Last week was a perfect example of how tight pricing can affect your lineups. Because pricing was so difficult on DraftKings certain value plays became even more popular since it was more difficult to make decent looking lineups. Unfortunately, when those value plays don’t pay off they end up taking down a large portion of your teams (assuming you used said value plays). I’m of course talking about Adam Scott, Brendon de Jonge and Jason Kokrak who were 3 of the highest owned players last week and 3 of the biggest busts (they all missed the cut). I don’t see any of them as bad plays and still don’t. All of them had great cut records, fit the course in some way shape or form and were underpriced. That they all crapped the bed in the same week was unfortunate but it happens. Keep making good choices and these things tend to even out…
On to this week…
This week the tour heads back into Texas for another two week swing. The Crowne Plaza Invitational is one of the oldest events on tour and is played at one of the oldest and revered golf courses on tour as well. The Colonial Golf and Country Club hosts this week’s festivities and does not disappoint. It is a 7100-7200 yard, par 70 that features lots of mature tree-lined fairways and lots of strategically placed bunkers and fairways. This is not a course that can be overpowered and many holes also feature severe doglegs which make placement and accuracy a key. With smaller than normal greens the ability to be precise with iron play will be key this week as players will want to avoid the trouble around the greens. Experience has always been key at this event. A list of past winners shows few golfers under the age of 30 and you have to go back to 2001 to find a maiden winner in Sergio Garcia. Long story short, experienced pros have the upper hand this week and a good knowledge of the course should be high on your demand list when shopping for players.
For statistics I’ve listed the main areas I’m looking at this week in order of importance:
The course features several long 4’s and only two par 5’s (one is over 600 yards). The players will have to play the par 4’s well to keep up this week and that is a stat I am really emphasizing. The small greens place a premium on accuracy so one’s ability to hit it close will be rewarded this week as trouble lurks if a player is even just a little wayward with their approach shots. Player’s with a strong wedge game (inside 150 yards) have gone well here in the past and I expect that trend to continue. Finally I’m also interested in strokes gained: tee to green. With accuracy off the tee and from the fairway being important, players with solid tee to green games have traditionally done well at this course, with last year’s champion, Adam Scott being the prime example.
Odds to win: 36-1
I get it, Kevin Na is expensive this week and because there’s some other solid players priced below him you probably don’t want to use him. But here’s why you need to consider him. Na’s worst finish in his last 6 events was a 20th at the windswept Texas open. He’s now landed himself 4 top ten’s in that span and a 12th place at the Masters. He’s not only played well at shorter courses where accuracy and a solid game around the greens are in high demand but he’s also posted some massive results at longer courses where big hitters tend to dominate. This week, after a week of rest, he gets to attack Colonial, a golf course that in theory should be right up his alley. Na is 19th in par 4 scoring on the year, 26th in strokes gained tee to green and also 5th in sand save percentage. He has a ton of experience (made 7 of last 8 cuts) playing Colonial and for that reason—and his recent form—I think he has much upside as the players priced above him this week. I like him in gpps because he should be low-owned and offers good upside even at his higher than normal price-tag.
Odds to win: 50-1
Todd is perhaps priced a little higher than normal this week but it won’t affect my usage of him at all. Todd’s had a highly consistent/solid season thus far and it feels like he might just be getting started. Todd has only missed one cut in last 8 starts (the Masters) and had a near miss at the RBC Heritage a few weeks back where he finished 4th. Todd’s accurate (14th in driving accuracy) great around the green and from the sand (2nd in sand save percentage) and is also a very good putter. He started out strong at the Players but faded, however I would likely attribute that to some inexperience as it was his first time playing the event. This will be Todd’s third go playing the Crowne Plaza event and after missing the cut in his first year he posted a massive 5th place finish in 2014. I think Todd’s an excellent fit for this course and a solid play to start your lineups with.
Odds to win: 36-1
I have been mostly wrong on Chris Kirk so far this year but I’m going back to him one more time this week and hoping for a nice payoff. Kirk is starting to play much more consistent golf of late and now has a T13 and a T8 in his last 4 appearances. He held the 54-hole lead at the Players before fading badly in the final round but still put up nice statistics for the week. Kirk’s strengths have always been his play on and around the greens and his excellent bunker play (1st in sand saves on tour) should serve him well at Colonial. Kirk has an excellent history at Colonial with two top twenties and a 5th place finish in his last four starts. I’m anticipating Kirk riding his good momentum from Florida into Texas and think he makes for a somewhat overlooked play this week.
Odds to win: 50-1
I think Ben Martin is a great play this week, especially since he seems to have come down in price a bit off of last week. Martin has been playing great ever since he posted a fifth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. While he disappointed somewhat at the RBC Heritage he just missed out on the playoff at the Players Championship when he bogeyed the 72nd hole. This week Martin again gets to take on shotmaker’s golf course which favours accuracy and precision over power. On the year Martin is ranked 31st in proximity to the hole and also 27th in strokes gained: tee to green. When you add in the fact he’s 31st in sand save percentage and has been putting very well recently you get a very solid fantasy play for PGA this week. Martin placed 21st at Colonial last year, his first visit to the course. I won’t be shocked if Martin contends this week or even wins his second title on tour.
Odds to win: 125-1
Jason Bohn is an experienced golfer who has flashed some serious form at times in 2015. Bohn has always been known for his accurate driving and wedge game and this year it seems like that part of his game is in fine form. Bohn currently ranks 6th overall in proximity to the hole and is also a very healthy 43rd in strokes gained: tee to green. While he’s missed 2 of his last 3 cuts, he rebounded very nicely at the Wells Fargo last weekend where he finished 9th. Bohn has played Colonial 8 times since 2005 and made 6 cuts with his highest finish being 13th. While his history may not jump off the page I do think he is on the verge of a big finish at some point this year and that could easily come this week. I’m always a little scared of using Bohn as he tends to miss more cuts than he should but I can’t ignore the stats this week. I think he makes for a fine play at his price and offers you some big upside for fantasy.
Odds to win: 125-1
Don’t look now but David Toms might be making a late career push for another win. Toms posted a very solid top 15 at the Players Championship and has now made his last 3 cuts in a row. Why I really like Toms this week though is his history at Colonial. Toms has played this event over ten times and while he’s missed 2 of his last 4 cuts he’s sandwiched those with a win and a 5th place (2014). Toms has been playing better than people realize and is a perfect statistical fit for this course. He’s got a ton of experience playing it, is ranked second on tour in driving accuracy, 13th on tour on proximity from 50-125 yards and is also top 50 in par 4 scoring. This is a week where experienced golfers get more consideration for fantasy purposes, and for myself I think Toms makes for a great cash and gpp play at his cheap price-tag.
Odds to win: 70-1
There’s a lot to love about John Peterson this week. First let’s talk price. Peterson clocks in at under $7k on DraftKings and $6300 on Victiv, so he’s very affordable. Second let’s talk consistency. Peterson has now made his last 7 cuts on tour and is an absurd 14 of 16 on tour thus far this year. Third let’s talk statistics. Peterson ranks 16th in par 4 scoring, 28th in strokes gained: tee to green and is a great fit from a numbers standpoint. Finally, let’s talk course history and recent form. Peterson was 11th in Greens in Regulation at the Wells Fargo, and a few weeks ago actually ranked first in that same category at the RBC Heritage. He’s also from Texas, knows the course well and finished 26th here in 2013 on a sponsor’s exemption (opened that year with a 64). I’m all-in on John Peterson this week for fantasy as he offers way too much value at his current price.
Odds to win: 200-1
Thompson is not a player I typically trust for fantasy purposes but as a former tour winner he does offer upside at his price others do not. Thompson typically thrives at shorter, shotmaker’s golf courses and this week fits his style perfectly. Even though his tee to green stats do not jump off the page, Thompson is a terrific putter and that is typically how he is able to keep pace with the field in these events. Thompson’s played Colonial three times and made the cut in all three appearances, including finishing tenth last year. Coming off a solid week at Quail Hollow, I like Thompson for his cheap price and for some possible upside as a 6th or 7th option on Victiv.
Odds to win: 200-1
Molder is another experienced player who I think you can give extra credit to this week when making your picks. Molder’s played this event 4 times and made 3 cuts. He’s also finished 5th here within that same span. While his stats do not jump off the page, Molder is an excellent putter and also ranks 29th in par 4 scoring on tour. He typically saves his best for more traditional par 70 courses and recently landed a top twenty at Hilton Head. At $6000 on DraftKings this week he definitely fills my criteria for a cheap punt option that will allow you to stack some big names in a stars and scrubs style lineup.
Odds to win: 60-1
This play is based more off of O’Hair’s recent play at some very similar styled golf courses. While O’Hair has played relatively solid all season, he’s really saved his best play for the Valspar Championship and the RBC Heritage, two events played on golf courses that favour accuracy and precision over power—much like this week. Even though O’Hair is not super accurate off the tee I do think he benefits from the shorter courses and smaller greens, likely because of his ability to club down on many holes and benefit from a higher ball flight. O’Hair has a nice history of playing this event and should know the course quite well as a Texas native. I don’t anticipate high ownership levels on O’Hair this week, but do anticipate that he keep up his resurgent play. He’s now posted finishes of 2nd, 6th and 12th in his last 7 starts and seems like a player ready to get back to the winners circle very soon.
Fade: I would hold off on the Patrick Rodgers excitement for one more week. This course does not favour length and Rodgers is a young player that seems to like to bomb it off every tee. He’s priced way too high for play on a course where experience and accuracy trumps youthful enthusiasm and length.
My Pick to win: People may mock his style, but Kevin Na has hands down been one of the best players on tour over the past few months. I think this weaker field sets up perfectly for him to step up and grab get his first win on tour in a while. He’s my pick.