PGA DFS Picks - Expert Survey: FedEx St. Jude Championship

Want to know who Notorious is definitely paying up for in PGA DFS this week? Wondering which value play STLCardinals84 is eyeing most? You’re in luck. Our daily fantasy sports experts will answer a handful of questions to help you make crucial lineup building decisions for this week’s tournament.

FedEx St. Jude Championship

Who is your favorite golfer for optimal lineups?

Notorious: Will Zalatoris
STLCardinals84: Sungjae Im
feartheturtle: Sungjae Im
redkacheek: Rory McIlroy

Who is your favorite golfer for large field contests?

Notorious: Jordan Spieth
STLCardinals84: Scottie Scheffler
feartheturtle: Collin Morikawa
redkacheek: Collin Morikawa

Who is your favorite salary saver on the board?

Notorious: Corey Conners
STLCardinals84: Cameron Davis
feartheturtle: Corey Conners
redkacheek: Russell Henley

Which value-priced golfer has the best chance of making the cut?

Notorious: Russell Henley
STLCardinals84: Aaron Wise
feartheturtle: Aaron Wise
redkacheek: Corey Conners

Which golfer are you afraid of being underweight on compared to the field?

Notorious: Tony Finau
STLCardinals84: Justin Thomas
feartheturtle: Tony Finau
redkacheek: Tony Finau

Which high-priced golfer will you have little to no exposure to in tournaments?

Notorious: Cameron Smith
STLCardinals84: Cameron Smith
feartheturtle: Cameron Smith
redkacheek: Patrick Cantlay

What type of golfers are you targeting most? (ie: bomber, short game specialist)

Notorious: Ball Strikers
STLCardinals84: Ball Strikers
feartheturtle: Ball Strikers
redkacheek: Ball Strikers

Which statistic other than Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green are you weighing most?

Notorious: SG: Approach
STLCardinals84: SG: Approach
feartheturtle: SG: Approach
redkacheek: wGIR%

Predict the top three finishers of the event.

Notorious: 1. Zalatoris 2. Spieth 3. Lowry
STLCardinals84: 1. Scheffler 2. Burns 3. Fitzpatrick
feartheturtle: 1. McIlroy 2. Im 3. Morikawa
redkacheek: 1. McIlroy 2. Morikawa 3. Zalatoris

Predict the winning score of the week (ie: E, -5, -10).

Notorious: -16
STLCardinals84: -11
feartheturtle: -12
redkacheek: -17

Which useful trend or statistic stuck out most during your research?

Notorious: Over the last few years, we’ve seen three golfers win or finish second at this event while losing strokes putting. That rarely happens on the PGA Tour. With an emphasis on ball striking and with very small greens, golfers can gain most of their strokes tee to green at TPC Southwind. This doesn’t mean a hot putter won’t be valuable this week, but I am certainly placing a smaller emphasis on putting in my model. The course should play tough — the fairways are narrow, the rough is thick, the greens are tiny, and water is in play on 11 of the 18 holes.

STLCardinals84: In recent history, the field hits well under 50% of the greens in regulation on this course when missing the fairway off the tee. The rough is not easy to play from, especially given all the water at TPC Southwind. Tee to green play is paramount on this course, so I will be looking at good total drivers and ball strikers when considering my player pool for this first playoff event.

feartheturtle: TPC Southwind has hosted the St. Jude Classic from 1958 to 2018, which was typically held in June – so it’s always been a staple on tour. From 2019 to 2021 the tour stop was turned into a WGC invitational (stronger field event). Now, this event has been moved again and is serving as the opening leg of the FedEx Playoffs. In terms of what we are looking for here: it is really important to keep your ball in the fairway (rough is quite penal and tons of water to avoid) and there is an extra strong emphasis on approach play. In terms of what really sticks out, TPC Southwind has seen 5,989 balls in the water since 2013 – that is most of any tour course. Staying dry and avoiding big numbers will be key this week!

redkacheek: This golf course, TPC Southwind, got a slight distance bump last year but is still relatively short. Average Driving Distance is in the 280 range, but Approach shots are still around 140 yards on average. Driving Accuracy and GIR% are both around 60%, with 0.4 shot penalty for missing the fairway. What this tells me is that accuracy off the tee is much more important than distance. From there, Irons are obviously important as well as scrambling as most players will miss 7 greens per round. I will be focusing much of my attention on wGIR% which incorporates Driving Distance, Accuracy and good iron play.

Who is your top contrarian golfer (when considering price, key stats, projected ownership, etc.) on the board and why?

Notorious: Jordan Spieth – A friend in the industry reminded me that this was the event last year where Spieth was amazing from the fairway and awful from the rough, so I dug through his scorecard. He finished the week 15-under par when hitting the fairway, 3-under par on the par threes, and 8-over par when missing the fairway. The key difference heading into this year’s edition is that he is much better off the tee. In fact, he finished the 2021 season 135th in strokes gained off the tee. This season, he is 29th in strokes gained off the tee. The putter has been the weakness this season, but this is an event where you can contend without making a ton of putts.

STLCardinals84: Scottie Scheffler – Scheffler was the most popular high-end selection virtually every time he teed it up during the spring. It was hard to argue against him, as he won a ridiculous four tournaments in a two-month span. By those standards, he’s in a “slump” right now, and that has people off him in DFS. However, it’s not like he is really in a “slump.” The stats remain strong across the board, and Scheffler has still posted results of 2-18-2-13-MC-21 in his last six starts. Five top 25’s in a six-start stretch is not a “slump.” Take the ownership discount for a player with obvious win equity at the top.

feartheturtle: Collin Morikawa – Golf can sometimes be a weird sport regarding parsing through perception and reality. I am the furthest thing from a ‘Kawa guy, but the combination of somewhat negative public sentiment and the strong field of the event creates a situation where Collin gets a bit buried this week. He is coming off two rough outings across the pond, neither of which were overly shocking. Previous to that we saw him finish 5th in the US Open where he put together three solid rounds. Morikawa, historically, is excellent in terms of driving accuracy and has elite upside with the irons so he really checks the primary boxes from a course fit perspective. All this talk about him struggling, but if you look a bit deeper you are still getting a guy who has gained on approach in 8 of his last 9 events and is someone who should be able to avoid big numbers at TPC Southwind. I think this is a great spot to hop on the ‘Kawa wagon.

redkacheek: Collin Morikawa – feartheturtle covered much of it but a big selling point for me is that this course appears to suit Morikawa’s current strengths. We know his irons are historically good, but looking at his recent form, much of his reasoning for poor play has been the courses. St. Andrews set up as a wedge fest (honestly, there were multiple par 4s that were drivable), which has been a big hole in Morikawa’s game. This week, assuming he hits a lot of the fairways with reduced demand on distance, he should be around 150 yards which has been a strong point for him recently. With reduced price, reduced ownership, and some signs pointing to big ceiling, Morikawa is my favorite Contrarian play.

Who is your top overall golfer (when considering price, key stats, projected ownership, etc.) on the board and why?

Notorious: Will Zalatoris – So many good options to choose from this week, but I’ve had this week pegged as Willy Z week for quite some time. This is the most difficult course we’ve seen on the PGA Tour since the U.S. Open and we know how much Zalatoris loves difficult courses. Just as important, this is an event where you can get away with a bad putter. We’ve seen three golfers finish first or second here the last few years while losing strokes putting. Zalatoris is great on approach and solid around the greens and that’s really the recipe needed to contend at TPC Southwind.

STLCardinals84: Sam Burns – This is the type of course where I think Burns can showcase his winning upside. We’re getting him at a bit of a discount here, and he finished runner-up (in a playoff) a year ago at this course. He has a reputation for being volatile, but that makes him all the more welcomed in GPP builds. He also ranks 9th in this field in approach play over the last 36 rounds.

feartheturtle: Sungjae Im – I love Rory this week, but Sungjae Im at $2500 cheaper is an absolute steal. Im is a great fit here but it’s really about his floor/ceiling combination at this mid-8k price point that makes him this best overall play in my opinion. Coming off two straight runner-up finishes, look for Im to carry his quality form into a nice playoff run, even against stiffer competition than he has been facing recently.

redkacheek: Rory McIlroy – Feels odd to simply recommend the highest priced player, but our data has McIlroy as a huge favorite over this field. McIlroy hasn’t finished worse than T19 since April, and this course scoring is perfect for his style. Over the last 10 tournaments, McIlroy is gaining 1.6 birdies against the field, which is 0.15 higher than the next best player in the field (Cantlay), but also avoiding Bogeys, Doubles and 3-Putts. He is gaining 0.12 Strokes T2G per hole, which would set him up to average 66.5 per round here this week.

What is your hot take of the week?

Notorious: Will Zalatoris and Jordan Spieth have an epic five-hole playoff?

STLCardinals84: Cameron Smith misses the cut by four strokes.

feartheturtle: Rory is the only golfer in the 10k+ range to finish in the Top 5, but he is not even needed in lineups to take down GPPs on DK. Balanced builds land a higher 6/6 percentage and lead to lineups that ultimately litter the leaderboard.

redkacheek: No one under $8k finishes inside of the Top 10.

Image Credit: Imagn

Want to know who Notorious is definitely paying up for in PGA DFS this week? Wondering which value play STLCardinals84 is eyeing most? You’re in luck. Our daily fantasy sports experts will answer a handful of questions to help you make crucial lineup building decisions for this week’s tournament.

About the Author

  • John Britt (jmbwngfn)

  • One of the top baseball and hockey analysts in the DFS industry, John Britt is a family man hailing from St. Louis, Missouri. A proud graduate of the University of Missouri, John’s passion is hockey but he excels at multiple DFS sports. He has been nominated multiple times for awards for his written work in both baseball (best MLB series) and hockey (3x NHL Writer of the Year nominee) and is now the Lead Editor at RotoGrinders. John can be found on Twitter at the username JMBWngFn.

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