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 Quicken Loans is one of only a few regular PGA Tour stops which has Invitational status meaning the rewards for winning are a little bigger and the field itself is a little smaller. Only about 120-125 golfers will be teeing it up this week but the cut rules will still revert back to top 70 and ties after Friday. That makes things a little easier for DraftKings purposes, especially in terms of getting your full team through to the weekend. Many of the top players are taking the week off but Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed and Justin Thomas are all in the field and will be looking for some quick redemption after all three failed to get it done at the U.S. Open. The field itself doesn’t have a ton of elite players but it’s fairly deep so taking advantage of quality golfers like Kyle Stanley, Tony Finau and Byeong Hun-An could be key. Of note is the fact that the venue this year will be in use for the first time at a PGA event since 2006 and has undergone some massive renovations since it was last seen.
TPC Potomac – Potomac, Maryland
Par 70, 7,102 yards
The course this year sees a shift to TPC Potomac, which will be in play as a PGA venue for the first time since 2006 (Kemper Open). TPC Potomac was roundly criticized by players and eventually taken off the regular schedule as a venue because of its shortcomings. It has gone through a complete overhaul since its last time on tour, however, and is essentially a completely different venue now. Greens and fairways have been replaced with new bentgrass and all indications are that they will play extremely fast this week. Bunkers were also redone, and fescue grass lines the course in some areas as well, making the venue a little more inviting to the eye as well and more worthy of hosting bigger tournaments.
As a par 70, TPC Potomac actually plays decently long at over 7,100 yards. It has six par 4s that reach over 450 yards in length and also a par 5 that should play well over 600 yards most days. In addition, two of the par 3s this week comes in at over 200 yards, with the par 3 third hole likely playing over 220 yards most days. So, mid-to-long iron play should be key this week and distance off the tee could end up being more important too.
Finally, while we don’t have past PGA data to fall back on for the new course, it has hosted two Web.com events since the re-design (2012 – Neediest Kids, 2013 – Mid-Atlantic Championships) and a Senior Players Championship in 2010 as well. Given that the winning score in these recent events never traveled above eight under par, a tough week of scoring is likely in store for the players this week. Looking back at some of these leaderboards isn’t a bad idea, but remember that the sample size is small and that the course will likely play at least somewhat different than it did four-to-six years ago.
2017 Outlook: The course this week has already been described by some of the players as “dry and fast” meaning the fairways and greens could see a lot of roll. With no rain in the forecast until Sunday and temps in the low to mid 90s most of the week, this course might dry out very quickly and play even tougher than expected. Look for players with high ball flights, who can hold the greens and grind out a lot of pars to have the most success.
Last six winners
**This will be the first time ever using this week’s course as the host for this event
- 2016 – Billy Hurley III -17 (over Vijay Singh -14)
- 2015 – Troy Merritt – 18 (over Rickie Fowler -15)
- 2014 – Justin Rose -4 (over Shawn Stefani in playoff)
- 2013 – Bill Haas -12 (over Roberto Castro -9)
- 2012 – Tiger Woods -8 (over Bo Van Pelt -6)
- 2011 – Nick Watney -13 (over K.J. Choi -11)
- The last six winners of this event had already achieved a finish of T30 or better at this event in a prior year before their win.
- Greens in Regulation
- Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 Yards
- Bogey Avoidance
This is the first year a PGA Tour event will be hosted at TPC Potomac since its complete redesign, and as such, we don’t have much in terms of statistical history to go on. That being said, there are a few categories that may be worth emphasizing this week.
Even though this course looks like it might play long in certain spots, it also is going to be fairly dry this week, so finding fairways might be easier than finding greens. Overall, Greens in Regulation is a stat to emphasize given that the course will likely play firm and holding greens could be vital in such conditions.
Par 4 Scoring should also be important given we have a par 70 course with only two par 5s. Of note is the fact TPC Potomac also features six par 4s which fall in the 450-500-yard range. Looking at player efficiency stats from this range here is a good way to overcome the lack of statistical history given that we do have season long stats from these distances and know the makeup of the course will emphasize this range.
Finally, I’d also not hesitate to look at Bogey Avoidance here. With the winning scores from the past three events played at this venue being only eight under or worse, players who rank highly in this stat could be in line for a good week. This venue likely won’t yield a ton of birdies, so looking for players who can avoid bad numbers and get you higher placing points should be key on DraftKings.
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 compared to their odds of winning this week.
|Si Woo Kim||40-1||$7,500||Graham DeLaet $7,500 and 45-1
Kevin Tway $7,500 and 70-1
Boo Weekley $7,600 and 125-1
|Charles Howell III||70-1||$7,000||Roberto Castro $7,000 and 200-1
Michael Kim $7,100 and 200-1
Cameron Tringale $7,100 and 100-1
Top Recent Form
1. Patrick Reed has five top 25s in his last six starts and a T13 and T5 over his last two. He’s -15 over his last eight rounds.
2. Danny Lee has five straight made cuts, including three finishes of T6 or better.
3. Kevin Streelman has three top 20s in his last three events, including a T8 in his last start. He’s a collective 16 under in his last three starts.
Top Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (Last Week)
1. Jordan Spieth
2. Rory McIlroy
3. Rick Lamb
Top Strokes Gained: Putting (Last Week)
1. McKenzie Hughes
2. Bryce Molder
3. Beau Hossler
Cash Games: The lack of star power is evident this week at the top, and for that reason, starting your lineup with players under $10K in salary who have been in good form of late isn’t a bad idea. Marc Leishman ($9,800), Bill Haas ($9,500) and Kevin Chappell ($9,300) all have good recent form and stats, and are much more cost effective plays than the top three, especially on a track which may not yield a ton of birdies. Outside of them, Brendan Steele ($8,900), Danny Lee ($8,200) and Kyle Stanley ($7,600) all look like great options for this format as well. It’s definitely a week where I would choose to go more balanced than trying to cram in two of the top players.
Tournaments: I would expect high ownership on Rickie Fowler this week given his recent form and recent major championship performance. This course should be better suited than Erin Hills for Rickie, but Patrick Reed is a good pivot, considering he has six top-25s now in his last seven starts. Outside of those two, Russell Henley ($9,200) and Danny Lee ($8,200) are two other players who could go low owned in DraftKings tournaments and have decent win equity this week. Other strong tournament targets this week include Si Woo Kim ($7,500), Bud Cauley ($7,700), Luke List ($6,900) and Grayson Murray ($6,800).
MY PICK: Kevin Chappell (9,300)
Chappell has really turned things on after a slow start to the season. He’s now made the cut in nine straight starts and finished T7 and T23 in the year’s first two majors. The UCLA grad picked up his first win shortly after Augusta at the Valero Texas Open and the hot conditions and firm course predicted for this week may mean things play out similar scoring wise here as they did there. While his season stats may not jump off the page, Chappell has moved himself up into the top 40 in Strokes Gained: Approach and Tee to Green stats, and it’s his recent form I would emphasize here over his season stats. Chappell was third in both Strokes Gained: Approach and Tee to Green numbers in his second last start in Memphis, and in this weakened field a similar type of performance may see him get over the hump for the second time in the last couple of months. At $9,300, he’s also great value from a DraftKings perspective, as he’s only the seventh most expensive golfer this week, yet has the fourth highest Official World Golf Ranking in the field.
MY SLEEPER: Luke List ($6,900)
List has had an up and down season, punctuated by a couple of top five finishes at Sanderson Farms and the Shell Houston Open, and a recent cold streak which saw him miss five of six starts. List bounced back nicely, however, in his last start at the Fed-Ex St. Jude Classic where he finished T18, despite a poor final round 73. For the week in Memphis, List was off the charts tee to green as he gained an incredible 11.170 strokes on the field in that area, but couldn’t overcome a wonky putter which lost him -3.6 strokes for the week. His length and higher ball flight should come in handy at what could be a firm and fast TPC Potomac course and the fact he ranks 14th in Apex height should allow him to hold a few more greens this week than most. Either way, List has proven to be one of the best ball-strikers on tour this season and a decent week with his putter may mean another top finish. At $6,900, he’s nice value on DraftKings.
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.