AP Game Theory Decisions – John Deere Classic - DFS Karma
Connect with us


AP Game Theory Decisions – John Deere Classic

Greenbrier recap;

Chris Stroud (MC)
Trey Mullinax (-2)
Jimmy Walker (MC)
Harris English (MC)
Brian Harman (-2)
JB Holmes (MC)
Billy Hurley III (-4)
Norman Xiong (MC)

Last week was easily the worst I’ve ever had in DFS Golf. I played very lite, so it didn’t hit the bankroll to bad. DFS Golf is a high variance sport, with that in mind, I’m not going to sit here and overthink where things went wrong. Let’s dive into this weeks John Deere Classic.

The John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run is home to many birdies and low scores. TPC Deere Run is a 7,268 yard EASY par 71 track. Bryson DeChambeau won last year with a score of 18 under par. In 2016, Ryan Moore won with a score of 22 under par. Steve Stricker won this event three times in a row from 09’ – 11’ & Zach Johnson tends to finish inside the top five every year.

Course Breakdown
Scoring relative to par = Easy
Hitting fairways = Easy
Greens = Bentgrass
Green Firmness = Soft
Green Speed = Average to Fast
Rough Length = Long

Stats to focus on
Strokes Gained: Approach
Proximity to the Hole
Birdie or Better %
3 Putt Avoidance
Strokes Gained: Putting
Past Winners (In the field this year); Bryson DeChambeau (2017), Ryan Moore (2016), Zach Johnson (2012), Steve Stricker (2011-2009), Jonathan Byrd (2007), & John Senden (2006)



Pricing on DraftKings could make things very interesting this week. Most of the players priced 9,500+ are in solid form or have elite course history. For example, Zach Johnson has a top five or better in the last 7 out of 9 attempts at TPC Deere Run. If we lock in ZJ and pair him with any other stud in this 9,500+ range we are left with 7,325 to 6,800 left per position. If we plug in ZJ and fade everyone else in this 9,500+ range, to free up salary, we have to sweat a group that has FIVE wins and many top 10s among them. Let’s narrow this group down to figure out who we need to have exposure too.

Course History

As I stated above, Zach Johnson absolutely owns this course. He is almost always in contention and I’ll be locking him into a very high percentage of my lineups. Steve Stricker is the other guy who pops out with 3 victory’s, two 5th place finishes, and he has never missed a cut. Ryan Moore has one win, multiple top 10’s but missed the cut last year. Kyle Stanley has only been in contention once back in 2011. DeChambeau won last year with very limited course history, which we can factor in when looking at Hadley, who has limited course history & Molinari & Niemann who have zero course history.

Course Form (Core Stats)

Starting with Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker, due to their elite course history, let’s look at their core stats. Zach Johnson is an elite ball striker who has one of the lowest proximity to the hole from the fairway figures on tour. He is elite in approach, PTH, 3 putt avoidance, and strokes gained putting on bentgrass. Long story short, ZJ checks every single box this week. Play him. Historically, Steve Stricker is known as one of the elite putters on tour. However, his putting is the only stat that isn’t popping for him year to date or on bentgrass greens. Chesson Hadley & Joaquin Niemann check just about every single box this week. The main question mark for me, relative to both of their prices, is Ryan Moore and Francesco Molinari. Molinari, aka the French Goat, is coming off a huge win where he had everything clicking. I think he will garner some ownership due to this. The primary difference is he won on a course where fairways were tough to hit. Everyone will be hitting fairways this week and his putting is my main concern. Same can be said for Ryan Moore.

Course Form ranking: (1) Zach Johnson, (2) Chesson Hadley, (3) Joaquin Niemann, (4) Bryson DeChambeau, (5) Steve Stricker, (tied 6th) Molinari, Stanley, & Moore.

Elite Pairing (just an example); Zach Johnson + Chesson Hadley -> This leaves us $7,325 left per position. So, who can we look at under 7k that can make the cut? With birdies being very easy to come by, having a 5/6 or 6/6 will be important.


Value Plays

As a group, all of these value plays have very solid proximity to the hole averages. This group also has great course experience; only 14 missed cuts out of 59 attempts, this is an elite figure given their prices.  Vaughn Taylor is a value piece that immediately jumps out at me. Taylor comes into this event in decent form and has pretty good course history. He ranks 25th in strokes gained on approach and putting on bentgrass. Chad Campbell & Daniel Summerhays are guys that don’t check many boxes at all but have incredible course history; NINE top 25s between them both.

Formula for success

Stud (2x) + Value (2x). Example; Zach Johnson + Chesson Hadley + Chad Campbell + Vaughn Taylor combo leaves 7,700 left per position.


Initial Plays

Zach Johnson, 11,200 – Cash and GPP lock. On paper, the only person whos game may fit this course better is Joaquin Niemann. Niemann lacks the incredible course history and experience ZJ has. ZJ will be chalky but he almost guarantees us a top 5 finish.

Joaquin Niemann, 10,400 – It is only a matter of time before Niemann gets a win on tour. As I stated above, his overall game and current form is perfect for TPC Deer Run.

Chesson Hadley, 9,500 – Chalky Chesson week. At first glance, Hadley feels like a fine cash play this week. His approach game is very elite and we don’t have to worry about him missing fairways

Chez Reavie, 7,500 – Reavie is priced too low given his course history and course form. Reavie’s proximity to the hole on approach is 34’5, ranks 24th in strokes gained approach, & 13th in ballstriking. Reavie hasn’t missed a cut here since 2009. He is a lock in all formats.

Chad Campbell, 7,000 & Daniel Summerhays, 7,000 – As I stated above, their course form (stats) are all over the place. Sometimes a golfer just has his favorite course and stats go out the window. I believe that is the case for these two. Campbell has 9 straight cuts made at this course.

Doug Ghim, 6,700 &  Norman Xiong 6,600 – Two players that easily have more talent than half the field. They just lack experience. We have a field and course that is anything but intimidating -> something tells me one of these two will bag a top 10 this week.


Who is AP? APdfs or @AP8809dfs on twitter is a financial professional and DFS grinder. AP has a passion for all types of games where strategy or game theory decisions must be made to obtain an advantage. He developed many of his strategies from his time at the Chess and Poker Tables. AP is ranked inside the top 500 of all daily fantasy players. Between DFS & Poker, AP has well over half a million dollars in life time cashes.


Want to ask AP a question? Join up with DFS Karma to chat with AP in Slack or follow him on twitter. 

More in Golf