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Golf DFS: FedEx St. Jude Classic
TPC Southwind, Germantown, TN Par 70, 7,244 yards
Defending Champion: Daniel Berger (-13) by 3 over Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, and Steve Stricker
Roster Lock: 8:00am EST (7:00am CST, 6:00am MST, 5:00am PST)
Weather: 10mph winds entire day on Thursday according to the National Weather Service. Those will be the highest winds of the week. No rain in the forecast either. No advantage seen to either tee time wave in first two days.
Highest Projected Owned Players: Kyle Stanley, Francesco Molinari, Phil Mickelson, Daniel Berger, Peter Uihlein
I'm fading Berger. I happen to like others above and below his price more, and if Berger is a Top 5 owned player, I'm willing to fade. He simply falls into the "Can't play everyone" category.
Players that are on my lineups that were not mentioned in original article or Tuesday Update:
Tom Hoge: 12th and 34th the past two years at this event. A bargain at 5,000 on FanDuel and 12,100 on FantasyDraft. Cash Game playable on those two sites.
Jim Furyk: He's not on any of my rosters yet, but I'm still strongly considering him. He has struggled as of late; however, this field is weak and if there's a time for him to return to form, this looks like a good spot. GPP Only.
Will Wilcox: Top 20 in 2014 and 2015 at this event. Wilcox has embraced fantasy golf and interacts with them. When asked if players should put him in their lineup, he said go for it. He's one that has been quite honest through the past couple of years when asked, so he's feeling good if you want to take the risk. GPP only.
Expect some craziness with a weak field and possible early withdrawals from players maybe looking forward to the U.S. Open. Once I post this update, I will be getting to work on the U.S. Open article. I hope to have it up by Friday night, but definitely no later than Sunday night.
TUESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE
As expected, we have had some players withdraw, mainly due to qualifying to the U.S. Open yesterday. Here are the withdrawals as of 3:00 pm EST on Tuesday:
- Keegan Bradley
- Padraig Harrington
- Kelly Kraft
- Jamie Lovemark
- Steve Stricker
Lovemark and Stricker were two of the main golfers I wrote up and hate to see them out. I think this makes J.B. Holmes even more popular at 6,800. If looking for a pivot off of Lovemark, I would look in the 6,700 range at either J.T. Poston (only two missed cuts in 13 starts in 2017) or Camilo Villegas (made four straight cuts at this event with three Top 20s). If looking for a pivot off of Stricker, Stewart Cink at 8,000 has been a Top 30 machine this season, and has been 10th and 25th in his past two starts. If you can't get to Cink or want to fade him due to popularity (he may be popular in this range), you can do down to Ian Poulter at $7,600 (3rd in SG: Around the Green, 8th in SG: Approach, 11th in Scrambling, and Top 50 in Par 3, 4 and 5 Scoring), or Graeme McDowell at 7,500 (7th in Driving Accuracy, 8th in SG: Putting, and only missed two cuts in 12 starts this season).
One final player that I forgot to mention in the original article is Braden Thornberry. He's 6,600 on DraftKings, but is just above minimum on both FanDuel and FantasyDraft. He recently won the Men's NCAA Golf Championship by four shots (-11), where only 18 players were under par. I know the PGA Tour is a different test, but at minimum price coming off a college championship performance, he may be worth a punt.
After a break from Par 70 courses, we are back to another Par 70 at TPC Southwind, just outside of Memphis, for the FedEx St. Jude Classic. After this week, there will only be 10 events remaining until the Playoffs, so not much time remains. This is always a tough tournament to handicap because of the U.S. Open being next week. Expect a Tuesday and Wednesday update. Prior to this week's tournament, I want to talk about the U.S. Open and it's impact on this field, and a recap of The Memorial.
U.S. Open Ramifications
The U.S. Open affects this tournament in a couple of ways. As I'm writing this on Monday night, most of the golfers have just completed sectional qualifying (36 holes in one day) for the U.S. Open. This also means that some who are scheduled to play the FedEx St. Jude Classic this week, may alter their plans and go directly to Wisconsin to play Erin Hills. I expect there to be some withdrawals on Tuesday and Wednesday, and why I will send an update each day. If there is no Tuesday update, that means no one withdrew.
The other problem that the U.S. Open causes are potential withdrawals after a bad Round One at TPC Southwind. In 2014, 10 people withdrew after Round One. It has gotten better the past two years, with only three withdrawals total. These are the players you may want to avoid in cash games if you can. It's a low risk possibility, but something that you may want to use as a tie-breaker if deciding between two players. Here are the players in the U.S. Open, playing this week (prior to the Sectional Qualifying)
- Daniel Berger
- Rafa Cabrera-Bello
- Roberto Castro
- Ernie Els
- Rickie Fowler
- Jim Furyk
- Russell Henley
- J.B. Holmes
- Billy Horschel
- Russell Knox
- Brooks Koepka
- Graeme McDowell
- William McGirt
- Phil Mickelson
- Francesco Molinari
- Scott Piercy
- Charl Schwartzel
- Adam Scott
- Daniel Summerhays
FedEx St. Jude Classic
I mentioned this in the last section, but it's still important to know that this is back to being a full 156 man field. It is still Top 70 and ties, but it won't be as easy to make the cut as the past two weeks, when it was a 120 man field. This is not the strongest field though and with the potential volatility that the U.S. Open is giving to this field, it could be a wild week.
Looking at some of the stats from past winners, the biggest thing that stuck out to me was Par 4 Scoring. With 12 of the 18 holes being Par 4s, being able to score on those holes will be crucial. Distance was important last year, but hasn't always been a big factor in winning scores. I will make that and Accuracy secondary stats. As usual, Approach and Greens in Regulation will be important. Finally, I'm going to look at Scrambling more this week and in future weeks. This is a stat that measures how often a golfer can get par or better, when not hitting the Green in Regulation.
Finally, a couple of things you will notice on the Salary Site Comparison sheet. Nicholas Thompson has withdrawn since salaries came out. He is in red to notify you not to choose him. Also, you will notice that the biggest difference from one site to another is Richie Schembechler II. I could not find any information on him other than this is his 2nd career PGA Tour Event and he played in last year's U.S. Open. Why DraftKings has him so highly priced, I don't know.
Brooks Koepka (11,500)
Koepka had some early season struggles, but has found his game lately, making his past five cuts, including a 2nd at the Valero Texas Open. Adding to the reasons he's the second highest priced golfer is his course history. Koepka has a 2nd and 3rd the past two years, with a 19th in 2014. His GIR and Approach numbers are not great; however, he is 5th in Driving Distance, 40th in Par 4 Birdie or Better (despite not ranking high in Par 4 Scoring) and Top 5 in Par 5 Scoring and Birdie or Better. The stats don't align all that great, but his past history here is worth a play. He's usually high owned but being in the same tier as another golfer that is always popular, Rickie Fowler, my decision to play Koepka will come down to ownership projections. (GPP)
Phil Mickelson (10,200)
Mickelson finally gets priced up on DraftKings, as I think 10,200 is quite fair for him. He still hasn't missed a cut in 11 starts in 2017, despite only having one Top Ten, but eight Top 25s. Phil made news this week when he said he will probably skip the U.S. Open to attend his daughter's high school graduation, where she is valedictorian. Good for him. Mickelson has enjoyed TPC Southwind the past few years, finishing 2nd twice, 3rd, and 11th. Never known for his accuracy, Phil is 14th in SG: Approach, Top 40 in every Strokes Gained Category except Driving, 28th in Par 4 Birdie or Better, 77th in Par 4 Scoring, and Top 5 in both Par 5 Scoring and Birdie or Better. Mickelson always attracts ownership, but with his such a large price increase, he may not be as popular. Regardless, I like Mickelson in all formats, as he always takes these events seriously. (Cash and GPP)
- Rickie Fowler (12,000) gets top spot, coming off a second last week. He has played here once, finishing 13th. First in Total Strokes Gained, positive in all Strokes Gained Categories, and 21st in Par 4 Scoring.
- Francesco Molinari (10,500) is coming off a 6th at The Players and a 2nd at the BMW Championship on the Euro Tour. He's 2nd in SG: Approach, 4th in SG: Tee-to-Green, 5th in Par 4 Scoring, and 8th in Total Strokes Gained. I hope he goes overlooked at this price. His sub 9k price on FanDuel is great.
- Billy Horschel (9,500) has three straight Top 10s at this event. He did win three starts back at the Byron Nelson. 32nd in Par 4 Scoring, he's a nice play on FanDuel and a potentially low owned GPP flyer.
Cash: Fowler, Molinari
GPP: Fowler, Molinari, Horschel
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