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PGA DFS Rocket Mortgage Classic 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 Rocket Mortgage Classic (RMC) information to clarify some unique characteristics that you may want to consider before lineups lock.

Event Information

Course: Detroit Golf Club  Detroit, MI  Par 72  Yardage 7,334

The tour heads to the Midwest over the next two weeks at brand new venues for the 2019 schedule change. First stop, the Detroit Golf Club right downtown in the Motor City.

Ahhh yes, Detroit. I once lived just outside this city in the suburb of Royal Oak. Like most things in life, I can sum Detroit up in one movie reference.

You know how Philadelphia fully embraced Rocky as a symbol that their city identifies with, by actually putting up a statue? Makes sense. I mean no one would argue that the values expressed in the cinematic classic are overwhelmingly positive, and ones that people of an entire city should and would celebrate.

“They’re doing what?!” (photo: honcho-sfx.com)

Well, Detroit has their own RockyRobocop. You know, the movie that depicts a futuristic Detroit as a giant shit hole that is so incompetent it is privatizing law enforcement, having a half cyborg officer lead the way.

That’s right. The long-awaited Robocop statue is slated for erection at the Michigan Science Center. The good news: at least it’s not outside?

But I guess you could say that is par for the course considering they are roughly $9 billion in debt, rocking $5 billion in pension obligations on their balance sheet. #leadership #priorities

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)

As ridiculous as that is, strictly as a movie, Robocop still kicks major ass. Which is why I’ll be weaving in as many references to it throughout my analysis as possible. And in all seriousness, I do hope the city can grow and very much enjoyed my time living in that area. But a Robocop statue!? Really?

Certainly, adding a PGA Tour event can’t hurt any progress. Similar to my comments before the Byron Nelson, without much history and course data out there to rely on, ball striking makes the most sense as the metric to fall back on.

It’s the best reflection of how players are performing tee-to-green at any course type, and who is/isn’t consistently giving themselves scoring opportunities. Putting will ultimately be the main separator, but I don’t typically get in the business of trying to predict who will be burning edges, or rolling everything in center cup.

Hell, in less than 24 hours last week, Chez Reavie himself went from a putting savant to someone who couldn’t buy a 10-15 footer to save his life. Or even for a dollar…

When a catch phrase from a preposterous fictional game show host in your comic book movie becomes 90s pop culture folklore, you’re doing something right. Anyway, 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
Hideki Matsuyama102009144
Gary Woodland1090010119
Corey Conners730011.5419
Jason Kokrak8300172212
Chez Reavie9700222618
Kevin Streelman8600262032
Dustin Johnson12000273915
Troy Merritt7000301842
Sepp Straka690036.54429
Rickie Fowler11200373143
Ryan Moore9500446523
Hank Lebioda6900442860
Joaquin Niemann890050.56635
Alex Prugh7000536100
Adam Schenk660054.55851
Sung Kang7600555456
Sam Ryder6600555654
Nick Watney760057.54075
Sungjae Im880058.53384
Keith Mitchell7800592989
J.J. Spaun7400626163
Trey Mullinax6900627945
Byeong Hun An7900637749
Charles Howell III7800638118
Jason Dufner8000644781
Kevin Tway8100666666
Russell Henley7400665874
Cameron Tringale700066.59439
Cameron Davis6500676470
Billy Horschel900072.58164
Aaron Wise820074.516133
Shawn Stefani65007511337
Kyle Stanley7700767280
J.B. Holmes7300769161
Charley Hoffman78008013327
Kyoung-Hoon Lee7900816894
Josh Teater64008110161
Bud Cauley750081.510459
Kevin Kisner9100848187
Bubba Watson87008541129
Adam Svensson630086.512350
Dylan Frittelli7100889977
Andrew Landry6800918498
Brendan Steele7200929175
Brian Stuard710095.513358
Vaughn Taylor760097.513065
Cameron Champ680097.535160
Max Homa73009815244
Carlos Ortiz640098.545152
Luke List770099.598101
Chesson Hadley720099.514455
Adam Long690099.589110
Jim Knous650010111191
Roberto Castro670010215351
Harold Varner III7400102.575130
Scott Stallings670010315947
Danny Lee7300103.512483
Sebastián Muñoz7000103.587120
Martin Laird750010469139
Kramer Hickok650010553157
Anders Albertson620010513179
Michael Thompson7300106109103
Rory Sabbatini8500107.5106109
Ben Silverman6600107.5100115
Tyler Duncan6600107.560155
Tom Hoge640010816848
Brice Garnett620010941177
J.T. Poston6900110.513586
Ryan Armour690011186136
Brandon Harkins6400114114114
Chase Wright610011457171
Peter Malnati7500115.519338
Austin Cook7200116.596137
Hunter Mahan630012048192
Bronson Burgoon6700120.575166
Jonas Blixt6800124140108
Roger Sloan6400124.5125124
Scott Brown6700125110140
Jimmy Walker7700125.515893
Jim Herman6000125.5101150
Matt Jones7000127.591164
Fabián Gómez6400128.571186
Harris English6800131.581182
Cameron Smith740014118597
Wes Roach6500142.595190
Whee Kim6100142.5178107
Alex Cejka6100143184102
Sam Saunders6600143.5171116
John Chin610014491197
Patrick Reed9300145155135
Robert Streb6800145.5160131
Peter Uihlein7100146143149
Sam Burns7100146127165
Roberto Díaz7200146.5131162
Denny McCarthy6500148116180
Patton Kizzire6300148.5156141
Seth Reeves620014996202
Nick Taylor7000151.5161142
Mackenzie Hughes7600153168138
Richy Werenski6200154161147
J.J. Henry6100154157151
Brandt Snedeker9900154.5182127
Si Woo Kim7400155147163
Chris Thompson6100155164146
Freddie Jacobson6500156200112
Brady Schnell6300159149169
Wyndham Clark7100159.5125194
Beau Hossler7200160.5122199
Brian Gay6700164.5144185
Sangmoon Bae6600165.5150181
Ollie Schniederjans6800168163173
Ryan Blaum6800168175161
Chris Stroud6500170197143
Brian Harman8000170.5154187
Ted Potter, Jr.6000171183159
Stephan Jaeger7100171.5176167
Ernie Els6200172.5177168
Julián Etulain6000173194152
Satoshi Kodaira6300174.5173176
Kelly Kraft6300174.5195154
Kyle Jones6200182.5172193
Scott Langley6600184180188
Anirban Lahiri6400184.5199170
José de Jesús Rodríguez6200187.5192183
Joey Garber6300189.5178201
Rod Pampling6000190191189
Michael Kim6000190.5203178
Cody Gribble6700191198184
Martin Trainer6200195187203
Seamus Power6600198196200
Curtis Luck6400200202198
Viktor Hovland8400000
Matthew Wolff7500000
Zack Sucher7200000
Luke Donald6700000
Nicholas Lindheim6400000
Stewart Cink6300000
Chip McDaniel6300000
Will Claxton6200000
Justin Suh6200000
Billy Hurley6100000
Smylie Kaufman6100000
Mike Weir6100000
Ryan Vermeer6100000
Colt Knost6100000
Chad Collins6000000
Will MacKenzie6000000
David Berganio6000000
Matt Harmon6000000
Lee Houtteman6000000
Morgan Hoffmann6000000
Zachary Bauchou6000000

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

Price Range Targets

Chalky McChalkerson (Five figures to 8.4k–16 players)

Guys like Reavie and Ryan Moore would normally help boost your average price remaining per player up. But this week, a very thin field has vaulted some of last week’s bargains up to stiffer prices than we are used to seeing by their names. One of those guys that is my favorite for the week, is the uber talented Joaquin Niemann.

(Traci Edwards/Montana Pritchard Photography)

Storming out of the gates last season with four top-10s in his first eight professional starts, the Chilean prodigy’s unsustainable pace caught up with him. After grinding through 2019 with mostly missed cuts or finishes outside the top-35, the 20 year-old has returned to form.

His last four starts have finished T-31 or higher, capped off with a season best T-5 at last week’s Travelers Championship. A depleted field should help him continue his hot streak.

Since he’ll likely be covered in chalk from the DFS community, Patrick Reed is my favorite pivot for this range. He should be very motivated to earn some FedEx points here if he wants any chance of qualifying for the Tour Championship, an event he’s made every year since 2014.

Sweet Spot (8.3k to 7k–49 players)

Speaking of playing the villain role like Reed, Clarence Boddicker is in the discussion for most underrated movie bad guy of all-time. I mean, what kind of sick mother fucker pulls a savage move like this and gets away with it…

Wow. So many things to unpack in that exchange. I just need to move on. Jason Kokrak has been talked about in this space several times in 2019.

I am going to pretend last week’s first missed cut of the year was just a blip on the radar of what has been a splendid career best season.

Similar to Kokrak, Corey Conners is having a break through season of his own, thanks to elite ball striking. Dissimilar to Kokrak, Conners continues to be disrespected by the DK pricing model.

Regardless, both men are on the fringes of the top-30 in FedEx standings. With time running to solidify their first career Tour Championship appearance, they should be highly encouraged to play well this week.

Sneaky Low % Owned (Below 7k ~87 players)

As previously stated, I continue to target ball strikers, especially in events without any course history. In that light, Sepp Straka and Hank Lebioda have consistently provided solid week to week value at dirt cheap prices.

Along with them, fellow ball striker Sam Ryder maintained a solid sophomore campaign with a T-51 last week. I like him to cash his 13th check in what will be his 18th start of the season, and have a slightly increased ceiling in a favorable field.

Same goes for newly turned pro Justin Suh. He hasn’t made a weekend in his three tour starts this season. That should make him less popular with the sharps than fellow newcomer Chip McDaniel, who has made four of five cuts this year, including a T-5 in the Puerto Rico event.

Getting really filthy, Stewart Cink is my favorite contrarian play for this week. After being off since April working through some back issues, the tour veteran has been helping promote the event all week in Detroit. Some much needed rest, and a 76 percent career cut rate is enough for me to throw a dart at Cink.

Best Bounce Back Candidates
  • Jason Kokrak–Discussed above.
  • Byeong Hun An–Should be a perfect spot for him to notch a top-25, which would tie his single season best of seven set last year.
  • Luke List–Missed his last two weekends at the Memorial and US Open. A guy like Kokrak that is still looking for the elusive break through win on tour. This would be the ideal field to do it.
Best Course History Plays

Nothing to cover here. I guess I’ll just drop in my message for Corey Conners for this week…

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. Niemann
  2. Reed
  3. Kokrak
  4. Conners

To reaffirm Clarence Boddicker’s bad assery, I’ll end with a great scene from Robocop where what happens to poor Bob Morton perfectly illustrates the impact on my DFS week when any of my core players miss the cut…


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

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