2020 The Players Championship model and fantasy golf rankings
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2020 The Players Championship model and fantasy golf rankings



For years, I’ve made fantasy golf picks, power rankings and given betting tips about PGA Tour events.

I’ve looked at two main factors, current form and course history, and tried to bring those together to offer selections and my best guess as to who will contend in a given week.

However, for 2020, I wanted to become more sophisticated and develop a weekly rubric which offers a clear-cut ranking system based on data points weighted in a formula. After some weeks of testing, I’m have this rubric where I want it. Let me walk you through the rubric’s tenets and show off this week’s results.
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How the rubric works

The reason I’m calling this a rubric is because I think a model implies a guess about how the tournament will play out. I don’t think any model can do that. There are plenty of factors data can’t quantify, including luck of the draw, playing partners, hole locations, weather and sheer random stuff.

That’s why the rubric is rooted in things we can quantify more broadly without getting too into the weeds. I don’t believe specific statistics matter for each course. Each player is different, and they achieve their best results slightly differently, as our Course Fit tool indicates. A player can perform well on most PGA Tour courses doing things their way, and their past performance on a course is best indicative of their fit, not where they rank in certain categories.

That said, the biggest chunk of my rubric relies on strokes gained, as well our derivative, Quality Strokes Gained, which weights a player’s strokes gained against the depth of field they face. The rubric looks at this data over the longer term and medium term to derive a player’s quality across the tour and across different fields.

Next, the rubric accounts for two factors I look at every week: current form in the last five PGA Tour events played and their average strokes gained on the host course in the last three years.

All told, the model is designed to point out quality players and boost those middling players who have good current form or good course history.

2020 The Players Championship rankings

You’ll see with the rubric that I’ve listed the top 50 in this field, as well their current betting odds and DraftKings price.

We’re looking for quality, of course, but also for some value.

This week, the ranking feels pretty apparent. Rory is the best in the world by far. Patrick Cantlay is consistent and likes this course. Bryson DeChambeau is finding his new body.

Collin Morikawa might be the ultimate sleeper.

Click header to sort; the better their position, the more the rubric likes them

POS PLAYER PTS DK PRICE DK RANK ODDS ODDS RANK
1 McIlroy, Rory 2.374 11700 1 800 1
2 Cantlay, Patrick 1.808 9800 6 2000 4
3 Rahm, Jon 1.797 11000 2 1200 2
4 Scott, Adam 1.679 9600 7 3000 8
5 DeChambeau, Bryson 1.659 9100 10 2000 4
6 Thomas, Justin 1.514 10800 3 1600 3
7 Matsuyama, Hideki 1.426 8800 13 3000 8
8 Simpson, Webb 1.387 9200 9 3000 8
9 Woodland, Gary 1.295 8300 18 5000 17
10 Im, Sungjae 1.223 8600 15 3000 8
11 Schauffele, Xander 1.194 9400 8 3000 8
12 Rose, Justin 1.127 8700 14 6000 21
13 Fleetwood, Tommy 1.071 9000 11 2500 6
14 Reed, Patrick 1.021 8500 16 3000 8
15 Fowler, Rickie 1.002 8900 12 3000 8
16 Morikawa, Collin 0.962 7900 23 5000 17
17 Wallace, Matt 0.949 7300 38 15000 45
18 Koepka, Brooks 0.946 10200 4 4000 15
19 Johnson, Dustin 0.935 10000 5 2500 6
20 Bezuidenhout, Christiaan 0.897 6800 71 15000 45
21 Day, Jason 0.886 8400 17 6000 21
22 Finau, Tony 0.882 8100 20 6000 21
23 van Rooyen, Erik 0.834 7200 41 15000 45
24 Poulter, Ian 0.832 7300 38 10000 35
25 Berger, Daniel 0.829 7200 41 6000 21
26 Dahmen, Joel 0.795 6600 86 10000 35
27 Snedeker, Brandt 0.775 7200 41 10000 35
28 Horschel, Billy 0.77 7500 32 8000 29
29 Scheffler, Scottie 0.736 7500 32 10000 35
30 Na, Kevin 0.735 7000 57 12500 40
31 Lowry, Shane 0.727 7800 25 8000 29
32 Homa, Max 0.685 6600 86 12500 40
33 Furyk, Jim 0.678 6800 71 20000 67
34 Kuchar, Matt 0.667 7800 25 5000 17
35 Hatton, Tyrrell 0.652 7400 34 5000 17
36 Stenson, Henrik 0.648 7900 23 8000 29
37 Casey, Paul 0.64 8200 19 6000 21
38 Ancer, Abraham 0.63 7200 41 8000 29
39 Fitzpatrick, Matthew 0.621 7300 36 6000 21
40 Taylor, Nick 0.59 6800 71 20000 67
41 Moore, Ryan 0.582 7200 41 15000 45
42 Cauley, Bud 0.572 6200 114 20000 67
43 Hadwin, Adam 0.553 7000 57 15000 45
44 Hovland, Viktor 0.541 7700 28 10000 35
45 Sabbatini, Rory 0.518 6800 71 20000 67
46 Reavie, Chez 0.513 7100 49 15000 45
47 Lee, Danny 0.497 6900 64 15000 45
48 Streelman, Kevin 0.49 6300 108 25000 95
49 Varner III, Harold 0.483 6900 64 20000 67
50 Leishman, Marc 0.476 7600 30 4000 15
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About the author

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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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