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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The FedEx Cup playoffs are here, with The Barclays (soon to be The Northern Trust in 2017) returning to Bethpage Black for the first time since 2012. We get the band back together with the best players for the next four tournaments in a five-week stretch, culminating in someone winning $10 million at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
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.
2016 The Barclays top 10 picks
1. Jason Day – Day is still the best player on the planet right now, and he’s playing complete golf.
2. Henrik Stenson – Could have easily made Stenson No. 1 on our list this week. He’s 42 under in his last 12 competitive rounds between the Open, the PGA and the Olympics. Sold.
3. Dustin Johnson – A missed cut at the PGA was a downer, but he was kind of due. Plenty of time to rest and return on a course where he was T-3 in 2012. Built for Bethpage.
4. Rory McIlroy – The best driver on the planet finally gets to go back to a Scotty Cameron putter. That may be the jolt he needs to get it going after a tough season.
5. Brandt Snedeker – Snedeker was runner-up here in 2012 and has been playing excellent golf of late. As Rob Bolton points out, he leads the PGA Tour in par-4 scoring, an absolutely important stat at long and demanding Bethpage.
6. Patrick Reed – Reed has been producing great finishes all season despite not being all that special off the tee. If he can keep the ball in the short stuff for a week, he’ll win.
7. Jordan Spieth – Spieth’s just kind of been hanging around for the last couple of months, not doing anything particularly impressive. He should be charged for this run, however.
8. Hideki Matsuyama – If Matsuyama could ever putt well consistently, he, like Rory McIlroy, would be world No. 1. In the top four in his last two starts and playing on a course where ballstriking is a must.
9. Brooks Koepka – Koepka put on a great run at Baltusrol in the PGA Championship. Extra time to improve that bum ankle, too, should be nice.
10. Justin Rose – The Olympic gold medalist has to be feeling extremely good about himself, as he should. He’s a playoff beast, though not typically in the opener. Very good driver of the ball.
My DraftKings team for this week:
1. Henrik Stenson – $11,700
2. Brandt Snedeker – $8,900
3. Emiliano Grillo – $8,300
4. Paul Casey – $7,800
5. Billy Horschel – $6,700
6. William McGirt – $6,100
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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 non-Olympic PGA Tour events:
- Alex Cejka – 2 – T-5 RBC Canadian Open, T-11 Travelers Championship
- Brandt Snedeker – 2 – T-5 RBC Canadian Open, T-3 Wyndham Championship
- Brooks Koepka – 2 – T-9 Travelers Championship, T-4 PGA Championship
- Daniel Summerhays – 2 – 3rd Travelers Championship, T-11 Travelers Championship
- Hideki Matsuyama – 2 – T-4 PGA Championship, T-3 Wyndham Championship
- Jason Day – 2 – T-14 RBC Canadian Open, 2nd PGA Championship
- Jim Furyk – 3 – T-13 RBC Canadian Open, T-5 Travelers Championship, T-10 Wyndham Championship
- Jimmy Walker – 2 – T-14 RBC Canadian Open, WIN PGA Championship
- Johnson Wagner – 2 – T-5 John Deere Classic, T-5 Wyndham Championship
- Kevin Na – 2 – T-8 John Deere Classic, T-10 Wyndham Championship
- Patrick Reed – 2 – T-13 PGA Championship, T-11 Travelers Championship
- Ricky Barnes – 2 – T-5 RBC Canadian Open, T-5 John Deere Classic
- Shawn Stefani – 2- T-11 Travelers Championship, T-14 Wyndham Championship
- Spencer Levin – 2 – T-14 RBC Canadian Open, T-11 Travelers Championship
We’re also interested in the players in the field that have finished in the top 15 at The Barclays multiple times in the last five years:
- Adam Scott – 2
- Brandt Snedker – 2
- Bubba Watson – 3
- Daniel Summerhays – 2
- Dustin Johnson – 3
- Gary Woodland – 3
- Graham DeLaet – 2
- Jason Day – 3
- Jim Furyk – 3
- Justin Rose – 2
- Matt Kuchar – 2
- Rickie Fowler – 2
- Webb Simpson – 2
- William McGirt – 2
Ideally, we want to find players who are both playing well now and have a history of playing well in the playoff opener. We don’t have any players this week who fit in both categories.
Since we don’t get Bethpage Black as an annual host, here are the players in the field this week that were in the top 15 back in 2012.
2. Brandt Snedeker
T-3. Dustin Johnson
T-5. Graham DeLaet
T-5. Louis Oosthuizen
T-5. Brian Harman
T-10. Luke Donald
T-10. Bubba Watson
T-10. William McGirt
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 $500 over their average salary this season:
- Jhonattan Vegas
- Jason Day
- Dustin Johnson
- Emiliano Grillo
- Brooks Koepka
- Henrik Stenson
- Si Woo Kim
Here are the players with multiple top 15 finishes in their last five events that are playing this week at least $500 BELOW their average salary this season.
- Daniel Summerhays – $1478 BELOW
- Jimmy Walker $716 BELOW
- Johnson Wagner $732 BELOW
- Kevin Na – $1338 BELOW
- Patrick Reed – $1145 BELOW
- Ricky Barnes – $670 BELOW
- Shawn Stefani – $957 BELOW
- Spencer Levin – $570 BELOW
Bethpage Black seems like a pretty simple nut to crack, at least in terms of what’s required to get the job done. You don’t have to be astoundingly long to do well, but you can’t be a short-knocker. You need to get the ball in the fairway and handle the long par 4s well. So, the keys for us this week should be strokes gained off the tee and par-4 scoring, which is a typical class-of-field stat.
Strokes gained off the tee
1. Rory McIlroy
2. Dustin Johnson
3. Bubba Watson
4. J.B. Holmes
5. Justin Rose
6. Brooks Koepka
7. Hideki Matsuyama
8. Boo Weekley
9. Rickie Fowler
10. Ryan Palmer
11. Andrew Landry
12. Sergio Garcia
13. Lucas Glover
14. Brendan Steele
15. Jason Kokrak
16. Jhonattan Vegas
17. Jamie Lovemark
18. Charley Hoffman
20. Louis Oosthuizen
21. Harold Varner III
22. Gary Woodland
T-24. Adam Scott
T-24. Jordan Spieth
Par 4 scoring (450-500 yards)
1. Rory McIlroy
2. Webb Simpson
3. Dustin Johnson
5. Sergio Garcia
7. Robert Garrigus
8. Danny Lee
10. Jhonattan Vegas
11. Jason Day
12. Jamie Lovemark
13. Steve Stricker
14. David Lingmerth
15. Rickie Fowler
T-16. Kevin Streelman
T-16. Ricky Barnes
T-16. Jordan Spieth
T-16. Alex Cejka
20. Matt Kuchar
21. Shawn Stefani
22. Smylie Kaufman
23. Zach Johnson
24. Kevin Na
25. Louis Oosthuizen