Welcome back to Golf News Net’s weekly fantasy golf picks. Each week of the PGA Tour season, we’ll present our top picks for that week’s tournament and make recommendations for DraftKings’ one-week fantasy leagues.
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Who saw that coming? A Jon Curran-William McGirt playoff for the Memorial? Well, we had McGirt as one of the guys you should look out for based on our key stat, which was par-4 scoring. Then again, if you were a GNN Plus subscriber, you’d know that!
Alright, this week is kind of a dud. The FedEx St. Jude Classic is a good, well-run tournament, but it’s hard to attract a top field after USGA sectional qualifying and the week before the U.S. Open. However, we have some solid names in the field.
For GNN Plus subscribers, you can access our NEW searchable database of PGA Tour results from 2011-present, our top-15 finish chart and season-long trends on DraftKings valuations. They’ll be available at your disposal as part of a growing set of tools to help in your research.
Now, on to the picks!
1. Dustin Johnson — Johnson is a former winner here back in 2012 and was in third place last week at Memorial. He’s done pretty much nothing but finish highly this year.
2. Brooks Koepka — Koepka has top-20 finishes in his only two Memphis appearances, so that’s good enough for us. A good finish, albeit a playoff loss, at the Nelson is encouraging, too.
3. Ryan Palmer — Palmer was T-3 on his home track at Colonial, which also has small greens. He sees them well. He had back-to-back top-four finishes here in 2012 and ’13.
4. Phil Mickelson — Mickelson is a little two-faced right now, and it’s unclear which Lefty will show up from week to week. But he has two medal-stand finishes in his last three Memphis starts, so we’re good with him this week.
5. Kyle Reifers — We’re probably overrating Reifers a little here, and he’s overvalued in daily fantasy games. However, he’s figured something out of late, with top-20s in his last three starts and making his last five cuts.
6. Colt Knost — Knost is playing the best golf of his pro career right now, and he’s coming to TPC Southwind, where he has a good record. Well worth a look this week.
7. Daniel Berger — Berger finished T-67 at Memorial, but he had peeled off five straight top-20 finishes before that. He’s a Bermudagrass specialist, which we have this week.
8. Harris English — English is a former winner here who is admittedly now focused on trophies, not paychecks. He was 2nd at Memorial, which is a pretty comparable course in terms of putting surfaces and targets. We like his chances.
9. Retief Goosen — I like the Goose this week, what can I say? He’s missed one cut this year and has top-14 finishes in his last two starts. Was third here in 2011.
10. Chad Campbell — The Texan had a great home-state stretch, with a pair of top-12 finishes. He has a pair of top-eight finishes here in the last four years, so he’s good horse for this course.
My DraftKings team for this week:
1. Dustin Johnson – $12,800
2. Chad Campbell – $7,800
3. Retief Goosen – $7,600
4. Cameron Tringale – $7,300
5. Tim Wilkinson – $7,200
6. Camilo Villegas – $6,900
If you want to win at DraftKings daily fantasy golf, you have to figure out a way to find six golfers that play all 72 holes and earn roughly 85 points each.
You likely have to identify a couple of players in the top five, at least the top seven, and you’d ideally not have a player finish outside the top 20.
Doing that takes research, looking at a variety of factors, including:
- Finish trends, both in recent weeks on the PGA Tour and at that week’s event,
- Salary trends, deciphering which players are showing value based on their performance, and
- Statistical trends, identifying the common threads among winners in that week’s event
That’s what Golf News Net will deliver each week to GNN Plus members in this space, offering a complete research package which dives into these three areas to find the players that should be in your lineup for this week.
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We start by looking at the recent past, back at players who have finished inside the top 15 in the last five PGA Tour events — not their last five starts. Here are the players in this week’s field with the most top-15 finishes in the last five PGA Tour events:
- Chad Campbell – 2 – T-12 AT&T Byron Nelson, T-10 Colonial
- Colt Knost – 2 – T-3 The Players, T-4 AT&T Byron Nelson
- Dustin Johnson – 2 – T-12 AT&T Byron Nelson, 3rd the Memorial Tournament
- Gary Woodland – 2 – T-12 AT&T Byron Nelson, T-4 the Memorial Tournament
- Kyle Reifers – 2 – T-10 AT&T Byron Nelson, T-5 Colonial
- Retief Goosen – 2 – T-14 Wells Fargo Championship, T-12 The Players
- Tim Wilkinson – 2 – T-11 Wells Fargo Championship, T-4 AT&T Byron Nelson
We’re also interested in the players in the field that have finished in the top 15 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic multiple times in the last five years:
- Camilo Villegas – 3
- Phil Mickelson – 3
- Robert Allenby – 3
- Carl Pettersson – 2
- Chad Campbell – 2
- Colt Knost – 2
- Dustin Johnson – 2
- Fabian Gomez – 2
- Greg Owen – 2
- John Merrick – 2
- Padraig Harrington – 2
- Ryan Palmer – 2
- Seung-yul Noh – 2
Ideally, we want to find players who are both playing well now and have a history of playing well at TPC Southwind. Our guys this week: Dustin Johnson, Chad Campbell, Colt Knost.
DraftKings salaries change from week to week, depending on field strength and size, as well a player’s recent record and their history on a course. It’s in looking at how a salary changes over time that we might get some clues as to players that could be a little overrated or underrated.
Here’s the list of players in the field playing $1,000 over their average salary this season, because so much of the field is overvalued:
- Thomas Aiken
- Tim Wilkinson
- Charles Howell III
- David Toms
- Phil Mickelson
- Chad Campbell
- Martin Piller
- Tom Hoge
- Harris English
- David Hearn
- Brooks Koepka
- Jon Curran
- Dustin Johnson
- Daniel Berger
- Ryan Palmer
- Gary Woodland
- Kyle Reifers
- Colt Knost
Here are players with multiple top 15 finishes in their last five events that are playing this week less than $1,000 above their average salary this season:
- Retief Goosen
Each week, we want to look at the initial odds for a PGA Tour event and compare their order of ranking to salary rankings at DraftKings. This way, we can see gaps in who the oddsmakers are enticing enough to rank well and who DraftKings thinks are worthy of a higher salary.
First, let’s look at the players who could be big DraftKings values: players who are ranked at least 5 spots worse on DraftKings than on the books.
Brendan Steele – 7
Retief Goosen – 8
Jason Bohn – 8
Scott Stallings – 9
Scott Brown – 9
Tim Wilkinson – 11
Seung-Yul Noh – 15
Cameron Tringale – 17
Then, we look at players who could be substantially overrated by DraftKings, whose DFS rankings are at least 5 spots higher than their book rankings:
Boo Weekley – -15
Richard Sterne – -12
David Toms – -8
Ben Martin – -8
Wesley Bryan – -6
Harold Varner – -5
Thomas Aiken – -5
Steve Stricker – -5
TPC Southwind has fairly small putting surfaces, so hitting the green is critical. So, too, is putting. As PGA Tour’s Rob Bolton points out, these greens are some of the easiest to putt on the Tour. That means you gotta hit greens and make bombs. We’ll look at strokes gained approach and strokes gained putting.
4. Phil Mickelson (5)
7. Robert Garrigus (197)
10. Dustin Johnson (47)
13. Greg Owen (199)
14. Vaughn Taylor (182)
19. Gary Woodland (101)
25. David Hearn (91)