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PGA DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Valspar Championship (2022)

by Matthew MacKay | @Matt_MacKay_ | Featured Writer
Mar 16, 2022
Sam Burns

TPC Sawgrass is challenging enough in dry conditions. Still, the heavy wind and rain created pure chaos, as competitors needed an extra day on Monday to complete all four rounds and determine a winner. 28-year old Cam Smith produced a six-under-par finish in the final round to climb five spots up the leaderboard en route to his second win of the season at The Players Championship in Jacksonville. The 17th hole derailed players at TPC Sawgrass, as the par 3 island was situated in the middle of a lake with swirling wind gusts. Dozens of water hazard penalties were collected, dramatically altering the landscape of the leaderboard. Shane Lowry had the most exhilarating moment at 17, draining a hole-in-one and igniting the crowd in the process. Other notable finishes were Anirban Lahiri, earning his first top-ten finish of the season, along with T9 finishes or better from Kevin Kisner, Keegan Bradley, Viktor Hovland, and Dustin Johnson.

The PGA Tour will stay in Florida but swap the Atlantic Ocean coastline in favor of the Gulf of Mexico northwest of Tampa Bay during the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead) in Palm Harbor. This is the fourth consecutive week of the Florida leg of the PGA Tour, which means the primary rough stands above three inches and features rolling elevation to distinguish itself from previous courses played in the Sunshine State. The field remains stacked with talent, so grabbing at least two blue-chip prospects and finding value in the cheaper players is the formula for success. I’ve gathered six high-value prospects to target when constructing DFS lineups at the 2022 Valspar Championship this weekend. So let’s get to it!

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Previous Winners

  • 2021 – Sam Burns (-17)
  • 2020 – N/A
  • 2019 – Paul Casey (-8)
  • 2018 – Paul Casey (-10)
  • 2017 – Adam Hadwin (-14)
  • 2016 – Charl Schwartzel (-7)
  • 2015 – Jordan Spieth (-10)

Relevant Betting Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Greens in Regulation percentage
  • Par 5 scoring
  • Driving Distance

Course Overview

There are quite a few ways for players to tackle Copperhead this weekend. The stock par 71 tips at 7,340 yards and features five par 3s and four par 5s, creating many opportunities for players to rise or plummet down the leaderboard. Accuracy and approach shots are vital to finding the overseeded TifEagle Bermuda greens, which measure slower than recent greens. This allows for pedestrian putters to have a legitimate chance at stacking birdies and avoiding bogeys at Copperhead due to the lack of velocity and the smaller greens, which measure 5,800 square feet. Elevation and tree-lined fairways may seem foreign in Florida, but plenty of players are familiar and comfortable playing on courses with such obstacles.

The primary rough stands closer to four inches than three, so players with errant tee shots will be forced to make a living scrambling out of uncomfortable situations in the rough. However, players who possess strong, accurate drivers or convert their greens in regulation will be set up for success throughout the weekend at Valspar. Fortunately, the weather is on track to be much less severe than it was at TPC Sawgrass last weekend. However, the wind should play a role during the later rounds. The final three holes are deemed ‘The Snake Pit,’ forming a par 4-3-4 stretch that forces controlled fades into pinpoint locations, whether on the fairways or greens. As a result, accuracy with driver and irons takes on more importance than putting and chipping, which remain difficult but become a bit easier with smaller, slower greens.

Recommended Plays: DraftKings

DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000

Sam Burns ($9,600)
The reigning champion at Valspar returns with four top-ten finishes under his belt this season. Sam Burns, a 25-year old native of Louisiana, is currently ranked eighth in the FedExCup and 17th in OWGR. He led the field in par 5 scoring and was a top performer off-the-tee and tee-to-green, which is reflected in the 71.9 percent conversion rate he has intact with converting Greens in Regulation. Burns averages 4.65 birdies per round, which is the most valuable currency in PGA DFS while possessing a powerful driver that averages 308.5 yards per attempt. Burns dominates with his irons too, ranking 19th in total strokes gained categories. His versatile skill set is a big reason he’s been so good this season, as T9 and T26 finishes across the last two weeks are massive improvements compared to three previous missed cuts. Burns has momentum and confidence at Valspar, so take advantage of his low salary and high value in DFS lineups.

Matt Fitzpatrick ($9,000)
The 27-year old Englishman missed the cut at TPC Sawgrass, which turns out to be a blessing in disguise for DFS players. As a result of the poor showing last weekend, Fitzpatrick is available to roster at $9,000 on DraftKings, which is a solid value considering his elite ball-striking ability. That’s right. Fitzpatrick’s irons are among the best on Tour, as he ranks fourth in total strokes gained categories and is tenth in strokes gained tee-to-green, meaning he will have five par 3s to dominate at Copperhead this weekend. Fitzpatrick has only competed in six events but has produced either top 25 or top ten finishes in each tournament. The missed cut was a blip on the radar, and his value has grown immensely due to the overreaction. Take advantage of this by plugging Fitzpatrick into DFS lineups and watch the points pile up.

Keegan Bradley ($8,400)
Keegan Bradley has elevated his play in Florida during the last two weeks, yielding finishes of T11 and fifth to create momentum entering the Valspar Championship this weekend. The 35-year old Florida native is familiar with these courses, similar to Billy Horschel, so investing in his familiarity and previous success is a great decision. Couple this with the fact that Bradley was runner-up to Sam Burns at Valspar in 2021. Plus, his elite iron play and powerful driver create fantastic value at just $8,400 on FanDuel. He doesn’t have the strongest putter, but he should be dominant on par 3s and par 5s due to his strokes gained off-the-tee and tee-to-green. As a result, Bradley is among the best high-value prospects to acquire on the Valspar slate.

Recommended Plays: FanDuel

FanDuel maximum salary is set at $60,000

Viktor Hovland ($11,900)
Viktor Hovland is expensive for a reason this weekend. The 24-year old Norwegian already has a win, a second-place finish, and two other finishes inside the top ten in just eight events this season. Hovland is superb with his irons and is a machine converting greens in regulation, averaging over a 73 percent conversion rate to rank sixth-best on the PGA Tour. There’s almost nothing that Hovland does wrong, and his mediocre putting will be elevated on the slower, smaller Bermudagrass greens at Copperhead this weekend. In his debut at Valspar last year, Hovland went T3, saving his best for last, going six-under-par in the final round to climb into a T3 finish. He’s worth the price of admission, so pay up and give yourself a fantastic foundation with Hovland set to make a run during his second stint at Copperhead.

Tyrell Hatton ($11,300)
Tyrell Hatton doesn’t have the fanfare and recognition like Viktor Hovland, but he certainly has the accolades. The 30-year old Englishman has yielded finishes of T2 and T13 across the last two weekends in Florida, so expect another top 25 finish at Valspar. Hatton averages 4.56 birdies per round, which is highly appealing. Hatton also has a masterful touch with his irons, ranking eighth in total strokes gained and first overall in strokes gained putting. Unfortunately, Hatton missed the cut back in 2019 during his last appearance at Copperhead. Still, he’s developed the skill set, confidence, and momentum to warrant serious consideration at finishing inside the top ten this weekend. He’s expensive and a bit riskier than Hovland, but Hatton can be considered a lower-tier blue-chip prospect thanks to his elite birdie average.

Kevin Streelman ($9,000)
Kevin Streelman has missed a couple of cuts since his last strong finish at Copperhead, where he went T18 with a four-under-par finish back in 2017. Streelman, a 43-year old American, is a salary-saving option, but he possesses the fourth-highest driver accuracy and is good in strokes gained off-the-tee and around the green. Streelman has improved his overall play across the last three weeks in Florida, earning finishes of T16 and T22 while missing the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. However, he has yet to produce a top ten finish and has missed five cuts in 13 events. Yet, Streelman has the skill set and some success from the past to tap into and warrant consideration as a salary-saving prospect on FanDuel.

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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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