FanDuel PGA: John Deere Classic

FanDuel PGA: John Deere Classic

This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.

John Deere Classic

TPC Deere Run (7,268 yards, par-71)
$6.0M purse
$1,080,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner

Tournament Preview

A chartered flight to Northern Ireland has been booked and will take off from the midwestern United States sometime Sunday night, but the last ticket is still up for grabs at the John Deere Classic this week. Among those who have yet to qualify for the Open Championship, the top finisher will earn a trip to Royal Portrush for the final major of the year given they place fifth or better at TPC Deere Run. The JDC's positioning just before the Open each year translates to an anemic field of 156 hopeful entrants, while the European Tour's Scottish Open draws in names like Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. Enthusiastic fans in the Quad Cities don't seem to mind the lack of household names, however, praising the overflow of birdies and eagles that occur on a very accessible track. 

Recent Champions

2018 - Michael Kim
2017 - Bryson DeChambeau
2016 - Ryan Moore
2015 - Jordan Spieth
2014 - Brian Harman
2013 - Jordan Spieth
2012 - Zach Johnson
2011 - Steve Stricker
2010 - Steve Stricker
2009 - Steve Stricker

Key Stats to Victory

Birdie or better percentage
SG: Approach
Putts per GIR

Champion's Profile

TPC Deere Run will play firm and fast this week as a midwestern heat wave sweeps the Quad Cities throughout the weekend, but holding generously-sized fairways and greens shouldn't be an issue despite drier conditions. In turn, the field's longer hitters won't have much of an advantage as per usual here, while multiple par-5s should be reachable for everybody. Several short par-4s measuring under 400 yards also line the grounds as the event annually becomes a birdie fest. Michael Kim, who set the tournament scoring record in 2018, amassed 30 birdies en route to his eight-shot JDC victory.

FanDuel Value Picks

The Chalk

Brian Harman, $11,000 - The lefty is a combined 59-under in four made cuts at the John Deere Classic since 2012, resulting in a quartet of top-25s and a win here in 2014 when he hit 87.50 percent of greens in regulation and holed a trio of eagles. Harman struggled a bit earlier in the season as he missed five cuts in six events from the Valspar to the Open Championship, but he's back inside the top-100 in the FedExCup standings thanks to top-10s at the 3M Open and Travelers Championship. Harman's short iron play has been on point as of late, ranking sixth in proximity from 150-175 yards over his last 12 rounds.

Joaquin Niemann, $10,900 - Although it may now feel like a two-man race between Viktor Hovland and Collin Morikawa in terms of the next young gun to earn his maiden victory, Niemann could very well be next in line and he's got a ton more PGA Tour experience than the aforementioned duo. The 20-year-old Chilean has posted six consecutive finishes of T31 or better dating to the Charles Schwab Challenge and he ranks third in birdie or better percentage over his last 12 rounds, which include back-to-back top-5s at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and Travelers Championship. On the season, Niemann is 27th in SG: Approach, 26th in SG: Tee-to-Green and eighth in proximity. He struggled on the par-3s in his TPC Deere Run debut last year, but he played the par-4s and par-5s in a collective 15-under to notch a T23.

Sungjae Im, $10,800 - Much like Niemann, Im is another blossoming young talent who questionably lands behind Hovland and Morikawa in terms of betting odds. The 21-year-old Korean rookie has already racked up 13 top-25s in 31 career starts on the PGA Tour as he resides inside the top-25 of the FedExCup standings. Im gained at least 4.2 strokes from tee to green in three of his last four starts, all of which have resulted in top-25 finishes. He ranks 27th in birdie average and 10th in par-5 scoring.

Zach Johnson, $10,300 - We'd normally expect to see Johnson flirt with the $12,000 mark against such a pedestrian field at a venue that has brought him seven top-10s and a win, but the native Iowan heads to the Quad Cities at just 140th in the FedExCup standings this time around. He's earned less than $600,000 on Tour this season with only three top-25 performances in 16 tournaments. Johnson ranks 192nd in GIR percentage and his birdie average has suffered mightily as a result with just 3.22 tweeters per round, but TPC Deere Run is the perfect spot for a significant rebound before stepping on a flight to Northern Ireland.

Longer Shots Worth a Risk

Wyndham Clark, $9,800 - Clark's affinity for bentgrass greens should be a focus, as he ranks sixth in SG: Putting on these surfaces over his last 36 rounds. Limiting the sample size to his last eight rounds, Clark gained a combined total of 9.3 strokes with the flat stick in the Twin Cities and Detroit. He's strolled to results of T5-T17-T15 since the Travelers Championship and ranks second in par-breaker percentage over his past 12 rounds.

Cameron Tringale, $9,100 - Gaining an average of 4.6 strokes from tee to green over his last five tourneys, Tringale has risen to 20th on Tour in GIR percentage and 31st in SG: Approach. His past results at the JDC are inconsistent with two missed cuts in four attempts, though Tringale did add a top-10 here in 2011. Through his last 24 rounds he ranks seventh in P5: 550-600 efficiency and fourth in GIR.

Joey Garber, $8,900 - A T7 at the 3M Open was the cherry on top of a promising run that has become four top-30s in Garber's last five starts, gaining strokes both off the tee and tee to green in each of them. His season-long statistics aren't noteworthy given a rough PGA Tour initiation, but over Garber's last 12 rounds he ranks seventh in SG: Off-the-Tee and fourth in proximity.

Hank Lebioda, $8,200 -  Ranking 52nd or better on Tour in SG: Approach, birdie average, SG: Tee-to-Green and proximity, the putter has been what's kept Lebioda from notching more than three top-25s this season. He's gained strokes putting in three of his last four starts, however, highlighted by a top-15 result at the RBC Canadian Open. 

Strategy Tips for this week (based on 60k standard salary cap)

The Class of '19 trio in Hovland, Morikawa and Matthew Wolff lands among the most expensive options on the board, but game theory might entice us to fade the shiny new toys given their severely limited sample sizes and overall lack of professional experience. Obviously these factors didn't matter last week at the 3M Open as they all excelled in Minnesota, but we're not yet sure if that's sustainable on a weekly basis. It's important to question their risk at such a lofty price, especially in cash-game formats.

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. Bryce Danielson plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: brycedanielson99, FanDuel: brycedanielson99, Yahoo: RotoBOOM.
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Bryce Danielson
Bryce covers the PGA for RotoWire and provides input on the golf cheat sheet. He also contributes to the coverage for NFL, NBA and other sports.
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