Eric Sucar-USA TODAY Sports

PGA DFS: OHL Classic

Fantasy Golf Expert Ryan Baroff pinpoints the top players to target on DraftKings for this week's PGA tournament!

Well, it was almost Brooks week last week, as I suspected. Unfortunately, he’s making a name for himself as a non-closer, although this was more of Rod Pampling playing incredibly well than Brooks’ blowing a chance to win. The fall swing, in general, has been very good to us. We’ve been able to target some of the web.com Tour graduates who have come out on fire. Notably, guys like Ryan Blaum, Trey Mullinax, and Ryan Brehm have had strong finishes and are making tons of birdies.

Daily and weekly fantasy sports have become all the rage. Battling it out over an entire season is fun, but sites like DraftKings offer a quicker payoff and big payouts for winners! Not only do they provide daily action in the four major professional sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) as well as college basketball and football but also the PGA Tour.

Your DraftKings lineup is made up of six golfers you select from within the $50,000 salary cap.

Each week DraftKings offers a wide selection of games to enter at a variety of price points. You can even get a feel for the game in a freeroll contest. Before you put your cash on the line, I'll offer my Top Values and Steals in this space every week, specifically geared to help build a winning DraftKings squad. I'll also give you my Overpriced golfers to avoid and a couple of “Vegas Says…” tips to help you find those players for GPPs.

Tournament Stop

This week, we head to Mexico for the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. El Camaleon Golf Club is the host, and we have plenty of course history to draw upon. The course is an extremely short par-71, with four par-3s and three par-5s. All of the par-5s play pretty easy, so they’re going to be that way for all players in the field. All but one of the par-3s plays under 160 yards, so we should see a higher than usual number of par-3 birdies. Because of that, I’m not going to focus on bombers and par-5 scoring, but more on accuracy, par-3 scoring, and par-4 scoring. I think players who hit a high percentage of their fairways (and thus, greens), will be atop the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon. There’s a ton of trouble off the tee, including sand dunes, jungle vegetation, and canals that are automatic penalty strokes. And with no ShotTracker this week, prepare for plenty of tilt when the double bogeys pop up on the scoreboard. However, with rain in the forecast this week, players who keep their drives in play will be flag hunting. I’m going to keep targeting birdie-makers with upside, as we should see an absolute birdie fest here this week.

Recent Tournament History

Here is the data we can draw upon for this week’s Tournament History:

Finished in the top-20 each of the last three years: Jason Bohn.

Finished in the top-20 in two of the last three years: Scott Brown, Charles Howell III, Johnson Wagner, Jason Kokrak, Will MacKenzie, Peter Malnati.

Current Form Review

Each week, we’ll take a look backward at the last three tournaments on the PGA and European Tours. I’ve included the top-20 from each of the past three events, and highlighted the players in this field:

Statistical Report

Birdie or Better % (BoB%):

There are not many weeks where we aren’t going to target birdie or better percentage because that’s what fantasy golf scoring is all about. Guys like Jon Rahm, Emiliano Grillo, Tony Finau, and web.com Tour graduates Grayson Murray, Ryan Blaum, and JT Poston comes to mind in this week’s field when targeting birdie-makers. It’s possible to have a player finish top-10 in fantasy points while not finishing anywhere close to the top-10 in the actual event.

Good Drive Percentage (GD%):

You can target driving accuracy alone, but I also wanted to target some distance metrics, as distance (when drives are straight) is a huge advantage anywhere. As mentioned, the rough/hazards off the tee can be very penal, so keeping the ball in play off the tee is essential. Certain bombers can overcome bad drives because they hit it far enough that they’ll have wedges in their hands anyways. And shorter hitters will still pop in this stat because they hit a ton of fairways. Some names in the field that pop from 2015’s GD% rankings are Chez Reavie, Kevin Streelman, David Hearn, Webb Simpson, and Jason Bohn.

Par 4 Scoring (P4):

This week should be a birdie fest for the players, and as mentioned, there’s an extra par-4 on the course. With almost the entire field able to reach par-5s in two and the par-3s playing easy, the par-4 performance will set players apart from the rest of the field. Some of the names I mentioned above (Chez Reavie, Jason Bohn, and Webb Simpson) also check this box. Another thing that’s great about par-4 scoring is that we have data on the new web.com Tour players. C.T. Pan, J.T. Poston, Grayson Murray, and Martin Flores are all elite par-4 scorers from the web.com Tour who are in the field this week.

Studs

*In order of my rankings

Jon Rahm ($10,700) – Chalk Rahm last week, where he was nearly 50% owned in certain contests. But that ownership was justified, as he is super consistent, makes birdies, and was significantly underpriced. This week, he’s priced appropriately in all markets but is still an attractive name in a weak field. He’s going to win soon, and I think a course where he finished top-10 last year is a good bet. My only concern is that Rahm is more of a distance player than an accuracy player.

Emiliano Grillo ($11,200) – Grillo is the class of this field. He rips it off the tee, hits deadly irons, and has the most experience on these greens of anyone in the field. The Argentine should be very comfortable playing a shorter golf course on familiar grass, and I expect tons of birdies this week. Although he’s never played here, he has a fantastic streak over his last nine starts: 11th, 17th, 26th, 10th, 32nd, 33rd, 2nd, 8th, and 13th.

Keegan Bradley ($10,000) – Keegan’s putter has finally clicked, as he’s begun this season with finishes of 22nd, 7th, and 6th. He’s made 57 birdies and three eagles so far this season, and that’s huge for fantasy scoring. Keegan is an elite driver of the golf ball, but also ranked highly in iron proximity last year on Tour. If his putter stays hot, Keegan can easily dust this field for a victory. With everybody flocking to Rahm, Grillo, and Knox this week, Keegan for $10,000 should be the lowest owned of the bunch.

Billy Horschel ($10,300) – Hopefully people see Horschel’s 41st place finish last week and don’t think anything of it. He played much better than that, most notably in his opening round 64. He’s a streaky player, and I’m going to keep riding him while he’s playing well in soft fields. He’s by no means a bomber, so his game is similar to a lot of the previous winners of this event: John Huh, Harris English, Graeme McDowell, and Mark Wilson.

Russell Knox ($11,800) – Knox is only fifth in my rankings because his price in betting markets and on fantasy golf sites is ridiculously high. However, he’s exactly the player you want to target this week. Accuracy. Scrambling. Success on paspalum greens. Runner-up here last season. He’s also coming off 9th and 10th place finishes in Asia and has had a week to rest. Knox will either dust this field by about five strokes or hang around the cut line on Friday.

Harris English ($9,500) – English finished fourth last week which was a fantastic sign since he had struggled to find top-10 form most of the last season. He’s now coming back to a venue where he’s won, which is another huge plus. I like English a lot this week in a weak field, as long as he clubs down and keeps the ball in the fairway.

Tony Finau ($9,400) – Although we always target Finau on Bentgrass greens, his sole win on Tour (2016 Puerto Rico Open) came on paspalum greens. He said in interviews that he’s only going to hit one or two drivers per round here, but that doesn’t necessarily hurt his chances: “I’m still able to use my length by hitting 3-woods and 2-irons and moving it up the fairway still where most guys would have to hit driver and things.” His price is a little high this week, but he does have a seventh place finish here on his record.

Steals

Marc Leishman ($8,500) – I honestly didn’t even notice Leishman in the field my first time through, but I’m starting to like him more and more. He came out of nowhere (form-wise) to finish 5th at the CIMB Classic, our main comp course this week. He’s an Aussie, so playing in the windy conditions shouldn’t affect him too much. Leishman can be volatile at times, but his scrambling abilities and bogey avoidance stats interest me.

Ryan Blaum ($6,900) – It’s been a really strong start for Blaum’s rookie season, finishing 26th, 11th, and 31st in his fall swing events. He also played at Mayakoba last season, posting a top-30 finish. One thing I love about Blaum is his birdie making ability, great for DraftKings scoring. In his three events this year, he’s posted 53 total birdies and is averaging over 81 DraftKings points per event. On the web.com Tour last year, he was 3rd in par-4 scoring and 7th in birdie or better percentage. Sign me up.

Zac Blair ($6,200) – Blair missed the cut last week, but it was by a single stroke after rounds of 71 and 69. I can overlook that. He made each of the previous two cuts this season, including a near top-25 at the CIMB Classic (a decent comp course this week). At Mayakoba, Blair has posted a 23rd and a 10th place finish in the past two seasons. Blair has also had a lot of success at the Sony Open, another tropical course that requires accuracy. He was 5th last year on Tour in driving accuracy, so I think he could contend for another top-10 this week at a low price.

Pivot plays

Jason Kokrak ($7,900) – Kokrak is a bomber, but has a surprisingly good record at shorter golf courses. He’s had tons of success at Harbor Town, as well as 16th and 17th place finishes here the previous two seasons. He’s going to go extremely overlooked with more popular names like Charles Howell III and Webb Simpson nearby, but he’s worth a flier or two.

Shawn Stefani ($7,300) – Last week was tremendous for Stefani, who made 19 birdies and two eagles en route to a top-10 finish. He’s an excellent ball-striker who can be very streaky, so I’m going to play him while he’s in form. He also seems to pop up in weaker field events (the John Deere, for one). He finished 25th here a year ago and 2nd in 2014. Course history plus recent form is a great formula pointing towards Stefani this week.

Fabian Gomez ($6,600) – He’s made both cuts here, including one top-25, and has made his last six cuts on Tour. Gomez is a player to target on short courses that require accuracy and scrambling, which we have here. He checks the boxes at several of our comparable courses, and playing in a tropical environment should be comfortable for the Argentine.

Vegas Says…

This section focuses on “odds” players – those players whose odds vary the greatest on their DraftKings salaries. Keep in mind; this doesn’t make these players “good plays” or “bad plays,” but it simply measures the value based on their price. I’ve done this not just with the actual rankings, but as a percentage. So if two players have a difference of 10 spots in pricing versus odds rankings, the player ranked higher overall will have a higher percentage. It’s a quick way to find value. I use an aggregate of odds from various oddsmakers to come up with my valuation.

The value differential column shows the number of spots lower in salary than their odds to win imply. The differential % column shows that as a percentage of the players DraftKings salary ranking. Here is a list of the top-15 “values” based on my aggregations:

DraftKings lineups for the OHL Classic at Mayakoba

Stars and Scrubs

Russell Knox

$11,800

Tony Finau

$9,400

Graeme McDowell

$9,100

Danny Lee

$6,700

Fabian Gomez

$6,600

Zac Blair

$6,200

Balanced

Harris English

$9,500

Tony Finau

$9,400

Gary Woodland

$8,600

Jason Bohn

$7,600

Alex Cejka

$7,300

Charley Hoffman

$6,900

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