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Fantasy Golf Picks: FedEx St. Jude Classic

I will highlight players I like for my fantasy golf picks in the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind, including both cash and GPP plays. Use this article along with my fantasy golf projections to set your fantasy golf lineups for this week’s event.

This week at TPC Southwind is almost the exact opposite of last week at Muirfield Village. Last week we saw a very strong field on a golf course that played under par. This week there is a weak field on a course that will probably play a bit over par. The top five players this week project to win almost 40 percent of the time. Below them, it’s anyone’s tournament really. If the top five falter, we could see an unexpected winner like last year when Fabian Gomez won.

Cash game picks are a little bit tough this week. The players who are most likely to make the cut are priced accordingly. There’s a larger than normal drop off in talent outside of the top few players. I think the way to go in cash is to roster as many of the top seven players in my projections (Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Gary Woodland, Colt Knost, Charles Howell III and Ryan Palmer) as you can fit, especially the top four, then fill the roster out with value picks. The top seven are all consistent and have a great chance to make the cut which is the most important consideration for cash games. I think it’s much the same for tournaments; pick a few from the top and try to differentiate with your bargain picks. The chalk is extra chalky this week.

I offer this as a data point: Dustin Johnson withdrew from this event last year after nine holes because he was “sick”. Many people think he gave up after shooting over par on the front nine and didn’t feel like battling through a secondary tournament the week before a major. We can only guess at his motivation.

FANTASY GOLF PICKS – CASH GAMES

Bud Cauley ($7200) – He recently returned from an injury and his performance has been steadily improving. With this field, he should make the cut. With this price, you can afford some of the top guys.

Ben Crane ($7000) – He’s not a great golfer, but in this field he is considerably better than average. I have him ranked 30th in long term skill. He’s made the cut in all five starts at this event since 2010, including a win. He’s played 1.07 strokes per round better than expected here.

Scott Stallings ($7100) – Favorable price, 37th in the field in long term skill, good recent form and solid course history add up to a recommendation. He’s played 16 rounds at TPC Southwind and has averaged 1.5 strokes better than expected.

FANTASY GOLF PICKS – BOTH CASH AND TOURNAMENTS

Phil Mickelson ($11,300) – There are no sure things in sports,1 but Phil Mickelson in this tournament is about as close as you will find. He has the best long term adjusted normalized round scores of any player in this field. He also has a strong course history, performing 1.2 strokes per round better than expected in 12 rounds. His finishes in three starts at this event are T3, T11 and T2. My projections give him about a 15 percent chance to win, nearly double the closest competitor. In this field there aren’t many people that should challenge him. He’s an excellent tournament play as well. He will likely be heavily owned, but he has such an outsized chance to win that I think you should consider rostering him.

Camilo Villegas ($6900) – He’s a bit buried in the projections because, from a long term perspective, he’s just not that great at golf relative to the field. But this week he gets a big boost from an extremely strong course history. Over the past six years he’s played 22 rounds at this event and has averaged 1.4 strokes better than expected per round. He missed the cut once in those six years. Outside of that, he’s played better than expected each year and better than expected in 70 percent of his individual rounds within those years. His outperformance has been repeated and it is not heavily skewed by one or two extremely good rounds. The trend is so strong and his salary so low that I’m recommending him for tournaments especially and even cash lineups (although I like him less than the three above for cash). How else will you fit Mickelson on a roster?

FANTASY GOLF PICKS – TOURNAMENTS

Fredrik Jacobson ($7000) – He continues to be bargain priced. He hasn’t been able to string together four good rounds in the tougher events. I’m hoping that he can finally stand out in a lesser field. His upside is there; for instance, he shot a 64 in the first round of the Byron Nelson Classic. He just needs more consistency.

David Hearn ($8400) – He’s had some strong recent finishes, T28 or better in six of his last nine events. This might be his week to break into the top ten. He doesn’t have much competition and he’s played well at this event in the past. He’s a good cash game play too if you have room under the cap.

Good luck this weekend! Next week brings the toughest test in golf, the US Open. The US Open is a unique tournament and requires some unique strategy, for actual golfers and DFS golfers. Talk to you then.

  1. Except for Andy Reid mishandling timeouts.  (back)

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