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.
This week, the tour moves to The Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, in Charlotte, NC. Quail Hollow is takes a little navigating, but ultimately it’s a bombers paradise. It stretches over 7,500 yards, and most recently hosted the 2017 PGA Championship. It’s a major venue in every sense of the word. The course is littered with long par 3s, long par 4s, and par 5s that the bombers can take advantage of. Hitting the fairways this week isn’t as important as hitting to the correct side of the hole, so as long as players control their misses, playing out of the rough isn’t going to be too difficult. Finally, the greens are bermuda, so as usual, take a look at players who perform better on these types of surfaces. Similarly, this is a course where previous winners have had other strong showings, so I’ll be weighing course history a little more than usual this week. Beyond strong showings in this event, many players reside in the area and have tons of experience playing Quail Hollow. Some names that pop out to me are Webb Simpson, Bill Haas, Chesson Hadley, Harold Varner III, Jason Kokrak, and JT.Poston.
Without getting to in depth with stats this week, I’m going to focus on bombers and players who excel with long irons. We’ve seen bombers like Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, and J.B. Holmes excel here, but also elite ball-strikers. Quail Hollow is an all-around tough test.
Recent Tournament History
Here are the leaderboards from the past three events held at Quail Hollow:
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 Masters Tournament, the RBC Heritage, and the Valero Texas Open.
Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee (SG:OTT): Quail Hollow is a course that challenges every player, but I do believe that off-the-tee play is the most important element. We’ve seen bombers dominate here over the years, and I think the elite drivers will be my main target this week. Distance matters, but finding the correct side of the fairways matters as well. In terms of recent play, the players to target in strokes gained off-the-tee are Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen, Keith Mitchell JT Poston, Gary Woodland, Luke List, and Bryson DeChambeau.
Strokes Gained Approach (SG:APP): Because the green complexes are so difficult at Quail Hollow, I’m adding a heavy weight on strokes gained approach. Players need to find the correct quadrants of the green in order to give themselves good birdie opportunities and to avoid three putts. These are the names – in terms of recent iron play – that I think will be staples in my lineups this weekend: Adam Hadwin, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Keegan Bradley, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Tiger Woods, Luke List, and Trey Mullinax.
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 Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson, Trey Mullinax, Keith Mitchell, Grayson Murray, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Tommy Fleetwood, and Emiliano Grillo.
Par-4 Scoring (P4): Par-4 scoring is always important, but I’m adding even more emphasis this week at Quail Hollow. Players will have to capitalize on any opportunities they get, and avoid trouble on the challenging holes. There will be a ton of bogeys on the long, difficult par-4s this week. Par-4 scoring is what will separate players this week, so I’ll have a heavy weight on strokes gained on par-4s. Some of the best par-4 scorers in this field are Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Trey Mullinax, JT Poston, Kevin Streelman, Phil Mickelson, Keith Mitchell, Rickie Fowler, Byeong Hun-An, and Luke List.
*In order of my rankings
Rory McIlroy ($11,800) – The King of Quail Hollow returns to the course where he got his breakout win in 2010, and has since posted five other top-10s including another win. Rory is finally turning his game around, having finished 5th at Augusta after winning Bay Hill. He’s the best driver in the world (arguably), and is great with his irons. The major issue for Rory is always his putting, but he knows these greens better than any in the world.
Justin Thomas ($11,300) – With Rory being the King of Quail Hollow, we could see depressed ownership on the best player in the world. Over the past ten events, JT ranks 1st in strokes gained tee-to-green and 7th in strokes gained putting. That’s a decent combination. Furthermore, he won last year’s PGA Championship here, so there will be plenty of fond memories for him this week. Thomas has his eyes set on world #1, which he can easily accomplish with a win this week.
Rickie Fowler ($11,100) – Winning an event right between the Masters the Players Championship seems like a very Fowler-eque thing to do. I love his chances this week, as he’s got a perfect blend of recent form, recent stats, and course history. Fowler ranks 10th in my statistical model, and that’s mostly due to some poor putting recently. He has back to back top-10 finishes at Quail Hollow (where he’s won before), and is coming off a runner-up finish at the Masters.
Jason Day ($10,200) – Even though Day won earlier since season at Torrey Pines, his statistical performance hasn’t been good. He’s especially struggled with his irons this season, which gives me major pause this week at a demanding Quail Hollow. Day managed to sneak into the top-10 at last year’s PGA Championship, but really hasn’t contended in any of this three starts here. I expect him to play well, but he’s firmly behind the big three this week.
Phil Mickelson ($9,200) – It was a very disappointing Masters for Mickelson, whose Friday 79 saw him fall out of contention. He was playing some of the best golf of his career leading up to that week, highlighted by a win at the WGC-Mexico Championship. Statistically, Mickelson ranks 8th in my model, highlighted by his elite ball-striking and putting. He needs to hit some fairways though, or he’ll be punished this week at Quail Hollow. Mickelson has finished inside the top-10 in seven of his past ten appearances here.
Emiliano Grillo ($7,700) – Throwing course history out the window (MC in 2017, 61st in 2016), Grillo is my favorite value play of the week. He’s an excellent ball-striker who was improved his putting this season. Grillo ranks second in my statistical model this week – only behind Justin Thomas – and his short term form has matched those metrics. Grillo is one of six players in this field who rank inside the top-20 in both strokes gained off-the-tee and strokes gained approach over the past three months. He’s made all twelve cuts on Tour this season, and has three top-10 finishes in his past six starts.
Grayson Murray ($6,900) – Murray is a Carolina native, and a bomber who should love this track. He got his first look last season, where he finished 22nd in the PGA Championship. It’s been a boom-or-bust season for Murray, but there’s been more boom of late. His last seven starts read: 8th-MC-MC-14th-14th-MC-16th. For someone with his skill set and birdie-making upside, there’s no way I can pass on this price tag.
Ryan Moore ($8,500) – Moore doesn’t possess the distance off-the-tee of most of my targets, but he more than makes up for it with his accuracy and iron play. He ranks 8th in strokes gained tee-to-green over the past ten events, but just hasn’t been able to get his putter warmed up. Moore has two top-10 finishes at Quail Hollow, a 13th at last year’s PGA Championship, and comes into this week in very solid form. I think people will gravitate towards Tony Finau and Paul Casey in this range, leaving Moore under 10% owned.
Bryson DeChambeau ($8,000) – Sticking with stats and recent form, Bryson DeChambeau looks like an awesome play this week. Since Riviera, Bryson ranks 6th in strokes gained tee-to-green, including ranking 4th in strokes gained approach. He’s plenty long off-the-tee, and is one of the best par-5 scorers in this field. We saw him finish 2nd at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and recently backed it up with a 3rd place finish at Harbour Town. I love his chances this week.
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-20 “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-20 worst “values” based on my aggregations: