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Hideki Matsuyama is $1,000 Too Cheap: Rocket Mortgage Classic Plays and Pivots on DraftKings

The Rocket Mortgage Classic is the first tour event that will be played in Detroit since 2009. The course is Detroit Golf Club which is a Donald Ross design. It will play as a 7,340-yard par-72 course this week. This has the makings of a real birdie fest if golfers can keep their tee shots in front of them and hit some greens. The fairways are tree-lined with a fair amount of bunkers. Water comes into play on four holes. 

Missing the fairway will be penal with reports coming in that they’ve let the rough grow out to 3.5 inches. That’s really the only defense they have at this course from making it Sony Open East. On par 72 courses of a similar length, there’s definitely an edge to some distance off the tee with that being more highly correlated to DK Points than driving accuracy. SG: Off the Tee or Total Driving – whichever you prefer – will be an important barometer for success here. 

Checking the Chalk

Dustin Johnson ($12,000) is the most expensive golfer on the slate this week. DJ has gained strokes tee to green in 19 of his last 20 starts. Over that span, he’s finished in the top 10 a dozen times. He’s coming off of a 35th place effort at the U.S. Open. That sounds like a disappointing finish, and it is to a certain extent, until you realize that he lost over six strokes on the greens. By my count, that’s a bottom three performance for Johnson’s putter. He still gained strokes in bunches elsewhere on the course. This is one of the three weakest fields that we’ve seen in 2019 so far and DJ possesses a ton of win equity. The question is, how do you fit him in? 

Last week’s winner Chez Reavie ($9,700) is in the field this week and coming off of his first win in over a decade. It’s tough to argue with his form as he played extremely well in the U.S. Open, finishing in third place. Over his past two starts, he’s gaining 11.5 strokes tee-to-green. That number is slightly higher than his average of 1.56 since that start of 2014. It isn’t just these past couple of weeks for Reavie, though. He’s played well across most of 2019 averaging two times as many strokes gained tee to green in 2019 than he had the previous five years. 

Hideki Matsuyama ($10,200) has been up and down over the last couple of years. He’s flashed some of the upside that made him so appealing at the end of 2016. Matsuyama is the ultimate “if his putter gets hot…” guy and he’s gained strokes with the flatstick in four straight events now. He’s also gained strokes on approach in every start since the PGA Championship in 2018. I wrote up a model to assign DK prices to the field based on historical pricing and their model ranking. Matsuyama had the second highest price at over $11,200 so we’re getting over $1,000 of value for him this week.

GPP Plays

The more I think about it, the more I like Billy Horschel ($9,000) this week. He’s made his last six cuts in a row and 22-of-23. During that time frame, he has 12 top-25 finishes. Over his last 23 starts, he’s hitting more greens, more fairways, and gaining more strokes tee to green than he has since the start of 2014. Horschel is 8th in the model this week with a projected salary of $9,600 but is significantly cheaper than that. Paying for him in this field makes a ton of sense. 

Kevin Streelman ($8,600) has been excellent lately. He’s made his last half dozen cuts, including four Top 15 finishes. Streelman has gained strokes tee to green in all six of those events. He popped as a pivot from Brooks Koepka last week in the Yahoo article and paid off handsomely on both sites. My pricing model has him at $10,300 based on his form. Getting in position off the tee is vital here and he can do that in spades. Over his last 20 starts, he’s hit 68% of fairways. 

Hank Lebioda ($6,900) is a low priced golfer that popped in the model. Based on his model results, he could be priced in the mid-$8,000s. Lebioda has made seven of eight cuts including a few finishes in the top 20. That might not jump off the page but he’s under $7,000 in the weakest field of the year. He’s averaging twice as many strokes tee to green over his past eight starts than he did in his first eight starts, per our Splits App

Even with last week’s disastrous outing, Jason Kokrak ($8,300) is a value this week. His raw model score falls in the -1 to -0.5 range which has historically done well. Over 25% of golfers who enter a tournament in that group have finished in the top 20. After a few weeks off, he just didn’t have his short game. The 7.5 strokes he lost on the greens were the worst in his career and the four strokes he lost around the green was the fourth worst performance of his career in that category. We talked last week about a golfer’s second start back after a few week layoff. Now we just hope that people hold last week’s finish against Kokrak. 

Cash Locks

So far this season, the totals for the cash locks are 41/46 (89%) made cuts, 30/46 (65%) top 30s, and 14/46 (30%) top 10s. Here are this week’s cash locks:

  • Hideki Matsuyama ($10,200)
  • Billy Horschel ($9,000)

Ownership Projections and Model Results - Rocket Mortgage Classic

NameDK$Second RunModel Score
Dustin Johnson1200030.501.00
Rickie Fowler1120015.100.88
Gary Woodland1090017.500.87
Hideki Matsuyama1020031.660.93
Brandt Snedeker990010.820.76
Chez Reavie970013.160.89
Ryan Moore950017.180.77
Patrick Reed930011.130.72
Kevin Kisner91008.880.72
Billy Horschel900019.830.78
Joaquin Niemann890015.620.69
Sungjae Im880013.610.74
Bubba Watson870012.520.69
Kevin Streelman860021.800.85
Rory Sabbatini850013.170.83
Viktor Hovland84008.740.86
Jason Kokrak830012.590.77
Aaron Wise820010.710.71
Kevin Tway81009.880.74
Jason Dufner800017.220.66
Brian Harman80007.130.64
Byeong Hun An790014.700.75
Kyoung-Hoon Lee79003.480.69
Charley Hoffman780010.000.67
Charles Howell III78007.580.78
Keith Mitchell78005.700.69
Luke List77009.030.67
Kyle Stanley77006.520.61
Jimmy Walker77005.400.64
Vaughn Taylor760013.260.76
Nick Watney760011.710.71
Sung Kang76006.340.78
Mackenzie Hughes76003.640.68
Peter Malnati75007.660.74
Bud Cauley75006.690.72
Matthew Wolff75006.150.60
Martin Laird75002.480.71
J.J. Spaun74009.460.70
Harold Varner74007.840.68
Si Woo Kim74007.160.69
Cameron Smith74005.510.62
Russell Henley74000.840.64
Corey Conners730010.590.70
Max Homa73009.160.75
Michael Thompson73002.050.73
J.B. Holmes73001.910.61
Danny Lee73001.750.63
Zack Sucher72003.150.60
Roberto Diaz72002.080.68
Chesson Hadley72000.990.63
Beau Hossler72000.750.59
Brendan Steele72000.620.55
Austin Cook72000.570.60
Brian Stuard71008.040.70
Wyndham Clark71004.650.72
Sam Burns71004.270.77
Stephan Jaeger71001.500.63
Dylan Frittelli71000.980.69
Peter Uihlein71000.660.63
Troy Merritt70004.340.74
Cameron Tringale70003.680.74
Alex Prugh70002.080.66
Matt Jones70001.630.77
Sebastian Munoz70001.480.70
Nick Taylor70001.130.71
Sepp Straka690010.720.62
Henry Lebioda69005.740.72
Ryan Armour69001.840.67
Adam Long69001.300.64
Trey Mullinax69001.090.68
JT Poston69001.010.67
Talor Gooch68002.460.65
Andrew Landry68002.060.60
Jonas Blixt68001.410.75
Cameron Champ68001.330.57
Ollie Schniederjans68001.050.60
Harris English68000.800.66
Robert Streb68000.380.55
Ryan Blaum68000.190.62
Scott Brown67001.140.69
Bronson Burgoon67000.860.58
Brian Gay67000.580.64
Scott Stallings67000.560.62
Roberto Castro67000.300.58
Cody Gribble67000.240.51
Luke Donald67000.140.14
Sam Ryder66006.340.69
Adam Schenk66001.000.68
Sang-Moon Bae66000.740.55
Scott Langley66000.340.56
Tyler Duncan66000.260.61
Seamus Power66000.180.56
Sam Saunders66000.150.58
Benjamin Silverman66000.130.62
Shawn Stefani65001.840.64
Fredrik Jacobson65000.950.53
Denny McCarthy65000.480.70
Cameron Davis65000.400.64
Kramer Hickok65000.380.64
Chris Stroud65000.250.57
Jim Knous65000.220.61
Wes Roach65000.130.59
Carlos Ortiz64000.710.61
Josh Teater64000.700.63
Tom Hoge64000.240.58
Brandon Harkins64000.220.60
Doc Redman64000.200.55
Anirban Lahiri64000.190.52
Roger Sloan64000.160.57
Nicholas Lindheim64000.100.60
Curtis Luck64000.100.54
Fabian Gomez64000.100.53
Chip McDaniel63001.700.50
Stewart Cink63001.640.69
Joey Garber63000.860.55
Patton Kizzire63000.440.55
Satoshi Kodaira63000.300.32
Kelly Kraft63000.240.51
Brady Schnell63000.090.54
Hunter Mahan63000.090.57
Adam Svensson63000.090.58
Dominic Bozzelli63000.090.58
Justin Suh62000.690.60
Martin Trainer62000.250.46
Brice Garnett62000.230.58
Will Claxton62000.190.51
Seth Reeves62000.170.51
Richy Werenski62000.150.61
Ernie Els62000.080.61
Anders Albertson62000.080.49
Jose De Jesus Rodriguez62000.080.65
Kyle Jones62000.070.58
Smylie Kaufman61000.160.00
Meen Whee Kim61000.120.48
Billy Hurley III61000.080.48
Colt Knost61000.080.45
Mike Weir61000.080.44
Ryan Vermeer61000.080.37
Chris Thompson61000.070.52
John Chin61000.060.43
Alex Cejka61000.060.52
Chase Wright61000.060.53
Martin Piller61000.060.60
J.J. Henry61000.050.55
Jim Herman60000.640.50
Ted Potter Jr60000.190.42
Julian Etulain60000.150.61
David Berganio Jr60000.140.35
Austen Truslow60000.130.35
Chad Collins60000.060.52
Will MacKenzie60000.060.51
Morgan Hoffmann60000.060.44
Rod Pampling60000.060.40
Lee Houtteman60000.060.35
Zachary Bauchou60000.060.35
Wes Homan60000.060.35
Matt Harmon60000.060.35
Michael Kim60000.050.42
Final run of ownership projections
Image Credit: Dannie Walls/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Hideki Matsuyama.

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