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PGA DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Tour Championship (2023)

PGA DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Tour Championship (2023)

The top 30 golfers in the FedExCup rankings will compete at the final event of the 2023 PGA Tour season with aspirations of winning the FedExCup playoffs at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. While we’ve grown accustomed to watching four rounds of golf without an enforced cut line during the previous two playoff events, St. Jude Championship and BMW Championship, the Tour Championship implements a starting strokes format to reward golfers’ body of work throughout the season. Scottie Scheffler, ranked No. 1 in the FedExCup, will begin Thursday’s first round at -10-under-par, compared to Jordan Spieth, who will start 10 strokes back at even par since he’s ranked 29th.

Starting strokes only impact DFS lineups regarding fantasy points for final finishing position only. This means we aren’t going to get 10 birdies or additional fantasy points for starting atop the leaderboard by inserting Scheffler into our lineups, but if he winds up winning his first FedExCup title by Sunday, we’ll secure all of these lucrative fantasy points. Other notable players who have strong starting strokes positions are Viktor Hovland at -8-under-par, since he climbed into No. 2 in the FedExCup with his impressive comeback win at the BMW Championship last weekend. Lucas Glover, who won at Wyndham and the St. Jude Championship, sits at No .5, meaning he’ll start at -5-under-par on Thursday. Rory McIlroy occupies the No. 3 ranking at -7-under-par, with Jon Rahm at No. 4, earning a -6-under-par starting strokes designation.

There’s a lot of bragging rights and money up for grabs this week at East Lake, as the PGA Tour’s best golfers are set to compete on a course that tends to be slightly less challenging than TPC Southwind and Olympia Fields in recent outings. The outright winner, whoever finishes No.1 in the FedExCup by Sunday evening, will win $18 million, cascading down to $500,000 for the golfer who winds up ranked No. 30.

Only 30 golfers means we’re going to have some inflated costs, especially for blue-chip prospects, while there will be plenty of value to acquire for golfers available in the lower salary brackets on DraftKings and FanDuel. For the last time this season, let’s review previous winners, relevant betting stats, and dive into a course overview of East Lake Golf Club before revealing the six golfers to target during DFS lineup construction ahead of Thursday’s opening round. Good luck!

PGA DraftKings and FanDuel DFS Primer: Tour Championship (2023)

Previous Winners

  • 2022 – Rory McIlroy (-21)
  • 2021 – Patrick Cantlay (-21)
  • 2020 – Dustin Johnson (-21)
  • 2019 – Rory McIlroy (-18)
  • 2018 – Tiger Woods (-11)

Relevant Betting Stats

  • Strokes Gained Approaching the Green
  • Total Driving
  • Greens in Regulation percentage
  • Hole Proximity
  • Sand Save percentage
  • Birdie Average
  • Strokes Gained Putting

Course Overview

East Lake Golf Club is a stock par 70 that runs 7,346 yards in length. Located in Atlanta, Georgia, it was initially established in 1928 and designed by Tom Bendelow, featuring Zoysiagrass fairways and Bermudagrass greens that are average in square footage surface area. While the fairways are a bit wider than we’ve seen in the previous two weeks, there are plenty of water hazards, sand bunkers, and trees to create difficult lies with errant tee shots and approach shots.

Unlike at Olympia Fields, where rough grew upwards of half a foot, East Lake only has rough grown out under three inches, with Bermuda greens expected to run up to 13 feet via Stimpmeter. Hot, humid conditions without precipitation should dry out the greens, making them even faster, so being able to sink putts will become an even bigger priority. Ball striking is always rewarded and there are lengthy par 3 holes at East Lake, including an intimidating island hole on the par 3 15th. The first of two par 5s doesn’t arrive until the sixth hole, but it’s not overly challenging at 525 yards. The 18th hole is where chaos will ensue, as its the other par 5 that runs nearly 600 yards into the club house.

Recommended Plays: DraftKings

DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000

Viktor Hovland: $12,500
Undoubtedly the hottest golfer entering the Tour Championship, Viktor Hovland rose to the occasion at the BMW Championship, carding a final round of -9-under-par, which included seven birdies on the back-nine to secure a two-stroke win over Scottie Scheffler and Matt Fitzpatrick. Hovland’s approach shots were remarkable at Olympia Fields, plus his putter is consistently good on the greens, which makes the Norwegian a potent fantasy option in lineups, especially starting at -8-under-par. Roster Hovland with extreme confidence and a slight discount compared to Scheffler and McIlroy.

Russell Henley: $8,300
The last time Russell Henley competed at East Lake, he nearly won the event, finishing T3 at -10-under-par behind winner Xander Schauffele. The Georgia native went -3-under-par or better in three of his four rounds, but he hasn’t competed here in six years. We should feel encouraged looking at Henley’s current form entering the Tour Championship, as he’s logged T2, T6, and T8 finishes in his most recent events. Henley gets a nice cushion starting at -3-under-par, plus he’s ranked 17th strokes gained tee-to-green and 31st on approach, so let’s pounce on his cheap $8,300 salary on DraftKings.

Collin Morikawa: $7,700
While it’s been a bit of a disappointing season for Collin Morikawa, who has contended for several outright wins this year, to no avail, the Californian has five T10 finishes and is among the best ball strikers left in this event. Morikawa ranks fourth strokes gained tee-to-green, second on approach, and 20th off-the-tee. The putter has been an issue, but given he’s ranked fifth finding greens in regulation and fourth in hole proximity, we’re getting an incredible deal on Morikawa’s floor at $7,700 on DraftKings.

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Recommended Plays: FanDuel

FanDuel maximum salary is set at $60,000

Max Homa: $11,300
Arguably the cheapest blue-chip prospect on FanDuel, Max Homa is quietly poised to make a run at his first FedExCup title. Homa has won two events outright this season and he’s been heating up lately, incrementally improving from a T12 finish at the Scottish Open, to a T6 and T5 during each of the first two FedExCup playoff events. Homa went -8-under-par at Olympia Fields last week on Friday, and he accomplished the same fear at East Lake in 2022, winding up four strokes off the winning score with a T5 finish. He’s starting at -4-under-par this week, plus he’s ranked fifth in strokes gained putting, giving Homa a decisive edge that could prove invaluable down the stretch. Don’t hesitate to roster Homa this week on FanDuel.

Sungjae Im: $9,400
Sungjae Im is another golfer heating up at the right time after a brief slump prior to the FedExCup playoffs. The South Korean native has logged a T6 and seventh-place finishes during the playoffs, only wavering above -2-under-par in one round during this stretch. Im will start at -2-under-par, which could be enough to see him climb into another T5 finish or better at East Lake. Im is a premier ball striker, ranking 18th off-the-tee, 21st tee-to-green, and 22nd around the green in strokes gained metrics. He’s got a solid driver and good putting ability too, so there isn’t much downside to rostering Im in this price range.

Brian Harman: $8,800
I cannot quit Brian Harman in DFS but it’s for good reason. Another native of Georgia, Harman’s been dialed in since Travelers, recording finishes of T2, T9, T12, 1, T31, and T5. He’s sunk 16-24 birdies in five of these six events, relying on a confident putter, sharp irons, and finding fairways off the tee. Harman ranks inside the top 25 for strokes gained putting, 12th in driving accuracy, and 23rd in hole proximity. Plus, he’s the Tour’s No.1 ranked scrambler, while ranking third in sand save percentage. Whichever angle you prefer, Harman is a strong candidate to deliver dual floor-ceiling production in FanDuel lineups at a massive discount this week.

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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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