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DraftKings DFS Fantasy Golf Cheat Sheet: 2021 PGA TOUR John Deere Classic Picks

Geoff Ulrich gets you set for the John Deere Classic 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: PGA TOUR $700K Flop Shot [$200K to 1st]



The Field

The field this week is set at 156 golfers. However, with The Open Championship just one week away and several COVID-19 protocols still attached to that event, most of the top players have chosen to skip the Deere. Only five of the top 50 golfers in the OWGR are teeing it up here, making this one of the most wide open events of the season. Daniel Berger tops the list at No. 16 in the OWGR and will be joined by the likes of Sungjae Im (No. 27), Kevin Na (No. 40), Brian Harman (No. 46) and Si Woo Kim (No. 50).

Both the 2019 winner and runner-up — Dylan Frittelli and Russell Henley, respectively — are also in the field and will be looking to recapture some of that 2019 mojo. This event is always one of the lowest scoring of the year, so expect lots of DKFP this week as players pile on the bonus and birdies. The regular cut rules (top 65 and ties make the weekend) apply.


The Course

TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois

Par 71 –7,268 yards; Greens: Bentgrass

This is traditionally one of the easiest courses, if not the easiest, players will see all year. In 2018, it ranked as the sixth-easiest venue on TOUR, and it ranked as the 13th-easiest and yielded a 69.510 scoring average in 2019. The winning score here almost always hits 20 under par or better, and some scores in the low 60s will likely be put up every day.

TPC Deere Run is a par 71 and features three par 5s, all of which play very straightforward and are holes that must be taken advantage of by those planning to compete for the win. Of the past seven winners, only one (Jordan Spieth in 2013) has finished outside the top 10 in par 5 scoring for the week. The par 4s are also much more manageable than a typical par 71, and only a couple of them tend to play over par for the week. Two of them come in at under well under 400 yards and seven fall under 450 yards, making distance off the tee somewhat irrelevant. Par 4 efficiency form 400-450 yards is something to key in on — players who can get in a groove with their short irons here can give themselves decent birdie looks on almost every hole. The key distances here tend to be from 125-150 yards and 150-175 yards. It’s no shock 2019 runner-up Russell Henley ranked third in proximity from 125-150 yards in 2020 and first in 2021. Good wedge and short iron play can set players up for birdie looks on almost every hole.

The pure bentgrass greens here are always a welcome site for the players, too, since they are generally easy to navigate and often to lead to some monster putting weeks. Michael Kim gained over 13 strokes putting against the field when he won the event in 2018, and 2019 winner Dylan Frittelli gained +7.5 strokes putting and won despite losing strokes to the field on his approaches. Length off the tee can help set up more wedge opportunities, but the players’ main goal off the tee will be to hit the fairway so they can go flag hunting on their second shot into the well-manicured bentgrass greens.

2021 Outlook: The temperatures this week won’t get too out of control hot, with highs topping out in the low 80s on all four days. Thursday looks sunny enough with low winds. Friday does have some chance of precipitation in the afternoon, though, with winds getting slightly more elevated, but still staying under 10 mph. The first two days look mostly uneventful, although if you want to avoid the rain altogether, Friday morning starters have a better shot at that. The weekend has some chance of seeing rain, although winds are expected to stay low. With some moisture and lower temperatures in the forecast, expect the course to play receptively and for lots of low scores to be had again this year.



Last 5 winners

2019—Dylan Frittelli -21 (over Russell Henley -19)

2018—Michael Kim -27 (over Francesco Molinari and three others -19)

2017—Bryson DeChambeau -18 (over Patrick Rodgers -17)

2016 – Ryan Moore -22 (over Ben Martin -20)

2015 - Jordan Spieth - 20 (playoff over Tom Gillis)


Winning Trends

- Eight of the last 11 winners of this event had all played at TPC Deere Run in a previous year and made the cut at least once before their win.

- Six of the last nine winners of this event have ranked 54th or better in SG: Approach for the year of their win.

- Four of the last eight winners of this event have ranked inside the top 50 on TOUR in Approach Proximity from 125-150 yards in the year of their win.


Winners Stats and Course Overview

2019 Winner: Dylan Frittelli (21-under par)

2019 lead-in form (T46-T46-MC-T59-MC)

SG: OTT—+3.1

SG: APP—-0.9

SG: TTG—+7.0

SG: ATG—+4.8

SG: PUTT—+7.5

· As you can see, while you have to be at least adequate in the rest of your game, sinking putts is the name of the game here. The last three winners gained +7.5, +13.5 and +7.5 strokes putting in the weeks of their wins.

· Wedge play is obviously important, too, although players can get by just by being good with their short approaches here. Frittelli actually lost strokes on approach for the week of his win and 2017 runner-up Patrick Rodgers nearly accomplished the same feat.

· The course isn’t overly long, but there are some tighter fairways protected by fairway bunkers. Accuracy is important off the tee, and finding fairways is important. Of the top-5 finishers here the last two years, only one player gained less than +1.0 strokes off the tee.


Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)

Lucas Glover +5000 and $8,600

Comparables:

Zach Johnson +4500 and $8,500

Comparables:

All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change


HORSES FOR COURSES

  1. Zach Johnson ($8,500; best finishes: win-2012): ZJ’s record at this event over the years is a good career in and of itself. He’s played this event 11 times since 2009 and finished T5 or better seven times. Coming off a solid week at the Travelers where he gained +4.5 on approach, he’s the lead horse here once again.
  2. Ryan Moore ($8,300; best finishes: win-2016): Moore deserves some recognition at this venue, especially after he won here in 2016. He’s only missed the cut at Deere Run once in his last eight appearances and has three top-10 finishes at this event over his career. He ranks out third in SG: Total here over the last five years, as well.
  3. Johnson Wagner ($6,400; best finishes: T5-2015, 2016): Wagner has been extremely consistent at this event, with finishes of T16 or better in four of his last six starts here. Even in 2019 when he was out of form, he grabbed a T37, and he ranks second in SG: Total stats here the last five years. His last top 10 on TOUR came in 2019, but he has made two of his last three cuts in 2021.
  4. Brian Harman ($10,400; best finishes: win-2014): Harman has missed the cut at Deere Run twice in his seven career appearances, but he’s also recorded three top-10 finishes and a win here over that span. He has one missed cut in his last 14 PGA starts and was T5 his last time out at the Travelers.
  5. Scott Stallings ($7,400; best finishes: T5-2017): Stallings has been quite good at this event over the last four years, grabbing top-20 finishes in three of the last four iterations of this event. He’s sixth in SG: Total stats here over the last five years and is coming off a nice week in Detroit (T25).

RECENT FORM

1. Hank Lebioda ($8,400; T4-T5): Lebioda has been lights out of late, piling up six straight made cuts and back-to-back top-5 results. He’s been hot with the putter and leads the field in SG: Total stats over the past five events.

2. Brian Harman ($10,400; T5-T19): Harman has been one of the most consistent players in DFS this year, missing just one cut in 2021 — the PGA Championship. He has two top-10 finishes in his last three starts and is only avoidable here due to a massive salary increase.

3. Seamus Power ($9,000; T8-T19): Power has posted three top-20 finishes in a row and has gained over a stroke with his irons in five straight events. He’s trending toward a big week and has played well here in the past.

4. Troy Merritt ($8,700; T2-T36): Merritt has been under-the-radar good in 2021, posting four top-10 finishes in his last eight starts. He was a playoff loser last event and should be looking for another solid start at this venue, which tends to favor shorter hitters.

5. Alex Noren ($9,300; T4-MC-T13): Noren nearly got himself into a playoff with a late surge Sunday. He has missed just one cut in his last eight starts and has gained +1.0 strokes or more putting in each of his last three starts.


DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY

Cash Games: Power and Johnson a well-balanced duo

Seamus Power ($9,000) is playing great golf right now and has made his last six cuts on TOUR. He’s also never missed a cut at Deere Run, making him a decent high-priced target to start with here. Zach Johnson is coming off a great start his last time out and leads the field in SG: Total stats at Deere Run over the last five years. After them, you can also consider the likes of Kyle Stanley ($7,900) and Beau Hossler ($7,800) in the $7K range. Both are playing well and have solid records at this event. Other names to consider for this format include Scott Stallings ($7,400), Patrick Rodgers ($7,400) and Roger Sloan ($6,900).

Tournaments: Henley the pay up target in GPPs

Russell Henley ($9,900) is coming off a disappointing Sunday at the Travelers, where he went from T3 to T19 in the final round. Still, the best short iron player on TOUR, who finished second here in 2019 after shooting a final round 61, is under $10K. Both Si Woo Kim ($9,100) and Patton Kizzire ($8,900) also look slightly underpriced here for the talent they bring, and they set up well for a birdie-fest where irons and putting do most of the work. Lower down, the likes of Doc Redman ($8,200-see below), Henrik Norlander ($7,300), Mark Anderson ($6,800-see below) and Fabian Gomez ($6,500) all offer some appeal as GPP targets here.


MY PICK: Doc Redman ($8,200)

Redman is coming off a missed cut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, but because of that one blip, we are getting a much better price on him this week. The 23-year-old had made five cuts in a row prior to his missed cut in Detroit, so he can be easily forgiven. Prior to last week, he’d been playing much better golf and had gained strokes putting and on approach in five straight events. Redman’s strength has always been his iron play, and the fact he ranks among the top 25 in this field in proximity from 125-150 and 150-175 yards is a good sign he’ll eventually pop on this very gettable course.

Redman finished T37 here back in 2019, his first year on TOUR — that’s a good enough omen, considering he gained +3.7 strokes on the bentgrass greens that week. He’s also done very well at bouncing back quickly from missed cuts over his short career, posting third and fourth-place finishes last Fall at Bermuda and the Safeway Open, both results which came after failing to make the cut in the preceding start. Redman makes for a good value in this field and is a player I could easily see breaking through for a win this week.


MY SLEEPER: Mark Anderson ($6,800)

Anderson is coming off one of the best weeks of his career at the Rocket Mortgage, where he finished T8. His last top 10 on TOUR came in 2017 at the Puerto Rico Open, so it’s obviously been a hard stretch for the 35-year-old, who has had trouble getting started of late. Despite the poor form over the last year or so, he’s another player who should fit this week’s course well and ranks inside the top 35 in the 125-175 proximity categories on approach. He gained over +2.0 strokes on Approach, ATG and putting last week, so he’s clearly someone who found something on the easier setup. There are a lot of similarities between this week’s course and last week’s, just in terms of setup and approach distances, so I wouldn’t be shocked if we see a lot of spillover from players who popped last week, like Anderson.

This will be Anderson’s fourth time playing TPC Deere Run, and it is at least worth noting he’s made the cut in two of those appearances. With some increased confidence on and around the greens to rely on from last week, I don’t hate making Anderson a part of your GPP squad here at under $7K. If the spark he showed from last week carries over here, he shouldn’t have an issue delivering more birdies and a second decent fantasy total.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $700K Flop Shot [$200K to 1st]


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