Daily Fantasy Golf Strategy: The FedEx St. Jude Classic
We’re back for another week of PGA Daily Fantasy picks for DraftKings as we head to Memphis for the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Just one more week until the U.S. Open! 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.
This week we tee it up at the TPC at Southwind in idyllic Memphis, Tennessee for the FedEx St. Jude Classic. The course is a 7,239 yard, par 70 track that first opened in 1987 and was redesigned in 2004. The FedEx St. Jude has been held at this course every year since 1989. The fairways are difficult to hit and the greens (average size 5,420 square feet) are relatively small, but they can be attacked. Even though the field for this tournament isn’t the best, it’s one of the tougher tracks on Tour year in and year out.
The weather for this week looks much better than last year where rain affected the first three days. Thursday and Friday look clear so there shouldn’t be an advantage based on tee times. As always, keep checking in during the week.
Scorecard breakdown: Four (4) par threes, twelve (12) par fours and two (2) par fives. It’s a par 70 course, so this is the usual breakdown. The two easiest holes over the last three years have been the two par fives.
It is a thin field (as most events the week before a major are) as we have only six of the OWGR top 30 in the field this week.
The full field can be found here.
Past Tournament Results
2014 Winner: Ben Crane won in 2014 by riding a hot putter (he left Memphis on a 91-hole streak without a 3-putt). Crane was atop the leaderboard all four days and he (and the field) endured rain delays on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Crane played 30 holes on Sunday and hung on for the victory over Troy Merritt.
Crane was 62nd in driving distance, T30 in driving accuracy, first in strokes gained: putting, T47 in GIR, 36th in proximity to the hole and second in scrambling.
In 2013, Harris English won by finishing 69th in driving distance, T40 in driving accuracy, 17th in SG: Putting, T9 in GIR, T30 in proximity to the hole and T17 in scrambling.
This is a tough course with a field that doesn’t match. These events (right before a major) are difficult to read as some players are here to tinker with some stuff in preparation for the major and others are here because they can’t play in tournaments when the fields are full of regular tour pros.
Moreover, when you look at the winners’ list you see bombers and accuracy-mavens, short hitters and scramblers. Almost any type of player can succeed here.
Par 4 scoring – It’s a par 70 layout so there are more par 4s than normal and you have to score on them. Yes, the two easiest holes at TPC Southwind are par 5s, but you win by scoring on par 4s.
Ben Crane played the par 5s at three under to win last year while Harris English scalded them to a seven under in 2013 in his win. So, you can do it different ways, but I want the par 4 guys this week (with a touch of par 5 scoring thrown in).
Total Driving – I’m cheating here a bit as Total Driving is the stat that adds the players standing in driving distance with driving accuracy to come up with the ranking. I want a player who can bomb his way past some of the trouble on the course, but do so accurately. This is my shortcut to that wish.
Scrambling – The players can’t avoid all of the trouble out there, so they’ll need to be able to get out when they do.
GIR – They have to make it safely to the green to have a chance.
Three putt avoidance – We might gander at this stat again this week to see who doesn’t give up shots on the greens.
As always, you should examine Strokes Gained: Putting and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green every week. I’d say SG: Tee to Green is a bit more important this week.
DraftKings Expert Picks
Dustin Johnson | $13,000 – Johnson played here the last three years and has a win and two other top 25 finishes. You are going to have to be creative to get DJ in the lineup, but he could be worth it as he profiles well statistically and comes in playing well with back to back top 20 finishes after a small hiccup.
Phil Mickelson | $12,000 – Mickelson has played well here with a T2 and T11 in the last two years here. He’s been up and down over his last four with a T2 at the Masters, a missed cut at the PLAYERS, a T4 at the Wells Fargo and a T65 last week at the Memorial. He could challenge for the win or could be trying some stuff to get ready for next week. He’s a GPP option only for me as I don’t think he’s the second best option this week and his salary says he is.
Ryan Palmer | $11,600 – Palmer has back to back top five finishes at the FedEx. And after missing back to back cuts on Tour, he put up a T10 at the Byron Nelson his last time out (another course where he’s had recent success). Palmer’s 23rd spot in par 4 scoring makes him attractive this week (beyond his course history). He’s inaccurate off the tee (158th), but can scramble well enough (76th) so he should be able to get out of any trouble he gets into off the tee.
Billy Horschel | $11,500 – Horschel has back to back top 10 finishes at the FedEx St. Jude. He’s got back to back top 15 finishes on Tour coming in. He’s eighth in total driving, 99th in scrambling, 46th in par 4 scoring and 15th in GIR. He’s my pick to win this week.
Webb Simpson | $11,100 – Simpson finished T3 here last year and is three for four in cuts made overall. He fits in every category we’d like to see this week (sits 13th overall in all PGA players in the five categories we’re looking at).
Harris English | $10,700 – English checks in as my favorite statistical profile this week. He’s 38th in par 4 scoring, 24th in scrambling, 16th in total driving, 33rd in GIR and 40th in 3-putt avoidance. He won here two years ago, but missed the cut last year (by one stroke). He started off hot last week and ended up T18. He’s a great “stud” option at the bottom of the stud pricing.
Paul Casey | $10,500 – Withdrew early in the week.
Brooks Koepka | $10,400 – Koepka is one of my favorite players because he’s generally overlooked as he plays a ton on the European Tour. However, he’s not being overlooked at this price. He finished T19 here in his debut and the only box he doesn’t check is scrambling so he can succeed again. He’s made three straight cuts, but has only one top 20. I might pass at this price.
Jamie Donaldson | $9,900 – Donaldson makes his debut at the St. Jude Classic this year. He comes in playing pretty well with a T8 at the PLAYERS and a T18 at the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour. He’s a good scrambler (34th on the PGA Tour, eighth on the European Tour).
Graeme McDowell | $9,200 – Nah. Maybe he has his form back after some solid work in Europe. But, I’ll let someone else find out.
Brendon Todd | $9,100 – Withdrew early in the week.
Luke Donald | $9,000 – Donald makes his debut at the St. Jude this week and comes in off two solid performances in Europe with a T38 at the BMW PGA Championship and a T18 at the Irish Open. He doesn’t fit the profile of a player who can succeed here, but he does have a pedigree. He’d be an option in larger pools as I have a feeling no one will be on him.
Charl Schwartzel | $8,900 – Scwhartzel has only played here once (2010 and missed the cut. The odds makers place him 7 spots lower than his DraftKings’ salary says he should be. He’s in poor form with his last four event finishes being T51, missed cut T78 and missed cut last week at the Memorial. It’s unclear if he’s 100% healthy and there is no need to risk it this week as there is almost nothing in his statistical profile to imply he’ll succeed. Withdrew on Tuesday afternoon.
Steven Bowditch | $8,900 – Yes, Bowditch has played well the last couple of weeks, but I don’t think that’s the real Steven Bowditch. And this course doesn’t fit his game well as he’s not accurate off the tee (188th in driving accuracy out of 204 golfers) and 154th in GIR. He’s a fantastic scrambler (third overall) so he can get out of trouble, but I don’t see a reason to pay up for Bowditch this week. He’s only made one of six cuts at the St. Jude in his career. The odds makers place him 19 spots lower than his DraftKings’ salary says he should be. I’ll trust the odds makers.
Jerry Kelly | $8,800 – Kelly’s made seven of 10 cuts at the St. Jude, but has never seen the top 10. In fact his best finish is a T25 back in 1999. This is all about current form where he’s made five cuts in a row on tour with four top 25 finishes in that run. He also profiles well here as he’s 98th in total driving (15th in accuracy), second in scrambling, 23rd in par 4 scoring, 88th in GIR and 48th in three putt avoidance.
George McNeill | $8,700 – McNeill is three for four in cuts made at the St. Jude, but his inclusion here isn’t about the distant past. It’s about the recent past as he’s made eight cuts in a row (with five top 20 finishes) and 14 of 17 overall this season. He’s had three 90+ point weeks on DraftKings in that eight tournament run. He’s 46th in par 4 scoring, 63rd in scrambling, 64th in driving accuracy and 24th in 3 putt avoidance so he has all of the tools to succeed this week.
Brian Harman | $8,400 – Harman has made four of five cuts after missing five in a row. He has two top 10s in this current solid run. He missed the cut his first two times around TPC Southwind, but put up a T6 last year so perhaps he’s figured the course out. He sits 69 th in par 4 scoring so he can attack those holes.
Shawn Stefani | $8,200 – Of all the stats we’re looking at this week, the only one that Stefani struggles with is scrambling (154 th on Tour this year). He’s a fantastic 23 rd in par 4 scoring. He had a T7 here two years ago (and a T63 last year), but comes in playing quite well having made seven of his last eight cuts with five top 25 finishes in that run.
Jason Bohn | $7,900 – Bohn is setting up shop on my list every single week. He sits just behind Webb Simpson in statistical standings – he sits fourth in par 4 scoring which gets me very excited. He’s made the cut the last two years after missing the two years prior. He had back to back top 10 finishes prior to last week so he’s in solid form. He finished T52 last week, but still put up a respectable 76.5 DK points.
Jason Kokrak | $7,800 – Kokrak has missed the cut the two times he’s travel to the FedEx St. Jude. He’s on a run of four missed cuts and five of six on Tour currently. The odds makers place Kokrak 15 spots lower than his DraftKings’ salary says he should be. His profile fits though I worry about his driving accuracy (166 th overall). There are a lot of other guys at or around $7,800 that I’d rather have.
Russell Knox | $7,800 – Knox wears par 4s out (fourth overall this year) and that will serve him well this week. He’s also 50th in total driving and 69th in scrambling. He comes in playing well with six straight cuts made on Tour with three top 20 finishes. His history here is horrific with one cut made in three tries and that one cut ended in a T74. He is eight spots lower in salary than he should be based on his odds to win.
Cameron Tringale | $7,800 – Tringale has made three of four cuts here and had a T8 in 2011. He had a run of eight straight cuts made that was broken at the RBC. He’s made three of five cuts (including that miss at the RBC) and has his best finish of the season (solo second at the Zurich). His profile doesn’t fit, but he has had some success on this track.
Troy Merritt | $7,700 – Merritt put up a sparkling solo second last year in his second trip to the St. Jude. He’s alternated made and missed cuts over his last six tour stops though that did include a solo third at the RBC Heritage. Merritt is a short, accurate driver and he’s a wizard with the flat stick. So, on a course where all types can contend, you’re trusting that he stays in the fairway (66th in driving accuracy) and scrambles (68th) his way to the greens where he can perform his magic.
Nick Watney | $7,700- I rarely have a solid feel for Watney and his game so take this analysis with a grain of salt. He debuts here off of a T65 at the Memorial and a T10 at the Byron Nelson. He’s solid on par 4s (69th overall) so that’s where we can pin our hope this week.
Boo Weekley | $7,700 – Weekley has a solid history here including five in a row and fits the profile well (46th in total driving, 94th in scrambling, 69th in par 4 scoring, 68th in GIR and 110th in 3 putt avoidance). He struggled his last time out at the Byron Nelson (though he did make the cut). He’s made the cut in five of his last six tourneys after a string of three straight missed cuts.
Scott Pinckney | $7,700 – Pinckney is playing quite well as he makes his debut this week at the St. Jude Classic. He’s made four cuts in a row and seven of nine including his best finish of the year last time out (T2 at the Byron Nelson). He’s also 69 th in par 4 scoring so he can do some damage here.
Will Wilcox | $7,600 – Wilcox’s statistical profile fits this course to a tee (see what I did there?). He’s eighth in total driving, 16th in scrambling, 23rd in par 4 scoring, fourth in GIR though he does fall off to 124th in 3 putt avoidance. He made his debut here last year and finished T19 He’s got a shot for another top 20 this week as he looks to build off his T22 last time out at the Byron Nelson.
Brendon de Jonge | $7,600 – de Jonge’s 38th place standing in par 4 scoring is what interested me at first. He’s also a full 13 spots lower in salary than he should be based on the oddsmakers. He’s only made two of five cuts here, but those were in his last two trips (he didn’t play here last year). He missed the cut at the Memorial but has had success on some of the shorter courses like at the Byron Nelson (T22), the RBC (T18) and the Honda (T25).
Chesson Hadley | $7,600 – Hadley is on a nice run with five straight cuts made on tour and 10 out of 11. He’s picked up four top 25 finishes in his last five starts. He put up a T13 last year in his debut. He’s playing well everywhere so I’m not as concerned with anything else.
Camilo Villegas | $7,600 – Villegas’ record here is nearly spotless as he’s made eight of nine cuts and finished in the top 20 six times. His current form, however, is almost as bad as his history is good. In his last seven tournaments this season he’s missed five cuts, withdrawn once and finished T40 (albeit last week at the Memorial). You are trusting that course history will trump current form and perhaps his T40 last week is the start of something good.
Martin Laird | $7,500 – Laird fits this course well as he’s 36th in total driving (though 128th in accuracy), 37th in scrambling (to make up for the accuracy issue), 38th in par 4 scoring and 35th in GIR. He’s made two of four cuts at the St. Jude with one top 25 finish. He’s missed his last two cuts and three out of five coming in so he’s been a bit inconsistent.
Ben Crane | $7,200 – Crane won here last year and has made the cut in eight of nine trips to Memphis. He has top 20 finishes in four of his last five starts here. He’s short (200th in distance), but accurate (18th) and scrambles well (51st). He’s made three of six cuts on Tour and missed the cut his last time out at the Byron Nelson. He hasn’t finished in the top 30 since the Hyundai back in January of this year.
Wiliam McGirt | $7,000 – McGirt has alternated made and missed cuts in his four years here at the St. Jude. He’s made three straight cuts on Tour though no finish is better than T28. His profile works as he’s 23rd in driving accuracy, 36th in scrambling, 46th in par 4 scoring, 62nd in GIR and 25th in 3 putt avoidance. He can succeed here and for this price is worth the gamble in some formats.
Charles Howell III | $6,800 – Howell III is 46 spots lower in salary than his odds to win the tournament imply making him one of the best values this week. He has a solid record in Memphis with five straight made cuts at this tournament including one top five finish in 2011. Since his T5 at the Houston Open he’s been spotty on tour making three of six cuts with no finish better than his T31 last week at the Memorial.
Retief Goosen | $6,600 – Goosen doesn’t seem to fit this course if you peruse his stats. However, he’s made five of six cuts here with two top 20 finishes. He put up a T31 last week at the Memorial so he’s shown he can still the play tough courses even at this advanced (for golf) age. He is 39 spots lower in DraftKings’ salary than his odds say he should be.
John Merrick | $6,600 – Merrick is 53 spots lower in salary than he should be based on Vegas’ thoughts on the tournament. This week I’ll give you four options as three of these players are all around the same price point. He’s an accurate driver of the ball (30th overall in accuracy) and he’s made six of seven cuts here. His last two trips to the St. Jude Classic have ended in identical T63 so there is some concern, but his recent form is solid with three of four cuts made including a top 20 his last time out at the Byron Nelson.
Scott Stallings | $6,400 – Stallings comes in struggling, but his history here says it won’t matter. He’s made three of four cuts with two top 25s (including a T2 in 2013).
Glen Day | $6,400 – Here’s a fun one – Day has teed it up here 18 times and has made the cut 12 of those trips. He’s made the cut in five straight appearances here including a T10 his last time here in 2013.
Stewart Cink | $6,300 – Cink is a sneaky play this deep as he sits 46th in par 4 scoring on the year. He doesn’t have much recent history on the course (T53 last year, but hadn’t played since a missed cut in 2006). He’s also put up a couple of results in a row with a T20 at the Wells Fargo and a T31 at the Memorial.
Jeff Overton | $6,100 – Overton has made three straight cuts on Tour average just under 66 points per match on DraftKings. He’s made the cut at the St. Jude each of the seven times he’s visited though his last two trips have produced a T75 and T52. He does have three top 20 finishes however. He is also extremely underpriced relative to his odds to win. The oddsmakers have installed him as the 46th favorite while he sits 109th in salary on DraftKings.
Greg Chalmers | $5,900 – There are a lot of bums below $6,000 this week, but Chalmers isn’t one of them. He’s played here infrequently but has made five of six cuts in Memphis. He’s made his last two cuts on Tour and is eight for ten overall on the season. He’s also 69th in par 4 scoring on the year so he could have a shot this week.
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.