The first-ever FedExCup Fall gets underway this week at the Fortinet Championship in Napa, California, at the Silverado Resort. After this week, the PGA TOUR takes a break for the Ryder Cup in two weeks before returning for three tournaments in October and three more in November. Those seven events feature the same benefits as Regular Season tournaments for the winners, and there’s also an added layer of drama as players try to stay in the top 125 in the FedExCup Standings.
The top 70 in the FedExCup standings before the playoffs have already secured their PGA TOUR cards for next year, but spots from No. 71-125 will be finalized at the end of the FedExCup Fall at The RSM Classic. Six players who were in the top 50 and made the playoffs have opted to tee it up this week even though their status is secure. One of the biggest names is defending champion Max Homa, who is looking to win this event for the third consecutive year. The other players from the top 50 playing this week are Cam Davis, Sahith Theegala, Andrew Putnam, Brendon Todd, and Eric Cole.
This week’s event will return to Silverado Resort for the 10th straight year. For a look at what to expect from the course, check out Matt Vincenzi’s weekly stats preview.
This weekly GPP post focuses on players with lower ownership projections than their potential performance. Finding high-leverage plays is critical for GPP success. The picks here are designed to go against the grain and take advantage of players who may be overlooked or not selected due to risk factors.
Since these are GPP picks, we can accept more risk if it raises the lineup’s ceiling. High-risk, high-reward options with low ownership create the “boom-or-bust” style lineups that usually lead to large-field success.
GPP contests are contests that have large numbers of entries and pay out huge prizes to the top few percent. Since this week is a major, the largest GPP on DraftKings is the $400K Sand Trap, which awards $100K to first place.
The players highlighted will be good options if they deliver in all formats, but they come with risk factors that usually keep them from being the safest plays. Safety and reliability should be the focus of lineups in cash and double-up contests, where finishing in the top spot isn’t quite as important. To find specific guidance for all contest types, check out our full Daily Fantasy Golf coverage each week.
No matter what type of format you prefer, be sure to use the FantasyLabs PGA Models to help you make the best choices. These models use stats and simulations to highlight different players’ strengths and weaknesses. A few critical new stats for GPP play are Perfect% and SimLeverage, which are further explained here.
Usually, I rely on the Stroked Gained Model, which is very predictive of results. I also tend to lean into players that gain shots on approach since week-to-week putting performance can be highly volatile, even for the best players on the PGA TOUR.
As you dig into the numbers, you can enjoy the many tools that FantasyLabs offers, including the Lineup Optimizer, which effortlessly creates up to 300 lineups. Alternatively, you can use the Lineup Builder if you prefer a more hands-on approach.
Check out my top picks in each price range listed below.
Editors note: SimLeverage and Perfect% numbers may change after this piece is published. Be sure to check the PGA Models for any updates to the sims.
High-Priced PGA DFS Picks
Cameron Davis $10,100
There are four players priced over $10K, with Max Homa leading the way as the heavy favorite. There are lots of reasons to love Homa this week, but if you’re looking for a more against-the-grain selection from those four players, Cameron Davis is a good play to consider. Davis offers the second-highest projected Plus/Minus of those four players, behind only Homa and the 23.6% of perfect lineups in our sims but is only projected for a 14% ownership.
Davis has the third-highest ceiling projection in the entire field, and getting him at the ninth-highest projected ownership makes him a strong GPP option.
Part of the reason our sims like Davis is that he comes in with strong form after starting the season slowly while dealing with an illness. Davis has been surging lately, though, outproducing salary-based expectations in five of his seven most recent events and going on a nice run with top 10s at the 3M Open, the Wyndham Championship, and the St. Jude Championship to advance to the second-to-last event in the postseason.
At this event, Davis has had mixed results, making 2-of-4 cuts and posting a top 20 back in 2018. His statistical profile does fit the course well, though, since his best results have come on shorter, tighter tracks like this one. His only PGA TOUR win came in 2021 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, but he could definitely convert his current form into a win this fall if he stays in top form.
Due to his lower ownership projection and high ceiling, he’s a great place to start your GPP construction.
J.J. Spaun $9,200
Spaun has also been playing well lately and has the kind of game that should play well at Silverado. The 33-year-old Californian has already secured his PGA TOUR spot for next season with his 62nd-place finish in the FedExCup standings at the end of the regular season, but he’s still playing this week on a course he should be familiar with.
Spaun made seven cuts in his eight most recent PGA TOUR events, including a top 10 at the Barracuda Championship and a top 25 at the FedEx St. Jude Championship to start the playoffs. He exceeded salary-based expectations in each of his five most recent tournaments with an average Plus/Minus of +23.9 DraftKings points.
In his seven previous trips to this event, Spaun has missed the cut three times, but he did notch a top-10 finish in 2020. If he continues his form, another strong finish like that could be in store for him this week.
Of the six players priced between $9K and $10K, he’s the only one with a positive SimLeverage. He is projected for under 14% ownership even though he’s in the second-most optimal lineups of all the players priced under $10K.
Mid-Priced PGA DFS Picks
Chez Reavie $8,500
Reavie missed the cut at the Fortinet last year for the first time in his career, but I don’t think he’ll make that a habit. Prior to last year’s letdown, he had played the weekend at six straight events at this course with several high finishes, including a T3 in 2020 behind Stewart Cink. Reavie’s game is a good fit for the course here, and he’s much less popular of a play than Akshay Bhatia, who is the only player priced between $8.4K and $9.1K that has a higher Projected Plus/Minus than Reavie.
Due to his recent success and steady performance, Reavie doesn’t come in totally off the radar with an ownership projection of just under 12%, but he still is a solid play if you can differentiate your lineup with picks above or below him on the salary structure.
Reavie has been stringing together strong showings, exceeding salary-based expectations in eight of his last 10 events with a high point of a T4 at the Travelers. Those recent good showings have been mostly on the strength of his approach game. He leads all golfers in the field in SG: Approach over his 50 most recent rounds. He also leads the field in Opportunities Gained over that span, showing he can contend this week if his streaky putter cooperates.
His accuracy off the tee and on approach is exactly the kind of game that Silverado typically rewards, so look for another good week for the mid-priced veteran.
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Matt Kuchar, $8,100
Another veteran to consider in this price range is Matt Kuchar, who was playing well at the end of the year and played his way into the playoffs. His strong finish kept alive a remarkable string of consistency and made him the last player on the PGA Tour to have qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs every year since it began in 2007.
Kuchar out-performed salary-based expectations for the third straight event at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, but he didn’t advance to the next round. Dating back to a T3 at the Valero Texas Open, Kuchar has made the cut in 10 of 13 events and out-produced salary-based expectations eight times.
During his long run of success, Kuchar hasn’t always made Silverado a stop of choice. He didn’t play the event for five years but teed it up in each of the last two falls, posting a T36 in 2021 and a career-best for this event with a T12 last year. Kuchar will be on his better surface for putting throughout his career as the PGA TOUR returns to Pao Annua on the West Coast.
Kuchar has the highest SimLeverage of all the players between $9,000 and $7,500 on this slate and his 6.1% projected ownership gives him the highest Leverage Rating in the field.
Value PGA DFS Picks
Samuel Stevens $7,500
Stevens has the second-highest ceiling projection of the 134 players priced under $8K this week. He is making his debut at this event, but he still deserves a look since his upside is so high, and his ownership is expected to be under 10%, with seven players priced under $8K drawing more attention coming into the week.
In his rookie year on the PGA TOUR, Stevens posted five top-25 finishes. He had back-to-back finishes in the top five in the Spring and made it all the way to the FedEx St. Jude Championship in the summer. He exceeded salary-based expectations in three of his past four events, highlighted by a top-10 finish at the 3M Open.
Stevens will be learning his way around Silverado, but he could make a late push for Rookie of the Year honors with a strong Fall.
Either way, he’s already locked up his PGA TOUR card for next season due to his strong campaign so far.
David Lipsky $7,300
Lipsky’s spot is not secure yet, since he is ranked No. 98 in the FedEx Cup standings and needs a strong Fall series to keep his card for next year. It’s been an up-and-down season for the Los Angeles native, who missed the cut in 12 of his 29 events but also finished in the top 25 in six tournaments.
He started last year’s Fortinet Championship in fine shape with a 69 but then exploded with an 82 on Friday and missed the cut. Prior to that, he finished T22 in 2021 in his only career appearance at Silverado.
In his past nine events, Lipsky exceeded salary-based expectations six times and comes into this week with some solid recent form after posting a T43 at the Wyndham Championship in his most recent PGA TOUR event. He’ll be well rested and ready for a big fall, which I think he can get started this week.
He has a projected ownership under 6%, and of the players in this range, he’s one of the more proven options. He has shown he can contend on the PGA TOUR, even though he is still seeking his first PGA TOUR win after four international victories earlier in his career.
Sleeper PGA DFS Picks
Cameron Percy $6,700
Here’s where things get really wild. In a tournament with a field that definitely skews to players lower down in the rankings, we get some real wild cards under $7K. There’s no sure thing in this price range, but there are some nice lineup differentiators that can provide you some salary relief if you spend up in your other roster spots. Players in this price range don’t have to contend to be worth their salary, and sometimes just a made cut from this section is enough to put your GPP lineup in the right spot to claim the win.
While even he’s no sure thing, Percy has delivered made cuts at Silverado in each of his past five career appearances at the event. Not only has he been playing the weekend, but he has finished in the top 26 four times and even posted a T7 in 2019.
The 49-year-old Aussie joined the PGA TOUR in 2010 and still has some work to do this fall since he comes into this week at No. 151 in the Fall standings. Percy hasn’t made many cuts lately, with the one exception being a T16 at the Barbasol. His results have been boom-or-bust all season, which makes him an intriguing flier play this week, especially given his course history.
Of all the players priced under $7K, Percy has the highest projected Plus/Minus and the sixth-highest ceiling projection. He’s also only projected to be in 1% of lineups, making him an ultimate differentiator.
Hayden Springer $6,300
Springer will be playing in just his fourth PGA TOUR event this week, but he has the highest Projected Plus/Minus and the highest ceiling projection of all players under $6.5K. He’s a long shot to even make the weekend since he never has on the PGA TOUR, but he does have one thing going for him–recent form.
After making the cut for the first time on the Korn Ferry Tour in June, Springer played this summer and early fall on the PGA TOUR Canada. Last week, he won the season-ending Fortinet Cup Championship in Calgary, which earned him an opportunity to play this week at Silverado. He shot back-to-back rounds of -4 and won by a dominant margin of five strokes.
The 26-year-old earned a full exemption for the Korn Ferry Tour next season with his triumph in the season-long points race. He vaulted into contention with his first professional career win at the CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open in Winnipeg at the end of August. He struggled early in the season but caught fire down the stretch.
Springer has enough upside, based on his recent form to be worth a dart throw if you’re spending down to under $6.5K. He should be extremely confident after a dominant last several weeks when most of the players in this field have been not playing in many meaningful tournaments.