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The Tour Championship Preview
The final leg of the Fed Ex Cup Playoffs kicks off this Thursday from East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, GA. The week off between the BMW Championship and this week was probably a welcome break for everyone, and will allow every golfer to be coming in well rested and ready to contend for the extra ten million dollars on the line this weekend. Jordan Spieth is the defending champion, and currently sits 7th in the Fed Ex Cup points list. East Lake is a par 70, Donald Ross design, that can play as long as 7,385 yards when the tees are at their furthest back. That is very long for a par 70, so length and accuracy off the tee will be extra important this week. Par 4 scoring will be crucial as well, and good putters have also historically done well here. As with a lot of Ross' designs, the greens are lightning fast, around 12 on the stimp, and very contoured. We head back to bermuda grass, after a seemingly endless run on bentgrass, and the very punishing rough is why accuracy will matter.
In terms of Draftkings strategy this week, I will only be playing tournaments. With only 30 players to choose from and no cut, there will be some serious overlap in lineups. This is the perfect week to try some different tournament strategies. I would pick a small core of 4-8 players to build most of your lineups around, while sprinkling in some others you like to fill in spots. You will need the winner obviously, and don't be afraid to leave significant salary on the table as it may be the only way to ensure yourself a unique lineup.
Key Stats for East Lake Golf Club
Par 4 Scoring (P4S) will be imperative, as I mentioned earlier, with so many long, difficult par 4's on this track. Every player that finished T2 or better last year also finished the season inside the top 30 in P4S. Strokes gained off the tee (SG:OTT) is how I will value length and accuracy off the tee, as players who ranked highly in this stat over the years have littered the top of the leaderboard. Three of the four players who finished T2 or better last year also finished the season inside the top 20 in SG:OTT. Finally, birdie or better percentage (BoB%) is the final key stat I identified. With no cut to worry about, all the players will play 72 holes, barring any withdrawals. I want to target players who make a lot of birdies, as to nobodys' surprise, it's been pretty preictive of success here. Every single player except two to finish tied for 2nd or better in the last three years the Tour Championship have also finished that season inside the top 20 in BoB%. Some secondary stats I think are relevant this week due to the course setup are greens in regulation and driving accuracy. For the picks segment this week, because of the condensed field, I'm going to give you my favorite six selections to build the core of your lineups around.
Jordan Spieth - DK Salary $10,600 - Spieth is actually getting a lot of buzz this week, especially in the betting market, so his ownership may be higher than I had originally hoped. He has some great results in the Peach State, including his Masters win, he has five top 2 finishes in six starts. He's in great form right now even with his game not clicking, but he is way overdue to pair a great ball striking round with a hot putting round. He's ranked 2nd in P4S and 4th in BoB%, so I would not be surprised to see him go super low in at least one of his four rounds. His off the tee game is sneaky good too, where he ranks 31st in SG:OTT. A win has been brewing for weeks, and I think his game will be peaking this week on the way to the Ryder Cup. $4 Draftkings GPP Ownership Guess: 13-18%
Jason Day - DK Salary $10,300 - This is the lowest price I've seen Day at in a long time, and I will be banking on the assumption that he's fixed his off the tee game that's been killing him the last couple months. His driver was a weapon for him when he was dominating at the end of last season and into this season, but he's only ranked 66th this season in SG:OTT. He's ranked 10th in P4S and 3rd in BoB%, so I don't see him having any problems piling up the birdies this week. He's done very well on Donald Ross designs in the past, and since 2013, has gained the most strokes on the field on par 70 courses (via Future of Fantasy). Coming off a WD at the BMW, people maybe be scared to roster him. $4 Draftkings GPP Ownership Guess: 6-11%
Adam Scott - DK Salary $10,100 - Scott is absolutely on fire right now, with four straight 4th place finishes. He's done well here in the past with a few top 10's and a win in 2006. Scott is ranked 10th in P4S, 10th in BoB%, and 11th in SG:OTT, and next to Spieth, would be my pick to win this week. He's also ranked 1st in strokes gained approach, outlining just how good his tee to green game is. If his putter gets hot for a couple rounds, look out. $4 Draftkings GPP Ownership Guess: 10-15%
Hideki Matsuyama - DK Salary $8,600 - This is a great price for Hideki, who I think will go super low owned this week, as most players will gravitate to players over $10,000 and under $7,500 in salary. He's ranked in the top 15 in all three key stats, and is coming off two good outings at the BMW and Deutsche Bank. He prefers the Bermuda grass, and placed 12th here last year. Like Scott, if his putter can get hot, his elite tee to green game will have him in contention on Sunday afternoon. $4 Draftkings GPP Ownership Guess: 5-10%
Emiliano Grillo - DK Salary $6,900 - Accuracy is important you say? Well, then fire up Grillo, and for sub 7k, he might be my favorite play price per dollar this week. He's in great form, but has no course history here, which may lead other DFSers to overlook him. He's ranked inside the top 50 in all three key stats, as well as 17th in driving accuracy, so he'll be avoiding the very punishing rough. $4 Draftkings GPP Ownership Guess: 10-15%
Kevin Na - DK Salary $6,500 - Not great off the tee, but this price is really low for Na's skillset compared to a lot of players priced much higher. I want to stack multiple players above 10k, so Na is the perfect way to balance out your lineups. He just recently celebrated the birth of his first child, so we don't need to worry about him withdrawing anymore. He's in great form right now, and is ranked inside the top 25 in P4S, BoB% and driving accuracy. $4 Draftkings GPP Ownership Guess: 15-20%