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PGA DFS: Horse For The Course - Wyndham Championship


Wow...what a PGA Championship! Tiger Woods made a vintage Sunday charge, but came up just a couple strokes shy of Brooks Koepka. Anyone that says golf isn't better when Tiger is playing well wasn't watching the final round. Bellerive Country Club had an insane amount of fans in the galleries and the place was absolutely electric. As for Koepka, his legend continues to grow. He once again looked eerily calm in the final round of a major championship. The PGA Championship win gives him three majors at just 28-years-old and it appears he will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

This week we head to Greensboro, North Carolina for the Wyndham Championship. Following this year's awesome PGA Championship with the Wyndham is kind of like having a really great night out on the town, but waking up the next morning with a massive hangover and realizing it's time to go to work. However, the Wyndham does offer both fans and players a chance to catch their collective breaths before the FedEx Cup Playoffs gear up next week. It also offers the last chance for players to make their way into those playoffs. So while not a major championship, the Wyndham is a very important tournament for Tour pros that are on the FedEx bubble. Instead of a field packed with superstars, we will see a lineup of veterans and young players trying to extend their season and in some cases, their careers.

Last year's Wyndham champion Henrik Stenson is back to defend his title. The Swede headlines a sparse group of stars that includes Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, and Adam Scott. The lack of notable names will make DFS lineup construction a bit of a challenge. Stenson took down the 2017 Wyndham Championship without hitting driver the whole week! So that gives you a pretty good indication as to the type of players we will be targeting this week. Sedgefield Country Club has hosted the Wyndham since 2008, so we have plenty of course history to draw from. However, as you will see in this week's piece, finding solid course history plays was a challenge. The majors may be over, but we are still grinding here at Horse For The Course!

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: Sedgefield Country Club - Par 70 - 7,127 Yards

This Donald Ross gem dates back to 1926 and first hosted a PGA Tour event in 1938. A 2007 restoration by Kris Spence lengthened and modernized the course, helping to bring the PGA Tour back to Sedgefield in 2008 and it has played host to the Wyndham Championship ever since. Sedgefield's trademark is its very small greens, which makes accuracy and precision a must. The 7,100 yard length won't be a problem for these players. As I mentioned in the intro, 2017 champion Henrik Stenson didn't hit driver at all last year, so distance off the tee isn't a must-have this week. While the greens are small, this course does allow players to score. The winner has been at least 20-under par in the last two consecutive years, so birdies will be needed this week. Course history trends toward ball strikers who hit lots of fairways and greens. Getting hot with the putter will help as well.

 

The Horse

Webb Simpson (DraftKings - $11,600 & FanDuel - $12,200 )

Yeah, I know, I know...I'm really going out on a limb with the highest priced DFS player of the week. Before we dig into Webb Simpson, I have to admit, this has been one of the most challenging weeks I've had doing Horse For The Course. It is really difficult to find players with consistent success in the Wyndham Championship. I think it is due to the large amount of turnover in the field from year to year. The Wyndham holds a tough spot on the schedule and Greensboro, while a lovely city, isn't exactly a destination that makes Tour pros circle their calendar. So unlike a lot of tournaments that pros play each and every year, we see a pretty big change in tournament participants from one year to the next. The Wyndham is a popular destination for veterans trying to hang on to their careers or young up-and-comers looking to kickstart theirs. So, while I admit that Simpson is a bit of a safe pick, I have to warn you that he is the first and last such play on this week's list.

Webb Simpson is one of the few elite pros that seems dedicated to playing the Wyndham Championship every year, hence he gets the nod this week. Simpson doesn't just show up in Greensboro, he has been dominant on the Donald Ross layout. Since 2010, Simpson has notched five top-10's including taking home the Wyndham Championship title in 2011 and locking up a third place finish last year. Sedgefield sets up perfectly for the short-hitting Simpson and is one of the few remaining courses on the PGA Tour schedule that doesn't offer a huge advantage for bombers.

Though he won the U.S. Open in 2012, this has arguably been the best season of Simpson's professional career. He won The Players Championship in dominating fashion and finished in the top-20 in all four of the season's major championships. I also really love where Simpson is at this point in the season...he's been playing very well, just locked up a spot on the Ryder Cup team for the first time in his career and he his comfortably in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. It seems like this is a week that Simpson can let it all hangout and play relaxed, stress-free golf on a course that he loves. I think he has an excellent chance of picking up his second win of 2018 in Greensboro.

Unfortunately, we have to say goodbye to the soft pricing of major championships that we saw last week. Prepare to pay top dollar for the few elite players that are in the Wyndham field, including Simpson, who is the highest priced option on both sites. It's pretty slim pickings at the bottom of the salary board this week, so jamming Webb into our lineups won't be easy. There are a couple of approaches we can take with Simpson lineups...employ the "Stars & Scrubs" strategy or try to go solid with our other five players. I prefer the latter option, as this week's "scrub" options seem extra scrubby and there are some decent options available in the $7-8k range on DraftKings.

 

The Ponies

C.T. Pan (DK - $7,800 & FD - $9,100 )

Weren't expecting that name were you? As I mentioned above, this week's list is going to be a little unorthodox. While there are some exceptions, I'm not over the moon for the players in the $8-9k price range. Instead, this week I will be shopping heavily for players between $7-8k to pair with Webb Simpson and other elite-tier options.

C.T. Pan is nowhere close to being a household name, but he has quietly put together a very nice summer. Pan has made the cut in seven of his last eight tournament appearances without drawing much attention from the DFS community. The former Washington Husky has found success thanks to his unbelievable accuracy. Pan ranks 11th in Greens in Regulation Percentage and 17th in Driving Accuracy.

Pan doesn't have the course history that is normally required to be featured in this article...a 63rd place finish last year. Not exactly confidence inspiring, but I like the skills that he brings to Greensboro and feel that his game will mesh much better with Sedgefield in his second go around.

Sam Ryder (DK - $7,300 & FD - $8,600 )

Let's mosey on down the salary scale to Sam Ryder at $7,300. I'm once again bucking our usual course history model with Ryder, who has never made an appearance at Sedgefield. The young upstart has flashed so much upside this season that I'm drawn to him in this ugly field. Ryder has popped up on a couple of leaderboards over the past month, logging a T2 in a birdie-fest at the John Deere Classic and a T7 in the Barbasol Championship that included an impressive third round 63.

Ryder's game should fit the Sedgefield layout perfectly. The 28-year-old is a ball striker extraordinaire that ranks 20th in Driving Accuracy Percentage and fourth in Greens in Regulation. Ryder finds greens at an astounding 72% clip and he is usually close to the hole, as evidenced by his rank of 27th in Proximity to the Hole. We are looking for great wedge play this week and Ryder is deadly with them. He stands at ninth in approaches from 100-125 yards and 17th in approaches from 150-175 yards. As always with this type of player, there is a glitch in Ryder's game...he makes Adam Scott look like a good putter. Ok, so maybe not that bad, but Ryder struggles on the greens to the tune of ranking 184th in Strokes Gained: Putting.

We're gambling a bit with Ryder this week, but in all honesty, we aren't going to eliminate risk with the caliber of players in the Wyndham field. We are hoping that Ryder can get warm with the putter this week, which will be key. His elite level wedge play should give him plenty of great looks on the small Donald Ross greens he will be dealing with. Like C.T. Pan, he is a large field GPP option that pairs well with Webb Simpson.

Tyler Duncan (DK - $7,300 & FD - $8,600)

I think the train has officially left the tracks with sticking to course history picks at this point. You wanna get nuts? Let's get nuts! I'm firing up Tyler Duncan as my last selection this week. The little guy out of Purdue has been rolling this summer. Duncan has reeled off 10 consecutive made cuts in his last 10 starts. Despite the solid play, he sits at just 104th in the FedEx Cup rankings, so Duncan will have some motivation this week. While consistent, he doesn't exhibit as much upside as Sam Ryder and has a season-high finish of T12 at the John Deere Classic.

Sticking with our theme this week, Duncan is accurate off the tee and razor sharp with his irons. He's 30th in Driving Accuracy, 25th in Strokes Gained: Approach, and 16th in Greens in Regulation Percentage. Like Ryder, he struggles on and around the green, ranking just 195th in Strokes Gained: Putting...but the silver lining is that the bad putting obviously hasn't stopped him from making cuts. Duncan should feel comfortable on a Sedgefield course that doesn't require a ton of distance off the tee, as his lack of length puts him at a big disadvantage at several tour stops.

Like all this week's Ponies, Duncan is a GPP recommendation. I will likely stay away from cash games this week and will take my shots in large-field tournaments. This week's selections trend toward that style of game selection. To my regular readers that might be wondering where the course history plays are...I can only say stick with me. Sometimes in the DFS world we are limited by different factors. We often have to make decisions and adjustments based on what we are given to work with on any given day or week. In my opinion, this field at these prices didn't lend itself to our normal course history model (with the big exception of Webb Simpson and a couple of the other elite-priced players) and I couldn't recommend the few players that showed some minimal course history with conviction. I hope you have enjoyed this week's edition, even though it may be a little different than usual, and hope you visit again next week for the start of the FedEx Cup Playoffs!

 

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Premium DFS Golf Tools and Lineup Optimizer

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