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PGA DFS: Vegas Report - The Wyndham Championship

Welcome back to the PGA DFS: Vegas Report. Most of the storylines at the PGA Championship will revolve around Tiger Woods and his magnificent second place finish at Bellerive. Woods shot a final round six-under 64 and nearly was able to steal the title to capture his first major since 2008. But I think the real thing people are failing to mention, at least to the level that it should be, is the astonishing performance we witnessed from Brooks Koepka. It could have something to do with his lack of personality on the course. Or maybe, just maybe, it is the fact that Koepka denied the majority of the golf world the chance to see Woods reclaim his greatness at the pinnacle of the sport. But regardless of what the reason is, Koepka deserves to be recognized as the current best player in the world.

I have been a firm believer in this, and I stand by these statements even today. Golf is better when Tiger Woods is healthy and competing at the highest level, but we can not forget that Woods' best days are behind him. Cheer for him every time he tees it up and relish in his triumphs when they do occur, but we can not undermine the young superstars if they do get the best of him. Woods' most significant contribution to the game of golf from this point forward will be his ability to bridge the gap between the casual fan and the young brigade of stars we have. There is nothing wrong with Tiger Woods being the biggest superstar in the game of golf but let's not forget to anoint a new king if we see one, and as of right now that throne belongs to Brooks Koepka.

Koepka is just the fifth player in history to win both the U.S. Open and PGA Championship in the same season, a stat that in itself speaks volumes about the season the 28-year-old is having, but I think the vast contrast between his two victories may be what is most impressive. Let's start first with his U.S. Open victory this season at Shinnecock Hills. Koepka became the first person since Curtis Strange in 1988 and 1989 to win back-to-back U.S. Open titles. The American was able to hold off Tommy Fleetwood, current Masters champion Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson in the process. I wanted to get into the difference in difficulty between the U.S. Open and PGA Championship courses that he won at this season but let's take it a step further and examine his two U.S. Open victories also. He bludgeoned Erin Hills in 2017, finishing at 16-under par and had to grind through Shinnecock Hills' brutal layout, ending the tournament at one-over par. It didn't matter the design of the course, the competitors around him or the difficulty of the venue, nothing phased him.

Now let's fast forward to his current victory at the PGA Championship, where we found ourselves at the exact opposite sort of venue of his U.S. Open win this season and closer to the easiness of what Erin Hills was. Having never experienced the full "Tiger effect," and on a day where Woods shot his career-best Sunday round at a major of 64, Koepka was one of the only players on the course to stay composed throughout the day. Full credit to Adam Scott for also staying calm, but the Aussie had experienced the complete pandemonium before of what Woods brings to a major championship on Sunday, all other players had not and eventually faltered along the way.

The argument that Koepka only has four PGA Tour wins is valid, but it is not giving him credit for the wins he has worldwide. The American has won in Japan, Scotland, Spain and Italy in his career, which is something that he is never given any recognition for doing. Koepka is the best closer we have in the game today and is the only guy that doesn't have massive scar tissue as far as major championship collapses go. The second-ranked golfer in the world continually destroys everyone in his path when he is in contention, and the nickname of the "human bulldozer" seems to be as fitting as any moniker out there. His friend Dustin Johnson might be the No. 1 ranked player in the world, but Koepka is the best player in the world when it comes to showing up for critical grand-slam events. With the Wyndham Championship on tap, 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 column, providing 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 Wyndham Championship - Sedgefield Country Club - 7,127 Yards - Par 70 - Bermuda Greens

The Wyndham Championship feels like a dud event after what we experienced at Bellerive. But risk and exposure will always make every tournament feel relevant. There are no off weeks in the DFS or betting world, so let's take a look at Sedgefield Country Club.

This will be the last opportunity for players to break into the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings and sneak into the playoffs next week. Most guys already qualified are sitting this week out, but we still have some notable names with Henrik Stenson, Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson and Sergio Garcia in the field. Sedgefield can be best described as a birdie fest. The winning scores should hover somewhere around 20-under par, which is emphasized by having one of the highest greens in regulation rates on tour at 71 percent. Strokes gained approach will be a vital statistic to look at this week mixed with a slight emphasis on proximity to the hole. Henrik Stenson won last year's event at 22-under par, and Si Woo Kim took the 2016 title at 21-under par.

Pick to Win

Rafa Cabrera Bello (25/1, DK Price $10,100, FD Price $11,600)

Rafa Cabrera Bello has historically been a player that if he is out of form, you are better off sitting on the sidelines. However, when he is on top of his game and playing well, you should ride his heater as long as you can. The Spaniard had a tumultuous run after the U.S. Open, missing three straight cuts and only finishing in 74th place at the Open Championship. But back-to-back top-20 finishes at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship seem to have Cabrera Bello back on track and beginning to peak again.

The 34-year-old is still searching for his first win on the PGA Tour, but he has provided three wins in Europe during his career, with all of these victories coming at similar birdie type tracks. Cabrera Bello statistically fits the mold of the sort of player we are trying to pinpoint at this event. We want a golfer that is great with his irons and will provide good proximity to the hole from the range they will be hitting their second shots from on the course. The more birdie looks we can get, the better it will be for our chances of picking a winner. Cabrera Bello ranks fifth in the field on the season in strokes gained approach and first in proximity to the hole from 150 to 175 yards, a range that he should be hitting from all week long. He is the fifth highest-priced player across the board on DraftKings, FanDuel and the betting market and provides upside in all formats.


Joaquin Niemann (33/1, DK Price $9,700, FD Price $11,100)

Winning on tour is hard for anyone but asking a 19-year-old to win his first PGA Tour title in just his 13th career event sounds even more ludicrous. This price on Joaquin Niemann is probably right on the edge of what is value and what is not, but I can't help myself when it comes to the Chilean prodigy.

Niemann has been boom-or-bust throughout his first 12 events. He has produced four top-10s and an additional four missed cuts, but statistically, the 19-year-old has been up there with anyone in the world. Compared to the field on the season, he ranks first in par-four average, first in birdie or better percentage, second in strokes gained approach, ninth in good drive percentage, ninth in proximity from 150 to 175 yards and he also ranks second on tour in birdie percentage when he has an approach shot from 150 to 175 yards.

Niemann started the season ranked 1527th in the world but has already climbed up to 157th. I am not sure when his first PGA Tour title will come, but I am ok with taking a shot on him at every birdie fest I can if the price is right. He is ranked seventh on DraftKings, eighth on FanDuel and eighth in the betting market. I would avoid using him in my cash-game lineups because of his volatility, but I think he makes for a solid outright bet and GPP play.

Russell Henley (35/1, DK Price $9,400, FD Price, $10,700)

Russell Henley will make the card for the second consecutive week after being our "bonus bomb" selection at the PGA Championship. The American provided a paltry 50th place finish at Bellerive, but I believe the layout of the course ended up working against him more than initially thought. Fairways gained ended up being overpowered by length off the tee, and most shorter hitters weren't able to find their way up the leaderboard.

Sedgefield Country Club is more of the prototypical type of track that we would expect the 55th-ranked player in the world to succeed on. Henley ranks seventh in the field on the year in driving accuracy, and although he only enters the week ranked 41st on the season in proximity from 150 to 175 yards, he ranks ninth in birdie or better percentage from that same distance. The disparity in those two rankings, without a doubt, incorporates him making some putts that he probably shouldn't have, but Henley is ranked 11th in the field in strokes gained approach from any distance, and I would imagine that he will have more birdie opportunities than most players when given all the above statistics.

Graeme McDowell (70/1, DK Price $8,500, FD Price $8,400)

Graeme McDowell enters the Wyndham Championship this week ranked 143rd in the FedExCup standings and will need a big showing to break into the top 125 and qualify for the playoffs. This is the same situation McDowell found himself in last year and was unable to perform, finishing in 94th place during the 2017 Wyndham Championship. That isn't the most optimistic observation, but I have reasons to believe it could be different this time around.

The 39-year-old came into the event last year having missed five out of his previous six cuts and was spiraling out of control with his game. This year, McDowell enters the Wyndham Championship with a lot more form, even if it is not entirely where we would hope to see it. He has made seven of his last nine cuts, which includes a top-five finish at the Italian Open in June and an additional top-15 at the BMW PGA Championship.

McDowell is the 17th highest priced player on DraftKings and is going to be one of the lowest owned players above $8,000. He makes for an exceptional GPP contrarian option with his ability and results he has produced on Bermuda greens in the past. In his last 50 rounds on Bermuda greens, he ranks eighth in birdies or better gained compared to the field, and on the season compared to all golfers, he ranks seventh on tour in birdie or better percentage from 150 to 175 yards out. His FanDuel price of  $8,400 makes him only the 48th most expensive player and one of the best values to be had on any site.

Bonus Bomb

Ryan Armour (110/1, DK Price $7,100, FD Price $8,500)

Ryan Armour has missed three consecutive cuts in a row but don't let that statistic alarm you this week. The American has been WAY out of his comfort zone from a course perspective. Missed cuts at the Open Championship, RBC Canadian Open and PGA Championship all have had one thing in common when it comes to most of the names near the top of the leaderboard, and that would be distance off the tee. That is not Armour's game, and he finally gets to come back to a venue that should suit him perfectly.

In his last 50 rounds compared to the field, he ranks fourth in fairways gained and fourth in par-four scoring between 400-450 yards, a range that has eight holes that fit between that distance. The 42-year-old is a one-time winner on tour, winning his title in 2017 at the Sanderson Farms Championship at 19-under par. I don't think his form is as bad as it looks and it appears like we are getting a price reduction on him across the board. The only drawback is that he is going to be one of the most popular players at $7,100 or less on DraftKings, but he does provide some massive upside potential this week and makes for a great outright betting selection.

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

Johnson Wagner -115 over Hudson Swafford -105
Johnson Wagner $7,500 price tag on DraftKings vs. Hudson Swafford $7,100 price tag
Johnson Wagner 11.1 percent projected ownership vs. Hudson Swafford 1.3 percent projected ownership

It has been a rocky couple of weeks for us with our head-to-head bets. The outright selections have been on fire, but the head-to-head picks have been treading water, even though we have been in every bet on Sunday and haven't had one of our players miss the cut. Last week's selection of Jon Rahm +105 over Tiger Woods -115 saw the Spaniard finish in a share of fourth place but still not get us over the hump against a rejuvenated looking Woods, who finished in second place. Most of the plays on here we try to find underdogs, but there is a favorite this week that appears to be offering us value, so let's try to get back on a track with a winner!

Johnson Wagner -115 over Hudson Swafford -105 appears to be incorrectly priced. I do worry every so slightly about Wagner coming in at over a 10 percent projected ownership on DraftKings. That is a much higher number than I would care to see on a player priced at $7,500, but I think it speaks volumes about the fact that Wagner is in a head-to-head matchup against the wrong opponent this week.

Swafford comes into the week having produced two consecutive top-15 performances, but don't let that distract you from the fact that he has missed six of 16 cuts on the year and has not provided a top-30 result since January, excluding his last two tournaments. Wagner, on the other hand, has lacked explosiveness himself but has been a much more steady presence on tour. The 38-year-old has made 12 of 15 cuts, which includes his last six in a row and 12 of his previous 13. If DraftKings projected ownership is any indication of things to come, Wagner is going to keep becoming an even more significant favorite as the week goes on. I really wouldn't be surprised to see this number reach -135 or -140, so if you want to bet it, be sure to jump on it as quickly as you can!


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