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Daily Fantasy Golf DraftKings Picks (PGA DFS): American Express

Welcome back RotoBallers! Cameron Smith captured his first solo title on the PGA Tour after chasing down Brendan Steele at the Sony Open. The Australian got off to one of the worst starts imaginable with a bogey and triple bogey on his first two holes of the event but was able to claw his way back to even by the end of Thursday.

Smith's putter was the big story of the weekend, finishing first in strokes gained putting during the four days, and his 21 birdies tied him for the most in the field. It has been a long time coming for the gritty 26-year-old, and there is no doubt that his experience at the Presidents Cup in December helped him get over the finish line on Sunday.

From a gambling perspective, we were able to connect on Smith at 55/1 correctly. That gives us our first victory of the season and some positive momentum to roll into California for the American Express. Like always, the purpose of this piece is to help you put together your optimal daily fantasy golf lineups, whether that be from a GPP perspective or a cash-game mentality. If you have any questions before the tournament starts on Thursday morning, feel free to contact me via Twitter @Teeoffsports.

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American Express - PGA DFS Overview

PGA West TPC Stadium Course

7,200 Yards - Par 72 - Greens Bermuda

There is an interesting DFS angle to be had for the American Express this week. Players will rotate between La Quinta Country Club, the PGA West Tournament Course and the PGA West Stadium Course over the first three days. On the final day, the top-65 golfers (including ties) will head over to the Stadium Course one last time to conclude the festivities.

Rotational venues do make handicapping difficult because not only do we not have shot tracking capabilities at two of the properties, but we also get an extra day of golf for every player in the field. That allows the mentality of taking a more aggressive approach since we know we are guaranteed three rounds with every player that doesn't withdraw early, and it sometimes can lead to a stars-and-scrubs strategy being advantageous.

The TPC Stadium Course is the hardest of the three properties by nearly two strokes. Water comes into play on nine of the holes, and there is extensive bunkering throughout that makes it vital to either hit the fairway or clear the sand traps with distance. The winner of the event has not finished worse than 20-under par since 2007, so birdies and scoring opportunities will be vital if you want your picks to compete for the title.

 

Let's take a look at the stats:

Stat

Stadium Course

Tour Average

Driving Distance

275

283

Driving Accuracy

57%

60%

GIR Percentage

65%

65%

Scrambling Percentage

64%

57%

Average Three-Putts Per Round

0.35

0.54

The last two seasons have seen nine-under and eight-under as the total needed to make the cut. I'd anticipate we see a similar cut-line with the weather not expected to play a significant factor, which means golfers will need to make the most of their occasion on the two easier venues.

In Vegas, as of Monday, Rickie Fowler leads the way at 11/1 and is followed by Sungjae Im at 16/1, Paul Casey at 22/1, Tony Finau at 22/1 and Byeong Hun An at 25/1. Defending champion Adam Long brings up the rear of the pack at 100/1, but this event has proven in the past that it is truly anyone's game.

 

Key Stats

  • Birdie or Better Percentage 22.5%
  • Strokes Gained Approach 20%
  • Par-Five Birdie or Better 17.5%
  • Proximity From 100-175 Yards 16%
  • Par-Three Average 14%
  • Strokes Gained Off the Tee 10%
  • 50% Stats/30% Form/20% Course History
  • (I do believe 50/30/20 is more of a cash-game approach this week. Tournament history is tough to gauge with the rotational setup, and I wouldn't mind going a more aggressive 70/30 type of approach.

 

Fantasy Golf Lineup Picks for DraftKings (PGA DFS)

High-Priced DFS Players 

There are six players this week priced above $10,000:

Rickie Fowler ($11,500) - $11,500 is a brutal number for Rickie Fowler at the American Express. That price dictates that we need a victory out of him to pay for his salary, and it is why he is currently slotted to be one of the lowest owned players at above $10,000. I'm not necessarily fading him entirely because he does grade out exceptionally well for me, but I'd prefer to use him sporadically in spots and not become overly reliant.

Sungjae Im ($11,000) - At this moment, Sungjae Im is projected to be the highest owned golfer on the entire slate. I find it a little surprising because we haven't seen the South Korean enter this realm of pricing before, but I probably shouldn't be shocked since he has shown to be one of the safest plays weekly on the PGA Tour. As a GPP option, I place him into the same territory as Fowler, which is someone who can win but almost needs to do so to make him worth the price. That usually isn't for me when building large-field lineups, but he isn't someone I am actively fading either. If you are looking for a cash-game staple, Im might be the best place to start.

Paul Casey ($10,700) - Paul Casey has a demeanor that is tailor-made for Pro-Am tournaments. His results at this event might not show it, but the Englishman has put together two top-eight finishes at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in his past two tries. I worry slightly about where his game is at since we have only seen him a handful of times on the PGA Tour since the Tour Championship, but Casey does have sneaky GPP appeal.

Tony Finau ($10,500) - I haven't had much negative to say so far about anyone in this range. All these golfers we have discussed are a little overpriced because we don't have the same win-equity we are used to seeing this high up on the board, but it isn't outlandish to believe that someone in this area won't overcome their past failures. Tony Finau's fifth-place finish at the Hong King Open has only heightened the narrative around him that he can't find the winner's circle, and it is going to cause a lot of people to fade him in California. I am not going to talk you out of using him since you are guaranteed at least three rounds from your low-end choices if you do take a stars-and-scrubs approach.

Byeong Hun An ($10,300) - I feel like a broken record talking about the top of this board. We have been given the who's who of the best players that don't seem to win, and they all seem to be jumbled together at the top. Byeong Hun An always intrigues me at events with easy scoring, mostly because his poor putting can be somewhat neutralized by the superb ball-striking that he possesses. Opportunities are king, and there are very few golfers that give themselves more birdie looks than Hun An.

Charles Howell III ($10,100) - Charles Howell III is the only player I am entirely out on in GPPs. Three victories in 565 tournaments won't get the job done if you are looking to take down a large field, but his four straight top-34 finishes here does put him on the map as a cash-game play. However, I'd still prefer to pay up for Sungjae Im in that situation.

 

Mid-T0-Low-Priced DFS Players

Scottie Scheffler ($9,500) - Ownership is going to be the main deterrent around rostering Scottie Scheffler at the American Express, but there isn't too much to dislike about his game this week. Scheffler has yet to miss a cut since regaining his tour card, going a perfect 7-for-7 with five top-18 results, but if you are looking to be a little nitpicky, we haven't seen him tee it up in over a month. The only tournament he could have played was the Sony Open last week, so I don't necessarily want to create conflict where there isn't, but I always try to point out any potential negatives that may arise. Scheffler looks like the real deal and will make a handful of builds for me this week.

Francesco Molinari ($9,200) - Pricing can sometimes direct us off the beaten path. Francesco Molinari isn't a player that is grading out especially well for me with his statistics, but his pedigree, underpricing and ownership projection should make him worth a second look as a GPP contender. Molinari has finished inside the top-12 at this event twice in his last three attempts, and if you are looking to leverage ownership with a player that has winning upside, you could do a lot worse than the former major champion.

Jason Kokrak ($9,100) - Strong off the tee and with his irons, Jason Kokrak is going to go under the radar in spots because we just haven't seen him in action recently. It won't help that Kokrak hasn't found the winner's circle during his PGA Tour career, but I am not so sure that isn't a stigma he is going to detach from his name before long. I'm perfectly fine with using him for both GPP and cash-game builds and believe he has a chance to compete for the title.

Abraham Ancer ($8,900) - Blah. That is about how I would describe Abraham Ancer's performance at the Sony Open. He didn't putt well, he didn't strike his irons purely and he also didn't find a ton of fairways until Sunday. With all that being said, Ancer was still able to quietly put together a share of 38th place in Hawaii. His poor perceived form from last week will take a lot of people off of the Mexican golfer, but I am not going to jump ship quite yet.

Phil Mickelson ($8,700) - Phil Mickelson always gets a massive boost in tournaments where he has a storied past. You could argue that Lefty has the best tournament history of any player in the field, but if we know that, so does everyone else. Mickelson's statistics have plummetted across the board since his victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last season, and his once stable putter has sputtered over his previous 20 tournaments. Even if the American does have upside in California, I'd prefer to leave him for someone else.

Lucas Glover ($8,200) - Lucas Glover's ownership total is going to be subsided compared to where it should be because of who is priced alongside him. Russell Knox and Vaughn Taylor are projected to be two of the highest owned options on the board, and while I don't have an issue with either of those two players, I have calculated Glover's win equity right in the same territory. Game-theory will have me pivot off of Knox and Taylor and onto a similar alternative in Glover.

Andrew Putnam ($7,800) - Poor weekend rounds at the Sony Open hid the fact that Andrew Putnam flirted with the top of the leaderboard for the opening two days. The latter part of that anecdote has been forgotten, and it gives us a decent spot to play the American at lower ownership than expected. Putnam has two straight top-35 results here and will be a staple of cash-game lineups for me. His tournament-winning upside shouldn't be discounted either.

Bud Cauley ($7,300) - I believe Bud Cauley will receive a plethora of sharp action in both the gambling and DFS markets. His outright price of 110/1 doesn't coincide completely with the price range he is in, and there is a lot of value to be had on the former Bama product. That might increase his ownership levels moderately once his name starts popping up frequently, but sub-10 percent ownership on DraftKings is still a bargain.

Bronson Burgoon ($6,800) - Bronson Burgoon's game is volatile, but it is what makes him such an intriguing GPP play. He had a stretch last season where he missed 10 of 12 cuts in a row, but we have seen him bounce back nicely since regaining his tour card with four made cuts in his previous six events. It always becomes unpredictable down in the sub-$7,000 range, but there is a lot to like about the 32-year-old this weekend in California.

Scott Harrington ($6,500) - If you are looking for a feel-good story, I'd recommend checking out any of the pieces written about Scott Harrington. After having to put his career on hold for a few years, the 39-year-old rookie has made the most of his first shot on tour, making seven of eight cuts. Some of the more robust results have failed to follow, but he has scattered in three top-24 finishes, including a second-place at the Houston Open in October.

 

More PGA Analysis and DFS Lineup Picks


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