On Tuesday, I broke down the course at TPC Sawgrass for The Players Championship and some of the angles to look at when selecting what players to roster on your daily fantasy lineups. Here, I give you the main guys who I’m considering for my cash game lineup, as well as some pivots that I’ll be looking to go overweight on in tournaments.
As always, I utilize the RotoQL PGA Lineup Optimizer to make sure that my player exposures are exactly how I want them to be, and use the Trending Player tool to get a read on what players the public is interested in.
Cash Game Plays
Jason Day - $11,400
I was going all-in on Jason Day this week at The Players regardless of how he did at the Wells Fargo. Well lo and behold he went out and won the thing and now will likely be one of the highest-owned players in the field. Day is a former winner of this event back in 2016 and dominates on other Pete Dye tracks as well. He will use his lethal driving iron off the tee all week long to set his short iron game, which has been improving over the last few weeks. As always, Day is a short-game master, which will help him grind out pars on TPC Sawgrass’s difficult greens. While a balanced lineup build for cash games is certainly in play this week, I want to maximize my chances of hitting the winner at this event even in cash games where we will likely see very few 6/6 and 5/6 lineups and Day offers the highest win equity in the field in my opinion.
Francesco Molinari - $8,100
Francesco Molinari has established himself as a course horse at TPC Sawgrass and will likely be one of the most popular plays in the entire field. While I wouldn’t classify anyone as a “safe” play at a tournament as deep as The Players, Molinari certainly feels like he has one of the best floors among anyone in the field. His mix of accuracy off the tee and excellent short iron play is ideal for Sawgrass’ layout and the difficulty of the greens should help bring his terrible putting a little closer to the field. He has rattled off top-10s in three of his last four showings at this event. His ownership will be massive in large field tournaments so I won’t try to talk you out of a fade in those formats but in cash games Molinari is an easy decision.
Adam Hadwin - $7,300
I feel like I’ve written up Adam Hadwin in every tournament that he’s played in this season, and he has yet to disappoint us. Hadwin has turned his iron play from decent to elite this season, and TPC Sawgrass is an ideal course setup for a short knocker like Hadwin. He hasn’t really popped with a big finish at The Players yet but has made the cut the last two seasons here. However, it’s clear that Hadwin is a different class of player this season, and like Luke List you have to think that a win is coming in 2018 for Hadwin. Hadwin is certainly in play for GPPs as well, but his consistency and excellent short game make me incredibly comfortable rostering him in cash games and pairing him with some more solid plays in the sub $7,500 range such as Webb Simpson, Patrick Cantlay and/or Emiliano Grillo, and then going up top with a high priced stud or two.
GPP Pivot Plays
Jon Rahm - $9,300
Ownership should be fairly spread out among the players priced over $9,000, but Jon Rahm may actually turn out to be a sneaky play. Rahm has two wins worldwide this season and got his PGA Tour win this season on the Pete Dye-designed PGA West. It’s easy to look at how Rahm played here last season and dismiss him, but he was actually in contention before a Saturday 82 derailed him and sent him packing with an MDF. I’m going to go out on limb and say Rahm isn’t going to post many more rounds over 80 in his golfing career and the 68-72 rounds we saw Thursday and Friday of last season will be more inline with what Rahm puts up this year.
Cameron Smith - $7,600
There’s so much to like in this mid-$7000 price range with Patrick Cantlay, Emiliano Grillo, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott and Luke List all excellent plays who are catching my eye, but the guy who I’ll be riding in tournaments is Cameron Smith. The Aussie has played great golf on Pete Dye tracks, and his excellent short game should help him grind pars when his ball striking gets him into trouble. I can’t see his ownership getting above 10 percent, which makes him an ideal GPP pivot off of some of the other guys that I listed in this price range. Smith is also a Jacksonville resident and has stated numerous times that he loves TPC Sawgrass and feels that it is a great fit for his game.
Si-Woo Kim - $7,200
I said during my RBC Heritage preview that I’ll be looking to roster Si-Woo every time he tees it up at a Pete Dye course and there is absolutely no way I’m bailing now as he returns to the spot of his signature win last season. Si-Woo excels when the driver is taken out of his hands and his game is perfect for the surgical precision that Sawgrass requires approaching the green. Kim is also starting to shed that “inconsistent” tag that has followed him around, with three straight made cuts and 12 of 15 overall this season. Golf narratives are always kind of ridiculous, so the narrative that defending championships of this event can’t contend the next season doesn’t worry me in the least. Si-Woo on a Pete Dye track, lock that in 10 times out of 10.