We couldn’t have asked for a better start to The FedEx Cup Playoffs, with Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson dueling yesterday in a playoff at The Northern Trust, eventually leading to DJ picking up the win and now leading the FedEx Cup standings. As for my picks, it was an okay week, with Ian Poulter (66th) being the best play of my main three and some strong values, specifically Xander Schauffle (T17th) from my honorable mentions. Now the playoffs head to TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts, for The Dell Technologies Championship, formerly known as The Deutsche Bank Championship.
This playoff stop has been played at this venue since 2003 and this course is a Par 71 that is 7,297 yards in length. Rory McIlroy won last year at -15 and every winner here has shot at least -14 in their wins. The weather, at the moment, looks great three out of the four days, with a decent chance of rain on Sunday, so I think it is reasonable to expect low numbers if we get good scoring conditions again this year for most of the tournament. Finding the fairway at TPC Boston isn’t that difficult and golfers who have solid length off the tee and stronger approach games have succeed here the most in the past. The last ten champions here in Norton, have averaged a 300.5 yard drive and have nailed 72.2% of these bent grass greens during their victories. (via Fantasy Golf Metrics) As I just said I am expecting some low scoring, so finding players who rack up the birdies will be key, particularly on par fives, which will be some of these golfers best scoring opportunities this week. On top of the primary key stats I use every week, I will also be putting a weight on driving distance and par five scoring for this event.
As the playoffs go on, each events field becomes smaller, and this week we have a field of 96 players to attack involving a normal top 70 and ties cut-line. With this high of percentage of players making the cut, it makes getting 6/6 players through the cut even more crucial to success. Also this will be the last playoff event that has a cut line, so I believe this is the time to use a higher amount of your bankroll for both cash games and GPPs during these playoffs, with the next two events being even smaller and having no cut. Finally, don’t forget that this tournament starts Friday at 8:15 AM instead of Thursday morning and ends Monday instead of Sunday because of the holiday weekend. The golf season is almost over so be sure to have fun and enjoy this week and as usual if you have any questions, feel free to let me know on Twitter. @Hunta512.
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Xander Schauffele: (6,900) Schauffele showed us last week that his missed cut at The PGA Championship was just a minor speed bump in a great run, as he bounced back at The Northern Trust finishing with a T17, which was his sixth top 20 finish over his last eight starts. He struggled with his irons badly at Quail Hollow, so it was nice to see him strike it well again at The Northern Trust, where he hit 76% of greens in regulation, which ranked T7 in the field for the week. Not only does he have the distance I want this week (306.5 yard average drive this season), but he also has been a consistent birdie maker and par five player this summer, ranking 10th in birdies gained and 30th in strokes gained on par fives over his last 24 rounds of competitive golf. (via Fantasy National)
This will be his first time playing at TPC Boston, which is an obvious disadvantage for him, but if he can get through the cut, which is something he has done in eight of his last nine standard cut-line events, the rookie has a great chance of finishing inside the top 25 and producing a very nice DraftKings score. (78.3 DK points per event over his last nine made cuts) There is just too much value and upside at this price for me to ignore and I can’t wait to deploy Schauffele in GPPs this week.
Jhonattan Vegas: (7,000) Nobody saw it coming, but after a very poor run of missing five straight cuts, Vegas repeated and won The Canadian Open for the second consecutive year, and has followed his win up with two more impressive weeks in his last three starts, including a T17th at The WGC Bridgestone and a T3 last week at The Northern Trust. Even when including his missed cut at The PGA Championship, Vegas’s game has been exceptional lately, ranking 8th in strokes gained total, 10th in strokes gained tee to green, 10th in strokes gained approaching the green, and 5th in strokes gained total on par fives during his last 12 rounds.
He will always smash it off tee (313 yard average drive in his last four), but he has improved with his putter recently (27.2 average putts per round in last three made cuts), and was especially strong with his putter last week, ending the week at 4th in strokes gained putting at The Northern Trust. This is also going to be his third appearance in this event and he is 2/2 made cuts here at TPC Boston. It’s hard to rely on hot putting, but Vegas’s game overall is clearly trending upwards, and he is a tournament play that is definitely worth a shot at this salary.
Marc Leishman: (6,900) He may have missed the cut last week at The Northern Trust, but the bottom line is $6,900 is a ridiculous price for Leishman in this event. Before the missed cut last week, the Aussie had made eight consecutive cuts, with a notable six top 20 finishes coming in those eight events. Plus, he also has been a consistent cut maker here over the years, making the cut in seven of his eight tries at TPC Boston.
He ranks well in all the stats I am looking for, ranking 46th in driving distance (299.2 yards), 62nd in GIR % (66.81%), 29th in strokes gained approaching the green, 17th in strokes gained tee to green, 62nd in strokes gained putting, 42nd in par five scoring, and 62nd in birdie or better percentage this season. When comparing Vegas odds to DraftKings salaries, Leishman stands out as one of the strongest values of the week, at 66/1, which are the best odds to win of any player priced under $7,000. At this low of a price tag, Leishman is a viable value play in all formats.
Also Consider: Ollie Schniederjans, Charl Schwartzel, Graham DeLaet (is risky after the WD with a back injury last week, but should come with a very low ownership becuase of this), Patrick Cantlay (its early in the week, but he could end up being a popular play), Jamie Lovemark, Tony Finau, Ian Poultor, Harold Varner III, and Francesco Molinari.