The regular season has come to an end with the conclusion of the Wyndham and we’re immediately thrust into the FedEx Cup Playoffs with the Barclays. Each event through the end of the season will feature a progressively smaller number of golfers in each subsequent event. With the number of golfers being restricted to only the top 125 golfers in the FedEx Cup points list this week, we’re facing an incredibly skilled field of golfers. Let’s dive in!
Golfers I Love
Dustin Johnson ($11,900) – Dustin Johnson is the third ranked golfer in my statistical model, but his average rank in the five key stats I’m using is 7th. His recent missed cut at the PGA Championship is his first all year, and I’ll be looking to jump right back on the DJ wagon.
Hideki Matsuyama ($9,900) – He’s back! I’ve talked about Matsuyama in several of my recent articles and the clouded mystery surrounding what was an injury speculation. It seems though, that whatever was nagging Matsuyama has finally subsided with his recent third and fourth place finishes following a brutal string of finishes. Matsuyama fits the course statistically and makes too much sense to fade.
Phil Mickelson ($9,700) – What’s not to love about “lefty”? Mickelson comes in ranked in the top fifteen in every single relevant stat in my model shy of his thirty-eighth rank in approaches from 150-175 yards. Phil is playing the best golf he has in years which is evident by the fact that he will have doubled his earnings from 2015 to 2016, and Phil finished second on this course in 2009’s U.S. Open.
Kevin Na ($7,300) – I absolutely love rostering Kevin Na in tough events with difficult fields, and this week is no different despite the fact that he’s a bit more appropriately priced than he has been in this situation most of the season. Na’s average finish in the final four events of the season over the past two years is thirty-third place including five top twenty-five finishes. In my opinion, at his price, Na is an easy play this week in GPP formats and also makes a great cash game option as well.
Robert Garrigus ($5,700) – One of the key yardage ranges I’m looking at this week are approaches from 150-175 yards, and guess who shows up as the number one ranked golfer in that category? You guessed it. Robert Garrigus. He is coming off a very solid string of golf and has statistics that point to him doing very well. My biggest concern with Garrigus lies in the fact that he is only 73rd ranked in scoring average which has me questioning his upside in a tough event like the Barclays.
Golfers I Like
Henrik Stenson ($11,700) – I am absolutely shocked that Stenson did not win the international games recently, but a second place finish isn’t too shabby either. Stenson’s average finish over the last eight weeks is 3.33, which is a string of golf that can be matched by none in the field. Over those eight weeks, Stenson is gaining an average of 3.66 strokes on the field and has had a top ten finish at Bethpage in the 2009 U.S. Open. It’s hard not to like Stenson in a big way this week.
Brooks Koepka ($10,100) – It appears that Koepka’s dreaded ankle injury is no longer a cause for concern now that we’ve seen him finish ninth and fourth in his last two outings since he withdrew from the WGC Bridgestone. Brooks credited hoping to make the Ryder Cup team as his primary motivation for his recent success. He’s now sitting on the inside of the line at fifth place (top 8 make the Ryder Cup team), but has only the Barclays remaining to hold on to his spot in a very tight race. Look for Koepka to be equally motivated this week, and with his level of talent, I expect him to contend.
Bubba Watson ($9,100) – Bubba’s performance recently has been very underwhelming which hasn’t stopped me from continuing to roster Bubba Watson. He’s not exactly new to this territory with several wins and even more top ten finishes that have come following streaks of poor performances. As his popularity continues to decrease, I am going to continue to stick with Bubba, looking to get him at low ownership when he does inevitably show the winning upside we know he has.
Charl Schwartzel ($8,500) – Schwartzel makes a fine cash game play as is typically the case from week to week. As a GPP play though, he has me interested to say the least. Schwartzel has finished top fifteen in five events this season out of fifteen events played, most of which came in difficult field events. I think Schwartzel comes in at a very fair price and provides a great combination of consistency and upside.
Webb Simpson ($6,000) – If you are anything like me, Webb Simpson has probably left a bad taste in your mouth after his fairly underwhelming performances recently, including his lackluster performance at the Wyndham on his own doorstep in North Carolina. This week, however, Simpson comes in at only $6,000 which makes him ripe for the taking. Statistically he is in the top twenty in Strokes Gained: Approaching the Green, Strokes Gained: Tee to Green and approaches from 150-175 yards which makes him a great fit, at a price that is incredibly juicy.
Golfers I Hate
Jordan Spieth ($11,000) – Despite being the fifth highest ranked golfer in the field, Spieth comes in as the twentieth ranked golfer in my projections. While Spieth is certainly talented enough to win on any given week, he is only ranked 102nd and 154th in Strokes Gained: Approaching the Green and approaches from 150-175 yards which should be a disadvantage this week. At the end of the day, you can’t pick all the top priced golfers, and Spieth is going to be the one I choose to fade.
Matt Kuchar ($9,200) – I hope by now if you’re an avid reader of mine you’ve come to learn that Matt Kuchar does not play well in difficult fields. For some unquantifiable reason, Kuchar transforms into a golfer who has a low ceiling and low floor which is a combination we should be looking to avoid.
Brandt Snedeker ($8,900) – Snedeker is on a short string of solid golf which scares me a bit because of ownership, but it’s his lack of performance historically that scares me most. Sneds’ finishes last year in the playoffs were MC, T44, 66, and T22, and in 2014 missed two cuts in the first two events of the playoffs to get booted before the third or fourth event.
Luke Donald ($7,500) – Way back in 2013 Luke Donald finished fourth place at the BMW Championship which is the third leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Since then, he has finished no better than twenty-fourth in any playoff event. Don’t be fooled by his recent second place finish at the Wyndham because I don’t expect him to follow it up with any groundbreaking results.
Scott Brown ($6,900) – I’m not sure I understand why Scott Brown comes in at nearly $7k in price this week. As the fortieth ranked golfer in price in the field, Scott Brown doesn’t even crack the top 100 in my projections model this week. His results have not been great and there is a plethora of better options that are much lower in price.
Do you have questions about golfers who aren’t in this article? Get more weekly analysis and answers to any of your questions by following me on Twitter @BradMessersmith
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is IthinkIcan1) 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.