The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable golfers.
There are no more majors in 2017, but there are certainly many great daily fantasy golf guaranteed prize pools (GPPs) still waiting to be won. The PGA Tour stays in North Carolina this week and hops over to Greensboro for the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club. The field is obviously weaker than last week’s, but there are still golfers zoned in: This is the last week of qualification for the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Sedgefield is a Par 70 course that favors accuracy at just 7,127 yards. Our own Kelly McCann wrote extensively about the course yesterday, and, as usual, I’ll give some of the most important stats in terms of backtested Plus/Minus values. Over the past two weeks I have put out an article about building an optimal model for each course, and while that piece is taking a break this week, here are the metrics that backtested positively at Sedgefield, the Plus/Minus values, and the Plus/Minus above baseline.
- Course Greens in Regulation: +11.87, +7.19
- Course Adjusted Round Score: +11.37, +6.69
- Recent Missed Cut Percentage: +10.26, +5.58
- Recent Scrambling Percentage: +9.57, +4.89
- Long-Term Field Score: +9.11, +4.43
- Long-Term Missed Cut Percentage: +9.04, +4.36
- Long-Term Adjusted Round Score: +8.72, +4.04
- Recent Eagle Percentage: +8.07, +3.39
- Long-Term Greens in Regulation: +7.87, +3.19
- Long-Term Birdie Percentage: +7.46, +2.78
- Recent Putts Per Round: +7.37, +2.69
- Recent Field Score: +7.37, +2.69
- Recent Adjusted Round Score: +7.16, +2.48
- Course Putts Per Round: +7.01, +2.33
- Pro Trends Rating: +6.99, +2.31
- Adjusted Round Score Differential: +6.98, +2.30
- Putts Per Round Differential: +6.10, +1.42
- Course Driving Accuracy: +5.72, +1.04
- Course Count: +5.65, +0.97
- Greens in Regulation Differential: +5.57there , +0.89
- Recent Bogey Percentage: +5.11, +0.43
- Recent Greens in Regulation: +4.90, +0.22
- Recent Birdie Percentage: +4.80, +0.12
I know: That’s a lot of metrics to analyze. And those are just the ones that backtested positively. That said, the data shows some broader trends that are useful to know. First, the two metrics with the highest Plus/Minus marks are important course-specific metrics. I am typically a proponent — we talk about this subject on the Daily Fantasy Flex podcast often — of discounting course data and course history because of some inherent noise with it and also because the public values it so highly. However, this week, the data shows that it is more important than a normal course. One other way to tell that’s true is the overall Plus/Minus of the model once it is optimized according to the data above:
For reference, the Plus/Minus of the Colin Davy Model is +5.10; the Plus/Minus of the CSURAM88 Model is +5.70. The metrics that have higher weight in those models — Long-Term Adjusted Round Score has a weight of 40/100 in Colin’s model, for instance — are more valuable on a week-to-week basis independent of course. Course-specific metrics typically test lower, but this week that is different. For those reasons, it seems that skewing towards players who have performed well at Sedgefield in the past will provide an edge. And thus, that will color the rest of this piece.
Henrik Stenson is the most talented golfer in the field and leads the week with 7.7 percent implied odds to win the tournament. That said, he has a lot of weird, conflicting data points that makes him difficult to evaluate. First, his history here is terrible: He hasn’t played at Sedgefield since 2012, but he had to withdraw that year and missed the cut in each of the two prior trips:
If course data is especially important this week, Stenson’s slate-high $11,500 DraftKings price tag is hard to stomach. That said, those tournaments were a long time ago, and Stenson’s 68.3 LT Adj Rd Score is easily the best mark in the field. Further, out of the 12 players over the past couple of years with implied odds to win of at least 4.0 percent, only one (Hideki Matsuyama in 2015) has failed to exceed salary-based expectations (per the PGA Trends tool):
Stenson’s 7.7 percent implied odds are the highest over the past three years. He struggled early in 2017 after dominating the end of 2016, but he seems to be returning to form recently: His 68.3 Recent Adjusted Round Score is actually the best mark in the entire field, and he’s now placed within the top-20 of four of his last five events. He has not been inside the top-10 in that time frame either, but he has shown consistency lately, and his accuracy sets up well for this course. Stenson is actually projected for lower ownership (17-20 percent currently on DraftKings) than some players, and that’s likely due to his course history here. Remove those old data points, and he’s likely the chalk of the weekend.
Speaking of the chalk of the weekend, Webb Simpson is $10,000 and has excellent course history at Sedgefield, posting a 69.0 Course Adj Rd Score over his last six visits. He did struggle last year, placing 72nd, but prior to that he finished sixth, fifth, 11th, 22nd, and won the tournament back in 2011. It seems last year was the outlier, and he’s playing well enough recently to feel confident about that stance: Over his last 10 tournaments, he’s averaged a +9.44 Plus/Minus on 80 percent Consistency:
The North Carolina native hasn’t missed a cut since early May, and his 68.6 Recent Adj Rd Score is third in the field behind only Stenson’s and Bud Cauley‘s marks. Simpson has missed only 23 percent of the cuts over the last year, and that metric backtested well. He’s an excellent play even at the higher price tag, but he will be highly-owned: He’s projected to be in a slate-high 21-25 percent of DraftKings lineups this weekend.
The Value Plays
Kevin Streelman is not a player I normally roster: DraftKings rewards birdies, and Streelman’s 11.1 LT Birdie Percentage is very average in almost every field. That said, he rates very highly in my optimized model this weekend, and a lot of that has to do with his elite recent accuracy marks. He’s posted a Recent DA mark of 76.8 percent along with a Recent Scrambling mark of 79.0 percent; the latter data point is the best mark in the field among golfers with more than one start over the past six weeks. The excellent accuracy has seen him post a +6.03 Plus/Minus on 70 percent Consistency over his last 10 tournaments. He does not have elite history here but hasn’t missed a cut, and the rest of his marks make him an elite fit this year. He’s projected to be owned in a somewhat-high 17-20 percent of lineups, but it may not get out of control given his awkward pricing in the $8,000 range.
The top-125 players in FedEx Cup points after the completion of this tournament will make the playoffs. If you want to pay attention to that narrative while building rosters for the Wyndham, look at someone like Daniel Summerhays, who currently sits 124th in points going into the week. He needs a strong finish to remain in the playoffs, and he’ll have to reverse the trend of poor play at Sedgefield: He has a mediocre 70.9 Course Adj Rd Score over his last four visits. That said, the rest of his data is solid, especially his 69.7 Recent Adj Rd Score and 15.3 Recent Birdie Percentage. He’s been able to get out of trouble lately, posting a nice 66.6 percent Scrambling percentage last week at Quail Hollow. At only $7,100, he’s definitely a golfer to pursue in GPPs that can provide some salary-cap relief.
As mentioned on this week’s Flex podcast, the $6,000 range is very bare this week. Camilo Villegas could be a popular option at $6,900 considering he won this event just three years ago, but after him there are very few cheap golfers with even solid course history. All of the golfers with great history are priced accordingly; of the golfers with at least three visits to Sedgefield, Carl Pettersson has the best history with a 69.3 Recent Adj Rd Score. He’s cheap at $6,700, but he’s also done this since March:
Course history is important, but it’s difficult to find an edge in pricing that way. Instead, it might be wise to focus on building a more balanced roster this week with guys in the $8,000 range like Streelman, Byeong-Hun An ($8,900), and Lucas Glover ($8,400), the latter of whom has an elite Recent Adj Rd Score of 68.7. Or perhaps take a chance on a guy like Emiliano Grillo, whose 69.1 LT Adj Rd Score is the fourth-best mark in the entire field — and he’s only $7,500 because of his atrocious 71.2 Recent Adj Rd Score. There are many ways to build lineups this weekend, and it’s wise to take a stance on an edge.
The Bump and Run
Choke up and take a narrow stance.
Bill Haas: His 69.0 LT Adj Rd Score is the second-best mark in the field behind Stenson’s, and his course history is secretly just as good as Simpson’s: He owns a ridiculous 69.1 Course Adj Rd Score over his last six visits. He’s $200 more than Simpson but is projected for slightly lower ownership.
Nick Watney: His 70.4 Recent Adj Rd Score isn’t anything to brag about, but he does have good course history, as evidenced by his 69.8 Course Adj Rd. He could be a nice GPP pivot at just $100 more than Summerhays; he’s projected for only five to eight percent ownership.
Chez Reavie: He’s projected at nine to 12 percent ownership and could be a pivot play away from Chad Campbell, who is $200 cheaper and projected for a very chalky 21-25 percent ownership this weekend. Chez has been incredible lately — his 68.7 Recent Adj Rd Score is fourth-best in the field — although he has missed three straight cuts at Sedgefield. That’s likely the reason his ownership projections are down.
Good luck this week!