Daily and weekly fantasy sports have become all the rage. Battling it out over an entire season is fun, but sites like DraftKings offer a quicker payoff and big payouts for winners! Not only do they offer daily action in the four major professional sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) as well as college basketball and football but also the PGA Tour.
Your DraftKings lineup is made up of six golfers you select from within the $50,000 salary cap.
Each week DraftKings offers a wide selection of games to enter at a variety of price points. You can even get a feel for the game in a freeroll contest. Before you put your cash on the line, I’ll offer my Top Values and Steals in this space every week, specifically geared to help build a winning DraftKings squad. I’ll also give you my Overpriced golfers to avoid and a couple of “Vegas Says…” tips to help you find those players for GPPs.
Let’s move on to the Fort Worth Invitational, which I’ll just call Colonial. Kevin Kisner is our defending champion, holding off Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm a year ago. The venue is a narrow par-70 course which features many doglegs, overhanging trees, and other characteristics that will place a premium on ball placement and accuracy. Although it measures over 7,200 yards on the scorecard, the firm and windy conditions usually render this a ball-striker’s course. Most of the players in the field will be able to hit drives near 300 yards if the rain stays away. Accurate approach shots and elite scrambling should get the job done this week, and I’ll be targeting some of the usual suspects. Colonial features bentgrass greens, which means we should see plenty of putts falling this week. Guys are usually able to putt the lights out on pure, bentgrass greens. For course comparison, look at Valspar and RBC Heritage leaderboards, or just look at the same names that have popped up here over the past few seasons. Think more Zach Johnson, and less Dustin Johnson. I’m not huge into comparing courses, but you can look at the Valspar Championship and the RBC Heritage leaderboards to get an idea of what to expect this week.
Recent Tournament History
Colonial has been the longtime host of this event, so we have plenty of reliable data to look back upon. Here are the leaderboards from the last three installments of the Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial:
Current Form Review
Each week, we’ll look backward at the last three tournaments on the PGA Tour. Here are the leaderboards from the past three stroke-play events: the Wells Fargo Championship, the Players Championship, and last week’s Byron Nelson.
Strokes Gained Approach (SG:APP): There’s no denying that Colonial lends itself to ball-striking, as precise iron play into the green is a major factor. If a player is off by even a yard or two, they’ll face tough rough and bunkers, leading to bogeys. In terms of recent play, the players to target in strokes gained approach are Bryson DeChambeau, Joaquin Niemann, Jordan Spieth, J.J. Spaun, Emiliano Grillo, Tyler Duncan, Stewart Cink, Steve Stricker, Scott Piercy, and Webb Simpson.
Strokes Gained Around-the-Green (SG:ARG): Because the green complexes are fairly small at Colonial, I’m adding extra emphasis on the short game. I want elite scramblers who can save pars when they miss approach shots. The best around-the-green players in recent weeks are Patrick Cantlay, Jonathan Byrd, Alex Cejka, Webb Simpson, Wesley Bryan, Jimmy Walker, Jim Furyk, Ben Crane, Louis Oosthuizen, and Ollie Schniederjans.
Birdie or Better % (BoB%): There are really not many weeks where we aren’t going to target birdie or better percentage, because that’s what fantasy golf scoring is all about. This is a difficult course, but much of the fantasy scoring will come from birdies and occasional eagles. The best players in this field in recent birdie or better percentage are Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau, Aaron Wise, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Russell Henley, Jimmy Walker, Grayson Murray, and Chesson Hadley.
Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green on Par-4s (SGT2G:P4): Par-4 scoring is always important, but I’m adding even more emphasis this week with strokes gained tee-to-green on par-4s. Colonial is a par-70, so there’s added emphasis on the par-4s. Some of the leaders in terms of strokes gained on par-4s over the last ten events are Patrick Cantlay, Pat Perez, Kevin Streelman, J.J. Spaun, Adam Scott, Grayson Murray, Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler, and Sean O’Hair.
*In order of my rankings
Jordan Spieth ($11,700) – Back to the well! I think most DFS players will go balanced this week, or take savings to start their teams with Rickie Fowler or Webb Simpson. That means that Spieth shouldn’t be over 25% owned, which is silly in a field like this. He loves Colonial, posting a win in 2016 and a runner-up last season. Spieth putts best on bentgrass greens, and hopefully the familiar surfaces will help him channel his success of the past. Even during these recent struggles, he continues to be one of the best tee-to-green players. Don’t give up yet.
Jon Rahm ($11,000) – Rahm dazzled with a runner-up finish here last year, but there’s pause for concern. He chose to blast drivers around Colonial which is usually a bad plan, but he was dialed in with his wedges. This season, he’s struggled with irons and wedges, so I expect some regression. He had another bad weekend at TPC Sawgrass, and clearly needs to work on dialing back his game on these less-than-driver courses. But, Rahm has proven he’s a world-class player, so there wouldn’t be anyone surprised to see him winning on Sunday.
Justin Rose ($10,600) – It’s strange to see Rose here, and it’s also strange to see him skipping the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Rose is one of Europe’s biggest stars, so it’s a gut-punch for them not to have him. However, Colonial fits his game well and he’s been trending towards a win all season. Rose had a solid performance at TPC Sawgrass, which is good to see considering his lack of course history there. Statistically, Rose checks out as well: over the last ten events, he’s 20th in strokes gained off-the-tee, 18th in strokes gained approach, and 10th in strokes gained putting. He’ll be very low owned relative to Rahm, Fowler, and Spieth.
Adam Scott ($9,100) – One of my favorite plays of the week is Adam Scott, who is extra motivated to play well. In his journey to qualify for the U.S. Open, he’s one spot out (based on official world golf rankings). One stroke better last week at Byron Nelson and he’d be in. Scott is a past champion here at Colonial, and finally has his game trending in the right direction. After an 11th at the Players Championship and a 9th last week at the Byron Nelson, he should be full of confidence. Of everyone in this field who played last week, Scott tops the strokes gained tee-to-green list.
Patrick Cantlay ($9,000) – I’m hoping Cantlay will go overlooked this week, since he posted a mediocre 23rd at TPC Sawgrass. He’s also priced closely to Adam Scott, Bryson DeChambeau, and Brooks Koepka who should all eat up ownership. Cantlay is my pick to win this week, and he checks all the boxes I’m targeting. He’s an elite iron player, and has been one of the best off-the-tee on less-than-driver courses this season. He finished 7th at Harbour Town a few weeks ago, and should feel very comfortable playing Colonial. He WD in his only appearance here due to injury, so anyone looking at those stats will see horrible numbers.
Emiliano Grillo ($8,500) – Grillo will definitely not be a sleeper, but I think he’s a staple of cash and GPP teams this week. He’s made both cuts here, with a top-25 last season, and seems to have the perfect game for Colonial. He’s solid off-the-tee and elite with his irons, and now comes to town riding excellent form. He was 12th at Torrey Pines, 8th at the Honda Classic, 3rd in Houston, 9th at Wells Fargo, and played solidly at TPC Sawgrass. Over the past five events, he’s 2nd in strokes gained approach. Over the past ten events, he’s 5th in strokes gained approach. Sign me up!
Adam Hadwin ($7,600) – Hadwin will definitely be popular here, and for good reason. He’s made all three cuts here with a top-5 finish, and is playing some of the best golf on Tour this season. Hadwin has made all 13 cuts this season, and has three top-10 finishes. In terms of stats, he lines up tremendously. Although he struggled a bit at TPC Sawgrass, he had led the Tour in strokes gained approach most of this spring. He’s won at Valspar, a similar course, and played well at Harbour Town.
Jason Dufner ($8,600) – Dufner may get lost in the shuffle, even with tremendous course history. He should have won this event twice, but had to settle for a pair of runner-up finishes. Although he’s struggled of late, he flashed a top-5 at TPC Sawgrass. That was a little misleading because of a hot putter, but it should give him confidence as he comes back to a course that suits his game. Dufner is a tactician, and has always been one of the best iron players on Tour. Long iron game will be the key to success this week.
Rory Sabbatini ($7,600) – People don’t like playing Rory Sabbatini, but I’m all in this week. I’d even consider betting him as an outright winner, since Colonial is a course where he’s won before. His recent form is excellent, with his last eight results reading 17th, 5th, 43rd, 70th, 23rd, 27th, 30th, and 13th. He’s a prolific birdie-maker and should be very comfortable coming back to Colonial. In terms of recent stats, Sabbatini has been solid across the board and ranks 26th in strokes gained tee-to-green over the past ten events.
This section focuses on “odds” players – those players whose odds vary the greatest with respect to their DraftKings salaries. Keep in mind, this doesn’t make these players “good plays” or “bad plays”, but it simply measures the value based on their price. I’ve done this not just with the actual rankings, but as a percentage. So, if two players have a difference of 10 spots in pricing versus odds rankings, the player ranked higher overall will have a higher percentage. It’s a quick way to find value. I use an aggregate of odds from various odds makers to come up with my valuation.
Here is a list of the top-10 “values” based on my aggregations:
On the flipside, we have the list of players Vegas believes are overpriced based on their odds to win. Using the same model and calculations as above, here are the top-10 worst “values” based on my aggregations:
DraftKings lineups for the Fort Worth Invitational:
Stars and Scrubs: