Short on time this week so, the breakdown will be more to the point this week as I spent more time on player analysis.
The Players is considered the 5th Major and that is because the field is loaded with all of the top talent, which makes for a really fun tournament. The course is fun from a viewing perspective and features the iconic 17th, which is an island par 3 that will consume quite a few balls throughout the week.
This is one of the most difficult tournaments to project from a player standpoint because of the variance this course induces. We have seen players miss cuts for multiple years in a row and then go on to win or vice versa. A ball in the water could be a difference between playing or watching on the weekend. This really levels out the playing field and bit and gives way to guys like last years winner, Si Woo Kim breaking through for their first big win.
TPC Sawgrass – Florida
Windy & Wet (lots of water hazards)
The stats I will be using in my model:
- Strokes Gained Ball Striking (30-35%)
- Strokes Gained Approach (25-30%)
- Par 4 Scoring 450-500 (10-15%)
- Proximity 175-200+ (10-15%)
- Par 5 Scoring (10-15%)
I will also be taking a look at:
- Strokes Gained : Around the Green
- Fairways Gained
This week features and insanely loaded field and that is why it is considered to be the 5th major. We have good data on how this course plays and what needs to be done in order to compete, but yet we still see a lot of variance year to year. There have been plenty of occurrences where a player misses the cut and then goes on the win the next year, that is just the nature of this course.
Keeping all this variance in mind, I will be slightly less aggressive on taking stands and have my exposures spread around a bit more than usual. I will still be monitoring ownership and looking for leverage spots, but I just won’t have the extreme stand that I play in 50-60% of my lineups.
I think the balanced lineup approach is definitely the most optimal way to build this week because there are so many great plays in the $8-9k range. This doesn’t mean I will be full fading the top tier, but I won’t start every team I have with one of those $10k+ guys.
As always, be sure to leave a little money on the table to differentiate your lineups and eliminate the chance of duplicates. Monitor ownership and try to find some leverage throughout the week. I like to use Fanshare Sports each week to get a feel for how ownership is trending. In addition to the tag count for each player they release ownership projections on Wednesday night and I think it is a crucial to use these when building lineups. They also have a few new articles coming out related to strategy that I have found very insightful. Be sure to check them out here, the pro membership truly is a steal.
*Disclaimer – these are done early in week and may be subject to change as ownership projections evolve*
Justin Thomas ($10,800) – JT obviously has the upside to win each and every week and I like his chances here despite his length not being as much as an advantage at TPC Sawgrass. He is an elite scorer on DK and can outpace his finishing position, which is always a nice plus. You also get a decent discount on JT being the 4th priced guy. I like a more balanced lineup approach this week so the discount comes in handy.
Dustin Johnson ($10,300) – We rarely ever see DJ below the 2nd or 3rd priced guy on DK and this week he is the 5th. Similarly to JT his length advantage will be negated a bit this week, but he is still a good ball striker and excellent DK scorer. He also played well at Harbor Town this year, showing his ability to still content while dialing it back off the tee. As long as his ownership stays reasonable, I will have some DJ shares.
Rickie Fowler ($9,600) – Rickie obviously can play well here as he has won before. He rates out incredibly well in my model and again, the price discount is great. I do not think Rory is $2,000 better than Rickie is yet that is the pricing discrepancy we are getting. Rickie will fit the mold of balanced lineup approach that I want to take this week as well. I do think he will be popular, but I will differentiate elsewhere.
Justin Rose ($9,100) – You are going to see a common theme here, but Rose is just too cheap to not play. He is a world-class player and can win any tournament and I think he should fit this course well. He is an excellent ball striker and can score with the best of them. I like the idea of even starting some teams with Rose and staying extremely balanced.
Paul Casey ($8,900) – Casey is the top ranked player in my model and for good reason. He has been in incredible form this year and I see no reason why that should not continue this week. He is not the most exciting guy to roster, but for single entry and three max, he provides a sense of security. He may not have a great shot at winning this week, but he could easily top-10 and that is all you need at this price tag.
Henrik Stenson ($8,800) – Henrik ranks inside the top-10 on my custom model for this week and his game theoretically suits this course perfectly. He is accurate off the tee and a great ball striker, which should lead to success here. I am hoping the fact that he has not played as often as most guys will help to keep his public ownership down. With that being said, he has been mentioned a lot this week within the DFS community, so I will be monitoring the ownership projections closely.
Luke List ($7,400) – It would not be a PGA tournament if I did not mention rostering Luke List. Again, he is the stat king this year, but he also has been backing it up quite well and it has been a profitable year rostering List. He also has shown multiple times this year that he can compete on less than driver courses, which is a huge bonus for this week. We have seen his price as high as the $10k range and I think he comes in a bit under priced this week, even in a strong field.
Adam Hadwin ($7,300) – Hadwin comes in at 9th on my stat model for this week and I think he fits this course perfectly. He is a good long iron player who plays very consistently. He may not have quite the upside that List provides, but you do not need a win from a guy at $7,300. I think Hadwin has a good shot at a T-20, which would provide a great return for 5th or 6th guy on my teams.
Keegan Bradley ($6,900) – I really do not plan to dip down into this range on too many rosters, but when I do I will look to Keegan. This is a ball strikers course where putting does not matter nearly as much. On paper – a perfect Keegan spot. He actually rates out very well in my model as well. I will have some exposure, but nothing crazy.
Chez Reavie ($6,800) – Man, what a fall Chez has had over the course of this year to be in the $6k range. Despite his poor recent form, this is a good course fit for Chez. This is a deep GPP flier, but I have not heard anyone mention him so the ownership should be very low. Chez has shown upside in strong field tournaments in the past, so it is not the worst play you could make down here.
This is an absolutely loaded field so it is very easy to build rosters that feel good. Be sure to monitor ownership projections and make sure that you are differentiated on a few of the guys on each roster. This tournament has more variance year to year than probably anything other stop on tour. A lot of that has to do with the wind and the water. We will see some big name guys miss the cut and it very well could be due to some bad luck. One or two shots in the water very easily could be the difference between making and missing the cut.
If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @thetipsandyips & @TheGolfFamily. Hope you all have a good week and win some $$$. Good luck and feel free to share your results!
Thanks for reading!