WATCH: PGA PRICE CHECK – AT&T BYRON NELSON
The Cheat Sheet provides fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.
The field this week is nowhere near what it was last week (so be prepared for some big price jumps), but at the same time, there’s a nice mix of talent at the top. Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day are all in the field and are looking to rebound after poor performances at one of the biggest events of the year. Last year’s champion, Sergio Garcia, is also in the field here and will be looking to add some extra hardware to his Green Jacket. There’s some pretty decent international talent here too with the likes of Louis Oosthuizen and Ian Poulter — last week’s runner-ups — in attendance. Make sure you look out for any withdraws as the week progresses here, too, as some players may opt for rest after a grueling four days at THE PLAYERS. Unlike last week, the bottom end of this field dries out pretty quickly and with 150 players in the field, there will be some names worth fading at the bottom end. The top 70 players (and ties) will get to play the weekend like usual here, and there will be a secondary MDF cut on Saturday if more than 78 golfers make the initial cut on Friday.
TPC Four Seasons Resort, Irving, Texas
Par 70 – 7,100-7,200 yards (depending on setup)
TPC Four Seasons was opened back in 1983 but underwent extensive remodeling back in 2008 that lengthened the course. Since that time big hitters have tended to fair well here, although it can be a difficult course on which to pinpoint certain stats. For course history purposes I would not recommend looking back at results past 2009 as you’re essentially looking at a different course. This can be a bit of a strange event to predict performance-wise, too, as weather can drastically affect things, as they did in 2015 when the course was basically flooded and had to be altered during the event. To give you an idea of how crazy scoring can be year-to-year, in 2009 Rory Sabbatini set the scoring record at this event with a total of 19-under-par, but two years later Keegan Bradley won the event with a measly score of -3. Right now the winds don’t look too bad for this year’s event, although there are some possible rain and thunderstorms in the forecast on Saturday. The course could be tough if the conditions are dried out, but otherwise, we might see a winning score similar to last season.
As a par 70 TPC Four Seasons only features two par 5s but both are very reachable in two by most of the players and represent good scoring holes. The real meat of the course lies in the par 4s, all of which measure in at over 400 yards in length — as a side note, players with good efficiency stats on longer par 4s this week should make good targets this week for DFS. The course also features several water hazards which can make approach shots extremely difficult if the wind gets up. This is a course that has tended to frustrate players when windy but has also yielded numerous low scores in calm conditions. Overall the long par 4s either require players to be long and accurate tee-to-green or to be great scramblers; while the rest of the course plays fairly straightforward and can be scored on. This event has seen a variety of winners, but there’s no doubt that long hitters have tended to prosper a little more as a group here since the changes in 2009.
One final note about the course, it’s seen its fair share of first-timers do well here too as three of the last seven winners was playing the event and the course for the first time ever on the PGA when they won. With that knowledge, it may mean that this may be a week to forgo course history a little bit and take some chances with players new to the event.
Last 5 winners
- 2016 — Sergio Garcia -15 (over Brooks Koepka playoff)
- 2015 — Steven Bowditch -18 (over Charley Hoffman -14)
- 2014 — Brendon Todd -14 (over Mike Weir -12)
- 2013 — Sang-Moon Bae -13 (over Keegan Bradley -11)
- 2012 — Jason Dufner -11 (over Dickey Pride -10)
- Of the past seven winners, only two (Jason Dufner and Sergio Garcia) had recorded a top-10 finish at this event/course in a prior year.
- The last six winners here had recorded a T8 or better on the PGA Tour in the same year of their victory, and prior to winning at the Byron Nelson.
- The last six winners of the Byron Nelson ranked 67th or better in Birdie Average in the year of their respective victory.
- Driving Distance
- Birdie or Better Percentage
- Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 Yards
The course may not seem super long this week, and by tour standards, it’s about average, but that being said, many of the par 4s play extremely long and will require length off the tee. Of the top-10 players in Driving Distance from last year’s tournament, eight of them finished inside the overall top-20 for the week at this event, including both the winner and runner-up (Garcia and Koepka) who were 3rd and 9th respectively in this stat here last year.
Par 4 Scoring should be important this week as TPC Four Seasons contains 14 – par 4s on the course. What makes this course slightly unique, however, is that none of the par 4s is less than 400 yards. The longer par 4s have often been pivotal here, so targeting efficiency stats from 450-500 yards makes sense, as many holes either fall within or just slightly out of this range. Over the past five years only once has the winner finished outside the top-10 in this stat for the week.
Birdie or Better Percentage also makes sense to target this week. Although the scores don’t get crazy here, the course is still very gettable for the players and mid to high teens will likely be the winning score here — if the wind doesn’t get too bad. Players with good year-long ranks in Birdie or Better Percentage have done well here in the past and, over the past five years, no winner/runner-up combo has finished outside of the top-10 in Birdie or Better Percentage for the week.
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their odds of winning this week.
|Smylie Kaufman||66-1||$7,100||Sean O’Hair $7,200 and 250-1
Daniel Summerhays $7,300 and 200-1
Cody Gribble $7,100 and 300-1
|Bud Cauley||45-1||$7,800||Byeong-Hun An $8,000 and 66-1
Charl Schwartzel $8,100 and 60-1
Ryan Palmer $8,200 and 50-1
HORSES FOR COURSES
- Ryan Palmer has made five of his last six cuts at this event and has also recorded three finishes of 10th or better in that span, the best being a runner-up finish in 2011. As a Texas native, he’ll be comfortable in his surroundings this week.
- Keegan Bradley is five of six for cuts made at this event and also won here on his first visit to the course in 2011. Outside of his MC from last year, Bradley has never finished worse than 29th at this event and also was runner-up back in 2013; he’s a solid horse for the course this week.
- Matt Kuchar has played this event nine times in his career and never missed the cut. He’s also done better at this event as his career has progressed as he’s now finished inside the top-15 three times in the last six years, including a T3 finish from last season (his best ever at this event).
- Dustin Johnson has played here six times since the course changes in 2008. His worst finish in that span is a 20th, and he has four top-10s to his name at this event, including a 12th from last year. Given his play in 2017 thus far, he’s someone I expect to be in contention this week.
1. Brooks Koepka: Koepka has been on a roll ever since the Match Play event. He’s now finished 11th, 2nd and 16th in his last three events, which include THE PLAYERS and the Masters.
2. Kevin Tway: Tway has now finished inside the top-5 in each of his last three starts. He’s 16 under over his last eight rounds and led the field in birdies at the Wells Fargo.
3. Bud Cauley: He has finished inside the top-10 over his last three starts and is a collective 15 under over his last two solo starts.
Top Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (last week)
1. Alex Noren
2. Si Woo-Kim
3. Ian Poulter
Top Strokes Gained: Putting (last week)
1. Blayne Barber
2. Billy Hurley III
3. Rafa Cabrera-Bello
Cash Games: Dustin Johnson is the most expensive player in the field at $12,500, but he also brings some of the best upside in the field with a DK scoring average of 86.2. Even with that stat though, I’d rather start cash game lineups with cheaper options like Sergio Garcia or Brooks Koepka. Koepka was runner-up here last season and has averaged 82.8 DK points over his last three starts; he’s also only $10,200. Other high floor/value targets include Matt Kuchar ($8,700), Russell Henley ($8,300), Ryan Moore ($7,600) and Sung Kang ($7,400).
Tournaments: My favorite likely lower-owned play among the top players this week is Jordan Spieth ($10,800). Spieth really wasn’t playing poorly coming into THE PLAYERS but missed the cut anyways which should draw some people off of him. Spieth loves this event and has never missed the cut here despite playing as an amateur numerous times. After Spieth, I also like Louis Oosthuizen ($9,700), Charl Schwartzel ($8,100), Byeong-Hun An ($8,000), Graham DeLaet ($7,600) and Xander Schauffele ($6,600) as potential low-owned tournament targets.
MY PICK: Russell Henley ($8,300)
There are a lot of interesting plays at the top this week in a stronger than expected field, but for DFS my main pick is going to be more of a value play. Russell Henley has played outstanding golf almost all season, with an early season equipment change doing wonders for his approach game specifically. Henley has always been good off the tee and on the greens, but his new found efficiency is pushing him towards the top of the tour in many other stats as well. He ranks 13th in Par 4 Scoring overall and is seventh on tour in efficiency on par 4s from 450-500 yards (and 10th from 400-450 yards). He’s also shown week-to-week consistency in 2017 we haven’t seen from him before by making eight straight cuts in a row since Phoenix and should be ready to rebound with a big performance here after shaking off a little rust last week. Of all the top players in this tourney, Henley looks the most underpriced to me and, with an affordable price—and a top-30 ranking in Birdie or Better Percentage and Birdie Average — makes for a great DFS target.
MY SLEEPER: Xander Schauffele ($6,600)
Schauffele is a great young player who has already popped up a couple times this season on leaderboards. It’s his first year on the big boy tour, so it hasn’t been without adjustment, but lately, Schauffele has looked ready to put in a big week. He was T24 two weeks at the Wells Fargo and shot a bogey-free 4 under to finish there, one of the best rounds of the day. Schauffele also seems to set up well for this week’s course stylistically too, as he ranks second in efficiency scoring on 450-500-yard par 4s and 30th overall in Par 4 Scoring. If you include the team event, Schauffele has actually finished 30th or better in three of his last four starts on tour and could excel this week on a venue that has been kind to first-timers. At $6,600 he’s my high-upside sleeper for DraftKings this week.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.