DraftKings PGA Lineup Advice: Dell Technologies Championship
After tackling a new venue at Glen Oaks last week, the 96 of the 100 men remaining in the FedEx Cup Playoffs make their way to TPC Boston for the Dell Technologies Championship (formerly the Deutsche Bank Championship).
Cut out of New England forest, Arnold Palmer’s original design didn’t exactly look regionally appropriate. Gil Hanse (with the help of New Englander Brad Faxon) stepped in to reshape holes, add “chocolate mounds,” select areas for native growth. By most accounts, the pair were successful in making the course look like a Massachusetts course, ala Salem, Myopia Hunt Club, or The Country Club…but it’s still something of an odd mix of modern target golf and forced carries with a New England vibe.
7,342 yards, par 71. TPC Boston’s bentgrass greens run around 12.5 on the stimpmeter. When there’s moisture, putts seem to fall. When the course is dry, holing putts can be a chore. Still, winners generally fall in the 15 to 20-under range. Rory McIlroy finished at -15 last year.
Remember, with 96 players in the field and 70 making the cut, you’re looking at roughly three-fourths of the field making it to the weekend, rather than half. In other words, take some chances.
The smart money is pushing the value of strokes gained: approach this week, as well as total driving. But a balanced portfolio of the strokes gained metrics and big-time birdie makers seem the way to go.
If You Want to Go Chalk…
Justin Thomas at $10,300 and Hideki Matsuyama at $10,100 makes absolutely no sense. Definitely over-reactive pricing. Matsuyama had a put lip out that would have sent him through to the weekend at the Northern Trust. Even given his prodigious birdie ability and hot streaks, you can’t justify rostering Justin Thomas ahead of, really, the fifth through 10th highest priced players.
Dustin Johnson: $12,000
Dustin Johnson isn’t really the type of guy you have to worry about an emotional letdown from in the wake of a win. Dude doesn’t really have emotions, per se…never gets too high (don’t say it) or too low. Two top-10 finishes in his last four starts at TPC Boston. Do we really need to dredge up the stats?
Rickie Fowler: $9,700
Hey, remember this guy? Rickie Fowler is playing some decent golf (tied for 20th at Glen Oaks), and he’s a past winner at TPC Boston. 20th in strokes gained: approach, 12th in strokes gained: tee-to-green, second in total strokes gained. You could easily see Dick Fowler, P.I. priced ~$500 higher. He makes a nice play at $9,700.
Marc Leishman: $6,900
Leish sees his salary slashed by more than two grand this week after missing the cut by a stroke at Glen Oaks. That’s unfairly penal, and he’s a helluva value at $6,900. 29th in strokes gained: approach. 17th in strokes gained: tee-to-green. 13th in total strokes gained. Top-15 finisher in four of his last five starts. He generally finishes in the 20th-40th range at TPC Boston, but owing to recent form, you can expect him to do a bit better. And at this price, he doesn’t need to do much better than that to return value.
Ian Poulter: $6,900
Ian Poulter, if you didn’t know, collects Ferraris. He loves to spend money. There’s no more important time for the accumulation of wealth for PGA Tour pros than the FedEx Cup Playoffs and the associated $35 million prize fund. In other words, Poults is highly motivated. Fifth in strokes gained: approach. 21st in total strokes gained. Top-25 finisher in four of his last five starts. Multiple top-25 finishes at TPC Boston.
Field leaders in birdie or better percentage (season rank)
1 Justin Thomas: $10,300
2 Jordan Spieth: $12,100
3 Hideki Matsuyama: $10,100
4 Rickie Fowler: $9,700
5 Brooks Koepka: $8,700
Paul Casey: $8,900
You could make a real argument for Paul Casey being priced north of $10,000 this week. At the very least, he should be $9,800, rather than $8,900. A second-place finisher at TPC Boston this year, the Brit has been a machine any engineer in England would admire: Eight top-15 finishes in his last 10 starts. Third in strokes gained: approach. Eighth in total strokes gained: total. Ownership will be north of 25 percent, but you can’t fade at this price.
Webb Simpson: $8,200
It’s tough to back a man with a swing as hideous as James Frederick Webb Simpson’s. (Yes, Webb is his second middle name). That said, he’s priced at a discount and he’ll touchdown in Boston with two top-10 finishes in his rearview. Clearly capable at the venue, Webb won at TPC in 2011. 19th in strokes gained: approach. 20th in total strokes gained.