The Tour heads to North Carolina this week for a mainstay on its schedule, the Wells Fargo Championship. The tournament has suffered a bit in recent years as it’s place on the schedule falls shortly after the Masters and right before the Players. This year it has managed to attract the best player in the world however in Dustin Johnson, but the pickings are kind of slim field-wise after DJ. We’ll get a look at Adam Scott, who is only making his fifth start in 2017, but will only have seven players in the field total who fall within the top 30 in the OWGR. Fantasy-wise, the big news to take note of is the fact the venue is new as the regular host for this event, Quail Hollow, will be hosting the PGA Championship in August. Quail is a great course but the new host for this year, Eagle Point, honestly looks every bit as great and is apparently in great condition. I’ll discuss it more in the notes below.
New Venue (Eagle Point): The host for this year’s venue is Eagle Point, a longer par 72 that should play somewhere between 7,300-7,500 yards. The generic scorecard for the course doesn’t say it comes in at that length but some modifications have been made for the Tour this year. Using course history for this week might not seem like a great idea but on review Eagle Point does seem to share a lot of characteristics with the usual host, Quail Hollow. Both are longer, tree-lined par 72’s with some water added for protection, and both have a great mix of long-challenging holes with some shorter, risk-reward options mixed in too. One key factor linking these two courses is the designer; Tom Fazio designed Eagle Point in 2000 and was also the lead in the redesign of Quail Hollow back in 1997/2003. While there will be obvious subtle differences between the two courses, I won’t be shocked if we see many of the same people with good histories at Quail pop-up here.
Return of the DJ: Daily Fantasy-wise, there aren’t a ton of stud options in this field so choosing whether or not to invest in Dustin Johnson might make or break most people’s lineups. It’s hard to predict how players will perform after injury layoffs but given the shortness of Dustin’s absence, and the lack of severity involved with his injury, I won’t be shocked to see a quick return to form. Still, a gpp fade here isn’t a bad idea. High-ownership is almost assured and while DJ has been hyper-focused all year a top ten or twenty finish might be all he’s aiming for before he sets his sites on a much bigger target next week at the Players.
Jon Rahm ($11,000): Prior to the withdraw of two of my top plays this week I think there was good reasons to fade the top two players and go with the hot hand in a player like Bud Cauley. I am more inclined to make Rahm a top play now however. He’s top five in birdie or better percentage, has handled tougher tracks well all year and DraftKings wise has produced points-per-dollar wise almost as good as DJ who is 2k more expensive. Starting cash lineups is a great idea.
Bud Cauley ($9,400): WD on Tuesday
Cauley sees a massive price jump this week as he was only $6,900 the last time out on DraftKings at the Valero. He’s now recorded three top tens in a row however and it has been mostly on the back of some great tee to green work which bodes extremely well for this week. Cauley has always been talented and this stretch of injury free golf may be finally what he needs to make the jump into a more elite tier of golfer. In a weak field, I’m not shying away from him as the confidence he’s built over the past month or so could easily lead to even better things here.
Lucas Glover ($8,600): Glover also looks a tad overpriced this week, but he has flashed more upside recently with two twenties in his last four starts. He also has a great record in Carolina as he’s not only from the Southern state but is also a former winner of this event, albeit at a different course. I do expect Eagle Point to play fairly close to Quail Hollow in many respects however and expect tee to Green specialists to flourish this week. I don’t mind paying up here.
Daniel Berger ($8,300): I gave Daniel Berger the slight nod over Kevin Kisner this week, although I admit both seem under-priced and both are very playable. I went with Berger however mainly because he’s played some longer, championship style par 72’s well over the past few seasons (Augusta, Quail Hollow, Golf Club of Houston) that should correlate well to this week’s venue. A missed cut last week shouldn’t be over analyzed, especially given his strong finish at Houston where he ranked inside the top six in SG: Tee to Green and Off the Tee for the week.
Louis Oosthuizen ($8,100): WD on Tuesday
Simply put, this price is too low. Oosthuizen may not have lit the world on fire at Augusta, but he’s not missed a cut in ages now and is still top twenty for the year in both strokes gained: tee to green and off the tee. Oosthuizen is well overdue for a win in the States and has committed himself to playing here more this year. I don’t have much else to add expect for the fact I like that he and partner Branden Grace closed strong last week, which is an obvious good sign. I could easily see him taking home the trophy this week at a major championship style venue.
JB Holmes ($8,000): I really like the 8k region this week, even with the withdraw of Oosthuizen who was an obvious value before he WD. Holmes may not be as popular as some of the other players in his range but he’s not someone I’d shy away from playing on DK. Despite the lack of high finishes in 2017 Holmes still ranks top 40 in both SG: Tee to Green and Off the Tee and had a nice week in NOLA at the team event. JB is a former winner of the Wells Fargo from 2014 and while the event is at a different venue this year I do expect there to be some correlation since Eagle Point is also a par 72’s with some wider fairways in spots. Don’t overlook Holmes in this weak field.
Others: Kevin Kisner
William McGirt ($7,900): Two top tens and a T22 at Augusta in his last three starts; McGirt comes in with good form and some local knowledge of the area too as he is from the State. While the local ties may provide a slight edge it is really his recent form and affordable price tag I want to target here. McGirt played great at the years first major and then followed that up with four sub-70 rounds at the Heritage where he ranked top 15 in SG: Putting and Tee to Green for the week. Great cash game target for DraftKings.
Emiliano Grillo ($7,500): Grillo might actually go quite under the radar this week, but he really shouldn’t given the lackluster nature of this field. The talented Argentinian has had issues putting together four good rounds but he has been great at grinding out made cuts—six in a row—and ranks 24th overall in SG: Tee to Green. He looks a little too cheap for the upside he brings this week on a tough course that should suit.
Harold Varner III ($6,300): This one almost seems like a mistake, but it’s one you should take advantage of. Varner has been great Tee to Green since the tour headed out of Florida and has made five straight cuts in a row now. While he’s yet to catch fire with the putter the consistency he’s shown makes him an easy target in his near min-salary price range. Varner also has ties to the area as he attended East Carolina college. He’s exceptional value especially in a field that isn’t afloat with many great targets under 7k.
Others: Hudson Swafford, Michael Thompson
High-upside GPP Picks
Paul Casey ($9,900): Casey is coming back off a three-week layoff and if you listen to his social media accounts he didn’t practice much during that time. While this is slightly concerning, it’s also nice to know he’ll be one of the better rested players in the field this week. Casey has made seven straight cuts in a row and is coming off his third straight top 6 finish at Augusta National. He’s risky but brings elite Tee to Green stats and should be relatively lower owned in large gpps on DraftKings given the layoff.
Bill Haas ($9,500): Haas is coming in off a two-week rest and he needed it apparently as he missed the cut by a mile his last time out at the Heritage. Still, Haas has been consistent most of the season, with the RBC being his only missed cut over seven starts. With his recent third place at the WGC Match Play event still semi-fresh, I won’t be shocked if Haas puts the confidence gained there to good use this week in a much weaker field. He’s tended to perform well in these watered down events in the past and, given the consistency shown so far in 2017, he shouldn’t be overlooked as a low-owned option in gpps.
Geoff Ogilvy ($7,200): Ogilvy is admittedly a deep-sleeper-sort-of-pick this week. The Aussie has shown some form of late though with three finishes of T32 or better in his last four starts, and tee to green he’s been above average lately, as evidenced by his 16th ranking in that category for the week at the Valero. If the new course plays anything like the old one Ogilvy could surprise here, he’s made 10 of 11 cuts at the Wells Fargo and has generally handled longer par 72’s like Eagle Point well over his career.
Other: Jason Kokrak
Players to Consider (in no order)
– Bud Cauley, Daniel Berger, Louis Oosthuizen, Lucas Glover, Michael Thompson, Harold Varner III, William McGirt, Jon Rahm, Kevin Kisner
– Paul Casey, Bill Haas, Geoff Ogilvy, Jason Kokrak, Emiliano Grillo, Hudson Swafford
Daniel Berger 40-1
JB Holmes 45-1 ew
Emiliano Grillo 66-1 ew
Louis Oosthuizen 45-1 ew
Bud Cauley 55-1 ew
Lucas Glover 80-1 ew
Geoff Ogilvy 175-1 ew