No one has withdrawn since salaries came out.
Weather: The National Weather Service shows a maximum wind of about 10 mph in the afternoon each day. Maybe a pop-up storm on Friday afternoon. Regardless, this isn't enough for me to base a decision on weather.
Most Popular Golfers beyond Top 5: Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler, Tony Finau, Byeong Hun-An, Kevin Kisner
This seems crazier than a major week. Maybe it's because DraftKings has done some insane pricing, which doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I have 3 lineups on DraftKings, and will fade the following golfers due to high expected ownership: Rickie Fowler, Tony Finau, Kevin Kisner, and Byeong Hun-An. I still think all 4 are great plays. But, with so many pivots around them, I'm going to play the game theory angle and fade. Also, I will mention that I am a little higher on Jon Rahm than Dustin Johnson. The discount on all of the sites (especially Fantasy Draft) has me leaning towards Rahm as a better play in the Top tier. The top 5 in order that I like them with salaries this week: Rahm, Matsuyama, DJ, Spieth, Day.
I do have some golfers on my teams, that I didn't write up on Monday, due to the excessive number of good plays. This is for all of my teams across all three sites. Here is who I have as of 9:30 pm on Wednesday night: Brendan Steele (will have some popularity), Rafael-Cabrera Bello, Patrick Cantlay, Peter Uihlein, Ross Fisher, and Jim Furyk. If you want to know my reasoning, feel free to ask me on Twitter. I'll be happy to explain my thought processes.
I mentioned I have three teams on DraftKings. I do have two that fit a stars and scrubs mode, and one that is more balanced, which should be quite the contrarian option this week. In those three lineups, I have one lineup with $0 remaining, one with $300 remaining, and one with $1,200 remaining. The leaving money on the table is a great way to be different from the field and not have a duplicate lineup. The other thing I'm doing is taking a chance on some higher risk players. One is Charl Schwarzel. He tweeted out that his wrist was feeling fine, so I'm willing to take the chance on him. The other is Jim Furyk. I've seen some projections that have him being 1-2% owned. He has played The Memorial 21 times: He's made the cut 20 times with seven Top 10s. I know he has missed four cuts in a row; however, if you look deeper, he's only missing by a shot or two. It's not like he's missing by five or six. Great course history at low ownership, I'm willing to take a chance in one lineup on Furyk.
FanDuel Pricing Thoughts
With this now being an 8 of 8 site as the goal, we no longer can completely punt a player. The lowest I'm willing to go is Nick Taylor at 5,500. I have 5 players in that 6500-7500 range, while paying up for 2 of the Top 15 players. This could be a good week to play over on FanDuel, as I'm not sure everyone will adjust their lineups for the new format. If they are still punting players to stack the studs, I think they will be in for a rude awakening come Friday night.
Fantasy Draft Thoughts
The punt option is still more likely here, and I will have my favorite punt, Yuta Ikeda, on a team. This allows me to pay up for one of the studs, and balance my lineup with five players in the 13k-15k range. If you are comfortable with players in the 12k range (Uehlein, Taylor, Furyk), I think you can pay up for a 2nd top priced golfer. Maybe not a 17k or higher golfer, but someone in the 16k range.
Sorry that I've added so much to the Wednesday update. One thing I want to make sure of is that if I'm going to be using a player that I didn't write up on Monday, I want it here. I'm not trying to lead you in one way and go another. Also, with this being a unique pricing week, I wanted to cover some strategy thoughts. If you are convinced on someone being a great play this week, go with it. It will be a crazy week, and hope that one of us wins some big money come Sunday night.
Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, OH Par 72, 7,392 yards
Defending Champion: William McGirt (-15) in Playoff over Jon Curran
Roster Lock Time: 7:20am EST (6:20 CST, 5:20 MST, 4:20 PST)
We get a second straight invitational event (120 players) this week at the Jack Nicklaus designed course: Muirfield Village. This is a prestigious event on tour, as can be seen with the field of golfers playing this week. This is the week to prepare for the U.S. Open with a lot of these golfers not going to play next week and focus on this week instead. Before I get to the recap of the Dean and Deluca, we have found out the change on FanDuel for golf.
FanDuel Golf Returns
The only major change that I see is that they got rid of the Round 1-2 and 3-4 designation. I have not seen anything else that has changed (No Hole in One Bonus; I don't remember if they had that before or not). This means that all eight golfers you choose will count. Getting all eight to make the cut will be a challenge, but if you do, you should cash whatever contest you are in. I would guess six of eight would be fine in cash games. It will be something I monitor throughout the next few weeks and see what trends I pick up on.
Dean and Deluca Recap
I hope you paid attention to the Wednesday updates, because there was a lot of information in there that impacted this tournament. The weather draw was for real, with the Thursday AM/Friday PM wave playing about 2-2.5 strokes better over the two days. A majority of the Top 25 golfers were in this wave as well at the end of Sunday. The Chris Kirk WD from the pro-am didn't mean much in the end, though it saved me as I was on him a bit. He made the cut but didn't return value. Kirk was also my pick in One and Done, but I had to pivot when I found out about the injury. I pivoted to Kevin Kisner, who won the event. It all worked out nicely for me.
The picks of Jason Dufner and Pat Perez hurt a lot of people, as they missed the cut. The one who hurt my lineups the most was Martin Laird. We only saw 15% of lineups on DraftKings have 6 of 6, which is low for an Invitational Field. Rahm and Spieth each returned value, with Bill Haas and Stewart Cink both being exceptional values below 7k.
We are back to a Par 72 course, meaning there will be four Par 5s. Each one is around 550 yards, and are the four easiest scoring holes on the course. This makes Par 5 Birdie or Better % a very important stat to look at. I tend to think distance means a little more than accuracy on this course, so I'll emphasize distance, though accuracy is important as well. GIR and Approach are important, like it is every week. Putting also has shown itself to be a useful stat in past tournaments at Muirfield Village.
With only 120 golfers, and Top 70 and ties making the cut, it's another week that I'm not sure I will be playing many cash games. Having one golfer miss the cut could be enough to ruin your lineups, unless a couple of highly owned golfers miss the cut (See Dufner and Perez last week). I will again limit myself to only 20 golfers total, though there are many others, especially in the 6k and 7k range that are viable, even if I don't write them up. Finally, similar to my approach with Dufner last week, if there is someone who emerges as big chalk, I will probably fade in GPPs. This field is deep enough that I don't think you have to go with a highly owned play in tournaments.
Dustin Johnson (12,000)
Yes, I probably have written him up for every tournament he has played this year. But, when you only miss one cut and your worst two finishes are your last two (12th and 13th), I'll keep writing him up unless the sites really force you to pay a premium for him. DJ was one shot away from the playoff here last year, making his 8th cut in nine starts at The Memorial. He has two Top 5 finishes, and three other Top 25s. Let's just get the stats that he is first in out of the way: Driving Distance, SG: Off-the-Tee, Greens in Regulation, SG: Tee-to-Green, Total Strokes Gained, and Par 5 Scoring. He's good everywhere else as well. With all of the value on DraftKings & FanDuel, he's playable in all formats. If you can find the value on Fantasy Draft, he's a great play there as well. (Cash and GPP)
Hideki Matsuyama (10,000)
If you don't want to pay up for DJ or the others, I have no issue starting a lineup with Matsuyama. He hasn't played much since the start of April: 11th at the Masters and 22nd at The Players. He started the year on fire, "slumped" a little bit, and showed signs of returning to form in his past couple of tournaments. Matsuyama did miss the cut here last year, but was 5th in 2015 and won in his debut in 2014. He is tied with Johnson in being first in Par 5 Scoring, but is also 1st in Par 5 Birdie or Better. Hideki is 7th in Par 4 Birdie or Better, SG: Tee-to-Green, and Greens in Regulation. He's also 10th in Total Driving (Distance plus Accuracy), fitting this course well. His putter is the concern, but with everything else in his favor and success at Muirfield Village, I like him a bit as a start to my lineups this week. (Cash and GPP)
- Jon Rahm (11,100) showed no hangover from the Players, finishing in a tie for 2nd last week; his 6th Top 10 finish in 10 starts. A long hitter of the golf ball, Rahm is 15th in Par 5 Birdie or Better as well.
- Jordan Spieth (11,000) ended his mini slump to join Rahm in 2nd last week. He ranks 2nd in Par 5 Birdie or Better and SG: Approach, and is 4th in GIR. Spieth also hasn't missed a cut in four starts here. Ownership will determine how much I play him or not.
- Adam Scott (9,700) doesn't have a Top 5 yet this year, but a 6th at the Players and 9th at The Masters shows he's still playing just fine. He's only missed one cut in nine starts at The Memorial with three Top 10s.
Cash: Rahm, Spieth, Scott
GPP: Rahm, Spieth, Scott
Matt Kuchar (9,400)
I will guess that on Wednesday night, I will be including Kuchar in the most popular plays section of that update. He has four Top 12s in his past six starts, as it looks like he's rounding into form. Kuchar has one of the best course histories you will see at The Memorial: Making 10 of 11 cuts (including nine in a row) with a win and five other Top 10 finishes. Kuchar is positive in all of the strokes gained categories and Top 50 in Par 3 and Par 4 Scoring. He's not the best at Par 5 scoring or birdie or better. But with his consistency here and the Par 3 and Par 4s, I'll overlook the weakness on Par 5s. The price is fair on all three sites, and makes for a nice 2nd golfer in lineups. (Cash and GPP)
Rickie Fowler (8,900)
Fowler will be a case of Stats vs Course History being the deciding factor on whether you play him or not. His course history is not great, only making four of seven cuts, including missing the cut the last three times he's appeared at The Memorial. His stats though are terrific: Fowler is positive in all the strokes gained categories, being Top 10 in Approach, Putting, Tee-to-Green, and Total Strokes Gained. He's also first in Total Driving, 4th in Par 5 Birdie or Better, and 5th in Par 5 Scoring. He had a win and 5 other Top 25s before a rough going at the Players. He's by far my favorite player in the 8k range and while the course history may be enough to make me want to avoid him in cash, I like him as a GPP play. (GPP, Playable in Cash)
- Ollie Schniederjans (8,300) is the only other player in this tier that I would play. 14th in Par 5 Scoring and 25th in Par 5 Birdie or Better, he's positive in all the Strokes Gained categories. I really like his 13,700 price on Fantasy Draft.
There isn't anyone else I'm interested in playing in this tier: mainly because I like the lower tiers and upper tier much better. Jason Dufner has made his past three cuts here, and should be lower owned than usual, after burning so many players last week. Bud Cauley is a very good play at 7,100 on FanDuel and could be used there. WIlliam McGirt is the defending champion, and while I don't like him on DraftKings, I think he's playable on the other two sites.
Cash: Dufner, if you need it, Cauley (FanDuel)
GPP: Schniederjans, Cauley (FanDuel), McGirt
Tony Finau (7,900)
I'll start the loaded 7k tier with Finau, who has a little bit of everything we are looking for. He has played Muirfield Village twice: 8th in 2015 and 11th in 2016. Finau has only missed three cuts in 13 events (all on the number) with four Top 10s in 2017. He also will make a lot of birdies, ranking 17th in Par 4 Birdie or Better, and 31st in Par 5 Birdie or Better. Finau also ranks 4th in SG: Off-the-Tee, 5th in GIR, and 6th in SG: Tee-to-Green. I'll be curious to see his ownership with some bigger names cheaper than him in this tier, but his game is fits well here. (GPP, Playable in Cash)
Justin Thomas (7,600)
Remember the battle of stats vs course history with Rickie Fowler? We may see something similar with his Spring Break pal Justin Thomas (If you don't know what I'm talking about, look up #sb2k16 or #sb2k17). JT swept Hawaii to start 2017. Since then, he has missed 3 of 7 cuts with only one Top Ten. He's only made one cut in three appearances, but has some good stats to do well here. He is 1st in Par 4 Scoring and Birdie or Better, 26th in Par 5 Birdie or Better, 8th in SG: Tee-to-Green and Total Strokes Gained, 11th in SG: Approach, and 14th in GIR. I'm not worried about the bad Saturday at The Players (Kuchar and Rahm bounced back after a brutal Saturday). This price is way too cheap, so take advantage and play him. (GPP, Cash on DraftKings)
- Phil Mickelson (7,700) hasn't missed a cut this season, and has only missed three in 16 career starts at the Memorial. He only has one Top 10 this year and only three lifetime Top 10s at The Memorial. Maybe not a GPP play anymore, but solid in cash.
- Kevin Kisner (7,600) is coming off the win last week at Colonial, his 4th Top 10 in 11 starts this year. 5th in Total Strokes Gained, 10th in SG: Tee-to-Green, and 13th in SG: Approach. Does have an 8th in 2015 at Muirfield Village.
- Gary Woodland (7,200) was 4th at this event last year. He also has a 6th and 16th in his six appearances here. His recent form isn't great, with a 38th being his best finish in his past five events. Is 22nd in Par 5 Birdie or Better and positive in all SG categories except Putting.
Cash: Mickelson, Kisner
GPP: Woodland, Kisner
One other golfer that is a Fantasy Draft specific play is Yuta Ikeda. He's a low owned option on DraftKings at 7,400, but is an extreme bargain at 11,000 on FantasyDraft. He is 58th in the Official World Golf Rankings, and did win three times on the Japan Tour last year. He finished 22nd at The Players, and has only missed one cut in five starts on Tour this year.
Marc Leishman (6,900)
There are a lot of plays in the 6k range, and I'll start with Leishman, who is having a nice season. Leishman has a win, a 5th, and six other Top 25s with only three missed cuts. He's only missed one cut at The Memorial in eight starts, with his best two finishes being a 5th in 2015 and 11th last year. Leishman is Top 50 in Par 3, 4, and 5 Scoring and Birdie or Better. Leishman is Top 60 in every strokes gained category as well. I hope he goes overlooked this week, as I think he makes a very solid play in this range. (Cash, GPP Playable)
Charl Schwartzel (6,800)
Schwartzel may be my favorite tournament play in this range. He's missed two cuts in nine starts (last week was a withdrawal with a wrist injury). Charl has a history of withdrawing from events due to injury. But if he plays all four rounds, he's really good. He has three Top 10s, including a 3rd at The Masters this season. Schwartzel has only missed one cut in nine starts at the Memorial, with 2 Top 10s and 3 other Top 25s the past six years here. Charl is 9th in Par 5 Birdie or Better and 22nd in Par 5 Scoring. There is no way you can play him in cash games. If playing 10 lineups, play him in one due to the injury risk. But, the upside is hard to ignore if he plays all four rounds. (GPP)
- Byeong-Hun An (6,900) hasn't missed a cut this year, has three Top 5 (two of them in the past two tournaments in the U.S.) and was 11th here last year. The only concern is the jet lag from the past couple of weeks.
- Bill Haas (6,900) got back into form last week with a 12th place finish. Prior to a missed cut last year here, Haas had three straight Top 15 finishes. Same price as last week, a great value.
- Pat Perez (6,800) burned a lot of players last week: however, that was only his second missed cut in 13 starts. He's made seven straight cuts at The Memorial, and is 5th in Par 5 Birdie or Better this year.
- Nick Taylor (6,300) has made six straight cuts this season with two Top 10s and two other Top 25s. I don't know why he's this cheap. He's also a really good value at 5,500 on FanDuel.
Cash: An, Haas, Perez, Taylor
GPP: An, Haas, Perez, Taylor
Lots of good plays this week. There were plenty of other golfers that I could have written about, but I don't want to list half the field. On Wednesday, I will include any other golfers that I am using, that I didn't write about in this article. The early forecast looks good on Thursday, and rainy on Friday. Maybe a slight advantage to the Thursday AM/Friday PM golfers again, as Saturday looks similar to Thursday. However, this is way too early to know anything for sure. Good luck with your lineups and feel free to chat with me on Twitter (@skeeterrobinson) if you have any questions or if you just want to discuss this week's tournament.