FanDuel PGA Lineup Advice: Rocket Mortgage Classic (2020)
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The PGA Tour heads to the Motor City this week for the Rocket Mortgage Classic. There are only five golfers priced at $11,000 or above on FanDuel (by comparison, there were 10 last week). FanDuel provides DFS players with a salary cap of $60,000 to select six golfers for an average roster spot of $10,000. Bryson DeChambeau ($12,200) and Webb Simpson ($12,100) are the only golfers priced in the 12K range. Patrick Reed ($11,200), Tyrrell Hatton ($11,100), and Hideki Matsuyama ($11,000) round out FanDuel’s top five
To succeed at daily fantasy golf, you should focus on having a solid process each week as opposed to getting bogged down by recency bias or the ups-and-downs of the weekly golf grind. Any golfer is capable of winning (as you can see with Nate Lashley from last year’s Rocket Mortgage Classic), and even the best golfers can miss the cut. Last week, Justin Thomas (the world’s number three ranked golfer) and Collin Morikawa (23 straight made cuts) both failed to make it to the weekend.
Whether you win or lose, golf is one of the most entertaining fantasy sports to follow because you get four days of action. Good luck and, most importantly, have fun!
- The North Course at Detroit Golf Club will be utilized for all but one hole from the South Course. The Par-72 course is a Donald Ross design measuring 7,344 yards.
- 155 golfers are scheduled to tee it up this week with the top 65 (and ties) making the cut.
- Last year was the first PGA event held in Michigan since 2009. The cut ended up being five-under par (which was the lowest since 2016 on the PGA Tour), and 16 different players ended up shooting at least 15-under par for the week. Nate Lashley’s score of 25-under par was six clear of runner-up Doc Redman.
- The 2019 field was on the weaker side, but it was still a surprise to see who was at the top of the leaderboard, as Lashley was the fourth alternate, and Redman was the Monday qualifier. The remaining golfers in the top five included Wes Roach, Rory Sabbatini, Brandt Snedeker, Patrick Reed, Brian Stuard, Cameron Tringale, Ted Potter, and Joaquin Niemann.
- The greens are Poa with some Bentgrass mixed in. They have a lot of undulations (normal for Donald Ross designs). The green speeds are 12.5 on the stimpmeter. The size of the greens is slightly smaller than the tour average.
- The four Par 3s average 184 yards.
- Four of the Par 4s are between 350-400, which should have the professionals licking their chops at the birdie possibilities.
- Three of the four Par 5s are reachable to golfers so we could see a birdie or better percentage of 40-50% on those holes for the week.
- This field is stronger than last year’s inaugural event, but it is not as loaded as the previous three weeks since the Covid-19 shutdown. Three of the world’s top-10 golfers (Webb Simpson, Patrick Reed, and Bryson DeChambeau) will tee it up this week.
Course Fit & Key Statistics
My customized overall stat model measures all stats (driving, approach, short game, putting, etc) from both a short-and-long-form standpoint. The best golfers, in terms of stats, for my customized model this week (in ranked order) are Viktor Hovland, Bryson DeChambeau, Doc Redman, Tyrrell Hatton, Harold Varner, Rory Sabbatini, Webb Simpson, Hideki Matsuyama, Sungjae Im, and Patrick Reed.
The golfers that rate out the best in my customized recent form model (in ranked order) are Tyrrell Hatton, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Viktor Hovland, Kevin Na, Rory Sabbatini, Will Gordon, Doc Redman, and Scott Stallings. Among the golfers in this week’s field, Tyrrell Hatton has the most consecutive made cuts on the PGA Tour with 14. Bryson DeChambeau (9), Jason Dufner (7), Shawn Stefani (6) and Rory Sabbatini (5) are the only other golfers in this field that have at least five straight cuts made on the PGA Tour.
Overlooking a minor hiccup here and there, the golfers not riding a decent cut streak but have made at least 80% of their cuts this season include Bryson DeChambeau, Adam Hadwin, Sungjae Im, Webb Simpson, Cameron Tringale, Hideki Matsuyama, Matt Jones, Patrick Reed, Talor Gooch, Maverick McNealy, Brian Harman, Scottie Scheffler, and Alex Noren.
It is always important to score well, but being a solid par-maker might not be advantageous this week. Last year’s event was a scoring fest, and so we might want to take a look at the golfers in this field who have the most scoring upside. My custom model takes into account birdie or better percentage and scoring average. The golfers who rate as the best scorers this year (in ranked order) include Webb Simpson, Tyrrell Hatton, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Hideki Matsuyama, Scottie Scheffler, Sungjae Im, Chesson Hadley, Viktor Hovland, and Chesson Hadley.
Donald Ross Courses
This is a Donald Ross-designed course, so I will be giving some weight to the golfers that have shown the ability to play these types of courses well through the years. Course history is also mixed in with this. Since there is only one year of CH to consider, I am not considering that on its own this week. The golfers who have gained the most strokes on Donald Ross courses during the last three years (in ranked order) include Webb Simpson, Rory Sabbatini, Ryan Armour, Brandt Snedeker, Viktor Hovland, J.T. Poston, Nate Lashley, Johnson Wagner, Kevin Kisner, and Sungjae Im.
Official World Golf Ranking
All the statistics and course history are good to know, but sports (in particular, DFS golf) oftentimes comes down to playing the best golfers. Sure, salary is involved, but fitting as many of the world’s best golfers in your lineups increases your chances for success. There is some variance from week to week, but these players are the best for a reason. Seven of the world’s top-25 best golfers are playing this week, including Webb Simpson (No. 6), Patrick Reed (No. 7), Bryson DeChambeau (No. 10), Tyrrell Hatton (No. 15), Tony Finau (No. 17), Sungjae Im (No. 22), and Hideki Matsuyama (No. 23).
Favorite $11,000+ Plays
Bryson DeChambeau ($12,200)
I plan on having exposure to all of the high-priced golfers in my MME contests. Webb Simpson will probably be my highest-owned in this range because he is really good and is my favorite golfer. However, if I had only one pick to win the tournament, I would go with Bryson. He is only $100 more than Webb. If Webb was a little cheaper, then he would be my pick. But with all things being equal, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bryson lead this week from start to finish. He is on a run of six straight top-10 finishes, and it wouldn’t have taken much to turn any of those into a win. He has no real weaknesses right now and is hitting the ball farther than anyone. Sure, even the best players miss the cut once in a while, but he is on a roll and is arguably playing the best golf of anyone on the planet. In the last 24 rounds, he is crushing this field in total strokes gained. He is even putting well, as he ranks 13th in this field.
Favorite $10,000 Plays
Sungjae Im ($10,800)
The 2018 Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year can go low with his scoring, and so he seems to be someone that could make a run at a victory here. Last year he led the Tour in rounds in the 60s. In the last 36 rounds, he is seventh in total strokes gained. Overall, he has made the cut in 19 of his last 21 events. He finished T21 here last year but struggled on the greens. In his last five events, he has three top-10 finishes, including a win at the Honda.
Viktor Hovland ($10,900)
I would not be shocked to see Hovland win this week. He has been progressively getting better since his missed cut at the Honda (which was the proverbial letdown spot the week after his first PGA win). His T11 at the Travelers gave him his fourth straight made cut. In the last 12 rounds played, he is third in fantasy scoring and fifth in total strokes gained — all this despite ranking in the bottom half of the Tour for putting and short game. He was T11 at the Travelers and still lost more than three strokes putting. He is that good overall. All it takes is one week with a hot putter, and he could run away with this like Lashley did last year. He ranks as my top player in my customized stat model, and he was T13 here last year.
Scottie Scheffler ($10,500)
He let down a lot of DFS players last week with a missed cut. I like him to rebound in this event that should have Korn Ferry Tour-like scoring. Scheffler was the 2019 KFT Player of the Year and can low with the best of them. He is another player that struggles with the flat stick, but when it works, it makes him hard to beat. He has made 12/15 cuts this season with seven top-20 finishes. He is probably priced a little higher than we are used to seeing him, but, in this field, he is appropriately priced. Scheffler has had some good finishes, but one of the nice things about him that doesn’t always get mentioned is that he often outscores his finishing position for in fantasy terms.
Doc Redman ($10,100)
I was on Redman here last year at 1% ownership when he finished runner-up. However, nostalgia doesn’t necessarily make for good process decisions in DFS. What makes me want to click his name this week (despite his significant price increase) is that he is an elite ball-striker. He ranks first in strokes gained: approach and sixth in strokes gained: tee-to-green over the last 12 rounds. The odds are that one of these elite ball-strikers in this range will have a good putting week and have a chance to win come Sunday. Redman is 14th overall in fantasy scoring over the last 12 rounds. His T11 at the Travelers last week gave him his fourth made cut in a row. Just like Hovland, he has gotten progressively better in each of those events since his missed cut at the Honda.
Favorite $9,000 Plays
Rory Sabbatini ($9,900)
He finished T3 here last year shooting in the 60s each day. Sabs comes into this week riding a five-tournament streak of made cuts. He has finished T21 and T14 in his two events back since the Covid-19 shutdown. Overall, he has historically played Donald Ross courses well.
Brendon Todd ($9,800)
I will go back to the ToddFather in hopes that his epic Sunday meltdown keeps his ownership low. I had a 250/1 outright ticket on him, so I wasn’t too pleased either, but he strikes the ball well and is capable of getting hot for long stretches. Earlier this season, he had three straight top-five finishes, including back-to-back wins. Overall, he has made the cut in 11 of his last 13 starts. This is a weaker field and I will take my chances. He has three career PGA Tour wins, and that gives him quite an advantage over the rest of this field. His ball-striking will normally be there, but if he can get his putter to work for him, then you can see low scores like his 61 last Saturday.
Harold Varner ($9,300)
One of these days, HV3 is going to win a golf tournament. He has been hitting the ball well for months now, but he just has not been able to put together a good putting week. He has had a number of lip outs in his last six tournaments. But aside from his putting, he’s playing well. He has made the cut in five of his last six events. He was the first-round leader at the Charles Schwab. He has been on the leaderboard a lot lately, but he has routinely suffered a bad round at some point. In the last 24 rounds played, he is third in strokes gained: approach and 10th in fantasy points. It just takes one week to get hot with the putter, and I want to be on him when that happens.
Will Gordon ($9,100)
This is a stretch for me because he isn’t very established on the PGA Tour, but I really liked what I saw out of the 2019 SEC Player of the Year last week at the Travelers. He went low a couple of times, including a 62 on Friday. I particularly like how he had a bad Saturday and still fought back on Sunday to finish T3. That’s unusual for a young guy. That tells me that he has the talent and that this stage isn’t too big for him. He has made 4/6 cuts this season. His T10 at the RSM and his T21 at the Farmers mean that he’s finished top-25 in half of his starts this season. I also will consider Adam Hadwin ($9,800), Lucas Glover ($9,800), Brandt Snedeker ($9,700), Maverick McNealy ($9,300), and Patrick Rodgers ($9,200) in this range.
Favorite $8,000 Plays
Brian Stuard ($8,900)
The Michigan native finished T5 here last year. He has made the cut in each of the three post-shutdown events, including a T20 last week. I also don’t mind Mark Hubbard ($8,800), Tom Hoge ($8,700), Jason Dufner ($8,500), Nate Lashley ($8,500), and Wyndham Clark ($8,300) in this price range, but I’m trying not to dip below $9,000 this week since there is so much uncertainty with these players.
Favorite $7,000 Plays
I usually profit on FanDuel because I resist the urge to go crazy with stars and scrubs. The pricing is soft, and you can fit a lot of the top players in your lineups, but you also have to play some 7K guys. This week’s field is much weaker compared to the last three weeks. There will be a couple of these players on Sunday’s leaderboard, but I have no idea who, and so I won’t speculate.
There are no plays that I am comfortable with in this range. However, I will take a stab at a few of these guys as I sprinkle them into my MME lineups with 2-4% allocation this week. The guys I am considering include Cameron Tringale ($7,900), Adam Schenk ($7,800), Richy Werenski ($7,700), Josh Teater ($7,500), Ted Potter, Jr. ($7,200), Bronson Burgoon ($7,200), Hank Lebioda ($7,000), and Chase Seiffert ($7,000)
Jamy Bechler is a regular contributor to FantasyPros for NBA, NFL, and PGA. You can send him questions and follow him on his DFS twitter @WinningDFS101. When he is not playing DFS, Jamy is an author, host of the “Success is a Choice” podcast, and a leadership consultant, working with businesses and teams across the country (including the NBA). Even though he offers his advice on players and contests, after additional information and consideration, he may end up using different players and strategies than what he recommended in this article.