What’s up everybody. Alex here, and I welcome you to my weekly DraftKings PGA Sleeper picks, for this week’s stop, The WGC Bridgestone Invitational. Briefly I want to go over last week’s picks. All three of the featured golfers came with low ownerships, which was good, but Rory Sabbatini was the only one who made it to the weekend. He turned out to be an excellent GPP play, putting up a T23 finish and 96.5 DK points with almost nobody on him in most tournaments. (2.0% owned in “The Fore”) But let’s move on and bounce back this week at The WGC Bridgestone Invitational, that is held at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, which is a Par 70 that is 7,400 yards long.
First off, as expected with this being a Par 70, Par 4 scoring has been the most important trait for success at Firestone Country Club throughout the years. Over the last decade, nine of the last ten winners of WGC Bridgestone have ranked inside the top three in par four scoring during the week of their win, with four of the champs actually ranking T1 or lone first in the statistic. Another thing to note is that this is a long course, at 7,400 yards, when considering its a Par 70. Shorter and accurate players off the tee can make their way around this venue, but longer hitters have been the players who have taken home the big checks, as the last ten winners, have averaged 323.4 yards off the tee. (via Fantasy Golf Metrics) These ten golfers have also to no surprise have had a good approach games, seeing an average GIR percentage of 70.1% in their victories. Finally the last thing that stood out to me was that this course can sometimes give players issues and avoiding bogeys will be another key stat I will be looking for in my picks.
It’s been awhile, but this week’s event is an invitational tournament, which means we are getting close to a half sized field of 78 players, with no cut in effect. Barring an injury or unfortunate withdrawal, all your golfers will be playing four rounds golf. The field is stacked with high end golfers and there is no doubt we should be playing DFS this week, but just with my experience over the years, I have learned to focus more GPPs than cash games when it comes to these no cut events, and to put a higher emphasis on DraftKings scoring along with all the other stats you believe are important. So as always good luck and if any of these picks below help your teams or if you need some advice, feel free to let me know on Twitter. @Hunta512.
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Xander Schauffele: (7,300) The rookie has shown us over the last few weeks that his T5 performance at The U.S. Open was no fluke, following it up with four straight made cuts, finishing no worse than T35th during the span, including an impressive win at The Greenbrier Classic, and a T20 at The Open Championship in his last start. In these four finishes, he has been averaging a great 70.1% GIR rate, a drive of 316.3 yards, and is shooting an average score of -2.3 on par fours per tournament. Also over his last 12 rounds of play, he ranks 14th in strokes gained on par fours, 13th in birdies gained, 12th in bogeys avoided, and 5th in strokes gained putting of all the players teeing up at Firestone this week. (via Fantasy National)
Veterans tend to be the players who top the leaderboard in these WGC events, which is a slight concern because this is Schauffele’s first start at this course, but its hard for me not to take advantage of a player in this form, at this price, who may come with a low ownership. At the moment he is projected to be owned somewhere between 5-8% in GPPs (via Fantasy Labs), which is a rather low level for this type of event. The 23 year old has already proven recently that he can compete with the best and I am hoping for a top 25 finish out of Schauffele this week at The WGC Bridgestone.
Charley Hoffman: (7,400) There is a chance Hoffman might be a popular option this week, but right now Fantasy Labs only has him projected for an ownership level of 9-12%, which is excellent news for a player who is extremely underpriced in my opinion. He has been such a consistent player over the last couple months, making the cut in 13 out of his last 14 events, and has been even better as of late, putting up three top tens in his last five starts, with an 8th place at The U.S. Open and a runner up finish last week at The RBC Canadian Open.
One of the reasons he has been playing lights out recently has been his par four scoring which we all know is a skill that will be critical for success this week. In terms of shooting low numbers on par fours, Hoffman has been the second best player in this field over the last six weeks, at an average of -6 on par fours per tournament, which only trails Open Champion Jordan Spieth. (-9) Furthermore, in his last 12 rounds, he has been the 5th best DraftKings point producer in this field, ranks 4th in birdies gained overall (via Fantasy National), and is averaging a 305 yard long drive. He has been solid here for his career, finishing no worse than 37th in his three appearances, but he arguably wasn’t playing this well in any of these past three seasons. Even if he ends up being a talked up name by Wednesday night, I still think Hoffman is absolutely worth a play at only $7,400.
Kevin Chappell: (7,500) After two straight poor weeks, Chappell reminded us of the upside he has when his game is on, last week at The RBC Canadian Open, where he ended with a T8 and very successful 115.0 DK points. He will be looking to have another big week at Firestone, where he finished T3rd last season, in his first career start at a WGC Bridgestone. His yearly par four ranking isn’t attractive, but in his last three made cuts he has shown flashes of how good of a par four player he can be, ranking first in par four scoring back at The FedEx St. Jude Classic, and in the top five for both The RBC Canadian Open and U.S. Open.
For the season, he also ranks 31st in strokes gained tee to green, 29th in driving distance (300.8 yards), 84th in GIR percentage (66.4%), 31st in strokes gained approaching the green, and 72nd in birdie or better percentage. With this being a no cut tournament, Chappell is an excellent boom or bust GPP option, that has the potential to rack up a ton of DraftKings points, if he can continue to play at the high level we saw last week.
Also Consider: Kyle Stanley, Gary Woodland, Russell Henley, Brian Harman (should be lower owned after his missed cut at The Open Championship. Ranks 11th in par four scoring this year), Jason Dufner, Bryson DeChambeau (looked bad at The Open, but it is hard to argue against his form in his previous three starts where he averaged a 71.6% GIR percentage and an average drive of 308.6 yards), and Jimmy Walker.