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DraftKings DFS Fantasy Golf Cheat Sheet: 2021 PGA TOUR WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Picks

Geoff Ulrich gets you set for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play with winning trends and his picks for your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups.

The Cheat Sheet provides DraftKings fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: $600,000 Rusurgence [$200,000 to 1st]


The Field

This will be the third year that the match play format and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play are available on DraftKings for DFS purposes. As such, I’ve included the scoring again (see further down) as holes won and matches won (or halved) will be our main way of achieving fantasy points. Field-wise, this is a 64-man match-play event that starts off in a “pod” style, round-robin format. After a draw, players are put into pods of four where they will play each other once over the first two days. The best record from each group then advances into the round of 16, at which point the tournament becomes a single-knockout, March Madness bracket-type of event.

As for the actual field, most of the top players are here, but some have skipped this week either due to injury or rest. Adam Scott played at The Honda Classic last week and decided to skip this event, while Justin Rose is doing something similar. Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka both remain out due to injury. These withdraws have allowed players like Ian Poulter and Erik Van Rooyen to sneak into the event as lower seeds. Once the pods get drawn you’ll know what the matchups are in the early rounds and more strategy will come into play. Also, take note that this event starts on Wednesday, so we get an extra day of golf this week, but one less day to prepare.



The Course

Austin Country Club — Austin, Texas

Par 71, 7,043 yards

Austin Country Club is hosting this event for the third year. It’s a Pete Dye-designed course that measures in quite short at just over 7,000 yards for a par 71 and has a nice blend of longer holes with tough approaches, featuring some quite scorable setups, as well.

The course is a mix of higher-elevation holes on the front and a flatter back nine that brings water in to play late in the round, playing across from Lake Austin. All three of the par 5’s are quite reachable, and it’s no shock that some big hitters — such as Bubba Watson, Jon Rahm and Dustin Johnson — have been able to blow the doors off this course at times in the last couple of years. That said, the final here in 2019 was between Kevin Kisner and Matt Kuchar — two guys who average around 290 OTT — so big distance isn’t necessary for success this week. A drivable par 4 over water also awaits players near the end and the risk-reward nature of several holes has seemingly made it a great spot for a match-play event.

The course itself features Bermuda grass. Since it’s located in Texas, wind is almost certain to be a factor on a day or two (forecast below). The par 3’s are all quite short, with three of them holding yardages between 175 and 200 yards. While there are several short par 4’s on the course, there’s also four that range between 450 and 500 yards. Checking the approaches and efficiency rankings between those two yardages isn’t a terrible idea this week.

2021 Outlook: All scoring is done in Match Play format this week, which means matches going off in better weather won’t have a shot at gaining you more points. From a course-setup standpoint, we could see a little rain early in the week with WED and THUR having some potential precipitation in the forecast. Cooler weather is also expected earlier in the week with highs sitting in the mid-70’s for the first two days of play. The forecast looks much better late in the week, though with sunny skies and highs in the 80’s. Austin CC generally plays presents lots of scoring opportunities for the players. While the wind is set to get around 10 mph in spots, it likely won’t deter players from going at pins. Expect the scoring to start out slow — and perhaps favor the players with better short games — and improve throughout the week.


Last Five winners

2020—No event (COVID-19)

2019—Kevin Kisner (d. Matt Kuchar)

2018—Bubba Watson (d. Kevin Kisner)

2017—Dustin Johnson (d. Jon Rahm)

2016 - Jason Day (d. Louis Oosthuizen)

Winners Trend: Going back to 2013, four of the last seven winners of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play had already recorded a stroke-play win in the same calendar year prior to winning this event, and the other winners (Day 2014 and Kuchar 2013) had at least one top-five finish on the season.



Match-play Scoring and Strategy

I’ve placed the basic format for match-play scoring below, and it can also be found here. Since actual stroke count is irrelevant this week, we’ll be relying on a player’s ability to win or halve (tie) holes and matches to get points. Essentially, it comes down to the more holes and matches your player wins — and the larger the margin of victory — the more points you’ll get.

The early rounds are matches that take place in 16, four-person “pods”. As such, targeting some more elite players in weaker pods with easy early match-ups could be key this week and a way to rack up points early; blowouts will be very valuable, in terms of getting fantasy points.

Per Hole Scoring

HOLES WON +3 PTS

HOLES HALVED +0.75 PTS

HOLES LOST -0.75 PTS

HOLES NOT PLAYED +1.6 PTS

MATCHES WON +5 PTS

MATCHES HALVED +2 PTS

Streaks & Bonuses Points

STREAK OF 3 CONSECUTIVE HOLES WON IN MATCH {MAX 1 PER ROUND} +5 PTS

NO HOLES LOST IN MATCH BONUS +7.5 PTS


Match-Play Specialists

1. Jason Day ($8,400; best finish: win – 2016 and 2014): Day is a two-time winner of this event (2014 and 2016). His second WGC match-play win came at Austin CC in 2016, and overall, he is 13-7 (with one match conceded) in his last 20 matches at this event.

2. Ian Poulter ($6,700; best finish: win –2010, T9-2018): Poulter won this event back in 2010 and also reached the semis back in 2013. He played Austin CC for the first time in 2018 and reached the quarter finals. Poulter has one of the best Ryder Cup record’s in the history of the event and is 7-2 in his last nine singles matches overall.

3. Patrick Reed ($9,600; best finish: T9-2018): Reed has become well known for his match-play talent, although he hasn’t been as successful in team-play events as he has been in singles. He won his pod here in 2018 and is also 2-0 in his last two Ryder/Presidents Cup matches since 2018.

4. Sergio Garcia ($8,300; best finish: T5-2019): Garcia has done well at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play previously. He’s now won his pod at this event in each of the two iterations — 2018 and 2019. He’s in a fun Euro pod this week with the likes of Lee Westwood ($7,700) and Tyrrell Hatton ($8,600).

5. Kevin Kisner ($7,600; best finish: win-2019): Kisner has more than proven himself in match-play format. The latest to win event when it was last played in 2019, he is now 11-2 over his last 13 matches at this event. Despite coming in with middling form this year, Kisner is not someone you want your DFS player facing this week.


Recent Form

1. Bryson DeChambeau ($10,900, Recent finishes: T3-win): DeChambeau seems to be peaking at the exact right time. He was dominant in Florida , gaining over +4.2 strokes on his approaches and over +2.0 strokes putting in his last two starts. If he keeps up the solid all-around play, he’ll be tough to stop at the year’s first major.

2. Justin Thomas ($11,200, Recent finishes: win-T15): Thomas grabbed the first PLAYERS win of his career a couple of weeks ago, gaining +12.9 strokes tee to green. It was vintage Thomas, and the American comes in ranked first in SG: Approach stats over the last 50 rounds. He’ll be looking to improve on his career-best fourth-place finish at this event in 2018 this year.

3. Matthew Fitzpatrick ($8,700, Recent finishes: T9-T10): Fitzpatrick has now finished inside the top 12 in each of his last four PGA TOUR starts. He is playing some of the best golf of his career, but hasn’t finished better than T17 (2017) at this event in four career starts.

4. Corey Conners ($7,800, Recent finishes: T7-T3): Conners has really picked up his play of late. The Canadian finished T7 and T3 in the last two Florida stops and has gained +12.1 strokes combined with his irons over that span. He ranks second in SG: Ball Striking over the last 50 rounds.

5. Jason Kokrak ($7,500, Recent finishes: T9-T8): Kokrak comes in having finished inside the top 10 in each of his last three starts. He’s really improved his putting in 2020 but has also gained +3.2 strokes or more on his approaches in each of his last two starts.


DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY

Match Play Format: Don’t over draft player from the same pod or brackets

The strategy this week in DFS obviously differs from a normal stroke-play event in that we are really trying to target players who have a good shot at wining matches and advancing. Therefore, we care more about draws and matchups than things like birdie-rates. For strategy purposes, it’s good to know where our players are in the bracket so we don’t have them running into each other too early — ultimately we’d like a shot at getting all four players in the final four.

For top players, I like targeting Patrick Cantlay ($9,800 - see below) who has an easier pod, but a tough bracket. On the other side of the draw Paul Casey ($8,900) also looks like a solid mid-tier target, and makes for an easy pair with either Viktor Hovland ($9,400) or Collin Morikawa ($10,400), who are in different pods but the same bracket — so playing both won’t be optimal. I’ve also outlined a couple of sleepers below who look like they’ll have good shots at pulling upsets and winning their pods. You’ll need at least one or two underdogs to fill out lineups. The full bracket can be found here.



MY PICK (Pod #10): Patrick Cantlay ($9,800)

Cantlay’s record at this event isn’t exactly overflowing with riches. He’s never advanced past the pod stage in two previous appearances, but he is 3-2-1 in six WGC-MP matches with one of the losses coming to Tiger Woods in 2019. He was dominant for the U.S. at the last Presidents Cup and enters this week needing a big start to rebound from a poor PLAYERS showing. Prior to the Sawgrass meltdown, Cantlay looked on the verge of something big as he’d landed second and T3 finishes at The American Express and Pebble Beach.

The 29-year-old has shown the kind of all-around game that can excel in the match-play format and has one of the best Pete Dye course histories in the field this week, ranking sixth in SG: Tee to Green stats on Dye venues over the last 50 competitive rounds. In a pod that features the struggling Hideki Matsuyama ($8,200) as the second seed — who hasn’t advanced past the pod stage in this event in four tries — I wouldn’t be afraid to pay up here and trust Cantlay to take care of business. A bounce back to form at a favorable venue seems likely this week.


MY SLEEPER (Pod #16): Russell Henley ($7,500)

Henley comes into this week off a T3 at The Honda Classic, where he gained over +8.0 strokes putting. Normally a player who is overly reliant on his ball-striking, Henley’s surge with his putter may come at the right time for an event like the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where a couple of long putts can go a long way in breaking your opponent. He is playing extremely consistent golf and he’s gained +2.5 strokes on his approaches in four of his last six starts and has now gained strokes putting in seven consecutive starts. Henley needs a big week to qualify for Augusta. While he lacks a big match-play portfolio (he last played this event in 2018) none of his five match-play losses in his career have come by more than one hole. Henley looks like a prime underdog to back this week in DFS.

MY SLEEPER (Pod #14): Erik Van Rooyen ($6,400)

Van Rooyen is coming off a pretty lackluster T60 at The Honda Classic, where a final-round 76 curtailed his chances landing a decent payday. Still, he comes into this week having made the cut in his last two PGA full-field events and was striking the ball well last week until he came unraveled Sunday. While he doesn’t have much match play experience, he is in possession of a T8 from the PGA in 2019 and a T3 from the WGC Mexico in 2020. In short, he’s got the game to compete against these tough fields and has been given a pretty fortuitous draw here against the possibly injured Daniel Berger ($9,000) and the semi-struggling Harris English ($7,300) — who pulled out of THE PLAYERS last minute. Van Rooyen is a decent punt play who should be able to advance in a very wide-open pod this week.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: $600K Resurgence [$200,000 to 1st]



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