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DraftKings Strategy

DraftKings Preview: Birdies galore at the 3M Open

by Will Gray
Updated On: July 21, 2021, 4:28 pm ET

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If you're looking for birdies in bunches, you came to the right place.

Fresh off the year's final major, the PGA Tour heads back to the U.S. this week for the third installment of the 3M Open. With the Olympics and a WGC on the horizon, some stars have opted out of a trip to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. But those making the trek include world No. 2 Dustin Johnson, perennial bridesmaid Louis Oosthuizen and other major champs like Patrick Reed and Sergio Garcia.

The course they'll encounter this week, TPC Twin Cities, yielded more birdies than any other course on Tour last season and should again produce a winning total that approaches or surpasses 20 under. Players will need to keep their foot on the gas on the par-71 layout, with aggressive play rewarded but errant misses punished by penalty areas lurking on nearly every hole.

Here's a look at some of the players I have on my short list for DraftKings considerations, including a couple of high-priced options I'm leaving out of my Twin Cities lineups:

Favorites

Emiliano Grillo ($9,300 on DraftKings): Grillo showed last year just how low he can go in Minnesota, shooting 64-65 over the weekend to snag a T-3 finish in his tournament debut. A similar performance this week could be in the making, as the Argentine snapped out of a mini-funk last week in England with a T-12 finish in the year's final major. Grillo is among the best ball-strikers in the field this week, and TPC Twin Cities boasts some of the biggest (and easiest) greens on Tour. That should help him pick up the pace with putter in hand, and his weak short game won't be as exposed on a course where most of the field should be able to pad their GIR stats. Grillo has finished inside the top 15 in three of his last four made cuts, and a similar showing this week should more than justify working him in at this price.

Optimal Lineup (via NBC Sports Edge Golf DFS Tools)

Matthew Wolff ($9,700)

Cameron Tringale ($9,500)

Patton Kizzire ($8,600)

Brandt Snedeker ($7,800)

Bo Hoag ($7,100)

Wyndham Clark ($6,900)

Bubba Watson ($9,100): There are a number of motivational factors to consider this week at a unique intersection of the Tour's calendar: who's fighting jet lag from The Open? Who's feeling the heat to retain their card for next season? Who's simply happy to be here and get back to work? Watson falls into the last category, as he lost his spot in The Open based on contact tracing despite a negative COVID-19 test and fully vaccinated status. The veteran could turn that lemon into lemonade this week, though, coming off a T-6 showing in Detroit in his most recent start. Watson missed the cut here last year but it was a tale of two rounds: 67 followed by 74. He has the capacity to take it deep on a course that has some similar traits to one of his favorite haunts, TPC River Highlands, and his ball-striking creativity can shine on a relatively open landscape. Watson has made eight of his last nine cuts, including five top-20 finishes, and continues to perform consistently despite relatively minimal fanfare.


Tread Lightly

Dustin Johnson ($11,300): A T-8 finish at Royal St. George's was solid, but I still have questions about the former world No. 1. Johnson has had spurts of brilliance over the last few months, but they've been few and far between and have not been nearly as sustained as they were last year when he was clearly the best player in the world. DJ is losing ground across the board when compared to his statistical averages from months ago, and while he has the capacity to blow this field away I wonder how much of his head will be in the proverbial game. This is, after all, a place where he went 78-WD a year ago in the midst of a noticeable slump. Johnson is skipping the Olympics in an effort to focus on domestic point gathering, but I would still rather lead a top-heavy lineup with more stable options like Oosthuizen and Tony Finau.

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Cameron Tringale ($9,500): I admit I was a little shell-shocked when I saw the initial betting odds that included Tringale priced behind only a handful of players despite still searching for his first career PGA Tour win. There's a better argument to be made for him on a DFS roster this week, with some solid results in recent weeks and a T-3 showing here last year. But this price is still a little too steep for my liking on a player who isn't used to being among the short list of favorites. With players like Grillo, Watson and Robert MacIntyre priced just below him, I think there are a number of pivot options available and will wait to work Tringale back into my lineups until he's slotted back in his typical mid-tier price range.


Sleepers

Jason Dufner ($6,600): If you're in search of a 6-for-6 lineup, Dufner could be quite an asset this week in the Twin Cities. The former major champion has gone pretty quiet in recent months but seems to have found a bit of form over the last two weeks, chasing a T-18 finish at the John Deere with a T-26 showing at the Barbasol while most of the big names were busy at Royal St. George's. He now heads to a course where he has made the cut each of the last two years, including a T-32 showing when he went 66-68 over the weekend. Dufner is a strong iron player and 10th in the field in SG: Ball-Striking over the last 36 rounds, often held back once he gets onto the greens, but this week's relatively easier surfaces could be the key to producing an uptick in putting and allow the veteran to hang around on the fringes of the leaderboard for the third straight week.

Chase Seiffert ($6,400): When looking for a motivated player, look no further than Seiffert who enters this week at No. 126 in the season-long points race and firmly in jeopardy of losing his status for the 2022 season. Seiffert isn't spectacular in any single statistical category but he's solid across the board, producing three straight finishes of T-18 or better during the spring. He missed the cut last week in Kentucky, but was T-28 the week prior at the Deere and has had a penchant this season for making the most of his opportunities once he makes it past the cut. This week's layout should be one that plays to his strengths of accuracy and consistent approach play, and that recipe could lead to a few more birdies than expected based on his salary.

Will Gray

Will Gray manages betting, fantasy and DFS content for NBC Sports EDGE across Golf, Soccer and NASCAR. He has covered the PGA Tour since 2013 and regularly contributes golf betting insight and analysis across multiple digital platforms. Gray has been with NBC Sports since 2007 and recently served as a writer, video analyst and podcast host for Golf Channel. You can follow him on Twitter @WillGrayGC