Daily Fantasy Golf: Tournament Targets and Avoids for the John Deere Classic
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 the volatility -- top-tier golfers can miss the cut, and longshots can win outright -- makes it a unique daily fantasy sport.
Ownership won't always matter, and favorites will win and thrive some weeks, but when the chalk struggles and the pivots hit big, you can put yourself in a great position to succeed when playing large tournaments on FanDuel.
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 in GPP tournaments on FanDuel.
|Key Stats for the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
|Proximity Gained: 125-150 yards|
After two straight stops at new courses, the PGA Tour heads back to TPC Deere Run for the John Deere Classic, and, as past year's have shown, this event should be a birdie fest.
TPC Deere Run is just over 7200 yards and has seen an uptick in driving accuracy and green's in regulation compared to the tour average. With most of the world's top golfers prepping for the upcoming Open Championship, either traveling or playing over sees, the John Deere Classic does not boast a ton of high-profile golfers and that causes some golfers to have a higher price tag than normal. Due to the consistent low scoring throughout past years, birdies or better and opportunities gained come into play as key stats while strokes gained: approach, strokes gained: par 5s and proximity gained: 125-150 yards round out the remainder of the key stats.
Stats cited below come from FantasyNational and include the past 50 rounds on the PGA Tour unless noted. Ranks are among the field.
High-Priced Tier ($11,700 - $10,000)
Target: Charles Howell III (FanDuel Salary $11,300) - Howell has made the cut in three straight tournaments while improving his finish in each of those appearances, shooting a 13 under at least week's 3M Open, which tied him for 23rd. He has also made the cut in four of five appearances at the John Deere (including four straight), and he finished 19th in 2017 -- his last appearance in this tournament. With projected ownership, per FantasyNational, at under 8%, Howell will likely come in as one of the lowest-owned golfers in this tier. Over the last 50 rounds, Howell sits 35th or worse in all five key stats, but comes in within the top-75 in four of five while sitting 125th in proximity gained: 125-150 yards. While those ranks get worse when zoning in on the last 24 rounds, inside the top-50 in only strokes gained: par 5s, Howell is the type of golfer who can be streaky and, despite the key stats, his game is trending in the right direction.
Target: Sam Burns ($10,100) - Projected for 10 to 12% ownership, Burns has made the cut in 12 straight tournaments, finishing inside the top-12 three times over that span. That includes a seventh place finish at the 3M Open. Over the last 50 rounds, Burns sits inside the top-10 in birdies or better (seventh) and strokes gained: par 5s (first), but does fall outside of the top-65 in the other three key stats and outside the top-100 in strokes gained: approach and proximity gained: 125-150 yards. However, Burns ranks inside the top-80 in all five key stats over the last 24 rounds while sitting inside the top-20 in opportunities gained (16th), birdies or better (second) and strokes gained: par 5s (first).
Avoid: Zach Johnson ($10,300) - Projected at just over 11% ownership (a number that could rise as his favorite percentage sits at 35% on FantasyNational), Johnson has not finished better than 35th over his last five tournaments. He missed two cuts over that span, and he has not tee'd it up since the U.S. Open. A course history stud, which could also raise his ownership, Johnson has finished within the top-35 in all seven appearances at the John Deere, including five top-five performances. Over the last 24 rounds, Johnson sits 55th or worse in four of the five key stats, and ranks 117th in birdies or better, but does come in at ninth in proximity gained: 125-150 yards.
Mid-Priced Tier ($9,900 - $9,000)
Target: Mackenzie Hughes ($9,000) - Projected for less than 8% ownership, Hughes has made the cut in five straight tournaments, including three top-25 finishes over that span. Over the last 24 rounds, Hughes sits inside the top-55 in all five key stats, though he doesn't crack the top-25 in any of the key stats. He tops off at 27th in strokes gained: par 5s. Expanding to the last 50 rounds, Hughes falls inside the top-70 in all five key stats, topping off at 23rd in strokes gained: par 5s. Projected as one of the lowest-owned golfers in this tier, Hughes has gained strokes putting in six straight tournaments, and he finished 16th at last year's John Deere.
Avoid: Peter Malnati ($9,100) - Likely coming in as one of the top-owned golfers in this tier, projected above 22%, Malnati has cracked the top-25 just once over his last eight tournaments including a missed cut at Wells Fargo. Over the last 24 rounds, Malnati projects, based on the key stats, as one of the top-golfers in the field. He slots inside the top-20 in all five key stats and ranks second in strokes gained: approach. However, zooming in on the last 12 rounds, Malnati ranks outside the top-30 in four of the five key stats, coming in at 16th in strokes gained: approach, and he has not performed well at the John Deere, missing two cuts in his four appearances and his best finish came in 2016 when he finished 27th.
Low-Priced Tier ($8,900 and below)
Target: Shawn Stefani ($8,700) - Stefani has made three straight cuts, improving his finish in each of those three tournaments, capping it off with 15th place finish at last week's 3M Open. Despite that, he is projected to come in at sub-7% ownership. Over the last 50 rounds, Stefani sits inside the top-60 in three of the five key stats, including a ninth in strokes gained: approach, while sitting outside the top-100 in strokes gained: par 5s and proximity gained: 125-150 yards. Narrowing in on the last 24 rounds, Stefani ranks inside the top-60 in four of the five key stats (seventh in strokes gained: approach) while still sitting outside of the top-100 in proximity gained: 120-150 yards.
Target: Roger Sloan ($8,100) - Sloan, who has made the cut in five of his last six tournaments, including finishing 15th at last week's 3M Open, is projected to come in below 6% ownership. Over the last 12 rounds, Sloan ranks inside the top-35 in four of the five key stats, coming inside the top-10 in opportunities gained and proximity gained: 125-150 yards, while sitting 80th in strokes gained: par 5s. Expanding out to his last 50 rounds, Sloan ranks inside the top-50 in all five key stats, and he is inside the top-25 in birdies or better, opportunities gained, and strokes gained: par 5s.
Avoid: Sam Ryder ($8,900) - After a 34th place finish at last week's 3M Open, Ryder is projected at just over 17% ownership, which would put him as one of the top-owned golfers in this tier. Ryder, though, has not finished inside the top-30 since the Shriners in early November while missing five cuts over that span. Over the last 50 rounds, he ranks inside the top-60 in all five key stats and finds his way inside the top-30 in four of the five, including sitting fifth in proximity gained: 125-150 yards. When zooming in on the last 12 rounds, Ryder comes inside the top-55 in just one key stat (strokes gained: approach), and he falls outside the top-90 in birdies or better and strokes gained: par 5s. While his long-term form looks good, I am more willing to rely on recent form for golfers in this tier than I would be for the top-ranked golfers in the world.
Ben Fisher is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ben Fisher also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Gvsubrickwall. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.