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PGA DFS Valspar Championship Targets

If you need PGA DFS to remedy your bracket being trashed by Thursday afternoon, I post DK targets each week on Fake Pigskin. My goal every week is to offer targets in each price range, identifying two to three low-cost/reasonable floor targets as core pieces for all my lineups.

In DFS golf, it’s all about getting your guys to the weekend, first and foremost. The way DK prices their fields out, I almost never will play anyone 10k or above. With something as random as golf performances week to week, they simply do not justify the investment in my mind.

Generally, I will fill out my roster with guys in the $7,100-$9,000 range. The factors I consider are event history, course layout versus player strengths, recent form, and prime bounce back candidates who are playing well, but happened to miss the cut the prior week.

One factor does not necessarily outweigh another. And, like any good speculative decision-making process, instincts always play a role. Of course there’s my personal favorite factor–as is the same with other fringe DFS sports–the DK pricing model has no clue what the fuck it is doing!

Last season, I consistently laid out the theory that rostering players five figures and above just was not worth it week to week. Scroll toward the end on my results page to see how I used the Masters results as evidence to support this. The point is, golf performances week to week are very erratic. Generally, I would suggest the good ole diversification strategy.

Going a step further, unlike most other DFS games that have positions, golf is just picking six guys that are doing the same exact thing in a given week. That said, probably more than any other DFS sport I’ve played, leaving 1-2k on the table is perfectly fine. Do not feel like you HAVE to spend your entire cap.

Throughout this season I will post more thorough analyses of why both approaches make DFS golf a bit different from football, hoops, and baseball. And how ridiculously futile it makes it when trying to win. All that in mind, let’s take a look at the Valspar Championship (VC) information to clarify some unique characteristics that you may want to consider before lineups lock.

Course: Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead)  Palm Harbor, FL  Par 71  Yardage 7,340

After last week’s star-studded field at the PLAYERS, the tour takes some of its talents to the last leg of it’s Florida fling for a paint company. Valspar has been the latest in a numerous line of corporate funders to take a shot at this golf tournament, that is sponsoring for the sixth consecutive year.

Innisbrook Resort, on the other hand, has played host to this event every year since 2000, when it became an official PGA Tour event. So, there is plenty of course history performance to reference–looking at you Mr. Furyk!

Although it may be one of the more unsung events on tour playing more as a Masters tune-up, the important thing is that there’s still plenty of gambling and DFS implications to be sorted out. And the course itself does not care about being part of a critically acclaimed event. It actually plays very difficult.

Copperhead has lots of heavily wooded fairways and elevation changes. Similar to what I discussed for the Honda Classic, many pros will opt for longer irons and woods off the tee for better control.

Scoring here will not be easy. It consistently ranks inside the top 10 non-major courses on tour annually. Playing defense and grinding out pars will be considered a win on many of the longer par 4s, and definitely on all five of the mammoth par 3s.

Also like the Honda Classic’s “Bear Trap”, Copperhead has it’s own gimmicky three-hole stretch know as the “Snake Pit”. The finishing three hole stretch starts with a big boy 475 yard par on 16 that usually plays as one of the toughest holes on the course.

Needless to say, anyone playing with a lead, or rostering the leaders in DFS through 15 holes on Sunday must recall the wise words of the great Winston Wolf…

Well, let's not start suckin' each other's dicks quite yet.

Here are the past the winners and their scores from the last five years.

2018 Paul Casey -10
2017 Adam Hadwin -14
2016 Charl Schwartzel -7
2015 Jordan Spieth -10
2013 Kevin Streelman -10

Keys to Success

With some of the driver game being taken out of play, the stats I will look at most here are strokes gained: approach-the-green, and GIR (greens hit in regulation) percentages from longer distances. As mentioned, players will mostly be forced give up some distance off the tee in favor of more control, making for a longer approach shots.

Long to mid-range iron performance will play a factor on all of the longer par 4s (holes 3, 6, 9, 10, 16, 18), and without a doubt on the five par 3s that have a combined average distance over 200 yards. In case you’re not counting, that would be 11 of 18 total holes.

Which provides an opportunity for me to insert my feelings about that simple, yet, compelling data…

Well, that's just hot shit.

Chalky McChalkerson (Five figures to round 9.1k–11 players)

It’s that kind of hard-hitting analysis that keeps me going after I don’t cash in all my DFS lineups like last week. Moving on from the PLAYERS, I continue my DFS golf  PSA to generally fade five-figure guys week to week.

PGA Public Enemy #1 Patrick Reed has as stellar of a recent track record here as anybody. Keegan Bradley is in great form. He also is the right fit statistically ranking 6th in SG: approach, and 7th in GIR percentage from 200 plus yards.

Jim Furyk was quietly having a cute Lefty like renaissance coming into Sawgrass. Now, not so cute. His sole runner up finish has him second in Ryder cup points!

His nine cashed checks in 10 VC appearances demonstrates his game’s fit here. And statistically, Furyk does not have any glaring weakness coming into this week.

In every relevant strokes gained stat for VC, he owns a top 40 ranking on tour. This includes 13th on approach, and ninth total. Mickelson, you are officially on notice as “best old guy” for the 2019 season.

Sweet Spot (9k to 7.1k–40 players)

All of those guys mentioned do not have the Dustin Johnson floor, but they do provide a top 10 upside at a much friendlier price. This is the range I tend to focus on most, which I believe offers the most and best price/floor/upside combinations on a week to week basis.

Lucas Glover  $9,000
2019 season, Cuts: 8/10  Top 25s: 8  Top 10s: 4  Wins: 0
Course History, Cuts: 11/15  Top 25s: 5  Top 10s: 1  Wins: 0

The case was there in terms of stats, form, and a decent track record at Sawgrass last week.

Then golf happened.

An opening round 76 proved to be too much of an obstacle to make the weekend in such a deep field. He responded the next day with a ho-hum even par 72. So it wasn’t like his game went completely off the rails.

Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

That’s why I love Glover this week in a great bounce back spot with a thinner field, and tons of experience at Copperhead. While we’re on the subject of bounce backs…

Adam Hadwin  $8,200
2019 season, Cuts: 9/11  Top 25s: 4  Top 10s: 3  Wins: 0
Course History, Cuts: 3/4  Top 25s: 2  Top 10s: 1  Wins: 1

Statistically Hadwin’s 2019 metrics do not suggest he would be a hot commodity coming into his fifth VC appearance. However, he followed up his first and only PGA Tour victory in 2017’s VC with a solid T-12 last season.

(July 9, 2015 – Source: Jon Durr/Getty Images North America)

I think Hadwin’s affinity for his best professional performance will make for a nice spot to avoid missing his second consecutive weekend. Something that’s happened only once since September of 2017. If it helps, he also met his wife on Tinder. Google it.

Mispriced Players (best values)

As much as I enjoy criticizing the staff at DK for gross negligence in the way some of their fields are priced out, this week is actually pretty good. The biggest case I would make to be bit higher in the 8k range in Chesson Hadley and Copperhead abuser Steve Stricker. Both have the strong approach games that fit Copperhead.

(Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images)

Hadley is looking to bounce back from a missed weekend at the PLAYERS. Before last week, he was coming off consecutive top 20 finishes.

Stricker will be out to continue his taming of the Snake pit. He’s cashed five checks in his last six VC appearances, all finishing inside the top 15. That included three finishes T-8 or higher.

Core Players

Last season, 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.

These selections are players that I believe have top 25 floors with top 10 upside, and a reasonable case to win. I was garbage last week. More detailed results are to come as the season moves along. This week’s selections:

  1. Glover
  2. Stenson
  3. Furyk

Sneaky Low % Owned (7k and below–88 players)

One of my favorite things to do in any DFS sport is throw darts. Whether it’s golf, football, or hoops you need to hit on guys that are going to provide some separation power.

As much as I like the Stensons and Furyks of the world, it’s likely so do many others which in turn won’t help with the really high place GPP finishes we all want so we can quit our job Monday.

That’s why you have to be willing to take some chances. There are plenty of ways to go about it. Contrarian–picking people who make no actual sense.

Maybe a younger dude that has tons of talent (spoiler alert) who is bound to break out with a high place finish at some point. Either way, these are the guys you will likely need to hit on for the GPP glory we all hope to achieve.

(June 14, 2018 – Source: Andrew Redington/Getty Images North America)

Dylan Meyer  $6,500
2019 season, Cuts: 1/2  Top 25s: 1  Top 10s: 1  Wins: 0
Course History, Cuts: 1/1  Top 25s: 0  Top 10s: 0  Wins: 0

I’ve been writing about Meyer since his first PGA Tour appearance in 2017’s John Deere Classic when he still had amateur status. He hasn’t had a PGA start since last November. In the meantime, he’s missed four cuts on the Web.com tour.

GPP translation: Perfect. He’s young so big swings in his game are expected. Bottom line is that he has the talent make the weekend.

Part of me even thinks he’ll thrive more in PGA starts with the big boys. I reference his T-20 finish in last year’s U.S. Open as support of this theory. Which, by the way, was his first start having professional status.

Other Considerations
  • Adam Schenk $6,900 — Second year on tour, playing much better this season. Stats are up across the board.
  • Wydham Clark $6,900 — Riding the Honda Classic performance comparison as a predictor for Valspar into the ground.
  • Charley Hoffman $7,000 —  Playing pretty terrible. Oddly enough he has great GIR rankings from long distance this season. Played here tons with relative success.

Good luck at Copperhead! Don’t hesitate to reach out on twitter compliments and insults are always welcome.

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