clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

DraftKings Fantasy Golf Picks: THE PLAYERS Championship Predictions, Preview

Reid Fowler previews THE PLAYERS Championship and gives his picks for your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups.

The third tournament on the Florida swing is THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The tournament will play as a par 72, measuring 7,256 yards, and be putt on TifEagle Bermuda overseeded with Poa trivialis/velvet bentgrass greens. This tournament had usually been played in May, but with the move to March (in 2019), the playing surface is the overseed.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: $2.5M Fantasy Golf Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Semifinal Entry] (PGA TOUR)



STRATEGY

The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is a Pete Dye design and probably his most notable. The course isn’t too challenging; it’s not even Dye’s most formidable track. Still, Sawgrass can play tough when the wind picks up, especially if the golfers’ irons aren’t precise. With 88 bunkers and 17 water hazards that come into play on 17 holes, it’s easy to make big numbers. In 2019, the tournament recorded the ninth-most bogeys and fourth-most double-bogeys. Some of the difficulties are how Dye makes sure golfers don’t get “used” to the course. The layout doesn’t have back-to-back holes featuring similarities of any kind. They’ll dogleg in opposite directions, either into or against the wind, and vary substantially in distance. Par 5s follow par 3s, which precedes a par 4, and some of these par 4s are behemoths, with four measuring over 460 yards. There are also three under 400 yards, so golfers will need to adapt at every turn. Like last week, scoring on the par 5s is a must with the difficulty and uniqueness of the par 4s. Sawgrass recorded the second-most eagles on TOUR in 2019 and the third-most in 2018.

The greens will be small and fast, which means overall proximity and Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green will be a priority.

Last season, the tournament was back in March after moving back from May in 2019. The course usually plays fast and firm in May, but the golfers have mentioned it playing softer the last couple of years and using more drivers Off-the-Tee. Winds are more troublesome in March, and temperatures are cooler, so golf shots will not roll out as much. The forecast looks like we’re going to have inclement weather, so keep an eye on it as we get closer to Thursday. Like other Florida courses, golfers with course history at TPC Sawgrass have done relatively better than those who haven’t spent much time here. The past five winners have an average of four starts before their win, with Si Woo Kim ($7,300) winning in his second start and Justin Thomas ($10,400) winning in his sixth.

Pricing is generous this week, and lineups could skew more balanced. Contrarian lineups should consider pairing expensive golfers with players priced in the bottom half. In 2018, the top seven golfers in DraftKings scoring were below $7,300, with two below $7,000. In 2019, three of the top six golfers in DraftKings scoring were in the $6,000 range, with Jhonathan Vegas finishing third place in the tournament priced at $6,100. Last season, the average salary from the top six in DraftKings scoring was $8,266, and the total salary was $49,600, so a balanced lineup can work as well.


Hideki Matsuyama ($9,600)

Paying up for Collin Morikawa ($10,700) or the aforementioned Thomas is fine, but let’s deploy some strategy and roster Matsuyama, who’s projected to be lower-rostered than both golfers above as of now. Last week, Hideki finished inside the top 20 in tough conditions at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, gaining 6.29 strokes Tee-to-Green for the tournament. His golf was stellar over the weekend, but especially on Sunday, shooting 2-under and gaining 4.9 strokes Tee-to-Green, which ranked second to only Corey Conners ($7,300). It’s been feast or famine with Hideki here, finishing inside the top 10 in 2019 and 2016 but missing the cut in 2018 and 2021. Last season, his early departure came thanks to a poor front nine on Thursday, shooting 5-over, although he rallied back on the inward nine and on Friday to only miss the cut by one stroke. Let’s also not forget he led after the first round in 2020, shooting 9-under while hitting 15 of 18 greens and not missing a putt inside 10 feet. The tournament eventually got canceled due to COVID-19, so we weren’t able to see how he or any other golfer would have finished. Over the previous 24 rounds at TPC Sawgrass, Matsuyama ranks 10th in DraftKings points gained over the field.


Daniel Berger ($8,800)

Berger was nearly perfect at PGA National for three rounds, gaining six strokes with his irons and 6.1 on the greens. On Sunday, he hit a wall and struggled with his ball-striking, eventually finishing fourth after losing a five-shot lead coming into Round 4 of The Honda Classic. Still, it was Berger’s second top-5 finish of the year, and he remains inside the top 10 in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green over the previous 24 rounds. A top 10 here in his second start was due to a hot putter, and Berger was fourth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green last year, which also led to a top-10. If/when Berger’s roster percentage increases, Brooks Koepka ($8,600) should be in consideration. A top-3 finish at the WM Phoenix Open and a 16th at the Honda Classic where he was 12th in Tee-to-Green are a couple of indications he’s playing well and maybe healthy for the first time. He’s immaculate on these greens and hasn’t missed the cut in his past four tournaments at TPC Sawgrass.


Max Homa ($7,500)

Fourth in approach last week (+5.7) and gaining with his irons in four-straight events, Homa has now finished inside the top 17 in four of his previous five starts. He missed the cut on debut here but gained just under three strokes with his irons on his first appearance at TPC Sawgrass. He’s also playing well on par 5s, ranking fourth over the previous 12 rounds.


Kyoung-Hoon (KH) Lee ($6,300)

It wasn’t pretty for Lee other than Round 1 last week, where he gained 3.05 stokes Tee-to-Green, 1.9 through approach. He ended up in 42nd place, but finished 22nd in DraftKings scoring, proving he can score. He’s flashed in solid fields already this season, leading after Round 1 at TPC Scottsdale, shooting 65 and gaining 5.6 strokes Tee-to-Green. He’s also done exceptionally well on TPC courses, finishing runner up at the 2021 WM Phoneix Open (TPC Scottsdale), sixth at the 3M Open (TPC Twin Cities) last season, 13th at the 2019 Travelers Championship (TPC River Highlands) and 14th at the 2021 Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin. Even though he’s struggling with his irons, it’s getting better each tournament, losing less than the one prior.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: $2.5M Fantasy Golf Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Semifinal Entry] (PGA TOUR)



Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.


Place your golf bets at DraftKings Sportsbook or by downloading the DraftKings Sportsbook app.


All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests. The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups.


If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL/IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 888-789-7777/visit ccpg.org/chat (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-877-770-STOP (7867) (LA), 877-8-HOPENY/text HOPENY (467369) (NY), visit OPGR.org (OR), call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN), or 1-888-532-3500 (VA).

21+ (18+ NH/WY). Physically present in AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/LA/MI/NH/NJ/NY/OR/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.