Talk about flying under the radar. The attention of golf fans world wide will be on the international games, but it is really only a handful of golfers participating. Meanwhile, the John Deere Classic will be going on this weekend at TPC Deere Run in Illinois. And while some of the best players in the world might be otherwise occupied, there will be plenty of solid golfers on hand for the Tour event. Here are a few players I like from every different price range to help you build your lineups.
Zach Johnson ($13,000) – By far the most expensive option, Johnson doesn’t necessarily have the most upside, but on this course, he definitely seems like the safest choice. He has an otherwordly track record here, having been inside the top-3 six times since 2009, including one win. And that counts as value, even at this price, especially when you can see it coming. He has been consistent all year, making 16 of 19 cuts and had top-15 finishes at both the U.S. and British Opens.
Jon Rahm ($11,400) – All of the top options are good choices this weekend in a diminished field, but I feel like I am obligated to draw your attention to the run that Rahm has been on since turning pro. He has played in six tournaments, made six cuts, has been inside the top-25 five times and inside the top-10 twice. He opened with a 65 at the Travelers last weekend, and finished with 17 birdies and an eagle. He hasn’t played enough rounds to qualify, but his Birdie or Better of 24.7 so far in six tournaments would put him third on Tour, behind Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy.
Daniel Summerhays ($10,600) – Summerhays has been inside the top-15 here at TPC Deere Run in each of his last three appearances, and coming off a solo-3rd at the PGA and a T11 last weekend, his game looks to be in good shape. He has played all but one round in those last eight in the sixties, totaling 35 birdies and eagles over that span, for a fantasy scoring average over 90. On a course he likes, with some of the top talent drawn away from the field, this is a good opportunity for him to extend that run of success.
Wesley Bryan ($9,700) – The hope here would be that ownership is down this weekend on a relative unknown, making him a perfect upside play in a GPP. He is here this weekend after winning his third Web.com Tour event last weekend, and he has been creating that success with a red-hot putter, which could very easily translate here this weekend. He is currently leading the Web.com Tour in both Birdie or Better Conversion and Overall Putting, and if he continues to convert scoring opportunities like that on a course that is known for yielding them, he will definitely return value at this price.
Brian Harman ($8,700) – Currently 13th on Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting, this former winner here (2014) will look to build on a an overall successful season with another strong performance on a course he seems to enjoy. Prior to the missed cut last weekend, he had made five in a row, including two top-25 finishes in July, at the RBC Canadian Open and the Barbasol Championship. He hasn’t missed two cuts in a row yet this year, and I don’t think this is the week he breaks that trend.
Patrick Rodgers ($8,500) – This pick here is all about riding momentum. He has been inconsistent at times this season, so consider this an upside play that isn’t the safest, but he played his best golf of the season last weekend, carding 19 birdies on a more challenging track than what he will face here. He played all four rounds under 70, going 68-66-66-68 with only seven total bogeys for the tourney. This is the perfect chance for a player like Rodgers to build on that kind of success for a week and hopefully build some confidence for the stretch run this season.
Hudson Swafford ($8,000) – Swafford, for me, continues to be underpriced just about every week. He has made eight straight cuts, and has four top-25 finishes this season, and I feel like that combination of consistency and upside is worth paying a bit more for, so I find him in my lineups pretty consistently. When a player is fourth on Tour in Total Driving and only 24th in Greens in Regulation (GIR) %, you know the issue is with his approach game. But still, he is 24th in GIR, which is more than respectable, and will leave him with plenty of scoring chances this weekend.
Jamie Lovemark ($7,700) – Lovemark’s Scoring Average of 70.827 puts him right around 70th on Tour, but his Birdie or Better rate gets him to 30th. The discrepancy is explained away with plenty of poorly executed holes, but as you know, birdie-bogey is better for you as a fantasy owner than par-par. And on a course that ranked as the third easiest of the season in 2015, the ability to convert those birdie chances is what you’re after. As long as he can avoid trouble enough to make the cut (which was at -4 last year), he should be in a position to be scoring fantasy points for you at a fair clip all weekend long.
Michael Johnson ($7,300) – Think of paying attention to golf this weekend as a chance to get a look at some fresh faces, including Michael Johnson, scheduled to make just his third start as a pro. He missed the cut in one of his two tournaments so far, at Glen Abbey, but in his debut, he came on really strong at the Barbasol Championship. That weekend, he finished with a solo-3rd, but made a real run at the leaders, closing the weekend with a 65 on Sunday (to match another 65 on Friday). After that much success, and then the failure of the missed cut last weekend, this is a good chance for him to get back in action on a course that will let him swing easy and fire at pins.
Retief Goosen ($7,200) – For me, a fantastic cash game option this weekend, he is someone you should be able to trust, even if he isn’t much of a threat to finish right at the top of the leaderboard. He has made 13 of 15 cuts this season, albeit with just one top-ten. His only missed cut since very early in the year was at the U.S. Open, and prior to that, he had been inside the top-15 three straight times. He bounced back from the missed cut last weekend, surviving into the weekend at the Travelers, where he made only eight bogeys. If he can play that kind of safe golf again this weekend, he should be able to make enough putts to give him some value at this price.
Tyrone Van Aswegen ($6,600) – It is not often you can grab a guy for this price, and be as encouraged by his last performances as you should be with Van Aswegen. He closed with a 71 that left him at T11 to finish, but he came into Sunday with a shot at winning, having shot 67-66-65 over the first three days of the tournament. He had just two bogeys and one double-bogey for the whole weekend in his best performance of the year. The fact that he has made 21 out of 27 cuts makes me even more comfortable rolling with him at this price, as he doesn’t quite need to duplicate last weekend to provide some value here.
Andres Gonzales ($6,600) – He has missed five cuts since the beginning of May, so he definitely isn’t safe, but as an inexpensive upside play, he could make a lot of sense. Because along with all those missed cuts, he also has three top-20 performances in his last four appearances, including a T17 last weekend where he opened with a 70 and closed with three rounds under par, good for 81.0 DK Fantasy Points.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theasquad) 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.