The Cheat Sheet provides fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.
This week will mark the first WGC event since the restart in June. The WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational will play with a full 78-man field this week as the Tour is allowing players currently ranked outside of the top-50 in the OWGR to act as alternates here. This means we’ll be getting a very competitive field for the first WGC event since March as almost all the top names will be in attendance this week with the PGA Championship just one week out. The major name missing of course is Tiger Woods, who has opted to skip this event for extra rest prior to heading to TPC Harding Park. There are also injury concerns now around Dustin Johnson ($9,300; back), who withdrew from the 3M Open in Minnesota last week after opening with a 78. He’s still in the field but has looked terrible over his past three rounds.
Recent winners like Jon Rahm ($11,400), Collin Morikawa ($9,500) and even Michael Thompson ($7,000) will all be in the field, while two-time winner of the non-WGC version of this event Daniel Berger ($9,600; won in 2016 and 2017) has also qualified. His course history here should make him a popular DFS target. We’ll also be getting our first look at Henrik Stenson ($7,600), who has yet to tee it up competitively since the restart began. With the reduced field comes reduced golf sweats as all of the players will be getting in four rounds of golf this week and there will be no cut after Friday. Still, expect tons of movement in your DraftKings classic lineups as everyone will have six golfers scoring for each day of the event.
TPC Southwind — Memphis, Tenn.
Par 70, 7,238; Greens: Bermuda
TPC Southwind is a tricky, tree-lined PGA venue that features plenty of water and smaller than average Bermuda greens. While it bears some similarities to other recent courses like TPC River Highlands (Travelers) and Harbour Town GC (RBC Heritage), it has generally been a much tougher venue than those two over its lifespan. Southwind isn’t an overly long course but there are very tight fairways and numerous doglegs that really stretch out some of the holes. On average, fairways here are 5-7% harder to hit than an average PGA TOUR stop, with greens being equally tough to find. The course has produced winners at 16- and 19-under par the past two seasons but the venue still played as the 11th hardest on Tour in 2018 and yielded just a 70.520 scoring average.
As a traditional par 70, TPC Southwind has just two par 5s which played as the two easiest holes on the course last year. The 16th will be reachable in two by almost everyone and is probably the only hole on the course where players will lose ground if they don’t walk away with at least birdie. The course features four par 3s as well, two of which play as “island style” greens. As for the par 4s, there are six of them that measure in at 450 yards or longer and only two that come in under 400 yards. While this might not faze players given today’s technology, the doglegs on several of these holes mean longer approaches are often necessary to reach the smaller than normal greens.
These longer holes will put a lot of pressure on all facets of a player’s game and winners at this venue generally tend to do well throughout the bag. Last year’s winner, Brooks Koepka ($9,200), gained an insane +9.3 strokes on the greens here last season but also gained +3.7 on APP and OTT. TPC Southwind likely won’t give us the same kind of grueling test we saw at Muirfield Village two weeks ago, although if the wind gets up the water and smaller greens means major championship conditions could develop at some point.
2020 weather outlook: As mentioned above, TPC Southwind is a difficult but fair venue that can be turned into a bit of brute if the weather gets bad. The weather this week isn’t necessarily terrible, but it’s not all sunshine and lollipops either. Scattered thunderstorms are in the vicinity for all four days and likely to cause a stoppage on at least one of the first two days. Things do clear up a bit for the weekend, but the wind is likely to be a factor all week. Gusts into the 10-15 mph range, and possibly even bigger, look set to be a factor for the first three days with things dying down a bit on Sunday. The good news for DFS is that with a smaller field, big wave discrepancies aren’t likely to occur. Showdown players may want to keep checking the weather throughout the week though as AM or PM tee times could benefit on one of the last two days of play.
Last Five Winners
***WGC results (beginning 2019 onwards)
2019—Brooks Koepka -16 (over Webb Simpson -13)
**Old FedEx St. Jude Classic results (played at TPC Southwind)
2018—Dustin Johnson -19 (over Andrew Putnam -13)
2017—Daniel Berger -10 (over Whee Kim and Charl Schwartzel -9)
2016—Daniel Berger -13 (over Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Steve Stricker -10)
2015 – Fabian Gomez -13 (over Greg Owen -9)
- The last four winners at TPC Southwind had an average rank of 18th in SG: TTG stats for the year of their win; the last two winners averaged 6th in this stat.
Winners Stats and Course Highlights
Brooks Koepka (2019)
· Six par 4s will play between 450-500 yards this week making Par 4 efficiency from this distance something to consider. Last year’s winner Brooks Koepka ranks third in this category over the past 100 rounds.
· On average, the field here has hit about 54-56% of fairways at TPC Southwind, with winners averaging right around the same amount.
· Players who have landed inside the top 10 at this event have gained about +0.6 strokes more on APP than OTT; the busiest approach distances for proximity purposes being from 150-175 yards and 175-200.
· Players landing inside the top 20 and upward have generally outpaced the field in greens hit as well as fairways gained throughout the week. While putting and short games remain somewhat volatile here, year-to-year, consistent ball-striking is almost always a recipe for a great week at this venue.
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful of putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their odds of winning this week.
Jason Day +4500 and $8,200
· Billy Horschel +5000 and $8,500
· Rickie Fowler +5500 and $8,300
· Abraham Ancer +4500 and $8,400
Paul Casey +7000 and $7,800
· Matthew Wolff +9000 and $7,800
· Jordan Spieth +7000 and $8,100
· Sergio Garcia +7000 and $8,000
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Dustin Johnson (best finishes: win-2018, 2012): Johnson has won at TPC Southwind twice in his career and also carries other top finishes at this venue on his record, including a fifth-place finish here from 2016 when he fired a final round 63. He’s the lead course horse but carries a lot of risk after withdrawing last week with a bad back.
2. Daniel Berger (best finishes: win-2016, 2017): Berger won at TPC Southwind on his first visit here when it was still hosting the non-WGC version of this event. He’s a great Par 70 player, who also tends to excel on Bermuda greens. He’ll be playing this event for the first time since it changed to a WGC but seems likely to be a popular target here given his recent form and insanely good course history.
3. Brooks Koepka (best finishes: win-2019, T2-2016, T3-2015): Brooks won in dominant fashion here last season, besting the field by three strokes. On top of winning here last year, when he led the field in Strokes Gained: Putting by over a stroke, he’s also picked up numerous top-5 finishes at the old FedEx event. Despite his poor play of late and some injury concerns he has vocalized, this is a good venue for Brooks to bounce back into form prior to the PGA Championship.
4. Billy Horschel (best finishes: T9-2020, T4-2017): Horschel has found lots of success at TPC Southwind over his career, posting five top-10 finishes here over his past seven starts. Even with the increase in field strength here last season, Horschel was able to post a T9 in the first WGC version of this event and should garner lots of chatter this week considering that he’s coming off back-to-back top-15 finishes at Muirfield.
5. Chez Reavie (best finishes T4-2017): Like Horschel, Chez has done well at TPC Southwind, mainly at the old event it used to host. Reavie finished T6 and T4 in his past two visits to this venue and put up a respectable T27 against an elite field here last season. Like Horschel, he also enters this year’s version with some momentum after posting top-25 finishes in his past two starts.
Cash Games: Looking at the salary structure and recent form of the top players this week, starting things off with a combo of Patrick Cantlay ($10,100) and Viktor Hovland ($9,400) doesn’t seem like a poor idea at all. Cantlay has been superb most of the year and shot three rounds of 68 or better here last year, while Hovland leads the field in SG: TTG stats over the past 24 rounds. The duo should set up well for what could be another tough week where great ball striking is rewarded. Lower down, the price on both Gary Woodland ($8,600) and Sergio Garcia ($8,000) look solid here. Garcia has showcased some great ball striking at points since the restart and should find this week’s venue to his liking over time. Some other cash game targets for this week include Adam Hadwin ($7,200), Danny Willett ($7,100) and Chez Reavie ($6,700).
Tournaments: Rory McIlroy ($11,200) was uncharacteristically sloppy around the greens at The Memorial, but his ball-striking was on point for the most part. The Northern Irishman played well at this event last season, gaining a T4 finish and shouldn’t garner a ton of ownership compared to others in his range given his lack of big finishes of late. For value options, both Paul Casey ($7,800) and SungJae Im ($7,500) look like tempting bounce-back plays here at bargain prices. Casey has been held back only by errors on and around the greens, mistakes he should clean up eventually. Im has looked a bit lost of late but has always played better on Bermuda greens and is coming off a rare week of rest which may help. Other big field GPP targets for this week include Brooks Koepka ($9,200), Bubba Watson ($7,100), Shane Lowry ($6,600) and Tom Lewis ($6,200-see below).
Top Recent Form
1. Jon Rahm ($11,400, Recent finishes: win-T27): Rahm is coming off one of the more dominant wins of the season when he survived brutal conditions at Muirfield Village to gain his third PGA Tour win. The Spaniard took a few starts to get going but was ridiculously good in his last outing and is now the No. 1 player in the world. He’s deserving of top billing this week.
2. Justin Thomas ($10,700, Recent finishes: T18-2nd): Thomas has had a great stretch of starts since the restart, faltering only once at the RBC Heritage where he missed the cut. He was unlucky not to get the win at the Workday, where he finished solo second but has four top-10s now in his past six starts and is first in SG:TTG stats over the past 50 rounds.
3. Viktor Hovland ($9,400, Recent finishes: T48-3rd-T12): Hovland only finished T48 in his last start at The Memorial but has arguably showcased the best ball striking on Tour since the restart. He leads the field in SG:TTG stats over the past 24 rounds and has five top-25 finishes in his past six starts, including a solo third-place at the Workday.
4. Tony Finau ($9,100, Recent finishes: T3-8th): Finau has come alive over his past couple of starts, as he was the 36-hole leader at The Memorial two weeks ago and was up inside the top 5 for most of the week at the 3M Open, where he eventually finished T3. Still looking for his second win on Tour, the No. 16-ranked player in the world comes in looking ready to compete in the year’s biggest events moving forward.
5. Mackenzie Hughes ($6,400, Recent finishes: T6-T48-T3): Hughes has been a surprisingly good fantasy target since the restart. The Canadian had missed six of seven cuts before catching fire over the past month with two top-6 finishes in his past three events. He’s been on fire with his putter, gaining over +4-strokes putting in three starts.
MY PICK: Gary Woodland ($8,600)
Woodland’s been under-the-radar sharp of late, landing two top 10s in his past five starts, results which include a T5 at the recent Workday Open. Short one misstep at the Travelers, Woodland’s approach game has been somewhere between great and nuclear since the restart as he’s now gained over +6 strokes on APP twice over his past five starts. While his off the tee play has been up and down, this is an area of his game you’d expect to stabilize soon, as he has not ranked worse than 31st in SG:OTT stats over the past five years on Tour.
Woodland hasn’t played TPC Southwind a ton and his T55 finish here last year can almost be ignored as it came directly after his U.S. Open win (i.e.: first major hangover). However, he did finish T18 here back in 2013, shooting 64 in the final round. Having also collected wins on similarly tough venues like Copperhead and Pebble Beach — which both feature smaller, harder to hit greens — TPC Southwind seems like a great spot for Woodland long-term. The 2019 U.S. Open winner is still looking for a follow-up win to his major championship victory and at $8,600, this could easily be the week he achieves that feat, making him an intriguing DFS target in the mid-$8K range.
MY Sleeper: Tom Lewis ($6,200)
Lewis has started to look perky of late, landing T32 and T12 finishes in his past two PGA starts. The Englishman has won as a professional four times now and was in good form in late 2019 and early 2020, before a drop in play. However, his past two starts have shown some real promise. While he was carried somewhat by his putter in his T12 finish at the Rocket Mortgage in Detroit, he did finish 22nd in Greens in Regulation there as well. Last week saw him much more consistent throughout the bag, as he finished the week 22nd in SG: TTG and fifth in Greens in Regulation. The fact he lost strokes putting in Minnesota but still finished T32, showcases how solid the rest of his game was.
Lewis’ consistent ball-striking should translate well to TPC Southwind, which has always rewarded players who hit a ton of greens and keep themselves out of the worst of trouble. While this will be his first start at Southwind, it won’t be his first foray against tougher competition. Lewis finished T11 at the Open last year and also competed well at the Euro Tour’s limited-field DP World Tour Championship at the end of 2019, finishing T6. At $6,200 in price, he’s barely more than the min but carries significant upside this week given his pedigree and increasing form.
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