Monday, August 10, 2015

The Draft Kings All Value Top Ten: PGA Championship

Frankly, this feature as a regular FGR installment is long overdue but when you add-up the phrases "middle aged guy" and "new technology," the result is generally the equivalent of someone dragging a leg across the finish line of their first marathon and realizing that the moment of euphoria they envisioned during all of their casual training runs has been squashed by the overwhelming urge to take a nap on the pavement and crap their New Balance shorts (not in that order).*   

Hey! . . . Don't say Chick-fil-a
unless you got some.
I finally discovered Draft Kings sometime before the Wells Fargo, immediately bagged a win and I've been hooked ever since. It combines a pretty solid weekly fantasy game with the sweet addictive drug of instant gratification right down to the fact that you can see how much money you would win at any given moment. Nothing livens-up waiting in line at Chick-fil-a on a Friday afternoon like looking at your phone and seeing the potential for turning your $20 entry fee into $10,000. Well that and knowing that you're about to eat one delicious piece of God fearing $3 chicken.

For those who have yet to partake, the Draft Kings game is simple. You have a salary cap of $50,000 and six slots to fill and the people running the show do a very competent job of assigning the player cap numbers (if I do say so). So the key as it is in any salary cap game is finding value and that brings us to this latest feature of the FGR. The list below comprises the ten players, in order, who have the most potential based on the usual criteria of recent form and compatibility with the course relative to their assigned cap number. The purpose of this list is to offer a series of combinations to use with Draft Kings. I submitted three line-ups just in the process of writing it. So, without further ado, we present the inaugural . . .


1. Jason Day - $10,800

Day is my pick to win it so he tops the all-value list. Feel free to put whichever other alpha dog you like here because every team needs at least one. There's another really good option coming right about . . .

2. Bubba Watson - $9,900

Let's run through the Bubba checklist: (1) Is he playing great? Yup. Back to back 2nd place finishes including the Bridgestone where he'd never shown better than 19th; and (2) Does he like the course? Yup. It has the capacity to reach almost 7,800 yards and he finished 2nd the last time the PGA was played here. The biggest upset of this tournament would be if Bubba finishes outside of the top ten.

3. Brooks Koepka - $7,800

He's 6th in driving distance and 19th in GIR this year. More importantly, he's been rock solid since June after going through a mid-season slump. Anytime you can get a player of Koepka's caliber for under $8,000, you lock him in early and build the rest of the roster around him.

4. Robert Streb - $6,800
For those new to fantasy
golf, meet Robert Streb.

Applying the same logic for picking Koepka at $7,800 means you've got to take Robert Streb at $6,800. After building a strong record from October through February, Streb slid off the rails until mid-May when apparently someone made an Anthony Kim reference and he decided to pull his game together. Since then, he was top tens at the Wells Fargo, Greenbrier and, most importantly, last week at the Bridgestone. He also finished T42 at the U.S. Open and T18th at the British which doesn't seem like much until you consider they were only the second and third majors he's ever played.

5. Danny Willett - $7,200

In his first year playing a significant U.S. schedule, Willett has shown that his game travels with a 3rd at the Matchplay, a T12th at the Cadillac and a T17th at the Bridgestone. His local stats would rank him 5th in total driving if he was a tour member. Oh yeah, he finished T6th at the British Open after having the lead late so he's already knocked on the door this year. At $7,200, he's a roster filler with huge upside potential (thanks Jay Bilas).

6. Henrik Stenson - $9,700

Stenson is first in total driving AND first in GIR. On top of that, he's 13th in strokes gained putting so his mediocre results this year are hard to explain but he did just finish T6th at the Bridgestone and he has a history of heating-up this time of year.

7. Danny Lee - $7,100

Lee is the hottest golfer in the U.S. not named Jordan Spieth with a four tournament run (excluding the British Open) of 1st, T2nd, T4th and T6th. It's hard to get a read on his stats because he missed ten of his first twenty-six cuts but the streak he's on alone makes him a great value at this price.

8. Shane Lowry - $7,500

At $7,500, Lowry is a bargain for a guy who just beat 47 of the best 49 players in the world on a track that always reveals talent. The stats don't indicate he's super long (291.6) but no one who watched him blister his driver at Firestone CC is going to use that as an excuse not to pick him. His T9th at the U.S, Open certainly doesn't hurt his case.

9. David Lingmerth - $7,300

There was absolutely positively no doubt in my mind that Lingmerth was a one hit wonder after he beat Justin Rose in a playoff at the Memorial so of course went T6th at The Greenbrier, 3rd at the Quicken Loans and T6th again at the Bridgestone. That's too much success to ignore.

10. Camillo Villegas - $6,000
And we'd also like you to
meet David Lingmerth.**

Forget the name and let's evaluate this pick using the "Entourage Approach." If I offered you a player who just finished T25th at the Bridgestone, is long off the tee and finished T8th the last time the PGA Championship was played at Whistling Straits for $6,000, would that be something you might be interested in? Don't look at this as a strong endorsement because Villegas is probably 50/50 to make the cut. Look at this as the best guy to pick if you want to spend a bunch of cap space on Day, Bubba and Stenson and then need something from the bargain rack to complete your roster.


* Unfortunately, I'm speaking from experience on this one having gotten cocky about my second marathon and thinking I could run the whole thing at the same pace I could do a 10K. At about the halfway point, I realized that may have been a bad idea. Five miles later I found myself wandering the streets of West Baltimore like a nomad for two hours until I barely pride-jogged across the finish line. In hindsight, that made my first marathon in a steady 48 degree rain shower seem like a freakin' chemically enhanced Dead show. It was 1994 and Kevin Plank hadn't figured-out how to start mass producing performance sportswear yet so I wore a full cotton t-shirt. The FGW who ran it too and outfitted herself much more practically looked at me and said, "you're wearing that?!?" Suffice it to say I waved her off and the shirt started the race somewhere around my waist and, after taking-on water for about four hours, ended it somewhere below my knees. Oh yeah, some of my toenails fell-off and the only place I didn't experience chafing was the top of my ears. Marathons are great. 

** That's not really David Lingmerth, it's Will Wilcox.***

*** It's really Troy Merritt (I think).

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