Valspar Championship Recap
First Phil Mickelson wins, and now Paul Casey?! What is going on? Heading into the weekend, Casey was one stroke back of the lead and looked like he was going to be right there until the end. After giving all three strokes back on Saturday, Casey was counted out by many. Five back of the lead on a Sunday at Copperhead is not easy to overcome. After shooting a 65 in his best round of the week, Casey set the pace and entered the clubhouse at -10. Tiger Woods hit a 44-foot birdie on 17, then stood at the 18th tee just one more birdie from taking Casey into a playoff. Meanwhile, Patrick Reed was up on the green and tied for the lead before his putt from the fringe came right back to where he was standing. Tiger followed Reed’s bogey with a par to give Casey the victory with no playoff necessary.
The obvious highlight of this tournament was the show put on by Tiger. If you got a chance to tune into the Valspar Championship at all, you probably saw a lot of Tiger. Whether it was him on the driving range, or standing on the green eyeing his line, the coverage was ALL Tiger. After this T2, you can expect his Fantasy ownership to keep growing. Believe it or not, he has the second-best odds to win The Masters (+900) according to Bovada.lv. It seems as though that’s a bit much, even after his second-place finish at Valspar.
There so many notable missed cuts; chief among them were headliners Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, and Henrik Stenson. They were all priced over $10K, so any ownership invested in them was a lineup killer. Dufner missed his first cut here in the past nine years by just one stroke. However, he was so popular that it didn’t hurt all that much.
Arnold Palmer Invitational Key Statistics
- Driving Accuracy
- SG: Approach
DraftKings Picks Should Ignore The Tiger Hype
The Top 5 priced DraftKings picks priced over $10K this week includes Jason Day ($11,800), Justin Rose ($11,500), Rory McIlroy ($10,700), Rickie Fowler ($10,300), and Tiger Woods ($10,000). Among the players in the top tier, it’s clear that Tiger is going to be the most popular and most widely owned. We all know that he’s won at Bay Hill eight times and is coming off his best finish in recent memory. It seems as if everything is lining up perfectly for Tiger. Let the chalk fall onto Tiger and just ignore all the hype. As tempting as it might be, he is in a good spot to fade in both cash games and tournaments. With Tiger being talked up so much, and his price jacked all the way up to $10,000, it seems like this could be a letdown spot.
Rickie will pay his respect for Arnold Palmer in a very visual way. https://t.co/5akQSMECeM
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) March 12, 2018
Even though the DailyRoto Finish Probability model rates out Jason Day as the best play, it’s hard to build a team around him priced at nearly $12,000. The same goes for Justin Rose. Although we were in on Rose last week, it’s tough paying $1,500 more for him in a field that has just as much talent. It’s about time Rickie Fowler showed some sort of hope. Fowler’s recent form will leave many fully fading him this week at Bay Hill. Fowler ranks inside the Top-35 in all three of the key stats above, even with his early season struggles and inconsistency. Maybe it’s more of an ownership thing with Fowler this week, but he is due. Fowler has made five of six cuts at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and finished a solo 12th one season ago. In this type of field, $10,300 seems like a very fair price. Fowler is a safer bet in tournaments considering his expected low ownership, but he can be considered in cash games as well. Keep in mind that a complete fade of this top tier of players is an option.
The Return of Matsuyama
The most intriguing plays come in the price range just below $10,000. Hideki Matsuyama is making his return this week and is priced at just $9,700. We last saw Matsuyama when he was the heavy favorite coming off back-to-back championships at the Waste Management Phoenix Open before withdrawing with a wrist injury. He has made the cut in all three attempts here at Bay Hill with two Top-25 finishes. Matsuyama lines up on DailyRoto’s Finish Probability model just as Paul Casey did last week. Matsuyama has the second-best odds to win at 5.24 percent, as well as the second-best chance to make the cut at 87.38 percent. He should not be highly owned coming off an injury, but this is a price to take advantage of. Matsuyama is a solid play in both cash games and tournaments.
Other Prices to Consider
Alex Noren ($9,200) also shows up near the top on the Finish Probability model. Noren is the eighth-highest priced player on DraftKings but has the fifth best odds to make the cut on DailyRoto at 84.98 percent. He is in unbelievable form and has not finished lower than T21 in his past five events since his debut in 2018 at Farmers. He is eighth in SG: Approach so far this season and finished T49 in his first appearance at Bay Hill last year. A win is coming soon for Noren.
Tyrrell Hatton ($9,000) is another player the DailyRoto Finish Probability model loves. Hatton is the 10th-priced player on DraftKings, but he rates out as the third-most likely to win on DailyRoto at 3.98 percent. He was right there at the WGC Mexico with a T3, and he fell just short of a playoff with Justin Thomas and Mickelson. Hatton played very well here in his debut last year with a T4 and is worth a look in any format this week on DK.
DailyRoto Finds Top Value in Two Players at $7,300
The best two overall value plays among the DraftKings picks this week in DailyRoto’s Projections both come in at just $7,300. The best value is Francesco Molinari at a rating of 0.93. He sticks out on the Finish Probability model as well with an 80.58 percent chance to make the cut, which is higher than anyone priced $8,600 or below. He’s made the cut in each of the past five years, which also includes three Top-10 finishes. Molinari should be a staple in your cash game lineups.
Kevin Chappell ($7,300) falls right behind Molinari as the second-best value on the Projection model. Has made four of six cuts here and had a solo second in 2016. Chappell has yet to miss a cut in 2018 and has not finished worse than T31. $7,300 is just too cheap for Kevin Chappell, considering who is priced around him, and this is the lowest price he has been all year. If you have to decide between the two of them, go with Chappell and ride his form.
Other value plays under $8K: Kiradech Aphibarnrat ($7,900), Zach Johnson ($7,700), Emiliano Grillo ($7,600), Charl Schwartzel ($7,300), and Kevin Kisner ($7,100).
Mulligan of the Week
The South African showed up this past week with a T5 finish at the Valspar Championship. Sabbatini is seven for seven in cuts made since the Sony Open in January which includes three Top-20s. He currently ranks fifth in SG: Around the Green. Sabbatini is a great option in season-long leagues. Playing more than he normally does, I would expect Sabbatini to finish the 2018 season with 25-30 events played.
Rickie Fowler Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin