Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: Rocket Mortgage Classic
By now, you've probably dabbled in daily fantasy sports, but if not, don't worry. Now is a great time to start, especially with FanDuel now offering a revamped version of PGA golf.
Golf can be one of the most exciting DFS sports to follow, as tournaments span four days and allow ample time to prepare each week.
But whether you're brand new to the PGA or daily fantasy sports in general, we have you covered -- and we have daily fantasy golf projections and lineup building tools, too.
Let's take a look at some golfers to target this week.
|Key Stats for the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Strokes Gained: Off the Tee|
|Birdies or Opportunities Gained|
With a brand new course for the PGA Tour rotation, we have no real angle to figure out which stats matter most. We can dig into the course and try our best, and that's what we'll do.
The course, a Donald Ross design, sets up as a fairly straightforward track: narrow fairways guarded with trees and bunkers, a setup requiring accuracy, placement, and recovery.
With a new course, one that could allow golfers to go low, and one that isn't overly long or purposively short (it's around 7,300 yards), this all points me to ball-strikers. So golfers who can gain strokes off the tee and via approach shots to navigate the tee shots and second shots, avoiding trouble and maintaining scoring chances.
Aside from the two strokes gained: ball-striking stats, I think there's merit to cross-referencing accuracy to ensure fairways are hit (or missed in the right location).
I think we can dig into sand save rates this week with the bunkers, but sand save numbers are always flawed because they're tied to putting. Proximity from the sand is better, yet this doesn't account for difficulty of lie. Just keep that in mind.
Overall, you rarely go wrong targeting elite ball-strikers, and that's what our first instinct should be for this Donald Ross course.
Stats cited below come from FantasyNational and include the past 100 rounds on the PGA Tour unless noted. Ranks are among the field.
Best of the Best
Dustin Johnson (FanDuel Price: $12,500 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: 6/1) - This field is pretty weak overall, and that is a main reason why Johnson's win odds are so dang short, but it's justified, really. Detroit Golf Club could play really low, and Johnson can take advantage. DJ isn't necessarily accurate (116th in fairways gained), but he leads the field in both strokes gained: off the tee and strokes gained: approach, and he is fourth in par 5 scoring over the past 100 rounds. We don't really need to say much more: Johnson should be a cash-game lock, and even at high ownership, he should be in play for tournament lineups.
Hideki Matsuyama ($11,300 | 12/1) - Matsuyama is my clear second option this week because of his course fit: 27th in strokes gained: off the tee, 2nd in approach, first in opportunities gained in our sample. Whether it's the past 100 rounds or the past 12, Hideki grades out as the second-best option from a stats standpoint. He hasn't missed a cut since last year's Open Championship, either.
Gary Woodland ($11,200 | 12/1) - The U.S. Open winner could have a hangover, but he didn't play last week, and that could give him time to recharge. Even if he's not 100 percent, Woodland could tear this course apart, as he is top-six in strokes gained: off the tee and strokes gained: approach, as well as the leader in strokes gained on par 5s in our sample. Yes, he's expensive, and Rickie Fowler ($11,700) and Chez Reavie ($10,900) are in play for sure, but Woodland should have more than a $300 gap between he and Reavie, so if spending up, we may as well spend up.
Billy Horschel ($10,400 | 31/1) - There's a Tier B this week (if we lump Dustin Johnson in Tier A), and I'm mostly skipping it (Reavie, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Brandt Snedeker, Kevin Kisner). That leaves Horschel, who has been a lot better than most people probably realize. Over the past 100 rounds, he grades out fifth in total strokes gained and is top-23 in both ball-striking stats. He's been boosted a bit by putting (10th) but is still 16th in strokes gained: tee to green in that sample. A great scrambler and an accurate driver, Horschel is an enticing option at this price.
Ryan Moore ($10,200 | 29/1) - Moore, 5th tee-to-green in our sample, brings elite approach (3rd) and accuracy (4th) but has worrisome putting (114th) and sand (121st) splits. However, this shows a clear path to upside: getting into scoring position (he's seventh in opportunities gained) and just converting the putts. There's value on Moore at this price, but the range around $10,000 is pretty solid overall.
Viktor Hovland ($10,000 | 45/1) - Hovland is looking like the real deal, as if there was any question about that. What he does best over his small sample on the PGA Tour (20 rounds) is ball-strike (19th off the tee, 22nd approach). That's not enough of a sample to remove concern, but you don't really luck into elite ball-striking marks. That's more for the short game, and Hovland actually has been ice cold there: 112th around the green and 129th in putting. He has shown the propensity to hit fairways (24th) and doesn't seem phased by tough fields, which this isn't.
Joaquin Niemann ($9,800 | 42/1) - Niemann is finally clicking. I mean, he has been an elite ball-striker for a while now, but the putter has held him back. He's 10th in strokes gained: off the tee and 4th in strokes gained: approach but 124th in strokes gained: putting. That's rough. In his past four events, he has been all over the place in the putting department: -4.2, +1.1, -1.5, and +3.9. He's a high-variance play, yet on a course that could require 20-under, he's worth the risk in some tournament builds.
Kevin Streelman ($9,500 | 41/1) - Streelman shouldn't have any issues hitting the fairways (8th), and he grades out top-16 in both ball-striking strokes gained departments. He could run into problems if he's in the bunker (114th in sand saves, but 32nd in proximity from the bunker), but this far down the pricing list, no golfer is without fault.
Jason Kokrak ($9,300 | 50/1) - This is a bounceback opportunity for Kokrak, who lost 4.0 strokes around the green and 7.5 on the green in two rounds last week, which is really, really something. (Coincidentally, he actually lost 7.2 strokes putting at the Wells Fargo, the week after gaining 7.0 at the RBC Heritage.) He's actually been subpar with his irons the past two events (-0.5 and -0.8 strokes gained: approach), too, but he still picked up +2.3 off the tee at the Travelers despite missing the cut. He really is dependent on the putter, but his ball-striking should let him rack up chances.
Keith Mitchell ($9,000 | 60/1) - Mitchell's approach has been erratic the past few events, but the large sample is better (32nd), and we sure know he's an elite driver (3rd in strokes gained: off the tee). He's not accurate (130th), but there are rewards for going for par 5s, which fits Mitchell for sure (15th in strokes gained on par 5s and 12th in opportunities gained).
Vaughn Taylor ($8,800 | 80/1) - Taylor should be a safe value pick this week, given his approach (23rd) and accuracy (20th). He's got promising scrambling (37th) and sand (29th) splits. He's not a high-upside player, generally, but his putter has been hot enough for three top-20s in his past five events.
Corey Conners ($8,700 | 100/1) - With Conners, you have to take the good with the bad: elite ball-striking (8th off the tee, 9th approach) and horrible short game (112th around the green, 145th putting). The upside is obvious with that profile, but so is the downside. At a course that should play easy, Conners is very intriguing.
Bud Cauley ($8,600 | 90/1) - Cauley should grind his way to safety -- despite three missed cuts in his past four events: 39th in approach, 4th around the green, 57th in putting, 6th in sand saves, 4th in scrambling, and 14th on par 5s. The reason for the missed cuts has been largely negative putting and a lack of strokes gained: off the tee. If he hits fairways, he should be able to find greens in regulation at Detroit.
Troy Merritt ($8,400 | 150/1) - Merritt's profile is pretty balanced, as he is top 60 in the three tee-to-green stats plus accuracy. He's actually converting on par 5 chances (19th) and is putting himself into scoring position (13th in opportunities gained). We can do a lot worse if looking to save salary, even with the long win odds.