Tour Championship DFS Preview
An entire season full of golf comes to a conclusion this week at the Coca Cola Tour Championship in Atlanta. It will be the last taste of fantasy golf for three weeks as the President’s Cup awaits followed by a two week respite. You know the drill for this event – the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings qualify and everyone else has hit the proverbial golf course (just not this one).
Last week was a scorefest in which the top players lit up the course. Marc Leishman finished with an event record 22-under par. Even players lower down the rungs were able to get hot and mark large moves on the leaderboard. It was a fun event to follow because nobody was every truly out of contention (including me, who went from next to last to cashing in a cash game on Sunday alone).
There is always much grumbling among the gaming community for these non-cut events and many regular players may choose to sit this one out or cut back on their DFS entries. The fact that there are only thirty players will lead to chalk upon chalk and your entire performance may be dictated by the two or three complementary players that go along with the chalk. That is where research and intuition can get you ahead so I am all in on weeks like this.
This event is held at East Lake Golf Club which is a course befitting of the Tour Championship. The course presents a challenge as there are more places to get in trouble on this course than in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. The course is a par 70 which measures at almost 7400 yards, but the fairways are difficult to hit with sand and water everywhere (although this course is most certainly not a day at the beach). When I read the hole by hole course previews, I am inclined to say that the most direct comparison to this course that can be made is Firestone CC, site of the WGC event in August. The second course comp would be Glen Oaks, where the Northern Trust was just held. There is no natural edge for bombers here because of the punitive nature of fairway misses. Just a heads up to not be surprised when there is a lot of pain on holes five and six; the first is a 520 yard par four and the second is a par 3 with an island green where scores can increase in a hurry.
Normally, I highlight multiple options at each price level. Given that there are only 30 golfers, here I will just highlight my ideal Draft Kings lineup as well as throw some darts at golfers that I don’t like as much.
Jon Rahm ($9,500) Rahmbo kicked off a major resurgence in the FedEx Cup playoffs, with three top five finishes in the event. After a slow start last weekend, Rahm was dialed in on Sunday, especially on the back nine and with the fourth event in four weeks, momentum is at a premium. Rahm has never played here before, but he has not played at many of the courses where he has come up big this season. There is a concern about how Rahm will respond when the going gets tough because Rahm tends to lose his stuff quickly, but Rahm should hold it together here.
Hideki Matusyama ($9,000) Ownership may be lower here because Matsuyama has been cold of recent, but the comparison to Firestone increases his value this week as that is a course that Matsuyama dominated. He has gone from the hottest golfer on the planet to a high medium option in the space of three weeks and this is a price where it is hard not to play Matsuyama, who finished fifth here last year.
Justin Rose ($8,900) Rose has been born again hard in the FedEx playoffs with three top 10 finishes, including a second place last weekend. Rose came from far back to make things just interesting enough behind Leishman and his momentum from Sunday should carry through. Rose will be heavily owned here because he has a great history at East Lake finishing in the top six each of the last four years, including two second place finishes. This is the chalk that everyone will own, but you can’t afford not to own Rose.
Paul Casey ($8,600) Casey should be 1A on the chalk. The hope is that he lost a little luster on those who play him week after week since he never really was in contention at Conway Farms, but I tend to like Casey on courses that favor long and accurate drives and he finished fourth here last year. Casey finished fifth at Firestone and last week was only the second week out of the last nine where Casey finished out of the top 15. This is a great price for a golfer with this kind of consistency . As a result, you have to figure that most teams should have a combination of Casey and Rose.
Kevin Chappell ($7,600) Chaps was one of the three golfers last year who were the class of the field, losing the event in a playoff. Chaps has one of the best games on Tour from tee to green, it’s just on the green where he struggles. Placement on the greens here makes a big difference and Chappell’s wizardry on approach will help here.
Pat Perez ($6,400) There are handful of options lower down in the tables that will be used to subsidize rostering multiple top options. Dufner and Woodland will be popular here, but the best pick in this range is Perez. While not a sexy pick, Perez has been on a roll of late with a 12th and a 6th the last two weeks and momentum is everything this time of year. This is exactly the type of medium long course that Perez has excelled on.
Jason Dufner ($6,500) Everyone will be talking up Dufner at this price, but the fact remains that he has been in awful form of recent. There have been multiple weeks when he has been in the low to mid 7000s and he was heavily owned and he did not even come close to sniffing the top 30. I simply cannot start a golfer in such terrible form.
Kevin Kisner ($6,700) See, Dufner Jason. Another heavily owned cheaper priced golfer who has done nothing since competing well into the weekend at Quail Hollow. If you are looking for value, look elsewhere.
Matt Kuchar ($7,700) This is a course where Kuchar’s workmanlike brand of golf just does not serve him well. If the past is a guide, count on a mid-table, three or four under par finish with few birdies and scoring opportunities. I usually love me some Kuch, just not here.