One of my favorite events of the year from a DFS perspective is always the Dell Tech Match Play event. There is such an edge on an annual basis as a certain percentage of players will be drawing dead with some of their players from the very start. The key to this week is all about understanding your build structure to ensure you don’t duplicate players in the same pods.
The idea this week is regardless of who you play, you just want to make sure that you have it constructed for success. You should not have any of your golfers playing each other until they get to the Final 8 when there is no avoiding it if your lineup comes out perfect.
In my opinion, the goal is to be as perfect as possible if you want to take down the $200,000 top prize offered in the main GPP by DraftKings this week, so that is how I will line up the build as I work this week.
I don’t typically get into too much detail around our Lineup Optimizer, but it will be a vital tool this week as you need to establish groups before creating your lineups. The key is to limit yourself to one player out of each group of eight set to match up.
For example, Group 1 and Group 16 will match up in the final sixteen play once the groups are decided. We will only want one of those eight golfers in our lineup to avoid matching up our players too early in the proceedings. That really is the easy part of all of this, as proper structure will ensure we are set up for success, but the difficulty is finding the right players as this is one of the most volatile events of the year.
In 2021, half of the players that advanced to the round of 16 were the worst seedings of their groups. Jon Rahm was the only top-seeded player to make it through to the next round, showing a bit of the randomness that can be created in this match play event.
The biggest factor in this is that it is just one opponent for 18 holes, so even if your player is not hitting it well, they can still possibly find a win if the other player is just a bit worse. That, of course, can go in both directions as we will see some groups where all players are playing well, but only one will advance. It’s a fun, but frustrating scenario for all, which makes it for an ideal MME DFS set up, with exposure spread wide.
Now that we’ve got the build concepts out of the way, I’ll get into my favorite picks in each of the ranges.
Jon Rahm ($11,300)
I believe the threat of a match play guy like Patrick Reed in Jon Rahm’s group is going to have the World No. 1 fall short from an ownership standpoint. I’ll take that any week on a player that has had a ton of success in this format and really sets up to contend for this event despite his shortcomings to start the year.
He’s 11-6-3 in matches in this event, and he’ll undoubtedly have the motivation to try to make a statement this week after his last several tournaments have seen him fall well short of expectations.
Patrick Cantlay ($10,200)
Patrick Cantlay is unlikely to be overlooked in any way this week as he has developed the “Patty Ice” moniker that has some viewing him as a bit of a shark in these setups. He has done pretty well in a small sample in this event previously, as he is 7-3-1 in this match play format. I am willing to throw out his results from The Players, where he struggled even from the better draw, as it has become clear that he simply does not like Florida golf, and the results reflect that fact.
He has a group with some solid players, but he is clearly the class of that group in this format. It remains that case even as we move to the Round of 16, which is what has me liking Cantlay for a high upside result this week at Austin Country Club.
Matt Fitzpatrick ($8,700)
Form is something that I think matters this week; it may just matter less than a normal week. One player that is certainly coming off of a great week is Matthew Fitzpatrick. He only made three bogeys last week at the Valspar and really was a good putting week from contending for the win at Innisbrook Resort. His putter is normally a strength of his game, and if he can pair it with his good ball-striking this week in Texas, he will be tough to beat as someone that won’t beat himself and give away holes.
Fitzpatrick has the tough task of matching up in the same group with 2021 runner-up Scottie Scheffler, but we are going to get discounted ownership due to that fact, and I’ll be happy to be in for my share of the Englishman this week.
Sergio Garcia ($8,300)
Sergio Garcia has played 77 matches in this match play format; no one else in his group has played more than three…He is far and away the most experienced in this unique format this week, and he will understand how to take advantage of that experience in his group play matches.
This is one setup where his elite ball-striking will be able to shine far more than his issues on the greens, and if he happens to bring a hot putter, he could be a player that can make a long run in this tournament. He may be chalky with some of the issues of Morikawa and the lack of name-value from Kokrak and Bobby Mac, but it certainly makes some sense to have exposure to the Spaniard.
Alex Noren ($7,800)
I have a bit of an Alex Noren problem; I just can’t quit him. The good thing for me is that he continues to produce results, and the price is still palatable this week in a format he has had extensive success. Noren has a couple of top-five finishes in the match play and the way he is striking the ball coming into the week, I expect he will be in a position to contend once again.
The Swede has three top-12 finishes in his last five events and continues to show the form that made him one of the top 20 players in the world a few years back while now rolling into a format where he clearly has a lot of comfort.
Kevin Kisner ($7,600)
My favorite play and potentially highest exposure this week will come with Kevin Kisner. He is simply built for this format, and clearly, this course is one that allows him to compete at the highest level in this tournament. He’s won this event in the past with another runner-up as well while accumulating a 16-6-2 record. Kiz will be a dangerous player throughout this week, and at less than mid-price, he is going to be a core guy for my lineups this week.
MacKenzie Hughes ($6,400)
I am going to have a mix of skill sets in my lineups this week as I think there is some viability to playing good putters and short-game players that can capitalize by getting hot on the greens, and I’ll have others that are pure ball-strikers that will put themselves in position each and every hole.
MacKenzie Hughes is a part of the former group as he has some of the magic beans on and around the greens that have me referring to him as “Canadian Spieth.” His ability to hole long putts and chips can be a crushing feature in match play that can take the wind out of another player. Hughes is far and away the best short game player in his group of bashers, and that just may work in his favor, which is certainly worth some shots at such a small price.
Maverick McNealy ($6,200)
No one is really going to be sleeping on McNealy this week as his price is crazy low for a player of his caliber. He’s had plenty of ups and downs this year and often can lose his ball-striking a bit, but his short game is lethal in weeks he can get from tee to green effectively. He has too much upside for this price to ignore, and it allows for building a double stud lineup by playing McNealy.