The elite field didn’t disappoint last week, as we saw four or five elite players go at it on Sunday, with Adam Scott eventually being the last man standing. All in all, we saw the players who had already perform well this season continue to perform well, and we saw continued slumps from Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, and Patrick Reed. It will be interesting to see if any of these three rebound with a big week before Augusta. Finally, before moving on to the Valspar, we have to mention Steven Bowditch, three rounds in the 80’s, a 10 on one hole and he still made nearly $50,000 in prize money. Don’t you wish you were a pro golfer?


More PGA Content for the Valspar Championship

PGA Cheat SheetExpert Rankings
PGA Love/HatePGA Targets


The Field

After two weeks with the same winner we’ll be guaranteed to get some new blood this week as Adam Scott is not in the field. This event is likely the weakest we’ve seen all year, but there are still big names in attendance. Jordan Spieth is here to defend his title, while top Euro players Henrik Stenson and Danny Willet are also back in play this week. The cut is also back this week and will take place after Friday’s round like usual with the top 70 players and ties all making the weekend. With 140 players in the field and a fairly thin group of elite talent, there’s definitely going to be some interesting decisions to make at the bottom of the field for DFS purposes. Many players will be priced higher than usual, and the top players’ ownership won’t be super spread out. Deciding who is value and who is overpriced this week will be key.


The Course

Copperhead Course—Palm Harbour, Florida

Par 71, 7,300 yards

Copperhead has hosted this event since its inception in 2000, but it is important to note that the event underwent a date change in 2007 and has tended to play tougher since. The other thing to note this week is that the course underwent huge renovations of greens and fairways last summer, and while the design of the course didn’t change much (if at all), the effect this new grass will have is unknown.

…if the wind gets up, -7 might be enough to win.”

The course itself has tended to play quite tough and a winning score similar to the last few weeks could be expected; although, if the wind gets up, -7 might be enough to win. Copperhead is unique in that it’s a par 71 but features five (yes 5) par three’s and four par fives. The course isn’t brutally long but plays long due to the number of doglegs on the course, which often forces players into playing less than driver off the tee. On top of the tighter fairways and trees making life tough, water is also a big factor here and comes into play on 11 of the 18 holes. Unlike last week, though, this isn’t a course where players will be looking to grip it and rip it. Rather, they will be looking to place their ball off the tee as strategically as possible. With some long par 4’s and at least three par 3’s measuring over 200 yards, pressure will be put on the players’ approach games on almost every hole.

Copperhead also features it’s own brutally hard signature finishing stretch “the snake pit,” which consists of two long, winding par 4’s and a hard to hit par 3. This three-hole stretch should once again ensure an exciting finish and keep any DFS player from celebrating their players’ success until they’ve put the ball in the hole on 18.


Last 5 winners

  • Jordan Spieth—2015
  • John Senden—2014
  • Kevin Streelman—2013
  • Luke Donald—2012
  • Gary Woodland—2011


Winning Trends

  • Each of the past five winners of the Valspar Championship had recorded at least one top ten on the season before their victory here
  • Four of the past five winners ranked 36th or better in strokes gained tee to the green in the year of their victory


Statistics

  • Strokes Gained: Tee To Green
  • Par 3 Scoring
  • Par 5 Scoring
  • All-Around Ranking

Strokes Gained: Tee To Green is generally just a good indicator of which golfers are outplaying their competition off the tee and on approaches into the green. On this course, past winners and players who have played well here have tended to be inside the top 50 in this category for the year. This course puts a lot of pressure on players off the tee and on approaches, so there’s no doubt this category is a good way to start research this week, as players will need to be solid tee to green to have a shot.

Copperhead is a unique course because it’s a par 71 but still has four par 5’s. The reason for this is that it also contains five par 3’s of varying lengths. I really like looking for players who are solid in both of these categories (Par 3 and Par 5 scoring) this week, as the challenge will generally be to hold water on the tough par 4’s and then try and score on the rest of the holes. Past winners of this event have also tended to rank well in par 3 scoring particularly, and a solid week on the five ‘one-shotters’ will be needed.

It’s not a shock to see that players will need to be sharp in a variety of different areas to succeed this week.”

The last stat I looked at this week is the All-Around Ranking. The all-around ranking measures how well players rank in several stats (Birdie Leaders, Sand Saves, Greens in Regulation, Driving Distance and Driving Accuracy to name a few). Past winners at Valspar have ranked well in this category, and last year’s top three finishers all finished 43rd or better in the all-around rankings last year. This course challenges players with difficult approaches, tee shots, and greens that can be tricky to read at times. It’s not a shock to see that players will need to be sharp in a variety of different areas to succeed this week.


Vegas Values

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.

PlayerOddsDK PriceComparables
Jason Kokrak60-1$7,800C. Howell III $7,900 and 70-1
Danny Lee $8,000 and 70-1
Sean O’Hair $7,800 and 70-1
Chez Reavie90-1$7,300Ian Poulter $7,400 and 100-1
Kevin Chappell $7,400 and 110-1
Russell Henley $7,300 and 125-1


HORSES FOR COURSES

  • Luke Donald has played the Valspar five times and finished 6th or better in four attempts. His form hasn’t been great this year, but his past history on this course is strong.
  • Jason Dufner might have a more impressive record on this tough course than anyone. He’s played this event 7 times and never finished outside the top 30 here.
  • Harris English has success playing junior golf on Copperhead and also has two top tens in his last two visits here, he likes the course too.
  • John Senden has played here nine years in a row. While he’s missed the cut a couple times, he’s also recorded two runner-up finishes and a win on Copperhead. He’s definitely someone who can get it done on this course.


STRATEGY

There’s a ton of big price increases this week due to the watered down nature of this field. Some players — like Patrick Reed — might see their ownership go way down as a result. I think you can use the price difference to your advantage this week, especially if you’re looking for some really under-owned players. The other thing to keep note of is the weather. Wind is in the forecast for Thursday and Friday, and one wave of tee-times (early-late or late-early) could get a big advantage this week. Stacking players from one wave over the other could be advantageous, and I’d definitely research the weather on Wednesday night to see if this is a viable play.

Top Performing Studs From Recent Weeks

  • Danny Willett
  • Jason Dufner
  • Graeme McDowell

Top Performing Value Plays From Recent Weeks

  • Luke List
  • Chez Reavie
  • Colt Knost


MY PICK

Webb Simpson – $8,900

It can sometimes be a bit of an adventure with Webb, especially on the greens, but there’s no denying he’s started the season well. Simpson has recorded three top 20’s in three starts and ranks 13th in strokes gained tee to green and 4th in greens in regulation. In short, he is hitting it beautifully, but he needs his putter to get semi-hot. I also like the fact Simpson has had success on this course before and will be coming in rested. He’s top twenty in par 3 scoring, and tee to green, he might be playing better than anyone in the field. I think Webb can ensnare the field this week and land his first victory with a short putter.

  • Cadillac Championships: Henrik Stenson (28th)
  • Honda Classic: Brooks Koepka (26th)
  • Northern Trust Open: Bubba Watson (Win)
  • Pebble Beach: J.B. Holmes (11th)
  • WMO Phoenix: Justin Thomas (MC)
  • Farmers Pick: Jimmy Walker (T4)
  • CareerBuilder Pick: Graham DeLaet (T42)
  • Sony Open Pick: Danny Lee (T33)


MY SLEEPER

George McNeil – $6,400

Sleeper Qualification: must be under $7000 in salary and projected by me to be less than 10% owned

McNeil has not played well to start the season, but he finally showed some life in his last start at the Honda Classic. McNeil is also a Florida guy and has played this course a ton, which is likely the reason he’s got such a strong record here. Last year McNeil had some success on similar, “tighter” style courses and was in contention last year at Colonial. I think he makes for an interesting play at only $6400 and is someone who could certainly grind you out four decent rounds given his experience here, with the possibility of ending up inside the top 25 for the week. This would be a huge result given his cheap price.

  • Cadillac Championships: Daniel Berger (28th)
  • Honda Classic: Jon Curran (MC)
  • Northern Trust Open: Scott Pinckney (MC)
  • Pebble Beach: Alex Prugh (MC)
  • WMO Phoenix: Jason Kokrak (MC)
  • Farmers Sleeper: Robert Garrigus (T50)
  • CareerBuilder Sleeper: Chez Reavie (T17)
  • Sony Open Sleeper: Daniel Summerhays (T13)