This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Rocket Mortgage Classic
Detroit Golf Club (7,340 yards, par-72)
$1,314,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner
The Rocket Mortgage Classic has replaced the Quicken Loans National in this week's spot on the PGA Tour schedule, as the state of Michigan is primed to host a PGA Tour event for the first time since 2009, when Tiger Woods won his third Buick Open at Warwick Hills G&CC. As a measly 11 members of the Official World Golf Ranking's top 50 travel to Detroit Golf Club, Woods' ability to draw a colossal crowd could have really come in handy this time around. The Rocket Mortgage Classic may struggle to earn rave reviews in its first edition, especially given the legitimate chance of scattered storms throughout the first three rounds. Nonetheless, the contests will go on, and we'll take a look at several value options on FanDuel this week.
Key Stats to Victory
Birdie or better percentage
The lack of a Recent Past Champions section means we venture into the unknown when it comes to identifying historical patterns at Detroit Golf Club, but ball-striking metrics such as SG: T2G and GIR percentage translate just about anywhere. The course shouldn't be too challenging for these Tour pros, but defense mechanisms include small and undulating greens that can run just over 12 on the stimpmeter, so precision with irons and full wedges will play a key role in racking up birdie chances. Expect a handful of eagle opportunities as well, given the layout's inclusion of multiple reachable par-5s. Detroit GC's rough has had a chance to thicken thanks to heavy spring showers, but 40 percent of the par-4s here measure less than 400 yards. The winning score could realistically be around -18 to -20 if the weather cooperates.
FanDuel Value Picks
Dustin Johnson, $12,500 - The best overall player by a significant margin in this week's field, Johnson's price tag is reflective of such an honor – he will cost $800 more than No. 2, Rickie Fowler. This is for good reason, too, as the former ranks first among his peers in SG: Tee-to-Green and SG: Off-the-Tee over his last 12 rounds. Johnson uncharacteristically struggled on poa annua greens during the U.S. Open, where he lost over six stokes with the flat stick and limped into a tie for 35th. He's more likely than not to rebound from the glaring anomaly at Detroit Golf Club.
Hideki Matsuyama, $11,300 - Since we're on the topic of anomalies, it should also be noted that Matsuyama has gained strokes putting in four consecutive events for the first time in three years. A fifth straight top-25 could be Matsuyama's floor if the slightly-above-average putting stretch is maintained, as his superb tee-to-green play tends to carry him anyways. He has dropped to No. 31 in the OWGR, but still ranks fourth on Tour in SG: Approach and 14th in birdie average.
Ryan Moore, $10,200 - Seemingly picking up steam as a popular play this week, Moore is tough to fade at this price given his affinity for Don Ross designs and poa-laced greens. He's displayed pinpoint precision off the tee, ranking third on Tour in driving accuracy, and has also gained a total of 7.8 strokes on approach shots over his last two starts.
Kevin Tway, $10,100 - Eighth in par-5 scoring over his past 24 rounds, Tway has made six consecutive cuts and peaked with a T5 last week at the Travelers Championship, where he boosted his score in DFS formats with a pair of eagles. Tway also ranked sixth in driving distance and fifth in SG: Putting, which isn't usually his forte. He's now up to 31st in the FedExCup standings and 44th in GIR percentage this season.
Longer Shots Worth a Risk
Jason Dufner, $9,500 - Dufner remains outside the top 100 in the FedExCup standings with July fast approaching, but the 42-year-old ranks 20th in GIR percentage and has gained an average of five strokes from tee to green over his last five tournaments. He's added a pair of top-7s during this span and is 10th or better in both proximity and birdie or better percentage when going for the green in two.
Vaughn Taylor, $8,800 - Back-to-back top-20s at the Wells Fargo Championship and AT&T Byron Nelson have sparked a run of five straight made cuts for Taylor, who just finished solo fourth at TPC River Highlands. He ranks fourth in birdie or better percentage over his last 24 rounds and gained 6.2 strokes on approach last week at the Travelers Championship.
Sepp Straka, $8,300 - Straka has gained strokes tee-to-green and on his approach shots in six consecutive starts, but a stretch of lousy putting performances has kept him from posting anything better than a T28 during this spell. He's lost at least 5.7 strokes putting in two of his last three showings, but he's ultimately 29th in SG: Approach and fifth in proximity from 150-175 yards.
Hank Lebioda, $8,000 - Over his last 24 rounds, Lebioda ranks sixth in par-breaker percentage, 10th in par-5 scoring and 11th in GIR percentage. That's a blatant recipe for success for what should be a relatively easy test at Detroit Golf Club, and he's missed just one cut in his last eight appearances. Lebioda is in the positives across the board of Strokes Gained subcategories over his last five tourneys.
Strategy Tips for this week (based on 60k standard salary cap)
With such an abnormally weak field for this point in the season, feel better about dipping into the $8K range and even below in order to comfortably fit a scarce stud like DJ in your lineup. For example, a Johnson/Straka/Lebioda stack leaves you with an average of $10,400 in remaining player salary, which is entirely manageable given only nine total entrants come in at $10,500 or higher.