PGA DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Wells Fargo Championship (2022)
Jon Rahm finally secured his first win of the 2022 PGA season at the inaugural Mexico Open at Vidanta this past weekend. The tropical course provided beautiful scenery and plenty of birdies, as the 27-year-old Spaniard dominated early, going 12-under-par in the first two rounds, allowing him to coast to a 17-under-par finish en route to the victory in Vallarta, Mexico. Tony Finau was another player who climbed the leaderboard on Sunday with an impressive eight-under-par performance, sinking an eagle on the par 5 14th hole and adding three more birdies on the back-nine to draw a T2 finish. Scorecards fluctuated quite heavily in the middle rounds when the wind picked up a bit, however, nine Americans rounded out the top-ten finishers behind Rahm, primarily consisting of lesser-known names like Kurt Kitayama, Brandon Wu, and Aaron Wise.
The PGA Tour returns to the United States for the Wells Fargo Championship featured on TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm in Potomac, Maryland. Located a few miles northwest of Washington D.C., TPC Potomac makes its return to the PGA Tour circuit for the first time in three seasons. Avenel Farm is a difficult course that has been renovated in recent years, adding length, water hazards, and large sand bunkers to increase the adversity for the 156 players competing in the field. Scottie Scheffler continues to rest and soak in his win at Augusta, but plenty of big names remain like Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Correy Conners, and Tyrell Hatton to name just a few.
I’ve narrowed the field down to six of my favorite high-value prospects ahead of Thursday’s opening round at Avenel Farm. Let’s get to it!
- 2021 – Rory McIlroy (-10)
- 2020 – N/A
- 2019 – Max Homa (-15)
- 2018 – Jason Day (-12)
- 2017 – Brian Harman (-10)
Relevant Betting Stats
- Greens in Regulation percentage
- Fairways in Regulation percentage
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
- Driving Distance
Quail Hollow is the primary course used during previous Wells Fargo Championship events but it is currently being prepped for future use at the President’s Cup in September following the conclusion of the FedExCup playoffs. Queue TPC Potomac to take its place this weekend. The course, named Avenel Farm, has hosted a variety of Korn Ferry and Senior PGA events, while also being the featured course during the former Booz Allen Classic in 2018 when Francesco Molinari won decisively.
The renovation and restructuring of Avenel Farm from 2006-to 2008 added over a dozen acres of trees and vegetation while extending the par 70 to 7,124 yards and adding deeper, bigger bunkers. Bentgrass covers the fairways and greens, while less-common fescue and bluegrass comprise the rough, which is cut between 1.25 to 2.5 inches depending on the lie. Bentgrass greens run fast, as the Stimpmeter measured putting velocity at 12.5 feet. The square footage of the greens is under 4,300 feet, so the irons will need to be dialed in per usual for players to garner a chance at sinking birdies. Par 5s are a rarity at TPC Potomac, with Hole 2 and Hole 10 either tipping above 600 yards or measuring just south of that mark. Strong drivers and accurate tee-to-green shots will be essential to establishing an early lead.
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000
Corey Conners ($10,100)
One of the players with the most momentum behind recent performances is 30-year-old Canadian, Corey Conners. His last three finishes are impressive, going T35, T6, and T12 most recently at RBC Heritage. A couple of weeks off should have Conners prepped to record, at minimum, his eighth top-25 finish of the season at TPC Potomac this weekend. He has the third-best GIR conversion at 71.6 percent, which is always going to be helpful, especially at courses that offer minimal bounce-back opportunities like Avenel Farm. Conners is also 13th in strokes gained tee-to-green, which will come in handy with the four par 3s littered throughout TPC Potomac. A 4.15 birdie average is the final metric that seals the deal for me. Conners is a high-floor, high-ceiling blue-chip prospect who is much cheaper to acquire than top prospect, Rory McIlroy, on DraftKings.
Keegan Bradley ($9,600)
Another veteran player flying under a lot of radars is 35-year-old American, Keegan Bradley. He is another player averaging 4.13 birdies per round this season, which is always the best metric to track due to the 6x value placed on a birdie compared to par. Bradley’s irons are on point, excluding his strokes gained putting, which certainly could use some refinement. A powerful driver averaging over 307 yards per swing will allow the veteran to conquer some of the longer dogleg fairways at TPC Potomac this weekend. To top it all off, Bradley finished T5 at Avenel Farm back in 2017 during the Quicken Loans National event. A rough patch in February seems far removed from Bradley’s current performances, so investing in his consistency and elite irons is a wise decision.
Francesco Molinari ($7,400)
As mentioned earlier, Francesco Molinari came away with a win at Quicken Loans National back in 2018. His return to Avenel Farm could be the familiarity the 39-year-old Italian needs to rejuvenate his season, as he has missed the cut in his last two events. Despite the struggles and lack of high finishes, Molinari did draw a T6 finish with a blistering 19-under-par at The American Express back in January. The statistics aren’t enticing but Molinari is averaging 3.9 birdies per round across ten events this season, so he possesses enough skill to be an appealing salary-saving option at TPC Potomac this weekend.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
FanDuel maximum salary is set at $60,000
Marc Leishman ($11,200)
Aussie Marc Leishman started much stronger at the beginning of the season, which could be why he’s been forgotten about in the spring months. The 38-year-old has three top-ten finishes but has not placed a T25 solo finish since The Genesis Invitational with a T15 back in February. There is no glaring weakness in Leishman’s irons, as he ranks inside the top 50 in approaching the green, tee-to-green, and putting. His putter can be extremely hot at times, so combining it with his accurate irons is a recipe for success at Avenel Farm. GIR percentage hovers above 69 percent and a 4.33 birdie average comprises a chock-full list of reasons why Leishman is worth every cent of his salary on FanDuel.
Seamus Power ($10,300)
Seamus Power remains ranked inside the top 30 in the FedExCup and 40th in OWGR, so it’s shocking to see him fall outside of the top-25 in both of his previous solo events at The Players Championship and The Masters. So what makes the 35-year-old Irishman so good? His GIR percentage is fourth-best on Tour, averaging a 71.4 percent conversion rate and averaging 4.32 birdies per round. These are extremely lucrative statistics that will pay off in FanDuel lineups, and Power has an above-average putter with .355 strokes gained putting. Power could manage his fifth top-ten finish of the season if he can keep his ball-striking clean, which he fluctuates from event to event. Previous finishes of T53 and T38 at Avenel Farms in 2017 and 2018 should inspire confidence that Power will make the cut; something that has not always been guaranteed in 2022. Take a mild risk to obtain Power’s upside in FanDuel lineups.
Matt Kuchar ($9,900)
Finding Matt Kuchar at a discount is wonderful this time of year. The 43-year-old American has been balling this Spring, logging T16, T2, and T3 finishes from late March to mid-April while getting a couple of weeks off to rest up for competing at TPC Potomac. Once again, Kuchar is a premium ball-striker and has exceptional irons, ranking 32nd in total strokes gained and boasting top-ten strokes gained putting to match his exquisite approach shots. Kuchar is poor with his GIR conversion rate at 65 percent, however, his accurate driver, irons, and putter wash away concern over finding the greens. He’s also a phenomenal scrambler and is ranked ninth-best in sand save percentage, so bad lies and errant swings don’t spell disaster for the savvy veteran. At under $10,000, Kuchar can be considered a salary-saver with a huge floor and the potential to deliver another high ceiling finish at Avenel Farm this weekend.
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