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PGA DFS: Vegas Report - The Dell Technologies Championship


Welcome back to the PGA DFS: Vegas Report. Bryson DeChambeau took home his second title of the season at the Northern Trust, finishing at 18-under par and four shots clear of second-place finisher Tony Finau. The victory in New Jersey all but guarantees DeChambeau a spot on next month's Ryder Cup team, and it also propels him to the top of the FedExCup standings with three events to go.

Jordan Spieth, our pick to win, finished tied for 25th, and Tyrrell Hatton, our top sleeper choice, ended the tournament in a share of 20th. Overall, the Northern Trust was a very forgettable week for us and is the worst we have had since the inception of PGA DFS: Vegas Report. There were a few opportunities to salvage our betting card, but nothing materialized the way we were hoping. Keegan Bradley, who ultimately finished in a share of 34th place, was our best chance we had of hitting a winner. The American entered Sunday in second place, but a seven-over 78 during his final round quickly ended those hopes.

There are going to be bad weeks throughout a season, and those are situations you have to accept if you are a DFS player or sports bettor. It makes things slightly more frustrating when DeChambeau's name was littered all throughout last week's article as a potential play, but we ended up not selecting him, and that is something we have to move on from. Dwelling in the past will not help us this week, so with the Northern Trust now in the rearview mirror and the Dell Technologies Championship being our primary focus, let's take a look at value plays we will be targeting.

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

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

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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2018 Dell Technologies Championship - TPC Boston - 7,342 Yards - Par 71 - Greens Bentgrass.

Norton, Massachusetts will be our host for the second leg of the FedExCup playoffs. The field of 100 players has been reduced to 98 because of withdrawals from Francesco Molinari and Rickie Fowler. Both players are safe for the BMW Championship next week and will take an extra week of rest before making their last-ditch efforts at the FedExCup title.

TPC Boston has some of the quickest greens on tour, so it will be wise to look for players that putt well on fast Bentgrass greens. Fairways are easy to hit, but second shots will be lengthy. 47 percent of approach shots come from beyond 175 yards, and because of this, strokes gained approach will possibly be the most critical factor to look for when breaking down this field. The winning score usually is 15-under par or better, so finding players that can rack up birdies will be important, especially on the easily accessible par-fives.

Pick to Win

Patrick Cantlay (33/1, DK Price $9,000, FD Price $10,000)

Some weeks are more difficult than others to construct a betting card. Most of these reasons have to deal with the situations that arise when you try to take on the top of the board in a tournament that most likely will yield a big-name winner. But with Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, and Brooks Koepka all coming in at 12/1 or less, we are going to have to figure out a systematic approach to try and take them on this weekend.

Patrick Cantlay is not usually a name that will make my betting card. His talent is exceptional, but he quite often gets priced alongside players that are proven winners on tour. There will be a time here shortly that the 26-year-old earns his spot in this range, but as of right now, he usually comes in overpriced. However, gambling can sometimes provide an interesting dichotomy to this viewpoint. Just because Cantlay doesn't belong in this range as a weekly fixture, doesn't mean he isn't deserving of this price on given weeks.

I consider this to be one of gambling's major faux pas. As a community, we often view things in absolutes and lack the ability to think creatively. The thing I love about golf betting is it provides us with a brand new slate every week, and we can form ideas and opinions to fit the given course. Like I mentioned above, Cantlay isn't a 33/1 golfer on most weeks, but at a venue that seamlessly suits his game, I believe he becomes value at his number.

Cantlay comes into the week having provided four top-15 performances in his previous five tournaments and is statistically peaking in the right direction. But even in general, the 23rd-ranked golfer in the world has been phenomenal from a statistical standpoint all season long. He ranks eighth on tour in strokes gained total, despite ranking just 117th in strokes gained-putting on the season. What this tells me is that Cantlay is bound to pick up his second career PGA Tour win here shortly, and it is just a matter of him producing a better putting week than he is accustomed to having. Cantlay is the 11th highest priced player on DraftKings, 22nd on FanDuel and 11th in the betting market.

Sleepers

Jordan Spieth (23/1, DK Price $10,000, FD Price $11,600)

We are not the type to be deterred from one shaky performance from Jordan Spieth last week at the Northern Trust...or apparently from 20 consecutive calamitous appearances this season either. Value is still value, and there is no reason that the American should be coming in at over 20/1 on a weekly basis.

Over the past four seasons before 2018, Spieth had a success rate of one win out of every 8.07 tournaments. So if you happened to bet the 25-year-old at odds of 9/1 during every event he teed off at, you would have been slightly profitable over the course of four years. That is one of the better win rates we have seen in the history of golf over that duration of time, and while you could argue that his poor run of late proves it wasn't a sustainable pace he was on, his current number has gone equally in the wrong direction.

Spieth is beginning to find his game, and you can see it weekly with some of the bursts of success he has had. Mental gaffes have held the ninth-ranked player in the world back from having a chance to compete for the title on a weekly basis, but Spieth has made five consecutive cuts and produced three top-25s in that span. The 11-time PGA Tour winner can turn mediocre weeks into victories, and at 23/1 on a course he has had success on in his career, he continues to be way too big of a price. Spieth enters the week ranked 33rd in the FedExCup standings and should be considered a threat for the rest of the season.

Phil Mickelson (55/1, DK Price $8,200, FD Price, $10,200)

Phil Mickelson's price is a bit all over the place in this week's market. I've seen him as low as 40/1 at some books and even as high as 67/1 at others. I got him at 55/1, and I think that is a conservative number to mark him at in this write-up. However, make sure to do your shopping around books to find the best price you can!

I made this mistake at the Northern Trust of jumping off of Bryson DeChambeau last minute and inserting Keegan Bradley as my play instead. You would think I would not fall for the same mistake two weeks in a row, but a last-second change of heart has taken me off of Billy Horschel and onto Phil Mickelson. If Horschel goes on to win the title at the Dell Technologies Championship, there may officially be some direct correlation between me making last minute changes and players going on to achieve success at that week's tournament.

There were a couple of things I missed the first time I broke down the stats that stood out after giving it a second look. For starters, Mickelson has been productive from both a short-term and long-term perspective on the key stats I am using this week. On the season compared to the field, he ranks 11th in strokes gained approach, second in strokes gained-putting, sixth in proximity from over 175 yards, 17th in par-five birdie or better percentage and fourth in overall birdie or better percentage.

In the previous 24 rounds, the 48-year-old has not been quite as efficient from a statistical standpoint, but outside of par-five scoring being a slight issue as of late, Mickelson has been comparable to his season-long form. Horschel has been better recently but not so much so that he warrants a spot on my card over Mickelson at the same price. The 43-time PGA Tour winner has this mentality of him versus the world, and with his one-on-one showdown approaching against Tiger Woods in November, we are going to see the best version of him to close out this season. Mickelson makes for a great GPP pivot play off of guys like Paul Casey, Billy Horschel and Tommy Fleetwood around his price range. I would avoid him in cash-games, but there is upside to be had for big tournament wins on DFS sites.

Tyrrell Hatton (75/1, DK Price $7,700, FD Price $9,000)

I am not convinced if this is a positive or a negative story, but Tyrrell Hatton went to a nearby Golf Galaxy after a two-over 73 on Saturday at the Northern Trust and purchased a new putter for $149 plus tax. He proceeded to go out during his final round and shoot a seven-under 64 to match his best score on tour this season. For starters, I am not sure why Hatton needed to purchase a putter, or why Ping didn't have one on hand to provide him with, but regardless of the reasoning, the 26-year-old vaulted up 40 spots on the leaderboard on Sunday and easily paid off his investment.

Hatton is one of the best putters in the world, and any extra confidence that he may currently have could be viewed as a huge plus. The Englishman plays off of emotion, and a dose of positive enthusiasm could help him find the winner's circle in America for the first time in his career. But it is not just his putting stroke that has been impressive here as of late; the three-time European Tour winner has also been a ball striking savant over his previous three tournaments. Hatton ranks fourth in proximity over 200 yards, 17th in ball striking and 17th in strokes gained approach. If those statistics can remain the same and we can get multiple quality rounds out of Hatton on the greens rather than just one, the 25th-ranked player in the world provides enormous value at 75/1 and seems to be substantially overpriced because of a lack of name recognition. Hatton comes into the week as the 25th highest priced player on DraftKings but is just the 34th most expensive golfer on FanDuel.

Gary Woodland (80/1, DK Price $7,700, FD Price $9,200)

Gary Woodland is one of those players that exhibits less upside for victory than we care to have on a betting card. He most likely makes for a better top-10 or top-20 wager, which is one of the ways I will be playing him this week, but I don't mind throwing a small investment onto the big-hitting American at elevated odds of 80/1.

After the 42nd-ranked player in the world won the Phoenix Open in February of this year, his odds plummeted down to 25/1 in the betting market for a handful of weeks. An eight-tournament stretch of golf with no top-25 performances directly following his victory dropped his odds into the 100/1 range. But Woodland's proceeding eight-tournament stretch here recently has not been adequately accounted for, and therefore his odds have not seen the proper adjustment that we would expect. The three-time PGA Tour winner has made eight consecutive cuts in a row, which includes a share of sixth place at the PGA Championship.

Woodland's appearance at Bellerive wasn't able to move the market the way you would normally expect because of the implosion he had on full display during his Saturday round. After leading the tournament on Thursday and Friday, the American's hard work was undone at the par-four 10th hole. His approach shot found the greenside sand trap and things got even worse from there. His bunker shot sailed over the green and into a sand trap on the opposite side of the hole. Woodland than tried to blast his way out of that bunker, landing back in the first bunker and directly into a footprint mark that he had left from his original bunker shot. When all was said and done, Woodland carded a seven on the hole and was unable to catch Brooks Koepka over the duration of the next two days.

Despite everything that went wrong for him during that debacle, Woodland being able to hang onto a share of sixth-place is extremely impressive. The 34-year-old comes into the week ranked second in strokes gained on par-fives and fourth in ball striking over his previous 12 rounds. There is enough to like about him from a statistical perspective to warrant taking a shot on him at a price that is probably 30 points higher than what it should be.

 

Bonus Bomb

Xander Schauffele (90/1, DK Price $7,200, FD Price $9,500)

Xander Schauffele is a bit of a hunch play more so than a player that warrants being the final leg of the betting card. That is not to say that there are not some things that I like about him statistically entering the Dell Technologies Championship, but the 20th-ranked golfer has not been on point recently.

Schauffele is on a short list of players that I just don't put much stock into where their game is perceived to be at entering an event. The American has provided four top-10 showings this season, but I think it is interesting to take a look at his form coming into those events.

Schauffele's two previous results before his top-10 showing's this season
T9 Genesis Open - T17/missed cut
T2 Players Championship- T72/T73
T6 U.S. Open- missed cut/missed cut
T2 Open Championship- T21/missed cut

As you can see from the example above, Schauffele's results tend to come out of left field, which means that his T35 at the PGA Championship and missed cut at last week's Northern Trust more or less fall right in line to the form he has had coming into a top-10 showing. The two-time PGA Tour winner ranks 15th on the year in birdie or better percentage on par-fives, and with the par-fives producing the vast majority of birdies or even eagles for the week, Schauffele has potential to be a low owned DFS option that can separate you from the pack. He is strictly a GPP play or outright bet, but he is worth a flier at 90/1.

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

Jason Kokrak +100 over Charles Howell III -120
Jason Kokrak $6,700 price tag on DraftKings vs. Charles Howell III $6,700 price tag
Jason Kokrak 4.7 percent projected ownership vs. Charles Howell III 1.0 percent projected ownership

These next couple of weeks could prove to be slightly strange for head-to-head wagers. We try to do most of our damage by gaining an advantage with the cut-line present, and although there is a cut at the Dell Technologies Championship this weekend, it will only eliminate a small percentage of the field and could make life a little more difficult for us.

Because of this factor being present, I am going to try and pinpoint more upside than usual and pair our golfer against someone I perceive to have less of a ceiling. Jason Kokrak +100 over Charles Howell III -120 incorporates a few of the factors I was looking to fill in this week's selection, including some negative volatility from both sides of the wager. I realize that is a weird statement to make when Howell has made 18 of 21 cuts on the season, but the American comes in having missed two of his previous three cuts and hasn't been the most efficient player at TPC Boston in recent years.

In all likelihood, we are probably looking at Howell III squeaking into the weekend, but with most players having four rounds of golf, I would rather limit the damage that my opponent can cause during Saturday and Sunday. In Howell's last 24 rounds compared to the field, he ranks 67th in birdies or better gained, 72nd in strokes gained on par-fives and 59th in strokes gained approach. Kokrak in those same statistics ranks 21st in birdies or better gained, 28th in strokes gained on par-fives, and 26th in strokes gained approach.

This isn't one of my favorite head-to-head selections I have ever made, but I do believe that Kokrak exhibits more upside in a tournament that will most likely require the full duration to be played to decide a winner. There should be some long-term value in the underdog here, but it is probably smaller than what we have become accustomed to at the PGA DFS: Vegas Report.

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