2021 Sentry Tournament of Champions Fantasy Picks and Pro-Tip
Welcome to the 2020 Sentry TOC Fantasy Picks and Pro-Tip
Course: Plantation Course at Kapalua
2020: Justin Thomas
2019: Xander Schauffele
2018: Dustin Johnson
2017: Justin Thomas
2016: Jordan Spieth
NEWS AND NOTES
The PGATOUR returns for the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua as the tour looks to play a delay-free 2021 schedule. With COVID cancellations and tournament restrictions last year, the field at Sentry TOC has been expanded to include more than just the 2020 winners. Instead, all of the winners plus anybody who advanced to the Tour Championship will be in the field, making it one of the strongest fields we have seen to open up the year.
While wind may be present, the bunched tee times and the four-day event should all but exclude it from handicapping consideration. Form is also a question mark, as players approach the offseason with different approaches, so little tidbits of qualitative news can be used as a tiebreaker.
For example, Xander Schauffele recently cleared COVID protocols and will play but raises questions as to his practice schedule and form. If price, ownership, and all else being equal it could be a week where you lean towards Bryson Dechambeau instead.
The course fit at the Plantation Course has one glaring differentiator from an average PGATOUR course – driving accuracy has a negligible impact on performance. The approach to the resort course is to bomb, gauge, and sink putts. It is not purely a bomber’s course as the lack of accuracy requirements spreads to putting, ARG and driving distance about equally but it definitely allows you to be erratic and get away with it. In a no-cut event with four days of birdie opportunities, there should be plenty of fantasy scoring.
PGA DFS is as much a balance of projection and ownership as it is finding the right plays. These concepts were covered in our PGA DFS Strategy Guide which should be referenced throughout the season as you look to hone in your strategy.
GPP Leverage Viz
One of my favorite ways to get a simple frame of the PGA DFS marketplace is to compare projections to the PGA ownership projections. This helps to easily identify areas where the PGA DFS community may be leaning into a play more than the projections are, and where we can potentially find some leverage.
This leverage viz will be updated periodically prior to lock as ownership projections change. The view shown here is a regressed model that includes DataGolf projections and betting market data.
Macro Small Field Strategy
As exciting it is to have golf back and a reasonably strong field, PGA DFS this week is probably less about prognosticating the outcome of the event and more about fundamental approaches to reducing lineup duplication, optimizing builds for field size, and finding positions of leverage. Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun? Well, at least we’ll get the sweat back.
The best way to calculate expected duplicates for lineups is by taking the product of the projected ownership for each individual player in your lineup, multiplied by the field size multiplied by a correlation multiplier and by a salary multiplier.
In a 70,000 person field, a pOwn cap of 90 percent would on average generate 1 duplicate, but if you are willing to include 1 or 2 single-digit fliers you can go up slightly in cumulative ownership. Similarly, as you drop down in total salary you can go up in total ownership. A lineup that uses $49,500 in salary can take on more than 90 percent ownership while still generating the opportunity for a unique winner.
Top End ($10K+)
At the top end of the range, we obviously have elite names. With so many questions this week on the form I am happy to take a more aggressive stance than usual and exclude Xander Schauffele. The X on X is simply that he is on record as saying his COVID was bad, he hasn’t played much, and is “Definitely not in great shape, in all honesty.” Xander was already pacing to be slightly over rostered so unless there was an extreme pOwn discount I’d much prefer to allocate exposure to the other ELITE players (DJ, Rahm, JT) and even gamble on the beefy boy as a bomb and putt paradise should suit Bryson Dechambeau quite well. Dustin Johnson is my favorite spend of the event with Bryson Dechambeau a value I prefer over Xander.
I played, I got out on the 29th. That was my first day back and I played on the 1st. That was my only 18 holes and I played nine holes each day here. So minimal golf for me for the most part, which sucks, but it’s nice to be playing again…
And I tried to walk up a few holes today just as a test. Definitely not in great shape, in all honesty. I took like three weeks off and then started golfing for like four or five days and then got COVID and had to quarantine for 10 days…
So kind of in a weird place physically, I should say. But mentally, I can fake it until I make it. So I’ll have to fall back on some good memories from the past couple years…Xander on the state of his game
Mid Tier ($8K to $10K)
In this range, the pivots are more subtle. Patrick Reed rates as the best play of the group but only rates narrowly ahead of Webb Simpson and Patrick Cantlay both of who can be had for 5-6 percent lower ownership. Small nuances like that can go a long way in the lottery GPPs to help create more unique lineups. In single entry, I’d prefer to avoid Reed while in MME I would like to play Reed under the field and Simpson over the field.
Similarly, Harris English is the highest rated $8k golfer but offers similar optimal lineup odds to Daniel Berger, Scottie Scheffler, and Collin Morikawa. Adam Scott and Sungjae Im are our preferred value plays. FWIW, Scott said he has the arm lock putter.
” No, I have the arm lock putter here this week, so it might have looked like a short putter, but it was an arm lock style, and I putted like that a couple years ago.”Adam Scott, PGATOURMEDIA
Value Selections ($8000 and below)
The value selections are potentially an area to diversify your exposure for MME as the strongest plays still only have 12 percent optimal lineup probability. Cameron Champ, Billy Horschel, and Sergio Garcia are among the names I personally prefer that look like they’re slightly under-owned and you could get slightly over the field. While he’s not as well-rounded, Champ has correlations in skillset with previous winners at this event and has positive course history relative to his baseline expectations.
Punt Options ($7000 and Below)
In a single entry build, it is hard to recommend any of the punts. Ryan Palmer, Mackenzie Hughes, and Lanto Griffin are objectively the best values. If you are contrarian in other spots I am fine eating the chalk but they’re also poised to be mega-popular and certainly seems thin that they should be 3-4x other values.
On top of that, the single-digit punt is one of the simplest ways to create some more unique lineups. There is roughly a 60 percent chance that somebody in this range lands on the optimal and I’d prefer to try to get slightly overweight on the “bad” plays. Running the optimizer with settings targeting unique lineups will end up getting you easily overweight the field on players like Na, Taylor, Streb and Werenski.
If you are planning to use Palmer, Hughes, or Griffin as the last man in I would make sure to leave ample salary on the table in the lottery-style GPPs.
As always reference the DailyRoto Optimizer and DataGolf Projections for updated projections, ownership projections and lineup building tools.