Last week we said goodbye to MDFs forever and this week we can say goodbye to cut sweats for the remainder of the season.
This week's BMW Championship is a field that's capped at 70 golfers (currently sits at 69 with one WD, Kevin Na). That means no 36-hole cut this week. Next week the field will be trimmed to the final 30 golfers in the FedExCup standings.
For DFS purposes, it allows us to take on some extra risk since we know all of our golfers will be playing 72 holes. That being said, those extra 36 holes do you no good if your golfers are shooting 4-over each day. We still want to balance risk with upside.
Let's have a look at the weather forecast, look at some DRAFT plays, and then highlight some value options.
Thursday (R1): Partly Cloudy with a high of 79 degrees. Winds at 7-to-12 MPH.
Friday (R2): Overcast with a high of 77 degrees. A 60% chance of afternoon storms. Winds at 6-to-12 MPH.
The wind might pick up a bit on Saturday but the real focus is avoiding the storms this week which remain in the forecast over the weekend. Let's hope those precip percentages keep falling as the event draws nearer.
The best part about season-long leagues is the draft. You don't get that same rush with normal DFS contests but there is hope still. DRAFT has come along to fill that void and I'm having a lot of fun playing in their weekly golf drafts.
The first place to start is to build your pre-draft rankings for the week. I will point out a few golfers I think are overvalued in the raw rankings and a few that are undervalued in the raw rankings.
Tiger Woods (74.45 Projected Pts): The betting markets have adjusted for the current state of his body but these pre-draft rankings have not. Woods withdrew ahead of his second round last week and he remains questionable to peg it this week. Woods is still in the field right now but that could change before Thursday. Even if he does give it a go, it's hard to imagine he'll be at his best. It's an easy decision to skip him this week.
Rafa Cabrera Bello (70.57 Projected Pts): Was struggling to avoid bogeys over the summer and then he was a WD last week as he became a father for the first time. Arriving with no prep and little rest, it would be surprising if he snapped his game back into shape this week. Stranger things have happened when it comes to Nappy Factor, but it's not something I'd want to pay top dollar for.
Collin Morikawa (43.25 Projected Pts): Remains in the rookie category for DRAFT which doesn't like to adjust their projections much from week-to-week. Morikawa had to fight for his cut made last week but his best round of the week came on Sunday. Last week was probably the fastest greens he's seen all year so maybe that's why it took him three rounds to figure it out. Should enjoy a return to normal speeds this week (11.5 to 12 feet on the stimp).
Billy Horschel (61.53 Projected Pts): The Florida Gator has gained 4.9 or more strokes over the field in 8 of his last 9 states. The exception came overseas at The Open which has never been his strongest event. Horschel leaned heavily on the putter last week and struggled with his irons but the thing about Billy is that any part of his game can excel from week-to-week. I expect him to stay hot this week in Chi-Town.
As we go deeper in the Playoffs, the stage gets bigger and the spotlight gets brighter. Let's see who performs well against strong fields.
Looking at sample-size-adjusted performance in strong-field events since the start of 2014, the top 15 performers on a per-round basis looks like this:
Other than raw performance, we can also look at who shows the biggest improvement in strong-field events (versus their baseline). Using that as the criteria, the following names pop:
These are the big-game hunters. These are the type of events that bring out the best of the best and let the cream rise to the top. If I'm looking for an anchor this week, I would hope they land on the top list for sure.
Vaughn Taylor: Known for his elite iron play, I would expect a classical course like Medinah to really fit his eye. He's one of the straightest shooters on TOUR so he won't be dealing with the 4-inch rough too often this week. Looking at his current form, he has a well-balanced attack going. Over his last five starts, he's been positive in 17 (of the 20 possible) sub-categories of strokes gained. There aren't a lot of holes in his game right now so I'd expect a steady top 30 with the potential for a top 15 if things fall his way. Not bad for an extreme bargain-basement play who won't carry much ownership at all.
Best of luck in all your contests this week!