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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What a world…
Dustin Johnson is the new U.S. Open champion, which is a phrase that a lot of us probably figured we’d never read or hear. And here we are. Congrats to D.J. for sticking it to his demons, the USGA and Oakmont to pick up what could be the first of several major wins.
This week, we move to the Quicken Loans National, played this year earlier than normal and at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. This isn’t a particularly strong field, but it does have some very solid names.
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. Jim Furyk — Furyk wrapped up another T-2 Oakmont U.S. Open finish with a slick finishing 66 that just improved as the day progressed. Looks healthy and ready to get back on to being Jim Furyk.
2. Patrick Reed — Reed is a ballstriker, and he’s had a chance to win here before, back when Justin Rose did it in 2014. He’s a top-10 machine this year.
3. Kevin Chappell — Chappell isn’t on the run he was earlier in the year, seemingly finishing runner-up every other week, but he seems to play this course modestly well for the Quicken Loans National.
4. Gary Woodland — This pick could be overrated, particularly in DFS games where Woodland’s salary is ridiculous. However, T-12 and T-4 at the Nelson and Memorial were good signs, even if he missed the cut in Memphis.
5. Brendan Steele — Steele probably deserves higher billing this week. He was T-15 at Oakmont and has back-to-back top-16s in this event at Congo.
6. Daniel Summerhays — Summerhays is the perfect tough-course guy. He loves playing in events where pars are good scores, and they should be this week. A top-10 at the U.S. Open is a great finish for him.
7. Marc Leishman — The Aussie was a stud in the Texas Swing Part Deux and finished T-18 at Oakmont. He’s got the goods from tee to green.
8. Kevin Streelman — Streelman is a better Summerhays and a great look on tough, but not too long, venues. T-8 and T-13 in his last two starts. He hits a lot of greens.
9. Charley Hoffman — He’s one of the better players in this field, and he was T-3 here in 2014. But he hasn’t done a whole lot since winning in San Antonio, so take that as you will.
10. Rickie Fowler — Fowler is a class player in the field, so he gets ranked only on that basis. Missed three cuts in a row and has basically no luck at Congressional.
My DraftKings team for this week:
1. Jim Furyk – $11,300
2. Tony Finau – $8,500
3. Daniel Summerhays – $8,100
4. Kevin Streelman – $8,100
5. Kyle Reifers – $7,700
6. Spencer Levin – $6,300
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:
- Gary Woodland – 2 – T-12 AT&T Byron Nelson, T-4 the Memorial Tournament
- Kevin Streelman – 2 – T-8 the Memorial Tournament, T-13 U.S. Open
- Kyle Reifers – 2 – T-10 AT&T Byron Nelson, T-5 Colonial
- Marc Leishman – 2 – T-13 Colonial, T-11 the Memorial Tournament
- Patrick Reed – 2 – T-15 Colonial, T-8 the Memorial Tournament
- Tony Finau – 2 – T-12 AT&T Byron Nelson, T-11 the Memorial Tournament
We’re also interested in the players in the field that have finished in the top 15 at the Quicken Loans National multiple times in the last five years:
- Bill Haas – 2
- Billy Hurley III – 2
- Brendon de Jonge – 2
- Charles Howell III – 2
- Rickie Fowler – 2
- Robert Garrigus – 2
Ideally, we want to find players who are both playing well now and have a history of playing well at the Quicken Loans National — particularly, when it’s at Congressional. Our guys this week…wellllll, no one.
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, and a lot of the field is overvalued because the field is so top-heavy:
- Rickie Fowler
- Bryson DeChambeau
- Jon Curran
- Ryan Palmer
- Kevin Chappell
- Seung-yul Noh
- Roberto Castro
- Byeong-hun An
- Robert Garrigus
- Patrick Reed
- Justin Thomas
- Brendan Steele
- Gary Woodland
- Charley Hoffman
- Marc Leishman
- Jim Furyk
Here are players with multiple top 15 finishes in their last five events that are playing this week less than $800 above their average salary this season:
- Tony Finau
The greens at Congressional Country Club are pretty hard to hit, they’re pretty hard to birdie and they’re pretty hard to scramble on. In other words, the way to win here is hitting greens and scrambling well from in trouble. That means we’ll lead with greens in regulation percentage from 125-150, with scrambling percentage as our secondary key stat.
2. Webb Simpson (55)
6. Byeong-hun An (185)
10. Bill Haas (32)
23. Russell Henley (28)
25. Kyle Reifers (165)