TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, CT Par 70, 6,841 yards
Defending Champion: Russell Knox (-14) by 1 over Jerry Kelly
WEDNESDAY UPDATE (Italics is new player not mentioned in Original Article)
Roster Lock: 7:00am EST, 6:00 CST, 5:00 MST, 4:00 PST
Hoffman withdrew from the Pro-Am today with an illness. He has not withdrawn from the tournament. We don't know the extent of this illness, but can't say it's a great sign. I tend to think he will play, but if you are concerned and want to pivot, I don't blame you, especially with how popular he's expected to be on DraftKings.
Looks like a very nice week in Connecticut. Winds to pick up to about 10 mph both Thursday and Friday afternoon. The National Weather Service thinks there may be a little rain Friday afternoon, but nothing that should halt play. I don't see any advantage to stacking a tee time wave this week.
After listening to podcasts and visiting a couple of sites that predict this, here is a list of golfers who are projected to be highest owned (no particular order):
Brendan Steele, Tony Finau, Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Paul Casey, Kyle Stanley, Byeong-Hun An, Justin Thomas
U.S. Open Top 10 After Round 3: The Week After
There is some concern about how golfers that played in the final groups on Sunday at the U.S. Open, how focused would they be this week? The players that fit this include Justin Thomas, Charley Hoffman, Brendan Steele, Brandt Snedeker, Patrick Reed, and Xander Schaufele. All of these golfers were in the Top 10 going into Sunday. I decided to go back to the past five years and look at golfers who were in similar situations. There were 22 players who were in those final groups on Sunday, and played the immediate week after. Here is what I found out.
- 5 Missed Cuts
- 2 Top 10s (8th was best finish)
- 8 Top 25s
What does it mean this week? I think the narrative of "you can't play anyone from this group" is false. While someone like Brian Harman, who was contending for his first major, may be affected more, I'm not fading him on that reasoning. I'm fading him due to price and 15-20% ownership (I also like others in that range better). Though a small sample, I see limited upside from this group. This is where price becomes a factor. Justin Thomas, who shot that amazing 63 on Saturday, only to have a disappointing Sunday, is one I will fade due to his high prices. Likewise, I will still play Charley Hoffman on DraftKings (assuming we get word that his illness is not an issue), due to his low price. I've heard some chatter about Patrick Reed this week, but I will pass. I'm also passing on Xander Schaufele, as I suspect he will be a little too popular and is overpriced.
Which leads me to two of my favorite plays this week: Brandt Snedeker and Brendan Steele. I'm playing Snedeker as usual, because he was someone who came up twice in my research. His results after being in the final groups on Sunday at the U.S. Open: 10th and 11th. He also never got into the primary mix on Sunday. Steele is the same as Snedeker as far as not really truly being in contention last Sunday. His price is low enough that a Top 10-15 is sufficient, and even a Top 25 doesn't hurt you. However, if you want to fade him based on this small sample and high ownership, it's not a bad idea. I am not fading Steele.
Changes from Monday
- Jordan Spieth- He is on one of my rosters. His scoring stats are too good for me to completely ignore
- Justin Thomas- Fading for reasons stated above
- Tony Finau- Fading due to high ownership (I did this two weeks ago with Daniel Berger, and he won. If Finau wins this week, then play whoever I'm fading for this reason). If there's one player I'm not playing that I am scared most about, it's Finau
- Graham DeLaet- Has two Top 5s here and has some nice scoring stats. Purely tournament only as he could be leading after round 2 or miss the cut by five shots. He is on one of my lineups.
- Wyndham Clark- The other additional player on my rosters that I didn't mention on Monday, Clark just graduated from the University of Oregon, where he had 11 Top 10s in 13 events, with a couple of wins. He has his Mackenzie Tour Card (PGA Canada, think baseball AA equivalent). He's nearly minimum priced on all three sites, but is very playable on FanDuel and FantasyDraft. Maybe it's because people are talking him up and my Braden Thornberry pick from a couple weeks ago worked well that has me playing him. I don't care what level of golf you play: 11 Top 10s in 13 events is outstanding, and as a punt, you could do worse.
Good luck in all of your contests this week.
After a week off the the U.S. Open, the PGA Tour resumes in Connecticut for the Travelers Championship. This event was played in August last year due to the Olympic scheduling. While Russell Knox won, the main story line was Jim Furyk, shooting a 58 on Sunday to set a new low round on the PGA Tour. He jumped from 70th to 5th on Sunday with that 58. This field has some good names, a rarity for an event taking place the week after a major. Speaking of that major...
U.S. Open Recap
Carnage. How else would you describe the DFS Golf week. 6 of the Top 10 ranked golfers in the world, including the top 3 missed the cut. 9 of the 15 highest owned golfers, missed the cut. As a result, slightly more than 1% of rosters had 6 of 6 going into the weekend. Less than 10% had 5 of 6, meaning there were some 4s and 3s that cashed. I had five 4 of 6 teams on DraftKings, and two 3 of 6. I cashed four of those teams in the Fantasy Golf Millionaire, helped by a Justin Thomas 63 on Saturday.
However, I didn't have any shares of the champion for a second week in a row. Two weeks ago, I stayed off of Berger due to high ownership projections. I instead when to Brooks Koepka, who had a solid week. However, I didn't go back to Koepka and wish I had as he dominated the back 9 on Sunday at Erin Hills to claim his first major, and becoming the seventh consecutive first time major winner.
I would have to go back to the other events, but I think this may be the shortest course on Tour so far this year. Playing at 6,841 yards, it's about 850 yards shorter than Erin Hills last week. Looking at past winners, we have seen those who can hit it far (Bubba Watson, Marc Leishman, Phil Mickelson), and those who aren't the farthest of hitters (Ken Duke, Kevin Streelman). I've seen top finishers rank high in driving accuracy one year, and then the next year it's driving distance. I don't think distance is real important on a short course, and accuracy doesn't seem to be overly important. Having either or both is nice, so I'll just look at SG: Off-the-Tee as my driving metric. Like most weeks, SG: Tee-to-Green, SG: Approach, and Greens in Regulation are important. But, the most important stat I will look at is Par 4 Birdie or Better Percentage. With twelve Par 4s and a winning score usually around -15, sometimes getting up to -20, I think we will need those who can be under par on the Par 4s. This was the one thing that really jumped out at me from past champions and Top 10 finishers.
Justin Thomas (10,200)
What a round Thomas shot on Saturday. 63 in a U.S. Open is impressive, even if the course was scorable. Unfortunately, Thomas couldn't carry the momentum into Sunday, but still finished 9th. He was 4th at The Memorial before that and has a total of 5 Top 10s, including two wins in Hawaii, in 11 starts this year. Thomas has played here three times, including a 3rd last year. Statistically, he's a great fit: 1st in Par 4 Birdie or Better and Birdie Average. He's 4th in SG: Approach, 6th in Total Strokes Gained, 8th in SG: Tee-to-Green, and is Top 50 in every single Strokes Gained category. The only concern is how does he bounce back from a disappointing Sunday at the U.S. Open. This price is fair and I will take the discount on him over the Top 3 on all the sites. (Cash and GPP)
Paul Casey (9,700)
Casey was a popular pick last week and one that I didn't really like. After two rounds, I thought I may have been wrong. But, a subpar weekend landed him a 26th, making my fade of him not be completely wrong. This season, Casey has only missed one cut in 16 starts (Sony Open in Hawaii: he shot even par) with an incredible 10 Top 25s, with four of them being Top 10s. Casey lost in a playoff to Bubba in 2015 at this event, and finished 17th a year ago here. Casey ranks 3rd in SG: Approach, 5th in GIR, 13th in SG: Tee-to-Green, 19th in Total Strokes Gained, and 26th in Par 4 Birdie or Better. In cash games, he's a great place to start a lineup or as a 2nd golfer. (Cash and GPP)
I get it if you want to play McIlroy, Spieth, or Day. I'm just not thinking I will do it, outside of Rory in one lineup potentially.
- Rory McIlroy (11,600) showed some signs of life on Friday, but dug himself too big of a hole to make the cut. He's elite in SG: Off-the-Tee, Approach, Tee-to-Green, and Total Strokes Gained and would be my play here.
- Jordan Spieth (11,500) doesn't look like someone I want to pay this much for right now, though he did shoot one of the better rounds on Sunday at the US Open.
- I won't play Jason Day (11,400), as he just isn't consistent this year. Day has played here twice: 18th and 27th.
- Patrick Reed (9,500) has made five cuts in a row, but I don't think I'll play him, due to me liking players above and below his 9,500 price point better.
GPP: McIlroy, Spieth, Reed
Fade: Jason Day
Brandt Snedeker (9,400)
I haven't been a fan of this range in recent weeks, but do like it a bit this week. I'll start with one of my better picks from last week; Brandt Snedeker. His 9th at the U.S. Open last week was his 5th Top 10 of 2017. He is over his wrist injury and is back to play well. At TPC Southwind, Sneds has made four of five cuts, with a 10th and 11th in his past two appearances. Statistically, Snedeker is solid: 18th in Par 4 Birdie or Better, 19th in SG: Putting, 47th in Total Strokes Gained, and 54th in Greens in Regulation. With three Top 11 finishes and only one missed cut in his past seven starts, Snedker is playing well and even with the price bump, can be played in all formats. (Better in Cash, but good play in GPP)
Bubba Watson (8,400)
A risky play, Bubba Watson has not had the best 2017 so far, only making six of twelve cuts. But, he does have two Top 10s and his past three missed cuts were at majors and The Players. The Travelers is not a major. One thing to always consider with Bubba is his past performances on a course. He has the best course history of anyone this week with 2 wins, 3 other Top 10s, and only one missed cut (his first appearance) in 10 career starts.His worst finish in 38th at this event as well. Watson doesn't have great stats due to his struggles this year, but is 5th in SG: Off-the-Tee and 78th in SG: Tee-to-Green. I'm willing to take a chance with history over form here with Bubba in tournaments. (GPP)
Brendan Steele (9,000) is one of my favorite plays this week, but I only write up two people per main section. Steele had 22 birdies and two eagles last week and is 15th in Par 4 Birdie or Better. Steele still hasn't missed a cut in 2017.
Marc Leishman (9,300) is a former winner who has never missed a cut in six starts here, with three Top 11 finishes. Also 30th in Par 4 Birdie or Better.
Tony Finau (8,700) has played The Travelers twice: Both 25th place finishes. He also has more Top 10s (4) than Missed Cuts (3) this season, and is 21st in Par 4 Birdie or Better.
The other plays in this price range that I am considering and who are good in Par 4 Birdie or Better: Kyle Stanley and Daniel Berger.
Cash: Steele, Leishman, Stanley on FanDuel
GPP: Steele, Leishman, Finau, Stanley, Berger
Jamie Lovemark (7,700)
Lovemark has been on my radar for a month or so now, and is now at his highest price on DraftKings. His 13,700 price on FantasyDraft is a good price. Lovemark had back to back Top 20s prior to the U.S. Open, where he finished 27th after a hot start. Jamie has made 8 consecutive cuts in 2017, and is two for three in made cuts at The Travelers. Lovemark also has solid stats: 33rd in both SG: Tee-to-Green and SG: Approach, 42nd in Par 4 Birdie or Better, and 46th in Total Strokes Gained. I do worry about him being a little trendy, but beside that, Lovemark is in good form and can be considered in all formats. (Cash and GPP)
Charley Hoffman (7,300)
Charley will be the first of many mispricings I mention on DraftKings this week. Hoffman is the 31st highest priced golfer on DK, compared to 11th on FanDuel and 14th on FantasyDraft. Hoffman is having a nice 2017; Three Top 10s, has made six cuts in a row, and played well in both majors so far. Hoffman has played well at The Travelers, making six of seven cuts (missed cut in first time here) with a 2nd and a 7th. Statisically, Charley is 12th in SG: Off-the-Tee, 36th in SG: Tee-to-Green, and 41st in Par 4 Birdie or Better. He's simply underpriced on DraftKings and with good form and a good history, is very playable in all formats, with a preference in GPPs. (Better in GPP, can be used in Cash)
Anirban Lahiri (7,500) is coming off a 2nd at the Memorial. He's a scorer, ranking 6th in Birdie Average and 16th in Par 4 Birdie or Better.
Keegan Bradley (7,300) has never missed a cut in six starts here, and is 10th in Par 4 Birdie or Better.
Emiliano Grillo (7,200) is coming off a missed cut at the U.S. Open, his first since January. He's 40th in Par 4 Birdie or Better and is positive in all of the strokes gained categories.
Byeong Hun-An (7,100) just missed his first cut in 14 starts this year, but has three Top 10s. An ranks 15th in SG: Approach and SG: Tee-to-Green, 20th in SG: Off-the-Tee, and 23rd in Par 4 Birdie or Better. Way too cheap on DraftKings.
Cash: Grillo, An, Bradley
GPP: Lahiri, Bradley, Grillo, An
Adam Hadwin (6,800)
11th in the FedEx Cup Standings, 53rd in the World Golf Rankings, and 75th highest priced on DraftKings? Makes no sense to me. Though I will say it does feel a little bit like a trap. Hadwin over his past five tournaments: a missed cut and no finish better than 30th. He still has a win on tour this season, shot 59, and has only missed that one cut. He is 0 for 2 here, but 2017 is his best year by far, so I'm willing to dismiss his course history. Hadwin is positive in all Strokes Gained Categories, including 24th in Approach, 28th in Total SG, and 48th Tee-to-Green. I wouldn't play him on the other two sites. Even if he continues his recent struggles and gets a 45th place finish, it still pays off his DraftKings salary at this price. But if he's getting too popular, don't be afraid to pivot in tournies. (Cash and GPP- DraftKings Only)
Lucas Glover (6,600)
Glover is another player that is greatly mispriced on DraftKings at only 6,600. That said, he is at a decent price on FanDuel and FantasyDraft and can be used there. Glover missed the cut last week by 1 shot, his second missed cut in three starts. Despite that, he has only missed three cuts and two Top 10s in 13 starts in 2017. I love the form, but the course history concerns me a bit: Glover has only made the cut three times in nine starts at The Travelers. His stats this year are great: 7th in GIR, 8th in SG: Off-the-Tee, 17th in SG: Tee-to-Green, 23rd in Total Strokes Gained, and 47th in Par 4 Birdie or Better. Are there blemishes here, sure. But, there aren't many in this price range that have been making cuts as consistently as Glover, and that have Top 25 upside like he does. (Cash and GPP)
Webb Simpson (6,900) is another player very underpriced on DraftKings. He's made four straight cuts and is 7 for 7 in made cuts here. Is 11th in SG: Approach and 24th in SG: Tee-to-Green.
Chez Reavie (6,900) is coming off a 4th at the St. Jude and 16th at the U.S. Open. He's made five of six cuts here at TPC Southwind.
Nick Taylor (6,800) may not be getting Top 25s recently, but still has made 7 cuts in a row. Also playable on FanDuel.
Trey Mullinax (6,500) was part of the winning lineup for the Fantasy Golf Millionaire last week with a 9th place finish. He is 21st in Birdie Average.
Jhonattan Vegas (6,400) isn't in great form, but has made three of four cuts at TPC Southwind. He's 30th in GIR and positive in all Strokes Gained categories except putting.
Cash: Simpson, Taylor
GPP: Simpson, Reavie, Mullinax, Vegas
FanDuel Punt Plays
I had only 3 golfers make the cut last week on FanDuel. Yet, because of Justin Thomas, I was cashing in GPPs after Saturday. I'm beginning to think that while 8/8 is important, a strong 7 of 8 may be better. Therefore, I don't think punting a position is the worst thing. In that event, here are some punts I am looking at on FanDuel.
- Brandon Hagy (5,200): Has six top 40 finishes this year, is a long hitter of the golf ball. 86th in Par 4 Birdie or Better
- Jonathan Randolph (5,100): Has made five of past six cuts with an 8th and 24th. 88th in Par 4 Birdie or Better
- Mackenzie Hughes (4,800): 16th, 31st, 45th, and MC in past four events, did win back in the Fall Swing.
We are back to normal Top 70 and ties making the cut rules. We should see some higher scoring tournaments for the next month or two, so make sure to find golfers who can get birdies. As a reminder, you would rather have a golfer go birdie-bogey instead of two pars.It may also be a good week to invest in cash games, with some people trying golf for a second week if they won some money at the U.S. Open. I will do a weather update and final thoughts update on Wednesday afternoon; will be earlier this week than usual as I will be busy Wednesday night. Good luck with your lineups and feel free to chat with me on Twitter (@skeeterrobinson) if you have any questions.