed – $9,700
Hideki Matsuyama – $9,300
JB Holmes – $9,100
Kevin Chappell – $7,900
Brendan Steele – $7,200
Will Wilcox – $6,600

The top three players are all pretty consistent in terms of making the cut and all matched up well statistically for the course. Kevin Chappell is in the middle of a nice run with three Top 10 finishes in his last four events and has finished in the Top 20 at Quail Hollow in each of the last two years. Brendan Steele is at a great price this week. He has made four of five cuts here and finished in the Top 10 a year ago and seems to have rebounded from his recent slump. Will Wilcox makes me nervous here, I won’t lie to you, but the DFS community favorite has posted two straight solid finishes and seems to be returning to the player he was last year when he was one of the top ball strikers on tour. Our secondary lineup is:

Phil Mickelson – $9,500
Daniel Berger – $8,400
Charles Howell III – $8,100
Justin Thomas – $8,000
Webb Simpson – $7,900
Gary Woodland – $7,800

There is certainly a little blowup potential here, but each of these golfers has played really steady golf this season and although Phil has crumbled the last couple of weeks, he has been dominant in his career at Quail Hollow so I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. This is Webb Simpson’s home course so he is an obvious play for cash games. Charles Howell III has played here often over the years and is in tremendous form this season. Gary Woodland has missed just one cut all season and has made the cut here in all five starts. Justin Thomas has made six straight cuts and took 7th in his lone start here. Finally, I am actually including Daniel Berger in a cash game lineup. He has made five straight cuts with the last four all being Top 20 finishes and he finished 28th here a year ago in his first start. I think that getting 5 of 6 through will get us the money so even if one of these guys forgets how to play, the rest should be able to make up for it.

As I did last week, I am now going to be breaking my column up among how I constructed my $3 GPP lineups for the week. I am entering 100 teams into the event. I did not go above 60% on any of my weightings this week as my 100% weighting of a player in each of the last two weeks has been a disaster despite solid picks so until I get the courage up again, I will use 60% on the high end for now. You will notice that just because a player is considered core, it does not mean I expect those players to finish 1st-5th in the standings. Each player has a role to play whether it be a low priced cut maker, two very strong value plays, a course horse and an upper tier player that may be a little contrarian due to a lack of great history, but with strong potential, each guy has their own purpose to balance out the entire group as a whole.


Adam Scott – 60% ($10,600)
Charles Howell III – 60% ($8,100)
Brendan Steele – 60% ($7,200)
Phil Mickelson – 60% ($9,500)
Lucas Glover – 60% ($6,300)

We have a really strong group of core players this week. I would have been happier had Dustin Johnson decided to play, but maybe we got lucky as an unfocused DJ the week before a bigger tournament (The Players next week) can often lead to disaster as we found out last year the week prior to the US Open when he abruptly withdrew from the St Jude after just nine holes which crushed a lot of lineups for owners in all formats. Instead, we will pivot to Adam Scott whose game was really a mess a year ago at this time. This year, Scott seems to be a new player and his putter has actually helped him rather than held him back. He has a run of a second place finish at the Northern Trust Open, he won the Honda Classic and then won the WGC-Cadillac event at Doral. He did well at Bayhill finishing in 12th, but The Masters was a little disappointing where he finished 42nd. With DJ’s WD, he probably will not be quite as contrarian as I would have liked, but I still think there is value there for a player with a lot of upside.

Charles Howell III has been rock solid for us all season. He notched his twelfth Top 25 finish last weekend in New Orleans and continues to impress with his high level of consistent play. His price is lower this week and we will take full advantage of it again. He has played here 13 times and only missed a couple of cuts so with his level of experience on the course and amazing form, he is a core play as he should make the cut and have plenty of upside potential.

Phil Mickelson has hurt us the last two times out of the gates with a missed cut at The Masters and another missed cut at Valero. The winds caused issues for a lot of top players at Augusta and Phil had played Valero only two other times, so I am not terribly concerned with the last two events and considering how much success Phil has had at Quail Hollow over the years with eight Top 10 finishes in twelve starts, I think Phil is a must play at his price this week.

Brendan Steele is a nice value this week at his price. Coming off of a nice finish two weeks ago in Texas, he will look to keep the momentum going at Quail Hollow where he has made four of five cuts and finished 9th last year. He can be a little streaky, and not in a good way at times, but the price we are getting here is too good to pass up and locking him in at a low range value price gives us some flexibility with a player who has high upside potential.

Lucas Glover did good work for us last week and we are going back for an even bigger bite this week. I am sure that he will be popular this week, but in taking him at 60%, we will still get plenty of benefit above and beyond the field if he performs well. If Glover did not ever have to pick up a putter, he would be one of the most dominant players in the game. His ball striking skills and iron play are incredible and his statistics are really eye catching…until you see the putting numbers. Fortunately, Glover has not been terrible this year, which if he can maintain that, still offers a lot of upside for owners. He has only missed the cut here three times in twelve starts and won the event back in 2011. It is never a sure thing with Glover, but he is worth the risk this week.


Rickie Fowler – 25% ($10,900)
Justin Rose – 25% ($10,000)
Hideki Matsuyama – 25% ($9,100)
Kevin Chappell – 25% ($7,900)
Jamie Lovemark – 25% ($7,900)
Webb Simpson – 25% ($7,900)
Gary Woodland – 25% ($7,800)

The secondary group is full of strong plays as we really did not need to slide down that far to find huge value with the potential to do really well. You will notice that I am intentionally fading Rory this week. Do what you will with that information. I think for as highly priced as he is and for the amount of people that I expect to own him that a fade is the right play. Unless he wins the event (or maybe 2nd place as well), I will not regret this move. He has won here twice, but people have tunnel vision on how well he played last year. He has not been the same guy so far this season so unless he roars to life now, I am comfortable with the fade. Throughout the season, fading the top player when they are priced well higher than others has been a great strategy and one that will work most of the time if you can force yourself to stick to it. Last season, when Day and Spieth were winning each week, we had to reevaluate things a bit and adjust, but with as many good players as are out there now, and Rory being just a little off, I am going to stick to my guns this week on keeping him out of my line ups.

The rest of the group is actually fairly straightforward. Rickie has won here previously and though his record is erratic in other years, he has been very good this year outside of Augusta. He’s a big hitter that can dominate Par 5’s when he is on his game and tends to come up big in stronger fields like this one.

Justin Rose ruined me in all of my $3 games a week ago, but as I like to do, I will jump right back on him this week after others are scared off. He still has tremendous upside, rarely misses cuts and fits this course well. He took 5th here two years ago and I expect a big bounce back this week. He missed almost every putt between 5-10 feet a week ago and I am confident that will not become a trend.

Hideki Matsuyama should be someone that we can count on this week. He has made the cut in both starts here and although his putter usually holds him back, he has been well above average on Bermuda grass over this past season. He had some injury withdrawals early in the season, but has really only missed one cut this year after a bad round at Torrey Pines. He shouldn’t hurt us this week and is capable of helping us in a big way.

The next four guys are all right in the same price range, but all worth using at a high clip this week. This is Webb Simpson’s home course and a spot where he has two Top 5 finishes. This is like a major for Webb and he will want to perform well in front of the home crowd. His game has been a little up and down this year, but this is a great week to use him with his experience playing here.

Jamie Lovemark should have won in New Orleans on Monday, but let things slip away. However, the course here fits him even better than last week. He’s a long hitter and can score on the Par 5’s (except for the last one in New Orleans, apparently). Much like last week’s event, where he had also missed the cut in 2014 and 2012, I want you to disregard those results. Lovemark is a new player this year and the results show that as he now has five Top 10 finishes in his sixteen starts. I am a little worried that there could be some mental fatigue after last week, but for the price and given his upside for GPP’s, I am willing to set aside my concerns.

Something has clicked for Kevin Chappell over the last month and I am not sure why it took so long, but I am glad to see that he is finally playing up to his potential. He has finished in the Top 10 in three of his last four events and in the Top 20 in his last two starts at Quail Hollow. He is a solid ball striker with a superb tee to green game. Were it not for a below average putter, he would probably be winning some of these events by now. We’ve been here before with Chappell where he has let us down in a big way, but it’s like most of us say when going back to an ex, it’s different this time.

Last season, I watched Gary Woodland struggle with inconsistent play and never really looking comfortable on the golf course. After a promising 2014 campaign, he just never put it together last season. He is a true bomber and leads the tour in driving distance. The big difference from a year ago is his tee to green game. Merely average last season, he is now ranked 19th on tour this season in strokes gained tee to green with the result being that he is ranked 4th in Par 5 scoring. He has done well at Quail Hollow and never missed a cut in five starts with each finish being progressively better than the last, culminating with a 4th place finish here a year ago.


Paul Casey – 15% ($8,900)
Daniel Berger – 15% ($8,400)
Bryson DeChambeau – 15% ($7,800)
Patton Kizzire – 15% ($7,700)
Will Wilcox – 15% ($6,600)
Byeong-Hun An – 10% ($8,600)
Scott Brown – 10% ($7,500)
Ryan Moore – 10% ($7,500)
Luke List – 5% ($6,900)
John Senden – 5% ($6,600)
Sean O’Hair – 5% ($6,100)
Davis Love III – 5% ($5,500)

I’m just going to touch on each guy in the tertiary range this week as some are strong plays and others just fliers and predicted low ownership options.

Paul Casey is under the radar this week as I have heard almost nothing about him. He missed the cut here many years ago back in 2011, but his game sets up well for the course. Most people will be buying JB Holmes and Hideki so this gives us a small pivot.

Daniel Berger now has four straight Top 20 finishes in stroke play events. Longer courses tend to be his specialty and he did well in his first start here a year ago, finishing in 28th place. At $8,400, he has plenty of upside potential as opposed to his steep price a week ago.

Bryson DeChambeau was loved by everyone until he missed the cut two weeks ago and now people will be a little hesitant about him with all the surrounding talent in his price range. He is going to be an above average tee to green player with good distance off the tee and a respectable putter. I think he will do well in his debut here as many other similar rookies did a year ago. (Finau, Berger, Thomas, Rodgers)

Patton Kizzire has shown a lot of consistency this season posting five Top 10 finishes and missing just three cuts. His tee to green game is solid and his putter has been outstanding. He is not as big of a hitter as others so that may test him, but I like how he is playing and his price is very reasonable this week.

I told myself I was going to skip Wilcox this week, but here I am writing him up. I’ll take some shares of Wilcox in the $3 GPP although I will pass on him in the $300. He will be somewhat popular this week, but there is enough value in the $6-7k range that it should not be too extreme. He says he has found his swing again and I believe him. The results the last couple of weeks seem to show that to be the truth. He can be a top ball striker when his game is right and his price makes him too tempting for me to pass up.

I was concerned about injuries for Byeong-Hun An last week as I know his neck has been an issue, but everything looked fine on his way to a 2nd place finish in New Orleans. He is a big hitter that had a lot of success in Europe before coming back to the PGA Tour in the US. He ranks 12th in birdie or better percentage and has a good enough tee to green game to give him plenty of chances to score this week.

Scott Brown rarely draws interest from fantasy owners which is why I like him this week. He has made three straight cuts here with all finishes being in the Top 40 and has made seven straight cuts on tour this season. He is not amazing statistically, but does have some ability to jump up in the standings sometimes which is why I will buy a small amount this week.

Ryan Moore left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth with his Masters performance. I am pretty consistent with my theme of making contrarian picks and that means going back to Moore at an event where he has made five straight cuts with two Top 10 finishes. For the season, he has missed just two cuts so I am not worried about his form….yet.

Luke List missed a 6 foot putt on his last hole in New Orleans and it cost him the cut. It was a shame as he had played well in the opening round and looked on his way to another Top 25 finish. He’s been playing well lately, having made six of his last eight cuts with five of those finishes being in the Top 30. He is a bomber with a great tee to green game that does well on Par 5’s so he is worth a buy this week.

John Senden has been very good at Quail Hollow finishing 33rd or better in six of his last seven starts. Though it has been a bumpy year, he has made three of four cuts coming in and he ranked as one of our higher players below $7,00 this week so he gets a few roster spots.

Has Sean O’Hair hit rock bottom yet? I hope so as his price would indicate after plummeting $1,500 following his miserable finish a week ago. If you can’t stomach this pick, I totally understand, but O’Hair is a former winner here (2009) and did finish 20th last season. He has the game to do well on this course, he just needs to avoid the meltdowns. He will either miss the cut, or be a Top 25 finisher this week.

Dropping way down to $5,500, we get a chance to own Davis Love III. Love has yet to miss a cut in ten starts this season and although he has not posted a lot of DraftKings points, he does not need to at this price in order to be a good deal. His numbers are not that exciting, but he has only missed the cut twice here over his last eight starts. He is here purely for his price and ability to make cuts this season.

Good Luck,


Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte May 4, 2016 13:03

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