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PGA DFS Primer: BMW Championship (2021)

by Matthew MacKay | @Matt_MacKay_ | Featured Writer
Aug 24, 2021
Collin Morikawa

Collin Morikawa is poised for a bounce-back performance at the 2021 BMW Championship.

The first FedExCup playoff event of the 2020-21 PGA Tour season yielded a playoff of its own – a trend that continued from the regular season. Jon Rahm shot a disappointing two-under-par in the final round, while Tony Finau managed to ride the momentum he created throughout the weekend, shooting a six-under-par on Sunday to finish 20-under-par and edge out Rahm. He was able to coast in the playoff against Aussie golfer Cam Smith, who shanked his tee shot out of bounds.

Outside of Rahm, most of my recommendations went by the wayside, as Patrick Reed had to withdraw due to pneumonia, while Jordan Spieth and Abraham Ancer proved too inconsistent during the Northern Trust tournament. While the delayed final round due to Hurricane Henri might have played a role in Spieth’s egregious eight-over-par outing, it was still disappointing, especially after he shot a 62 on Friday. Ian Poulter surprised many with a strong final round on Monday, going four-under-par to finish T31 (-8) amidst a talented field of golfers. Unfortunately, fantasy managers will not be able to rely on Poulter this upcoming weekend, as he finished outside of the top 70 (77th) in the FedExCup rankings.

With the field condensed to 69 at the BMW Championship beginning on Thursday, the pressure mounts. Players won’t have to travel far from Jersey City to arrive at the site of this weekend’s 2021 BMW Championship held at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland. It’s a course that will force accurate approach shots and lengthy drives, with plenty of sand bunkers and tiered greens to test the grittiness of players across what projects to be an extremely hot four days. Since there are no cuts, rostering a player who implodes early could be detrimental to constructing a winning lineup. Let’s look at the best options to roster from either a talent or value perspective at the BMW Championship this weekend.

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Previous Winners

  • 2020: Jon Rahm (-4)
  • 2019: Justin Thomas (-25)
  • 2018: Keegan Bradley (-20)
  • 2017: Marc Leishman (-23)
  • 2016: Dustin Johnson (-23)

Course Overview

Caves Valley Golf Club rarely hosts a PGA event, let alone a playoff event. It’s a much lengthier course that spans 7,542 yards as a par 72, meaning drivers will need to be strong off the tee beginning on Thursday. Bentgrass greens comprise a familiar putting surface but the rough is four inches of fescue and bluegrass, meaning players will need to be good at scrambling when a shot inevitably goes astray.

The front-nine is mostly water-free, while the tiered bentgrass greens will be a formidable foe to conquer after lengthy fairways littered with sand bunkers. The back-nine introduces the water hazards, including a three-hole stretch from Hole 11 thru Hole 14 that ushers in water with seemingly every shot. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of Caves Valley is its hole locations, which tend to be near a body of water or guarded by several bunkers. Even when golfers make it onto the greens, there is the added challenge of navigating the tiered bentgrass and avoiding a run-off into potential hazards. Putting skills take a backseat to iron accuracy and driver distance, while those handy with a sand wedge will be able to scramble with success.

Relevant Betting Stats

  • Driving Distance
  • Sand save percentage
  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Approaching the Green
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green

Recommended Plays: DraftKings

Collin Morikawa ($10,000)
No need to overthink this one. Collin Morikawa has emerged as one of the top players on Tour this season and ranks first in strokes gained approaching the green (1.337). He’s also second in strokes gained from tee-to-green (1.865), meaning he’ll be able to climb ahead of other players on the four par-three holes featured at Caves Valley GC. Morikawa is the sixth-ranked player in the FedExCup standings and should be treated as such, despite missing the cut at the Northern Trust this past weekend. Eight top-ten finishes and two wins outright make Morikawa arguably the top player to insert into lineups at the BMW Championship.

Kevin Kisner ($7,200)
A player on the cusp of advancing to the Tour Championship is 37-year old American, Kevin Kisner. He’s coming off of a win at the Wyndham Championship and has four top-ten finishes. There are concerns with his ability to control his driver but he is extremely precise, which gives him a chance to avoid the numerous sand bunkers lining the fairways and flanking the greens. His best skill set is his strokes gained putting, where Kisner ranks 14th (.531) but he will need to overcome his poor tee shots and sub-optimal driving distance to cash in with his elite putting. I like Kisner to compete across the four days at Owing Mills because he’s ranked 31st in the FedExCup standings, meaning he’ll need a good performance to crack the top-30 and advance to the Tour Championship in Atlanta next weekend.

Sungjae Im ($8,000)
One of the more polished golfers in nearly every statistical category is South Korean, Sungjae Im. The 23-year old is 27th in greens in regulation percentage (68.81%) and 12th in driving accuracy (69,08%) but his best metric for Caves Valley GC is his 16th-ranked strokes gained off-the-tee (.552). He needs to string together a good outing to stay at his 25th FedExCup ranking, which could be in jeopardy if he finishes in the bottom half of the tournament. The good news is that Im has been playing better as of late, finishing T16 at The Northern Trust, including a six-under-par second round. He averages 4.02 birdies per round, meaning points will be flowing into your lineups all weekend. Take Im as a cheap option with a stable floor and massive ceiling.

Recommended Plays: FanDuel

Jon Rahm ($12,000)
Rahm was dethroned from the top of the FedExCup standings by Tony Finau this past weekend at The Northern Trust but he’s still the best golfer at the BMW Championship this weekend. Rahm ranks second overall with greens in regulation percentage (71.98%), second in birdie average (4.46), and first in total strokes gained (2.112) which is enough to confidently roster the 26-year old Spaniard without hesitation. He’s the most expensive player but he’s basically a lock to finish within the top ten at Caves Valley GC this weekend with 13 top-ten finishes. Compared to other expensive players like Xander Schauffle and Justin Thomas, Rahm gives you a clear advantage with consistent elite production and never falters in pressure-packed moments.

Harris English ($9,700)
One of my favorite values at the BMW Championship this weekend is Harris English. He’s eighth in the FedExCup standings and has eight top-ten finishes, including two wins outright. The 32-year old American averages 4.32 birdies and is an elite putter. English’s strokes gained around the green rank 28th (.262) and he’s got three top-five finishes across his last five appearances, which means fantasy managers should hop on the hot hand at such a great value. Going for under $10,000 on FanDuel, Harris gives you the ability to roster an elite player with a high upside without paying for his production.

Louis Oosthuizen ($10,600)
The 38-year old South African returns from a two-week hiatus rehabbing a sore neck and should be prepared to defend his FedExCup standings ranking (11th) with a combination of putting, where he ranks first in strokes gained (.937) and strokes gained tee-to-green (.947/23rd). The most impressive stat to consider regarding Louis Oosthuizen is that he has not finished outside of the top 20 in his last eight events. That’s utterly absurd and a testament to his phenomenal finesse with his irons and putter. He’s under-valued due to being off the Tour for a couple of weeks, so take advantage of rostering a top-20 player at a relatively inexpensive salary. Oosthuizen will be hungry to prove he’s capable of overcoming the three runner-up finishes he’s accrued throughout the 2020-21 PGA Tour season.

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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 a more advanced strategy — like How To Use Vegas Odds To Generate Your Lineup  — to learn more.

Matthew MacKay is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matthew, check out his archive and follow him @Matt_MacKay_.

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