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PGA DFS Travelers Championship Preview

If you need PGA DFS to pass the time before the reality television NBA off-season kicks off, you’re in luck! As always, my goal each 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. 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!

All that in mind, let’s take a look at the Travelers Championship (TC) information to clarify some unique characteristics that you may want to consider before lineups lock.

Event Information

Course: TPC River Highlands  Cromwell, CT  Par 70  Yardage 6,840

The tour switches coasts to the annual US Open hangover event in the quaint northeast community of Cromwell, Connecticut. According to the internet, the small town of roughly 14,000 was named after some sort of war ship going back to revolutionary war times called Oliver Cromwell, the “Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England”.

Additionally, it is rumored a non-white human being has not been seen there going back to pre-Columbus “discovering” America days. Accordingly, the PGA Tour demographic is a great fit in town at TPC River Highlands (RH), and has been every year since 1984. In fact, I’ve uncovered actual footage of the gallery around the 18th green last year…

Yay golf!

Here are the last five TC winners and their scores:

2018 Bubba Watson -17
2017 Jordan Spieth -12
2016 Russell Knox -14
2015 Bubba Watson -16
2014 Kevin Streelman -15
Keys to Success

My top two stats to weigh this week in order are:

  1. Ball Striking (BS)
  2. Strokes gained: Approach-the-green (SG: A)

Similar to Pebble Beach last week, RH plays as one of the shorter courses on tour. Unlike last week, this is not a major championship. And, RH has much larger greens as compared to the acute target practice pin areas that Pebble provides.

In other words, I want to emphasize the same two stats as last week, with a slight tendency to lean in favor of bombers. Without major championship rough, big hitters Bubba Watson (won here three times) and JB Holmes (last year’s runner-up) can elect to overpower the course sans much of the risk presented last week.

Bubba is a monster at TPC River Highlands (Associated Press)

At the same time, the shorter distance allows the more precision reliant players to factor in, as past winners Jordan Spieth, Russell Knox, and Kevin Streelman reflect above. In general, I would approach this event statistically as a much, much easier version of Pebble last week.

To help sift through the field regarding just the key stats I put the table below together using all data from the official PGA Tour website. It is listed in order of each players’ composite ranking, an average of each players’ ranking in the two key stats for this week. Sort as you wish:

NameSalaryComposite RankBSSG: A
Brooks Koepka118003.534
Keegan Bradley77006.5112
Emiliano Grillo7900786
Justin Thomas98009108
Paul Casey950011.5419
Jason Kokrak830014.51811
Troy Merritt7100221529
Russell Knox7700262923
Kevin Streelman820026.52231
Lucas Glover750026.52330
Chez Reavie8400283224
Patrick Cantlay1130030.54516
Tommy Fleetwood930034.53435
Sepp Straka7100383937
Hank Lebioda670041.52459
Marc Leishman910047.57322
Adam Schenk6600495246
Ryan Moore7800507525
Alex Prugh680053997
Sungjae Im780055.53378
Byeong Hun An7800567339
Bryson DeChambeau920056.56548
Trey Mullinax680057.57936
Sam Ryder680059.56257
Sung Kang730060.56556
Nick Watney720060.53982
Joaquin Niemann7500618438
Joel Dahmen720061.54281
Cameron Davis6300646464
Russell Henley750064.55574
Kevin Tway7400696969
J.J. Spaun680072.55986
Cameron Tringale670073.510740
Dylan Frittelli710076.57578
Tony Finau9000799959
J.B. Holmes730080.59566
Josh Teater650081.510063
Jason Day100008228136
Bud Cauley76008210559
Bubba Watson89008337129
Shawn Stefani65008311353
Adam Svensson60008512941
Charley Hoffman810086.514528
Abraham Ancer740086.542131
Kyle Stanley730088.59483
Kyoung-Hoon Lee7200918894
Sebastián Muñoz72009172110
Jim Knous63009211074
Chesson Hadley740094.514049
Andrew Landry670094.581108
Adam Hadwin760096.554139
Kevin Kisner7700979698
Carlos Ortiz64009744150
Anders Albertson61009713262
Cameron Champ680097.535160
Danny Lee750098.512572
Brian Stuard700098.514057
Max Homa720099.514851
Harold Varner III710099.579120
Brendan Steele670099.513186
Kramer Hickok650099.548151
Andrew Putnam7600100.514655
Scott Stallings6800101.516142
Louis Oosthuizen880010256148
Daniel Berger8000102.591114
Hudson Swafford620010311987
Brice Garnett650010747167
Martin Laird7000108.575142
Tyler Duncan6400108.561156
Phil Mickelson8700109.512792
Adam Long6400110.5109112
Francesco Molinari1030011112696
Austin Cook690011192130
Ben Silverman6500111103119
Tom Hoge6500111.517845
Roger Sloan6200111.5107116
Vaughn Taylor670011213589
Ryan Armour650011289135
J.T. Poston7000113.514384
Bronson Burgoon6200116.584149
C.T. Pan7600118134102
Chase Wright600011858178
Fabián Gómez6100121.559184
Cameron Smith720012217668
Peter Malnati6900122.519847
Hunter Mahan630012350196
Matt Jones690012493155
Scott Brown6800124114134
Brandon Harkins6200125122128
Jonas Blixt6800127148106
Harris English700012882174
Wes Roach660013483185
Patton Kizzire6400136.5156117
Sam Saunders6100139167111
Jim Herman6000141.5120163
Whee Kim6100143182104
Seth Reeves6000144.584205
Peter Uihlein7000146138154
Denny McCarthy6700147.5116179
Patrick Reed8500148157139
John Chin6000148.597200
Chris Thompson6100149161137
Mackenzie Hughes7100150177123
Sam Burns7000150131169
Alex Cejka6000150.5188113
Brady Schnell6200155158152
Sangmoon Bae6600155.5136175
J.J. Henry6000155.5152159
Nick Taylor6900156168144
Robert Streb6600157173141
Beau Hossler7300157.5121194
Richy Werenski6300160163157
Ollie Schniederjans6700163.5159168
Wyndham Clark6400164130198
Brandt Snedeker8600164.5184145
Kiradech Aphibarnrat7100164.5138191
Roberto Díaz6300165.5148183
Julián Etulain6200165.5193138
Jordan Spieth10700166189143
Si Woo Kim7400166166166
Satoshi Kodaira6600167.5165170
Brian Gay6700171154188
Chris Stroud6400173.5201146
Kelly Kraft6500176.5200153
Brian Harman7400178.5164193
Ryan Blaum6300181.5186177
Anirban Lahiri6900182199165
Aaron Baddeley7000182.5192173
Stephan Jaeger6900183.5186181
Scott Langley6400183.5178189
Freddie Jacobson6000185.5207164
Kyle Jones6000186173199
Michael Kim6100190.5206175
José de Jesús Rodríguez6300191.5196187
Joey Garber6300194184204
Rod Pampling6000195195195
Martin Trainer6100198190206
Cody Gribble6100198204192
Seamus Power6600200197203
Curtis Luck6600203204202
Viktor Hovland7900000
Matthew Wolff7300000
Collin Morikawa6900000
Padraig Harrington6600000
Justin Suh6400000
Morgan Hoffmann6300000
Zack Sucher6200000
Nicholas Lindheim6200000
Boo Weekley6200000
Brandon Hagy6100000
Chris Tallman6100000
Colt Knost6000000

*player without data have not played in enough PGA events for stats to qualify

Price Range Targets

Chalky McChalkerson (Five figures to 8.4k–17 players)

Paul Casey was a favorite of mine last week, and I’ll continue to back him at the TC. He checks just about every box you could ask for.

Form: fresh off a final round 67 at the US Open to finish T-21–check. Key stats: elite ball striking rank all year and a top 20 approach player–check. Event history: four starts, four weekends all finishing inside the top 20 including three top-5s with two runner ups–CHECK!!!

All that without the hefty price tag of Koepka or my beloved Cantlay makes the former Sun Devil my top choice in this range.

Sweet Spot (8.3k to 7k–49 players)

But it’s here where there is the need to identify the right selections to free up some cap space for Casey. My favorite plays that mimic Casey’s qualities in this range are Ryan Moore and Keegan Bradley.

Cap room is needed for this Englishman (Getty Images)

Moore is the definition of a River Highlands course horse. In 11 career starts, the UNLV alum has cashed nine checks, notched five top-10s that include a couple of runner-up finishes.

Additionally, he is coming off a missed cut here last season. That’s good news to me considering the only time that happened before, he finished T-4 the following year. In a thinner field following a major, this feels like a great spot for Moore to collect a top-10 finish.

For the ladder, Bradley ruined my real, and fantasy life last week. I’m running him back for similar reasons that apply to Moore. The shallow field should help Bradley rebound from last week’s missed cut, where he has not missed a weekend in eight career TC starts.

Going a bit lower and less chalky, my key stats continue to target Sepp Straka. The tour rookie hasn’t disappointed with three straight cashed checks, including a rock solid T-28 at last week’s US Open.

Sneaky Low % Owned (Below 7k ~86 players)

Sticking with that theme, fellow rookie Hank Lebioda has been fantastic with ball striking, ranking 24th on tour this season. And, he’s been consistently making cuts, going 11 of 16 on the season, including six of his last seven regular tour events.

Straka (pictured) and Lebioda look to keep successful rookie seasons going (Associated Press)

Before the RBC Canadian open, I tried to make the case for Zach Sucher. Then, he inconveniently became Zach Sucher. However, because he will likely have an extremely low ownership percentage, I like him as sneaky contrarian play.

Same goes for Anirban Lahiri. His ball striking stats are awful, but with solid putting he’s still managed to cash checks at most of the non-marquee events.

Also, the India native has finished T-17, and T-9 the last two years at this event. So maybe he really enjoys the hospitality in Cromwell? Who knows. Regardless, he’s a solid contrarian dart throw.

Best Bounce Back Candidates
  • Keegan–See above. He would not do this to me twice, right? It might get personal if he does. Possibly a social media attack…
  • Tony Finau–You’d have to go back to February of 2016 to find the last time this guy missed three cuts in a row. I doubt he will let that happen here.
  • Bubba–I can’t guarantee he’ll contend, but a missed weekend here would be a shock coming off a flame out at the USO.
  • Si Woo Kim–Should be a nice spot to continue his bi-polar existence on tour. Finished inside the top-30 in his two starts here.

Can Steele keep the good TC times going? (Getty Images)

Best Course History Plays
  • Bubba again–I think three wins qualifies as good event history.
  • Charlie Hoffman–After missing the weekend in his first TC appearance in 2007, C-Hoff has made it eight straight weekends here, with three top-10s.
  • Daniel Berger–Three career TC starts over the last three years, cashed checks in every one, including two top-5s.
  • J.J. Henry–Yea I said it. The elder statesman, and former 2006 TC winner has missed just two cuts in 16 career starts here. If you’re looking for a dart throw just to make the weekend, why not Henry? Think Boo Weekley in the RBC Heritage.
  • Brendan Steele–Speaking of dart throws, gone six for eight in weekends made here. All six finishes were T-25 or higher. Oh and… Bomber alert!!!

Thats the Keegan I know and love…

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. More detailed results are to come as the season moves along. This week’s selections:

  1. Casey
  2. Moore
  3. Keegan
  4. Grillo

Good luck in Connecticut! Don’t hesitate to reach out on twitter compliments and insults are always welcome. Also follow my new podcast!

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