What’s going on people! I’m writing this article late on Monday night, completely in the dark still to any actual DFS pricing or odds. With that in mind, I’m conservatively going (what I believe to be) very far down the board for guys who should be $7K and $6K in DFS and 75/1+ on odds boards, even in a limited 69-man field.
*Tuesday Morning Edit: The odds are out, and these guys are still all bombs*
I think the natural inclination this week will be to go heavy on Jon Rahm, who clearly played the best of the top-tier elites at THE NORTHERN TRUST even despite floundering for a 3rd place finish in the end. But I’m not going that route. What I see in front of us is a bona fide birdie fest, where value-range players can post a number in the low 20s under par if they can catch a hot putter, so that’s the upside I’m looking to get exposure to when filling out a card and a lineup this week. Finding cheap guys who are strong OTT with the distance to clear fairway hazards and cut off angles should set up players for success, and combining that with the ability to make birdies in easy conditions should also separate players from the pack at Caves Valley. With that in mind, here’s a look at my favorite players I’ll be targeting in the value range this week.
DFS Values & Betting Bombs
Pricing from Draft Kings
Jason Kokrak (+8000)
I know, I know. He was terrible at THE NORTHERN TRUST and missed the cut after I was so high on him all week. We all lost money on Jason Kokrak and now we hate him blah blah blah. But I’ve lost enough money this year on short term blacklists (hello Bryson at API, English at the Travelers) to know that players are fully capable of looking awful one week and correcting all of those mistakes a week later, so for that reason, I’m back in on Kokrak.
Jason Kokrak rated out #1 in my model this week, as he continues to rate out #1 in SG: P on Bent grass, and #2 in comp course history, which includes a win on the last Bent Grass, Tom Fazio-designed, brand new PGA Tour course with a limited, stacked field we saw earlier this season at Shadow Creek for the CJ Cup. Kokrak is also 6th in this field in Driving Distance, which will be paramount this week to cut off angles for short wedge leaves around the greens for several of the shorter Par 4s we’ll see this week. And in addition to all of that, he’s also 8th in Birdies or Better Gained, which on a course that is expected to push past 20-under par to win, is a pre-requisite to find success.
If there were ever a week where missing the cut in the event prior was a positive, this is absolutely that week. Kokrak skipped town on the first Net Jet he could find out of New Jersey to Baltimore and has now had at least 3 more days of prep around a brand new course than a majority of the field who will be seeing the course for the first time on Tuesday after the delayed finish at Liberty National. If you liked Kokrak going in to last week, you have to love him coming into Caves Valley at this discount.
Jhonattan Vegas (+13000)
Vegas is a value lay up this week, fitting the profile of exactly what we’re looking for at a Bent grass, treelined, easy scoring, Tom Fazio course where Driving Distance, Birdie Making, and strong Approach play are key. While I don’t know what his DFS price is going to be yet, I’m very sure he’ll be priced in the bottom half of this field, given the number of elite players jammed at the top.
Vegas comes in ranked 7th SG: APP, 6th SG: BS, 7th SG: OTT, 4th in Driving Distance, and 9th in Birdies or Better Gained. All very encouraging for somebody at 130/1 versus just 68 other opponents in an event he can’t be cut in. Vegas has 5 T15 finishes over his last 7 starts dating back to the Byron Nelson, highlighted by two T2s in that span. He’s gained strokes T2G in 11 of his last 12 starts, and encouragingly has maintained a hot putter gaining strokes on the greens in 5 of his last 7 starts.
He’s piled up 3 Runner Up finishes this season between the 3M Open, Palmetto Championship, and the Puerto Rico Open. After just watching a Runner Up savant with Puerto Rico Open prominence win the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, doesn’t it seem appropriate that Vegas follow suit at the BMW Championship?
Sebastian Munoz (+13000)
In the penultimate event of the season, I have to show some love for my boy Sebastian Munoz who I finally got the chance to follow along in person in what was (at the time) a legitimate push for First Round Leader at Liberty National!
There are a lot of qualities to this course that make me want to default to Munoz for the full tournament in the same way I would for just the first round. For starters, it’s a no cut event, so even if he blows up and negates his birdies with bogeys, he’ll still be viable for 4 days of high ceiling DK scoring in DFS formats. He’s also shown elite putting flashes on Bent grass in recent weeks, having gained 2.5+ strokes putting at the John Deere Classic, Charles Schwab Challenge, and Byron Nelson all within the last 3 months. Munoz is no stranger to the FedEx Cup Playoffs; he caught fire in last year’s playoffs with finishes of T17, T8, and T8 at the NOTHERN TRUST, BMW, and Tour Championship, and after a T21 in the first leg last week, he seems to be poised for another push towards East Lake.
Mackenzie Hughes (+13000)
Playoff Mack returns! Just barely. Hughes snuck into leg two of the FedEx Cup Playoffs this week after a T27 finish propelled him to 65th in the FedEx Cup standings. Hughes isn’t going to pop in a ton of models because he’s a putting specialist who’s been inconsistent with the putter in 2021. But be that as it may, Hughes has actually stepped up in big pressure packed moments lately. Over the past year, Hughes has quickly picked up 6 T15 finishes between the Memorial, THE NORTHERN TRUST, BMW, Tour Championship, US Open, and The Open.
Again, the stats won’t wow you, but he’s found a way to fire off strong results in the biggest of stages, and with Hughes, we always have the upside to gain 7+ strokes on the greens, so in an event that figures to be a birdie fest putting contest, the floor here seems to at least be a ton of birdies for Draft Kings scoring regardless of his final finishing position.
Talor Gooch (+13000)
It’s been a very long PGA Tour super season, and most of us at this point are exhausted from playing Talor Gooch in positions where the stats say he should compete and the results don’t back it up. Well that was the case for Sam Burns before his first win at the Valspar, it was the case for Abraham Ancer before his first win at the WGC FedEx St Jude, and I believe it’s only a matter of time before we see the strong play come together for 4 consecutive rounds with Talor Gooch as well.
Gooch is quietly on one of the best Approach stretches in this field, having gained 2+ strokes on Approach in 5 consecutive measured rounds dating back to the Charles Schwab Challenge in May. Lately he just hasn’t gotten any putts to drop, but he still ranks 13th in this field in Opportunities Gained, and it’s encouraging that on Bent grass greens, Gooch putts better than his baseline, ranking 20th in this field SG: P on Bent. If this goes south on us one more time, we can at least take solace in knowing Gooch won’t be around to tempt us into burning more money on him for a solid month.