PGA DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: THE PLAYERS Championship (2022)
The 2022 Arnold Palmer Invitational claimed victims all weekend long, as Scottie Scheffler was ultimately able to deliver a four-under-par finish in the third round and avoided going over-par in the final round to earn his second career win. The 25-year old American has compiled both of his wins across his previous three events, displaying consistency and a notable stride in his development. Unfortunately, Sunday was a gruesome day for players competing at Bay Hill Club & Lodge, as five players who finished T9 or higher produced over-par rounds.
My recommendations were a mixed bag of results, as Billy Horschel (T2/-4), Russell Henley (T13/+1), and Max Homa (T17/+2) delivered strong performances to finish inside the top 20. Meanwhile, Will Zalatoris (T38/+6), Lanto Griffin (T52/+8), and Marc Leishman (T68/+11) struggled mightily throughout the weekend after they all managed to make the cut-line. Horschel, a Florida native, appeared to be cruising to his first victory of the season. However, two bogeys on a menacing first three-hole stretch, followed by a double bogey on the sixth hole, pushed him out of first for the remainder of the Invitational.
This week, the Florida leg continues at The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach. TPC Sawgrass is just as difficult to navigate as Bay Hill, yet its challenges demand a slightly different approach to succeed. Once again, the field is packed with talent, meaning dozens of prospects warrant consideration in DFS lineups. I’m here to steer you in the right direction by focusing on six of the best value players to target when constructing lineups ahead of Thursday’s opening round at TPC Sawgrass.
- 2021 – Justin Thomas (-14)
- 2020 – N/A canceled
- 2019 – Rory McIlroy (-16)
- 2018 – Webb Simpson (-18)
- 2017 – Kim Si-Woo (-10)
Relevant Betting Stats
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
- Par-5 Scoring
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Greens in Regulation percentage
TPC Sawgrass makes its home just south of Jacksonville on the beaches of Ponte Vedra along the Atlantic Ocean. Like Bay Hill, Sawgrass stretches out to 7,256 yards and challenges with deep primary rough standing at three inches. The fairways and greens are overseeded, which means that the maintenance crews laid new Bermudagrass seed on top of the dormant layer. This same Bermudagrass is found on the greens at TPC Sawgrass, measuring 13 feet via the Stimpmeter, directly mirroring the same speed and surfaces that challenged players at Bay Hill last weekend.
An even mixture of four par 3s and four par 5s creates equilibrium, albeit in a challenging layout, to allow players to wash out a previous bogey. Accuracy with the driver and irons is critical at TPC Sawgrass, as there are tons of bodies of water flanking fairways and sitting behind greens awaiting errant approach shots. This highlights the need for converting greens in regulation, which is a valuable skill to possess on any course. It’s extra crucial at TPC Sawgrass, where the wind and rain expect to be in attendance for the majority of the weekend. Strong tee shots and approach shots are the keys to success, while the fast greens could be slowed down a bit due to the expected precipitation, adding yet another challenge onto the plates of competitors.
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000
Justin Thomas ($10,400)
It may feel glib or clichè to start with the reigning champion at TPC Sawgrass. Yet, Justin Thomas has been scorching every event he’s competed in this season, earning four top-ten finishes and never falling outside the top 25. He’s the definition of a high-floor prospect who can deliver significant results and finish atop the leaderboards. The 28-year old Alabama native will make his debut in the Florida leg, missing The Honda Classic and The Arnold Palmer Invitational and trading it in for rest and preparation. Statistically, Thomas is sixth in GIR conversion rate at 73 percent and ranks first in birdie average at 5.58 per round. The production is tremendous, yet three other players are priced higher, so take advantage of the value and roster a blue-chip caliber talent as the foundation piece in your DFS lineups.
Patrick Cantlay ($9,900)
Patrick Cantlay is another blue-chip prospect who warrants serious consideration at his current salary of under $10,000 on DraftKings. He’s well-rested after a couple of weeks off and has four top-ten finishes in five events on Tour this season. Expectations are incredibly high for the reigning FedExCup champion, which could be why he’s slightly undervalued for the slate at TPC Sawgrass, especially after slipping to a T33 finish at his last event during The Genesis Invitational. Cantlay has missed the cut at TPC Sawgrass in his previous two appearances, but he did manage a T23 finish in 2018 and a T22 finish in 2017. So he’s indeed found some success at TPC Sawgrass, but it’s been obscured by his recent missed cuts. If there’s one asset Cantlay always can lean on, it’s his incredible accuracy with his irons. Cantlay ranks inside the top 25 in five of six strokes gained categories, including eighth overall in total strokes gained. The time off should allow Cantlay to recalibrate and be sharp throughout the weekend, so take a chance and invest in a player who has only finished outside the top ten once the entire season.
Adam Scott ($8,200)
The 41-year old Aussie has a lot of juice entering Thursday’s opening round at TPC Sawgrass. Adam Scott has flown quietly under the radar all season, but he’s managed to produce two top-five finishes in seven events while making every cut. A four-over-par finish was good enough to reward Scott with a T26 finish at Bay Hill during his first encounter with the Florida leg of the PGA Tour. Previous finishes of T48, T12, T11, and T6 are highly encouraging signs that suggest Scott possesses the skill and familiarity to climb the leaderboard at TPC Sawgrass this weekend. He’s equipped with a powerful driver and is 15th in strokes gained putting while also producing 4.18 birdies per round. He’s a steal at $8,200, so plug Scott in as a salary-saving option with a massive ceiling.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
FanDuel maximum salary is set at $60,000
Cameron Smith ($10,600)
Another talented Aussie to target when constructing DFS lineups is 28-year old Cameron Smith. He’s another household name due to his rise in the FedExCup last season, and he’s been rock-solid to start the 2022 PGA Tour as well. Smith has carded finishes of T9, T15, T4, and T33 while earning a victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii back in January. Since the win, however, Smith has hit a bit of a rough patch, missing the cut at The Sony Open and finishing T33 after a poor showing in the third round at The Genesis Invitational. Smith is yet another player who will be making his debut in Florida this weekend, where he’s posted previous finishes of T17 and T56. He’s priced outside of the top 12 prospects on FanDuel, adding value and appeal in DFS lineups. You’re hoping that Smith has left his recent woes behind him, but he’s among the best at converting Greens in Regulation at a ridiculous 74 percent. Smith also averages 5.5 birdies per round, the most valuable currency in PGA DFS. He’s got plenty of finesse and touch with his irons, and he’s a great putter, creating a recipe for success at TPC Sawgrass.
Shane Lowry ($9,600)
After nearly winning the first leg of the Florida tour at The Honda Classic with a second-place finish at nine-under-par, we were reminded that the 34-year old Irishman is still a lethal force on the golf course. Two missed cuts in November put him off of everyone’s radar, but Lowry is incredibly accurate and soft with his irons, which allowed him to conquer the rigors of PGA National. Lowry converts over 70 percent of his greens in regulation and has a solid putter, making him a quality value and a good investment in DFS lineups. If you’re still hesitant, let’s look at how Lowry has fared in previous events at TPC Sawgrass. Finishes of eighth (-9), missed cut, and T46 (-5) round out his last three appearances, showing how Lowry progressed into a top-ten finish last year. He’s rested after a week off, so take the value and watch the points pile up.
Billy Horschel ($8,800)
The Florida native played a great brand of golf at Bay Hill, converting three under-par-rounds before slipping to three-over-par in the final round to ultimately wind up T2 (-4) alongside Tyrell Hatton and Viktor Hovland. Billy Horschel is a reliable asset in DFS, as he’s yet to miss a cut-line this season, and he has five top 25 finishes, including going T11 T6, T16, and T2 in his last four events played. Many have a question whether or not Horschel can rebound after a disappointing final round at Bay Hill. He’s riding a massive momentum wave right now, and his value is insane with a sub-$9,000 salary on FanDuel. He’s equipped with an accurate driver, over 70 percent greens in regulation converted, and a 4.46 birdie average. All of these metrics rank 25th or better, showing Horschel’s diverse skillset on the golf course. A top 25 finish at $8,800 is a fantastic return on investment, so take the hot hand and save some money for another pricier blue-chip prospect.
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.