Welcome to the latest edition of the DraftKings Fantasy PGA Sleepers column. We head to Memphis for the FedEx St. Jude Classic. We missed on our Unicorn, but it can’t rain all the time so we’re back to get one through for you.
I’m back to offer a few picks for this week’s PGA slate. As always, I will try to weave in players from a few pricing tiers – this won’t be a column on the five cheapest guys each week and why they have a 1% chance of making the cut.
A balanced lineup in Daily Fantasy Golf is important so I want to offer you opportunities to construct lineups with sleepers at a variety of price points. As always, suggestions are appreciated to help improve the column and so we can better meet your DFS needs.
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.
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 – 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.
These aren’t high end prices, but we’re looking for premium players at a discount rate.
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.
The Soft Middle
Looking for some soft pricing in the lower tiers.
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.
Will Wilcox ($7,600): Wilcox debuted here last year and finished T19. 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. Wilcox debuted 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. 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).
El Cheapo Guapo
They won’t cost you much, but they have real upside. And they sure are handsome.
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.
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 46 th favorite while he sits 109th in salary on DraftKings.
Each week, I’ll throw one player out there who has one thing working for him. He’s probably got a less than 10% chance of making the cut, but if you want gamble in larger GPPs you need a unicorn on your side.
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 69 th in par 4 scoring on the year so he could have a shot this week.