Welcome to my weekly lineup review for Daily Fantasy PGA. Every week I’m going to be breaking down a Lineup or two I used for play on DraftKings and deconstructing it to see where I went right and where I wet wrong. A lot of weeks I’ll be posting lineups that I used for head-to-head play or for double ups and 50/50’s. Other weeks I’ll probably do a gpp or tournament review. I’m hoping that by breaking down my lineups after the fact it will hopefully help readers (and myself) build better PGA lineups in the future. While it’s not always pleasant, deconstructing your choices can be an extremely helpful learning tool and way to ensure you don’t repeat past mistakes.
Northern Trust Lineup Review:
For the most part I entered two lineups into cash games this week. As you can see the results for the two differed in many aspects. Most weeks for cash games my goal will be to either settle on one lineup and use that for all my play, or to use a core of no more than 8 golfers and enter two or three lineups. This week I varied from that strategy a bit and used around 10 golfers. The main reason for this was the fact that there was a ton of really solid plays priced between the 7k mark and the mid 8k range this week and quite frankly I had troubling seeing much difference between a lot of them.
Higher Priced Plays
I had two higher-priced players I really liked this week: Sergio Garcia and Bubba Watson. Garcia was coming off a pretty nice opener on the European tour a few weeks ago and has a lot of attributes I feel will let him contend on a course like this year in year out—par 4 scoring, scrambling etc. Watson was simply a case of an elite player who I felt was severely underpriced. Bubba was coming off a 14th in Phoenix (where he still ranked 3rd for the week in strokes gained: tee to green) and a missed cut at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, an event I feel like he only attended for personal reasons. I was fine completely writing off the Pebble Beach results for Bubba and knew he would be much more “up” for this event given its elite field and the fact he’s won on this course before. I loved the fact I could get both of these players for under 10,500 and felt like there was a good chance both could be in position to win on Sunday.
I was dead right on one and dead wrong on the other. I had heard rumblings that Sergio was struggling a bit with the putter this year and it looks like that was the club that really did him in. I still think this setup favours Sergio but next year I’ll want to see a bit more form before throwing him into too many lineups. As far as Bubba goes there are just some courses he’s more comfortable on than others. He may have been putting poorly before this event but as a “feel” player I knew he would have a real shot at turning that around on greens he’s had a ton of success on in the past. He did just that and ended up saving one of my lineups by winning outright.
I used the combo of Marc Leishman and Patrick Rodgers in both lineups this week and like Garcia and Watson I was dead right on one and dead wrong on the other. Doing research this week led me to see that even though Marc Leishman had missed a couple cuts in a row he was still swinging good (36th in strokes gained tee to green) and had been playing par 4’s really well (6th on tour thus far). I loved his length on this course and the fact he had hadn’t missed three cuts in a row on tour since 2012. He also had experience playing here, is a very underrated scrambler and at $7300 was super cheap… he was easily my best call of the week.
Rodgers is a great young player whose distance off the tee also convinced me he was a great play this week. This was a case where I took a player based on his talent and potential upside versus his ability to play well on a specific course and it backfired. Since this was the first time Rodgers was seeing Riviera in a PGA setup I was likely giving him too much credit in thinking that he could compete here, especially in such an elite field. The prudent play would have been to avoid him in cash games and go with a more experienced player who had already shown some form on the season and had an awesome record here… a player like KJ Choi.
This move also would have possibly allowed me to get off of Vaughn Taylor who I decided was the best play under 7000 for the week. Taylor has had numerous top 25’s at this course and has also been a great par 4 scorer over his career. Players coming of a win often end up being pretty solid plays the week after as they ride the adrenaline through to another solid finish, but Taylor ended up getting off to a poor start and flaming out from there. I still think he was a solid play and am not overly disappointed with the selection. Sometimes plays just don’t work out. Rodgers on the other hand is someone I feel I could have avoided in my cash lineups with a little more course analysis and is my biggest regret of the week.
The five other players I used this week were Justin Thomas, Harris English, Paul Casey, Charl Schwartzel and Brendan Steele. Casey’s another player who’s distance and overall game just make him a nice fit for this course. He hasn’t played much this season however and you could tell he was just a little bit off at the start. Tee to green he was great but the putting and short game let him down in rounds one and two. For his price he wasn’t necessarily a must play, although on a week where many top plays missed the cut by one stroke I was happy to have him on my team and he put in a decent Sunday, look out for him next week as he has putted well on Bermuda grass over his career.
English and Steele were much cheaper than Casey and Schwartzel, and instead of splitting them up I regret not doubling down on one or both and then dropping one of the higher salaried players. That being said none of these four disappointed much as they all made the cut comfortably, but weren’t able to make up any ground on the weekend. They were the definition of what you’re looking for in a cash game play for Golf though, in that they all had course experience, decent all-around games and have shown the ability to compete in more elite fields like this one.
My last choice—Justin Thomas—was a player I had earmarked exclusively for gpps this week (initially) but then moved into my cash game lineup. I actually think this was one of my worst calls this week even though he ended up making the cut. Thomas is great for DFS because he’s got one of the highest birdie rates on tour and his length gives him a shot at eagle on many par 5’s. In short, he gets a lot of points even if he’s not in contention. The issue this week though was the fact that Matt Kuchar was sitting there at $8600, only $100 more than him. Kuchar had been off for a few weeks but has played Riviera a ton and has one of the best made-cut rates on tour over the last few years. Given the fact this course doesn’t yield a lot of low rounds or eagles anyways the bonus potential with Thomas this week wasn’t as high (in my opinion) and I think the consistency of Kuchar made him a more solid choice. In the end, Thomas made the cut (barely) and ended up not sinking any lineups, but Kuchar had a far better overall week.
Results and Review:
I got mesmerized by some young talent this week and in my analysis forgot that this course has a lot of similar traits to Augusta in that experience really does matter here. That all being said these lineups both ended up profiting for the week and I did a good job of identifying some players with high upside that many people overlooked.
Lineup 1, which had 5/6 players through cashed in 100% of double-ups and won nearly 90% of its heads-ups. It also cashed in gpps and cashed in a smaller sattie. I was obviously happy with my approach here outside of Patrick Rodgers. In a week where many huge names missed the cut one mistake didn’t hurt me much.
Lineup 2, only had 3/6 players make the cut, but it also had the high scorer for the week—Bubba Watson—on it. It ended up cashing in all double-ups and, due to some fortunate matchups, cashed in heads-up matches at the same rate as lineup 1. In a lot of ways this lineup was saved by going with a less balanced approach as Bubba’s big week saved it from not cashing. My mistake here wasn’t that I used a more stars and scrubs approach (especially since my star outperformed everyone) but in how I approached my lower-priced selections. Luckily for me the week saw many popular plays miss the cut and allowed this lineup to be profitable.
I should also mention that I did throw a third LU in this week—a variation of LU 1 where I replaced Rodgers and Schwartzel for Taylor and Garcia. It ended up scoring less than both of these and just missed the cut line in double ups, although it still cashed a few HU. I used it less than the other two though and so didn’t include it here.