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FanDuel PGA Lineup Advice: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational (2020)

Jul 29, 2020

The best golfers in the world will descend upon Memphis, Tennessee this week for one of the four World Golf Championships held each year. There are seven golfers priced at $11,000 or above on FanDuel for this week’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. FanDuel provides DFS players with a salary cap of $60,000 to select six golfers for an average roster spot of $10,000. The world’s number one golfer, Jon Rahm, is the only player in the 12K price range at an even $12,000. Rory McIlroy is close behind at $11,900. Justin Thomas ($11,700), Bryson DeChambeau ($11,600), and Patrick Cantlay ($11,400) round out FanDuel’s top five highest-priced golfers.

This is a no-cut event this week, and I suggest using less bankroll unless you have either an extremely strong stomach for risk or a strong take on who will do well. The best players will finish at the top, but it’s difficult to differentiate your lineups and gain ownership leverage in weeks like this. Also, don’t worry about your profit until late Sunday afternoon. The swings are huge each day. This is a fun tournament to watch as a fan, but you can go crazy following your lineups. Good luck and, most importantly, have fun!

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Tournament Notes

  • The WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational is played at the TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee. A PGA Tour event has been held at TPC Southwind every year since 1989 and has had a number of different names (most recently, the St. Jude Classic).
  • This is the second year that the course has hosted a World Golf Championship event. This has taken over for the WGC-Bridgestone that used to be played in Akron, Ohio. Realize that many golf sites may use the Bridgestone as the tournament or course history. Check this closely as you want to make sure you are using the correct course for course history.
  • The Par 70 course measures 7,237 yards and has Bermuda greens.
  • 78 players are expected to tee it up this week. There is no cut in a WGC event, so anyone who starts will play all four days (as long as they don’t withdraw).
  • All of the Official World Golf Ranking’s top-50 players are scheduled to play this week except for Adam Scott, Tiger Woods, Francesco Molinari, and Shugo Imahira.
  • TPC-Southwind is typically among the top 15 most difficult PGA Tour stops. Water is in play on more than half of the holes, and more balls find that water than any other course on the PGA Tour.
  • The average winning score at this course has been 13-under par, and the average cut line has been 1-over par.
  • The course was designed in 1988 (partly by Fuzzy Zoeller) to test all aspects of a golfer. All-around golfers seem to be best at this course.
  • There are 12 Par 4s, and many of them have some length to them. All 12 of them measure at least 400 yards, with eight of them playing at 450 yards or more.
  • There are four Par 3s, with three of them playing fairly normal at 175-200 yards. However, the fourth measures a crazy 240 yards.
  • There are two Par 5s (530 and 554 yards), and both are very reachable in two shots. The birdie or better rate has been nearly 50% on both of them.
  • Brooks Koepka is the defending champion. He defeated Webb Simpson by three strokes after shooting 16-under par. Marc Leishman, Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Jon Rahm, Ian Poulter, Bubba Watson, and Billy Horschel rounded out the top ten.

Course Fit & Key Statistics

Overall Model
My overall model measuring recent form, success at no-cut events, ability to score, and a little bit of course history sprinkled in has Jon Rahm measuring out the best, which is no surprise since he is the number one golfer in the world. The 10 golfers that rate out the best (regardless of price) this week are Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Tyrrell Hatton, Daniel Berger, Bryson DeChambeau, Gary Woodland, Brooks Koepka, and Patrick Cantlay.

Recent Form
The golfers that rate out the best in my customized recent form model (in ranked order) are Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Tyrrell Hatton, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Daniel Berger, Viktor Hovland, Justin Thomas, Gary Woodland, and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Course History
In looking at the course history from last year’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, as well as the previous four years of when it was just a regular PGA Tour event, the 10 golfers who have played the best here (in ranked order) are Dustin Johnson, Daniel Berger, Brooks Koepka, Billy Horschel, Ryan Palmer, Jason Kokrak, Marc Leishman, Shane Lowry, Rory McIlroy, and Tommy Fleetwood.

No-Cut Events
In a no-cut event, scoring matters more than cut-making ability. Each golfer is guaranteed to play four rounds of golf. One bad round doesn’t necessarily doom a golfer (or your lineup). In looking at the last 15 no-cut events played the past two years, the best golfers (in ranked order) are Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Tyrrell Hatton, Gary Woodland, Hideki Matsuyama, and Paul Casey.

This course might not be a birdie fest (where we want scorers), but the fact that it’s a no-cut event means that we want people who make birdies and are not satisfied with pars. I will be looking at golfers that have the ability to score in bunches and put up low scores. The 10 golfers that rate out the best as having scoring potential (in ranked order) include Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Tyrrell Hatton, Webb Simpson, Daniel Berger, and Viktor Hovland.

Favorite $11,000+ Plays

Justin Thomas ($11,700)
He has won two of his last five no-cut events and is tied with Rory overall in my no-cut event model. In the most recent no-cut event (WGC-Mexico), he was sixth. He has been T18 and runner-up in his last two events overall. It’s hard to play everyone, so I will make my stand with JT this week. Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy are both very fine plays. I easily could be convinced to play them over JT if the ownership rate is the same and if I don’t need the extra savings. Right now, however, I think that JT will have slightly less ownership, and I will take a slight discount for him.

Xander Schauffele ($11,200)
Only Rory and JT grade out better in no-cut events over the last two years. He finished runner-up to Rory at last fall’s Tour Championship and JT at the Tournament of Champions. He was also second at the WGC-HSBC last November. He can score in bunches. He has been solid in his last two events at the difficult Muirfield Village, finishing T13 and T14. He might not be really exciting, but he is consistent and was one of only four golfers to have back-to-back top 20s at Jack’s course.

Favorite $10,000 Plays

Tyrrell Hatton ($10,800)
He has been on fire with four straight top-six finishes, including a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He was also sixth in his last no-cut event (WGC-Mexico). In the last 24 rounds, nobody has gained more total strokes, and he ranks fourth in fantasy scoring. He is a strong ball-striker and a very good putter.

Daniel Berger ($10,500)
He missed the cut at the Memorial, but that doesn’t concern me for this week. He gets four rounds at a course where he has won twice (2017, 2016). Prior to that missed cut, he was running hot with four straight top-five finishes, including a win at the Charles Schwab. In the last 24 rounds, he ranks third with total strokes gained and fantasy scoring. He has also struck the ball and putted well during his recent streak of success.

Tony Finau ($10,100)
I am not worried about Finau’s reputation for not closing tournaments. He can score, and he has a good chance to be a top-10 fantasy scorer this week. He has finished T3 and T8 in his last two events. In the last 24 rounds, he is third in birdie-or-better percentage. He is only 20th in the last 24 rounds in total strokes gained but is sixth in fantasy scoring. There is a reason he is a fantasy darling. We don’t need him to win at this price; we just need him to score like normal. He has been inconsistent in his no-cut events, but he was T7 at the TOUR Championship and T4 at the BMW last fall, so he does have some potential.

Patrick Reed ($10,000)
As far as I am concerned, Reed is a free square. He is the average price on FD, so he doesn’t really cost you anything. He won the last no-cut event on the PGA schedule (WGC-Mexico). That wasn’t a fluke, as he was runner-up at the Tournament of Champions, T3 at the Hero, T8 at the WGC-HSBC, T17 at the Zozo, and T9 at the TOUR Championship. He rates out sixth in my no-cut model. He is also 12th in my scoring model, and he has decent form coming in with a T10 at the Memorial. The nice thing about Reed is that he can pop at any time and typically outscores his finishing position. If you like course history, he finished T12 here last year. Other 10K golfers I like are Collin Morikawa ($10,900), Viktor Hovland ($10,600), and Matthew Fitzpatrick ($10,200).

Favorite $9,000 Plays          

Gary Woodland ($9,700)
He ranks seventh in my no-cut model, ninth in recent form, and 11th in scoring ability. That’s not bad for a guy who is only the 20th most-expensive golfer this week. In the last 24 rounds played, he ranks third in SG: Approach, seventh in SG: Putting, 10th in total strokes gained, and 11th in fantasy scoring. He has finished in the top 12 in each of his last five no-cut events, including two top-fives.

Billy Horschel ($9,500)
Billy Ho tends to be a streaky golfer that you want to play when he gets hot. He is coming off a back-to-back T13 and T7 at Jack’s course. He finished T9 at the WGC-Mexico back in February and was T6 at the Zozo in late October. He also had a top-ten finish here last year. Good recent form and good recent results in no-cut events make him an interesting option this week. He has also had four top-10 finishes on this course in the past. Tommy Fleetwood ($9,900) and Abraham Ancer ($9,300) also rate out well for me in the 9K range.

Favorite $8,000 Plays

Ryan Palmer ($8,000)
He is not always safe, but we don’t have to worry about MCs in this event. In his last 24 events, he has 11 top-20 finishes. In his last six events, he has been 2nd > MC > > MC > T8 > MC > T17. When he makes the cut, he tends to finish well. Guess what? He will make the cut this week. In his last three no-cut events, he finished T17 at the Tournament of Champions, T10 at the Zozo, and T12 at the CJ Cup. Overall, he ranks out 17th in my overall model this week but is only the 50th most-expensive golfer. He is also familiar with this course as he made the cut here the last seven years when it was just a regular tournament, including a T3 in 2012 and a T4 in 2013. I will also consider playing some Ian Poulter ($8,900) and Scottie Scheffler ($8,600) in the 8K range.

Favorite $7,000 Plays

Mackenzie Hughes ($7,900)
Similar to Palmer, he finishes well when he makes the cut. He’s guaranteed four rounds this week to score – and he can score. He is 12th in this field in birdie or better percentage in the last 24 rounds played. In his last six events, he has been T6 at the Memorial, T3 at the Travelers, and runner-up at the Honda. He is overmatched in this field, but those high finishes were also against top-notch fields. In the last 24 rounds, he is 13th in total strokes gained and 14th in fantasy scoring. He is a great putter week in and week out, so if he can be just “meh” with his tee-to-green game, he has a chance to return value. He has not played in a no-cut event in the last three years. I may also consider Shane Lowry ($7,900), Cameron Champ ($7,500), Nick Taylor ($7,200), Jason Kokrak ($7,100), and Hao Tong Li ($7,100).

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Whether you’re new to daily fantasy golf or a seasoned professional, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Golf Glossary. You can get started with The Stats That Matter Most or head to more advanced strategy — like How To Use Vegas Odds To Generate Your Lineup  — to learn more.

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.

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