Ambush DFS Preview: Wyndham Championship

Courtesy: PGATour.com

All in a week, DraftKings and the PGA Tour partnered up, Max Homa bashed DFS players and THEN donated thousands of dollars WITH DFS players to St. Jude, Sergio yet again damaged a course with his clubs, and the Honma CEO decided golf wasn’t fun anymore so he took over as CEO of Taco Bell (What??). Hopefully, we got all the weird stuff and controversy out of our system now and can just enjoy the golf while these guys battle it out in the last regular season event trying to get into the playoffs or secure a better position for them. Enjoy until our guys miss the cut and ruin our lineups of course… just don’t tweet at them. The Wyndham Championship is played on a course that is relatively short and has really narrow fairways, but surprisingly with how narrow it is, it gives up a lot of low scores. Any research into this event at all and you’ll notice Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker are atop the leaderboard most years, which is why their prices are so high and why they’re still likely to be popular this week. There’s a lot of talk over the week about picking “ball-strikers” and guys that find fairways, but it’s important to think about what that means in terms of this course. If we use Webb and Brandt as our baseline players since they do so well here year after year, what is it that those guys are consistently good at? A lot of times when we think about “ball-strikers” we’re thinking about the guys that are good off the tee but also really good iron players, leading into believing Greens in Regulation or Shots Gained-Approach may be important this week. If you look at Webb and Sneds statistics though, especially Sneds, you notice he’s not really the greatest iron player and is consistently near the bottom of the approach categories every year. However, they’re both relatively straight off the tee, and they are extremely good scramblers and putters. So, with that being known, I’m focusing on guys that are good scramblers, and guys that do not stray far from the center of the fairway. The reason I choose the distance from the center of the fairway and not driving accuracy is the driving accuracy stat can potentially be skewed by guys playing on courses with wide fairways. Even my drive accuracy is high when the fairways are 100 yards wide. I also generally like the Good Drive statistic as a baseline for accuracy off the tee, but that stat brings into play Greens in Regulation if the fairway is missed, and I want to focus on those that truly do hit the ball right down the middle. With all low scores that get put up here, I’m also taking scoring average into play, and I’ll take it as a huge bonus if anyone that fits that mold can putt well. With all that said, here’s who I like for the week:

Webb Simpson (11,200 DK / 11,900 FD)

Shocking, I like a guy that I mentioned crushes this course in the intro. Since the sites priced him up there’s a potential that his ownership may drop, but based on his track record here it shouldn’t matter too much. He’s coming into the tournament hot after a second-place finish last week, and he torches this tournament in general. In the last ten years, he has a victory and six other finishes in the top 11, including a second-place last year. He fits all the statistical categories I mentioned earlier, which shouldn’t be a surprise since I used him as one of the two “model golfers” for the course. Using Webb will force you to go into the lower-priced ranges of golfers, and I provided two towards the end of the article you could potentially pair him with to save you some salary. There isn’t any reason Webb’s name shouldn’t be at the top of the leaderboard again this year, it’s just a matter of being able to pair the right guys with him.

Rory Sabbatini (9,200 DK / 10,100 FD)

Rory is having one of the best seasons of his career, and to close out this great regular season he’s getting a course where his game fits and he’s had success before. He’s 11th on tour in distance from the center of the fairway and 27th in scrambling. In this field, that puts him towards the top in both categories. He’s also 37th in overall scoring average, which seems to line up with how well he’s been playing this year. Last year he finished 57th in this event, but the two times prior he has two top-ten finishes. Given that he’s playing so well, he should show signs of those top ten performances again this week.

Lucas Glover (8,700 DK / 10,700 FD)

After a short stretch of time where it looked like Glover may have lost his game after a great start to the season, he’s right back to how he had been playing early on, with a 20th place finish at The British Open (yes, still going with British Open) and two top-ten finishes prior to that. He’s 16th on tour in scoring average, and only Webb Simpson and Hideki Matsuyama are higher than him in that category in this field. He’s an elite scrambler (4th on tour) and a decent putter as the 49th best on tour. He’s not the straightest off the tee but he’s above average and that should be good enough with how good his scrambling is. He’s played this course pretty well too. He’s got six finishes in his last 8 tries in the top 30.

Sungjae Im (8,300 DK / 9,700 FD)

It’s well known by now that Sungjae just racks up birdies. He’s been known to throw in some bad rounds here and there, but it’s just a matter of time before he puts together four good scoring rounds and runs away with a tournament. He’s 26th on the tour in scoring average and has done it on 106 rounds, which is 20-30 more than a lot of the guys around him. The consistent scoring is impressive and points to the potential to take down a tournament by multiple strokes at some point. Like Glover, he’s not the straightest off the tee, but even average is okay since he’s a very good scrambler as well at 11th on the tour. He also has a little more motivation this week since this rookie class has started to take off recently. A top finish in this tournament (especially a win) will give him a really good chance at winning rookie of the year.

Peter Malnati (7,100 DK / 8,100 FD)

If you look at Malnati’s record this year, there isn’t much that stands out that would make you think he’d be a good DFS play, ever. He’s missed a few cuts and he doesn’t have a top ten in an event, even having played in some weak-field events. However, statistically, he’s having a good season and the statistics will likely align with a good finish in the near future. If there’s an event where that might happen, this is definitely one of them. Like the last two guys, he’s just average in how straight off the tee he is, but he scrambles and scores well. He’s 24th in scrambling and 52nd in scoring average, which is much better when you compare them to just this field. He also gets the bonus points I mentioned in the intro for being a good putter (21st on tour in Shots Gained – Putting). Even if these stats don’t jump out at you as they do for me, it’s impossible to ignore his recent track record here, especially when getting all your golfers through to the weekend is so important. He hasn’t missed a cut here, with his best finish being a 24th last year, and a lot of times at a price this low that is all you can ask for. There are a lot of options for fliers in this range, but if you’re looking for a solid cut-maker for this event, Malnati is your guy.

Sam Ryder (6,900 DK / 8,400 FD)

Ryder plays similarly to Malnati, and you get a $200 discount on DraftKings to move to someone with a similar playing style, but also has two top-ten finishes this season and is coming into this event with 9 rounds in his last 3 events scoring in the 60’s, including the John Deere where all four rounds were in the 60’s. He’s 43rd in distance from the center of the fairway and 31st in scrambling, more than good enough in this field. His scoring numbers overall aren’t great, but his recent play I mentioned makes me believe he’s scoring much better recently. He, like Malnati, get the good putter bonus, as he’s 19th on tour in Shots Gained – Putting. He made the cut at this event last year and he should improve on that having the course knowledge going in and a whole year of experience under his belt in general.

 

Good luck!

 


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