DraftKings PGA Recommended Plays: Valspar Championship

Mar 7, 2018

We travel next to Palm Harbor, Florida this week for the Valspar Championship, one of the more difficult courses on the Tour’s Florida swing, and boy does this event have a tough act to follow. Last week’s event in Mexico was must-see action, which featured a playoff between the hottest player in the game, and arguably the most beloved. Phil Mickelson took down Justin Thomas in the first hole of a riveting playoff and claimed his first victory since the 2013 Open Championship. This week, the scoring opportunities will be far fewer, featuring narrow fairways and intimidatingly long rough; as if the course name Copperhead wasn’t intimidating enough. After Jordan Spieth’s victory in 2015, the track went through a redesign, which was mostly focused on changing the grass to bermuda, making both the fairways and greens harder to find, in terms of driving accuracy and GIR. Winning under-par scores in the single-digits are not uncommon at Copperhead, as evidenced by Charl Schwartzel’s -7 playoff victory two years ago. The field this week is phenomenal, and as a result, there will be plenty of quality options to choose from in DFS without having to spend a lot of money.

Before tackling this week’s tournament, let’s examine how I did last week in Mexico:

Phil Mickelson: 1
Tommy Fleetwood: T-14
Jordan Spieth: T-14
Thomas Pieters: T-37
Jason Dufner: T-55

So basically what I’m trying to say is: if you want winners, come to me. This is now back to back weeks that the winner has been in my recommended plays, so let’s hope that continues this week in Palm Harbor. The following players are my best bets on DraftKings for the Valspar Championship.

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Top-Tier Recommendation

Jordan Spieth ($11,800)
Yes, I know that Spieth is the most expensive option on the slate this week, but how much longer do you really think it’s going to be before he breaks through? It’s only a matter of time, and I’d rather do what I can to have him in my lineup when it happens then watch it happen and have zero shares. Every week it seems like he is right on the cusp of seriously contending, and last week was no different. His game was solid all week en route to a T-14 finish, but he just didn’t make enough putts to turn good golf into great golf. If one person is gonna figure out how to make more putts, it’s Spieth. There’s plenty of reason to like Spieth on Copperhead too, as he won the Valspar in 2015 in thrilling playoff fashion. Additionally, he finished T-18 a year later, proving that the redesign did nothing to alter his comfort level on the course. Fire Spieth up again, and if he doesn’t get it done this week, you’ll probably continue to see him in this article until he does, because it’s going to happen.

Mid-Priced Plays

Ryan Moore ($9.100)
There’s never been anything about Ryan Moore’s game that has stood out to me, neither positively or negatively, and perhaps that’s why he quietly plays consistent golf every single season. He hasn’t played much this year but has top-10s in two of his last four starts. These include a sixth-place finish in Malaysia and a T-9 finish at Riviera. Because of his well-rounded game, he’s pretty much a good fit on almost any course. That includes the course this week, as he has finished third and T-18 in the two years since the Copperhead redesign. Picking Moore is never really about upside, but as the ninth most expensive golfer on the slate, I like the safety he provides this week.

Adam Hadwin ($8.800)
I don’t usually like to recommend defending champions because winning two years in a row is one of the most difficult things to do in any sport. However, if current form is good enough, consideration may still be given. I’d say three top-10s in a span of five starts is good enough. In his last two starts, Hadwin has finished T-6 (Genesis Open) and T-9 in Mexico, closing with a Sunday 66 in both events. He finished third earlier in the year at the CareerBuilder, his best finish on the season. It’s unlikely that Hadwin wins again, but because of the way he is playing right now, and because he’s clearly comfortable on this course, I’d be surprised if he didn’t crush return value at his price tag.

Louis Oosthuizen ($8,100)
I play in a One-and-Done league, in which I choose one player each week, and after that, I’m not allowed to pick that player again. Louis Oosthuizen is the kind of player that you watch and wish there was an exception to the rule. The combination of his textbook swing and rock-solid composure make him seem like the perfect option every week. Luckily for DFS, we can use Louis whenever we want, and this week would be a good time to do so. Louis has only played two PGA Tour events this season but has been decent in both. He posted a 24th place finish at the Honda Classic, which he followed up with a T-30 last week at the Mexico Championship, a finish that actually could have been much better. The South African was leading the pack after a Thursday 64 before fading over the weekend. However, his ability to go low is still there, and to couple that with the fact that he finished T-7 in his last start at the Valspar (2016), we’ve found ourselves a solid pick at a more than reasonable price.

Sleeper for Cheaper

Steve Stricker ($7,500)
There aren’t many chances you get to use Stricker these days, which is why I had so much fun writing about him in this article. Stricker’s age is getting up there (turned 51 in February), but because of the fact that he is limiting the events in which he plays, it’s making him that much more effective in the tournaments he does compete in. Stricker has played in four events this year, two PGA Tour events, and two on the Champions Tour (he now qualifies as 50 and older). On the Champions tour he has looked like a man among boys, or should I say a man among older men. His two finishes have been second place and first place, the latter of the two coming last week in Tuscon. On the PGA Tour, he has a 31st place finish in Phoenix, and a 26th place finish at Pebble Beach. Oh, and I mentioned earlier in the article that Louis Oosthuizen had a T-7 finish in 2016 at the Valspar. Yeah, Stricker was one of the players he was tied with. Adding all this up, the only explanation I have for the Wisconsin native being this cheap is the lack of events he’s scheduled this year. Honestly, this might even make me feel more comfortable using him, because I know he’s going to be fresh. Don’t be the person who doesn’t scroll down far enough to find him in the $7,000s.

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Nick Swantek is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Nick, check out his archive and follow him @nick_swantek.

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