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!
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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.
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…
Here are the last five TC winners and their scores:
Keys to Success
My top two stats to weigh this week in order are:
- Ball Striking (BS)
- 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.
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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:
|Name||Salary||Composite Rank||BS||SG: A|
|Byeong Hun An||7800||56||73||39|
|Harold Varner III||7100||99.5||79||120|
|Si Woo Kim||7400||166||166||166|
|José de Jesús Rodríguez||6300||191.5||196||187|
*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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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: