PGA DFS Picks: BMW Championship
The FedEx Cup playoffs move to Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind. for the BMW Championship, the penultimate tournament of the 2015-16 PGA Tour season. The field is now down to 70, as golfers are jockeying to get into position for that $10 million payday after The TOUR Championship in two weeks.
Like The Barclays, this event has a rotation and is not played on the same course every season. The last time this event was played at Crooked Stick was back in 2012, when Rory McIlroy ($11,900), last weekend’s Deutsche Bank Championship winner, held off Phil Mickelson ($8,800) and Lee Westwood by two strokes. Even though that was several seasons ago, that is more helpful than Jason Day ($11,600) winning on a completely different course last season at Conway Farms outside of Chicago, or Billy Horschel ($7,900) taking the trophy in 2014 at Cherry Hills out in Colorado in this very same event. One thing is certain, though. The winner of this event generally goes on to win the $10 million purse at season’s end.
This event will move back to Conway Farms in 2017, and then to Aronimink Golf Club in Newton Square, Penn. for the first time ever in 2018. In 2019, the BMW Championship will be played at Medinah, so the event will be fresh and have good venues to challenge the golfers, and entertain fans. But do not put a lot of stock into past results, because all of the courses play differently and past results won’t have as much weight. In addition, there is no cut after two days like traditional events, so you needn’t worry as much if your DFS selection gets off to a tough start. However, it obviously helps to fire out of the chute rather than toil near the bottom of the leaderboard and have a huge deficit to overcome.
(DraftKings.com salaries in parentheses – all times ET).
Rory McIlroy ($11,900): McIlroy burned up the course last weekend at the Deutsche Bank Championship and he’ll be a very popular choice for DFS owners, so be prepared to share him. However, the way he is playing, and the fact he won at Crooked Stick last time the event was here, makes him too tough to pass up. If he can keep the putter working like last weekend, it might not even be close this weekend. Even so, the greens are postage-stamp small at Crooked Stick so it doesn’t take a superb putter to overcome them. More often than not, being a top Greens in Regulation (GIR) player will see you through at this Indiana course. Rory checks in 26th in the category, which will help him. For your mid-tier and lower-priced DFS options, GIR is going to be an important factor in setting your lineup, or at least it should be.
Hideki Matsuyama ($9,100): Matsuyama bounced back from a disastrous showing at Bethpage Black with a confidence-building 15th-place finish at TPC Boston. He shot 8-under, and managed just seven bogeys with 15 birdies in his four rounds. His terrible outing at The Barclays actually helps you, as it knocked him from the five-figure DFS salary ranks into a more manageable price. You can squeeze him in with one of the five-figure studs, whereas before it was next to impossible. As mentioned, GIR is important at Crooked Stick, and Matsuyama checks in 21st in the category. That’s certainly not all he has cooking, though. Matsuyama is a well-rounded player who is above-average off the tee box while checking in fifth in Tee-to-Green while ranking fifth on tour in Birdie Average and 14th in Scoring Average. As long as his putter doesn’t abandon him he will be just fine.
PLENTY OF UPSIDE
Roberto Castro ($6,300): Castro heads into the weekend hitting 69.41 percent of his greens, ranking him 14th in the GIR category. He is anything but a one-trick pony, however, as he is seventh in Driving Accuracy Percentage while managing a respectable Tee-to-Green ranking of 30th on tour. He is adequate in the short game, although he’ll need to be a little better than usual. His putting game is what keeps him good, rather than great. However, as mentioned earlier the greens are not particularly spacious and will not come into play as much as other venues, so he should be able to avoid disaster.
Russell Knox ($7,800): Knox ranks near the top in GIR, ranking fourth in tour by hitting 1,025 of his 1,458 greens (70.3 percent). The Scotsman ranks near the bottom of the tour in Driving Distance, but he still ranks 26th in Scoring Average thanks to his smart and efficient play. Many might be surprised to see he ranks fourth in FedEx Season Points, and that’s because he plays frequently, but also very well, too. He is 26th on tour in Scoring Average at 70.248, and he is among the most deadly accurate with those short drives, avoiding trouble by ranking 10th in Driving Accuracy Percentage. He is a top-notch scrambler with a putter which disappears on occasion. As is the theme here, GIR and accuracy are king, and the putting game will not be as much as an obstruction to glory.
Brendan Steele ($7,400): Steele is another strong GIR option, sitting 24th on tour after hitting 991 of his 1,440 greens. The former Cal-Riverside Highlander can smash it off the tee, ranking 20th in Driving Distance, helping him to 58th in Scoring Average while also ranking him 18th in Total Driving. His club head speed is among the best in the business, and he generates plenty of power without being too terribly inaccurate. He is also very good out of the sand if he has to be, although bunkers aren’t a giant problem at Crooked Stick. Scrambling and Putting aren’t his forte. Steele also tends to start out strong Thursday and Friday, only to fade into the weekend. As long as his stamina isn’t a problem, Steele is a solid No. 4 or 5 DFS option because of his GIR and Driving Distance.
Jhonattan Vegas ($7,500): The Venezuelan majored in General Kinesiology at the University of Texas, which is almost as difficult to spell as Jhonattan. What isn’t difficult for Vegas is reaching Greens in Regulation, as he ranks 11th in the category while also ranking 11th in Driving Distance. hs club head speed is among the best in the game. Occasionally things can go off the rails with inaccuracy, as he is among the worst in Driving Accuracy at 143rd on tour. Still, when he has control of his big clubs he is among the best in Eagles (16th). He should have a couple of difference-making eagles this week to keep him at or near the top half of the scoreboard. He is a powerful player, and as expected not much in the finesse game. His short game and putting leaves a lot to be desired, but again, putting shouldn’t be as big of an issue this week.