WATCH: PGA PRICE CHECK


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

The field this week is a full one at 150 players. With that being said, a lot of top players are taking the week off or playing over in Europe at the Scottish Open, so you will see some new names in the field this week. College standouts like Maverick McNealy and Wyndam Clark are playing, as are past champions like Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker. Overall the field this year is much stronger than last season when this event was played during the Olympics and there are many players in the field who are desperate for some FedEx Cup points as the cut-off is approaching fast (the top 125 players retain their cards for next season). Some players currently on the bubble or outside of the top-125 include Bubba Watson (118), Smylie Kaufman (134) and Roberto Castro (165). The cut this week will take place on Friday with the top 70 and ties moving to the weekend. One final note, this is the last chance for many players to qualify for the Open next week with one spot available to anyone who finishes inside the top-five who has not already qualified.


The Course

TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois
Par 71 – 7,200-7,300 yards

This is traditionally the easiest or one of the easiest courses the players will see all year. Last year it ranked as the 11th easiest course on the PGA Tour (39th out of 50 in scoring average) and allowed an average score of 69.896 for the week. The winning score here almost always hits 20 under par or better and some scores in the low 60s will likely be put up every day.

TPC Deere Run is a par 71 and features three par 5s, all of which play very straightforward and are holes which must be taken advantage of by those planning to compete for the win. Of the past six winners, only one (Spieth 2013) has finished outside the top-10 in Par 5 Scoring for the week. The par 4s are also much more manageable than a typical par 71, and only a couple of them tend to play over par for the week. Three of them come in at under well under 400 yards, and most fall in at under 450 yards, making distance off the tee somewhat irrelevant. Of all the par 4s, the 18th often plays the toughest as it plays long (471 yards) and presents a tight tee shot, which must be placed well as players will have to navigate a long green with water to their immediate left on their approach.

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With length not being much of an issue this week, the players’ main goal off the tee will be to hit the fairway, so they can go flag hunting on their second shot into the usually well manicured bentgrass greens. A hot putter is always needed here, and those who can get it rolling the best on the weekend will undoubtedly be in the hunt.

2017 Outlook: There is a chance for some thunderstorms and rain to hit the course on Thursday, but after that it’s clear sailing. Winds are generally low throughout, although they might kick up to 15 mph at points on Saturday. Temperatures should also make for prime scoring conditions as it’s expected to be in the low 80s throughout most of the week. Keep an eye on things Thursday for potential thunderstorms, but otherwise, expect good conditions and low scores to dominate here once again.


Last five winners

  • 2016 – Ryan Moore -22 (over Ben Martin -20)
  • 2015 – Jordan Spieth -20 (playoff over Tom Gillis)
  • 2014 – Brian Harman -22 (over Zach Johnson -21)
  • 2013 – Jordan Spieth -19 (playoff over David Hearn)
  • 2012 – Zach Johnson -20 (playoff over Troy Matteson)


Winning Trends

  • The last eight winners of this event had all played at TPC Deere Run in a previous year and made the cut at least once before their win.
  • The last six winners of this event have all ranked 54th or better in Strokes Gained (SG): Approach for the year of their win.


Statistics

  • Par 5 Scoring
  • Greens in Regulation
  • Approach Proximity (125-150 yards)
  • Birdie or Better Percentage

As mentioned above, the par 5s at TPC Deere Run are all very scorable. Of the last six winners, only Jordan Spieth (2013) has finished outside the top-10 in Par 5 Scoring for the week of their win here. Players will need to be well under par on the par 5s to have a shot at winning.

Birdie or Better Percentage is also worth targeting here, as players with high birdie rates will certainly have an advantage on a course like this. The last six winners have all ranked inside the top-five in this stat for the week of their win.

Players with a hot putter and great short games can certainly get by with missing a few greens here, but recent champions like Brian Harman and Ryan Moore have also proven that having great approach games and a high Green in Regulation Percentage is extremely beneficial this week too. Moore and Harman both were inside the top-three for Greens in Regulation for the week of their win. Additionally, as shown by the guy’s at Fantasy Golf Metrics (@FGmetrics), the most common approach shots this week will likely fall in the 125-150-yard range, so targeting players with good proximity stats in that range is a good idea too. Of the last five winners here, only one has ranked outside the top-50 for the year in approach shots from 125-150 yards.


Finding Values

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.

PlayerOddsDK PriceComparables
Wesley Bryan66-1$7,300Chris Kirk $7,400 and 80-1
Andres Romero $7,500 and 100-1
Ollie Schniederjans $7,400 and 70-1
Scott Brown80-1$7,000Sean O’Hair $7,100 and 100-1
JJ Spaun $7,200 and 100-1
Grayson Murray $7,300 and 150-1


Course Horses

  • Zach Johnson’s record at this event is borderline unbelievable. He’s played this event eight times since 2009 and finished 34-3-2-2-1-3-21-2. Outside of his two major wins, this event has been ZJ’s main money maker over the years, and it’s likely he’ll at least be in the mix again, despite some sub-standard form in 2017.
  • Steve Stricker may play partly on the Senior Tour now, but he owns a pretty amazing record at TPC Deere Run too. In the past eight years he has three wins and has never missed the cut here in that span either. He’s coming off a great U.S. Open where he finished T16 on a very long course.
  • Ryan Moore definitely deserves to be on this list now, especially after he won this event for the first time last season. Overall, Moore has never missed the cut at this event in eight appearances and has three top-10s at TPC Deere Run over his last five visits. He is coming off some injury rest, however, so monitoring his status before rostering him this week is a good idea.
  • Johnson Wagner doesn’t have the track record that the other three players on my list, but his last three visits to TPC Deere Run have been most impressive. Wagner has finished 5-5-7 here over the last three seasons and has payed some decent golf of late too. He’s an interesting course horse this week in a weaker field event.


DFS STRATEGY

Cash Games: While you could certainly make a case for rostering top-priced Daniel Berger, I think Danny Lee is a probably more cost-effective at $10,200. Both he and Steve Stricker ($9,800) have good course history, good recent form and make an affordable duo. In the $8K range, both Kevin Na and Robert Streb are playing solid golf right now and are affordable. While the talent level dissipates quickly, both Chad Campbell ($7,700) and Robert Garrigus ($6,600) are in decent form with good course histories, making them solid cash targets for me here at their prices.

Tournaments: Most people will scoff at paying $10,900 for Brian Harman, but he sets up great for this course and has played high level golf for the past two months. I also like Bud Cauley ($8,500) here for a bounce back at an easier venue. Other potential tournament targets for me here include David Hearn ($8,100), Johnson Wagner ($7,500), Roberto Castro ($6,500) and Chris Stroud ($6,800).


Top Recent Form

1. Kyle Stanley: He has four straight made cuts coming in, including a win at the Quicken Loans and a sixth-place finish at the Memorial.
2. Charley Hoffman: He has now made seven straight cuts and backed that up by finishing T3 and T8 in his last two starts. He’s also 19-under par in his last eight competitive rounds.
3. Daniel Berger: Over his last three starts, he has a win and a solo second (playoff loss).

Top Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (Last Week)

1. Kelly Kraft
2. Danny Lee
3. Jamie Lovemark

Top Strokes Gained: Putting (Last Week)

1. Ryan Blaum
2. Brian Campbell
3. Patrick Reed


MY PICK: Kevin Na ($8,000)

Na has endured a slightly up and down season, punctuated by a social media rant at the U.S. Open where he complained about the fescue being too tall. Since that time (and perhaps motivated by it), Na has actually strung together some decent golf results, including a T22 his last time out at the Quicken Loans. What really has me high on Na this week, however, is the fact he’s ranked eighth and first in Strokes Gained: Approach over his last two starts and will now be taking on a course which favors good approach games and players who can give themselves a ton of chances at birdie throughout the week. Na also has some good course history to rely on this week as he’s been eighth (2016) and 13th (2014) on his last two appearances at TPC Deere Run. For a player who hasn’t won on tour since 2011 at the Shriner’s, this event sets up perfectly to give him a shot at another victory.


MY SLEEPER: Roberto Castro ($6,500)

Castro has been enduring a mostly horrible season so far. The Georgia Tech alum, who made the final 30 last season at the Tour Championship, has only made three of his last eight cuts and doesn’t have a top-10 to his name yet in 2017. With all that bad stuff on the table though, I still think Castro makes for a good tournament target this week in a weaker field. Castro’s T20 at the Greenbrier last week was not only his best finish of the season, but also saw him put together three rounds under par for the first time since the fall swing. He also ranked 10th in SG: Approach last week and was T14 in Greens in Regulation. While he may be streaky, Castro is also supremely talented and has proven to have great DFS upside when his game is clicking — as evidenced by his three top-fives from last season. In this field, he makes for a great tournament target and a player who could get rolling early on this easy course and never look back.

 


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