What’s up guys. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings PGA Sleeper Picks for The AT&T Byron Nelson Championship. After a rough week at The Wells Fargo, my picks bounced back last week at The Players with all three of my main picks making it through the cut. Adam Hadwin and Sung Kang both returned valued finishing at T30th, but Kyle Stanley was the gem of the three, as he was in the final pairing on Sunday, ending with an excellent T4 finish. Overall it was successful week and I hope to keep this streak going into The Byron Nelson. This event is at TPC Four Seasons in Iriving, Texas which is right outside of Dallas. The course is a par 70 that is 7,166 yards long. Sergio Garcia took the title last year, beating Brooks Koepka in a playoff, shooting -18 for the tournament.
Just like last week at Sawgrass, I think we need to put an emphasis on par four scoring again, with this course being home to 12 par fours and only two par fives. Playing well on the par fours has translated to success here, as four of the last five champions have ranked inside the top 3 in par four scoring for the week, with Garcia being the lone wolf, who still showed the importance of this stat, ranking T6 in par four scoring for the tournament last year. Also another a key stat I will be focusing on is driving distance. These are some large fairways and distance has been an advantage over accuracy off the tee the last ten years, with the winners averaging a drive of 300.3 yards and a driving accuracy percentage of 61.4%. (via Fantasy Golf Metrics) Also as it always is, hitting greens and sinking birdies will be very important for success this week. Usually after a stacked field like at The Players, we get an extremely weak group of players the following week, but this is an okay field this time around at The Byron Nelson, with four of the top ten ranked players in the world teeing it up in Texas. Also be sure to watch the weather because rain and wind have played a role here in the past. So as always if any of these picks help you win or if you need any advice, let me know on Twitter @Hunta512.
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Smylie Kaufman: (7,100) There will always be a risk in rostering Kaufman, but he is a very nice fit for this course in his recent form. I don’t know if it was the recent “Spring Break 2K17” trip, but Kaufman has looked like a completely different player, making three straight cuts, coming off a T5 at The Wells Fargo and T12 at The Players. His stats are ugly for the whole year (6/15 made cuts), outside of being 17th in driving distance (302.4 yards), but during these last three starts, his game has looked much better, with an average adjusted round score of 68.2 and averaging 0.4 strokes gained putting, which is a big improvement from his -0.254 average for the 2017 season.
To put this in perspective, if he was at 0.4 strokes gained putting for the season, he would rank 35th on The Tour instead of 150th. His putting has been the main key to his recent success, but he also has been terrific on par fours, ranking 3rd in par four scoring of all players who have competed over the last six weeks. (-3.3) If Kaufman can continue to play at this level, he should do just fine here in first try at TPC Four Seasons, and is someone I love using in GPPs this week at only $7,100.
Anirban Lahiri: (6,400) Lahiri was terrible at The Players, but he has never done well at Sawgrass and I think we need to disregard his performance last week, because there is no way the 86th ranked player in the world should be the 112th highest priced player in this field. Before the missed cut last week, Lahiri was playing consistent golf, making 8/10 cuts for the season, including four top 25s. Most of his stats are nothing jaw dropping, but he is a longer player, ranking 88th in driving distance (291.4 yards), who always has the potential to put up a lot of birdies, ranking 15th in birdie or better percentage for the year.
He also has played in The Byron Nelson before, finishing with a solid T46 in his first try at this course last season. The upside is somewhat limited, but I think we see Lahiri make it to the weekend, which is all we need him to do at this cheap of a price. He is one of my favorite cheap plays if you want to go the stars and scrubs approach, that will hopefully be low owned after the way he played last week. (5-8% projected ownership, via Fantasy Labs)
Nick Watney: (6,800) Watney hasn’t been great lately, missing two of his last three cuts, but he has played very well here at The Byron Nelson for his career. He is 4/6 in made cuts total on this course and has made three straight, with back to back top tens, including a T8 in 2011, and a T10 in 2015. He has been streaky this year (7/12), but he has shown upside when he gets hot, posting three T14s during February and March.
For the season he ranks 44th in driving distance (297 yards), 81st in strokes gained tee to green, 58th in GIR percentage (67.9%), and 28th in strokes gained approaching the green. He didn’t have a high finish his last time out (T56 at The Wells Fargo), but it was good to see him bounce back after missing two straight cuts. He is not a recommended cash game play, but in GPPs, Watney is nice sleeper based on his course history.
Also Consider: Sung Kang (has made five straight cuts and is T22 in par four scoring. Viable in all formats but might be highly owned), JT Poston (also will be chalky, but is hard to ignore at this price after making seven consecutive cuts), Nick Taylor (nice value at $6,900), Jamie Lovemark, Fabrizio Zanotti, Kyle Reifers J.J. Spaun, Julian Etulian, Keegan Bradley (5/6 here, with a 2nd in 2013 and a win in 2011), and Cameron Percy.