John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

PGA DFS: FedEx St. Jude Classic (DraftKings Preview)

Fantasy Golf Expert Ryan Baroff will help you cash in on DraftKings. This is a free preview of his PREMIUM PGA DFS Rundown! To read the full write-up, follow the link at the bottom which will direct you to the Premium article.

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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 offer 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, the Tour moves to Memphis and TPC Southwind, the longtime host of this event. The course is a par-70 where accuracy is going to be key. Fairways and greens are tough to hit, and elite iron players (and putters) have had success here over the years. Players are going to be able to hit driver off most tees, but hitting the fairways is going to be critical to success. If the wind picks up, so will the bogeys. Because we have a par-70, we need to focus on par-4 scoring. Specifically, we have a handful of long par-4 holes (over 450 yards), which is like what we saw last week. Players near the top of the ball-striking statistic on Tour are my main targets this week.

The last thing that I’ll point out this week is that it is the week prior to a major, so results are going to be even more unpredictable than usual. There will be a plethora of WDs pre-tournament, and even some midway through the event. Many Tour pros like playing the week before a major, and many others take the week off. There’s also a large contingent of players in the field who can only reach the U.S. Open with a win in Memphis, so maybe give an extra look to those players. This week’s field is headlined by Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott, and Phil Mickelson. 

Recent Tournament History

TPC Southwind 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 Byron Nelson, the Dean & DeLuca Invitational, and last week’s Memorial.

Statistical Report

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. Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Scott Piercy, Phil Mickelson, Luke List, and Francesco Molinari 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):

TPC Southwind 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 Rickie Fowler, Francesco Molinari, Kyle Stanley, Ian Poulter, Stewart Cink, and Phil Mickelson.

Strokes Gained Around-the-Green (SG:ARG):

TPC Southwind is a traditional ball-strikers course, but the greens (and fairways) and small and difficult to hit. That’s going to create many scrambling opportunities for these players, so short game will be a major key to success. Gaining strokes around-the-green is critical this week, and I think our winner will come from this list of SG:ARG specialists: Ian Poulter, Matt Jones, Cameron Tringale, Rickie Fowler, and Phil Mickelson. 

Studs

*In order of my rankings 

Rickie Fowler ($12,000) – Fowler is the man to beat this week, and Vegas agrees. He nearly won the Memorial last week, but fell apart a bit down the stretch. He’s gaining strokes on the field in all categories, and is one of the players on Tour who seems to hold form for several weeks. He’s only played here once, but did post a 13th place finish. He’s looking ahead to Erin Hills, but Fowler needs every win he can get on Tour. If he’s motivated, Rickie will win this week.

Phil Mickelson ($10,200) – This is a very fair price for Mickelson, who loves this course. He’s finished 2nd, 3rd, 11th, and 2nd the past four seasons, and fits the mold of who I’m targeting this week. Phil hits deadly irons, and can scramble as well as anyone on Tour. The one concern for Mickelson this week is the distraction before next week’s U.S. Open. He made headlines by saying he’s likely to skip the event for a family function, so you know the media will be all over him this week. In any event, I can’t think of a better place for Phil to get back into the winner’s circle.

Francesco Molinari ($10,500) – If there’s ever a week for Molinari to break through for his first PGA Tour win, this could be it. For the past few months, he’s been one of the hottest players in the world. He finished 6th at the Players Championship and then 2nd at the BMW PGA Championship. He played decently here a year ago in his debut, posting a top-35 finish. Molinari is an elite ball-striker who has been making birdies in bunches this season. He’s one of my picks to win this week, if the top-end guys don’t have their best. 

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