Welcome back golf fans. After a long grueling PGA Tour regular season, the FedEx Cup Playoffs have arrived. Before getting into this week's event let's over how the playoffs work. The Top 125 golfers who have qualified for FedEx Cup points during the season enter a four-event showdown to have a shot at winning the hardware and 10 million dollar prize. The playoff events and cuts are as follows:
Event #1(Top 125 Golfers) - The Northern Trust(cut of top 70 & ties)
Event #2(Top 100 Golfers) - Dell Technologies Championship(cut of top 70 & ties)
Event #3(Top 70 Golfers) - BMW Championship(no cut)
Event #4(Top 30 Golfers) - Tour Championship
The Northern Trust kicks off the playoffs and rotates courses yearly. This time around the event will be hosted by Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey. It is a 7,385 yard, par 71 setup that was last used for this event in 2014, 2010, and 2008. I won't be weighing course history very high tonight with such a spread in years but will use it as a reference when looking for a tie-breaker between players. The course demands accuracy off the tee and placement on the fairways for a couple of reasons. The fairways are lined with a ton of trees and if caught out of position it can become very difficult to get the ball on these small than average greens. The other issue is that the rough is said to be very penal also presenting an issue getting the ball on the green. I mentioned the greens being small but they also have undulation so proximity is going to be important when breaking down Strokes Gained: Approach and if players will be concentrating hitting fairways in the right spot they are likely going to have some long iron approaches. The winning scores from those last three events here were -14, -12, -8 and talks from players in practice rounds are that it will be tough scoring again this week so not only will Birdie or Better % be important when looking at stats, but also Bogey Avoidance to stay away from the big numbers. With all that said, let's jump into my top picks in each pricing tier.
Top Tier Targets
Francesco Molinari(DK - $9,500 FD - $11,600)
I am going to start by going down into the bottom of the top tier this week and building around one of the hottest players in the world. Since missing the cut at the PLAYERS in May, Molinari has reeled off three wins including his first career major at the OPEN. On top of that, he has two runner-ups and is coming off a T6 at the PGA Championship where he was sub 10% owned in GPP's. Form is not the only thing that stands out as he is 10th in SG: Approach and 3rd in SG: Ball Striking on my sheet. At these prices, he is a great play in all formats.
Dustin Johnson(DK - $11,500 FD - $12,400)
Even with a smaller field(120) this week, there is plenty of value in the bottom tier making it easy to construct a lineup with the #1 player in the world and that is just what I am going to do. He is #1 in my model and that isn't even factoring that he won this event last year(different course). He crushes the stats model ranking 1st in the field in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking, Proximity, Par 4 & 5 Scoring, and Birdie or Better %. He is also 3rd in Bogey Avoidance, 15th in Scrambling, and 11th in Strokes Gained: Putting. He may not hit all the fairways this week but should be able to get the ball in the rough in the right spots about 320+ giving him a short iron or wedge into the greens in classic DJ fashion and if he hits more than average GIR this week, look at for a runaway.
Also consider Justin Rose who is 16th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking, 11th in Fairways Gained, and 4th in DraftKings scoring over the last 24 rounds
Mid Tier Targets
Patrick Cantlay(DK - $8,600 FD - $9,800)
If you are looking to go balanced this week, especially in cash games, Patrick Cantlay checks all the boxes. He has been incredibly consistent all season coming in with six straight made cuts with two Top 10's and has missed just two cuts all season in 17 stroke-play events with 10 Top 25's and his first career win. Looking at my sheet, he ranks 6th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking and while he is 79th in overall proximity, he is 24th and 10th in Proximity from 175-200 and 200+ yards. Using the tools on Fantasy National Golf Club and looking at the last 24 rounds data, Cantlay ranks 22nd in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking and 11th in DraftKings scoring. Fire him up in all formats this week.
Gary Woodland(DK - $7,700 FD - $9,400)
After winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open back in February, Woodland went downhill missing five of his next seven cuts with no finish better than T49. The good news is that he is back on track once again having made seven straight cuts including three straight Top 25's and an impressive T6 in the PGA Championship. Looking at the last 24 rounds data(via Fantasy National), he ranks 4th in Strokes Gained Ball Striking(3rd OTT, 20th APP) and is also 22nd in DraftKings scoring during that time. He also has experience here at Ridgewood CC where he finished T13 back in 2014.
Also consider Ryan Moore who is 14th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking & 2nd in Fairways Gained over the last 24 rounds but could be low owned as he has missed the cut here at Ridgewood in each of the last three trips('14, '10, '08).
Joel Dahmen(DK - $6,800 FD - $7,500)
He has been red-hot coming into this week having made five straight cuts and all inside the Top 25 with three Top 10's, and two Top 5's. He also hits big on the stats model ranking 28th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking, 31st in Proximity, 9th in Par 4 Scoring, 35th in Birdie or Better %, 11th Bogey Avoidance, and 14th in Scrambling. If you are planning on going with a stars and scrubs approach this week in cash or GPP, Dahmen makes a great value on both sites.
Kyle Stanley(DK - $7,300 FD - $8,400)
Stanley is more of a GP play for me this week in the lower tier as he hasn't been quite as consistent as others. He has shown a ton of upside in strong field events, however, with a 2nd at the WGC Bridgestone, T2 at the Memorial, and T5 at the WGC HSBC Champions. I mentioned hitting the fairways being a premium stats this week and he is tied with Ryan Moore for 2nd in that category over the last 24 rounds and is 35th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking(23r OTT) and 47th in DraftKings scoring in that same timeframe. He should be less than 10% owned and makes a terrific upside GPP play.
Also consider Chris Kirk who is playing some very consistent golf having made 11 straight cuts with five Top 25 finishes. He also ranks 34th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking(8th in APP) and 15th in DraftKings scoring over the last 24 rounds.
Thanks for checking out the article and be sure to grab a copy of my DFS PGA Cheatsheet where I highlight even more of my top targets in each price range. You can also jump into the RotoPros Slack Chat where I will be around for most of the night to answer any questions leading up to lineup lock. Cheers!