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FanDuel Strategy

DFS FanDuel Fit: THE PLAYERS Championship

by Josh Culp
Updated On: March 9, 2022, 4:07 pm ET

It's another week in Florida for the PGA TOUR as they head to TPC Sawgrass for the 48th running of THE PLAYERS Championship. 

This will be the 40th time playing the event at TPC Sawgrass so there is plenty of course history to look at for gamers setting their FanDuel lineups. 

However, this course is also known for lots of variability from year to year so course history may not consistently lead us in the right direction. 

Instead, let's have a little fun and look at some course-fit stats. We will target performance on other Pete Dye designs then see who plays well on courses with speedy greens. 

 

Pete Dye Course Performance

Tricky are deceptive are two words that often get thrown around when playing on courses designed by Pete Dye. 

"A Pete Dye golf course, I feel like it will show you one side with trouble and you almost have to ignore the big flashy trouble and hug the trouble, because the worst side will be the bailout side and once you bail out into the wrong, into the fat side, then the troubles start mounting." -Patrick Cantlay

"Pete Dye's pretty good at if you try and take some chances and you're not quite on, that's where you get in trouble and you can make some numbers." -Jordan Spieth

"I think it's a classic kind of Pete Dye design. I like most of his courses. I like Harbour Town a lot. This is probably the closest course we have to Harbour Town. So I like to think my way around the course, I think he makes you think your way around the course." -Ben Martin

Here are the top performers from a strokes gained per round view, when playing on Pete Dye courses, over the last five seasons: 

Patrick Cantlay
Dustin Johnson
Abraham Ancer
Webb Simpson
Will Zalatoris
Brooks Koepka
Adam Scott
Tommy Fleetwood
Paul Casey
Brian Harman
Jon Rahm
Scottie Scheffler
Patrick Reed
Si Woo Kim
Joaquin Niemann

Simpson has the perfect style of play for Pete Dye designs but his recent injuries do leave a question mark over his head. 

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Speedy Greens

The setup crew for THE PLAYERS always tries to prep these greens to run as fast as possible without losing the plot. 

They did lose control back in 2016 but overall they do a good job of providing speedy surfaces without getting too crazy. 

The fast greens also impact approach shots and around-the-green shots, not just putting. That is why we see plenty of crossover success here with courses like Augusta National, Quail Hollow, and Torrey Pines. All three courses can really ramp up the green speeds. 

Here are the top performers on courses with fast greens (12+ feet on the stimp) over the last two years: 

Jon Rahm
Matt Fitzpatrick
Xander Schauffele
Justin Thomas
Viktor Hovland
Rory McIlroy
Cameron Smith
Jason Kokrak
Louis Oosthuizen
Daniel Berger
Collin Morikawa
Patrick Cantlay
Hideki Matsuyama
Tyrrell Hatton
Scottie Scheffler

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

Cameron Young
Mito Pereira
Jason Kokrak
Matt Fitzpatrick
Charley Hoffman
Sebastian Munoz
Keegan Bradley
Beau Hossler
Robert Streb
Marc Leishman
Hideki Matsuyama
Chris Kirk
Cameron Smith
Cameron Tringale
Luke List

Overlap List: names that show up on both lists include Matt Fitzpatrick, Cameron Smith, Jason Kokrak, and Hideki Matsuyama

The main theme here is elite ball-striking which helps a lot when greens are fast because it means better leaves and fewer tricky around-the-green shots or putts. Elite short-game skills from Fitzpatrick and Cam Smith also get the job done but they are more the exception than the rule when you look at the lists above. 

FanDuel Focus 

Justin Thomas ($11,900): When you look at the performance of defending champs at TPC Sawgrass, it's not pretty. Thomas isn't your average defending champ, though. He's won multiple times on the same course on three occasions over the course of his career. If the defending champ narrative scares too many people away from JT this week, he might be a good name to target at the top. 

Jason Kokrak ($9,000): It wasn't love at first sight for Kokrak and TPC Sawgrass. He missed the cut in his first five tries at THE PLAYERS. He's gone 3-for-3 since then, including a T9 last year. He's won three times since the start of 2020 and that ability to rack up top-heavy finishes should not go overlooked when scouting out the $9k range on FanDuel this week.

 

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.