The PGA TOUR will stay in Florida this week for the 2023 Valspar Championship.
The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook is a par 71 measuring 7,340 yards and features Bermuda grass greens. Infamous for its difficulty, the track will be a tough test for golfers as trouble lurks all over the place. Holes 15, 16, and 17 — also known as the “snake pit” — make up one of the toughest three-hole stretches in golf and should lead to a captivating finish on Sunday.
The field is comprised of 156 golfers teeing it up. Due to the string of designated events on TOUR, with the top players competing frequently over the last six weeks, the Valspar field has taken a hit in 2023. But as we saw with the Honda Classic, field strength doesn’t always matter when it comes to producing an exciting golf tournament. Some notable players in the mix are Justin Thomas, Matt Fitzpatrick, Jordan Spieth, Keegan Bradley, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, and Taylor Montgomery.
For GPP contests on DraftKings, I will be breaking down the key stats (past 24 rounds) and selecting golfers from different price tiers to provide flexibility for a DFS lineup.
For large-field tournaments, you can utilize our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups, or use our Lineup Builder if you like to hand-build your lineups.
Also, our new Perfect% metric is a great data point to use with your roster construction.
If you missed it, we added two new metrics in our models — Perfect% and SimLeverage. You can find an explainer on those metrics here.
The cliff notes version is that you can use SimLeverage to quickly find leverage plays in tournaments, while Perfect% is great for finding the best price-considered plays for cash games.
This analysis may reference Strokes Gained, a set of proprietary metrics generated by the PGA TOUR using millions of data points to calculate how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation.
Strokes Gained is now available in the FantasyLabs PGA Models.
Use Underdog Fantasy promo code LABS to get a $100 sign-up bonus on any Underdog pick’em contests for The Valspar Championship.
Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes gained: Approach grades out as the most important statistic once again this week. Copperhead really can’t be overpowered and is a second-shot golf course.
- High-end target: Jordan Spieth — $10,600 (27th SG: Approach)
- Mid-range target: Gary Woodland— $8,600 (11th SG: Approach)
- Value target: Eric Cole — $7,300 (13th SG: Approach)
Good Drives Gained
The long hitters can be a bit limited here due to the tree-lined fairways and penal rough. Playing from the fairways will be important, but laying back too far will cause some difficult approaches with firm greens that may not hold shots from long irons.
Golfers who have a good balance of distance and accuracy have the best chance this week.
- High-end target: Justin Rose— $9,600 (5th Good Drives Gained)
- Mid-range target: Justin Suh— $8,900 (1st Good Drives Gained)
- Value target: Nate Lashley— $7,600 (2nd Good Drives Gained)
Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking
Adding ball-striking puts even more of a premium on tee-to-green prowess in the statistical model this week. Golfers who rank highly in ball-striking are in total control of the golf ball, which is exceedingly important at Copperhead.
- High-end target: Justin Thomas — $10,900 (19th SG: Ball Striking)
- Mid-range target: Gary Woodland — $8,600 (1st SG: Ball Striking)
- Value target: Stephan Jaeger — $7,800 (13th SG: Ball Striking)
With the conditions likely to be difficult, avoiding bogeys will be crucial this week. In a challenging event like the Valspar, oftentimes, the golfer who is best at avoiding mistakes ends up on top.
- High-end target: Matt Fitzpatrick — $10,000 (2nd Bogey Avoidance)
- Mid-range target: Alex Smalley— $7,400 (6th Bogey Avoidance)
- Value target: Eric Cole — $7,300 (3rd Bogey Avoidance)
Greens in Regulation Gained
I am adding GIR: Gained to the model to further include golfers who can control the golf ball. Consistently hitting fairways and greens will provide golfers with the best chance of winning this week.
- High-end target: Justin Thomas— $10,900 (23rd Greens in Regulation Gained)
- Mid-range target: Justin Suh— $8,900 (4th Greens in Regulation Gained)
- Value target: Nick Hardy — $7,100 (13th Greens in Regulation Gained)