2021 Wells Fargo Championship model and fantasy golf rankings
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2021 Wells Fargo Championship model and fantasy golf rankings



Welcome to my weekly fantasy golf model for the 2021 Wells Fargo Championship!

Beginning in 2020, I developed a weekly rubric which offers a clear-cut ranking system based on data points weighted in a formula. So far, it’s been a tremendous success. Here’s a look at the PGA Tour winners in the restart and where they landed in the model:

  • Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial: Daniel Berger – No. 21
  • Wells Fargo Championship: Webb Simpson – No. 7
  • Travelers Championship: Dustin Johnson – No. 10
  • Rocket Mortgage Classic: Bryson DeChambeau – No. 2
  • Workday Charity Open: Collin Morikawa – No. 11
  • the Memorial Tournament: Jon Rahm – No. 6
  • WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational: Justin Thomas – No. 6
  • PGA Championship: Collin Morikawa – No. 13
  • The Northern Trust: Dustin Johnson – No. 20
  • BMW Championship: Jon Rahm – No. 2
  • US Open: Bryson DeChambeau – No. 9
  • Sanderson Farms Championship: Sergio Garcia – No. 40
  • CJ Cup at Shadow Creek: Jason Kokrak – No. 17
  • Zozo Championship at Sherwood: Patrick Cantlay – No. 9
  • The Wells Fargo Championship: Dustin Johnson – No. 7
  • Mayakoba Golf Classic: Viktor Hovland – No. 5
  • Sentry Tournament of Champions: Harris English – No. 13
  • Sony Open in Hawaii: Kevin Na – No. 33
  • Farmers Insurance Open: Patrick Reed – No. 8
  • Waste Management Phoenix Open: Brooks Koepka – No. 10
  • AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Daniel Berger – No. 1
  • The Genesis Invitational: Max Homa – No. 30
  • WGC-Workday Championship: Collin Morikawa – No. 17
  • Arnold Palmer Invitational: Bryson DeChambeau – No. 3
  • The Players Championship: Justin Thomas – No. 3
  • Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship: Joel Dahmen – No. 22
  • Valero Texas Open: Jordan Spieth – No. 9
  • Masters: Hideki Matsuyama – No. 16
  • RBC Heritage: Stewart Cink – No. 75
  • Valspar Championship: Sam Burns – No. 77

Let me walk you through the rubric’s tenets and show off this week’s results.

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. In the fall of 2021, I included specific weighting of strokes gained and Quality Strokes Gained against the field strength that week, creating a range of comparison to see how players do against particular competition.

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.

2021 Wells Fargo Championship rankings

You’ll see with the rubric that I’ve listed the top 75, as well their current betting odds and DraftKings price.

The Wells Fargo Championship is back after a year away, and I kind of miss Quail Hollow. It’s a good course that has traditionally attracted a lot of top players. Now it’s a good lead into the PGA Championship just a few weeks from now.

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 Rahm, Jon 1.858 10800 3 1200 1
2 McIlroy, Rory 1.754 10000 6 1800 4
3 Thomas, Justiin 1.708 11300 1 1200 1
4 DeChambeau, Bryson 1.658 11000 2 1400 3
5 Schauffele, Xander 1.618 10500 4 1800 4
6 Zalatoris, Will 1.447 9400 10 3000 11
7 Cantlay, Patrick 1.36 9600 8 2500 8
8 Simpson, Webb 1.359 10200 5 2000 6
9 Hovland, Viktor 1.264 9800 7 2000 6
10 Reed, Patrick 1.172 9300 11 2500 8
11 Finau, Tony 1.166 9500 9 2500 8
12 Henley, Russell 1.073 7900 26 6000 20
13 Homa, Max 0.981 9000 14 3500 13
14 Niemann, Joaquin 0.904 9100 13 3500 13
15 Tringale, Cameron 0.789 8400 20 4000 15
16 van Rooyen, Erik 0.73 7200 46 15000 48
17 Varner III, Harold 0.724 7600 32 8000 27
18 Im, Sungjae 0.712 8800 16 4000 15
19 Harman, Brian 0.711 8700 17 4000 15
20 Wallace, Matt 0.697 7500 35 8000 27
21 Poulter, Ian 0.696 7300 42 15000 48
22 Watson, Bubba 0.662 8300 21 6000 20
23 Day, Jason 0.652 8600 18 5000 19
24 Conners, Corey 0.65 9200 12 3000 11
25 Fowler, Rickie 0.65 7800 28 8000 27
26 English, Harris 0.636 8000 24 8000 27
27 Lowry, Shane 0.57 8200 22 6000 20
28 Ancer, Abraham 0.551 8900 15 4000 15
29 Kim, Michael 0.548 6000 142 100000 147
30 Gooch, Talor 0.515 7600 32 12500 39
31 Todd, Brendon 0.5 7400 38 10000 32
32 Streelman, Kevin 0.483 7700 30 10000 32
33 Griffin, Lanto 0.444 7400 38 12500 39
34 Suh, Justin 0.442 6100 129 25000 77
35 NeSmith, Matthew 0.441 7300 42 15000 48
36 Seiffert, Chase 0.435 6700 75 25000 77
37 Grillo, Emiliano 0.397 8100 23 6000 20
38 Johnson, Zach 0.378 7100 51 15000 48
39 Vegas, Jhonattan 0.374 7000 56 15000 48
40 Woodland, Gary 0.368 7500 35 12500 39
41 Davis, Cameron 0.347 7100 51 12500 39
42 An, Byeong Hun 0.342 6600 82 30000 87
43 Hahn, James 0.338 6800 67 20000 64
44 Fleetwood, Tommy 0.333 8000 24 6000 20
45 Cink, Stewart 0.331 7900 26 8000 27
46 Munoz, Sebastian 0.328 7300 42 12500 39
47 Glover, Lucas 0.315 7800 28 6000 20
48 Sabbatini, Rory 0.29 6700 75 15000 48
49 Rodgers, Patrick 0.284 6500 90 30000 87
50 Kizzire, Patton 0.276 7000 56 20000 64
51 Dahmen, Joel 0.27 7600 32 10000 32
52 Taylor, Nick 0.261 6600 82 25000 77
53 Hadwin, Adam 0.26 7200 46 15000 48
54 McNealy, Maverick 0.259 7300 42 15000 48
55 Moore, Ryan 0.257 7100 51 10000 32
56 Schenk, Adam 0.247 6800 67 20000 64
57 Lee, Danny 0.24 6600 82 25000 77
58 Perez, Pat 0.239 7000 56 20000 64
59 Bradley, Keegan 0.221 8500 19 6000 20
60 Reavie, Chez 0.22 6700 75 30000 87
61 McCarthy, Denny 0.204 7200 46 12500 39
62 Hoge, Tom 0.179 7000 56 20000 64
63 Lewis, Tom 0.177 6700 75 20000 64
64 Norlander, Henrik 0.174 6500 90 30000 87
65 Molinari, Francesco 0.13 7500 35 12500 39
66 Hubbard, Mark 0.127 6200 118 30000 87
67 Poston, J.T. 0.123 6900 62 20000 64
68 Gordon, Will 0.119 6200 118 30000 87
69 List, Luke 0.11 6800 67 15000 48
70 Hughes, Mackenzie 0.106 7000 56 15000 48
71 Straka, Sepp 0.1 6800 67 20000 64
72 Redman, Doc 0.085 6900 62 15000 48
73 Ortiz, Carlos 0.081 7400 38 10000 32
74 Blixt, Jonas 0.08 6100 129 100000 147
75 Stuard, Brian 0.078 6500 90 30000 87

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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