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

by Matthew MacKay | @Matt_MacKay_ | Featured Writer
Aug 24, 2022
Xander Schauffele

The third and final event of the 2022 FedExCup playoffs is here! After 11 months of competition, the top 30 players, based on their current ranking in the FedExCup standings, will play four rounds at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s an exciting time with massive implications for all 29 players. That’s right, Will Zalatoris withdrew from this event due to sustaining a back injury during the BMW Championship last weekend.

Starting strokes is a unique format specific to the PGA Tour Championship. This will be the fourth year that it is implemented at East Lake GC, creating significant advantages for players like Scottie Scheffler and Patrick Cantlay, who top the rankings in first and second place. Based on the starting strokes format, Scheffler will start Thursday at 10-under-par, while Cantlay will begin at eight-under-par. Zalatoris’ withdrawal means that only four players will start above four-under-par, which also includes Sam Burns and Xander Schauffele. Players who rank lower and just managed to advance to East Lake, such as Sahith Theegala and Adam Scott, will have a much bigger disadvantage, starting at even par.

My six recommendations fared well at the BMW Championship last weekend. 70 players competed without a cut-line, meaning every player had four rounds to improve or devalue their FedExCup ranking. Four of six posted a T25 finish, including two T10 or better finishes from Jon Rahm and Adam Scott.

East Lake will not enforce a cut-line either, making the starting strokes format slightly more manageable for the lower-ranked competitors. After conducting thorough research on player strengths and weaknesses, course layout and history, salary, and starting strokes, I’ve found six of my favorite players to target when constructing DFS lineups ahead of Thursday’s opening round. Let’s end the season on a high note and cash out!

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Previous Winners

  • 2021 – Patrick Cantlay (-21)
  • 2020 – Dustin Johnson (-21)
  • 2019 – Rory McIlroy (-18)

Relevant Betting Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Birdie Average
  • Scrambling percentage
  • Greens in Regulation percentage

Course Overview

East Lake Golf Club has been the final FedExCup playoff event site for years. It’s originally a Donald Ross-designed course that is a par 70 running 7,346 yards with Bermudagrass rough and greens. Rees Jones redesigned it twice, most recently in 2008, so players with course experience should possess a high comfort level. The Zoysiagrass fairways create perfect lies for any tee shot that finds the fairway, while Poa Annua grass comprises the tee shots.

Only three water hazards emerge throughout the course, but the lack of par 5 scoring is going to create high-stress situations for players lacking strong irons. Only two of the 12 par 4 holes run under 400 yards, so strong tee shots, and approach shots will be the requisite skill to possess. Of course, a hot putter can counter poor irons nearly every time. The Stimpmeter measures the putting velocity at over 12 feet, which is the standard rate for PGA Tour events. Four par 3s create opportunities for players who excel at tee-to-green, but three of these holes run at least 215 yards. Meanwhile, the sixth hole and 18th hole are the only par 5 opportunities.

Early rain showers during the first two days should soften the Bermudagrass greens, creating sticky lies during approach shots. Dry, warm conditions should return for the final two rounds on Saturday and Sunday, firming up the greens to increase their speed. Overall, the weather will be ideal for the PGA Tour Championship.

Recommended Plays: DraftKings

DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000

Xander Schauffele ($12,300)
Schauffele is in prime form entering East Lake. The 28-year-old Californian won two events outright this season and will start six-under-par due to being ranked fourth in the FedExCup standings. Here’s a statistic that should make Schauffele a lock in DraftKings lineups this weekend. He’s played five previous PGA Tour Championship events without ever finishing over par in 20 rounds. Upon closer inspection, Schauffele has not shot over par in the final round of any PGA Tour event this entire season. Whether it’s his 25th ranked strokes gained putting, eighth in strokes gained approaching the green, or sixth in total strokes gained, Schauffele is a smash. Expect him to make a run and usurp friend and defending FedExCup champion, Patrick Cantlay, once Sunday afternoon arrives.

Jon Rahm ($10,900)
Rahm has been elite in the final two rounds of the previous FedExCup playoffs, never scoring above 67 and going all the way down to 65 at TPC Southwind and Wilmington. The 27-year-old Spaniard has an inconsistent putter but he is the top-ranked player in strokes gained off-the-tee, fourth in strokes gained tee-to-green, and 21st in strokes gained approaching the green.

In 2021, Rahm started at six-under-par, four strokes behind top-ranked Patrick Cantlay, and wound up losing by one stroke with a 20-under-par finish. He’s built for courses like East Lake based on his elite irons and ability to get birdie opportunities on longer par 4s. Rahm is the fourth most expensive player on DraftKings at $10,900 but he’s worth every cent. Don’t fret at a slow start. Rahm will begin three-under-par on Thursday due to his T11 ranking in the FedExCup and he should stay comfortable and drain birdies all weekend at East Lake.

Sungjae Im ($9,100)
Sungjae Im has qualified for the PGA Tour Championship for the fourth time in his short career. The 24-year-old South Korean has been fantastic in the FedExCup playoffs thus far, posting a 12th-place finish at TPC Southwind and a T15 at the BMW Championship.

Im earns his keep in the middle rounds but last year at East Lake was an exception. He only wound up going one-under-par across the four rounds last year after getting a three-under-par cushion. This time around, Im will begin four-under-par at T6 in the FedExCup rankings. A 3.95 birdie average, converting over 70 percent of greens in regulation, and ranking 36th in strokes gained putting all point to Im as a huge value at $9,100 on DraftKings.

Recommended Plays: FanDuel

FanDuel maximum salary is set at $60,000

Patrick Cantlay ($12,700)
Don’t leave Patrick Cantlay out of your DFS builds! The reigning FedExCup champion is looking to become the first player to ever defend his title and already made history as the first player to win consecutive BMW Championship events. The 30-year-old Californian managed to hold onto first place after starting 10-under-par in 2021 at East Lake. However, he narrowly defeated Jon Rahm, finishing one stroke ahead at 21-under-par and 11-under-par across all four rounds.

From a DFS perspective, Cantlay’s 4.53 birdies per round are vital currency. He ranks third in birdie average, 12th in strokes gained putting, and eighth in total strokes gained. This year, Cantlay will be in unfamiliar territory, ceding first-place and a 10-under-par start to current No. 1, Scottie Scheffler. The two will be paired together and Cantlay will still enjoy an eight-under-par start to stay within a striking position. When the biggest moments arrive, Cantlay is sure to deliver.

Hideki Matsuyama ($8,900)
Matsuyama quietly sits 17th in the FedExCup standings and will start a stroke lower (T16/-2) than he did in 2021. The 30-year-old native of Japan does not have an elite putter but his irons remain some of the sharpest amongst remaining players. His 4.15 birdies per round average is ranked 14th-best and he’s top 20 in tee-to-green and approaching the green.

Matsuyama sunk himself into a massive deficit in the opening round at East Lake in 2021, going seven-over-par. Yet he bounced back in a huge way, managing to finish even par with a follow-up round of five-under-par. At under $9,000 on FanDuel, Matsuyama is dripping with value. He’s a sneaky play and while he’s only competed in one playoff event this year, Matsuyama has the talent to climb the leaderboard this weekend.

Adam Scott ($8,100)
Arguably the most impressive performance at the BMW Championship came from 42-year-old Aussie, Adam Scott. He held the lead for three rounds but faltered on Sunday, bouncing back from a couple of bogeys with a clutch eagle putt on the 12th hole. Scott is clutch when it matters and has rattled off consecutive T5 finishes in the 2022 FedExCup to advance to East Lake for the first time since 2019.

During Scott’s last appearance, he went four-under-par in his final round to finish eight-under-par and climbed into a sixth-place finish. He doesn’t have any problems with any strokes gained categories, excluding around the green, including a top 40 putter. Scott is playing with a ton of momentum and while he’ll only start at even par with starting strokes, he began at only three-under-par during the starting strokes format implementation back in 2019. Scott wound up finishing six-under-par and if he can stay under par in all four rounds, unlike in 2019, expect the Aussie to be a tremendous value in FanDuel lineups this weekend.

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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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