PGA DFS Primer: John Deere Classic (2021)
The 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic (RMC) provided another exciting week of action late into Sunday, as three players entered a five-round playoff that resulted in Cam Davis defeating Troy Merritt on Hole 15. Joaquin Niemann was the third golfer that finished the tournament -18 and briefly joined Davis and Merritt before bogeying the first playoff round on Hole 18. Davis, a 26-year old Australian golfer, took a month off to prepare for the RMC and it clearly paid off as he bounced back from missing the cut at the Memorial Tournament. He also scored at least -4 under par in each round at the Detroit Golf Club.
Niemann was one of my favorite plays in lineups last week and he didn’t disappoint, opening the tournament -7 under par and never looking back. Despite being bounced on the first hole of the sudden-death playoff contest, the 22-year old Chilean delivered four birdies and avoided bogeys in the final round to flood fantasy lineups with points. Niemann was among the most valuable additions to lineups from the Tour’s top prospects. Two of my other recommended plays fared well at the RMC, as Bubba Watson (T6/-16) and Kevin Kisner (T8/-15) both finished within the top ten, albeit in different ways. Watson overcame his demons from the Traveler’s Championship meltdown he experienced on the back-nine, scoring -8 under par on Sunday at the RMC to ascend the leaderboard. Kisner opened with -5 under par but never returned to that mark, hitting two consecutive bogeys in the back nine on Sunday that prevented a top-five finish at the Detroit Golf Club.
The PGA Tour continues to make its home in the Midwest with the John Deere Classic this weekend. After being canceled due to the pandemic last year, players will be eager to get out on its sprawling greens during the 50th year of the tournament held in Silvis, Illinois. Players with top-tier putting ability and skilled enough to rank highly in strokes gained from tee-to-green should have an edge over the field. TPC Deere Run is a great course to attempt rostering some lesser-known players in your lineups.
- 2020: N/A (Cancelled)
- 2019: Dylan Frittelli (-21)
- 2018: Michael Kim (-27)
- 2017: Bryson DeChambeau (-18)
- 2016: Ryan Moore (-22)
TPC Deere Run spans 7,268 yards as a par 71 with minimal water hazards. Narrow fairways and numerous sand bunkers can be found lining fairways and greens alike, forcing players to be accurate with their driver or else being pressured into swings from the bunker with a sand wedge. There is very little elevation, as the total difference is just 30 meters throughout the duration of the course.
Bentgrass greens and thick roughs mirror the layout of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club last weekend. Navigating the fairways and greens could become more challenging than anticipated with precipitation forecasted on the second and third days of the tournament. We’ve seen time and time again just how different a ball travels on wet versus dry surfaces during the PGA Tour this season. Golfers who are familiar with TPC Deere Run and equipped with the knowledge and skillset to overcome poor weather conditions should rise quickly up the leaderboards
Relevant Betting Stats
- Greens in Regulation (GIR) Percentage
- Birdie Average
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
- Sand save percentage
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
Lucas Glover ($8,600)
The 41-year old native of South Carolina finished T10/-15 during the 2019 John Deere Classic. While his putter isn’t very consistent, Glover ranks 44th in strokes gained off-the-tee and has a 65.95 GIR percentage combined with an accurate driver. If Glover can manage to keep the momentum going in strokes gained from tee-to-green and strokes gained off-the-tee, he is an extremely valuable player to insert due to a discounted salary. He finished T41 (-8) at the RMC last weekend but his familiarity at TPC Deere Run should launch him up the leaderboards and flood lineups with points in the process.
Cam Davis ($10,100)
The Australian carries a lot of momentum into the John Deere Classic coming off of his victory at RMC last weekend. Cam Davis finished T53 (-8) in 2019 but brings a good putter, averaging .189 strokes gained putting to rank 66th on Tour this season. Even more enticing is his 25th-ranked strokes gained off-the-tee. With a ridiculously high 4.12 birdies per round average, Davis is a solid player to insert into lineups due to the production he displayed during his win last weekend and the similarities between Detroit Golf Club and TPC Deere Run. His salary climbed a bit after the win but don’t be discouraged, as he is positioned to perform well again this weekend and will be worth rostering in lineups.
Si Woo Kim ($9,100)
The 26-year old South Korean has played well at times on the PGA Tour this season, winning the Player’s Championship back in January with an absurdly low -23 under par. However, he has missed seven cuts in 26 events this season, which is why his salary is reduced heading into the 2021 John Deere Classic. Si Woo Kim rates highly in multiple strokes gained categories, including around-the-green (24th/.334) and tee-to-green (38th/.758). A +2 over par final round plummeted Kim from the top-50 at the RMC but he did showcase his ability to gain strokes all around the course. He’s a moderate risk but the salary and his T9 (-5) finish at the Memorial Tournament make him an intriguing play in lineups in Silvis, Illinois this weekend.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
Daniel Berger ($11,900)
One of the best players on the PGA Tour returns from a two-week hiatus looking to earn his second outright victory this season. Daniel Berger, a 28-year old native of Florida, ranks eighth in GIR percentage (69.91%), ninth in birdie average (4.33), and 37th in sand save percentage (56.18%). Berger has an incredible putter, averaging .471 strokes gained putting per round that rates 29th amongst all golfers on Tour in 2020-21. This isn’t a sleeper pick or a salary-saving suggestion, as Berger has the best odds (9-1) to win the 2021 John Deere Classic. Ignore the salary and lock him into your lineups with confidence.
Scott Stallings ($9,100)
Scott Stallings is coming off of a respectable finish at RMC, placing T25 (-11) after missing two consecutive cuts and a lowly T67 (+5) finish at the Charles Schwab Challenge a few weeks ago. What he lacks in putting, he makes up for with a top-tier GIR percentage (67.80%) in addition to ranking 31st in strokes gained approaching the green. The 36-year old native of Massachusetts has two top-ten finishes on Tour this season and finished T18 (-13) the last time he competed at the 2019 John Deere Classic. This is an exciting player to add to lineups this weekend based on his past performance at TPC Deere Run combined with an innate ability to hit greens in regulation.
Zach Johnson ($10,400)
Zach Johnson widely varies in his statistical rankings. Two areas that he remains remarkably impressive in are strokes gained putting and sand save percentage. The 45-year old Iowan native ranks third amongst all players in strokes gained putting (.769) and averages a 60 percent sand save percentage, ranking 11th on Tour. These are two very difficult skills to master and he has shown the ability to control both very well this season. At his most recent event, Johnson finished T25 (-6) at the Traveler’s Championship but he has missed five cuts, including three consecutive misses back in April. He will need to improve on his strokes gained off-the-tee and from tee-to-green but he provides a solid 66.37 GIR percentage to overcome his bad driver. The large bentgrass greens at TPC Deere Run will be Johnson’s for the taking as long as he can slightly improve his driving accuracy. Even if he winds up in the sand bunkers, he ranks 11th in sand save percentage and will be able to hit greens in regulation despite the occasional bad drives. Once he’s on the green, Johnson will use his scorching hot putter to deliver a plethora of points in lineups this weekend.
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 a more advanced strategy — like How To Use Vegas Odds To Generate Your Lineup — to learn more.