FanDuel recently updated their PGA DFS offering, so players are trying to figure out the new format and optimize their lineups accordingly. Basically, they’ve taken away their split rosters, and made their PGA product very similar to DraftKings’ product. The main difference is that you’ll still have eight golfers to choose, and each player will accrue points for all four tournament rounds.
FanDuel Golf Scoring System:
Eagle = 7 points
Birdie = 3.1 points
Par = 0.5 point
Bogey = -1 point
Double bogey (or worse) = -3 points
Streak bonus = 0.6 points per hole under par
Bounce back (birdie or better after making bogey or worse) = 0.3 points
5+ Birdies in a round = 4 points
Bogey-free round = 5 points.
1st place = 20 points
2nd-5th place = 12 points
6th-10th place = 8 points
11th-25th place = 5 points
This week, the Tour returns to Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. It’s a Jack Nicklaus design, and you’ll hear (and see) plenty of the Golden Bear this week. This par-72 is a traditional layout, measuring nearly 7,400 yards. We’re going to see bombers utilize the driver off-the-tee this week, as the fairways are wide (however, the rough can be very thick and penal, as this is usually a U.S. Open tune-up). The Tour will see some of the fastest and purest bentgrass greens all season long, so putting will be critical all week.
This is one of the most stacked fields of the year, mainly due to players honoring Nicklaus and preparing for the U.S. Open. Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, and Hideki Matsuyama are all here. Rory would have been, but he’s out with an injury. We’ve seen some of the world’s elite win here (Tiger dominated this track), but we’ve also seen first time winners such as Hideki Mastuyama, David Lingmerth, and William McGirt.
Some of the keys that I’m targeting this week are strokes gained off-the-tee, strokes gained approach, par-4 scoring, and bogey avoidance. One interesting list I saw was par-4 efficiency from over 450 yards. This week, we’ll see six par-4s playing in that range, and here are some of the names that popped: Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson, Ollie Schneiderjans, and Rafa Cabrera-Bello.
Recent Tournament History
Muirfield Village has been the longtime host of this event, so we have plenty of tournament history to draw upon. Here are the results from the previous three seasons.
Current Form Review
Each week, we’ll look backward at the last three tournaments on the PGA and European Tours. I have included the top-20 from the past three full-field events: the Players Championship, the Byron Nelson, and last week’s Dean & DeLuca.
Birdie or Better % (BoB%):
There are really not many weeks where we aren’t going to target birdie or better percentage, because that’s what fantasy golf scoring is all about. There’s going to be plenty of bogeys this week, so we need birdies to offset the damages. Guys Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson, Pat Perez, Scott Piercy, and Anirban Lahiri top this field in birdie or better percentage on Tour. 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.
Strokes Gained Approach (SG:APP):
Memorial has always been a stern test, emphasizing ball-striking and an all-around game. Strokes gained approach has been one of the biggest indicators of success her over the years. Scrambling is difficult, so players who can hit the most greens with a good proximity will have a massive edge over the field. Some names that stand out in the field are Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm, Kyle Stanley, Webb Simpson, Rickie Fowler, and Dustin Johnson.
Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee (SG:OTT):
Muirfield Village offers wide fairways, so bombers can take advantage off-the-tee. However, shorter hitters like David Lingmerth and William McGirt have won here recently, so pure distance isn’t a necessity. Gaining strokes off-the-tee (whether with raw distance or with accuracy) is critical this week, and I think our winner will come from this list of SG:OTT specialists: Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson, Kyle Stanley, Hideki Matsuyama, and Ben An.
*In order of my rankings
Dustin Johnson ($11,800) – DJ struggled on the weekend at Byron Nelson, but still finished in 13th place. That’s basically the floor for him at this point, as he’s in contention every week. When his game is on, he’s near-impossible to beat. DJ is the best driver of the golf ball, near the top of the game in iron play, and has dramatically improved his wedge game and putting. Basically, he’s the perfect player. He’s made eight of nine cuts at The Memorial, including two top-5 finishes.
Jon Rahm ($10,800) – Rahm is quickly becoming DJ-lite, and that’s just because he’s only won once. He’s basically doing the same things as DJ: smashing drives, hitting deadly irons, and scrambling well. He’s full of confidence, and has shown that he can play these difficult courses well even in his debut. Colonial didn’t seem to fit his game, but there he was finishing in 2nd again last week. Rahm checks all the statistical boxes I’m targeting.
Hideki Matsuyama ($9,800) – It’s tough to gauge ownership on these studs this week, since most of the public seems to be playing Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Hideki has struggled (relatively speaking) in recent weeks, but he did finish 11th and 22nd at the Masters the Player Championship, respectively. He’s a dynamic ball-striker who scores well on difficult par-4s, so Muirfield Village is the perfect fit for his game. This is also where Hideki got his first career victory, so plenty of positive memories at Jack’s place.
Bud Cauley ($7,100) – Cauley has been knocking on the door of his first career win all season, and I could see it coming here at The Memorial. His ball-striking and off-the-tee game have been fantastic recently, but he’s been let down on the greens. One concerning issue is that over his three appearances at this venue, he’s put up some abysmal putting stats. Hopefully that can turn around, because Cauley is ready to win. We’ve seen Matsuyama, Lingmerth, and McGirt all notch their breakthroughs here, and Cauley could be next. He’s never missed a cut at Muirfield Village, and has posted three recent top-10s on Tour.
Patrick Cantlay ($6,600) – I’m going to continue to ride the Cantlay train until this run stops. He’s been one of the best and most consistent players in his handful of starts on Tour this season, consistently posting top-10 finishes. He has the demeanor of an assassin on the course, and I expect his first win to come soon. He hits the ball well, doesn’t make mistakes, and scores well on long par-4s. Cantlay has putted well this season as well, which will be a major key at Muirfield Village. Cantlay is trying to qualify for the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, where he finished 2nd in the U.S. Amateur.
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