Aronimink GC: Newtown Square, PA Par 70, 7,267 Yards
Defending Champion: Marc Leishman (-23) by five over Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose at Conway Farms
Primary Stats- SG: Tee-to-Green, Par 4 SG, SG: Approach, Proximity
Secondary Stats- Birdies or Better, Bogey Avoidance, GIR
Timeframe: Past 12 Rounds
I said I wasn't going to do this, but I wanted to update on one thing: I did end up playing one player that I didn't write about, to fit in my salary cap. And it's Brooks Koepka (10,500). I think there is motivation for him to get into the Top 5 so he can win the FedEx Cup at East Lake in two weeks. His 12th place finish last week was his worst in his last four starts; and he had every round in the 60s. 1st Tee-to-Green and 13th in Approach, he's a nice discount and slightly lower ownership than DJ and Rose.
We are at the second to last event of the season and third event of the Playoffs. Or, maybe I should rephrase it to be the third event of the Bryson DeChambeau Tournament series. More on him later. It's a normal Thursday start in the suburb of Philadelphia, so only two off days between tournaments. With only 69 (Daniel Berger withdrew on Tuesday) golfers, there will be no cut, and only the Top 30 in the FedEx Cup Standings at the end of the week advance to the Tour Championship in two weeks.
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The fairways look pretty wide so I'm not as worried about off the tee as I am with Approach. I still will factor in Tee-to-Green, but will look at Approach, GIR, and Proximity to these multi-tiered, sloping greens. The AT&T National was held here in 2010 and 2011, where the winning scores were -10 and -13, respectively. So I think you still need scorers, but there aren't a lot of birdie holes. I am looking at both Birdies or Better and Bogey Avoidance. Finally, as a Par 70, there are 12 Par Fours, with nearly everyone of them between 400-500 yards. I will look at this range as well.
With no cut, I think you have to look at upside with your picks. You will have to have the winner and probably 3-4 in the Top 10 to have a chance in tournaments. I'll be curious to see if there's any overlay; between the short turnaround and with NFL starting this week. With such a short field, I'm only going to mention a few plays in each range. There is no Wednesday Update this week, so there is a chance I get on a player not mentioned here.
Bryson DeChambeau (10,000)
What more can you say about Bryson: two wins in a row to start the playoffs. Statistically, he's #1 over the past 12 rounds in my model, ranking in the Top 7 in every stat except Proximity (18th) and Bogey Avoidance (20th). He has locked up the #1 position for the Tour Championship, no matter what he does this week. Which is the only concern this week. He has nothing to play for, since he will be in the #1 spot no matter if he finishes 1st or 70th. I don't know if we will find out Bryson's motivations before roster lock; however, if you are looking to fade for a reason outside of high potential ownership, I think you have it with the "nothing to play for" narrative. I wouldn't go all-in on him this week for that reason, but don't mind playing him otherwise. (GPP)
Thoughts in This Tier:
- Dustin Johnson (11,600) looked like he was regaining some elite form on Monday, with a 64 at TPC Boston. He was low owned last week, and is still putting up Top 10s. 1st in Birdies or Better and 3rd in Proximity, he's a solid play as usual in tournaments.
- Justin Rose (11,200) was the runner-up to DeChambeau in Boston after missing the cut in the first playoff event. After losing 6 strokes putting at The Northern Trust, Rose gained 3 putting at the Dell Technologies and gained strokes in all aspects of his game. 8th in Birdies or Better, rates out much better long-term, as missed cut a couple weeks back isn't weighed as much as it is over 12 rounds. Also won the AT&T National on this course back in 2010.
GPP: Rose, DJ
Thoughts in This Tier:
- Hideki Matsuyama (9,700) matched his season best finish at the Dell Technologies, finishing 4th. He gained 5 strokes putting, which is an anomaly for him. He would have won if his Tee-to-Green game was as strong as it had been the prior two tournaments (7.7 prior two weeks, 3.1 in Boston). Top 10 in every stat except GIR (14th) and Bogey Avoidance (30th).
- Tiger Woods (9,200) has been really good with his Approach in recent tournaments. Problem last week was no other part of his game really matched his approach. He still ranks 1st in Approach, 2nd in Bogey Avoidance, and 9th Tee-to-Green. Price is really fair in this field.
GPP: Matsuyama, Tiger
Francesco Molinari (8,800)
Like Rose last week, coming off a missed cut at The Northern Trust, I'm not afraid to go back to Molinari, after he missed a cut at The Northern Trust. That week, he was good with the ball striking: just lost 1.4 strokes Around the Green and 6 strokes Putting. The putting one was especially abnormal. He ranks 7th in Bogey Avoidance, 8th in Approach, and 10th in Par 4 SG. He took last week off to rest, and I'm not afraid to go back to the previous hottest player in golf before Bryson. (Cash and GPP)
Thoughts in This Tier:
- Tommy Fleetwood (8,600) lost strokes Off-the-Tee last week; a rarity for him. Yet, in his last six starts, he has five Top 25s, with potential for more. I feel he's close, even if nothing stands out statistically for him (18th Tee-to-Green being his best).
Tyrell Hatton (7,700)
Hatton was in contention until a final round 73 dropped him to 12th; his third straight Top 20. His weakness was losing a stroke Off-the-Tee, but was really solid in every other Strokes Gained category. He's 2nd in my model, as he ranks Top 10 in every stat except Birdies or Better (23rd). He knows his temper got the best of him, but there's a big win in his future. Not saying it's this week, though I think it's possible. At this price, I'll take another Top 20, with winning upside. (Cash and GPP)
Thoughts in This Tier:
- Cameron Smith (7,800) would be getting more buzz if he Bryson hadn't won the past two weeks. Smith has finished 3rd in both Playoff events, gaining most of his strokes on Approach and Putting. Ranks 8th in Par 4 SG, 12th in Bogey Avoidance, and 13th in Birdies or Better.
- Kyle Stanley (7,500) was really good except Around the Green last week, finishing 12th. He was a part of why my 5 of 6 lineups had a chance going into Monday. 5th in Proximity and 7th in Tee-to-Green and GIR.
- Emiliano Grillo (7,400) was 7th last week, gaining over six of his seven strokes on Approach. Putter will always be concern for him. But does rank 2nd in Proximity and 17th in Approach.
- Adam Hadwin (7,000) was decent with his ball striking, relying on his elite putter again last week to finish 11th. With a 21st at The Northern Trust, he seems to be finding form again. Stats aren't great, with 27th in Par 4 SG. But, I'll take a chance with that form at 7k.
Cash: Smith, Hadwin
Thoughts in This Tier:
- Abraham Ancer (6,800) had the 54-hole lead before struggling a little bit to finish 7th; not horrible for leading a Playoff Event for the first time after 54 holes. Ball striking was phenomenal, as he gained nearly all his strokes there. Ranks 5th in Par 4 SG and 7th in Proximity.
- C.T. Pan (6,900) has two Top 5s in his last three events. Worry here was last week, he gained 4 of his 6 strokes Around-the-Green. But, ranks 1st in Par 4 SG, 10th Tee-to-Green, and 11th in Bogey Avoidance. Not a bad flyer in this range.
Cash: Pan is Playable
GPP: Pan, Ancer
A quick turnaround this week and football excitement may leave some casuals blindly playing golf. All the better for us. Please check out the football package on MyFantasyFix, including our Week 1 NFL podcast with myself and Bennett Karroll of SiriusXM. Good luck with your all of your lineups and feel free to contact me on Twitter (@skeeterrobinson) if you have any questions. Enjoy the week off of golf next week and I'll be back for the Tour Championship in two weeks.