Daily Fantasy Golf Strategy: Wells Fargo Championship
Another week of PGA Daily Fantasy picks for DraftKings as we head to the Wells Fargo Championship. What a finish at THE PLAYERS this weekend! Rickie Fowler is a premium player on premium courses and should be considered at all majors (including the fifth) even if his form isn’t quite there. 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 for the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. The course at Quail Hollow is a 7,542 par 72 course with the final three holes comprising “The Green Mile” one of the toughest finishing stretches on the Tour. The Wells Fargo has been held here every year since 2003. It’s another tough course this week after the challenges of TPC Sawgrass. Remember, this course will hold the PGA Championship in 2017 so it’s major-worthy.
The weather looks good with the only chance for rain on Friday morning. However, it is late Spring in the southeast so rain and wind can kick up at any time. As always, check in on the weather as we get closer to the Thursday start.
Scorecard breakdown: Four (4) par threes, ten (10) par fours and four (4) par fives. All the par fives are 530 yards or more. The shortest par three is 178 yards, the longest 250 yards. There are two par fours shorter than 400 yards and four longer than 480 yards. Bunkers abound on the course.
The field is solid, though a bit of a letdown after last week. As of publication, we have 11 of the top 25 in OWGR in the field.
The full field can be found here.
Past Tournament Results
2014 Winner: J.B Holmes stumbled on Sunday, but the charging Jim Furyk couldn’t quite catch him even with a 7-under 65. Holmes won by a stroke over Furyk in his first victory since brain surgery over two years prior. Holmes finished first in driving distance, fourth in strokes gained:putting and T6 in scrambling. He was a solid 49th in proximity to the hole.
I know I said this last week, but we are back at another a tough course with no discernible weakness and as a result we won’t be able to pick on a certain type of player. The all-around player will be king this week and with a shallower field than last week, we’re going to need to do some digging. You’re going to see us chasing very similar statistical profiles this week as last week.
Par 5 Scoring – Again this week, we are going to look for guys who can score on par 5s. Driving distance seems to be a bit more important this week than last week, but the par 5s are where the players will have to make their marks.
Scrambling – You are going to get in trouble somewhere on the course and you’ll need to get out. There are a ton of bunkers so I’d like to take a peak at scrambling from the sand as well.
Greens in Regulation (GIR) – You need to stay out of trouble at Quail Hollow. Getting to the greens keeps you in the hunt.
Driving Distance – I didn’t mention driving distance last week, but this week it becomes a bit more important (though you still need to say out of the myriad bunkers). But, if J.B. Holmes can win you know that bombers who aren’t the most accurate have a shot here. Since 2009, the winner has been in the top 15 in driving distance every year, but 2011 (Lucas Glover won and finished 26th in driving distance but still crushed par 5s to the tune of 12-under for the week)
Proximity to the hole 30’ or greater – One last statistical nugget about Quail Hollow. It generally is among the longest distances in proximity to the hole. Last year it was 41’ 7” so players who can get it close to the hole from 30 feet or greater out will have a lot of opportunities to flash that skill.
Holmes finished first in driving distance, fourth in strokes gained:putting and T6 in scrambling. He was a solid 49th in proximity to the hole. In 2013, winner Derek Ernst finished 11th in driving distance, T13, in driving accuracy, 11 th in strokes gained: putting, T3 in GIR and T9 in scrambling.
DraftKings Expert Picks
Rory McIlroy | $14,000 – McIlroy is playing well (one missed cut this season, worst finish otherwise was a T11 at Bay Hill). He’s played this course well (four top 10 finishes in five trips including a win in 2010). He’s $2,800 more than the second costliest player. With the lowest priced player at $5,700, it’s going to be tough to get Rory into a lineup. I imagine I’ll have one Rory lineup, but I think there is value up and down the lineup this week.
Henrik Stenson |$11,200 – Stenson has to win sometime, right? His game seems built with his ability to hit GIR (third) and driving distance (27 th). However, he’s played her four times and missed the cut three times with his only weekend ending with a T69. He’s one of the hottest golfers on tour, so something has to give this weekend. I’ll let someone else find out at this price.
Jim Furyk |$10,800 – Furyk’s five top 10 finishes at Quail Hollow trails only Phil Mickelson (and is tied with another man further down this list). He stumbled last week (perhaps a hangover from Match Play where he lost in the consolation finals). He hasn’t missed the cut here since 2007 and has three top 10 finishes here since then.
Hideki Matsuyama | $10,600 – Matsuyama fits the statistical profile last week and with the minor tweaks for this week, he’s back as a favorite. Even with the increase in price by $2,000 he still offers some value. He made his first trip to the course last year and finished T38. He’s made six straight cuts (including Match Play) and finished in the top 25 in each of those tournaments. He’s 23rd in par 5 scoring, 10th in scrambling, ninth in proximity from 30’ and eighth in GIR. Yep, he’s got the goods.
Phil Mickelson | $10,400 – Mickelson interrupted a streak of five straight cuts made with his stumble at THE PLAYERS. But, form matters not when it comes to Lefty and Quail Hollow. He’s made the cut in all 11 trips here and has seven (!) top ten finishes. Oddly, he’s never won here, but he’s come close with five to five finishes.
J.B. Holmes | $9,800 – The history of defending champions at Quail Hollow is about as good as the history of Spinal Tap drummers. And as a result, I’m fading Holmes everywhere this week. He won last by putting out of his mind. I don’t think lightning strikes twice.
Bill Haas | $9,700 – Haas has an uneven record here with six cuts made in 11 attempts and two top 10 finishes. His worst finish in his last four Tour events this year is a T31 at the RBC. He can score on par 5s (34 th), 11 th in scrambling and 62 nd in GIR so he fits some of the things we are looking for this week. However, at this price, there are probably better values.
Louis Oosthuizen | $9,300 – Oosty is another guy with a favorable profile. He’s 15th in par 5 scoring, 55th in scrambling, fourth in proximity, 50th in GIR and 68th in driving distance. He stumbled at THE PLAYERS (T69), but had a run of three straight top 20 finishes and has only finished outside the top 20 once this season if he makes the cut.
Patrick Reed | $9,100 – Reed is quickly becoming my junior Jason Day. If Reed is in the field, I have to find a way to get him into my lineup. However, there is nothing forced about this pick this week as Reed is 11th in par 5 scoring, third in scrambling, 57th in proximity from 30’ though a middling 107th in GIR. He’s played here twice and finished 32nd both times. He’s made 13 of 14 cuts this season and he’s had seven top 25 finishes in his last eight trips out on Tour.
Ben Martin | $8,700 – Martin comes in playing well with a T4 last week, a T37 at the RBC and a solo fifth at the Arnold Palmer. He’s 34th in par 5 scoring, 46th in proximity to hold from 30’ and 19th in GIR.
Webb Simpson | $8,600 – The North Carolina native has played well here of late with four straight cuts made and a top 10 in 2012. But, what excites me about Simpson is his statistical profile. He’s third in par 5 scoring, 26th in scrambling, 67th in proximity from 30’ and 17th in GIR.
Justin Thomas | $8,600 – Thomas makes his debut at a course that fits his game as he scalds par 5s (second in par 5 scoring) and 18th in driving distance all while finding the greens (69th in GIR). He’s made four straight cuts and has three straight top 25s.
Adam Scott | $8,600 – Scott is probably cheaper than we’ll see him all year. He hasn’t played this tournament since 2010 when he missed the cut for the second time in a row. He’d made four straight cuts prior to that run and had two top 10 finishes He hasn’t put up a result to write home about since his T4 at the WGC Cadillac in early March as he continues to struggle with his putter. He’s accurate (seventh in GIR) and a great driver of the ball (fifth in distance), but struggles in scrambling and proximity from 30’ out. I’ll likely not roster him this week.
Daniel Berger | $8,500 – Berger rates just behind Hideki Matsuyama in a my statistical analysis as he’s 15th in par 5 scoring, 43rd in scrambling, 20th in GIR, and 14th in driving distance. He’s even a respectable 43rd in proximity. He’s never played here and he missed the cut last week when he was nearly as attractive from a statistical perspective. His upside is undeniable.
Charles Howell III | $8,400 – Howell is nine of 12 in cuts made and has back to back top 20 finishes here. He’s been quite un-Howell like lately missing three out of his last five cuts after running off eight in a row. He should set up well here as he’s 34th in par 5 scoring, 38th in GIR, and 20th in driving distance.
David Hearn | $8,300 – Hearn looked great last week until Sunday when he started firing the ball all over the course. For some reason, he’s been kicked up to the penthouse (well, just below it) and it’s undeserved. He’s made the cut in three of his four trips here, but has not finished better than T43. He keeps the ball in play as he’s 48th in GIR, but that’s the only box he checks. Don’t pay for last week’s success this week.
Sean O’Hair | $8,300 – O’Hair won this tournament in 2009 (and of course missed the cut the following year). In fact, he’s missed in three of the four trips to Quail Hollow since he won. He missed the cut last week, but had been playing quite well so you’re counting on form this week to roster him.
Rory Sabbatini | $8,200 – Sabbatini the season off red hot, but has cooled considerably in the last couple of months. After a T22 at the Waste Management in early February, he’s missed six of eight cuts. However, in those two weekends he’s seen, he’s finished T11 and T6 (last week at THE PLAYERS). His recent history here mirrors his recent run of form with four missed cuts in the last eight years, but three top eight finishes in that same time. He’s a high volatility option for GPPs.
Geoff Ogilvy | $8,200 – Ogilvy is ten for ten in cuts made at the Wells Fargo with two top ten finishes though those were long ago. He’s been in the top 25 two of the last three years here. The Aussie comes in off a T24 at THE PLAYERS for his best finish of the season.
Kevin Kisner | $8,100 – Kisner has been involved in two playoffs in the last four weeks on Tour losing in both chances. He’s averaged over 103 points on DraftKings over his last three tournament stops. That’s premium player scoring for a middle level price. Kisner placed in a tie for sixth last year after missing the cut the first two treks to Quail Hollow. He’s also respectable in the statistical categories as he’s 39th in par 5 scoring, 19th in scrambling, 88th in proximity and 82nd in GIR.
Jhonattan Vegas | $8,100 – Perhaps you’ve seen Vegas sneaking along with back to back made cuts. Perhaps you know that Vegas his the ball a mile so he must be a good option here. Well, you’d be wrong (at least at this price). Vegas is up and down and can’t keep the ball in the fairway usually (154th in GIR) and Vegas says his salary is 48 spots higher than it should be. He’s also missed the cut all three times he’s traveled to Charlotte.
Ryan Moore | $8,000 – At first blush, Moore’s record at the Wells Fargo doesn’t look great. However, digging a bit deeper, we see that he struggled in his first four trips to Quail Hollow. Then, something clicked and he made the cut in his last four trips here including three straight top 20 finishes. The only other player in the field this week with three straight top 20s here is Rory McIlroy. He’s 62nd in par 5 scoring and 48th in scrambling so he could challenge this week even off a missed cut at TPC Sawgrass.
Bo Van Pelt | $8,000 – Don’t look now, but Van Pelt may be rounding into shape. He comes in off a T30 at THE PLAYERS and also had a T9 at the RBC. He’s made seven of ten cuts here and has three top 10 finishes including two in the last five years.
Martin Flores | $8,000 – Flores finished solo third and looks to build on his streak of three straight cuts at Quail Hollow. He’s alternated cuts made and missed in his last four starts on Tour.
Stewart Cink | $8,000 – Cink and the next man on the list are in the same spot. Both have excellent track records here. Both are old and often ignored in DFS. Both are too expensive for my taste this week.
Vijay Singh | $7,900 – See Cink, Stewart.
Russell Knox | $7,800 – Knox missed the cut the only time he teed it up at Quail Hollow. He comes in on a bit of a heater with three straight cuts and six of seven made. He finished T17 last week at TPC Sawgrass closing it out with a final round 68.
Shawn Stefani | $7,500 – Stefani missed the cut the last week out, but he entered THE PLAYERS with four straight cuts made and all between T17 to T26. He’s made the cut both times he’s teed it up here. Last year he entered the weekend in fourth, but stumbled to a T44. He is 19th in par 5 scoring, 39th in GIR and 36th in driving distance so he has the tools to succeed at Quail Hollow.
Robert Karlsson | $7,500 – Karlsson is Swedish. He lives in Charlotte and has some knowledge of the course. He’s made four of six cuts here and did have a top 10 two years ago. He’s coming in off his best finish of the year with a T26 at the Volvo China Open in late April.
George McNeill | $7,400 – McNeill is 49 spots lower in salary than the oddsmakers think he should be. And I agree that DraftKings may have gotten this one wrong. McNeill has made five of eight cuts here including four top 25 finishes. He’s made five straight cuts on Tour with three to 20s in that run including top 20s in his last two trips on Tour. He’s 62nd in par 5 scoring so he can get there and take advantage and sits 70th in scrambling so he’s got a shot to get out of trouble if he’s in it.
Brendon de Jonge | $7,200 – I think we saw Mr. de Jonge in his space last week. He’s an even better value this week as he is 65 spots lower in salary than his odds say he should be. He’s made six straight cuts at Quail Hollow and has two top 10 finishes including a T6 last year. He disappointed last week with a T63, but that’s no reason to hop off this horse.
Brian Harman | $7,200 – Harman has made the cut the last three years here in his only three trips. He even picked up a top 10 in 2013. After missing five cuts in a row, he T44 at RBC and then picked up a T8 last week at the PLAYERS. He scores on par 5s (39th), but misses on a lot of the other categories we’d like to see.
Jason Kokrak | $7,100 – Kokrak has steadily improved in his three trips here missing the cut his first time, then T50 and finally a T23 last year. In his last seven tournaments, he’s missed three cuts and finished no lower than T18 in the other four. He’s been all or nothing since missing the cut at the Honda in early March. He fits the profile of a player who should succeed here as he’s eighth in par 5 scoring, 41st in scrambling, 88th in proximity, 70th in GIR and 11th in driving distance.
Morgan Hoffmann | $7,100 – Hoffmann has missed the cut the two times he’s played the course. He’d been playing well until he stumbled at THE PLAYERS. He tried his best to make the weekend with a second round 69, but he missed the cut by a stroke. I look for a bounce back this week with his 23 rd place in par 5 scoring leading the way.
Pat Perez | $7,100 – Perez’s current form puts him on the list as he’s made four straight cuts and 12 out of 13. In his last four tournaments his worst finish is T26. He’s six for 11 in cuts made at Quail Hollow, so you’re banking on his form continuing.
Kevin Streelman | $7,000 – Streelman is an even better value than de Jonge has as he’s 73 spots lower in salary than the oddsmakers would have you believe. Streelman missed the cut the first three times he played here. He took a few years off and has made the cut the last two years with a T6 and a T14. He missed the cut at the TPC last week. He’s 27th in GIR and 51st in scrambling. He comes in off a missed cut so he’ll be a bit off the radar.
Jason Bohn | $7,000 – Bohn is six for 11 in cuts made here, but last year he picked up a solo fourth (his second top 10 finish here). He comes in off back to back missed cuts, but checks a lot of boxes with his standings 50th in par 5 scoring, 59th in scrambling, and 13th in GIR. He’s not long and if he goes off course, he can’t scramble his way back on so he back stay on the straight and narrow.
Johnson Wagner | $7,000 – Wagner is a member here, but it doesn’t show in his results as he’s only made four of eight cuts with a top finish of T33.
Ryo Ishikawa | $6,800 – Stick with more for a minute. Ryo’s only played here once and finished T50. He’s 85th in GIR and 70th in driving distance – neither is great, but together that’s not too bad. However, he doesn’t succeed in any of the other categories we’d like to see. However, he’s made three cuts in a row including his T8 last week where he made 10 of 11 scrambles in his final round. If he can continue to scramble like that he can fire the ball all over the course if he’d like.
Aaron Baddeley | $6,400 – I’m blind to Badds. I just don’t know when he’ll be good and I seem to always miss him by a week. I’ve put him on the list because he should be based on his profile. He’s made five of eight cuts at Quail Hollow, but hasn’t threatened the leader board. If you believe the stats, slot him on your roster.
Steven Bowditch | $6,200 – This is probably as low as I’d go on DraftKings (though I do have a soft spot for Andres Gonzales ($6,100) who is a solid driver of the ball and quite accurate. Plus, it is his birthday weekend!). He’s two for two in cuts made at the Wells Fargo with a T28 as his best finish. But, I found him a respectable 21st overall in my statistical measures for the week. He’s the second best scrambler on Tour, 16th in proximity from 30’ and 28th in distance. His struggle to hit greens is mitigated by his fantastic scrambling. He’s a dark horse 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.