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.
Last week saw the end of the regular season on the PGA Tour and also the rise of a fantastic young golfer. Si Woo Kim has been making waves with his play since he was barely an adult and this year, at only 21, his runaway victory announced him as one of the great emerging young talents to watch over the next couple years. With the top 125 in the FedEx cup standings now decided, we move on to the first leg of the PGA playoffs this week—the Barclays. The fields will shrink in size every week from here on out until we get to the final 30 for the Tour Championship. It should be compelling golf and fun for DFS purposes.
The field this week comprises only 125 golfers (assuming no withdraws), but the cut procedure will be the same with the top 70 and ties making the weekend. After the event, the top 100 golfers in the FedEx standings will qualify for the next event (the Deustche Bank Championship). Nearly all of the top names are in the field this week with only a few exceptions. Sergio Garcia is skipping the event for personal reasons and Anirban Lahiri has also dropped out. There are no alternates this week, so if a player does drop out the field size will simply decrease. Getting 6/6 through the cut this week will definitely be key as a smaller than normal percentage of players will miss the cut. One other backdrop to this week is the looming Ryder Cup selection-qualification procedure. Names like Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed and Bubba Watson will all be looking for big weeks to ensure they qualify, and there should be plenty of intrigue and mathematics to sort out down the homestretch.
Beth Page Black — Farmingdale, New York
Par 71, 7,400-7,500 yards
Beth Page Black is one of the more demanding venues used for this event. It was designed by AW Tillinghast, the same designer who was behind Baltusrol, the recent PGA Championship venue. The much lauded public course has now hosted the U.S. Open twice (2002 and 2009) and has also hosted the Barclays back in 2012. While the venue played as a par 70 for the U.S. Opens, it’s important to note that for this week, as it did in 2012, the course will play as a par 71 and feature three par 5’s instead of only two.
While the added par 5 will undoubtedly help scores a bit this week, don’t expect a ton of birdies. Beth Page Black is notorious for its long, grueling par 4’s and fast greens. This week will see six of the 11 par 4’s on the course measure in at 460 yards or greater and all will require good drives and long approaches from the players just to make par. And while there are some shorter par 4’s on the course, several of them will play into difficult to hit greens or fairways, making par an achievement in most circumstances there as well.
As for scoring holes the par 5’s will undoubtedly present the best opportunities most days for birdies as two of them measure in at under 560 yards and will be reachable in two by many of the longer hitters. As for the par 3’s, three of the four on the course come in between 200-230 yards in length, and players who are adept at this range should have some advantage. Length isn’t the only factor in play this week, but, ultimately, given the setup, players who can use a mid-iron, as opposed to a longer iron, on the par 3’s are going to have a leg up.
As a longer course played on faster than normal bentgrass greens, with some tough, hard to hit green complexes, Beth Page Black will require players to be adept with their driver off the tee and on longer approaches. Those who don’t have the length will need a short game in tip top shape as missing the green will require dealing with higher than normal rough and numerous sand traps. With the weather being mostly hot and humid recently, the expectation is for a fast course with decently thick rough and U.S. open style scoring.
Last 5 winners
- 2015—Jason Day -19 (over Henrik Stenson -13)
- 2014—Hunter Mahan -14 (over 3 players at -12)
- 2013—Adam Scott -11 (over 4 players at -10)
- 2012—Nick Watney -10 (over Brandt Snedeker -7)
- 2011—Dustin Johnson -19 (over Matt Kuchar -17)
- 4 out of the last 6 winners of this event finished T10 or better in their previous start before winning.
- The last 6 winners have ranked 58th or better in Greens in Regulation on Tour in the year of their victory.
Greens in Regulation ((GIR)
Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
Proximity > 200 yards
Beth Page is definitely a tough test of golf that should challenge players in pretty much every facet. While players with good short games have succeeded here off the basis of a great scrambling week, in general, hitting greens has been very important. In 2012, when this event was played at this venue, six of the top eight players finished inside the top 7 for Greens in Regulation hit for the week. As a result, Greens in Regulation is an important stat this week in my opinion, and players ranking highly in this category over their past few events should be considered heavily.
On top of Greens in Regulation, Strokes Gained: Off the Tee seems like a decent moniker for the week as well. While not all of the players who littered the 2012 leaderboard were bombers, they all ranked fairly highly in Off the Tee stats, with Dustin Johnson (T3 that week) ranking first for the year in 2012. On a U.S. Open style venue, a good week off the tee is almost always necessary, and this is a week to emphasize players’ Off the Tee ranks in my opinion.
Lastly, I am again relying on stats provided by the guys at @FGMetrics who provided us with shot-link data from 2012 showing that over 25% of all approach shots came from 200 yards or greater in distance when this event was played at Beth Page Black that year. This info, along with the fact that three of the par 3’s measure in at over 200 yards in distance, means that players ranking highly in proximity from this distance should have more, and better, chances at making birdies on this track. As a result, I’d definitely weigh this stat in any model or statistical ranking you’re making this week.
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful of 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.
|Russell Knox||67-1||$7,300||Patrick Rodgers $7400 and 150-1
Luke Donald $7500 and 100-1
Keegan Bradley $7600 and 125-1
|Daniel Berger||80-1||$6,900||Alex Cejka$7000 and 175-1
Scott Brown $6900 and 175-1
Steve Stricker $7100 and 100-1
|William McGirt||100-1||$6,100||Chris Kirk $6100 and 150-1
Hudson Swafford 200-1 and $6200
Aaron Baddeley 200-1 and $6100
HORSES FOR COURSES
The Barclays takes place at rotating courses, so we’ll be looking at general event performance this week as we only have one year of data at this weeks venue (2012).
- Jason Day has a terrific record at this event. He won in a landslide last year and finished 25th and 2nd in the years previous to his win. It’s hard to argue against rostering the number one player in the world this week, and his recent record at the Barclays makes him look like an even stronger play.
- Matt Kuchar has really thrived in the first leg of the FedEx Cup. His record at the Barclays since 2010 reads as follows, 35-5-19-38-2-1. Coming off his huge bronze medal win at the international games, it’s hard not to see Kuchar performing well at one of his favorite events of the season.
- Bubba Watson is typically a finicky player, but recently he’s done well at the rotating course venues featured at this event. Bubba has gone 10-13-30-3 in finishes at the Barclays since 2012 and that includes a T10 at Beth Page Black (this week’s venue) from 2012.
- Daniel Summerhays has really improved as a player over the past few seasons and his consistency has shown in his results at the first playoff event. Summerhays has now made his last three cuts at the Barclays while recording two top 15 finishes, including a T6 from last year.
This is a deep very talented field, so there are a lot of “big names” lower in the salary ranks this week. So, paying up for a player who might not be heavily owned but that carries real upside this week could definitely pay off as players look to stack the top four or five plays. In cash games, however, I would not shy away from getting as many big names on your roster as possible. With so much talent lower down the field, and only 120 or so players in the field, getting 5 or 6 players through the cut won’t be as difficult. Take advantage of the sub $6k prices, so you can fit in as many top 10 ranked players as possible. There’s numerous players capable of a big week which won’t cost you much.
Top Performing Studs from Recent Weeks
- Matt Kuchar
- Henrik Stenson
- Jim Furyk
Top Performing Value Plays from Recent Weeks
- Luke Donald
- Johnson Wagner
- Patrick Rodgers
MY PICK: Bubba Watson ($9,100)
I really like to pick and choose which weeks I use Watson as he so rarely capitalizes on the immense talent he brings to the course every week. That being said, Bubba looks like a very interesting play to me here. He finished his international play strongly and actually ranked first in the field for the week in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green and was T5 in greens in regulation hit. With a strong showing there and the fact that Bubba now needs a really good week to get into the top 8 of the Ryder Cup standings, there should be no lack of motivation for him. Bubba’s last win on Tour came early in the year at another long par 71 (Riviera) where a strong Tee to Game was needed. And, like Riviera, I think Bubba’s game can really shine at Beth Page Black. While I don’t doubt that top ranked Jason Day will be in contention, and that Dustin Johnson will probably be as well, the circumstances and venue seem to really favor a big week from Bubba, and at only $9,100 a big week would mean he’d be great value for DFS purposes. I’m making him my pick and looking for this golfing savant can shine in the first playoff event.
MY SLEEPER: Kyle Stanley ($6,700)
Sleeper Qualification: must be under $7,000 in salary and projected by me to be less than 10% owned
With so many big names at under $7k in salary this week I struggled for a true “sleeper”. However, one player I suspect will go vastly overlooked in this stacked event is Kyle Stanley. Stanley was actually one of the last qualifiers for this event and only made the top 125 off the back of two very strong finishes in his last two events. A supreme ball-striker when he’s on, Stanley’s looked awfully good tee to green in his last two starts and has even looked decent with his putter, a club that has really held him back in recent years. With the added confidence of playing so well under pressure, I’d guess Stanley plays a lot freer this week now that he has his Tour Card secure. His prowess as a ball striker should help him immensely on a demanding U.S. Open style track, and if he can continue to sink a few putts, another top twenty is certainly possible. I like him as a likely under-owned GPP play in a very deep field.
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