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Sam’s Teeing Off – 2020 PLAYERS Championship DraftKings Preview/Picks/Cash Targets/Fades

All stats from Fantasynational.com!!! Ownership projections also provided by FantasyNational as well as data and trends from Fansharesports.com! Follow @fantasynational @fansharesports @sscherman on Twitter!

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Course: TPC Sawgrass

Fast Facts

  • Par 72 approx. 7200 yards
  • Fast Bermuda Greens approx. 5000 sq. ft. (SMALLER than TOUR average/13 on stimp)
  • Water Hazards on 14/18 holes with many bunkers scattered throughout (88)
  • Field: 144 players; Top 65 and Ties make the cut
  • Average cut around +1
  • Average winning score around -13 to -14
  • Being played in March for the 2nd year after a big switch which makes rough easier/cooler temps
  • Corollary Courses (Pete Dye tracks): Harbour Town GL, TPC Louisiana, TPC River Highlands, Whistling Straits, Kiawah Island Resort Course
  • Course Fit Targets: Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Jim Furyk, Webb Simpson, Paul Casey, Bryson DeChambeau, Russell Knox (gross), Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter

GPP and Cash Recap (DRAFTKINGS)

YTD Results (Cash) – FD = 4-4; DK 2-6

GPP Results – See table below

Starting this season, and feel free to skip if you’re not interested, I will be writing a more in depth recap of not only the week ahead, but perhaps more importantly, what went into my thought process for both my cash game team (only 1 per week) and my main GPP team (I multi-enter each week but play my one “main” team in all multi entry/single entry/3 entry max, etc.).

Cash: My trials and tribulations continue in cash games and honestly, it would be worth your price of admission to Discord in itself to see me tilt what is now weekly about the cut and my ensuing pain. Last week was a good one in which I had an albeit contrarian lineup that I used as my main and cash lineup that had Rory/Brooks/Dahmen/McNealy/Ortiz/Streelman. Rory was fine as usual, Brooks made the cut but then imploded, Dahmen was a stud and finished sneaky Top 5… now for the others. McNealy had an up and down day and came to the last hole right on the number for the cut in which he just needed a par; he hits in the bunker, smacks it to 13 feet (by far his worst of the week), bogeys, and misses the cut. Streelman makes an early quad (a nice 8), fights back after a million pars and a few birdies and also comes to the last hole in the cut on the number; however, he proceeds to chunk one in the water from the rough, make a bogey, and miss the cut by one. Lastly, let’s get to Ortiz. He came into the last hole at +2 so perfectly safe even if he bogeyed… but you know how this ends. He hits one OB, struggles the rest of the hole and makes a TRIPLE to then miss the cut by 2 shots. I always say I don’t like to blame things on bad luck because clearly there was a roster construction error on my part; however, Streelman is normally quite safe and has been playing well but a quad… brutal. McNealy I can forgive because he’s been so solid and barely missed it but Ortiz, man, that one stung. I roster the guy every week, he had the favorable draw and just one bad tee shot cost him. In hindsight, I tried to get too cute and should have just played Morikawa and/or Hatton because there is no point in getting too contrarian in a cash game or single entry which was the ultimate difference. Brooks should have been large-field GPPs only and it would have provided some safer plays.

GPP: When you only make 5 lineups for the week and you have some of the following exposures, you’ll see why I had a stress-free weekend and not in the good way. 60% Rory (fine, but he did nothing on the weekend), 40% Hideki (shot +10000 in the weekend), 40% Rickie Fowler (fine, low owned), 40% Brooks (smooth 81 on Saturday), 40% McNealy (see above), 40% Piercy (I should have known better), 40% Streelman (LoL), and 40% Sebastian Munoz (I need to quit him), as well as Champ, Ancer, Bubba… well it’s going to be tough to cash. Oh yeah, at the witching hour I also got nervous about the weather draw and swapped Leishman to Stenson… YIKES. I wanted a tighter pool as I knew the conditions would be tough, definitely not THAT tough, but I did like using less guys, but I shouldn’t have gone away from my usual style which I play way less guys I use in cash in GPPs, but I took a shot and it did not at all pan out. I don’t think the process was totally bad because I had Leishman ranked highly but swapped like a moron, I had Hatton as my 15th ranked player in the field but faded due to expected high ownership, and I also faded what I thought was bad chalk, and was, in Adam Scott, Fleetwood, and RCB as well as avoiding guys like Jason Day who WD and Rose who just looks lost. Onto the most loaded field of the year… the all caps tourney, THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP.

Course and Weather Notes: We continue the Florida swing with what I think is the biggest purse of the year for the players (over $15 million) and what actually garners the strongest field over any of the majors or WGCs with I believe at least 45, maybe 47, of the Top 50 in the world teeing it up (no Tiger ☹ and also no Lee Westwood who savagely said he can’t miss this British horse race that he loves… just incredible). There is no need to go into an extensive deep dive of this course since 1) everyone has seen it a lot, 2) people only care about the last 3 holes, and 3) you can read just about any content this week and they’ll have the same info: score on the par 5s, stay out of the water, and scramble well when you miss these small greens. As of now, I don’t see much of any weather issue on either Thursday or Friday, which is a nice change of pace, but there could be some swirls on Saturday which could certainly make for a nice leaderboard swap. I heard this on a podcast early this week and I thought about just how true it is: there is no quintessential “course fit” here as anyone can win: Webb won LOSING strokes on APP (and making every putt on and off the green), Rory won as a OTT and APP monster, Tim Clark won this thing many years ago, and who could forget Si Woo winning in 2017 after only seeing the course once before. One thing I will mention is that the “chalk” every year here seems to get crushed more than any other tournament (now that I said that all the chalk will finish top 10), but I think it’s a week to go more contrarian, play some stars/scrubs lineups, and don’t be afraid to leave salary on the table. In 2019, 4 of the top DraftKings Scorers were all $7100 or less (Snedeker, Pepperell, Furyk, Vegas), while in 2018, the TOP SEVEN DraftKings Scorers well all $7300 or less. Anything can happen here, anyone can blow up on 17 (like Casey did to everyone’s cash lineups and outrights last year), and it makes for a very unpredictable but fun event.

DRAFTKINGS

Key Stats – Last 8, 12, 24, and 50 Rounds (courtesy of FantasyNational.com)

In order of importance:

  • SG: BS
  • SG: APP (emphasis on 100-125/200+ yards) as well as Overall Proximity
  • BoB Gained
  • GIRs Gained
  • Bogey Avoidance
  • SG: Putting (Bermuda/Fast Greens emphasis)
  • Scrambling
  • Par 5 BoB%

Salary Ranges: Plays, Fades, Pivots, Ownership


The players listed below are not my only plays I like but some of the highlights and those I find intriguing for one reason or another.

 

9K and Above:

Plays

1) Justin Thomas ($10,800) Projected Ownership: 18%

Key Stats: 9th SG: BS/30th SG: APP/4th BoB/79th GIRs/13th Bogey Avoidance/67th SG: P (Ber)

Form: 6th/MC/3rd/MC/1st/5th

History: 35th/11th/MC/3rd/24th

Notes: JT should still be one of the higher owned players, and for good reason, but I’m hoping he goes less owned than Rory/Rahm; he looks a little more volatile than you’d expect but it’s all putting, which I guarantee he can figure out, as he’s gained on APP in 6 straight measured events and 13 of his last 14… his 2 MC this year were due to putting/ARG game but were both on Poa Greens so I think this change of surface will be good for him; I like guys who can get hot and JT obviously fits that mold

2) Bryson Dechambeau ($9,100) Projected Ownership: 21%

Key Stats: 3rd SG: BS/37th SG: APP/3rd BoB/12th GIRs/22nd Bogey Avoidance/44th SG: P (Ber)

Form: 4th/2nd/5th/52nd/8th/MC/15th

History: 20th/37th

Notes: I think he’ll be the highest owned on the slate but not someone I’m willing to fade… probably my favorite play of the week, if you look at his last 3 starts it’s actually better than Rory? Weird to say but you get him at $2600 less than him, he’s been a BEAST off the tee, and we’ve seen him get hot with the putter multiple times over the last few tournaments

Fades

1) Brooks Koepka ($10,200) Projected Ownership: 8%

Key Stats: 66th SG: BS/79th SG: APP/55th BoB/29th GIRs/13th Bogey Avoidance/6th SG: P (Ber)

Form: 47th/MC/43rd/17th/34th

History: 56th/11th/16th/36th/MC

Notes: Whenever I fade he burns me, but I tried playing him last week and he just doesn’t look right; he clearly is still injured and has even now said multiple times he’s just not playing well… it wouldn’t shock me to see him come out of nowhere in a big event and play well, but at this price there’s no way I can play him; I’ll just take my 40/1 bet and full fade in DFS

2) Adam Scott ($9,600) Projected Ownership: 15%

Key Stats: 46th SG: BS/57th SG: APP/25th BoB/17th GIRs/25th Bogey Avoidance/65th SG: P (Ber)

Form: MC/26th/1st/1st (PGA Australia)

History: 12th/11th/6th/12th/38th/38th/19th/15th/MC/26th

Notes: Clearly something he likes about this course as he’s made 9/10 cuts over the last 10 years with 5 Top 20s and a 6th but I just don’t like how he’s hitting it right now; I was lucky to get him at Genesis where he won but the 2 tournaments after he’s lost strokes on APP in both events (rare) and lost strokes putting (not rare); Bermuda is his worst surface and I think even though people may say he’ll be lower owned after the MC he’ll end up mid-teens and I would rather pivot around him; also 101st in SG: Par 5s

Favorite Pivot

1) Dustin Johnson ($10,000) Projected Ownership: 13%

Key Stats: 45th SG: BS/78th SG: APP/88th BoB/91st GIRs/48th Bogey Avoidance/59th SG: P (Ber)

Form: 48th/10th/32nd/2nd/7th

History: 5th/17th/12th/28th/69th/59th/WD/57th/34th

Notes: Looking at those stats is not fun; however, as I said on the pod on Monday, people think DJ is playing much worse than he is… yes, he’s not the stat/birdie beast that we all think of but he has 3 Top 10s in his last 5 starts and just because he didn’t win in Mexico, people think he’s awful; he was Top 15 T2G in Mexico and lost over 6 strokes putting (4th worst in the field); I don’t think his game is where it needs to be to be back on top of the world, but at 10k, that is too cheap for his long term talent and I think he’ll be between 12-15% owned

Mid-Tier Options (7.0K to 8.9K):

Plays

1) Hideki Matsuyama ($8,800) Projected Ownership: 20%

Key Stats: 4th SG: BS/10th SG: APP/2nd BoB/16th GIRs/83rd Bogey Avoidance/137th SG: P (Ber)

Form: 56th/6th/5th/16th/45th/12th

History: 8th/MC/22nd/7th/17th/23rd

Notes: Another chalk guy I’m not willing to fade; I will be playing him in all formats as I think a win at this point is overdue… he’s such an elite ball striker, he can crush the Par 5s, and it’s the same story every single week, will he putt even average? Despite the 83rd ranking above, he’s actually not HORRIBLE around the green player, it’s all the putting… I expect big things from him this week

2) Marc Leishman ($7,600) Projected Ownership: 11%

Key Stats: 20th SG: BS/6th SG: APP/56th BoB/66th GIRs/18th Bogey Avoidance/92nd SG: P (Ber)

Form: 2nd/42nd/43rd/1st/28th

History: MC/63rd/MC/64th/24th/23rd/8th/45th/MC/MC

Notes: I’m hoping perceived fatigue and his close call this past week along with his mixed course history will keep ownership down but Leishman is HOT right now; he’s on his best putting surface and has gained both T2G and SG: APP in hist last 6 measured events and 5 of those 6 were 4.6 strokes or more with the irons; his putting will decide things as it has been a roller coaster but at this price, I love Leish in all formats

3) Kevin Na ($7,000) Projected Ownership: 3%

Key Stats: 84th SG: BS/25th SG: APP/49th BoB/88th GIRs/17th Bogey Avoidance/30th SG: P (Ber)

Form: 36th/9th/MC/14th/MC/17th/32nd

History: MC/46th/WD/MC/6th/38th/7th/MC/MC

Notes: I’ll start out by saying he’s a GPP play only because he is incredibly volatile, after all just look at his recent form and course history; further, I am on record as not a Na guy whatsoever as I hate how slow he plays but we can’t have biases and he’s been solid over his last few tournaments: he’s gained on APP in 5 of his last 6 events and T2G in 4 of his last 6; at only 7k, he’s a guy who can get very hot with his putter and give tremendous upside/no one will own; I will try to have 10-15% and be 4-5x the field
Fades

1) Sungjae Im ($8,600) Projected Ownership: 17%

Key Stats: 12th SG: BS/26th SG: APP/6th BoB/9th GIRs/16th Bogey Avoidance/110th SG: P (Ber)

Form: 3rd/1st/29th/MC/34th/36th/10th/21st

History: MC

Notes: Pains me to have him here as I love Sungjae and it is NOT due to fatigue, since he plays every week but I can’t play everyone and with him expected to be chalk (may reach 20%), I will fade since he’s only seen this course once and I could see as the chalk bomb… I can’t say many bad things about him as he’s form is great, his stats are fantastic… I guess a negative is lack of experience at Dye courses?

2) Tyrrell Hatton ($7,400) Projected Ownership: 15%

Key Stats (limited sample): 6th SG: BS/5th SG: APP/7th BoB/7th GIRs/6th Bogey Avoidance/75th SG: P (Ber)

Form: 1st/6th

History: MC/MC/41st

Notes: I’ve always said if you get burned by a fade, you might as well go right back… that one hurt but congrats to anyone who had an outright (good work AC); I’m going to hope Hatton’s lack of solid history here as well as him, and I quote, “Partying till Wednesday” gives him a few bad rounds because this price is much too cheap since it came out so early and he’ll be mega chalk… will the strategic/game theory fade work this week?

Favorite Pivot

1) Rickie Fowler ($8,900) Projected Ownership: 9%

Key Stats: 53rd SG: BS/45th SG: APP/37th BoB/43rd GIRs/78th Bogey Avoidance/7th SG: P (Ber)

Form: 18th/MC/37th/MC/10th/5th/9th

History: 47th/MC/60th/MC/1st/77th/MC/2nd/MC/MC

Notes: Like DJ, stats are meh, he hasn’t been scoring on Par 5s, and I actually wasn’t aware till this writing how mixed his course history is… but he knows how to win here and has gained on SG: APP in his last 3 events and his last 2 events (Honda/API) with the putter, as he’s great on Bermuda; take away his 9 on a Par 5 last week and he’s in contention to win… let’s hope his ownership stays at 9-10% and all we need is 20% or so to be double the field

OTHERS I LIKE: Collin Morikawa ($7,900)/Matt Kuchar ($7,800)/Billy Horschel ($7,500) in all formats
GPP ONLY/FLIERS: Brandt Snedeker ($7,200)/Chez Reavie ($7,100)

Low Tier Options (Under 7K):

Punts

1) Talor Gooch ($6,900) Projected Ownership: 4%

Quick Hits: First of all his price is #nice; 9th in BoB/33rd in GIRs/Top 40 in SG: BS, SG: APP, SG: P (Ber); was near the top of API after Round 1 but then blew up in the wind but has made 12 straight cuts

2) Joel Dahmen ($6,600) Projected Ownership: 10%

Quick Hits: Will be a chalk 6k player but form is great and came 12th here last year… 8th in SG: BS/8th SG: APP/2nd Bogey Avoidance/1st in Scrambling; if he putts average, he has major upside

3) Ryan Palmer ($6,500) Projected Ownership: 3%

Quick Hits: GPP only, obviously, but Palmer does LOVE finding the water so watch out… but he’s solid off the tee, 40th in SG: BS/23rd in SG: Par 5s/46th in BoB/36th in SG: P (Ber); if he misses the green he struggles scrambling but I think he’s worth some exposure in GPPs at only $6,500

4) Russell Henley ($6,400) Projected Ownership: 4%

Quick Hits: Favorite punt of the week here; 17th/8th in his last 2 starts in which he gained over 10 strokes on APP at the Honda… 25th SG: BS/11th SG: APP/4th Bogey Avoidance/19th GIRs and Bermuda is his best putting surface; he’s volatile and could shoot 80 and his course history is poor but I like 10-15% exposure

5) Jimmy Walker ($6,000) Projected Ownership: 2%

Quick Hits: Stone min and former major winner… 2 straight Top 25s and he gained over 6 strokes T2G and on APP last week; course history is mixed but has a 2nd, 6th and 15th; ranks 40th SG: APP/33rd SG: P (Ber)/54th GIRs/62nd BoB… if he makes the cut he’s already crushed value at this price

Cash Game Options

1) Dustin Johnson

2) Patrick Cantlay

3) Webb Simpson

4) Bryson DeChambeau

5) Hideki Matsuyama

6) Collin Morikawa

7) Matt Kuchar

8) Billy Horschel

9) Daniel Berger

10) Joel Dahmen

My DK Power Ranks – Generated using 35% Key Stats, 45% Recent Form, 15% Course History, and 5% in Average DK Points in their last 5 events

  1. Rory McIlroy
  2. Hideki Matsuyama
  3. Justin Thomas
  4. Bryson DeChambeau
  5. Webb Simpson
  6. Jon Rahm
  7. Marc Leishman
  8. Daniel Berger
  9. Adam Scott
  10. Tyrrell Hatton
  11. Joel Dahmen
  12. Xander Schauffele
  13. Patrick Reed
  14. Max Homa
  15. Matt Kuchar
  16. Sungjae Im
  17. Tony Finau
  18. Gary Woodland
  19. Billy Horschel
  20. Tommy Fleetwood

Betting/One and Done

Value Bets:

Come check as out at BetKarma.com where I will have weekly articles for outright bets, first round leaders, and matchups!

OAD Strategy

Expected Popular Picks

Rory McIlroy

Jon Rahm

Bryson DeChambeau

Webb Simpson

Justin Thomas

OAD Pivots

Gary Woodland

Paul Casey

Tommy Fleetwood

Collin Morikawa

Patrick Reed

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