Valspar Championship Preview and Mulligan Of the Week
After 98 winless events on the PGA Tour, Phil Mickelson's drought came to an end this weekend at the WGC Mexico. The red-hot world No. 2, Justin Thomas, was able to force a playoff after holing out on 18. The eagle left JT at -16 in the lead by himself. That marks the second straight week in which Thomas made a clutch shot on the 72nd hole. However, Mickelson’s par in the first playoff hole was enough to outdo Thomas.
In such a small field, there were a few golfers who were going to fall short. Matt Kuchar, Gary Woodland, and Russell Henley were a few names that finished near the bottom 15. I would expect Woodland’s ownership this week to be very low. Fowler was also off his game and finished -1 at T37 after a poor outing on Sunday.
This week the tour heads back to Florida for the Valspar Championship. Innisbrook Copperhead is a par 71 that plays at 7,340 yards. The course features five par 3s and four par 5s. We have a very strong, top-heavy field that is not typical of this tournament, which includes seven of the top 20 players in the world. Adam Hadwin is returning in his title defense coming off a great week in Mexico.
- SG: Tee-To-Green
- Ball Striking
- Par 3 Scoring
Justin Rose Top $10K-Plus Option?
When looking at the top of the board on DraftKings, we have Jordan Spieth ($11,800), Rory McIlroy ($11,300), Sergio Garcia ($10,900), Henrik Stenson ($10,200), and Justin Rose at $10,000. The ownership will likely be on Sergio Garcia with the other four being very similar. Sergio is fresh in everyone's mind after his T7 at the Mexico Championship. Spieth and Rory both make sense but are fairly expensive considering where both of their games are at. Stenson is playing for the first time on tour this year, which might make some hesitant to pay the $10,200 price tag.
Of all the top-tier players from this range, DailyRoto rates Justin Rose as the best overall value. Rose has played in this event eight times since 2004 and has yet to miss the cut at Innisbrook. Want to know what's more impressive than that? In those eight appearances, Rose has not finished worse than T30 and half of them resulted in a T14 or better. We have seen course horses, but not over this long a time span. The consistency Rose has shown here is exactly what we are looking for in terms of a DraftKings floor. The Finish Probabilities model on DailyRoto says that Rose is fairly priced in terms of where he rates out. Rose should be locked into your cash game lineups and is affordable enough to still leave you with an average of $8,000 to spend on each of your next five golfers.
Mr. Automatic Checks all the Boxes
Paul Casey ($9,800), or Mr. Automatic, rates out the best of anyone by a long way. Priced as the sixth-most expensive player on DraftKings this week, the Finish Probability model on DailyRoto absolutely loves him. It gives Paul Casey the second-best chance to win and to make the cut (both behind Jordan Spieth). His win probability is 5.35 percent with an 83.17 percent chance of making the cut. Normally, the DraftKings price correlates with the Finish Probability model, but that is not the case here. Casey also pops in every single key stat mentioned above. He is currently ninth in SG: Tee-To-Green, second in Ball Striking, and tied for third in Par 3 Scoring.
We talked about the winless stretch Phil Mickelson encountered, however, it is nowhere near what Paul Casey has gone through. It has been over 150 starts since Casey got his first, and only, win on tour. Speaking of his floor, 35 of the 150 events since his win resulted in Top-10s. If Mickelson can break through his drought with a win, why can’t Casey? The nice thing about DraftKings, however, is that wins aren’t everything. Even without a win, Paul Casey will provide value. He is priced in a nice spot just under the $10K players and is the ideal DFS player.
Mid-Range Cash Game
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) March 6, 2018
Branden Grace ($8,600) is not so much a value play here, but lines up well. He is 20th in Par 3 Scoring and 23rd in Ball Striking. Grace has won once in the United States but many international victories. Still plays well here as he has only missed three cuts in his last 26 stats on the PGA Tour.
Chez Reavie ($7,900) has the type of game that we are looking for at Innisbrook. He is 18th in SG: Tee-To-Green, 14th in both Ball Striking, and T14 in Par 3 Scoring (7th in 2017). He’s been in great form and made the cut here at Valspar two straight years (T27/T22). DailyRoto projects him to be under 10 percent owned. He is best suited for cash games.
Jason Dufner ($7,800) is another course horse here at Innisbrook. Duf has played this event and made the cut for nine consecutive years finishing no worse than T28. Yes, nine straight years. Dufner also rates out as the fifth-best value on DailyRoto’s projection model, so you should take advantage at this price.
Keegan Bradley ($7,000) has the best odds of making the cut (65.87 percent) of anyone priced under $7,200 according to DailyRoto. He has made four of his last five cuts and ranks inside the Top 5 in both SG: Tee-To-Green and Ball Striking. No need to dip down below $7,000 for someone in a cash game.
Mulligan of the Week
One of the biggest highlights of the WGC Mexico was Shubhankar Sharma. The 21-year-old Sharma made his PGA Tour debut and did not disappoint. He held the lead through 54 holes but could not carry his play into Sunday. Mainly displayed on the European Tour, Sharma made his name known this week after his T9 showing at the Mexico Championship. Although he will not be making many appearances on the PGA Tour this season, he will contend when he does. He’s moved up to 66th in the World Ranking and has already accepted his invite to the 2018 Masters. Depending on the format of your season-long league, Sharma may be worth a look.
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