Daily Fantasy Golf Strategy: The Barclays
And so we begin the FedEx Cup playoffs with the first of four tournaments – the Barclays at Plainfield Country Club in New Jersey. This first tournament has the top 125 in FedEx Cup points trying to move up so they can compete next week. Some players chose not to compete, so we won’t see Rory McIlroy or Sergio Garcia (or Francesco Molinari), but there is enough talent to enjoy another fine week. I’m back again to provide daily fantasy golf picks for DraftKings’ PGA game.
It’s a great week to check out DraftKings as they have some top notch contests. Come on over and take a look.
For the first time since 2011, the PGA Tour heads to Plainfield Country Club in Edison, New Jersey to hold the Barclays. It’s the first tournament in the FedEx Cup playoffs. It’s a Donald Ross Course (as was last week’s tour stop). The course plays as a par-70 for the pros and tops out 7,030 yards.
As with last week, we have limited experience with Ross courses on Tour as we have the Wyndham from last week (and really since 2008) as well as the 2011 and 2014 U.S. Opens (played at Pinehurst No. 2). And the Barclays was held at Plainfield in 2011 so those results are important.
The weather looks good with some wind perhaps kicking up Thursday afternoon. Check back Wednesday to see how the weather finally ends up.
Scorecard breakdown: Four (4) par threes, twelve (12) par fours and two (2) par fives. It’s a standard par-70 course layout.
Most of the top 125 in FedEx Cup points will be here so it will be a fun week. We are only missing Sergio Garcia, Retief Goosen, Rory McIlroy and Francesco Molinari. Also, it’s a bit shorter field than normal. usually 156 golfers tee it up each week, and we only have 125 to choose from, this week, so you could take some more risks this week as the cut line is still the same. The top 100 after this week’s tournament will move on.
Nine rookies made the field: Daniel Berger, Zac Blair, Jon Curran, Tony Finau, Adam Hadwin, Carlos Ortiz, Scott Pinckney, and Nick Taylor.
The full field can be found here.
Past Tournament Results
Past tournament results aren’t quite as useful this week as the tournament rotates each year. However, we do have some other Ross-course designs to look at. I’ll offer up the top 20 results from the Wyndham for the last three years, the 2011 and 2014 U.S. Opens and the 2011 Barclays (also played at Plainfield).
2011 Winner: In 2011, Dustin Johnson ran away from the field and the rain to win in a weather-shortened 54 holes. It was his fifth PGA Tour victory and Hurricane Irene wiped out Sunday’s round.
We aren’t going to go too deep into stats again this week as there isn’t much to go on in terms of stats for these courses.
This week, I’ll focus on:
Par 4 scoring: In 2011, six of the top seven scorers on par 4s finished in the top six. Yep, that’s right. On par 70 courses, par 4 scoring is important because there are so many of them (and so few par 5s). We’ll use par 5 scoring as well, but it won’t hold nearly the same level of importance as par 4 scoring.
GIR: I’m tempted to only look at scoring stats this week, but I’ll also look at GIR. They haven’t shown to be too terribly important at this course, but one figures you have to get to the green on time to score.
I also always examine Strokes Gained: Putting and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green every week with SG: T2G being more important and more predictable from week to week.
DraftKings Expert Picks
Jordan Spieth | $12,600 – Spieth is the best player on Earth. So says the OWGR. And I’m not sure I can argue. He’s priced relatively favorably (and there are bargains down below), so you can make some pretty reasonable rosters with Spieth as the headliner. Oh, he’s also the number one player on Tour in par 4 scoring. As if he needed another advantage this week.
Jason Day | $11,500 – If you don’t want to pay for Spieth, then pay for Day. Ross-course history? Check – T13 at the 2011 Barclays here at Plainfield and a solo second place at the 2011 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2. Current form? Check. Last five tournaments have ended T9, T4, Win, 12th and Win. And three majors are included in that run. Statistical profile? Check. Second in par 4 scoring, fourth in par: birdie or better and 22nd in GIR. I wonder if I can make a lineup with Spieth AND Day.
Justin Rose | $10,900 – I really like Rose this week and I think he’s going to be under-owned. He’s had success at Ross courses in the past and is in superior current form with no finish worse than T6 in his last four (of which two were majors).
Dustin Johnson | $10,700 – I just can’t justify paying for DJ this week. I’ll spend the $200 more for Rose or drop down $1,000 for Koepka. He won here in 2011 in the 54 hole special and for that I think he might be over-owned. His profile doesn’t seem to fit here (even though he won), so it’s not clear if he can figure out the course again. I like others around him more so I’ll probably pass on him.
Bubba Watson | $9,900 – His stats say he should succeed here as he’s 21st in par 4 scoring on Tour this year. The only blemish I see is that he’s not had any success in his limited trips to Ross courses. His only two trips (for U.S. Opens) ended in T63 and missed cut. However, he has had success at par 70 courses in the recent past so the Ross issues might be mitigated somewhat. I give Watson a hearty meh….I think he’ll be fine, but there is a bit too much downside risk for me in the high rent district.
Rickie Fowler | $9,800 – So, he’s playing pretty well with five straight made cuts and three top ten finishes (including a win) in the run. He’s solid on par 70 courses and this year is no different as his only win was on a par 70-course. He seems to heat up at this time of year, so he’s certainly under consideration for the week.
Brooks Koepka | $9,700 – I wonder if I can make a lineup with Koepka, Spieth and Day. There are 1, 2 and 3 for me this week in any order.
Henrik Stenson | $9,600 – He’s become an auto-fade for me now. His price is still sky-high, but he hasn’t been scoring well enough to justify it. Watch – this is the week he laps the field (not likely).
Matt Kuchar | $9,300 – I wasn’t that into Kuchar this week, but then I started reading a bit more and I fell deep into like with Matt. He’s had success at Donald Ross courses over the years as finished in the top 15 in all three Ross-course tournaments we are looking at – the 2011 U.S. Open, 2014 U.S. Open and 2011 Barclays. He’s made eighh straight cuts on Tour and has five top 25 finishes in his last six starts. And he’s also 11th in par 4 scoring.
Jim Furyk | $8,800 – Slow and steady wins the race and that’s Furyk’s game. He’s not flashy, but he seems to get things done. He’s one of the best performers on par 70 courses recently so he has to be considered this week. I’d imagine he won’t be owned by many as he’s just not that sexy. He’s made six cuts in a row and that includes a third on the par 70 Firestone course.
Paul Casey | $8,700 – Loved Casey last week. Love him again this week. Nothing changes. Plug and play. He put up 104 DraftKings points last week and his price dropped.
Brandt Snedeker | $8,600 – See Casey, Paul, but with the added bonus of blowing up for a 75 on Sunday last week and gamers will be scared off. Sign me up for all of the shares of Snedeker you don’t want.
Hideki Matsuyama | $8,500 – Pass. Poor form is too much to overlook even at this price.
Adam Scott | $8,400 – See Matsuyama, Hideki.
Louis Oosthuizen | $8,400 – Withdrew with an injury so, you know, don’t roster him.
Phil Mickelson | $8,300 – Ole Lefty. He’s a GPP option for me this week as he’s 132nd in par scoring, but 29th in par 4: birdie or better. Which means, he gets a lot of birdies on par 4s….and bogeys. He was T43 here the last time the Barclays made it to Plainfield.
Charl Schwartzel | $8,200 – Schwartzel finished T9 at the 2011 U.S. Open. He was also T3 last week at the Wyndham on the strength of four outstanding rounds (67-66-66-66) and the second best performance on par 4s (8-under). He sounds like he’s found his game and he’s had some success on par 70s recently with a 31st at the Bridgestone and seventh at the U.S. Open. His profile doesn’t fit (but it didn’t last week either and he found success), but I think it’s all about the state of his game right now.
Zach Johnson | $8,100 – Johnson was T30 at the 2011 U.S. Open and T40 at the 2014 U.S. Open so not a great record at Ross courses. And since his win at the British, he’s only played twice and finished 33rd at Bridgestone and missed the cut at the PGA. He’s tied for 11th in par 4 scoring so you figure he should be able to handle the course, but he hasn’t shown much on the par 70s this season.
Patrick Reed | $8,100 – Reed’s par 4 scoring standing (11th) puts him on my radar this week. He’s made five straight cuts with no finish worse than 30th. He was also T35 at the 2014 U.S. Open on a Donald Ross course.
Bill Haas | $8,000 – Haas is 30th in par 4 scoring on Tour. He bounced back with a lovely T6 last week and has made four straight cuts on Tour. He had a lot of success at the Wyndham, so he does like Ross courses.
Webb Simpson | $7,900 – His profile doesn’t fit as he’s 104th in par 4 scoring. But he did put up a T6 last week at the Wyndham. He was also T10 at the 2011 Barclays as well as T14 at the 2011 U.S. Open. So, perhaps there is something in these Ross courses that Simpson likes. I don’t feel like a lot of players will be on him this week.
Robert Streb | $7,900 – What’s that you say? It’s a course where par 4 scoring is paramount to success? Well, then Streb has to be part of your rosters. He’ll be a core player for me this week and to heck with over-ownership.
David Lingmerth | $7,800 and Danny Lee | $7,700 – Have you ever seen these two guys in the same room at the same time? They are both 54th in par 4 scoring on Tour this year. They are both two of the hottest golfers going right now. I’d take either of them this week with confidence based on their current form.
Justin Thomas | $7,700 – Thomas finished 2014 as the top ranked player in par 4 performance on the Web.com Tour. He hasn’t quite carried that over the PGA this year as he sits 54th in par 4 scoring. And he stumbled last week at the Wyndham, but prior to that he had three straight top 20 finishes. I like his ability to score and I think his ownership will be pretty low based on his underperformance last week.
Jimmy Walker | $7,600 – His current form puts me off him this week. I just can’t get excited about him even if he’s had some success at Ross courses in the past.
Ryan Moore | $7,600 – Moore’s made three straight cuts on Tour with a T10 at the Wyndham last week. He’s 54th in par 4 scoring so he could succeed again this week though he’s not had any success on other Ross courses outside of the Wyndham (where he won in 2009).
Billy Horschel | $7,500 – I was confident that Horschel would make the cut last week after running off 10 straight cuts made on Tour. He didn’t as he missed the cut by one stroke. Perhaps he’s refreshed and ready to start another streak. His best finish on a Ross course is a T23 at the U.S. Open in 2014.
Keegan Bradley | $7,500 – Keegan was T4 at the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. He’s also put up only one top 20 in his last six tournaments. His profile doesn’t fit (84th in par 4 scoring) so I think there are better options.
Russell Henley | $7,500 – Henley’s playing pretty well coming in as he has four straight top 20 finishes on Tour. He’s also 54th in par 4 scoring on Tour this year. He’s made the cut at the two Ross-U.S. Opens, but never better than T42. He’s perfectly OK to use, but I don’t see a ton of upside.
Luke Donald | $7,400 – He finished T26 last week after I predicted there was nothing to hang your hat on with Donald’s statistical profile. Nothing changes for me this week even with the T26 last week.
J.B. Holmes | $7,300 – Holmes was T14 at the 2014 U.S. Open, however his form has been off lately and even with his 54th spot in par 4 scoring I think I’ll be underweight on Holmes this week.
Tony Finau | $7,300 – Unless you are new to this column, you know Finau will be in my lineup. If only Cameron Smith was teeing it up. Finau has shown excellent form recently and crushes par 4s (21st on Tour overall).
Will Wilcox | $7,200 – Well, if I liked him last week, I’m going to like him this week. Just like Paul Casey, I think Wilcox’s profile fits this course well.
Ian Poulter | $7,100 – Poulter was T18 here in 2011 and was T17 at the 2014 U.S. Open so he has an eye for Ross courses. His form, however, is suspect. His only result worth talking about in his last five is his 17th place finish at the par-70 Bridgestone. He also put up a T5 at the Crowne Plaza (also on a par-70). His best finish of the season was a T3 at The Honda in March. So, you roster him this week if you think a par-70 course awakens the sleeping giant and he continues to score on par 4s (tied for 30th on Tour). I think I’ll probably own more of Poulter than I thought I would when I started this paragraph.
Carl Pettersson | $7,100 – King Carl came through for us last week (well, those of you who listened to me). I like him again this week (though not nearly as much as last week). Still, he offers solid value and still has all of that history at Ross courses. His T6 last week and his T32 at the 2011 U.S. Open on another Ross course tells me we could see another good weekend from King Carl.
Marc Leishman | $7,100 – Leishman has been up and down this year and I’ll probably pass on him this week. He’s 54th in par 4 scoring, but has no history at Ross courses. I think there are others I like at this price point like…
Brendan Steele | $7,100 – Steele comes in with a nice profile as he’s seventh in par 4 scoring and 24th in GIR. He put up a 12th place finish last week at the Wyndham to back up his T7 at the Barracuda. He missed the cut here in 2011, but I like his profile and current form.
Lee Westwood | $7,000 – No thanks. Hasn’t shown any consistency this year.
Charley Hoffman | $7,000 – Next.
Nick Watney | $7,000 – Watney is a guy who seems to play well late in the season. He’s also 30th in par 4 scoring which doesn’t hurt this week. He was T10 here in 2011 at the Barclays. He also won in 2012 and was T9 in 2013 (albeit at different courses). He was T31 last week after a T30 at the PGA Championship so he could be rounding into form.
Jason Bohn | $6,900 – Par 4s are his friend (fourth overall on Tour). And he can be your friend this week. Won’t you be his friend? Please…I’m begging you. You’ll thank me on Sunday.
Ben Martin | $6,800 – I didn’t like him last week at $7,900 so what do I think about him now that he’s $1,100 cheaper? Ok, his T10 last week makes me reconsider. He’s 54th in par 4 scoring. I will allow you to roster him this week, but remember he’s not the best option here.
Scott Piercy | $6,700 – Piercy was T13 in the 2011 Barclays so he has to be considered. He’s only 82nd in par 4 scoring, but he’s had some success over the last couple of years on par-70 courses so he could be a solid play with few gamers on him.
Kevin Kisner | $6,900, Kevin Na | $6,900, Kevin Chappell | $6,700 and Kevin Streelman | $6,000 – Four Kevins. Four guys with good to great success on par 4s this year. In fact Kisner, Na and Streelman are all tied for 30th in par 4 scoring (Chappell is 54th). Chappell was T32 here at the Barclays in 2011 and T3 at the U.S. Open in 2011. Streelman was T32 at the 2011 Barclays. Na was T12 at the 2014 U.S. Open. Kisner has no particular record in the Barclays or Pinehurst U.S. Opens. I’d rank them Chappell, Kisner, Na and Streelman with Streelman unrosterable for me.
Hunter Mahan | $6,700 – Mahan won the Barclays last year. What’s that you say? It doesn’t matter you say? It’s a different course you say? Well, fade Mahan at your peril this time of year. I don’t know what is. Maybe it’s the back to school vibe that gets him going, but Mahan loves it. He’s the only golfer to have made the FedEx playoffs in all eight seasons of its existence. Moreover, he’s played in every single tournament in those eight years – 32 in all! So, I can’t explain it, but run with it.
Pat Perez | $6,500 – Perez has made 11 cuts in a row on Tour. Did you know that? I didn’t. He’s also seventh in par 4 scoring this year. A nice little value down here in no-man’s land.
Chris Kirk | $6,500 – Want to pick someone who no one else will be on? If so, your man is Chris Kirk. He’s coming back from a broken hand so I’m sure he’ll be rusty. He was T28 at the U.S. Open in 2014. He also had a T22 at the Wyndham in 2012 so he’s done alright at Ross courses. His win this year was also on a par 70 course (Colonial).
William McGirt | $6,400 – Quick Draw McGraw, Bill “Dirt” McGirt. He’s 21st in par 4 scoring and his T14 last week buoys me with respect to his chances this week. He could pick up another top 20 this week for less than most other golfers.
Camilo Villegas | $6,400 – Villegas finished T6 here in 2011. He was T26 at the Wyndham last year and 25th at the Bridgestone – both par 70 courses. His profile doesn’t fit, but like a few others on the list, he seems to play well in the playoffs.
Greg Owen | $6,300 – Owen is 21st in par 4 scoring so that gets me interested. He’s made five of his last seven cuts and has four top 20 finishes in that stretch. Hmm….he had a T6 at Greenbrier and second at the St. Jude Classic – which is important as they are both par 70 courses. Hmm…hmmm indeed. A very interesting option for stars and scrubs lineups.
Jerry Kelly | $6,300 – Makes cuts. Boring. Safe.
Vijay Singh | $6,200 – Old man value play! We scored last week with Justin Leonard so let’s see if we can go two for two. Singh’s profile doesn’t line up at all for the course, but he was T3 here in 2011. So, that’s something to hang your hat on. He’s also made three cuts in a row and put up a respectable T31 at the Wyndham last week. He certainly won’t be owned by anyone and could provide salary relief in a stars and scrubs setup.
Bryce Molder | $6,000 – 11th in par 4 scoring and has made six cuts in a row though only one top 25 in that stretch.
Of the sub-$6,000 crew, I’ll go rapid fire with some options who are almost all on this list because of par 4 aptitude this year (and for many last year on the Web.com Tour). I like Colt Knost ($5,900) – 30th in par 4 scoring, John Peterson ($5,900) – 21st in par 4 scoring, Steve Wheatcroft ($5,700) – 54 th in par 4 scoring, Spencer Levin ($5,700) – 30th in par 4 scoring and some par 4 studs from last year’s Web.com tour in Andres Gonzales ($5,600), Jon Curran ($5,600), Zac Blair ($5,600), and Fabian Gomez ($5,500)
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 golf.