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DraftKings PGA: Valspar Championship

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.

VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP

Tournament Details

Purse: $6.1M
Winner’s Share: $1.098M
FedEx Cup Points: 500 to the Winner
Location: Palm Harbor, FL
Course: Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead)
Yardage: 7,340
Par: 71
Defending Champion: Jordan Spieth


Tournament Preview

The Valspar Championship, just north of Tampa, Fla., represents a logical breather for many of the top PGA Tour players; mainly those who played in recent weeks and plan to play the prestigious Arnold Palmer Invitational and WGC Match Play event in the near future. It’s unfortunate given the great venue they play this week, but the Valspar field is still quite strong, showcasing seven of the top 20 in the world. The Innisbrook Copperhead course is tough and elevated, consisting of tree-lined fairways and rolling terrain with a few strategic ponds waiting to wreck a round (just ask John Daly about carding an infamous 12). The course features all five par-3s playing 195 yards or longer and just one par-4 less than 420 yards. The venomous “Snake Pit” is among the toughest finishing stretches on the PGA Tour; the par-4 16th hole is a brutal dogleg right with water hugging the right side, followed by the long par-3 17th with a tricky green complex. The narrow par-4 18th has deep bunkers and a blind uphill approach to cap a daunting test that will surely bite many hopefuls down the stretch Sunday.

Key Stats to winning at Innisbrook:

Driving Accuracy
GIR% from 175+ yards
Scrambling Percentage

Past Champions

2015 – Jordan Spieth
2014 – John Senden
2013 – Kevin Streelman
2012 – Luke Donald
2011 – Gary Woodland
2010 – Jim Furyk
2009 – Retief Goosen
2008 – Sean O’Hair
2007 – Mark Calcavecchia
2006 – K.J. Choi

Champion’s Profile:

The list of past Innisbrook champions range from great ballstrikers who hit plenty of fairways and greens, to exceptional short-game artists who scrambled their way to victory with elite short games. Said simply, positioning is the key here; the past decade produced champions known for driving accuracy, strong iron play and scrambling expertise. This doesn’t mean long-hitters are disadvantaged, but at Innisbrook precision is paramount, and an errant long drive can dismantle rhythm on a course where every hole demands your full attention.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Jordan Spieth - $12,000 (Winning Odds: 11%)
Henrik Stenson - $11,600 ( 8%)
Danny Willett - $11,200 (8%)

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Charl Schwartzel - $10,200 ( 4%)
Branden Grace - $9,500 ( 3%)
Kevin Na - $9,100 ( 2%)
Bill Haas - $8,500 ( 2%)
Luke Donald - $8,300 ( 2%)

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Jason Kokrak - $7,800 ( 2%)
Martin Kaymer - $7,500 ( 1%)
Keegan Bradley - $7,400 ( 1%)
Ernie Els - $7,000 ( 1%)

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Hunter Mahan - $6,800 ( 1%)
Boo Weekley - $6,700 ( 1%)
Daniel Summerhays - $6,600 ( 1%)
James Hahn - $6,400 ( 1%)
Bryce Molder - $6,100 ( 1%)

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

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

Harris English - $9,600
Kevin Na - $9,100
K.J. Choi - $8,800
Luke Donald - $8,300
Charles Howell III - $7,900
Brendon Todd - $6,300

It’s pretty clear Jordan Spieth is the perfect profile fit for this venue, but the safe lineup aims to put together at minimum five or six worthy players, a feat unachievable with Spieth’s expensive salary. The next best alternative is blending guys who have shown aptitude at Innisbrook and/or good recent form. Harris English checks both those marks with a pair of top-10s at the Valspar and a top-10 at last week’s WGC-Cadillac. Kevin Na is a solid course fit and proves my champion’s profile with everything but a win here. K.J. Choi has seen a resurgence as of late, which leads me to believe he can still play this venue like he did five to 10 years ago where he racked up a win and two other top-10s. Luke Donald’s history is ironclad at this venue; regardless of recent play, his fond memories of this venue seem to bring him back to form time and time again. Howell is an excellent ballstriker who likely lacks the short game to win but is almost a lock to make the cut, at minimum. Rounding out the safe lineup is Brendon Todd, who is deadly accurate, putts well and earned himself a top-25 in last year’s Valspar.

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

Jordan Spieth - $12,800
Henrik Stenson - $11,500
Jason Kokrak - $7,800
Bryce Molder - $6,100
Bronson Burgoon - $5,900
Ricky Barnes - $5,700

Though many will gravitate toward both Spieth and Stenson in a top-weighted field, it’s almost impossible to resist these guys who are easily the top two in the field and own great histories at Innisbrook. Jason Kokrak found his game a few weeks ago at Riviera and has notched top-15s the past two years at the Valspar. Bryce Molder is a bit of a risk with four MCs but he’s a solid short game player who has a pair of top-30s in seven starts here. The bottom of the barrel is admittedly a guessing game, but why not Bronson Burgoon, who posted two top-25s in February and makes his first start at this weaker-field event. Finally, Ricky Barnes has made four of five cuts at the Valspar; at a meager $5,700 he’s a good risk-reward and immediately pays off if he makes the cut.

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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