FantasyDraft PGA: The Players Championship
FantasyDraft PGA: The Players Championship

This article is part of our FantasyDraft PGA series.

THE PLAYERS Championship
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course – Par 72, 7,189 yards
Field – 146 Entrants
Winner's Share – $1.89 million

The Preview

The last couple tournaments have provided intrigue with a new team format – at the Zurich Classic – and a new course – at the Wells Fargo Championship – but this week the focus will shift back to the action on the course, particularly at the 17th hole that doubles as an island.

THE PLAYERS Championship has often been credited as having the "strongest field in golf," and that will be hard to argue with this year, as nearly all notable players besides Brandt Snedeker, Thomas Pieters, and of course Tiger Woods are scheduled to tee it up. With so many big names in the field, it is tough to endorse any players lower than $12,000 on the price scale. Fortunately the prices at the top are fairly even, so there is still plenty room to select players above the line of demarcation and still come away with one or two players capable of taking home the title.

Player performance in this event from year-to-year has rarely been steady, so focusing on players who are efficient at hitting the green – strokes gained: tee-to-green and greens in regulation percentage in the stat sheet – and also making up for their mistakes when they aren't – scrambling – is the recommended way to go this week.

Past Five Champions

2016 – Jason Day
2015 – Rickie Fowler
2014 – Martin Kaymer
2013 – Tiger Woods
2012 – Matt Kuchar

Last Year's Top 10 Finishers

1	Jason Day		-15
2 Kevin Chappell -11
T3 Justin Thomas -10
T3 Matt Kuchar -10
T3 Colt Knost -10
T3 Ken Duke -10
T7 Francesco Molinari -9
T7 Hideki Matsuyama -9
T9 Graeme McDowell -8
T9 Daniel Berger -8
T9 Alex Cejka -8

FantasyDraft Value Picks – based on $100,000 salary cap

The Names
Dustin Johnson – $19,600
Rory McIlroy – $18,400
Jon Rahm – $17,000
Rickie Fowler – $16,900

The Pick: Johnson's price has dropped significantly since the Masters and McIlroy seems due for a PLAYERS victory, but in order to save money to enhance the bottom portion of the lineup, the pick in this group is Fowler. His rankings in SG:T2G (fourth) and scrambling (second) this season on Tour are elite, and it doesn't hurt that he won this event in the past.

Hey, Remember Me?
Jason Day – $16,900
Hideki Matsuyama – $16,900
Justin Thomas – $16,500
Henrik Stenson – $16,200

The Pick: Everyone in this group could conceivably be listed in "The Names" category, as they all have notable victories and elite potential. However, for one reason or another, they have not made much noise on Tour of late and have seen their prices drop as a result. It was only a year ago that Day finished Top-10 in three majors and Stenson won his first major, and it has only been a matter of months since Thomas and Matsuyama were seemingly taking turns winning every other week. The pick in this group will be Matsuyama, who ranks in the Top 15 in all three categories mentioned in the opener and already owns three victories this season.

The Next Tier
Brooks Koepka – $15,700
Francesco Molinari – $15,000
Tyrrell Hatton – $14,100
Bill Haas – $13,300

The Pick: This is the widest range of players among this week's groupings, but all these players are capable of filling out the middle of your lineup depending on what you do at the top or bottom. The easiest player to fit in most lineups will be Haas, so he gets the nod here. He made the cut at Sawgrass four out of the last five years and ranks no lower than 21st in any of this week's key categories.

The Bargains
Gary Woodland – $12,800
Brendan Steele – $12,600
Kyle Stanley – $12,500
Luke List – $12,200

The Pick: While he has made the cut just two times in six attempts at this event, Steele is the selection in this group. He has made the cut in every event this season save for the team-based Zurich Classic, and comes in strong in all three stat categories – most notably in scrambling, a category in which he currently ranks best on Tour. All players in this grouping will be capable of providing value this week and will prevent fantasy players from digging too deep for options to round out the lineup.

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. Kevin O'Brien plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: kevob100, DraftKings: kevob100.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin O'Brien
Kevin mans the Packers and Brewers beats and moonlights as RotoWire's Director of Operations.
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