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Dustin Johnson
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
FanDuel Strategy

DFS FanDuel Fit: AT&T Byron Nelson

by Josh Culp
Updated On: May 10, 2022, 11:03 am ET

Taking on TPC Craig Ranch for the second straight year, let's dive into the course details to find some potential course-fit value options for weekly FanDuel rosters.

Last year at the Byron Nelson we saw extremely easy scoring conditions. The field average flirted with 3-under per round. That was likely a combination of a conservative course setup during the first year of hosting combined with soft and receptive conditions due to the weather that week. Even if the course played two shots easier per round, this would still be on the easy side of the spectrum.

What makes it so easy? One of the reasons is just how generous the fairways are at TPC Craig Ranch. Wide landing areas allow golfers to pull driver after driver without much fear of trouble. Let's use this angle as well. To do that we will look at historical performance on similar driver-heavy courses. 

 

Drive for Dough

Listening to the pros speak last year, it was clear that the driver was used heavily here. 

"The golf course is for the most part wide open. There are areas you got to be precise, but for the most part it's a bombers' paradise." -Bryson DeChambeau

"We just don't play a whole lot of the courses like this where we can gear up and let the driver loose and not worry about the rough and hit a lot of fairways." -Harris English

Here are the top performers on other driver-heavy courses, over the last two years: 

Dustin Johnson
Scottie Scheffler
Xander Schauffele
Will Zalatoris
Justin Thomas
Hideki Matsuyama
Tommy Fleetwood
Alex Noren
Brooks Koepka
Brian Harman
Kurt Kitayama
Marc Leishman
Talor Gooch
Kevin Kisner
Ian Poulter

We can also look at a golfer's performance versus their baseline to see who over-performs most. Here is that list: 

Kurt Kitayama
Dustin Johnson
Cameron Champ
Marc Leishman
Scottie Scheffler
Charl Schwartzel
Scott Piercy
C.T. Pan
Alex Noren
Francesco Molinari
Peter Malnati
Andrew Putnam
Kevin Kisner
Wyndham Clark
Will Zalatoris

Overlap List: Names that show up on both lists include Dustin Johnson, Scottie Scheffler, Will Zalatoris, Alex Noren, Kurt Kitayama, Marc Leishman, and Kevin Kisner

DJ, Scheffler, and Zalatoris are the types of names you might expect to see on the driver-heavy list and sure enough, there they are. Kisner and Noren find their way onto the list despite their below-average power profile. 

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Easy Scoring Environment

An easy course often opens the door to more players in terms of winning upside. If a course yields lots of birdies then it usually means the tee-to-green test is not as difficult. That tee-to-green part of the equation is often where the superstars separate themselves from the journeymen. 

TPC Craig Ranch is a little different in that a large percentage of the approach shots come from outside of 200 yards. There is still room for the best players to assert their dominance on approach, especially with presumably less receptive greens this year (compared to the rain-soaked edition last year). 

With that in mind, let's hunt for some names that play well in easy scoring environments but also find themselves near the top of long-approach performance. 

Here are the top performers on easy courses (-0.75 RTP or easier), over the last two years: 

Dustin Johnson
Justin Thomas
Xander Schauffele
Sam Burns
Joaquin Niemann
Shaun Norris
Scottie Scheffler
Alex Noren
Ryan Palmer
Will Zalatoris
Bubba Watson
Adam Scott
Jhonattan Vegas
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Matthew Wolff

We can also look at a golfer's performance versus their baseline to see who over-performs most. Here is that list: 

Brandon Wu
John Huh
Kevin Kisner
Trey Mullinax
Jim Herman
Ryan Palmer
Dustin Johnson
Matthew Wolff
Tyler Duncan
Cameron Champ
Greyson Sigg
Doc Redman
Seung-Yul Noh
Justin Lower
Henrik Stenson

Overlap List: names that show up on both lists include Dustin Johnson and Ryan Palmer.

Both DJ and Palmer are above the field average in proximity from over 200 yards, over the last six months. So, they check both boxes that I was searching for. 

 

FanDuel Focus 

Dustin Johnson ($11,600): He's making his first start since becoming a married man. There is a chance that his game is a little rusty but DJ doesn't have a track record of showing up to an event unprepared. Looking at the course, this looks tailormade for him. It allows him to hit lots of drivers which is one of his core strengths. It also gives you lots of long-iron approaches. Johnson ranks second in the field, over the last six months, in adjusted approach proximity from outside of 200 yards. 

Shaun Norris ($8,300): He's is down near the bottom of the salary sheet but ranks sixth in adjusted performance on easy courses, over the last two years. While spending his time on smaller tours, he arrives with a win and two other top 10s in his last three worldwide starts. 

Good luck with your lineups this week and check back tomorrow for some more course-fit analysis. 

Josh Culp

Josh Culp joined NBC Sports Edge in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.