Nearly all of Golf’s elite players are ready to tee it up at Liberty National this week at the start of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The only player missing is Louis Oosthuizen; nonetheless, the field will be as strong as we’ll see among each of the four major championships. It will also be the final event of the season with a cut, leaving us with just one final Friday cut sweat.
As is always the case, we have you covered throughout our platforms. I put together the course preview on what to expect and whom to target around Liberty National here on Fantasy Labs. Matt Vincenzi has his stats that matter article over on The Action Network, and Landon Silinsky put together his favorite cash game plays for the week ahead.
DraftKings has put up their now-standard $15 Flop Shot with a $250,000 prize to first place. It will have a larger prize pool at $1M, but along with that comes more entries: It maxes out at 78,431. The article below highlights plays for that large-field tournament, including the ownership projections quoted. Let’s get right into it.
Jon Rahm ($11,500)
Rahm has earned the right to be the top-priced player week in and week out. When he has teed it up over the past few months, he has been the top of the class more often than not. He has now had two positive COVID-19 tests that derailed him from a runaway Memorial win and more recently a shot to play in the Tokyo Olympics.
At the very least, he should be rested for the week and ready to go. Rahm is still the top player in the world — and at the top of the Fantasy Labs ratings model by a significant margin. It seems unlikely that anyone in this range will reach 20% ownership with so many elite options, though he is certainly the most likely. I will start many lineups with Rahm and not think twice about it this week.
Xander Schauffele ($10,600)
I almost went to DJ here for similar reasons as Rahm, but the price point on Xander Schauffele and his lower projected ownership endows him the No. 2 spot. I am not sure why people are now cooling on Schauffele after his gold medal win in Tokyo. We all knew he wouldn’t quite show up at WGC St. Jude due to the likely literal and figurative hangover from his breakthrough win, but it’s curious to me that everyone has jumped ship now entering the playoffs.
Schauffele has always been known as a player that steps up in the strongest field events, and he often prefers tougher scoring events that result in a low-teens under-par winner versus a birdie-fest into the 20s. I expect the former this week, and while I get the attraction to Spieth and Morikawa around him, I don’t see either player as nearly twice as likely to outscore Schauffele. HIs ownership is hovering around 7-9% depending on where you look, while the other two are 14-16%. This is a great leverage spot with high upside to jump in on Schauffele.
Paul Casey ($8,700)
It looks like I am not alone in my support for Webb Simpson this week — and so I will skip him here — but, he was my best bet of the week on The Action Network for all of these reasons. I will still be on Simpson, but I will pivot to the slightly lesser-owned Paul Casey in this spot.
Casey ranks third in our Fantasy Labs Ratings this week and checks all 10 of the boxes, alongside only Rahm, in our Pro Trends section. He will be mid-teens in ownership percentage but fits the mold of a ball-striker and all-around player that I believe will find success this week at Liberty National.
Cameron Smith ($8,500)
Quietly, Cameron Smith is playing some really great golf right now. He finished 33rd at The Open and was one of the best ball-strikers at the Olympics, falling just one shot short of the playoff for bronze. The Australian then carried that finish back to the WGC St. Jude, where he was in position to get into the playoff on the final tee before spraying his drive, then subsequently making a questionable decision on his approach that ended up OB, which closed out his chances.
Smith has been elite on approach and has a fantastic short game, which should make for a lethal combination around Liberty National. He is often a player I like to target around coastal courses, which I think can be a qualifier here. He is definitely worth a GPP shot at single-digit ownership for a player with true winning upside this week.
Cameron Tringale ($7,300)
It may seem like I am skipping a big range here, but it’s really indicative of how I plan to build this week. I am going to do everything I can to jam in three of the top-tier golfers and rely on value down low to round off my lineups. Cameron Tringale is a perfect fit for that build.
I like him more than our ratings model this week. But, again I am looking for ball-strikers like Tringale, and in this range he just needs to make the weekend with a shot to Top 20. Tringale has been one of the steadiest players on TOUR this season and has performed well time and again in all field types. He is currently hovering around 10% ownership this week, which won’t be enough to scare me off of his value to my builds for the Northern Trust.
Seamus Power ($7,000)
You could take much of what I said above about Tringale and post it here for Seamus Power. The big difference, is that Power broke through for a win. And yes, I know it was at the Barbosol, but a win is a win at this level. The Irishman got that victory following back-to-back top-8 finishes, and then took nearly a month away before teeing it up at the Wyndham Championship.
Power made the cut in Greensboro but fell back over the final three rounds. I am not discrediting him as he was shaking off the rust and the high of that first triumph. I’ll go back here for a player at around 5% ownership that has shown immense ability and upside this season at a price where he can become an optimal fixture in lineups if he plays to his skillset.
Harold Varner III ($6,700)
The sleeper section has to start with Harold Varner III, who is an outlier in our ratings model on Fantasy Labs. He sits 10th in that category despite a price tag that has him well down the DraftKings pricing board. I am happy to take a few shots here for another guy that is a ball-striker and birdie-maker when his game is on. If he can find the weekend, he will outscore this price tag and has the upside to be a top-15 finisher in this field.
Aaron Wise ($6,600)
All of the plays in this range are priced here for a reason. While I love the upside of Aaron Wise, I also understand the downside. He can certainly ball-strike all week and genuinely be in contention if his game is right, but he could also really struggle at this course with his short game.
Wise made a change to a long putter a la Adam Scott last week at the Wyndham, and Wise started hot. He actually gained nearly three strokes on the field putting, though it tapered off the more rounds he played. Still, his recent performance on the greens inspires optimism that he maybe finds something — even for a short stint — to match his ball-striking abilities.
Photo Credit: Christopher Lee/Getty Images.
Pictured Above: Jon Rahm.