Each week, “Chalk…or not?” combines exclusive Tour Level data with FanShareSports tags to create a model that projects DraftKings ownership. The golfers with our highest projected ownership percentages and some other potentially low-owned golfers are then analyzed for you to give you a true ownership edge on the competition.
Before you make any models, build any lineups, or do anything else related to THE PLAYERS Championship this week, be sure to check out The First Cut for the most comprehensive course breakdown in the industry.
An absolutely stacked full-field and tighter DK pricing will likely lead to generally flatter ownership this week. Even with Dustin Johnson scorching the earth at each and every event he plays in — when he doesn’t fall down the stairs — nobody should come close to approaching DJ’s monumental 40 percent ownership levels he saw at the PGA Championship last July.
Rory McIlroy ($11,200, 25.4 percent projected ownership): Per our Tour Level Cheat Sheet, McIlroy’s 16.82 course history rank is the second-best mark in the field. In Rory’s last four trips around the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass he has finished 12th or better each time with three top-10 finishes. McIloy has scored at least 100 DK points in three of his last five events and his penchant for making birdies makes him an elite play on DK every time out. Even with one of our highest projected ownership percentages this week, fading Rory is not for the faint of heart.
Jon Rahm ($9,600, 26.3 percent ownership): Rahm is one of the featured players in this week’s Making The Cut piece, and for good reason. RahmGOAT is a DK scoring machine: His 88.68 average DK points ranks fourth in this field. Rahm’s 24.73 Recent Form Rank ranks third overall and with a salary under $10,000, Rahm is a relative bargain this week.
Justin Thomas ($8,900, 17.8 percent ownership): According to our Cheat Sheets, Thomas’ 7.3 Birdie or Better differential (BoB Dif) this week leads the field by a healthy margin. Thomas has two top-25 finishes in two trips to the Stadium Course and finished in third-place here last year. He’s not what I would call a safe play but with projected ownership of less than 20 percent, I’d suggest differentiating your GPP rosters elsewhere this week.
Adam Hadwin ($6,800, 16.5 percent ownership): Hadwin is the Rodney Dangerfield of this week’s DK pricing algorithm: He gets no respect. Hadwin hasn’t missed a cut since last October’s Safeway Open and he’s managed seven top-25 finishes — including a win — in the 13 tournaments since then. He’s a sharp way of gaining exposure to multiple high-salary players.
Dustin Johnson ($11,200, 22.4 percent ownership): DJ is clearly the best golfer on the planet currently but his course history keeps him out of the Medalists category this week. Per the Cheat Sheets, DJ’s 62.6 Course History Ranking is one of the worst in the field this week. That said, his 31.0 Recent Form Ranking is 10th and his 2.8 Strokes Gained Differential against the field is second overall.
Jordan Spieth ($10,800, 16.6 percent projected ownership): Spieth has the third-highest salary in the field and our eighth-highest projected ownership percentage. He has missed the cut in his two most recent trips to TPC Sawgrass but he did card a fourth-place finish in 2014. Spieth’s terrible 60.84 course history rating on the Cheat Sheet makes him a scary proposition at his high asking price. That said, going Against The Grain with Spieth this week could pay off in large-field GPPs.
Sergio Garcia ($10,200, 20.7 percent ownership): While a potential Masters-hangover and short-term layoff could derail Sergio this week it’s highly unlikely. Garcia’s 35.37 Recent Form Ranking is 17th and his 15.8 Course History Ranking is the best in the field. Garcia is a former PLAYERS champion, has made 15 of 17 cuts at this event, and has six top-10 finishes including a second-place finish in 2015.
Justin Rose ($9,200, 17.8 percent ownership): Rose’s 4.5 Birdie or Better percentage differential ranks sixth overall and his 35.67 Recent Form Ranking is 18th in the field. If it weren’t for two missed cuts in his last four trips to TPC Sawgrass, Rose would be a Medalist.
Martin Kaymer ($7,300, 27.6 percent ownership): Kaymer is a perfect eight for eight at this track and won here in 2014. The only reason he isn’t a Medalist this week is because of his field-high projected ownership, which is approaching 30 percent. He’s a lock and load play for cash games but you might consider fading him in GPPs at this level of projected ownership.
Graeme McDowell ($6,700, 14.4 percent ownership): We have G-Mac projected with the 11th-highest ownership in the field this week. Even at a bargain-basement price, there’s serious merit to fading a dude who managed to score 39.0 DK points at the Puerto Rico Open when considering he’s playing in an elite field this week.
Hump’s Hole Out
David Hearn ($7,000, 2.3 percent ownership): Hearn’s 6.1 BoB Dif from 125 to 150 yards ranks 12th and his 11.4 Sand Save percentage differential is ninth in this field. Hearn is five for five in cuts made at this event and finished T6 in 2014. He’s also missed the cut in his two most recent events including last week at the Wells Fargo. Even with the terrible current form, I’m still willing to take a flyer on Hearn at this track.
For access to the four unique Cheat Sheets used above and the red-hot Winning Element article check out our subscription options.
Bowdo’s Picks From Down Undah!
When I was 18, I spent two weeks on a sailboat in the British Virgin Islands pretending I was from Australia and speaking with a wicked good Aussie-accent (at least for a kid from Rhode Island). Today I spoke with two-time PGA Tour winner, Steven Bowditch (using my normal vernacular) to bring you exclusive, inside-the-ropes insight on potentially low-owned players he feels could surprise this week. It’s Bowdo’s Picks From Down Undah! My life has come full circle. Follow him @bowdo83.
Spencer Levin ($6,900), or “Spence”, as Bowdo called him, has had some difficulty with clubs this year but “he’s using the sh*t he wants now”. Bowdo loves his progressing form, his tee to green game, and thinks he fits the course well with the way he’s currently hitting the ball. Levin finished 31st last week and he had back-to-back Top-15 finishes here at Sawgrass in 2011 and 2012.
I’m willing to bet Alex Cejka ($6,500) wasn’t a guy on your radar this week — we have him projected at less than one percent ownership —but he’s caught Bowdo’s attention. Cejka has some good course history: He’s made the cut in four of his last five appearances at the Stadium Course and according to Bowdo, he’s “hitting the ball really well”. Cejka had to withdraw for personal reasons last week, but he’s worth a flyer in GPPs.
Robert Streb ($7,000) is “hitting the ball well” but has struggled with the putter. He was top-10 in strokes gained tee to green last week at the Wells Fargo Championship, where he finished 24th. If he can turn things around with the flat stick this week he could make some unexpected noise.
No other player in the field comes with a much risk and as much upside as Henrik Stenson ($8,800), whom we have projected at a ridiculously low 1.6 percent ownership. Stenson might withdraw on the first day after shooting a 77 but he could just as easily win the tournament. He has missed three straight cuts on tour and didn’t make the weekend here last year. Prior to that, Stenson had made four straight cuts at Sawgrass with three top-20 finishes including a fifth-place finish in 2013. There wasn’t much analysis needed on this one: If you can grab some Henrik at this type of ownership, you need to have a few shares.
Good luck this week, and enjoy THE PLAYERS!