TPC Sawgrass: Ponte Verda Beach, FL Par 72, 7,189 yards
Defending Champion: Si Woo Kim (-10) by three shots over Ian Poulter and Louis Oosthizen
Primary Stats- SG: Tee-to-Green, DK Points, Par 5 SG:
Secondary Stats- SG: Approach, SG: Putting
Timeframe: Past 24 Rounds unless specified.
Roster Lock: 7:10 am EST (6:10 CST, 5:10 MST, 4:10 PST)
No issues here. Mid-80s, calm winds each morning, afternoon doesn't get above 10 mph. No tee time wave stacking for me.
He withdrew on Wednesday, so make sure you get him out of your lineups. This has me changing my lineups, as I had him in 2 or 3 lineups orginally. Expect a little higher ownership now on guys like Rahm, Rose, Sergio, Reed, and Tiger, who are all within 200-300 of Casey.
Using projections from FanShare Sports and Fantasy National, here are the players trending towards being around 20% owned or higher: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods, Francesco Molinari
I thought about playing Tiger, but 20% is a little high for me. I'm avoiding Molinari and DeChambeau on DK, but will play them on FanDuel. I'm limiting myself to two Stenson lineups out of five this week. I really do like him, but hate that he's this highly owned. I'll be at the field with DJ. I really do like his price, but am a tad concerned that he may not like this course.
Players I have in 2+ lineups this week out of 5 (3 DK, 1 FanDuel, 1 Fantasy Draft): Justin Thomas, Henrik Stenson, Patrick Reed, Tommy Fleetwood, Webb Simpson, Luke List, Zach Johnson, and Adam Hadwin
Players that I'm playing, that I didn't focus on in Original Article:
- Everyone in 9k range except Rickie Fowler. Rahm was one I was on before news of Casey withdrawing. Sergio and Rose were acceptable pivots for me off of Casey.
- Tony Finau (7,500): For someone who is usually 15-20% owned, I'm surprised to see him projected below 7%. It wouldn't shock me if he ends up around 10%. 5th in Par 5 SG and 18th in DK Points. Above Average everywhere else.
- Kevin Chappell (7,400): Sneaky course history, was 2nd here two years ago. 30th at Valero after 2 missed cuts with some back soreness. 14th in DK Points and 21st in Par 5 SG, Top 50 in other stats. 3-7% projected ownership.
- Brandt Snedeker (7,400): Does have an 8th here, but also missed last 2 cuts at TPC Sawgrass. 15th and 23rd in last two starts on Tour. 35th Putting, average in other stats. But, some of those rounds were when he was coming back from injury. Under 5% projected ownership.
Players I am not using that I mentioned in Original Article: Rory, Spieth, Rickie, Phil, Kirk, Scott, Kuchar, Oosthuizen, Cabrera-Bello, and Taylor.
I'm taking an odd approach this week by not really focusing on a core set of players. With so much variance throughout the years, I decided to play some underowned, talented players in the 7k range instead of using some of the chalk plays in more lineups. There will be carnage with some of these players this week, so if you can get a 6/6 through the cut, you should be in great shape. Enjoy the week and Happy Mother's Day to all mothers out there!
The unofficial 5th major, The Players Championship takes place this week, and possibly the last time for a while we see it in May, as it looks like the Players will move to March. Last year had a chalky first two rounds, with Jordan Spieth the only player above 8k to miss the cut. Saturday was complete chaos, seeing some scores in the 80s, and Jon Rahm going from Top 10 to missing the secondary cut.
National Fantasy Pregame Show
No video this week
The next few weeks are a little busy for me, so articles may not be posted until Tuesday night. That is definitely true next week, where I will look at early ownership and weather, with no Wednesday update. I will have both files up by Monday night, as well as some initial thoughts in the top tier or two.
One of the things that makes The Players such a unique event is that TPC Sawgrass does not favor one style of golfer. We have seen long hitters and ball strikers win and do well here. I've included Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green as my main stat, as a majority of golfers in the Top 25 each year have been positive in this category. Approach and Putting are secondary stats, as they had some correlation as well. Most of the scoring has been done on Par 5s, as no hole is over 600 yards. I've included Par 5 Strokes Gained and DraftKings scoring as important stats to factor in.
Pricing looks a little weird, but is more reflective of recent form and course history than in the past. It's why Jason Day, who has won twice, and Rory McIlroy, who has gained the most strokes here the past five years, are #1 and #2 on DraftKings and FantasyDraft. FanDuel still goes with DJ and Spieth at the top. On any of the sites, I don't see any one player in the top tier running away with ownership. I don't see many punts either so we will see what type of lineup construction style becomes trendy. Let's start with that aforementioned top tier
Jason Day (11,400)
I'm a little torn about what to do with Day. He just won the Wells Fargo, at a course that hosted a major last year. But, in his interview with Peter Kostis after winning, he mentioned that he didn't play Sunday's round and had a lot to work on before this week. Kostis tended to agree, leading Day into the discussion. But, if you want to hear an amazing stat with Day, he has 13 straight Top 25 finishes. In that time, he has two wins and four other Top 10s. He hasn't missed a cut since the Open Championship last July. Day won here two years ago, and does have a 19th as his other top finish. Statistically, Day is 1st in Putting, 8th in Par 5 SG and DK Points, and 46th Tee-to-Green. If you're worried about how he does immediately after a win, he's done quite well, making the cut every time, and worse finishing being 27th. He's cash game playable, but at that price and limited options below 7k, I think I would reserve him for tournaments. (GPP, Cash Game Payable)
Dustin Johnson (10,300)
This is a huge discount on DJ, one we haven't seen since the Tournament of Champions. Remember what he did there? A pure domination which including hitting a 400+ yard drive to within 2 feet of the hole. His form since then has been sneaky good, finishing no worse than 16th with three Top 10s. The problem here is that DJ's best finish at The Players was 12th, but that was last year. As usual, Johnson's stats look great: 1st in Par 5 SG, 2nd in DK Points, 4th Tee-to-Green, and 23rd in Approach. As you may have seen in the recent past, I'm not the best at predicting ownership. I am really hoping people focus on his lackluster history at TPC Sawgrass, and don't play him. I love the discount on him this week on DraftKings. (Cash and GPP)
Other Thoughts in This Tier:
I mentioned that Rory Mcilroy (11,600) has the most strokes gained the past five years here, gaining 38.4 strokes. He had four straight Top 12s before last year. 10th in DK Points and 30th in Par 5 SG: I tend to think I won't play him, but don't think he's a bad play. Jordan Spieth (11,100) has missed the cut the past three years here. But, he's coming off back to back 3rd place finishes on Tour. Ranks 2nd Tee-to-Green, 6th in Approach, 13th in Par 5 SG, and 23rd in DK Points. He's in the same spot as Rory for me: A fine play, but one I don't see myself playing. If I play someone else in this tier, it's Justin Thomas (10,800) who didn't play that great last week, but quietly ended up 21st. Had a 3rd and 24th before missing the secondary cut last year. Ranks #1 in my stat model: 3rd Tee-to-Green, 4th in Approach, 5th in Par 5 SG, 6th DK Points, and 12th in Putting.
GPP: Thomas, Spieth, McIlroy
Thoughts in This Tier:
I don't have a problem with anyone here, but since I like Day/JT/DJ a lot, I may avoid this tier. Rickie Fowler (9,600) has an interesting past six year here: 1st, 2nd, 60th, 77th, and two missed cuts. Is 26th in Approach, Tee-to-Green, and DK Points. Jon Rahm (9,300) intrigues me the most in this tier, as this is a tournament that tends to give elite players, who haven't won a major, a big win. He was 4th at The Masters, and won the Spanish Open, his home country's national tournament, a week later. Ranks, 5th in DK Points, 11th Tee-to-Green, and 23rd in Par 5 SG. Justin Rose (9,200) is similar to Fowler's course history, with two good finishes, two mediocre ones, and two missed cuts. 4th is his best. Rose hasn't missed a cut this year with four Top 12 finishes in his last seven starts. Ranks 7th in DK Points, 14th in Putting, 19th in Par 5 SG, and 24th Tee-to-Green. Sergio Garcia (9,000) is coming off two straight missed cuts, but has played very well here in the past, with three straight Top 10s from 2013-2015. 3rd in Approach and 6th Tee-to-Green, he is very below average in Putting and Par 5 Strokes Gained.
GPP: Fowler, Rahm, Rose, Garcia
I probably am not playing anyone in this tier. If I do, it's Rahm and Garcia, with Rahm being the most likely one.
The only player in this range that I don't think I would play is Kevin Kisner (8,000). Everyone else is in play, but I'll go over my favorites.
Henrik Stenson (8,800)
Stenson has a lot of things going in his favor. He missed his first cut in the U.S., but since then, has finished 4th, 5th, and 6th in his last three events in the U.S. Stenson has made five of his past six cuts at TPC Sawgrass, with a Top 10 and three Top 25s, while only missing the cut once. He has gained 19.5 strokes over the past five years at this event, and is a former winner of The Players. Stenson also has some very nice stats: 2nd in Approach, 4th in Putting, 22nd Tee-to-Green, 30th in Par 5 Scoring, and 33rd in DK Points. Everything fits well for Stenson, and is a great play in all formats. (Cash and GPP)
Patrick Reed (8,700)
The Masters champion was on a roll before Augusta, and has continued it since then as well. He now has four consecutive Top 10s (five if you count the team event at the Zurich Classic). He's alternated Top 25s with Missed cuts the past four years here, but I can overlook that with his current form. Reed ranks 1st in DK Points, 4th in Par 5 SG, 22nd Tee-to-Green, 30th in Approach, and 37th in Putting. While I could see myself getting off of him if ownership gets real high, he's playing too well to ignore rihgt now. (Cash and GPP)
Other Thoughts in This Tier:
Paul Casey (8,900) has a 22nd and 23rd the past two years here, and finished fifth last week in Charlotte after missing his first cut of the year. He's Top 20 in every stat I'm loooking at this week, with a 2nd in Par 5 SG being his best. Hideki Matsuyama (8,500) is another golfer that would fit the profile of non-major winner that could take another step to that with a win here. Four straight Top 25s here with a 7th in that span, gaining 28 strokes in that span. Below average in Putting and Par 5 SG, very good in DK Points, Approach, and Tee-to-Green. Despite all of the talent around here, the chalk is probably not going to be Tiger Woods (8,600) or Phil Mickelson (8,400): but Bryson DeChambeau (8,300). Tiger's form is a little bit off right now, and Phil gets into too much trouble to do well at TPC Sawgrass. Bryson has three Top 5s the past four tournaments and ranks 4th in DK Points, 7th Tee-to-Green, 9th in Approach, 15th in Par 5 SG, and 22nd in Putting. Only concern is he does struggle a little bit around the green and it's his first time around TPC Sawgrass. Tommy Fleetwood (8,200) feels too cheap, even off a missed cut. Ranks 10th in Par 5 SG, 12th in DK Points, and 17th Tee-to-Green. Francesco Molinari (8,100) has a 6th, 6th, and 7th in his past three trips here. 9th Tee-to-Green and 28th in Par 5 SG, will be popular among the course history folk.
Cash: Casey, Dechambeau, Molinari
GPP: Everyone in this tier except Kisner
Ian Poulter (7,800)
Poulter played well here last year, finishing 2nd to a runaway Si Woo Kim. He has made five of his past six cuts at The Players, but didn't have a ton of great success prior to last year. But, we've seen Poulter play well this year, winning in Houston and finishing 7th at the Heritage, another TPC course designed by Pete Dye. He doesn't have elite stats: 21st in Approach, 35th Tee-to-Green, average in DK Points and Par 5 SG, and a little below average putting. But, with his success here last year and a win and Top 10 in his past three tournaments, I'm going to hope he is under 10 percent ownership and take some chances on him. (GPP Preferred, Cash Game Playable)
Adam Hadwin (7,300)
Hadwin has been as consistent of a golfer as you could ask for in this range. Hadwin hasn't missed a cut in nine starts in 2018, with five straight Top 25s. He has a 30th and 39th the past two years at TPC Sawgrass, improving in each start over the past three years here. He ranks 5th in both Tee-to-Green and Approach, and 31st in DK Points. Putting is a concern, but for as well as he strikes the ball, I'll hope this is a good putting week. In a week of soft pricing, 7,300 seems way too cheap for Hadwin with his current form, and will most likely be in multiple lineups for me this week. (Cash and GPP)
Other Thoughts in This Tier:
Lots of other talent in this range. I'm willing to give Emiliano Grillo (7,500) another try, though I don't get him right often. He has a 3rd, 9th, and 16th in his last three events this season, and finished 11th last year here. Ranks 12th Tee-to-Green, 13th in Approach, and 19th in DK Points. Zach Johnson (7,500) hasn't missed a cut this season with two Top 10s, and hasn't missed a cut here in the past six years, with a 2nd in 2012. Is above average in every stat except Putting, where he is average. And now for your weekly Luke List (7,400) recommendation based on form (4 Top 10s in 2018) and stats (1st Tee-to-Green, 3rd in Par 5 SG, 9th in DK Points, and 22nd in Approach). Webb Simpson (7,400) also appears way too cheap. Has a 15th and 16th in his past four trips to TPC Sawgrass and has four straight Top 25s this season. Ranks in the Top 40 in every stat category, with a 7th in Putting and 12th in Par 5 SG being his best. Chris Kirk (7,200) has a 12th, MC, 13th, and 13th the past four years at Sawgrass, gaining 22.6 strokes over that time, 6th best in this field. Kirk was 8th in his last start at the Valero and has had good form for most of 2018. He doesn't stand out statiscally, basically average in every category.
Cash: Grillo, Johnson, List, Simpson
GPP: Grillo, Johnson, List, Simpson, Kirk
Others I am looking at: Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Ryan Moore
I really don't like anyone in this range. If I had to play someone, I may look at Vaughn Taylor (6,500), who has made 6 of his last 7 cuts with two Top 25s. He's missed the past two cuts at this event. Taylor does rank 7th in Par 5 SG, and is around average with everything else. I don't see anyone else I'm really interested in right now in this tier.
SImilar to last week, you are going to have to make a stand on some golfers. The Players always tends to be one of the most unpredicatable events to predict every year, so 6/6 should put you in great shape, and a strong 5/6 should play well as well. Find golfers you like and go with them. I'll be back tomorrow night with a look at ownership and weather.