WATCH: WILL PATRICK REED CONTINUE HIS CUT STREAK?
The PGA Tour moves on from the WGC event last weekend to the Valspar Championship, teeing off from Copperhead in Palm Harbor, Florida on Thursday morning. Most of the top names from last weekend are missing from the field this time around, but there are still plenty of options in every price range.
Justin Thomas ($11,900) – He has been inside of the top 20 here in each of the last two years and played some great golf last weekend that led to his T5 at the WGC – Mexico Championship. He is currently #1 on tour in Birdie or Better %, having just holed 24 birdies and one amazing ace at Chapultepec. He is clearly the class of the field in terms of fantasy potential because his ceiling for birdie making is simply a lot higher than someone like Stenson’s.
Henrik Stenson ($11,700) – Stenson, while maybe not the birdie machine that Thomas can be, limits his mistakes so well that I consider him the better cash game play, even for a difference as small as $200 in their prices. He had to withdraw last weekend with an illness, but he seems to be fully recovered and now is rested and looking to make the most of the trip with a solid performance this weekend. He had come off two straight top 10 performances on the Euro Tour, and his methodical approach could be the perfect fit for the challenge of Copperhead.
Patrick Reed ($9,700) – I think he is a great cash game option this weekend because he has now made 18 straight cuts. And on occasion, he turns those made cuts into useful fantasy performances, with three top 25 showings so far in 2017. Over the last two years, he finished second and seventh here at Copperhead, a stretch of solid results he will look to build on this weekend.
Bill Haas ($9,200) – Before a T32 last weekend, he had been no worse than T17 in 2017 so far. He has been putting his short game on display and letting it work for him, he’s currently 12th on tour in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green. That kind of control in close will be vital with large, difficult greens to contend with all weekend long, which makes Haas a sneaky upside play for me this weekend.
Gary Woodland ($8,900) – A former winner here, Woodland also had two top 5 performances in February, at Pebble Beach and The Honda Classic, where he totaled 36 birdies and eagles against just 15 holes over par. His ranks of 18th overall in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and 15th in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green help demonstrate the strength of his game, consistently putting himself in position to make an approach at the flag and then finish the hole.
Graham DeLaet ($8,400) – He is the epitome of converging trends this weekend, with three straight top 20 performances coming in (including two top 10’s), on top of three straight top 20 performances here at Copperhead (also including two top 10s). He averaged just under 18 birdies a tournament over this most recent three-week stretch and will look to pick up right where he left off after a week off.
Graeme McDowell ($8,100) – He bounced back from an opening round of 72 at The Honda Classic by shooting 67-68-69 over the final three days and finishing up T14. He is hitting well over 72% of his greens in regulation on the Euro Tour this year, where he opened by finishing T28 in Qatar and T13 in Dubai after finishing 2016 strong as well, with a pair of top 15 showings to close out the year in October.
Tony Finau ($7,700) – He has missed two of his last three cuts, but in the four cuts he has made so far this season, he finished inside the top 25. That might make him someone you’re more likely to turn to in a GPP format, but that makes sense for a player with his distance, which just creates an automatic opportunity at big upside. His length can come in very handy here because, despite the par 71 layout, it gets there with one extra par three and a full slate of four par fives.
Wesley Bryan ($7,500) – Anytime a golfer has finished inside the top 5 in each of his last two starts and is this inexpensive, you have to be at least considering him. He might be a popular play, but for good reason: a low round of 63 at the Genesis Open and 64 at The Honda Classic have allowed him to average just over 90 fantasy points a weekend over this two-tournament stretch. That’s the kind of value that can help you win in any format at this price.
Chris Kirk ($6,900) – He has made the cut in each of his last three starts, but we last saw him at Pebble Beach, which makes him something of a mystery for this weekend. But he is the kind of solid ball striker (35th in Stroke Gained: Tee-to-Green last season) that could make some noise in this field, putting himself in positions to continuously make pars on what can be some notoriously difficult greens to approach and to navigate.
Scott Stallings ($6,900) – Stallings has been inside of the top 25 in three of his last four outings, including a T21 at The Honda Classic despite shooting 71-71 in the two rounds over the weekend. He made enough birdies during his opening rounds of 67 and 68 to finish with a very useful 82.5 fantasy points and will look to continue improving on the 70.94% Green in Regulation rate he has shown so far this season.
Adam Hadwin ($6,800) – He has made five cuts in five tries this year, most recently appearing at the Genesis Open, where he played three rounds of 70 or under and finished with just seven total holes played over par. He should be well rested after a couple of weeks off, and on a tough course, a hot putter certainly can’t hurt (he is ninth in Strokes Gained: Putting so far on the season).
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.