Yahoo DFS Golf: FedEx St. Jude Championship Picks and Strategy

Yahoo DFS Golf: FedEx St. Jude Championship Picks and Strategy

This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.

FedEx St. Jude Championship

Memphis, Tennessee
TPC Southwind - Par 70 - 7,243 yards
Field - 121 entrants
Purse - $15M

The Preview

Transitioning from a WGC event to its new position as the first leg of the FedExCup Playoffs, the St. Jude Championship invites those within the top 125 of the Eligibility Points List to extend their 2021-22 campaign in Memphis with a trip to the BMW Championship on the line. The strongest field since the Open Championship will tee it up at TPC Southwind, where narrow fairways and tight doglegs guide these players into small, but simple bermuda greens. Due to the minuscule green sizes, funky bermuda rough and penalizing water hazards, GIR percentages fall roughly six percent shy of the average PGA Tour venue. Around 48 percent of all approach shots come from the 150-200 yard range, though ample driving distance allows for a greater portion of short irons and full wedges. The course probably sounds tougher in written description than it actually is, while it remains fairly gettable if you're able to keep the ball in play. Calm winds also should help produce favorable scoring conditions throughout the weekend, so expect plenty of birdies despite only two par-5s appearing on the scorecard.

Recent Champions

-- WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational -- 

2021 - Abraham Ancer
2020 - Justin Thomas
2019 - Brooks Koepka

-- FedEx St. Jude Classic -- 

2018 - Dustin Johnson
2017 - Daniel Berger
2016 - Daniel Berger
2015 - Fabian Gomez
2014 - Ben Crane
2013 - Harris English
2012 - Dustin Johnson

Key Stats to Victory

SG: Off-the-Tee
Prox: 150-200 yards
Par-4: 450-500 efficiency
Scrambling

Yahoo Value Picks 

Based on $200 salary cap

Cream of the Crop

Jon Rahm - $45

Rahm's salary is trending downwards after a string of mediocre results since the PGA Championship, most recently placing just T34-T55 at the Open Championship and the Genesis Scottish Open. A slide to sixth in the Official World Golf Ranking accompanies a rare opportunity for us to use a "slumping" Rahm as a unique lineup anchor at a reduced rostership percentage despite great course fit. He's still second to none in SG: Off-the-Tee over his last 24 measured rounds, and he's fourth in P4: 450-500 during this span as well. 

Will Zalatoris - $41

Everyone's talking about Zalatoris' mid-tournament firing of his caddy at last week's Wyndham Championship, but my favorite current Zalatoris narrative, albeit a mostly hollow one, is the added motivation sparked by a Joohyung Kim victory. No, they're not rivals. But, Kim did what Zalatoris so frustratingly couldn't, and that's not only securing a maiden win on the PGA Tour, but specifically winning with Special Temporary Membership status to force his way into the FedExCup Playoffs and collect what he's earned. Zalatoris would've ended the 2020-21 regular season with enough FedExCup points to enter the playoffs inside the top 30 in the standings, but his temporary status didn't allow him to accrue those points without a win, while golf fans questioned the foolish system. So, the narrative streets indicate Zalatoris will be as hungry as ever this week in Memphis, where he placed T8 in his TPC Southwind debut last year. The putting-contest vibes from the 3M Open through the Wyndham Championship are a thing of the past, this is a ball-striker's showcase.

Tony Finau - $39

Xander Schauffele's brief run as the "hottest golfer in the world" came to a screeching halt when Finau posted back-to-back victories at the 3M Open and the Rocket Mortgage Classic in his past two starts, gaining a combined 30.7 strokes gained from tee to green across those eight glorious rounds. Expand the sample to his last 24 measured rounds, and Finau still ranks first in par-4 efficiency, second in SG: Approach, third in Prox: 175-200 yards and fourth in scrambling. He deserves better than a sub-$40 salary.

Glue Guys

Corey Conners - $36

As is often the case, Conners' ball striking came alive at the Wyndham Championship, but he lost three strokes with the flat stick while falling shy of his ceiling by a decent margin due to the lousy putter. The Canadian was fifth among the field in SG: Tee-to-Green at Sedgefield CC, and he's up to seventh in proximity from 175 to 200 yards over his last 12 rounds.

Aaron Wise - $34

Speaking of Sedgefield, Wise notched the best SG: Off-the-Tee performance of his entire career last week in Greensboro where he tallied his sixth top-15 finish of the season, ultimately climbing to No. 27 in the FedExCup Standings and Eligibility Points List. Wise has a solid chance to advance all the way to East Lake for just the second time in his career if he can maintain this momentum.

Russell Henley - $31

Henley should be fairly popular as he lands below the $33 average salary on the heels of back-to-back top-10s at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and Wyndham Championship. Per usual, he's going to pop in all the models with his No. 1 SG: Approach ranking over his last 24 measured rounds, while he's relatedly second in Opportunities Gained during this stretch. Henley finished seventh here in Memphis back in 2016 when he gained 5.7 strokes with his irons at TPC Southwind.

Bargain Bin

Brendan Steele - $22

Steele has been a ball-striking machine as of late, and he joins Finau as the only two players to rank inside the top 10 in both SG: OTT and SG: APP over their past 24 measured rounds. Steele hasn't lost strokes off the tee in a single event since mid-January, and he's averaged 7.9 strokes gained from tee to green per tournament throughout his last five starts. If Steele can simply putt at a field-average level this week, watch out.

Scott Stallings - $20

Given the fact that he placed T8-T4-T10-T13 from the Travelers Championship through the Wyndham Championship, it's shocking to see Stallings listed at the $20 salary minimum. He's also gained strokes off the tee in six consecutive TPC Southwind appearances, which dates back to a runner-up effort here in 2013. Over his past 24 rounds, Stallings sits fifth in par-4 efficiency and 10th in SG: Approach.

Taylor Pendrith - $20

There are a handful of values at $20 that will inflate the number of stars-and-scrubs builds this week, and Pendrith is certainly one of them. A 121-man player pool also encourages risk tolerance as a higher portion of the field makes the cut compared to a regular Tour stop, so don't think you're in full Skip Bayless contrarian mode if you're clicking on multiple names down here in one lineup. Pendrith's power off the tee should be advantageous in his TPC Southwind debut, and he's gained a collective 9.6 strokes with his irons across his past two starts. He's finished no worse than T13 in four outings since his return from injury.

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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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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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