Fantasy Golf

2017 Tour Championship DFS Golf Outlook

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The creme of the crop makes their way to Atlanta for the Tour Championship!

The top 30 golfers in the game at this moment will duke it out for a chance to stake their portion of the massive $8.75MM purse. On top of that, we have several players who will be battling for all the marbles en route to a $10MM bonus check. How about that for a little extra cheddar?

On the other side of things, these golfers that can’t play for the $10MM still have a huge chip on their shoulder. The winner also is granted three years of exemption on the Tour, which is huge for some of these rookies who might not have been granted that ability in their young careers.

All that to say that all of these players have the motivation and none will be throwing in the towel. I love this from a DFS perspective and the competition will be fierce. The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been for these 30 professionals and this is shaping up to be a fantastic event.

2017 Tour Championship DFS Golf Outlook

Course Preview

East Lake Golf ClubAtlanta, GA
Par70
Rating76.2
Slope144
Length7,385 yds
GreensBentgrass
WeatherPartly cloudy, 85F
Purse$8.75MM

Key Statistics

  1. Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
  2. Strokes Gained: Putting
  3. Greens-in-Regulation Percentage
  4. Par 4 Performance
  5. Last 5 Events

The Strokes Gained statistics are going to be common in these rundowns. The importance of those two is obvious, so I won’t spend any time on that. Between the four Strokes Gained stats, I pick the two most tied to success on the course.

Greens-in-regulation percentage is vital to performance on this track. If you have any further questions, go look at just about any article out there in regards to East Lake Golf Club. In fact, they should just name it ‘GIR% Golf Club’ instead. Check out the ‘Recent History’ section below for further justification.

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Anytime you are playing a Par 70 course instead of 72, you know that players with defined accuracy and technic have an advantage. To keep it simple, I just used Par 4 Performance as my fourth statistic. Pretty straightforward here – there are less Par 5’s to make up shots on, so Par 4’s will be important to dominate.

Finally, since all of the contestants are ballers, I decided to include a statistic on how well they’ve been doing in their last five tournaments. It could have been easy enough to throw in another great stat like Ball Striking or Bounce Back, but I figure momentum will play a huge role this week.

Recent History

The following table shows the twelve players who have played at least twice at this course in the last three years. I calculated z-scores for each player based on their two best finishes at the Tour Championship in the last three years. The hope is that this chart displays the type of player that succeeds at this course.

Player201420152016z-Total
Paul Casey2762710.95
Justin Rose2732750.85
Dustin Johnson2762750.54
Jason Day2732780.54
Jordan Spieth2712800.54
Gary Woodland2762780.23
Hideki Matsuyama2802740.23
Rickie Fowler2752800.13
Matt Kuchar2782780.03
Daniel Berger280279-0.28
Patrick Reed284283-1.11
Kevin Kisner298284-2.66

This chart of players SCREAMS greens-in-regulation, which will help to explain some of my picks below!

Golfers to Own

Rickie Fowler, $8700

I haven’t exited the Fowler bandwagon all season, so why stop now? He’s finished in the top 15% of his last eight events. Additionally, he ranks second on my statistical value chart right behind a guy I will mention later who will be in a ton of my lineups.

Fowler provides that high floor and high upside that benefits any roster, especially since he is only the fifth highest priced on the board. Start with confidence!

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Paul Casey, $8000

For my darkhorse candidate to win the playoff, Casey comes in at fourth on my stats chart. He finished fourth in this tournament last year and tied for fifth the year before. Knowing this, he’s got to feel like he is on the brink of breaking through and winning this thing. If he can find the putting stroke, he’s absolutely a contender.

To further plead my case, look at his top 10 finishes this year. He ranks fifth on tour with eight of them, but what makes it more impressive is that he’s done it in just 23 events. That’s good for a 35% top 10 rate, which places him 7th among qualified golfers. That kind of steadiness can reap rewards on any roster.

Patrick Cantlay, $6900

Speaking of steady, Cantlay is right behind Casey in top 10 rates at 33% and will cost you much less than the top dogs. He’s solid across all the statistics, albeit not spectacular in any one value. However, he comes in at eight on my stats chart because of an extra bump with recent performance. He’s finished T9, T13, and T10 in his last three events.

I’m worried about a potential high ownership rate, but the play here is so good that I can’t pass it up. I’m definitely saving money by starting him over golfers in the same range like Tony FinauDaniel Berger, and even Sergio Garcia.

Golfers to Avoid

Patrick Reed, $6900

Reed easily has the worst GIR% of the group and that spells doom for the American. He’s been playing good golf here and there over the last month, which could lead to a higher ownership percentage than normal in a field this small. I suggest fading him and allowing others to take on that risk.

His history at East Lake doesn’t exactly scream ‘go get him’ either, so I am honestly baffled by anyone who would convince you to roster him.

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Brooks Koepka, $7600

So Reed was the worst in GIR%, now guess who is right in front of him? That’s right, Koepka! On top of that, he’s tied for the worst Par 4 Performance of the field. With a mid-range salary, he represents one of the least valuable plays of the week. I’m almost 100% off the Koepka train for the playoff.

What keeps me entertained here is his recent play. He’s been on a tear since the US Open, finishing in the top 20 in five of his last six events. I will stick with my gut feeling here though and face the consequences should he blast off.

Kevin Kisner, $7000

Talk about being in a slump, Kisner has been out of wack since the beginning of the summer. The price here is representative of his season-long play rather than his recent performance and it’s important to differentiate between the two this late in the year.

Also, if you noticed him in the ‘Recent History’ section, you were probably already going to fade him. He’s had a terrible career at East Lake and I don’t expect it to get any better.

My Friend JSK’s Lock of the Week

For each tournament, I will ask my friend known simply by his initials, JSK, which golfer he predicts to win. I can’t say that he’s a great Mario Golfer, but I always trust his golf prowess and expect him to pick the winner this week!

“Justin Thomas is a must-have for this week’s Tour Championship.

First of all, this is a long track and Thomas might be pound-for-pound the longest driver in the world. Compared to other players, he won’t have as much trouble taking care of the par 5s and the long par 4s that litter East Lake.

Furthermore, Thomas is number one in putting average, which will serve him well on these large, undulating greens.

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Lastly, he and Jordan Spieth are neck-and-neck for Player of the Year honors, and I believe that Thomas will channel that motivation into a stellar performance in Atlanta. Intangible incentives like that can prove to be very beneficial for some players.

Therefore, with five wins already this season, J.T. is poised to cap off his extraordinary year by winning the Tour Championship, the FedEx Cup, and, consequently, Player of the Year.”

I love the pick here! It’s not as obvious as you think, especially when there are names that overshadow him in the $9000 range. I will be sure to roll J.T. out in a few lineups to cover my bases.

Proposed DFS Lineups

Tournament

PlayerSalaryTyler's Statistical Rank
Total$59,500
Jordan Spieth$93001
Jason Day$880019
Rickie Fowler$87002
Paul Casey$80004
Patrick Cantlay$69008
Kyle Stanley$620011
Adam Hadwin$590022
Xander Schauffele$570020

I love the potential of this lineup more than any other one I’ve made for the weekend. Because I already covered Fowler, Casey, and Cantlay, let’s take a look at the rest of the roster.

Obviously, there’s huge upside at the top with Jordan Spieth and Jason Day. Spieth has been on absolute fire the last half of the season and is an easy plug-and-play. After starting the season inconsistently, Day has strung together several great events in a row to even put himself in the Tour Championship. Momentum is a funny thing and both of these studs have it at the moment.

For this lineup to really take off, I would say that at least two of the last three players need to step up in some capacity. Kyle Stanley is an author favorite and, although he hasn’t played well lately, GIR% depicts a potentially successful week. Adam Hadwin, who has been missing cuts left and right, is my least favorite of the trio. The guy I’m most excited about is Xander Schauffele, who just sneaked into this playoff on a photo finish. Sure, the odds aren’t great for all three to hit, but this is why it’s a nice contrarian tournament lineup.

Cash

PlayerSalaryTyler's Statistical Rank
Total$59,800
Rickie Fowler$87002
Marc Leishman$82009
Paul Casey$80004
Hideki Matsuyama$79007
Justin Rose$770010
Matt Kuchar$740012
Pat Perez$610018
Gary Woodland$580023

Now, for a little more consistency, check out this lineup! I won’t recommend playing too many cash games this week, but I like the floor this one has. Shoot, I even plan to play this in a tournament!

The all-around talent in this group is fantastic. Casey and Fowler are going to be in 75% of my rosters so enough about them. Marc Leishman and Hideki Matsuyama are guys I feel strongly about finishing in the top 10. Justin Rose and Matt Kuchar have strong histories here and should continue their solid play.

The lower priced golfers do have me worried, but I still don’t mind them. Gary Woodland has played well at East Lake in the past. Pat Perez has had a wonderful September of golf and should be able to continue it.

About Tyler Thompson

Follow me on Twitter at @therealwody. For all the latest news and best advice out there, like us on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.

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