2018 The Northern Trust DraftKings daily fantasy golf picks
Fantasy Golf & Golf Betting Forebucks PGA Tour

2018 The Northern Trust DraftKings daily fantasy golf picks

Each week, including this week’s 2018 The Northern Trust, Golf News Net offers daily fantasy (DFS) golf advice, picks, lineups and tips for DraftKings PGA Tour games, scrutinizing the pricing model and looking for players who will perform best in both guaranteed prize pool (GPP) events and cash games.

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For $75 per year or $225 for lifetime access, GNN+Forebucks members get even MORE, including our course fit modeling, Quality Stokes Gained data, course demand insights, grass-specific performance and further tools, as well individual access to fantasy expert Ryan Ballengee for your unique questions.



  • Searchable PGA Tour results database — A full database of PGA Tour results dating back to 2011, including strokes gained breakouts, money, designers and grass info.
  • PGA Tour top-15 finish trends — A look at the players who have finished in the top 15 in any of the last five PGA Tour events.
  • Player-course fit modeling — This one is experimental, but I think it has lots of potential. This tool looks at the breakdown of each player’s Strokes Gained Putting, Approach, Off the Tee and Tee to Green when they finish in the top 25 and compare to the averages in those categories for top 25 finishers at each week’s event. I believe similarities in the breakouts can help clue us in to potential course fits (or horses for courses).
  • Player performance comparison — Each player has different strengthes and, therefore, a different path to success, be that finishing in the top 15 or making the cut. So, we compare Strokes Gained Putting, Approach and Off the Tee when each player finishes in those positions to help understand player strengths and weaknesses.
  • Strokes gained putting by grass type — Some guys just putt better on Bermudagrass or Bentgrass, the two dominant strains on the PGA Tour. Always helps to see specialists on either surface.
  • NEW! Strokes gained by course length
  • NEW! Strokes gained by course par
  • Course demands: Each week, you’ll be able to see the strokes gained breakout — putting, approach, off the tee, tee to green — for each host course compared to the PGA Tour as it relates to winners, top-15 finishers and top-30 finishers.
  • Top average Quality Strokes Gained for the year: Our Quality Strokes Gained combines strokes gained and strength-of-field figures into a single statistic, so this data shows the players who perform the best against the best competition.
  • Top 50 QSG performances of the year: We wanted to help you understand Quality Strokes Gained more broadly, so we have the rolling list of the top 50 QSG performances of the year.

To access this research hidden below and MANY more fantasy golf tools, sign up for GNN Plus

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2018 The Northern Trust preview

We start the FedEx Cup playoffs with 125 players at Ridgewood Country Club for The Northern Trust. The AW Tillinghast design will offer a test based more on second shots and putting than driving and bombing, particularly if 2014 Ridgewood winner Hunter Mahan is any indication.

This is the time of year where we generally want to stick to quality, particularly in The Northern Trust and BMW Championship, as those events move around venues.

2018 The Northern Trust DraftKings picks

Each week, we’ll offer players in 3-5 buckets of pricing so as to offer some mix-and-matching with your lineups based on our recommendations.

Finish Trends

Recent PGA Tour Trends

We start by looking at the recent past, back at players who have finished inside the top 15 in the last five individual, non-opposite-field, stroke-play PGA Tour events.

  • Rafa Cabrera Bello – 2 – T-10 PGA Championship, T-11 Wyndham Championship
  • Tommy Fleetwood – 2 – T-12 British Open, T-6 RBC Canadian Open
  • Kevis Kisner – 2 – T-2 British Open, T-12 PGA Championship
  • Francesco MOlinari – 2 – WIN British Open, T-6 PGA Championship
  • Jordan Spieth – 2 – T-9 British Open, T-12 PGA Championship
  • Tiger Woods – 2 – T-6 British Open, 2nd PGA Championship

Event Finish History

Here are the players who finished in the top 15 in this event in the last 5 years:

  • Kevin Chappell – 2
  • Jason Day – 2
  • Rickie Fowler – 3
  • Dustin Johnson – 2
  • Jason Kokrak – 2
  • Matt Kuchar – 2
  • Phil Mickelson – 2
  • Ryan Palmer – 2
  • Patrick Reed – 2
  • Justin Rose – 2
  • Adam Scott – 2
  • Webb Simpson – 2
  • Jordan Spieth – 2
  • Justin Thomas – 2
  • Bubba Watson – 4
  • Gary Woodland – 3

Course Fits

It seems to me the best way to use Strokes Gained data is to give a sense of a course fit. My working theory is a player is a course fit — or a potential course fit, at least — if their Strokes Gained breakout when they finish in the top 25 is similar to the average for top-25 finishers at this week’s event.

Of course, current form then informs thinking around these possible course fits. However, in concept, many of these names make some sense and help narrow down a potential list of golfers.

Looking at Ridgewood Country Club, we see more reliance on putting and approach play than most weeks on the PGA Tour. This course isn’t all that long, and onus on driving isn’t the same compared to Bethpage Black.

Here’s a breakdown of what we’re looking for this week:

Tee-to-Green: 50%
Approach: 50%
Driving: 12%
Putting: 25%

Some players who fit this mold include:

  • Aaron Wise
  • Patrick Reed
  • Russell Henley
  • Jason Day
  • Zach Johnson
  • Pat Perez

2018 PGA Championship DraftKings recommendations

$10,000 and up

We have five players in this group, and I think you go with Jason Day or Tiger Woods in this range.


We have 17 players in this group, and I love building your team in this range.

I would look at Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed and Tyrrell Hatton in this range.


DraftKings basically breaks the rest of the field in half at the $7,000 mark. There are still plenty of good choices in this range.

Rafa Cabrera Bello is stupid cheap this week, Gary Woodland plays this event well, and I think Kevin Na and Ryan Moore fit well. Stewart Cink has enjoyed a great summer.

Ben An and Jimmy Walker feel like steals, while Pat Perez and Aaron Wise seem to line up here.

Below or at $7,000

We’re looking for bargains in this range with a threat to top-10.

Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay catch my eye. Keegan Bradley makes cuts. Ryan Palmer’s short game should be a big asset. Chris Kirk is playing great golf. Austin Cook deserves a look, too.

My primary DraftKings lineup

  1. Jordan Spieth – $9,600
  2. Webb Simpson – $9,200
  3. Tony Finau – $8,500
  4. Paul Casey – $8,300
  5. Russell Knox – $7,200
  6. Brian Gay – $7,100

About the author


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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