Welcome to the latest edition of the DraftKings Fantasy PGA Sleepers column. We head to the Memorial tournament this week. 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 Muirfield Village Golf Club a 7,392 yards, par 72 course for the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. Muirfield first opened in 1974 and Jack Nicklaus named the club for Muirfield in Scotland where he won his first British Open title. This is one of the more difficult courses outside of the majors and as a result we’ll see a lot of premium players on the course.
Nicklaus has also designed Dove Mountain (WGC Match Play) and PGA National (Honda Classic) so players who play well at those courses are also options this week. You can also look at players who do well at the RBC Heritage (played at Harbour Town) as that is a Nicklaus/Pete Dye design as well. Nicklaus wanted to mirror some of the features of Augusta as well at Muirfield so we can look to Masters’ results too.
And it is a small field again (only 120 players), but the cut rules don’t change so the top 70 plus ties will make it through this week. So, a stars & scrubs lineup can be quite successful this week.
The weather for this week looks like will probably avoid rain and may even stay dry for the entire weekend. There is still a shot for some rain Friday afternoon so keep checking back to see if the rain becomes more of a reality. .
Nicklaus tinkers with the course every year, but doesn’t usually make wholesale changes. So, the history here is useful and history tells us we need premium players who drive the ball far and accurately. We also want to focus on par 5 scorers as well as the par 3s and par 4s are tough.
Driving accuracy – The list of winners is littered with shorter drivers so distance isn’t quite as important, but accuracy is the key to stay out of the trouble that lurks.
Par 5 Scoring – These four par 5s are the four easiest holes on the course and the players will need to crush them this week to have a shot at winning.
GIR – Got to get that second shot in play.
Three putt avoidance – This is the first time we’re looking at this stat, but you need players who aren’t going to give up strokes on the greens because there aren’t a lot of ways to get those strokes back.
As always, you should examine Strokes Gained: Putting and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green every week.
These aren’t high end prices, but we’re looking for premium players at a discount rate.
Billy Horschel ($8,800): Horschel’s played Muirfield twice and was T41 in his first trip and backed that up with a T15 last year. His profile has some attractive pieces with a 10th spot in GIR and 62nd in driving accuracy. He also put up a T13 in his last time out at the PLAYERS in a similarly stacked field.
The Soft Middle
Looking for some soft pricing in the lower tiers.
Kevin Kisner ($8,200): Kisner’s salary falls just below the “average” golfer on DraftKings so he fits into this category. He made his only start at the Memorial last year and finished T46. His profile is great (rates seventh this week for all Tour players) as he sits sixth in 3 putt avoidance, 32nd in par 5 scoring, 84th in GIR, and 34th in driving accuracy. He’s had three top 5 finishes (including losing in two playoffs) in his last five tournament stops so there aren’t many hotter than Kisner
Harris English ($7,800): English is one of my favorites this week as he just seems fit for this tournament. He’s 39th in par 5 scoring, 29th in 3 putt avoidance as well as GIR. He’s only played here once and finished T62 in 2012. He did miss the cut at the Honda this year, but performed well in the last two years at the WGC. He’s been up and down as of late missing two of this last three cuts in stroke play events.
Francesco Molinari ($7,300): Molinari comes back to the States this week as he gears up for the U.S. Open. His time back “home” was profitable as he put up a T2 at the Spanish Open and a solo fifth at the BMW PGA Championship. He struggled last week to a T51 at the Irish Open, but let’s throw that result out as the weather was less than favorable. Molinari’s statistical profile puts him at the top of my list as he’s ninth in 3 putt avoidance, 39th in par 5 scoring, 14th in GIR and first in driving accuracy. He won’t win (debutants just don’t win here), but his game fits.
El Cheapo Guapo
They won’t cost you much, but they have real upside. And they sure are handsome.
Colt Knost ($6,600): Knost has back to back top 10 finishes on Tour. Read that again. Yep, top 10 finishes in back to back tourneys. He’s missed the cut both times he’s played here, but hasn’t played here since 2010. Knost is ninth in 3 putt avoidance, a respectable (for such a short hitter) 99th in par 5 scoring, 49th in GIR, and seventh in driving accuracy. His current form makes him an option this week with a game to fit.
Wiliam McGirt ($6,300): McGirt has a T37 and missed cut in his two times out to Muirfield. However, his statistical profile looks tasty with his 28 spot in 3 putt avoidance, 32 nd in par 5 scoring, 52 nd in GIR, and 28 th in driving accuracy. So, he looks like he should be able to find his way around the course successfully. He’s made cuts in back to back weeks and also posted a T31 at Harbour Town and T22 at Honda this year so he’s got a shot at a top 25 here if it all falls into place.
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.
Ben Curtis ($5,800): Curtis comes to a tournament where he’s had tons of success over the years. He’s made the cut in nine of his 12 trips and has two top ten finishes (including last year’s T6). He’s as solid a bet as anyone below $6,000 to make the cut even if he’s only made one on the PGA Tour in 2015 (last week at the Byron Nelson).