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PGA DFS: Horse For The Course - BMW Championship

Thanks for joining me again golf fans! Bryson DeChambeau is on a MASSIVE HEATER and won his second consecutive tournament by taking down the Dell Technologies Championship. The "Mad Scientist" has everything clicking right now and is the leader in the FedEx Cup standings.

We are getting down to the nitty-gritty of the 2018 PGA Tour season. The last 70 qualified players will tee it up in this week's BMW Championship, with only 30 advancing to the season's last tournament, The Tour Championship. A very important DFS note...with the limited field there will be no cut this week. Lineups will need to have six strong finishers to make any noise in tournaments.

We are kind of up against it this week. The Labor Day finish of the Dell makes this a quick turnaround. We have a limited field of golfers to choose from and no cut, which will force us to be creative with lineup construction. Football season is gearing up, which is exciting and distracting. To top it all off, the BMW Championship is being played at Aronimink Golf Club, which last hosted a PGA Tour event in 2011 and has undergone an extensive redesign in the years since. So...several obstacles to fight through and no meaningful course history to draw from this week.

Despite all the handicaps we are facing, we are going to continue grinding away. This week's edition will be forced to veer away from our traditional course history model and instead will focus on course fit, value, and current form. Let's tee it up!

Horse For The Course will take a look at players that have traditionally flourished at the course that hosts this week’s PGA TOUR event. This is not a traditional picks column, but rather an attempt to pinpoint players that have outstanding results at a specific course. "The Horse" is a player with an elite course history and that has a great chance to repeat his success in this week's tournament. "The Ponies" are players with very good course history, that might be entering this week's tournament under the radar or have a DFS price that is a great value.

For a full review of the DraftKings PGA Slate this weekend, check out Seth Finklestein's column reviewing picks at every price point.

You can also find out who the smart money is on by checking out Spencer Aguiar's PGA DFS: Vegas Report every week.

Editor's Note: Our friends at Fantasy National have built some incredible DFS Golf lineup tools including a Lineup Optimizer, Stat Engine, Ownership Projections and Course Breakdowns. They are by far the best daily fantasy Golf tools in the industry. Seriously. You can read all about them here and see screenshots. 

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The Course: Aronomink Country Club - Par 70 - 7,190 Yards

This Donald Ross design opened in 1928. Aronomink isn't as well-known as some other Ross designs, but it is a classic in its own right. In a recurring theme over the last few weeks, Gil Hanse performed an extensive redesign of the Pennsylvania layout. Hanse has tried to return the course back to Ross' original vision and make Aronomink a major championship venue. We should see a course this week that will test a player's complete game. Like most Ross designs, tee shots will require strategic thinking and placement for the ever-important approach shot into greens that will be larger than they were in 2011. The course is littered with bunkers, both around fairways and greens. Since we are not entirely sure how Aronomink will play, I'm focusing on players with strong tee-to-green games this week. Accuracy off the tee, solid iron play, and a sound short game will be required.


The Horse

Dustin Johnson (DraftKings - $11,600 & FanDuel - $12,400 )

When in doubt, go with DJ. That's a pretty good motto to have in PGA DFS. I really had to fight the urge to name the red-hot Bryson DeChambeau this week's Horse, but I figured that most of you guys are well aware of him at this point. Justin Rose also earned strong consideration because of his tee-to-green game and success at Aronomink before the redesign, but his price was just too much for me to swallow. Instead, I'm rolling with my man Dustin Johnson. The best player in the world has been relatively quiet the past couple of weeks, only logging a T11 at the Northern Trust and a T7 at last week's Dell. You know you've made it when a T7 in an elite field is disappointing, but that's where we are with DJ at this point. I'd be very surprised if we get through these FedEx Cup playoffs without Johnson logging a win and he is a sneaky good fit for Aronomink Golf Club.

DJ is well-known as a "bomber" and great driver of the ball, which is definitely true, but a peek into his stats reveal a very complete player. Johnson's season-long stats are ridiculous, he of course ranks first on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Off The Tee, but he also stands first in Strokes Gained: Tee To Green, fifth in Strokes Gained: Approach, and a surprising 15th in Strokes Gained: Putting. DJ has also been in good recent form, our friends at Fantasy National show us that over his past 24 rounds, Johnson is first in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, Strokes Gained: Ball Striking, and DraftKings points.

As usual, Johnson is the highest-priced option on DraftKings. The difference this week is we don't have a cut to worry about. We can afford to be aggressive with our lineup construction. In no-cut events, I'm always looking to swing for the fences and cram as much upside in my lineups as possible. In order to finish high in tournaments this week, we most likely need the winner and a good portion of the top-10 in our lineup. DJ is the Vegas favorite to win this week and though his DFS price is steep, we aren't crippled by his salary. I'm loading him up in large-field GPP's and pairing him with as much upside I can find from the mid and low price ranges.


The Ponies

Jordan Spieth (DK - $9,400 & FD - $11,400 )

There is so much I could dive into with Jordan Spieth. Breaking down his year would probably take up this entire article space, so we'll save that discussion for another time. (I do love talking golf though, feel free to hit me up on Twitter, @JoeNicely, anytime!) This would have to be considered a disappointing season for the young Texan. Spieth had two major championships in his grasp in 2018, great first and final rounds at The Masters and a 54-hole lead at The Open Championship, but let them both slip away. I truly believe that Spieth is one of those players that measures his success in major championship victories and he's leaving 2018 empty-handed. Winning the FedEx Cup and $10 million would probably help ease the pain and that should give Spieth some motivation this week, as he sits on the Tour Championship borderline at 27th in the FedEx points standings.

The three-time major winner has struggled with different aspects of his game at different times this season. At the outset of the year, Spieth was putting shockingly bad, while striking the ball beautifully. We have seen that situation somewhat reverse itself as the season has progressed. The stat engine at Fantasy National confirms that theory by showing us that Spieth is second in Strokes Gained: Putting and 10th in Strokes Gained: Short Game, but just 84th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green over his last 24 rounds. Despite the poor ball striking, Spieth has remained competitive and logged solid finishes of T12-T25-T12 in his last three tournaments. These finishes with less than his best game give me hope that if Spieth can figure out the ball striking, he will win again this season.

In all honesty, Jordan Spieth hasn't been in my DFS lineups very often this season. I've found it hard to reconcile his elite-level price tag with his up-and-down play. However, this week I really like Spieth's discounted $9,400 DraftKings price. He is a bit of a gamble, but offers the huge upside that we are looking for this week. I wish I could tell you with certainty that this is the week that Spieth puts it all together for four rounds and gets back in the winner's circle, but I'm not in the certainty business. I do think he is a tremendous GPP play based purely on value. I multi-enter GPPs and will be starting several lineup builds with him when not using DJ.

Henrik Stenson (DK - $7,600 & FD -$10,300 )

As I typed Henrik Stenson's $7,600 price tag into the header above, I heard Admiral Ackbar's voice screaming, "It's a trap!" in my head. The Swede's price seems a bit too cheap this week, but I just can't resist. Stenson has been plagued by a nagging elbow injury for months and it has without a doubt hampered his performance. After a terrific 2018 season that has consisted of regular top-10 finishes, Stenson has struggled recently. He missed the cut at the PGA Championship and struggled to a T69 at last week's Dell Championship after taking a week off to rest and rehab.

Stenson's recent results are pretty discouraging, but I find myself feeling optimistic about a turnaround for the Swede this week. I know that the injury has negatively impacted his game over the past six weeks and that last week's finish wasn't pretty. However, if we take a closer look at Stenson's stats from the Dell Championship, we find that his ball striking was pretty solid. Fantasy National shows us that he gained strokes Tee to Green, Off the Tee, and on Approach, but lost a massive 5.8 strokes to the field putting. These stats tell me that Stenson has recovered from the injury, but has a completely ice-cold putter. Now obviously, terrible putting is not ideal, but it is something that can be improved upon fairly quickly by a professional golfer.

I had high hopes for Stenson as a contrarian option last week and that didn't work out very well. For better or worse, I'm jumping right back on "The Iceman's" wagon again this week. We are getting a significant price discount on Stenson this week at only $7,600 on DraftKings. I'm willing to roll the dice on his huge upside at this price point. If he can get the putter figured out, Stenson could be a top-10 sleeper.

C.T. Pan (DK - $6,900 & FD - $8,300)

Let's do a little bargain shopping with our last selection for the BMW Championship. I highlighted C.T. Pan a few weeks ago in the lead up to the Wyndham Championship. Pan made me look pretty good that week and finished in a tie for second. Mr. Pan popped up again on Labor Day, firing a final-round 66 on the way to a T4 at the Dell Technologies Championship.

Pan has made some noise recently and it can be attributed to his solid tee to green play. According to Fantasy National, Pan is gaining an average of five strokes on the field tee to green over his last five tournaments. He is deadly accurate, ranking 14th in Driving Accuracy Percentage and fifth in Greens in Regulation Percentage.

I might be a bit guilty of trying to ride the hot hand with Pan, but we're talking about a guy with a sub-$7k DraftKings price that has logged two top-five finishes over his last three tournaments. This is exactly the type of cheap upside that I can't wait to stick in lineups with DJ. I'm steering clear of cash games, but Pan will be a GPP favorite of mine this week.


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