Making a Millionaire - PGA Rocket Mortgage Classic

Every week of this revised PGA Tour schedule, DFS players are given an opportunity to become a millionaire. The purpose of this article is to provide risky and uncertain GPP plays. Ideally, these players will be under 10% owned in the DraftKings Millionaire Maker tournament. Keep on reading to find some of the players I will be embracing this risk with this upcoming golf weekend. Enjoy the ride!

Are you ready to be a millionaire? Making a Millionaire (I have to trademark this soon) is back for PGA! It’s been awhile since the NFL season last Fall, and with the Coronavirus pandemic suspending all major sports, the PGA tour has been welcomed with open arms. And since DraftKings is still thriving with its stock price climbing and cash flow looking strong, we get a PGA million-dollar tournament every week. (Side note: looks like NBA may follow suit when it tries to return at the end of July).

I want to be clear, I’m an information aggregator of a DFS player. I digest a bit of analysis each week from a handful of analysts who live and breathe this stuff, and then I try to form my own conclusions. There are pros and cons to this strategy. First, the pro is it’s easy to identify groupthink. For instance, one expert talks up Tyrell Hatton or Kevin Na this week and talks about how Hatton has basically finished top 10 in all the events he played in and Na’s skillset is perfect for this golf course. Great. Well, in a massive GPP tournament, is it crazy to fade one or both of these guys? It’s likely they will do well, but by reading and listening to some of these experts follow the herd, it might be best not to. The con of this strategy is I am not the person spending hours looking at data. I’ll let the experts tell me what matters and then look for some underlying metrics that will support a contrarian view.

Let’s not think with the masses, let’s look for leverage and let’s start right now.

Rocket Mortgage Classic

Tony Finau ($9,300 DK) Projected Points 79.9 / Ownership 17.20%

In the NFL, the best way to be a smart contrarian is typically to target a high-scoring Vegas-projected offense, and play the overlooked guy who will be on the field for every snap. In golf, we have Vegas odds for each golfer, so we can look at projected ownership and go after the really good, overlooked play. This week, that is Tony Finau, who is around 25/1.

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride is how the saying goes for Finau (1 win, 6 runner-ups on Tour). Some in the industry are discussing Finau as a nice play but his projected ownership of of 15% seems generously high. Finau should end up closer to 10% owned. If we look at guys around his price tag who should be higher-owned: Bryson (obviously, protein shakes), Webb (#1 player in FedEx cup), Hatton (worst finish is T14th this season), Reed (dominates these kinds of courses), Hovland (everybody’s darling right now), and Fowler (sponsored by Rocket Mortgage, mustache); then we can see how Finau could get lost in the shuffle.

I wasn’t considering Big Tones either until I thought about how he’s due for a victory (you don’t have as many top-10’s as this guy without running into a win here or there), he’s a cut-making machine (10/13 this season, missed cut last week by one stroke), and his skill set has no weakness at this course (top 10 on Tour in SG: Around the Green and Tee-to-Green, and top 40 in SG: Off Tee and Approach the Green). He’s long off the tee, great on approaches, and excellent around the green but he’s just an average putter. He’s going to be in position for a few eagles, many many birdies, and if he can get the putter going, this might be a week where we look back and say how did we not see Tony Finau dominating this weak field coming?

Hudson Swafford ($6,400 DK) Projected Points 38.19 / Ownership 0.82%

Harris English unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week and withdrew from this event. He is priced at $8,900 on DK and many people would have played him. We all hope Harris has a speedy recovery and is back playing soon but let me ask a semi-serious question: are Harris English and Hudson Swafford the same people?

English and Swafford both stand 6 feet 3 inches tall. They both attended University of Georgia and majored in Consumer Economics, both turned pro in 2011, and they do resemble one another. However, when it comes to the statistics, since 2016 English has been the much better player. In the 2019-20 season, the only metric Swafford is better is SG: Around the Green.

Swafford has only played one tournament since the restart (Travelers) and he missed the cut. However, at his price tag, his metrics are outstanding. His strong suit is his short game, he’s good around the green, an above-average putter, and above-average tee-to-green. But he’s also a decent driver where he is losing 0.10 strokes (basically a wash) and overall his SG: Total ranks 56. Almost every other golfer in his price range has one major weakness in their game.

I look at it this way…currently he’s 162nd in the FedEx Cup Standings despite ranking 56th overall in Strokes Gained. At his price tag, can we get a Harris English-like performance with positive regression coming Swafford’s way? Oh, and at less than 1%

Sam Burns ($6,900 DK) Projected Points 64.19 / Ownership 6.70%

Birdie-making, volatile Sam Burns could be a key player this weekend. His advanced metrics this season are a thing of beauty.

  • SG: Off the Tee: 22nd (excellent)
  • SG: Approach the Green: 185th (horrible)
  • SG: Around the Green: 216th (terrible)
  • SG: Putting: 39th (excellent)
  • SG: Tee-to-Green: 176th (awful)
  • SG: Total: 130th (meh)

All to say, he can drive the ball great, can really putt, but everything else is a prayer. Can he put it all together this week though?

He is coming off a T24th finish last week at the Travelers, where he shot -11 and hit 76% Greens in Regulation, his second-best performance in this category in 14 tournaments. He also went -10 on Par 4’s and Par 5’s last week, of which there are plenty of those this week in Detroit.

He may be a wild ride, but he is another golfer that I will be higher on than the field and hope he can ride last week’s performance to make the cut and finish top-10 this weekend.

That’s all I have today, good luck to all this weekend and please give a thumbs-up above!

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