2024 PGA DFS Valspar Championship DraftKings and Betting Preview

by Keith Flemming

The PGA Tour wraps up its annual month-long “Florida swing” this week on the famed  Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Golf Club. This brings me to my 2024 PGA DFS Valspar Championship DraftKings and Betting Preview. Before diving into the Valspar Championship let's discuss Scottie Scheffler’s amazing Sunday comeback at The Players Championship Sunday.

Scheffler’s win Sunday reminded me of Tiger Woods's win at the 2000 Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Where Woods erased a seven-shot lead in the final round highlighted by a hole out from the fairway on the 14th hole. Tiger’s win at Pebble was his sixth consecutive on the PGA Tour.

Scheffler entered the final round at Sawgrass five shots out of the lead. His chances of winning seemed bleak after making three pars to start his round, including the par-5 second hole which is the easiest hole on the course. Everything changed when Scheffler holed his second shot for an eagle on the par-4 fourth hole. He would shoot a final round 64 playing his final 14 holes at -8 under par. Scheffler became the first player to win consecutive Players Championships in the 50-year history of an event.

The win at The Players Sunday was Scheffler’s ninth win in his last 51 events on Tour. Scheffler has one major championship from his win at Augusta National in 2022 and multiple wins at venues TPC Phoenix, TPC Sawgrass, and Bay Hill in that span.

Keep the conversation going with me on Twitter/X @KeithFlemming . You can also find me every Wednesday at 1 pm Eastern on @espnpc1043 Inside Drive talking golf with host Ryan Mulvey during my weekly segment previewing that week's PGA event.

2024 PGA DFS Valspar Championship DraftKings and Betting Preview

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The Venue (Copperhead Course at Innisbrook)

The Copperhead Course is one of the more underrated golf courses on the PGA Tour. It tests every facet of a player’s game with its narrow tree-lined fairways, difficult terrain, firm conditions, and fast greens.

Players face tight doglegs off the tee, water danger on six holes, four-inch rough, tons of bunkers that come into play on tee shots/approaches, and tough pin locations. The Par-71 layout is unique as it features five par-3s along with five par-5s.

Copperhead’s final three holes are known as the “Snake Pit” and while this three-hole stretch is not as infamous as the “Bear Trap” at PGA National, it can be just as difficult. The Snake Pit features two difficult par-4s with a challenging par-3 sandwiched in between them.

Distance off the tee is not the advantage it normally is on Tour due to Copperhead’s numerous dogleg tee shots. This course plays much longer than it’s listed (7300 yards) as 70% of all approach shots come from over 175 yards into the greens. Players who excel on approach with their long irons historically gain the most significant advantage here.

History

The average winning score over the past decade at this event is double digits under par. Like last week at The Players Championship targeting ball strikers, or golfers who play difficult courses well, is a smart strategy for filling out your DFS lineups and Betting cards.

When looking at course history I would pay more attention to last year’s results than previous years. The tournament made some significant changes following 2022 with it having the lowest scoring in the tournament’s history. Last year the rough height was raised from 3” to 3.75”. Secondly, the intermediate cut of rough around the greens was decreased from 72” to 21” to bring the rough closer to the greens. The changes to the course from last year will be implemented again this week.

Key Stats

  • SG: Approach
  • Good Drive %
  • Par-5 Scoring
  • Proximity 175+ yards
  • Scrambling
  • Bogey Avoidance
  • SG: Total on Difficult Scoring Courses
  • SG: Total on Florida Swing Courses

Course Comps

  • Harbour Town
  • TPC Sawgrass
  • Riviera CC

My 2024 PGA DFS Valspar Championship DraftKings Lineup

Sam Burns $12.5K/+1200 to win

Sam “Bermuda” Burns has dominated this event over the last three years with two wins and a 6th place finish last year. His putting at this venue is elite as he averages 1.7 strokes gained putting on the field.

Burns' previous history is not the only reason I chose him to anchor my DK lineup this week. He excels on difficult courses in part due to him being 17th in Total Driving and 9th in bogey avoidance.

Copperhead’s gnarly rough shouldn’t be a huge issue to Burns as he’s 18th in proximity from the rough on approach this season. As mentioned above 70% of approaches at this venue are from 170 yards or further. Burns is currently 24th on Tour in proximity on approaches from 175-200 yards.

Nick Taylor $9.1K/+3500/+700

Nick Taylor enters this week in great form with four straight top-40 finishes. He won at Phoenix earlier this year, finished 12th at Bay Hill, and finished 26th at Sawgrass last week.

You need to avoid mistakes and excel on approach at this venue. Taylor fits the model of players who’ve found success at the Valspar Championship. He’s 16th on Tour in bogey avoidance, 9th in strokes gained approach, and 11th in strokes gained putting.

The tournament last year moved the rough closer to the greens in their attempt to make scoring tougher. Taylor is 5th in proximity around the greens on courses with difficult greenside rough. It is not a coincidence that with those changes to the course Taylor had his best career finish at this event last year.

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Doug Ghim $8.4K/+4500 to win/+900 top-5/+400 top-10

Last week I pointed out in this article that Doug Ghim was criminally underpriced on DraftKings at The Players. Ghim continued his great play with his 5th consecutive top-16 finish on Tour. His price on DraftKings rose considerably this week, but not high enough to exclude him from my official DK lineup.

Ghim is playing the best golf of his career this year. He’s currently Top-20 on Tour in strokes gained approach (13th), strokes gained T2G (11th), and strokes gained total (4th). Copperhead Course rewards players who excel on approaches from 175+ yards out. Ghim is currently 18th on Tour in proximity from 175-200 yards and 11th in Bogey Avoidance.

Maverick McNealy $8.1K/+5500 to win/+1100 top-5/+500 top-5

I think Maverick McNealy at $8.1k is one of the best values this week on DraftKings. He’s finished inside the top-13 in three of his last four events and has made the cut in six straight events.

Despite his last eight rounds being on the difficult courses of PGA National and TPC Sawgrass, McNealy had seven rounds of 70 or better over the two tournaments and made a mere 11 bogeys at those difficult tracks over 144 holes.

There is plenty of data metrics showing McNealy is a good play this week.  He's currently 2nd in scrambling, 10th in strokes gained today, 31st in strokes gained OTT, and 23rd in strokes gained putting this season on Tour.

Jimmy Stanger $6.9K/+1200 top-10/+500 top-10

If you’re wondering who the heck is Jimmy Stanger, it’s a fair question to ask. The Young American is making an instant impact in his first season on Tour. Stanger finished 14th in his second start this season at the Amex.

He took advantage of playing in a secondary event with a weaker field in Puerto Rico where he finished third. His top-5 finish earned him a spot in the field at Sawgrass where he played well again finishing 35th.

Several metrics point to Stanger playing well at Copperhead. He makes plenty of birdies, as he currently ranks 33rd overall and 14th on par-5s for birdie or better percentage. Stanger's ability to make pars and putts should help him make the cut this week at Copperhead. He's currently top-25 on Tour in both bogey avoidance and total putting.

Another option in this price range: Mackenzie Hughes $6.7k and Victor Perez $6.9k

Matthew NeSmith $6.5K/+360 top-20

This was the hardest decision all season for my official DraftKings lineup. There is no safe play in this price range. Ultimately I went with NeSmith due to his history at this venue. NeSmith has two appearances at Copperhead and two top-25 finishes.

NeSmith was in the midst of a terrible start to his 2024 season before his 26th-place finish at The Players. He played the final 27 holes of that event -9 under par.

NeSmith despite his struggles this year is still top-60 in driving accuracy and green in regulation percentage. I’m taking a chance for my official lineup with NeSmith based almost purely on his previous performances at Copperhead. It’s not ideal, but no player is in this price range.

Another option in this price range: David Lipsky $5.4k and Scott Stallings $6.0k


There is no Two off the Tee show this week but check out all the other great content currently on the Fantasy Six Pack YouTube Channel

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