The PGA Tour’s unofficial fifth major is this week’s DraftKings Players Championship taking place at one of golf’s most recognizable venues, TPC Sawgrass, where it has hosted since 1977. Before we watch the pros sweat the famous island green on hole 17, I will attempt to pay off student debt–as I do every week–by speculating which ones are roster worthy in DK GPPs becoming part of my very responsible financial plan.
Per usual, I’ll start off with sleepers–when I say sleepers I’m referring to players priced in the low 7k, or below range that have under told stories/aren’t obvious names in the golf world. I consider making a cut with these selections a victory. Last week, I called Nick Watney who finished two shots off the win for a runner up finish, and Kyle Stanley who managed a solid T-13 finish. Here’s a look at my results going back to last season:
|TOURNAMENT||MISSED CUT||MADE CUT||TOP 25||TOP 10||WINS|
|AT&T PEBBLE BEACH||3||4||1||0||0|
|VALERO TEXAS OPEN||2||0||0||0||0|
|WELLS FARGO CHAMPIONSHIP||1||2||2||1||0|
|ST. JUDE CLASSIC||1||2||0||0||0|
This week, I included the all important factor of social media activity into the equation. Onto Sawgrass!
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Brooks Koepka $7,700
Okay, I know. Is anyone really sleeping on the 11th ranked player in the world? Apparently yes, considering his soft price on DK this week and vegas odds (60-1) to win at Sawgrass where he had his career best T-16 finish there last season. Before missing a few months with a hand injury, Koepka was arguably playing as good as anyone on tour not named Justin Thomas going back to last season when he broke through with his first major championship victory at the US Open. He returned to action last week (first individual stroke play event, not counting Zurich’s team event) at the Wells Fargo Championship finishing with a ho-hum T-42 finish. Simply put, don’t wait for the Florida St. alum to remind everyone that he eats at the same dinner table as the DJ’s, Spieths, and Mcilroys of the world.
In this recent interview, Koepka mentions he’s used to being the forgotten one among the game’s elite, and that it doesn’t really bother him. Pretty easy to believe him based on the results of finishing T-13 or higher in eight of his last nine major championship events. Any concern over rust, or the whether or not he’s fully recovered from the hand injury be damned! As long as he’s teeing it up, Koepka can contend, win anywhere, and in any field. Plus, he shamelessly exploits his new dog Cove on the gram who he personally trained while recovering from the injury.
Gary Woodland $7,200
Golf is a strange game, even for professionals. Early on this season, Woodland was one of the great success stories, and hottest players, when he netted his third career tour win in Phoenix after battling through some off course family issues and struggles in his short game. Since the win, Woodland’s been fighting it with three straight missed weekends in traditional stroke play events coming into TPCS which hasn’t happened since 2009 when he wasn’t even playing full time on tour yet.
Look, you either believe the Kansas native has forgotten how to play golf matching the worst MC stretch of his career over the last few months, or, perhaps some human nature kicked in after his first win in four and a half years in February, and he just might have lost a little focus. For me, I’ll take the ladder. Woodland’s just too good to not bounce back soon, and in a big way. Based on this gram post a week after missing the cut at Augusta, I think Gary is doing juuuuuust fine and will contend again soon. Other than a T-11 back in 2014, his course history here is shaky which should make him a sneaky low usage guy too. No matter how good these guys are, they all have peaks and valleys along the way. Similar to the way I discussed Matsuyama’s struggles last week, it isn’t if, but when, guys like this will catch a wave to their next peak to contend once again. Catch it with them.
Scott Piercy $7,000
I put my touch of death on Piercy making him a sleeper selection before the Valero Texas Open when he, of course, missed just his third weekend of the season. Even better, he won his fourth career PGA event the following week at the Zurich Classic with teammate Billy Horschel which didn’t bother me at all.
The 39 year-old doesn’t have a great history at this event, but he has proven himself to be capable of contending on the biggest stages with tough fields when he took runner up in the 2016 US Open and WGC-Bridgestone events. And, as I broke down before the VTO, several metrics are tracking significantly higher than his career numbers in what has already been a relatively successful season for Piercy. Additionally, according to twitter, Scotty P prefers the late Thursday/early Friday tee time. Guess what tee time he’s slotted for this week?…
Before the Valspar Championship, I started including my core players to build around in all my lineups. I try to identify targets before prices are released to stay focused, and avoid editing my lineup 2,000 times ten minutes before lock. For example, I might play Lefty in every event he starts no matter what he cost. These selections are players that I believe have top 25 floors with top 10 upside, and a reasonable case to win. Here’s the results so far this season:
|2018 CORE PLAYERS|
|TOURNAMENT||MISSED CUT||MADE CUT||TOP 25||TOP 10||WINS|
|VALERO TEXAS OPEN||2||2||2||2||0|
|WELLS FARGO CHAMPIONSHIP||2||3||3||2||0|
|ST. JUDE CLASSIC||2||2||0||0||0|
1. Philip Alfred Mickelson
- Can’t stop won’t stop. Why would I now after contending again last week collecting his fifth top 5 of the season? And, especially after he finished off the weekend in classic Lefty-like fashion. As long as he can stay clean off the tee, he’ll contend in every start during this renaissance season where his approach and putting numbers are both near the top of the tour. $8,400 huh…
2. Brooks Koepka
- See above. Take advantage of the soft price while you can before the market correction rightfully places him among the five figure guys where he belongs.
3. Henrik Stenson
- The Swede should be a popular play this week with arguably the best price/floor/ceiling combo of anyone in the field.
- Form: finished T-6 or higher in five (excluding the Zurich team event) PGA Tour starts this season–check!
- Course history: made nine weekends in 12 career starts at Sawgrass with four top 10s including a win back in 2009–check!
Rickie’s course history is somewhat peculiar at Sawgrass:
Hmm… So, two shitty years then a runner up in 2012. Followed by two more shitty years, then a win. After that–you guessed it–two outstandingly shitty years! When I combined this mystical pattern, the fact that he’s really good at golf, and a relatively soft price I feel just fine taking my chances with Rickie as my high man this week. As for Fleetwood, he is this week’s bounce back candidate of the week after missing his first cut of the season last week when I picked him as my outright winner, of course.
|Patrick Cantlay/Francesco Molinari||$7,700/7,600|
If I pivot Rickie for some extra cash, I’d bypass all the guys between for Reed at $8,700. His red hot play continued with four more rounds par or better at the Wells Fargo last week, and is definitely compensating for all the perceived douchiness. I’ll allocate the extra cash toward guys like Zach Johnson who possibly presents the highest floor in the field making 12 weekends in 13 career starts at TPCS, and has shown good form recently with a sole 5th place finish at the VTO. Or Molinari, who has finished inside the top 10 in his last three TPCS appearances, and has had a recent knack of performing well in big events most recently with a T-20 finish at the Masters.
Projected winner: Jordan Spieth is like the annoying classmate everyone loathed in high school that just had to win every award, was in a way too mature teenage relationship with the girl next door, and talked teachers into why his essay deserved an A instead of a B+ just to maintain his 4.0 GPA, but not because he actually believed it. Or, the professional co-worker who relentlessly loves to work, eats dinner once a week with management to discuss their career path, and looks forward to networking events with name tags absent alcohol. To this person, a T-4 finish back in 2014, and three consecutive missed cuts at TPCS is unacceptable! All the greats want a Players Championship in the trophy case. Spieth is annoyingly great, and is my pick to win this week. I typically avoid five figure guys in DK, but if I roster one this week it would be him.
Good luck at Sawgrass! Follow me on twitter @realBobbyAdcock.