PGA DFS Core Plays - DraftKings & FanDuel: John Deere Classic

Top-ranked DFS player, Notorious, breaks down his favorite PGA DFS plays at various salary ranges for the coming week’s golf tournament. Who should you be building around? Find out below.

John Deere Classic

If you are new to RotoGrinders premium, welcome to the team. Make sure to check out all of the great PGA content and join the Discord for a lot of fun each week. If you have been a premium member for a long time, you know that I will take it on the chin when a week goes poorly. I’m not sure I could have constructed a worse outcome for the Travelers Championship, at least for my bankroll. I decided to avoid Xander Schauffele (even though he rated out well and I usually play him every week) and my only hope on Sunday was a big round from Patrick Cantlay. He seemingly forgot how to golf and racked up nine bogeys and a double bogey… IN ONE ROUND. Brian Harman was fine, but the picks featured in this article struggled as a whole. Lanto Griffin, Brendon Todd, and Jhonattan Vegas all missed the cut. I try to motivate myself even more after bad results, so I’m ready to get right back into it at the John Deere Classic.

The big storyline heading into this week’s event is the field set to tee it up in Illinois. There isn’t a single player in this field that is ranked in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings. This is one of those weeks where it will feel like a grind more than anything to do research and to build lineups. We should use this to our advantage. More often than not, DFS players tend to rely on optimizers and models when building lineups for events with little interest. This means the chalk will concentrate even more than usual and with very little disparity in talent between the top and bottom of the field, it sets up as a good week to make pivots in all formats. This doesn’t mean we should avoid all chalk, but the lower-owned golfers are more appealing than most weeks. Additionally, it could be a good week to leave a little salary on the table.

Now, let’s get to the course. TPC Deere Run is a Par 71 that measures 7,289 yards. Of the 42 golf courses I have data for, this one rates out as the sixth easiest year over year. Golfers will need to make at least 20 birdies to find themselves in contention on Sunday. There appears to be a lot of wind in the forecast on Thursday, but the winds die down the next three days and we might even get some rain to soften the course on Friday. Make no mistake about it, this will be another birdie fest. Off the tee, golfers will see very wide fairways and a few forced layups. This certainly isn’t a bomber’s track, but you can be aggressive if you so choose (see Cameron Champ here last year). With the fairways being easy to hit and with average-sized greens, the green in regulation percentage here (74%) is one of the highest on tour.

In general, the easier the course and the easier the greens are to hit, the more it turns into a putting contest. This certainly aligns with the John Deere Classic, as Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson, and Jordan Spieth have had the most success here over the years. Fairways, wedges, and putting is a combination that really works well on this golf course. You can also play the regional narrative, as there are a lot of golfers in the field that live or played golf in this area of the country. I’m not looking to target a specific skillset off the tee, but will certainly be looking for good putters and golfers that can rack up birdies.

Downloadable and Customizable Model for the John Deere Classic

Tournament Info

Field Size:

  • 156 golfers

Cut Rule:

  • Top 65 and ties

Key Statistics for the Week

  • Birdie or Better %
  • Strokes Gained Approach
  • Strokes Gained Putting (Emphasis on Bent)
  • Driving Accuracy (or Total Driving)

Weather Forecasts

Hole Yardage Specialists (based on holes at TPC Deere Run)

  • Webb Simpson
  • Kevin Streelman
  • Denny McCarthy
  • Lanto Griffin
  • Brendon Todd

Core Plays

Adam Hadwin

DK: $10,400 — FD: $11,700 — YH: $47

Odds — 18
Driving Accuracy — 41
SG: APP — 5
Birdie or Better Rate — 9
Proximity with Wedges — 4
SG: Putting (Bentgrasss) — 41
Noto’s Rating — 90.9

Do I want to pay $10,400 on DraftKings and $11,700 on FanDuel for Hadwin? Absolutely not, but this is one of the weakest fields of the year. He’s easily my favorite of the four most expensive golfers, especially since Jason Day, Webb Simpson, and Sahith Theegala have never even played in the John Deere Classic. Hadwin is coming off of a T7 finish at the U.S. Open and has the skills that I am looking for this week — he hits fairways, he’s good with his wedges, and he can get red-hot with the putter. In his last appearance at TPC Deere Run, he finished in a tie for eighth.

Lanto Griffin

DK: $8,200 — FD: $9,400 — YH: $37

Odds — 66
Driving Accuracy — 86
SG: APP — 9
Birdie or Better Rate — 2
Proximity with Wedges — 3
SG: Putting (Bentgrasss) — 18
Noto’s Rating — 84.4

Griffin let me down in a big way at the Travelers, but it was really only a nine-hole stretch that cost him a missed cut. He was three under on his first nine and he played well on Friday. I’m willing to throw out a missed cut, especially when it leads to a lower price point and lower ownership the next event. His statistics really pop off the page in this field, as he gains strokes off the tee, he’s a top 10 iron player, he’s an elite birdie maker, and he’s a top 20 putter on bentgrass. He feels wildly underpriced in both the DFS and betting markets.

Brendon Todd

DK: $8,500 — FD: $10,900 — YH: $36

Odds — 35
Driving Accuracy — 4
SG: APP — 53
Birdie or Better Rate — 67
Proximity with Wedges — 8
SG: Putting (Bentgrasss) — 1
Noto’s Rating — 78.9

Todd was another let down at the Travelers last week, but he missed the cut on the number after a slow start on Thursday. I am always willing to forgive a missed cut, especially when it was right on the number. Throughout his career, he’s been elite at two things — hitting fairways and making putts. No matter what timeframe you look at, he’s top five in this field in driving accuracy and strokes gained putting. That’s a lethal combination around these parts and it’s worth noting that his iron play has really been trending upward over the last three months.

J.T. Poston

DK: $8,000 — FD: $10,200 — YH: $26

Odds — 45
Driving Accuracy — 57
SG: APP — 56
Birdie or Better Rate — 31
Proximity with Wedges — 36
SG: Putting (Bentgrasss) — 32
Noto’s Rating — 76.8

Poston is my pick to win this week, so he obviously needed to make the list of core plays. Despite awful history at the Travelers, Poston came out last week and put on a clinic. He led the field in strokes gained on approach and put together an incredible Sunday to finish in a tie for second. If you look at his ball striking numbers, he’s well below tour average over the last two years. However, he’s above-average over the last six months and top 10 in this field over the last three months. We know he can get red-hot with the putter and he should have plenty of confidence after last week’s performance.

Conviction Plays

Cameron Davis

DK: $8,400 — FD: $10,300 — YH: $38

Odds — 45
Driving Accuracy — 139
SG: APP — 21
Birdie or Better Rate — 18
Proximity with Wedges — 25
SG: Putting (Bentgrasss) — 6
Noto’s Rating — 79.1

In birdie fests, it makes sense to target golfers that make a lot of birdies. Over the last six months, he’s 18th in this field in birdie or better percentage. Over the last two years, he’s first in this field in birdie or better percentage. He’s not accurate off the tee, but he’s long enough that he should be able to club down on a lot of the holes. He’s very good with his wedges and he’s a top 10 putter in this field on bentgrass. He’s also 2-for-2 at this event in his career and comes into the week in good form.

Mark Hubbard

DK: $7,400 — FD: $9,000 — YH: $24

Odds — 80
Driving Accuracy — 72
SG: APP — 24
Birdie or Better Rate — 48
Proximity with Wedges — 41
SG: Putting (Bentgrasss) — 12
Noto’s Rating — 73.3

Hubbard hasn’t flashed a ton of upside recently, but he’s been making a lot of cuts and I like what I see when I look at his statistics. He has gained 12 strokes on approach over his last four starts combined. Historically, he’s been very good around the greens and we know he’s very good on the greens. He’s played the John Deere Classic four times, so he should be very familiar with the course. If he can keep the ball in the fairway, I like his chances to make some noise this week at low ownership.

Ryan Armour

DK: $7,100 — FD: $8,800 — YH: $20

Odds — 100
Driving Accuracy — 3
SG: APP — 32
Birdie or Better Rate — 72
Proximity with Wedges — 68
SG: Putting (Bentgrasss) — 36
Noto’s Rating — 69.7

Armour is essentially a clone of Brendon Todd on the golf course. The two have an eerily similar skill set — they both pepper fairways and they both make a lot of putts. Despite the good course fit, Armour isn’t expected to be popular this week. That’s likely due to the fact that he’s missed three straight cuts here. While not ideal, I’ll trust recent form and course fit over course history. I also like the upside that he provides at this price point, as he’s finished in the top 35 in six of his last 11 starts.

Vaughn Taylor

DK: $6,800 — FD: $7,700 — YH: $20

Odds — 160
Driving Accuracy — 10
SG: APP — 16
Birdie or Better Rate — 33
Proximity with Wedges — 79
SG: Putting (Bentgrasss) — 70
Noto’s Rating — 62.5

Taylor hasn’t exactly had a great couple of seasons on the PGA Tour. However, he returns to a place that he loves and his recent iron play is awfully encouraging. He gained 4.9 strokes on approach at Wells Fargo (in only two rounds), he gained 3.0 strokes at the Byron Nelson, and he gained 4.3 strokes at the Canadian Open. He’s top 20 in this field in driving accuracy and he’s been a slightly positive putter on bentgrass in his career. He’s also dirt cheap and expected to have 3-5% ownership.

PGA Betting Card

A win from Patrick Cantlay certainly would have been appreciated, but it wasn’t meant to be. We cashed a top 20, a top 30, and a top 40 bet, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the losses for the week. With the season winding down, we are in need of a hot streak. As many like to say, there’s no better time than the present.

Season total: -102 units

This week: 13 units in play

To compare odds across all of the major sportsbooks, check out the Scores and Odds golf page.

Winner

  • Adam Hadwin +1800 (FanDuel)
  • Maverick McNealy +3300 (BetMGM)
  • Brendon Todd +3500 (DraftKings)
  • JT Poston +5500 (DraftKings)
  • Lanto Griffin +6600 (BetMGM)
  • Chris Gotterup +13000 (.5 units at DraftKings)
  • Vaughn Taylor +16000 (.5 units at FanDuel)

Top 10 Bets

  • Lanto Griffin +600 (DraftKings)
  • JT Poston +600 (DraftKings)
  • Vaughn Taylor +1200 (PointsBet)

Top 20 Bets

  • Hank Lebioda +400 (FanDuel)

Top 40 Bets

  • Brendon Todd -115 (DraftKings)
  • Lanto Griffin +110 (DraftKings)
  • JT Poston +110 (DraftKings)

These odds were found at Scores and Odds and were available as of Tuesday afternoon.

Image Credit: Imagn

Meet the Experts Content Posting Times

Top-ranked DFS player, Notorious, breaks down his favorite PGA DFS plays at various salary ranges for the coming week’s golf tournament. Who should you be building around? Find out below.

John Deere Classic

If you are new to RotoGrinders premium, welcome to the team. Make sure to check out all of the great PGA content and join the Discord for a lot of fun each week. If you have been a premium member for a long time, you know that I will take it on the chin when a week goes poorly. I’m not sure I could have constructed a worse outcome for the Travelers Championship, at least for my bankroll. I decided to avoid Xander Schauffele (even though he rated out well and I usually play him every week) and my only hope on Sunday was a big round from Patrick Cantlay. He seemingly forgot how to golf and racked up nine bogeys and a double bogey… IN ONE ROUND. Brian Harman was fine, but the picks featured in this article struggled as a whole. Lanto Griffin, Brendon Todd, and Jhonattan Vegas all missed the cut. I try to motivate myself even more after bad results, so I’m ready to get right back into it at the John Deere Classic.

The big storyline heading into this week’s event is the field set to tee it up in Illinois. There isn’t a single player in this field that is ranked in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings. This is one of those weeks where it will feel like a grind more than anything to do research and to build lineups. We should use this to our advantage. More often than not, DFS players tend to rely on optimizers and models when building lineups for events with little interest. This means the chalk will concentrate even more than usual and with very little disparity in talent between the top and bottom of the field, it sets up as a good week to make pivots in all formats. This doesn’t mean we should avoid all chalk, but the lower-owned golfers are more appealing than most weeks. Additionally, it could be a good week to leave a little salary on the table.

Now, let’s get to the course. TPC Deere Run is a Par 71 that measures 7,289 yards. Of the 42 golf courses I have data for, this one rates out as the sixth easiest year over year. Golfers will need to make at least 20 birdies to find themselves in contention on Sunday. There appears to be a lot of wind in the forecast on Thursday, but the winds die down the next three days and we might even get some rain to soften the course on Friday. Make no mistake about it, this will be another birdie fest. Off the tee, golfers will see very wide fairways and a few forced layups. This certainly isn’t a bomber’s track, but you can be aggressive if you so choose (see Cameron Champ here last year). With the fairways being easy to hit and with average-sized greens, the green in regulation percentage here (74%) is one of the highest on tour.

In general, the easier the course and the easier the greens are to hit, the more it turns into a putting contest. This certainly aligns with the John Deere Classic, as Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson, and Jordan Spieth have had the most success here over the years. Fairways, wedges, and putting is a combination that really works well on this golf course. You can also play the regional narrative, as there are a lot of golfers in the field that live or played golf in this area of the country. I’m not looking to target a specific skillset off the tee, but will certainly be looking for good putters and golfers that can rack up birdies.

Downloadable and Customizable Model for the John Deere Classic

Tournament Info

Field Size:

  • 156 golfers

Cut Rule:

  • Top 65 and ties

Key Statistics for the Week

  • Birdie or Better %
  • Strokes Gained Approach
  • Strokes Gained Putting (Emphasis on Bent)
  • Driving Accuracy (or Total Driving)

Weather Forecasts

Hole Yardage Specialists (based on holes at TPC Deere Run)

  • Webb Simpson
  • Kevin Streelman
  • Denny McCarthy
  • Lanto Griffin
  • Brendon Todd

Core Plays

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About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in RotoGrinders.com’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

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