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PGA DFS: Vegas Report - AT&T Byron Nelson


Welcome back to the PGA DFS: Vegas Report. Max Homa captured his first title on the PGA Tour in walk-off style, draining a nine-foot putt on the 18th hole to win by three strokes over Joel Dahmen. Homa, who missed 15 of 17 cuts on the PGA Tour in 2017, appears to have found something with his game as of late and has now made seven of his last eight cuts this season, catapulting him up to 102nd in the world.

On the gambling side of things, the Wells Fargo Championship was about what I expected it to be with our outright betting card. The tournament was challenging to handicap and turned into one of our worse showings of the year. Luckily, that was something we talked about at great lengths during last week's write-up, so we were able to keep the exposure down to the bare minimum. Knowing when to attack and when to sit back is probably the best advice I can give anyone who is just getting into the industry and finding value will be critical to long-term success. If you are forcing too many wagers, you are going to see your bankroll dwindle.

But not everything was a lost cause at Quail Hollow. We managed to connect on our ninth head-to-head winner in our last 10 bets after Joel Dahmen (+120) finished in solo second place to defeat Chez Reavie (-140) by seven strokes. The victory takes our record to (13-4-2) on the season and continues our hot start to the year. With the Byron Nelson Championship on tap, let's dive into this week's card and pinpoint some value plays that we will be targeting at Trinity Forest.

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.  Sign Up Now!

For an in-depth breakdown of the top DraftKings and Fanduel plays, check out Joe Nicely's weekly Horse For The Course that highlights the best fits for the week's course.

To see who the RotoBaller staff is selecting in the weekly 'One and Done' contest, click here

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. 

Sign Up Now!

 

2019 AT&T Byron Nelson - Trinity Forest Golf Club

7,558 Yards - Par 71 - Greens Bermuda

It is not uncommon for tournaments to feature weaker fields right before a major championship, but the AT&T Byron Nelson feels especially feeble. Led by Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama, Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, the event is only as strong as it is because of the brigade of European players who are making the trek to Dallas. Golfers such as Rafa Cabrera Bello, Branden Grace, Alex Noren, Thomas Pieters, Justin Harding and Lucas Bjerrehaard somewhat salvage the day, but the overall quality of participants leaves something to be desired.

Designed by Bil Coore and Ben Crenshaw, Trinity Forest Golf Club opened in 2016 and plays as an extremely long Par 71 venue. However, outside of wind, the 7,558-yard behemoth offers very little defense against the bombers. The fairways are wide open, the rough is insufficient and there are no trees, which means golfers can swing away without any real consequences. Eighty-five steep bunkers are scattered throughout the grounds, but the lack of water makes it a free-for-all. Overall, the best way to describe the track would be that it is rather simple with wind and a cinch without it.

Length off the tee will be significant, along with the ability to play in blustery conditions. Look for golfers that can create scoring opportunities in bunches and excel with their long irons. At the end of the day, Trinity Forest is not the most rigorous test in the world, so let's not overcomplicate this from a research perspective.

AT&T Byron Nelson Best Bets

#1 Brooks Koepka - 7/1

DK Price $11,400, FD Price $12,600

For what it's worth, we have been down this road with Brooks Koepka in the past. Whether it has been Koepka complaining about the lack of media attention he receives on a weekly basis or the ongoing verbal battle between he and Brandel Chamblee, we have experienced this narrative of the American against the world before. It is a fun little selling point and has added some life to his often blase personality, but what I am trying to say is that it hasn't always translated into a pissed off Koepka, who dismantles the golf world with victory after victory.

Koepka has proven to be a bit of an enigma both on and off the course. Five career titles pale in comparison to most of his direct counterparts, but the 29-year-old has always been a big-game hunter, and his three career major titles show that he is capable of storming a leaderboard anytime he chooses. I believe athletes are self-motivated and most bulletin board material is nonsensical information to try and create an extra push for success. Sometimes it works, but other times we can see an adverse reaction take place and cause a performance below their standards. I don't necessarily believe we have ever seen Koepka handle these situations as well as one might think, but there are a few things that I like heading into this weekend.

For starters, Koepka doesn't play a ton of tournaments a year, and his motivation for them can sometimes be questioned. We often see him trying to peak for the major championship events, and tournaments like the AT&T Byron Nelson are used as nothing more than a tune-up. It doesn't mean his inner competitive nature isn't trying to win, but he sees the bigger picture of peaking at the opportune time. I'd compare this to a boxer trying to make weight on the number or a bodybuilder taking perfect shape on the day of the show. It is never easy to hit any of those situations spot on, and a golfer has four times a year that they need to be in tip-top shape.

That might help to explain why we haven't seen Koepka capture as many titles as his equivalents, but his mindset has changed over the past few seasons. His constant gripes have shown that he wants to be taken more seriously as the best player in the world, and I believe he finally realizes that competing for titles week in and week out will be the only way that he can achieve his personal goal.

I am willing to take on a marginally aggressive betting price on Koepka this weekend because his motivation is there, the field is vulnerable and the course should be tailormade for the big-hitting American. Most people will be looking ahead to grab the Florida State product at 10/1 for the PGA Championship next week, but I prefer to get in on him a week early in a substantially weaker field. Koepka has the ability to torch Trinity Forest to the ground, and his $11,400 price tag and 14 percent projected ownership aren't adequately accounting for his skill level. Don't overthink this selection. Koepka might be the best player in the world and should be treated as such in this fragile field.

#2 Trey Mullinax - 75/1

DK Price $7,600, FD Price $9,200

It doesn't appear to be the case, but I was hoping that Trey Mullinax's share of 50th place during last week's Wells Fargo Championship would decrease his ownership projection this weekend. Unfortunately, the American is currently projected to be the third highest owned player at over 16 percent on DraftKings, but I don't mind taking a shot on him in GPP fields at his $7,600 price tag or in the outright market at 70/1.

Mullinax's performance last week can be chalked up to poor putting and lousy work around the greens, losing 3.334 strokes with his flat stick and 2.314 strokes ATG. Putting will always be a hit and miss statistic, but the 26-year-old shouldn't have to worry too much about his touch around the greens at the Byron Nelson. The putting surfaces at Trinity Forest are MASSIVE, averaging over 13,000 square feet in size, and Mullinax should be able to use his distance off the tee and stellar approach game to create a plethora of scoring opportunities. He finished the Wells Fargo ranked second in strokes gained approach and third in average driving distance, and a hot putter is all Mullinax needs to find the winner's circle for the first time in his career.

#3 Troy Merritt - 150/1

DK Price $7,100, FD Price $8,200

If you have been paying close attention to the 'PGA DFS: Vegas Report,' you will notice that this is the third straight event where Troy Merritt has gotten an outright recommendation. We grabbed him at 400/1 during the Players Championship, 225/1 at the RBC Heritage and now 150/1 at the AT&T Byron Nelson. It goes to show we were correct in our assumptions that his outright price was too high in the first two tournaments, but I still believe we are getting about 70 points too many on the 182nd-ranked player in the world at Trinity Forest.

It has been a long road back for Merritt, who had to have his top-left rib removed after being diagnosed with Thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition that ultimately led to a blood clot in his arm last year. But the 33-year-old is beginning to exhibit that same form that saw him win the Barbasol Championship in July, and it looks like just a matter of time before we see him crack the top-five during one of these events. On the season compared to the field, Merritt ranks ninth in three-putt avoidance, second in par-five birdie or better percentage and eighth in total birdie or better rate. However, despite his recent run of results, Merritt is projected to be just 7.5 percent owned on DraftKings. There is a lot to like about the two-time PGA Tour winner, and he makes for an excellent contrarian GPP option this weekend.

#4 Tom Lovelady - 400/1

DK Price $6,200, FD Price $7,600

There are a lot of quality deep sleepers to consider this weekend. Of players 100/1 or over that have not been mentioned, Sung Kang (100/1), Dylan Frittelli (100/1), Adam Schenk (125/1), Wyndham Clark (150/1) and Brandon Harkins (250/1) are all worth consideration, but by starting our card with Brooks Koepka, we have to be selective with our choices. I have no issues with mixing and matching Koepka with Merritt, Mullinax and any of those other names mentioned above, but Tom Lovelady (400/1) will be the last golfer I will be targeting.

Lovelady was atrocious during the Wells Fargo Championship, shooting rounds of 75 and 72 to miss the cut, but he seems to be trending in the right direction from a statistical perspective, even if his results continue to be diminished. In Lovelady's previous 50 rounds compared to the field, he ranks first in driving distance, fourth in proximity over 200 yards and 13th in strokes gained off the tee. Lovelady is a shot in the dark selection that is probably better suited to be backed as a first-round leader, but his $6,200 price tag and one percent projected ownership makes him difficult to ignore. The former Alabama University product is only in play for extremely deep GPP contests, but there is contrarian value with his current price.

My Top 30 Ranked Golfers For The Week

Key Stats: SG Off The Tee 20%, Driving Distance 20%, Birdie or Better Percentage 20%, Proximity Over 200 Yards 20%, Par-Five Birdie Or Better Percentage 20%, 10% Strokes Gained Approach 

70% Stats/30% Form

 

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

Trey Mullinax -105 over Brian Stuard -115
Trey Mullinax $7,600 price tag on DraftKings vs. Brian Stuard $7,400 price tag on DraftKings
Trey Mullinax 16.7 percent projected ownership vs. Brian Stuard 13.6 percent projected ownership

1.05 Units to Win 1.00

Brian Stuard is garnering a lot of attention in DFS contests this weekend, but I am not buying the hype. Sure, he has been on a roll, posting a share of fourth place at the Valero Texas Open, a venue that, in theory, should have been too long for him and followed it up with a share of 16th at the RBC Heritage. But I am not a fan of how Stuard has been gaining his strokes lately - especially for a venue like Trinity Forest.

During Stuard's last three top-18 showings, he has gained no less than 4.3 strokes on his approach shots and has failed to earn over one stroke off the tee in any of those performances. That might be a moot point for some venues, but Trinity Forest is a first shot course that should require length off the tee. In the Americans past 50 rounds compared to the field, he ranks 148th in driving distance and 124th in strokes gained off the tee. It is not to say that he can't remain dialed in with his long irons and find success in Texas this weekend, but I am a believer in opposing players who are earning the majority of their shots in one category, mostly if the track isn't calling for that particular style of play.

Both of these players are projected to be owned as top-15 options on DraftKings, which is not something that I care to see for either golfer, but I believe Stuard's missed cut potential is higher than many may realize and am willing to take Mullinax at a price that implies a 51.2 percent win probability. I would place the number closer to 56.5% and believe we are receiving slightly over a five percent edge. Good luck this weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson!

 

2019 Head-to-Head Record (13-4-2)

+10.17 Units Year-To-Date From H2H Bets

Tournament

Head-to-Head Bet

Bet

My Picks Finish

Opponent Finish

Result

Total

Safeway Open

Sangmoon Bae +130 Over Chris Kirk

1.00 Units to Win 1.30

MC (+2)

MC (E)

Loss

-1.00

CIMB Classic

Kevin Na -120 over Kevin Tway

1.50 Units to Win 1.25

T19 (-17)

T27 (-13)

Win

1.25

CJ Cup

Paul Casey +100 over Marc Leishman

1.25 Units to Win 1.25

T18 (-8)

T18 (-8)

Push

0

WGC-HSBC

Thomas Pieters +120 over Kevin Na

1.00 Units to Win 1.20

T18 (-1)

T54 (+10)

Win

1.20

Shriners

Austin Cook +100 over Russell Henley

1.00 Units to Win 1.00

MC (+1)

MC (-1)

Loss

-1.00

Mayakoba

Kevin Chappell +100 over Charley Hoffman

1.25 Units to Win 1.25

T41 (-9)

MC (+2)

Win

1.25

RSM Classic

Patrick Rodgers -105 over Bronson Burgoon

1.05 Units to Win 1.00

2nd (-19)

MC (+2)

Win

1.00

Sony Open

Jimmy Walker -115 over Kevin Na

1.15 Units to Win 1.00

T51 (-6)

Did Not Start

Push

0

Desert Classic

Anders Albertson -110 over Anirban Lahiri

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T34 (-14)

MC (-8)

Win

1.00

Farmers Insurance

J.B. Holmes +130 over Branden Grace

0.70 Units to Win 0.91

MC (+4)

MC (+3)

Loss

-0.70

Farmers Insurance

Jordan Spieth -110 over Alex Noren

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T35 (-7)

MC (E)

Win

1.00

Waste Management

Ryan Palmer +105 over Kevin Tway

1.00 Units to Win 1.05

T60 (E)

MC (E)

Win

1.05

Genesis Open

Hideki Matsuyama -110 over Jordan Spieth

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T9 (-7)

T51 (+1)

Win

1.00

Honda Classic

Zach Johnson -115 over Kiradech Aphibarnrat

1.43 Units to Win 1.25

T59 (+3)

MC (+10)

Win

1.25

Arnold Palmer

Chesson Hadley -110 over Chris Kirk

0.82 Units to win 0.75

T17 (-5)

T15 (-6)

Loss

-0.82

Players Championship

Tiger Woods +105 over Rickie Fowler

0.75 Units to win 0.79

T30 (-6)

T47 (-3)

Win

0.79

Valero Texas Open

Trey Mullinax -110 over Justin Harding

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

MDF (+1)

MC (+4)

Win

1.00

Masters

Bubba Watson -115 over Louis Oosthuizen

1.15 Units to Win 1.00

T12 (-8)

T29 (-4)

Win

1.00

Wells Fargo Championship

Joel Damen +120 over Chez Reavie

0.75 Units to win 0.90

2nd (-12)

T18 (-5)

Win

0.90


2019 Outright Bets That Have Finished Inside the Top-10

Player

Event

Odds

Finish Position

Matt Kuchar

Mayakoba Golf Classic

66/1

1

Corey Conners

Valero Texas Open

200/1

1

Chesson Hadley

CIMB Classic

110/1

T2

Dustin Johnson

Masters

12/1

T2

Ryan Palmer

CJ Cup

150/1

T3

Sam Ryder

Shriners Hospitals

80/1

3

Chez Reavie

Sony Open

80/1

T3

Justin Thomas

Waste Management

10/1

3

Tommy Fleetwood

Arnold Palmer

35/1

T3

Rafa Cabrera-Bello

Arnold Palmer

60/1

T3

Scott Piercy

RBC Heritage

150/1

T3

Lucas Glover

Honda Classic

60/1

T4

Jason Day

CJ Cup

13/1

T5

Sergio Garcia

WGC-Match Play

45/1

T5

Jason Day

Masters

40/1

T5

Zach Johnson

RSM Classic

40/1

T7

Kevin Kisner

RSM Classic

40/1

T7

Webb Simpson

TOC

25/1

8

Jason Day

Players Championship

40/1

T8

Hideki Matsuyama

Players Championship

40/1

T8

J.B. Holmes

Safeway Open

60/1

9

Gary Woodland

Farmers Insurance

28/1

T9

Hideki Matsuyama

Genesis Open

30/1

T9

Shubankar Sharma

CIMB Classic

150/1

T10

Troy Merritt

RBC Heritage

250/1

T10

Golf DFS News and Player Outlooks

 

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