2015 Fantasy GolfChris Garosi

Daily Fantasy Golf Strategy: John Deere Classic

I’m baaaaaack! Did you miss me? I certainly miss my liver which I left somewhere in Central Europe. But, enough about me…we are back to look at the John Deere Classic this week as the Tour slogs toward the FedEx Cup.

Our friends at DraftKings continue to roll out some fantastic contests. And I’m here to help you win some dough.

It’s a great week to check out DraftKings as they have some top notch contests.

Come on over and take a look.

Tour Stop

The John Deere Classic is held at another of the PGA’s courses the TPC Deere Run. The TPC Deere Run course is a 7,268 yard, par 71 track. The John Deere Classic has been held here since 2000 so we have enough of a track record to feel good about the historical record. It’s a D.A Weibring design. Weibring renovated the TPC Las Colinas course (Byron Nelson Classic) so we’ll also look to the Byron Nelson for some tips this week.

This is an easy track with no winner finishing with a score worse than 16 under par since the tournament started here at TPC Deere Run. There really aren’t any hazards to speak of on the course so this should yield similar results as last week’s Greenbrier.

The weather looks like it will be hot on Thursday and Friday with a chance for thunderstorms throughout both days. Once the storms pass through on Friday evening, the weather will turn pleasant and wind won’t be an issue.

As always, continue to check up until lineup lock on Thursday.

Scorecard breakdown: Four (4) par threes, eleven (11) par fours and three (3) par fives. It’s the rare par 71 course this week.


The field is weak….weeeeeeeeeeeeeak. Zach Johnson is the only member of the OWGR’s top 30 in the field.

The full field can be found here.

Also, thanks to GolfOdds.com for the odds this week. If you’d like to see a second set of odds, check out the Betting Zone’s odds here – just click on this week’s tournament on the left hand pane.

Past Tournament Results

The PGA has hosted a regular event at TPC Deere Run since 2000 so we have solid history to go on this week.

Here is the top 20 for the last three years at the John Deere Classic.


Statistical Review

Let’s take a look at the statistical angles in for this week’s tournament.

As for the key stats I’ll focus on this week, I’ll provide a short list below.

Strokes Gained: Approach (SG:APP) – I wanted to highlight a new stat this week which we haven’t used previously. The full explanation for all of the Strokes Gained stats is here. The key sentence on SG:APP – “Strokes gained: approach-the-green measures the tee shot on par-3s and the first shot following a tee shot on par-4s and par-5s.”

Birdie or Better % < 125 yards (BOB%125) – Thanks to our friends at Fantasy Golf Metrics, we can see the historical shot dispersion for the John Deere Class. We have 21.2% of all shots coming from 125 yards and in. We want golfers who can score from that distance and this stat will give us the players to target.

Par 4 Efficiency 400-450 yards (P4E400-450) – There are 11 par 4s on the course and four of them are between 400 and 450 yards. However, one other par 4 is 395 yards and another is 454 yards. So, six of the 11 fall between 395 and 454 yards and we’ll use this efficiency rang this week.

Par 5 Efficiency 550-600 yards (P5E550-600) – There are three par 5s on the course and they all fall between 550 and 600 yards. It’s not necessarily a key to winning, but the golfers will need to be able to score on these course. It will be the tiebreaker for the week.

I’m focused on 2016 stats now, but still check on 2015 stats to get a larger sample size on players.

And each week, we’ll look at Strokes Gained: Putting (SG:P) and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG:T2G) with a focus on current SG:T2G stats this week.

DraftKings Expert Picks

Zach Johnson | $13,000 – You won’t get any analysis here. Fade him? Sure why not, but there isn’t a rational reason to do so unless you believe his ownership levels will be ridiculous. And even then I’m not sure I’d care. He’s the best player in the field (only one in the top 30 in OWGR) and has finished in the top three in six of his last seven trips to the John Deere including a win in 2012.

Steve Stricker | $11,800 – Stricker like Zach Johnson in that he had  Stricker won this event three straight times from 2009 to 2011 and finished in the top 11 in three of the subsequent four years with the only year outside the top 11 since 2009 being last year’s T35. The American veteran has three top 25s in his last four starts worldwide. His statistical profile full of peaks and valleys averaging out to a solid set as he’s second in SG:P, ninth in P4E:400-450 and 47th in BOB%125 with the rest of the stats outside the top 110.

Jon Rahm | $11,400 – That escalated quickly. He’s played well on Tour this year with four top 25s in six Tour events, but I’m not sure I’m ready to make him the third most expensive player even in a field this thin. He’s going to be heavily owned and certainly has the skills to compete and even win perhaps. But, the downside risk seems to0 big for me at this price point.

Daniel Summerhays | $10,600 – Summerhays has made 11 of his last 12 cuts worldwide including two top 10s out of the three majors held in the last couple of months. He has four top 25s in his last six events. So, I’d say he’s in good form. He’s in the top 15 the last three years (T4, T13 and T8). There is a lot to like here.

Kevin Na | $10,500 – I can’t quite figure out why Na is not the second most expensive player this week as I’d expect it based on his OWGR and overall track record. He hasn’t played here frequently and has made just three of five cuts with a T13 two years ago. His stats put him sixth in the field as he’s 45th in SG:T2G, 62nd in SG:P, ninth in SG:APP, 148th in BOB%125, 30th in P4E:400-450, and 122nd in P5E:550-600.

Ryan Moore | $10,300 – The American is seven for seven in cuts at the JDC with top 25 finishes in each of the last four years including two top 10s. He’s made five cuts in a row on Tour coming in, but with just one top 20 (last week at the Travelers) in that run. Moore’s profile is solid (79th in SG:T2G, 32nd in SG:P, 81st in SG:APP, fifth in BOB%125, 73rd in P4E:400-450, and 62nd in P5E:550-600).

Gary Woodland | $10,000 – Woodland’s profile (17th in SG:T2G, 121st in SG:P, 23rd in SG:APP, 76th in BOB%125, 69th in P4E:400-450, and second in P5E:550-600) puts him second in my model this week. He’s played here three times since 2009, making two cuts with a T21 in 2010 as his best finish. He’s made five of his last seven cuts on Tour with two top five finishes.

Wesley Bryan | $9,700 – The former trick shot artist won last week on the Web.com Tour for his third victory of the season. So, he gets to pass GO! and collect $200 as he is now a member of the PGA Tour for the rest of the season. He leads the Web.com Tour in Birdie Average, fourth in par 4 birdie or better, second in par three birdie or better and 29th in par 3 so he can score. He’ll probably be highly owned again this week.

Jerry Kelly | $9,400 – Do you want Steve Stricker for almost $2,500 less? Then take Jerry Kelly. He is nine for 10 in cuts made at the JDC with the three top 10s and seven top 25s. Two of his top 10s have been in the last three years. He finished second last week at the Travelers.

Robert Streb | $9,200 – If 2015 Robert Streb walked through this door….wait, I have to stop saying that…but…..he has made four of his last six cuts with three top 25s including a T7 at the PGA Championship in his last time out. Streb has played the JDC three times all in the last three years and has seen the weekend each time finishing T22, T37, and T14.

Robert Garrigus | $9,000 – I was stunned to see Garrigus this high until I saw my stats (he’s third) and his current form (He’s made eight of nine cuts on Tour with four top 15 finishes including last week’s T5 at the Travelers). He’s made four of seven cuts at the John Deere with three top 25s, but nothing in the top 20.

Brian Harman | $8,700 – The other lefthander has played here the last three years and has made the cut in each of those trips without a top 25 finish. He also has made three of four cuts at the Byron Nelson though he missed the cut earlier this year. The American had a run of five cuts in a row broken last week at the Travelers. The stats do not like him this week.

Patrick Rodgers | $8,500 – Rodgers is 16 th in my statistical model mostly on the strength of this tee to green work (49th in SG:T2G) and 76th in BOB%125. Rodgers comes in off his best finish of the year with a T3 at the Travelers and has made five cuts in six starts on Tour. However, he’s never had much success here as he’s missed the cut in three of his four starts here with his only weekend a T15 in 2013. He SHOULD do well here, but it hasn’t shown up in the past.

John Senden | $8,400 – Senden is fourth in my model this week as he’s 88th in SG:T2G, 27th in SG:P, 76th in SG:APP, 22nd in BOB%125, 64th in P4E:400-450, and 71st in P5E:550-600. He won the John Deere back in 2006 four top 20s in 12 starts overall since 2002. The Aussie veteran has made three cuts in a row with two top 20s including a T18 at the PGA Championship.

Matt Jones | $8,300 – Boom or bust for Jones has he’s made three cuts in six starts at the John Deere Classic with each of those cuts ending with a top 10 finish. The Aussie’s current form is trending in the wrong direction T16, T39, T79 and T64 in his last four events.

Chris Stroud | $8,200 – Stroud is near the cutoff for the FedEx Cup playoffs right now. So, he has some extra incentive to play well this week. He’s made three cuts in a row and five of his last six on Tour. Also, the stats say he’s got a shot (122nd in SG:T2G, 55th in SG:P, 97th in SG:APP, 75th in BOB%125, 52nd in P4E:400-450, and 142nd in P5E:550-600). He’s never missed a cut in seven trips to the JDC and has one top 10 (last year’s T5).

Scott Brown | $8,100 – Brown is working his way back to health and his T25 last week says he might be getting there after his back injury. He has two top 10s in four starts at the JDC.

Hudson Swafford | $8,000 – The stats line up for Swafford this week (96th in SG:T2G, 62nd in SG:P, 61st in SG:APP, 82nd in BOB%125, 15th in P4E:400-450, and 51st in P5E:550-600), but they always do it seems. He is on a run of nine straight cuts made on Tour. However, Swafford never seems to find the leaderboard. If he can’t in a field this shallow, I’m not sure when he will.

Keegan Bradley | $7,800 – The choice for Bradley is about current form as he’s made four straight cuts and five of his last six with three top 25s in that run. He’s a reasonable statistical fit outside of his putter of course (28th in SG:T2G, 197th in SG:P, 27th in SG:APP, 110th in BOB%125, 90th in P4E:400-450, and 165th in P5E:550-600). I like him in cash games and he could have a spot in GPPs as well.

Jamie Lovemark | $7,700 – Lovemark sits sixth in my model this week, but he has really struggled lately as he’s missed four straight cuts and hasn’t finished inside the top 50 in his last eight. He’s shown signs of solid golf (especially in the first round in a few of his recent starts), but it all goes south quickly. He’s played the JDC three times, made the weekend three times, but never finished in the top 40.

Geoff Ogilvy | $7,500 – His T9 at the RBC a couple of weeks ago offers a glimmer of hope, but he’s been brutal for all of 2016. Pass.

Billy Hurley | $7,400 – It’s nice to see Hurley III continue to play solid golf after his win just outside Washington, DC. He’s missed the cut here the last two years, but was T8 in 2012. The stats model likes him this week (115th in SG:T2G, 39th in SG:P, 59th in SG:APP, 86th in BOB%125, 24th in P4E:400-450, and 190th in P5E:550-600).

Spencer Levin | $7,400 – The recommendation on Levin is based on current form – seven of eight cuts made and three top 15s including back to back events. He’s a good enough statistical fit as well and has made four of five cuts at the JDC with one top 20 back in 2009.

Seung-Yul Noh | $7,300 – Noh is two for three in cuts made at the JDC with his best finish coming in his 2012 debut – a T19. He’s made three of his last five cuts on Tour without a top 25. His last top 25 was a T7 at the St. Jude Classic. However, his scoring from 125 yards and in is attractive in a profile that could work (140th in SG:T2G, 48th in SG:P, 87th in SG:APP, 11th inBOB%125, 125th in P4E:400-450, and 113th in P5E:550-600).

Michael Johnson | $7,300 – Made his pro debut by finishing third at the Barbasol earlier this summer. Followed it up with a missed cut at the RBC Canadian Open. Scored 106.5 and 16.5 DK points in those two outings.

Retief Goosen | $7,200 – The stats model likes him a bit this week (86th in SG:T2G, 17th in SG:P, 107th in SG:APP, 96th in BOB%125, 106th in P4E:400-450, and 151st in P5E:550-600). He’s only made two appearances here with one made cut. The South African has three top 15s in his last five worldwide events though his last two starts have ended with a MC and T47. He’s one for two in cuts made at the JDC with both starts in the last two years.

Cameron Percy | $7,200 – Percy is 70th in SG:T2G, 161st in SG:P, 51st in SG:APP, 131st in BOB%125, 42nd in P4E:400-450, and 193rd P5E:550-600. He’s made just two of four cuts here, but was T7 in 2011 here and had a T10 at the Byron Nelson two years ago.

Steve Wheatcroft | $7,100 – Wheatcroft has made two cuts in four JDC starts with a top finish of T8 achieved last year. He’s made three of his last five cuts on Tour with each of those weekends ending in a top 20 finish. His statistical profile isn’t one for this course (162nd in SG:T2G, 76th in SG:P, 175th in SG:APP, 150th in BOB%125, 111th in P4E:400-450, and ninthP5E:550-600), but he’s shown the ability to score when he gets to the weekend.

Boo Weekley | $7,000 – Weekley has made two of his last four cuts on Tour with those two weekend results a T12 and T11. He’s made four of six cuts at the JDC with his best finish a T21 in 2010 though his last two JDC’s have ended in a MC and T69. He’s 20th in my statistical model this week (73rd in SG:T2G, 136th in SG:P, 132nd in SG:APP,  26th in BOB%125, 153rd in P4E:400-450, 73rd in P5E:550-600).

Will Wilcox | $6,900 – Withdrew and will undergo season-ending wrist surgery.

Sean O’Hair | $6,900 – The link to the Byron Nelson may be tenuous based only on D.A. Weibring, but that’s why I looked at O’Hair this week. He’s made six of nine cuts there with five top 25s including this year’s T18. His current form is poor having missed three of his last four cuts on Tour. And he’s made just three weekends in six JDC starts (though he did win way back in 2005). Nothing stands out from a statistical perspective this week (89th in SG:T2G, 71st in SG:P, 162nd in SG:APP, 100th in BOB%125, 88th in P4E:400-450, and 83rd in P5E:550-600), but he could be worth a GPP flier.

Alex Prugh | $6,700 – Who? Prugh! I like Alex a lot this week based on his propensity to score in bunches on the Web.com Tour (11th in birdie average) as well as his current form (two top 10s in his last three events on the Web.com Tour. He’s made the cut in each of his three trips to the JDC with a top finish of T28 last year.

Luke List | $6,600 – The stats like List (35th in SG:T2G, 150th in SG:P, 72nd in SG:APP, 98th in BOB%125, 56th in P4E:400-450, and eighth in P5E:550-600), but he doesn’t have much in the way of course history to go on (two trips and two missed cuts). He’s missed three of his last five cuts, but those two weekends were both top 20s.

Cameron Smith | $6,600 –Yes. Yes, I’ll be rostering him even if it’s been a mildly disappointing season for Cam. He makes his debut here and ranks in the bottom 15 of the statistical model for the week (out of 200 golfers). But, with par 4 scoring being important this week, he’s worth a flier.

Jason Bohn | $6,600 – I may be reading a bit too much into the stats this week for Bohn (139th in SG:T2G, 72nd in SG:P, 71st in SG:APP, first in BOB%125, 111th in P4E:400-450, and 42nd in P5E:550-600), but I think this is the kind of field where he could shine. He’s seven for ten in cuts made at the JDC with five top 25s including a T12 last year.

Bud Cauley | $6,300 – The hook for Cauley is his T4 at the Byron Nelson earlier this year. I know the link may not be the best one to follow with those two courses. However, we are down here in the depths so we need all the help we can get. The model doesn’t point to Cauley’s success even though he is 30th in P4E:400-450 and 14th in P5E:550-600 on the season. He’s made two of three cuts at the JDC, but never seen the top 50.  He’s made three cuts in a row on Tour and four of his last five, but nothing in the top 30.

Matt Weibring | $6,300 – Son of the golf course designer and plays exclusively on the Web.com Tour. Has made one cut in five trips to the JDC.

Robby Shelton | $6,200 – Another of the young guns who has made three cuts in five PGA/Web.com starts this year without a finish in the top 40. GPP-only.

Lee McCoy | $6,100 – Hey, another one of those young golfers. Again, worth a flier in deeper GPPs if you want as he did finish fourth at the Valspar earlier this year, but has missed five cuts in a row since. He finished T69 at the JDC last year.

Derek Ernst | $6,100 – Ernst is just one for three in cuts made at the JDC with his only weekend ending with a T63. He’s not awful in the scoring efficiency stats (60th in P4E:400-450 and 98th in P5E:550-600) though the rest of the profile is closer to awful. He’s shown some flashes over the last two weeks as he’s made two cuts in a row and put up five sub-70 rounds in those eight.

Steve Marino | $6,000 – Whenever I’ve recommended Marino this year (and it’s been infrequently) he’s performed relatively well. So, I’ll offer my endorsement again this week for a player who has played the JDC four times in the last eight years and has made the cut in three of those starts without finishing in the top 40. However, he’s five for five in cuts made at the Byron Nelson including a T12 earlier this year. 

Austin Connelly | $6,000 – Another young gun, I’d rather take the American-Canadian at $6k then Aaron Wise at $7k and spend the $1,000 elsewhere. He’s played well on the Mackenzie Tour with three top 10s in his last eight events with two top fives in his last three starts.

Jordan Niebrugge | $6,000 – What? Another young golfer…say it ain’t so. He finished T6 at the British Open in 2015, but has missed all four cuts on the pro Tours this year.

Tim Wilkinson | $6,000 – I’m happy to use Wilkinson in cash games this week as I don’t understand why he’s priced down here. The Aussie is 91st in SG:T2G, 34th in SG:P, 41st in SG:APP, 29th in BOB%125, 166th in P4E:400-450, and 155th in P5E:550-600. He’s missed five of his last seven cuts on Tour, but he was T4 at the Byron Nelson earlier this year. He’s only made two of five cuts at the JDC though both weekends have put Wilkinson in the top 25.

Mike Weir | $5,900 Huh. Who knew?

Tom Gillis | $5,900 – Gillis is five for five in cuts made here and finished second last year. Worth a flier in a stars and scrubs lineup.

Charlie Danielson | $5,800 – He’s another one of the young guns in the field this week, but he’s the cheapest out of all of them. So, he’s a risk I’d be willing to take. It’s hard to figure out the new Tour pros so if you want to say you had the new, shiny thing before everyone else, take your shot with Danielson who was an excellent college golfer at Illinois.

Ryan  McClintock | $5,800 – The teaching pro at nearby Davenport Country Club, McClintock qualified by winning the Iowa PGA Professional Championship which was played at TPC Deere Run. He fired rounds for 69, 70 and 68 to pick up the victory. His nickname is Bub.

Brian Bullington | $5,600 – Former first round pick of the Pirates? No….oh, then I have no idea who he is.

Good luck this week! Head over to DraftKings to choose your squad for this week.

DraftKings Scoring

Roster size: 6 Golfers


Golfers on each team will accumulate points as follows:

  • Per Hole Scoring
    • Double Eagle (DBL EAG): +20 PTs
    • Eagle (EAG): +8 PTs
    • Birdie (BIR): +3 PTs
    • Par (PAR): +0.5 PTs
    • Bogey (BOG): -0.5 PTs
    • Double Bogey (DBL BOG): -1 PT
    • Worse than Double Bogey (WORSE DBL BOG): -1 PT
  • Tournament Finish Scoring
    • 1st: 30 PTs
    • 2nd: 20 PTs
    • 3rd: 18 PTs
    • 4th: 16 PTs
    • 5th: 14 PTs
    • 6th: 12 PTs
    • 7th: 10 PTs
    • 8th: 9 PTs
    • 9th: 8 PTs
    • 10th: 7 PTs
    • 11th–15th: 6 PTs
    • 16th–20th: 5 PTs
    • 21st–25th: 4 PTs
    • 26th–30th: 3 PTs
    • 31st–40th: 2 PTs
    • 41st-50th: 1 PTs
  • Streaks and Bonuses
    • Streak of 3 Birdies of Better (MAX 1 Per Round) (3+ BIR STRK): +3 PTs
    • Bogey Free Round (BOG FREE RD): +3 PTs
    • All 4 Rounds Under 70 Strokes (ALL 4 RDS UND 70): +5 PTs
    • Hole in One (HOLE IN ONE): +10 PTs

Scoring Notes: Ties for a finishing position will not reduce or average down points. For example, if 2 golfers tie for 3rd place, each will receive the 18 fantasy points for the 3rd place finish result. Playoff Holes will not count towards final scoring, with the exception of the “finishing position” scoring. For example, the golfer who wins the tournament will receive the sole award of 1st place points, but will not accrue points for their scoring result in the individual playoff holes.

Player Lock Notes: All golfers lock at the time the first golfer tees off on day 1 of an event.

Full rules are located here for DraftKings Daily Fantasy golf.

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