We were on point with most plays last week but a few Sunday train wrecks turned a potentially great week into an average week. This week we’ll change the look a bit as there is no 36 nor 54-hole cut involved and the playing field is severely shortened to only 66 players. As a result, roster construction can take on a different look as there’s no issue with taking a shot on a perceived scrub as he’ll be guaranteed a full four rounds of golf. Due to this, I’m going to avoid the normal price-tier structure of this article and just list several players and hit on some key points for them to hopefully guide you in the proper direction.
Continuing the Florida swing, we move on to the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral in Miami this week. The course aptly named ‘The Blue Monster’ will play just that as it comes in at just over 7,500 yards in length. Last year, Trump National Doral ranked as the 5th hardest non-major venue players teed it up on all season. This course underwent a massive overhaul prior to the 2014 WGC-Cadillac Championship and had players in absolute fits for much of the last two years. The redesign was intended to make this a ‘bombers course’ and it achieved just that as almost the entire contending leaderboard was comprised of 300+ yard drivers. Kentucky born, J.B. Holmes, came into last year’s final round holding a 5 shot lead but he managed to blow a few tires early and was quickly tied with Bubba Watson by the end of the 6th hole. Ultimately, our favorite gas can, Dustin Johnson managed to fight his way into the lead and claim the title.
This year, a couple landing zone changes have been made to make the course more playable for the average length hitters but by no means does that imply that this is no longer a bombers track. Bill Haas nailed it last night on the Golf Channel when he said, “what course can you name that doesn’t favor the bombers?” and he’s exactly right. Length off the tee produces shorter approaches which allow these top tier talents to produce spin on the ball and thus hold the incredibly tough greens they play week after week. So, as a result, we’ll be keying on players who can normally eclipse 290 yards off the tee. Driving Distance is one of the major contributing stats to Strokes Gained Tee to Green as well so we can of course take either of the two into consideration. Now, this won’t be the be-all and end-all of our player search this week as there’s still tons of value to be had across the board from “average” length hitters. Secondly, putting will again be a major key this week as the pros who find themselves in contention come Sunday almost certainly have positive Strokes Gained Putting numbers for the week. And last but not least, we’re going to pursue value in this star-studded field by focusing on Fantasy Golf Metrics’ Points Gained Against Price (PGaP) statistic.
Scott will certainly be one of the highest owned players this week but that is for good reason as he’s on an absolute tear of late. A winner last week and a strong showing here last year makes Scott’s case even stronger. Scott mashes the ball off the tee and has really found his putting stroke so far this year. Through his last 4 events, Scott has maintained a SGP rating of +1.484. Through that same amount of time, this man has posted an incredible SG-T2G number of +8.619 which is virtually unheard of. Typically priced as one the most expensive golfers on the slate, the Aussie has managed to post a PGaP of +8.94.
Rickie is another guy coming in with solid form. Yes, he did collapse a bit over the weekend last week but his play has been undeniably strong. Routinely eclipsing 300 yards off the tee and rolling the rock to the tune of +1.585 SGP over his last 5 events, Fowler is poised to make another run this week. Through those last 5 events, Fowler has been puring the ball and managing to post a +6.788 SG-T2G number. Much like Scott, Fowler is usually in the top tier of pricing and he’s maintaining a PGaP of +3.12. Feel confident in Rickie bouncing back this week.
I’m quite hopeful that Rosey flies under the radar this week as I feel like he in on of the most well rounded players on Tour and has the game to compete at any track. Checking the proper boxes, Rose hits the ball over 300 yards off the tee, carries a BoB% of 23.1%, gains +0.505 strokes putting, and has a favorable PGaP rating of +2.74. #TeamRose
A lot of people are going to be pissed off at Sergio after he finished in second place last week. That doesn’t make any sense as Sergio isn’t a guy you really expect to win a bunch of tournies and in fact you can be relatively surprised when he does manage hold on for victory. This is a guy that’s basically a Top 10 king. Top 10s equate to a lot of DraftKings points. Sergio has been on fire in his last 3 starts managing to post a SG-T2G number of +6.138 and he consistently drives the ball well over 300 yards. The one thing for Sergio is if he can get his putter going. If he’s able to do that, he should have no problem achieving a high finish this week.
Matsuyama is another guy we can likely grab at lower than normal ownership due to his WD at the Honda Classic last week. Matsuyama is an elite talent a has the game to compete at absolutely any course around the world. Through his last 4 starts, the product of Japan has managed a +5.604 SG-T2G, 27.4% BoB%, and an incredible +15.57 PGaP. That PGaP is extremely impressive as Mastuyama’s average price over that span was $10,700. Compare that price to his $9,300 pricetag this week and you can see the instant value. Much like Sergio, Mats sometimes struggles on the green so if he gets the flatstick going he could be a big time addition to your team(s).
Brooksy is one of my favorite plays this week but the more I listen, he seems to be everyone else’s favorite play of the week as well. That’s something that makes me want to instantly limit my exposure to him to ensure I have some differentiation to the pack. Having said that, I will not be going with a full fade of Brooks because I can honestly say I won’t be surprised if he does extremely well. Everything matches up well for the long hitting American here as hes ran through his last 4 events with a 26.7% BoB rate, +2.617 SGP rating, and a wonderful +12.40 PGaP. All of those numbers are reason enough to give yourself some exposure to Koepka regardless of perceived ownership.
The ultra-geek is back this week! In my opinion, Kuch is an absolute loser but his bankroll is infinitely larger than mine, he’d crush me at a round of golf, and he’s achieved more than I could ever really imagine achieving. Now Kuch isn’t your prototypical player for this track as he’s not really long off the tee but he’s absolutely stellar from all the key distances he will leave himself this week. Kuch is also an amazing putter as hes maintained a +3.012 SGP through his last 5 rounds. The thing I love most about Kuchar this week is the value we’re getting from him not being one of the longer hitters on Tour. As a result, his price is driven way down to $8,400 from an average of $10,940 over his last 5 starts. With a +17.30 PGaP, i’m all over Kuchar this week.
Kaymer is simply way too good to be priced this low on DraftKings. We’re talking about a multiple time Major Champion (2010 PGA Championship, 2014 US Open) who continually shows up on the biggest stages being priced all the way down at $7,400. I really have no idea what to expect of Kaymer’s ownership this week but I would assume he’ll be in the middle of the pack due to name value. If he’s not however, that’s just good news for us.
Ross Fisher is a guy that I hope flies well under the radar this week as I love his total game. I recall the time I saw Ross Fisher break out at the 2009 WGC Accenture Match Play at Dove Mountain. The Englishman was smooth and long off the tee and had all the essentials to burst onto the scene. The only thing that has kept him back is that he simply doesn’t play enough in America so we don’t really get any exposure to him. If you’re digging for value this week after loading up on the top end, feel confident in rostering Fisher.
Nathan Holman has been in extremely fine form of late. He’s long off the tee averaging 296.6 yards on the European Tour. The 24 year old won the Australian PGA Championship in order to qualify for this event and he’s been making the most of his recent success. A strong putter and fresh off an 8th place finish in his last start I’m looking for a strong 4 rounds out of Holman.