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PGA DFS: Vegas Report - Wells Fargo Championship


Welcome back to the PGA DFS: Vegas Report. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? That might seem like a weird question to start the article, but it accurately pinpoints last week's Zurich Classic. I'm sure there are some of you out there that love the unique nature of the team event, but the lack of DFS contests and inconsistent nature of the tournament makes it one of the least fan-friendly PGA Tour stops of the year.

With all that being said, the answer to the question above is yes. Sound is sound and doesn't rely on people to interpret it, which is no different than Jon Rahm's and Ryan Palmer's victory in New Orleans. Most of the golf world may want to pretend or ignore the fact that the tournament happened, but for a player like Palmer, this event was as important as any in his career.

Palmer, who has battled not only his own health issues in recent years but has also had to endure and be there for his wife during her fight with cancer, appears to have all that behind him finally. His wife was announced cancer-free in 2017, and Palmer has slowly been climbing his way back up the rankings in recent seasons. A couple of close calls the past two years had left many to believe that the 42-year-old could find the winner's circle again, but it is difficult to breakthrough when you have come up short in every event you have entered since 2010. However, Palmer and Rahm left no doubts during their runaway performance, shooting a 26-under par en route to a three-shot victory over Sergio Garcia and Tommy Fleetwood. Sure, the golf world may not have been focused on the festivities taking place in New Orleans for the Zurich Classic, but Palmer's triumph on Sunday produced a thudding tremor in the golf world and didn't need to be heard to be felt.

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 Wells Fargo Championship - Quail Hollow

7,554 Yards - Par 71 - Greens Bermuda

Consistently one of the most challenging tests on tour every season, Quail Hollow's behemoth layout is back to rear its ugly head this weekend at the Wells Fargo Championship. Originally designed by George W. Cobb in 1961, the venue has seen three re-designs in 1997,2003 and 2012 by Tom Fazio and measures in at a whopping 7,554 yards. That would classify as being a beast by any standards, but the fact that the course plays as a par 71 is almost criminal.

Some extra distance was added to the facility before the 2017 PGA Championship, with three holes getting a makeover for the final grand slam event of that season. Quail Hollow features tree-lined parklands and undulating fairways, not to mention large bunkers that protect most greens. The putting surfaces are lightning quick, and the final three holes are diabolical. Known as 'The Green Mile,' holes 16-18 are the three most difficult at the venue and can cause mayhem down the stretch.

Length off the tee will be vital, and golfers that can gain strokes off the tee will have a massive advantage over the field. Add in par-five scoring, proximity from over 175 yards, par-four average and strokes gained around the green, and you have a pretty good indicator for what will be needed to succeed this weekend in North Carolina.

 

Wells Fargo Championship Best Bets

The Wells Fargo Championship is another challenging betting tournament. It feels like we have had a few of these lately, but this one might top the list of hurdles that we will have to overcome. The top of the betting board is strong, but that doesn't help us with their odds being low. Rory McIlroy leads the group at 7/1 and is followed closely by Jason Day (10/1), Rickie Fowler (11/1) and Justin Rose (11/1). I am not a believer in forcing bets if an event doesn't warrant it, so we will be putting together an extremely small card for the Wells Fargo Championship. An argument could be made that options 3-6 would be better suited as first-round leader bets than outright wager, and I wouldn't discourage anyone against doing that. For what it is worth, I will be betting them as both.

From a DFS standpoint, I love Day this weekend. He is the second favorite on DraftKings at $11,000, but because McIlroy is coming in at nearly 25 percent projected ownership, the Australian is getting overlooked. He is currently expected to be the second lowest owned player at $9,000 or above and is the defending champion of the event. I have no issues starting my cash-game or GPP lineups with him and believe he is one of the main options that you should consider using in 'One and Done' contests. His 10/1 outright price is impossible to recommend, but he is my favorite contrarian option on DraftKings.

 

#1 Phil Mickelson - 30/1

DK Price $9,100, FD Price $11,200

While we aren't necessarily attacking this card in an aggressive manner, we still need to find some win equity up top. Phil Mickelson's course history at Quail Hollow would indicate someone who is probably a better cash-game play then GPP option, but I believe we should be looking at it the other way around.

In general, Mickelson's volatility is something that I'd prefer to avoid in head-to-head contests, and his propensity for combustion is as much of a negative as it is a positive. The 23rd-ranked player in the world has made slightly over 81 percent of his cuts on tour since 2016, but if we exclude his 2017 season, the number is closer to 77 percent. I'm not going to sit here and try to argue that a 77 percent cut rate is terrible because it isn't, but the more significant concern comes from the fact that when Mickelson misses the cut, he usually does so in spectacular fashion.

However, in GPP contests, none of that matters. He is a birdie maker that should find a way to score DraftKings points if he can play four rounds of golf, and he is well-equipped to find success at Quail Hollow, finishing no worse than a share of 11th in his last five visits. On the season, Mickelson ranks 19th compared to the field in driving distance, ninth in proximity over 175 yards, fourth in par-four average and seventh in birdie or better percentage. His ranking of 80th in par-five scoring is a bit alarming, but that statistic seems to be more aberrational than anything, and Mickelson has the upside to put himself into contention heading into Sunday.

 

#2 Gary Woodland - 35/1

DK Price $9,000, FD Price $11,100

From purely a statistical perspective, Gary Woodland ranks out first for me this weekend heading into the Wells Fargo Championship. His form and course history push him down to seventh overall, but there is a lot to like about the American in North Carolina.

Futures betting is as difficult as it is because it is nearly impossible to find positive expected value in the market. Most shops are priced up to around 140 percent or above, and we usually are getting prices that are below break-even. I am a proponent in every article and constantly stress the importance of not only getting the best of the number but also making sure to avoid placing wagers that won't provide profit over time, but with all that being said, it is hard for me to ignore Woodland - even if I know this price is at least five points too low.

Woodland enters the week ranked second compared to the field in strokes gained off the tee, seventh in driving distance, third in proximity over 175 yards, seventh in par-four average, first in par-five birdie or better percentage and first in total birdie or better percentage. I'm not a fan of eating a bad price, but this is a challenging market, and I believe Woodland has a better chance than some betting models are predicting. I view Woodland as a GPP-only type of play and would avoid him in cash-games this weekend. His missed cut here last season shows there is volatility in this selection, but the 24th-ranked player in the world has the length and game to find the winner's circle on Sunday.

 

#3 Luke List - 80/1

DK Price $8,000, FD Price $9,500

I keep promising myself that I will get off the Luke List train, but here we are again. Trust me, as much as you guys are sick of reading about List; I am sick of writing about him. Unfortunately, I have been suckered in one last time before he enters the Ollie Schniederjans territory of where I just secretly bet him and nobody knows.

List has not been good this season, but most of his issues have stemmed directly from his putting. It is no surprise that the American is struggling with his flat stick, but he has been atrocious by even his own standards. List is losing 3.7 strokes per event throughout his past five tournaments and has failed to gain strokes putting in nine consecutive rounds. That is perhaps something that can not be fixed overnight, but the rest of List's game has been quite respectable. Compared to the field, he ranks fourth in strokes gained off the tee, third in driving distance, 12th in proximity over 200 yards and second in par-five birdie or better percentage.

The 71st-ranked player in the world is currently projected to be owned at nearly 15 percent on DraftKings, which is not something that I actively want to get involved with on DFS sites, but he does have some GPP upside and isn't someone that I would entirely be fading in large-field events. Quail Hollow is a course that should suit List's game, and his two top-16 showings in his previous three attempts show that to be the case. 80/1 is a huge number on a player that can strike the ball the way List can, so I will go back to the well one last time and hope the American can be average on the greens throughout four rounds.

 

#4 Cameron Champ - 175/1

DK Price $7,200, FD Price $9,700

Quail Hollow is a tricky course to handicap because although it is long, it is always one of the most difficult on tour. Taking bombers that can gain an advantage because of their length isn't quite as sound of a strategy as it might be somewhere else, but the next three guys mentioned in the article are capable of doing more than just hitting long drives- even if they are still extremely boom-or-bust options.

After the DFS industry fell in love with Cameron Champ towards the end of 2018, the 23-year-old has fallen flat on his face to begin 2019. Four missed cuts in nine events have been mixed in with no top-25 results since the 33-man Sentry Tournament of Champions to start the year. But despite perceived poor form, I don't mind taking a flier on Champ at odds of 175/1.

The 96th-ranked player in the world is still raw when it comes to courses that require more than just bludgeoning the ball, but I am willing to give him a pass at some of the tests where he has failed at recently. The RBC Heritage was always going to be a tough venue for him to find success at because it took the biggest strength out of his hands, and I believe many in the industry are overlooking how a lack of course fit has affected his game.

Champ's appearance this weekend at Quail Hollow will be the first in his career, but his game should finally find a home for what he does well. Compared to the field in 2019, the American enters the week ranked sixth in strokes gained off the tee, second in driving distance and third in par-five scoring. His around the green game does raise massive red flags, coming in at a paltry 139th, but we should expect to see some fundamental issues with players in this range and are trying to grab golfers that have the upside to get hot for four rounds and hopefully overcome whatever defect that has been plaguing their game. Champ fits that criteria and is worth a flier in GPP events on DraftKings and in the outright market.

 

#5 Wyndham Clark - 175/1

DK Price $7,400, FD Price $8,600

Wyndham Clark's nearly seven percent projected ownership on DraftKings tells me that I am not the only person that has taken a liking to the 25-year-old at the Wells Fargo Championship, but his hefty proposed usage is not a deterrent for me this weekend.

Clark is an outstanding golfer who shouldn't be in this price range for much longer. The American has put together two top-10 showings in his first 10 events during the 2019 calendar season and has only missed one cut. Those results help to reveal a young player with potential, but it is his statistical prowess that impresses me the most. On the season compared to the field, Clark ranks sixth in strokes gained putting and fifth in driving distance.

The sample size is relatively small, so it remains to be seen if he can keep up the current pace that he is on, but if he can, that combination is a recipe for long-term success on tour. Clark's length off the tee should be an advantage for him at Quail Hollow, and a few good putting rounds could put the youngster on the first few pages of the leaderboard.

 

#6 Tom Lovelady - 400/1

DK Price $6,000, FD Price $8,200

And we will wrap up our card with a 400/1 longshot and min priced option on DraftKings. Tom Lovelady is a shot in the dark recommendation and probably hasn't done enough to earn this suggestion, but the 25-year-old is long off the tee and recorded a 34th place showing here in his only attempt in 2018. Lovelady finished that season ranked third on tour in average driving distance, trailing only Trey Mullinax and Rory McIlroy. Mullinax was another name that i flirted with selecting in this article, but he ended up being too popular for me and someone I decided to avoid.

Along with being one of the longest drivers on tour, Lovelady finished 2018 ranked fifth in GIR percentage from over 200 yards. The former Bama product is 400/1 for a reason, but the hope is that his length and quality long iron play can give him a chance to find success throughout four rounds. He most likely makes a better first-round leader bet, but at $6,000 on DraftKings, I will be taking a flier on him as a longshot selection with upside and will be throwing a small stake on him at his outright price.

 

My Top 30 Ranked Golfers For The Week

Key Stats: SG Off The Tee 25%, Driving Distance 20%, Par-Five Birdie Or Better Percentage 20%, Proximity 175+ Yards 15%, Par-Four Average 10% and Strokes Gained Around The Green 10%

50% Stats/30% Form/20% Course History

 

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

Joel Dahmen +120 over Chez Reavie -140
Joel Dahmen $7,600 price tag on DraftKings vs. Chez Reavie $7,400 price tag on DraftKings
Joel Dahmen 6.5 percent projected ownership vs. Chez Reavie 2.8 percent projected ownership

0.75 Units to Win 0.90

I am a little worried that my model might be placing too much emphasis on Joel Dahmen's 16th place showing here last season, but as things stand, we are left with a rather significant deviation between where the line is and where it should be.

Reavie is currently grading out to be one of the most likely players who is 100/1 or less to the miss the cut, and while Dahmen isn't necessarily immune himself, I think we might be looking at a situation where we can sneak Dahmen into the final two rounds and watch Reavie miss the weekend.

Reavie, who is one of the shorter players on tour off the tee, enters the week ranked 110th compared to the field in driving distance and 97th in proximity over 175 yards. The American has been a respectable player with his long irons in past seasons, but the issue is that his lack of length at Quail Hollow is going to place him in that dreaded range on practically every shot.

On the other hand, Dahmen isn't exceptionally long himself, ranking 73rd in driving distance and 82nd in proximity over 175 yards, but the 31-year-old has been solid with his par-five scoring and slightly better across the board than Reavie has been. I have Dahmen at -125 to win this matchup and will roll with my numbers, but this isn't one of my favorite head-to-head wagers that I have recommended. I think Dahmen's upside is less than my model is spitting out and worry that his missed cut rate is higher than it is showing also. However, sometimes you have to trust your math, and that is what I will be doing this weekend. Good luck at the Wells Fargo Championship, and I hope you enjoyed the article!

 

2019 Head-to-Head Record (12-4-2)

+9.27 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

 


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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