How’s it going everybody. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings PGA Sleeper Picks for The 2017 Players Championship. First off, last week was a down week for my picks with only 1/3 of my featured picks making it to the weekend. Harold Varner and Stewart Cink ruined a ton of my lineups, but Nick Taylor was a superb GPP play, finishing with a T8 at a low ownership in most tournaments. (5.1% in The Fore) It was obviously a disappointing week for my picks, but weeks like this happen in DFS, especially when the event is held on a course where we have no history to fall back on. But either way, let’s bounce back this week at The Players, which is always one of the strongest fields of the season, with this event possessing the largest payout of the all PGA Tour events. The Players takes place at the very famous TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course in Ponte Verde Beach, Florida, where it has been hosted since 1982.
This course is a Pete Dye designed Par 72, that measures in at 7,215 yards. Since last year, the course has had some renovations, specifically the shortening of hole 12, but overall I think the same statistics that have always played a role here will still be the main factors. It is a shorter course and using a driver won’t be a must on most of these holes. Being accurate can be a plus, but mostly every player is more accurate of the tee, when they club down. You will need to hit the right spots to set yourself up for the best approaches at these greens, because sticking these greens is crucial, with the last ten winners having an average GIR percentage of 71.6%. (via Fantasy Golf Metrics) Another key for success here at Sawgrass is par four scoring. There is no way around it, you need to play well on these par fours if you want to win, with 15 of the last 16 winners ranking inside the top ten in par four scoring for the week and 12 of the last 16 ranking inside the top five.
So outside of the usual key stats for every week of DFS Golf, I will be targeting strong approach players who score well on Par fours. As I said earlier, this is a major like field of players, which means it’s a great week to watch on TV and to play DFS golf on DraftKings. There may not be a Fantasy Golf Millionaire contest, but we are getting some huge GPPs to attack, most notably the return of The Drive to Green, which is a four dollar contest, that has a huge prize pool of 600,000, including 100,000 to first. So have fun and good luck to everyone and if you need some more picks for The Players, be sure to read Geoff’s DraftKings picks and Keegan’s betting picks. And as always if these picks help you win or if you need any advice, let me know on Twitter @Hunta512.
If you want help with PGA research for DraftKings check out the best fantasy tools out there at FantasyLabs.com
Kyle Stanley: (6,700) Stanley has been a very dependable option, making nine of his last ten cuts, and 12/14 total for the season. The finishes aren’t high, but he has been solid here at Sawgrass, making 2/3 cuts for his career. The last time he played here was in 2014, when he finished T71, but he is a far more consistent player now (16/28 in 2014), and I am expecting a better finish out of him this week. His game this year is very impressive and perfect for this track, ranking 6th in strokes gained tee to green, 9th in strokes gained approaching the green, 3rd in GIR percentage (73.6%), 12th in par four scoring, and 54th in birdie or better percentage.
His approach game has been great all season, but he has been even better in his last two events, posting a high 75.7% GIR percentage, which is tied for the third highest percentage of all the players in this field that have competed in the last six weeks. He has top 25 upside in this form and is a terrific GPP target this week at his low projected ownership of 2-4%. (via Fantasy Labs)
Sung Kang: (7,400) Kang struggled at the beginning of the season, but he has really seemed to regain his form over the last two months. After starting the year making 3/10 cuts, the Korean player has now made the cut in six of his last seven events, when not counting the team play Zurich Classic. During this span, he has shown serious upside, as he has now finished inside the top 15 in three consecutive tournaments, with a lone 2nd place finish at The Shell Houston Open, T11 at The RBC Heritage, and T6 at The Valero Texas Open. His stats have also been very solid, ranking 45th in strokes gained tee to green, 58th in strokes gained approaching the green, 46th in GIR percentage (68.6%), 50th in strokes gained putting, 22nd in par four scoring, and 32nd in birdie or better percentage.
As expected after the three straight high finishes, his numbers have looked even better since the beginning of last month, with a low 27.8 average putts per round, which is a big difference from 28.94 average for the season, and averaging -5 on the par fours per event, which is tied for the best average in the field for players who have played in an event over the last month and a half. He has only played here once and that was back in 2012, but he made the cut, finishing T61. His game is ideal for this course and Kang is an outstanding GPP play who should go under owned with some big names players in his price range. (2-4% projected ownership, via Fantasy Labs)
Adam Hadwin: (6,800) Hadwin has been a popular name in DFS golf for most of this season, but right now he looks like a player who may end up getting overlooked in this star-studded field. This is obviously could change as the week goes on, but as of right now, Fantasy Labs only has Hadwin projected for an ownership level of 0-1%, which is insane for a player who has made 13 straight cuts. His only missed cut of the season came in his first tournament, back in October at The Safeway Open. Since then he has been an extremely steady player, not missing a cut, with seven top 25s, four top tens, a 2nd at The Career Builder Challenge, and his first career win at The Valspar.
He is 1/2 here at The Players, coming off a T39 last season, but just like Stanley, he is a better player this year compared to the last time he teed it up on this course. He is a strong par four player ranking T32, which will be big for him this week, but that isn’t the only stat in his favor, with him ranking 28th in strokes gained tee to green, 21st in strokes gained approaching the green, 32nd in strokes gained putting, 55th in GIR percentage (68.2%), and 29th in birdie or better percentage. He didn’t look great the last time he played (T72 at The Valero), but this was almost three weeks ago, and at this very cheap price, I think Hadwin is a player who needs to be considered in all formats.
Also Consider: Martin Kaymer (He is easily one of the best values of the week at only $7,300. He hasn’t missed a cut in over a year and is 8/8 at Sawgrass with a win under his belt in 2014), Daniel Berger, Charl Schwartzel, Gary Woodland, Jamie Lovemark, Steve Stricker (played well at The Masters with a T16 and has made five of his last six cuts here), Graeme McDowell, Marc Leishman, Welsey Bryan, and Lee Westwood.