PGA DFS John Deere Classic Preview

If you need some PGA DFS before diving head first into football research, 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 John Deere Classic (JDC) information to clarify some unique characteristics that you may want to consider before lineups lock.

Event Information

Course: TPC Deere Run  Silvis, IL  Par 71  Yardage 7,257

The TOUR completes the Midwest leg this week in Silvis, Illinois with its annual precursor to the Open Championship. Unlike the previous two weeks, TPC Deere Run has been a mainstay on the PGA calendar, playing host every year to the JDC since 2001.

Like the last two events, the JDC has always played as one of the easiest tournaments on tour, where the winner typically will need to shoot around 20 under par to be in the mix. Even with plenty of course history to draw from, player appearances are very inconsistent year over year due to the pending Open Championship the following week. With most of the top players in the world competing in the Scottish Open this week to sharpen their links game, it will be another relatively shallow field that is wipe open for the taking.

That said, it would be no surprise for the newly turned pro batch of rookies to continue their strong play in Silvis. It also presents a splendid opportunity for fringe players to gobble up some much-needed cheap FedEx points late in the season. Here are the past five winners and their scores:

2018 Michael Kim -27
2017 Bryson DeChambeau -18
2016 Ryan Moore -22
2015 Jordan Spieth -20
2014 Brian Harman -22
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)

Emphasizing these two stats the last couple months has been very helpful. Especially in tournaments where piling up birdies is a must, these two stats together reflect how consistently a player is putting himself in position to do just that.

Going back to May, this table has identified guys like Nate Lashley, Hank Lebioda, and Sepp Straka as strong performers week to week. Accordingly, all their prices have seen substantial increases from the mid 6k range over that time.

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
Joaquin Niemann10200272727
Sepp Straka730030.52041
Lucas Glover9800312537
Hank Lebioda710034.52346
Troy Merritt750035.51952
Nate Lashley8500375519
Talor Gooch770040.56417
Ryan Palmer860042.55728
Sam Ryder750042.54045
Cameron Tringale7700466131
Ryan Moore920048.57225
Alex Prugh670050694
Sungjae Im9700522282
Joel Dahmen840054.53772
Jason Dufner8100562884
Adam Schenk6800565260
Charles Howell III950057.58107
Russell Henley710057.54669
Kyle Stanley8800606258
Nick Watney800062.53491
Josh Teater670062.58144
Adam Svensson670062.59629
Shawn Stefani720064.58247
Jhonattan Vegas7400663399
Dylan Frittelli7600697266
Kevin Tway890070.57467
Martin Laird820070.535106
Trey Mullinax6800738660
Roberto Castro670076.511736
Carlos Ortiz72007726128
Andrew Landry710078.57087
Cameron Davis670078.57780
Matt Every690079.56693
Bud Cauley870080.59467
Bronson Burgoon78008643129
Danny Lee760086.511459
Adam Long700088.58790
Kyoung-Hoon Lee700091.574109
Brice Garnett72009230154
Brian Stuard74009413355
Chase Wright64009544146
Johnson Wagner72009869127
Cameron Champ760099.537162
Ryan Armour7300100.579122
Tom Hoge6600101.516241
Kramer Hickok690010255149
Daniel Berger9300102.585120
Vaughn Taylor7700102.513075
Anders Albertson6300102.512481
Harold Varner III7400103.590117
Scott Stallings7000103.515156
J.T. Poston780010613874
Sebastián Muñoz680010796118
Jim Knous650010712391
Tyler Duncan6600107.559156
John Senden6200109.5115104
Peter Malnati7900112.518540
Scott Brown8300113107119
Zach Johnson9600113.517651
Roger Sloan7100114.5128101
Michael Thompson7000115.5106125
Fabián Gómez6700117.568167
Hunter Mahan610011846190
Austin Cook7300118.599138
Wes Roach6800118.580157
Brandon Harkins6600122.5119126
David Hearn6900124115133
Stewart Cink6600124.5104145
Robert Streb6900126.5148105
Pat Perez7500130160100
Sam Burns9100131110152
Nick Taylor7400131132130
Jim Herman6000133108158
Ben Silverman6500137.5111164
Mackenzie Hughes7900139162116
Denny McCarthy7500140102178
Sam Saunders6500140168112
Seth Reeves610014082198
Matt Jones7100141113169
Alex Cejka6500141179103
Joey Garber7300144.5105184
Peter Uihlein6900145.5155136
J.J. Henry6200147.5142153
Richy Werenski6400148.5150147
Wyndham Clark9000149109189
Roberto Díaz6800149127171
John Chin6100149102196
Beau Hossler7300152111193
Stephan Jaeger6800154169139
Jonathan Byrd7100154.5188121
Brian Harman9400157141173
Ted Potter, Jr.6600159170148
Chris Thompson6200159175143
Brady Schnell6100159.5158161
Whee Kim6300161178144
Ryan Blaum6600165171159
Kyle Jones6000166144188
Kelly Kraft6300166.5193140
Ollie Schniederjans6600167167167
Dominic Bozzelli6700168144192
Freddie Jacobson6000169196142
Ben Crane6500171176166
Satoshi Kodaira6300171.5166177
Bill Haas6900172184160
Chris Stroud6600173196150
Anirban Lahiri6400177.5190165
Scott Langley6400179.5174185
José de Jesús Rodríguez6200183187179
Cody Gribble6300186.5193180
Curtis Luck6700190186194
Michael Kim6400190.5199182
Martin Trainer6000190.5182199
Martin Piller6500195193197
Seamus Power6800196.5198195
Viktor Hovland10900000
Collin Morikawa10700000
Matthew Wolff10500000
Doc Redman7200000
Andres Romero7000000
Luke Donald7000000
Zack Sucher6900000
D.J. Trahan6500000
Justin Suh6500000
Chad Campbell6500000
John Catlin6500000
Sang-Moon Bae6400000
David Lingmerth6400000
Arjun Atwal6400000
Brendon Todd6400000
Robert Garrigus6300000
Derek Fathauer6300000
Julian Etulain6300000
Tyrone Van Aswegen6300000
Tom Lovelady6200000
Boo Weekley6200000
Austin Connelly6200000
Billy Hurley6200000
George McNeill6200000
Smylie Kaufman6200000
Parker McLachlin6100000
Ricky Barnes6100000
Will Claxton6100000
Daniel Chopra6100000
Kris Blanks6100000
Nicholas Lindheim6100000
Austen Truslow6100000
Tim Herron6000000
Chad Collins6000000
Ryan Vermeer6000000
Brian Davis6000000
Darin Fisher6000000
Ho Sung Choi6000000
Dicky Pride6000000
Chris Couch6000000
Stephen Allan6000000
Dylan Meyer6000000

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

Price Range Targets

Chalky McChalkerson (Five figures to 8.4k–20 players)

New venues must really bother Ryan Moore. What turned out to be two consecutive birdiethons for the field, and looked like a great opportunity for a vet in solid form to make a late season push, did not pan out for Moore, who flamed out with missed weekends in both.

Much like the Travelers Championship from a few weeks ago, the UNLV alum is a regular at the JDC. And, he almost always keeps hotel reservations booked through Sundays.

Will Viktor Hovland and the rookies continue their tear? (Photo: AP)

In 10 career JDC appearances, Moore has just one missed cut, three top-10s, including a win in 2016. I think he responds well to the friendly confines, and bounces back big in Silivis.

Prices have gotten really stiff on the hot rookie hands for good reason, but I think the safest one in this range for a high floor is still Joaquin Niemann. If I’m investing five figures, the inevitable inconsistency of new tour players is something to consider. Both Niemann and, especially Moore, have more experience with the highs and lows of week to week play on the PGA Tour.

Sweet Spot (8.3k to 7k–44 players)

I discussed Cameron Tringale’s bounce back season heading into last week, and he continued his stellar play with a modest T-42 finish. His price point has not budged, which makes him remain a favorite building block of mine this week.

Another couple of players that will help create cap room for Moore are Johnson Wagner and Carlos Ortiz. Wagner just took advantage of the shallow 3M Open field with a T-23 finish, and has legit success at the JDC, having made four of his last five weekends including three top-10s.

Ortiz looks to crack the code in Silvis (Source: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images North America)

After earning his way back to the PGA Tour via the Korn Ferry circuit, Ortiz is now quietly enjoying a career best season with a T-5 last week, his third top-10 of the season. Ball striking led the way for the Mexico native in Minnesota where he ranked seventh in strokes gained: tee-to-green for the week. He also now sits ranked an impressive 26th in ball striking for the year. I like Ortiz to keep it rolling at the JDC, where he will be looking to cash his first check in what will be his third appearance.

Sneaky Low % Owned (Below 7k ~93 players)

It wouldn’t be the JDC without me mentioning Dylan Meyer. My first ever DFS golf write-up a few years ago on a platform that no longer exists included a missive on the former Illinois All-American, when he was making his PGA debut at the 2017 JDC, as an amateur.

The glasses wearing, visor rocking savage went on to miss the cut, and has had moderate success in PGA events since, making six weekends in 10 events. This season on the Korn Ferry tour, Meyer has been downright awful, but that might be all the more reason to take a shot with him this week in what will be a true “home” game.

Dylan Meyer is gonna need some home cookin this week (Source: Andrew Redington/Getty Images North America)

For the more risk averse approach that still presents reasonable upside, Justin Suh and D.J. Trahan are my favorites this week. I made the case for newly turned pro Suh to join his fellow rookies, and finally crack a weekend in Minnesota last week. He came through with a T-58 finish, and I think he is sick of seeing all his boys notch top-10s and get wins under their belts. He is my favorite pick in this range as a sneaky contender.

Trahan does not have enough rounds recorded to show up in the stats, but when he did earlier in the year, his ball striking rankings were phenomenal. He needs to take advantage of every start, as he attempts to regain status on the PGA Tour. This is the right field for him to do that.

Best Bounce Back Candidates
  • Ryan Moore–See above.
  • Nate Lashley–Understandlable letdown after his amazing win at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
  • Doc Redman–Same concept as Lashley, who he finished sole runner up to in Detroit.
  • Sepp Straka–Been one of my favorites all season. Missed back to back weekends just once since early 2019.
  • Jhonattan Vegas–Has not cashed a check in three starts going back to May. Good ball striker. Has not played here in four years, but is three out of four in cuts made in his career here. Seems like the perfect spot for a random Vegas top-10.
Best Course History Plays
  • Moore-See above.
  • Charles Howell–Ten of 11 JDC cuts made, seven top-25s, two top 10s.
  • Zach Johnson–Not sure what to do with him this week at his price. But if ZJ is ever going to get his season going it would be here where has cashed 11 straight checks, including seven top-5s, with a 2012 win.
  • Chad Campbell–Super random course history player of the week. Campbell has made the cut in all 11 career JDC appearances. Over his 16 year stretch playing here, he’s collected seven top-25s, and tied his JDC best finish last year with a T-7. Don’t try to make sense of it. Just know it.

Just like Fletcher’s core players Niemann remains in mine…

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. Moore
  2. Niemann
  3. Tringale

Good luck in Illinois! Don’t hesitate to reach out on twitter compliments and insults are always welcome. Also follow my new podcast! We are back next week for our third episode to talk the final major of the season.


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