Updated: May 10, 2021
Welcome! I hope everybody enjoys this first ever PGA DFS writeup heading into AT&T Byron Nelson this Thursday. This is a strategic advice column and for that reason I will not waste time going over general course details –here is a link if you are interested in that information. This is primarily GPP advice, specifically with regards to DK pricing. With that said, a lot of what you will read below is applicable to strategy on both DK and FD.
I am a firm believer in making some stands every week. Eating all the chalk is not advised, nor is fading all of it.
Prices are important, but not as important as ownership. Being unique is more important than being correct.
There are many ways to get the job done, player pool size is a matter of preference. Mine varies week to week.
Player groupings/restrictions are essential within my strategic approach to PGA DFS, not just for NBA, NHL, NFL, LoL, and other DFS competitions.
I am guessing this is a regularly ignored tool for people that participate in PGA DFS. This may sound a bit oxymoronic as my personal views on this week are a bit different from my standard approach, but I will still pose the following hypothetical question: What are the chances that one of the most expensive players will be REQUIRED on the winning lineup? We could dive into the Vegas math, but let us save some time and trust that as expected, the answer is extremely likely. If any of those guys finish in the top three, or even top five, their probability of being required on the winning lineup is tremendous.
I recommend using either one or two groupings for the most expensive players, depending on how many bargain bin plays you are rolling the dice with on any given week.
The first grouping – and sometimes the only expensive player grouping I use – would take the top 4-8 players, depending on salary, and create a grouping requirement that AT LEAST ONE of them is on every single lineup.
The second grouping – which I have been tinkering with more and more lately with varying success – would take the top 8-14 guys (including the players from the first group) and create a grouping requirement that AT LEAST TWO of them is on every single lineup.
I do NOT create groupings for the mid-range salary players. I want my lineups to be able to fall on different combinations of them since they are all quality players with similar upside and risk (and of course, salaries).
The third and final grouping – which is equally as important as the first grouping – would take the bottom 6-12 players and create a grouping requirement that AT MOST ONE of them is on every single lineup.
This is what has worked for me and with those I have already shared it with, I know it has worked for them as well. I hope it works for all of you if you do incorporate my suggested strategic approach within the fantasy cruncher re player salaries and groupings.
Moving along to the juicy stuff, let us review our player options this week at each salary point.
Dustin Johnson $11,400:
My take on all the super expensive guys is going to be somewhat contrarian this week, and it starts right at the top with DJ. Given the magnitude of next week’s tournament in Hawaii, I do not feel comfortable investing so much salary into a guy that is likely viewing this week as a tune up. Is he the best golfer in the world? Yes, probably – but I promise he cares more about next week than this week. It would not surprise me if he shot +5 on one of the first two days and -5 on the other, only to not make the cut and fly to Hawaii a few days early. There is of course the chance I am completely incorrect and DJ comes out firing because, well, he’s more than capable and if he’s actually motivated to win instead of just refine his game heading into the PGA Championship next week, he surely can win. I will be under the field this week on DJ.
Dustin Johnson has withdrawn from the event - guess he would have been a good fade, ha!
Bryson DeChambeau $11,200:
Out of all the top dawgs this week, Bryson is perhaps the most difficult for me to figure out. He played last week at the Wells Fargo Championship, seemed to find his stroke nicely on a couple days, but not so much on the other two days. Overall, his play was pretty good and well-rounded last week and if there was one expensive golfer I was willing to take a shot on this week, it’d be him. With that said, I still feel like he is tuning up his game for Hawaii and I will likely be under the field this week on Bryson.
Jon Rahm $11,000:
The Spaniard did not make the cut last week and crushed the hearts of the 20% or so that took him across all GPP’s. Will he bounce back this week? My guess is no. Again, I am of the belief that these top dawgs are all tuning up their games in different ways and I expect Rahm to focus on whatever was troubling him last week as opposed to trying to genuinely win in Texas. I will be under the field this week on Rahm despite his talent and usual consistency.
Jordan Spieth $10,700:
Jordan’s success relies on excellent putting and that scares the crap out of me. Yes, he’s been incredible lately, but I don’t have it in me to trust a scorching hot putter. This may not be a tune up for Spieth since he’s been so good lately, but I’m admittedly still not interested. I will be under the field on Spieth this week.
Hideki Matsuyama $10,300:
The last time we saw this stud he won the Masters, but he always shows up for the Masters. Will he show up for a random event in Texas before a much more important event? I doubt it. I could easily be wrong on any or all four of these guys, but I am not sold on their desire to win when the true focus is likely ahead to next week in Hawaii. I will be under the field on Matsuyama.
Daniel Berger $10,100:
Finally an expensive player I am interested in! Over his last ten events, he’s missed the cut twice (The Masters and Phoenix Open) and shot under 70 eighteen out of twenty eight rounds of golf while only finishing in the top five once (win at Pebble Beach). It is worth noting his back was bothering him the last couple events and he’s had almost a full month to heal up since then. Projected ownership pending, I expect him to be a good contrarian buy this week at what appears to be too high of a price tag. I will be over the field on Berger.
Brooks Koepka $9,900:
No thank you. If there is anybody this is a tune up for, it is the recently surgically repaired knee of Brooks. When healthy, the talent is clearly present, but until he shows he is back in full form, I will not have any interest whatsoever. I will for sure miss out on his first good week back, but that is a risk I am willing to take for now. I will be under the field on Koepka.
Will Zalatoris $9,700:
After letting a lot of GPP participants down last week, the caddie from Happy Gilmore is back again and is very difficult to pass on. Unlike the players above him, his motivation is at peak level as he is playing on a sponsor’s exemption and is young and hungry for his first PGA win. He has a somewhat unorthodox style but the statistics are certainly where you would want them to be for a guy at his level. His propensity to acquire bonus points in the form of streaks, birdies, and eagles overshadow his double-digit bogeys seven out of the last ten events. I have my concerns when it comes to Willy Z, but I will be at least level with the field if not slightly overweight on him, pending ownership projections.
Matthew Fitzpatrick $9,500:
In Fitz’ young PGA career, despite the relatively limited course history, he seems to do well on what he knows and/or has done well on before. Unless I am mistaken, he has never played here before and that concerns me. The talent is there, the recent form has been strong, but $9,500 is his third highest price-tag in over a year. The same could be said about Berger and his price-tag, but he has more overall experience to reassure backing him than Fitz does. I expect to be level with the field on Fitzpatrick.
Scottie Scheffler $9,500:
Scottie grew up in Dallas and is one of the few golfers (of reasonable age) in the field this week that has had success on this course before. Granted, it was when he was a kid, but nonetheless he has been here before. They have made significant changes to the course over the last two years but if the Scheff can cook up four days of hometown cooking, I like his chances. He needs to avoid that one-day blowup and in my humble opinion is due to compete for his first PGA win. I will be over the field on Scheffler this week.
Sam Burns $9,300:
Well now… He played lights out with Billy Horschel at Zurich and followed that performance up with a win at Valspar. The recent form is nothing short of outstanding but that was Bermuda greens and this is Bentgrass. Burns is the Bermuda greens king as far as I am concerned, plus it is still impossible to ignore the stellar results as of late. The price has risen on him, deservedly so, but both he and Sungjae are not the same off Bermuda greens as they are on them. If he is too highly owned, I will duck below, otherwise I will be level with the field on Burns this week.
Marc Leishman $9,200 Ryan Palmer $9,100 Sergio Garcia $9,000:
All three of the older variety are surely focused on next week rather than this week. Palmer is the most intriguing of the three to me, but I have zero interest in any of them here in Texas. I will be under the field on Leishman, Palmer, and Garcia this week at AT&T Byron Nelson.
Si Woo Kim $8,800:
Young, highly motivated, talented, excellent recent form, what more do you want? $8,800 may be a high price tag but I think he has earned it. I am interested in overpaying for Si Woo this week.
Aaron Wise $8,300:
Like Scheffler, Wise is one of the few that has played on this course before – except unlike Scottie, he won the tournament in 2018 instead of when he was a kid. I expect Wise at this price to be chalky, but until we see the projections one can only assume. If I am correct and he is in fact projected to be highly owned, I will attempt to be level or under the field. Remember, ownership is more important than being right.
Charl Schwartzel $8,100:
I am not head over heels for Charl, but the recent form is simply too strong. I do not expect him to garner a lot of attention so it should be easy getting level or over the field on Schwartzel. The ceiling is there and the price is reasonable.
Keith Mitchell $8,000:
He is still a lousy putter but he is much better when it is not broken like it was two weeks ago on Sunday as evidenced by his performance at the Wells Fargo Championship, which he almost won. $8,000 is a bit of an egregious price for Keith but his ability to collect bonus points is appealing. He is the sort of guy that will get you some birdies but is not going to be bogey free, likely not even close. If that is your cup of tea for $8,000, I do think Mitchell is an option but not the most reliable one. I do not know how the field will respond to his excellent play recently at this price, but I expect to be level with the field on him, if not slightly overweight.
Cameron Champ $8,000:
I expect CC to be the more popular option to Keith Mitchell at this price point. He will strike out with about the same frequency but does not always lace his rounds with bogeys. He does however have thirteen double-bogeys or worse over his last six tournaments. He did make the cut four of the six times over that stretch, so that does include twenty rounds of golf. Champ is a risky play but no more or less risky than Mitchell. He went to Texas A&M so there is that. I will be level with the field or overweight on Champ this week, depending on his popularity.
Gooch is another bonus points guy that can also light your lineup on fire, but worth looking at.
I expect Howell to be popular and I am likely to fade if his projected ownership is as high as I expect it to be.
Ortiz falls in line with Mitchell, Champ, and Gooch as a potential bonus points monster for the price, but I expect high ownership for the price-range.
Munoz played college golf in North Texas and is another guy capable of filling up the scorecard. Love his upside for the price, hopefully the recent play scares others away.
Peter Uihlein has been playing quality golf, but more in Europe than on the PGA Tour. I worry about his ceiling but like his recent form enough to keep him in my player pool.
Scott Stallings is best with his irons and while everybody assumes bombers will get all the points this week, Scott was getting the job done last week on a course people expected a similar outcome. It would not surprise me if he plays conservatively and does what he is capable of doing – the same thing he did last week (which would be pretty good for $7,500 if you let him re-do that 78 on Sunday).
Doug Ghim was chalk at Valspar and let everybody down, including me. Will he be chalk again this week for $7,500? To be determined. Like many, I will probably keep riding Ghim because the ceiling is undoubtedly there.
Snedeker has been playing excellent golf lately and historically he is the sort of guy that is either hot or cold. I am admittedly nervous leaving him in my player pool, but I do think at this price he is worth consideration.
Redman, Hoge, Schenk, Whaley, Higgs also worth a look.
Sung Kang at $6,500 the only player currently on my radar below $7,000 but I expect him to be chalky. I have no problem eating this chalk or fading it, it is up to you. His course history here is surprisingly strong given his cheap price-tag.
If you want to simply trust the course history, Potter Jr. at $6,600 has been playing solid lately and has a runner up finish here, but I personally will not be taking him this week.
Good luck to everybody participating in this week’s contests. I hope the opinions I have provided turn into reality like The Simpsons predicting the future in every possible way (ha, ha). You can find me on Twitter @Browndog_19 if you have any questions.