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DraftKings PGA: St. Jude Classic Picks

Michael Riek

Michael is the 2016 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year winner. He is a former collegiate golfer with a passion for analytics and strategy.

ST. JUDE CLASSIC

Purse: $6.0M
Winner's Share: $1,080,000
FedEx Cup Points: 500 to the Winner
Location: Memphis, Tenn.
Course: TPC Southwind
Yardage: 7,239
Par: 70
Defending Champion: Ben Crane


Tournament Preview

The PGA Tour makes one last stop this week in Memphis for a major tune-up at TPC Southwind. Because of the timing one week before the U.S. Open, many top players opt to skip this event to focus on the mentally exhausting major ahead. As it sits there are just six of the top-30 in the world in the field this week, creating a top-heavy group jousting it out amongst each other in a diluted pool of talent. TPC Southwind is a former dairy farm turned golf course which has hosted the St. Jude Classic since 1989; a major 2004 renovation saw many trees removed and bentgrass greens swapped for bermuda to handle the humid summers of Memphis. As a par-70 course, par-5s are limited to just two and the major fanfare is the par-3 11th island hole which resembles the 17th at TPC Sawgrass. Another fun fact is TPC Southwind easily leads the tour in water balls with over 4,000 pond seekers since 2003; a distant second is TPC Sawgrass at roughly 2,700.

Key Stats to winning at TPC Southwind

Total Driving
Par-4 Scoring
GIR% from Rough

Last Decade of Champions

2014 - Ben Crane
2013 - Harris English
2012 - Dustin Johnson
2011 - Harrison Frazar
2010 - Lee Westwood
2009 - Brian Gay
2008 - Justin Leonard
2007 - Woody Austin
2006 - Jeff Maggert
2005 - Justin Leonard

Champion's Profile

The 150-player field is generally quite weak, meaning the top players have a strong advantage. But curiously, the list of champions is muddled with great and mediocre players, both long and crooked and short and straight. The scoop is this: long players succeed only if they can avoid the penalizing hazards and hit greens from the rough (sorry Robert Garrigus). Straight-hitting plodders have triumphed seven of the past 10 years because hitting from the fairway means they're in position to hold greens (and obviously not in the water dropping three). A sound strategy is to select a blend of long and short players who are solid ball strikers and have played well here in the past.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Dustin Johnson - $13,000 (Odds: 11/2)
Phil Mickelson - $12,000 (12/1)
Webb Simpson - $11,100 (16/1)
Harris English - $10,700 (20/1)
Brooks Koepka - $10,400 (25/1)

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Jerry Kelly - $,8800 (Odds: 50/1)
George McNeill - $8,700 (45/1)

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Shawn Stefani - $8,200 (Odds: 50/1)
Jason Bohn - $7,900 (55/1)
Russell Knox - $7,800 (50/1)
Nick Watney - $7,700 (55/1)
Brendon de Jonge - $7,600 (55/1)

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Padraig Harrington - $7,300 (Odds: 80/1)
Matt Jones - $7,000 (75/1)
Charles Howell III - $6,800 (66/1)
John Merrick - $6,600 (100/1)
Jeff Overton - $6,100 (100/1)
Chad Campbell - $6,000 (125/1)
Michael Thompson - $5,700 (150/1)

WHO I'M ROLLING WITH THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Cash Game Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Ryan Palmer - $11,600
Harris English - $10,700
Jason Bohn - $7,900
Russell Knox - $7,800
Stewart Cink - $6,300
Michael Thompson - $5,700

An amalgam of both long and short-hitting ball strikers is what the safe lineup is about this week. Ryan Palmer has a top-10 two weeks ago and has averaged 13th place his last four starts in Memphis with two top-10s. English is also a top player in the field and claimed his maiden victory here in 2013. Bohn and Knox top the charts in par-4 scoring and are also in great form. Finally, Stewart Cink and Michael Thompson are lower tier options who have made a proportionately high percentage of their cuts making them the safest options possible in their price range.

Higher-Risk Tournament Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Dustin Johnson - $13,000
Russell Knox - $7,800
Nick Watney - $7,700
Brendon de Jonge - $7,600
Matt Jones - $7,000
Charles Howell III - $6,800

Dustin Johnson is by far the best player in the field and a former champion as well to top my tourney lineup. Russell Knox is a fantastic value (in both lineups) and Nick Watney recently came to life with a top-10 at the Byron Nelson two weeks ago. Brendon de Jonge and Matt Jones are straight hitters who will keep it out of the water hazards. Lastly, Charles Howell is an undeniable value at $6,800 despite his recent run of mediocrity.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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