Bombs & Values is back and better than ever for the 2021 Charles Schwab Challenge after a one week hiatus for the PGA Championship. And boy let me tell you, this week is absolutely LOADED with viable bomb options. I have no idea where my betting card is going to end up, but I could easily see myself trotting out 7 or 8 guys in the 80-140/1 range this week and taking my chances there. There is legitimate concern from an outright standpoint to beat the likes of Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, and Collin Morikawa (amongst others) on this track, but that’s all the more reason to pivot to more Stars & Scrubs exposures in DFS this week. Let’s dive into the 4 players who offer the salary relief value in DFS and high placing upside at the end of the betting board.
Pricing from Draft Kings
Matthew NeSmith ($7,300)
Matthew NeSmith has made me look like a fool without fail when I write him up, so you should understand the amount of confidence I need to have in him to put myself out there on this ledge once again. The fault in my ways previously was the blind faith in his elite Ball Striking, and while that still hasn’t gone away (he’s 11th SG: BS L36 rounds), there are more factors trending in his favor this week.
NeSmith is not a good putter. He ranks 91st in this field of 120 in that department and had lost strokes in 6 consecutive events from the Genesis Invitational through the RBC Heritage. But since then, he’s turned a corner, gaining at both the Valspar and Wells Fargo. That’s encouraging, but the real reason I’m excited about NeSmith this week is that we’re finally back on Bent grass. NeSmith has gone 15 events since he last played on Bent grass in October 2020 at the Shriners. On TPC Summerlin’s Bent grass greens, he went on to gain 3.5 strokes putting en route to a T8 finish. 4 of NeSmith’s 7 best career putting performances have come on Bent grass, and over the last 36 rounds, he ranks 50th in SG: P on Bent.
I feel confident with all these signs that the putter will show up this week. I’m even more confident that the irons will be there as well, as he’s gained 2+ strokes on Approach in 9 of his last 11 events, good for 7th SG: APP over that span. He’s only 51st in SG: OTT, but I’d expect that number to jump this week, given the premium on Driving Accuracy, where he ranks 13th.
If NeSmith doesn’t have a good week at Colonial, it will be because the wedges around the green let him down; he’s gained strokes ARG just once in his last 8 starts. But if he can just stay level to the field, his Ball Striking and Putting should help carry him towards a T20 bid.
Chase Seiffert ($6,400)
The most disrespected player in daily fantasy golf and mainstay in the Bombs & Values article returns to familiar territory once again as Draft Kings continues to bury him deep in the $6K range.
Seiffert will be making his Charles Schwab debut this week, but all of the stats would suggest this course is tailor-made for him. Par 4 Scoring is paramount for success here, particularly in the 350-450 yard range where a majority of the holes will be funneled. Seiffert ranks 3rd in this field in Scoring from this range, behind only Jordan Spieth and Corey Conners, thanks to ranks of #1 P4 350-400 and #13 P4 400-450. In addition to the Par 4 Scoring, he’s just been a solid, above average player in 2021, ranking Top 50 in Ball Striking, Approach, Putting on Bent grass, Opportunities Gained, Birdies Gained, and Driving Accuracy. That’s a profile that may keep me away from an outright, but absolutely has my attention at the bottom of a DFS board.
There are 88 players priced higher than Chase Seiffert this week, who ranks #30 in SG: TOT over the last 36 rounds, and #23 in my model. The recent form and course profile fit suits Seiffert well this week, so this price offers a great opportunity to maximize value in DFS lineups.
Denny McCarthy ($6,300)
Take the #6 player SG: P L24 rounds, who many consider to be the best putter on Tour, and put him on his preferred putting surface where he ranks #1 SG: P on Bent grass, and you’ve got my attention. Take a player who sucks from long range proximity (#110 Prox: 200+) and Par 5 scoring (#82) and put him on a course where neither of the two factor in at all, and consider my interest piqued. Put a fairway finder (#35) and elite scrambler around the greens (#6) on a track that finally disregards distance in favor of accuracy and demands quality short game to win, and suddenly I’m left questioning why I’ve spent my time this week talking about anyone who is not Denny McCarthy, the perfect amalgamation of every stat that matters for Colonial Country Club.
Oh by the way, he’s $300 removed from the dead minimum price on Draft Kings where the likes of Keith Clearwater and JJ Henry reside.
McCarthy had no business making the cut at the PGA Championship, the opposite type of course for his game, but he did anyway with a T59 finish, so I still find that encouraging. Removing Denny from the longest course in Major history and returning him to a 7,200 yard track against a field that does not include 99 of the top 100 golfers in the world should only improve his standing this week. The last two times Denny McCarthy played a sub-7,200 yard track? T13 at the RBC Heritage and T3 at the Honda Classic.
Vincent Whaley ($6,200)
Sound the alarm fellas, we’ve got a WHALE PLAY! Fortunately I give my whale plays out free of charge, unlike some other Touts out there. How does he do it? Seriously, how does he do it?! I’m talking about Vincent Whaley, who despite some good, not great stats, has made the cut in 8 consecutive events, and finished Top 40 in each of his last 7.
Whaley’s game isn’t exactly a perfect fit for this course as he sacrifices some accuracy off the tee for distance and his approach numbers are not awe-inspiring, ranking 69th in this field. But I’m looking to jam in a few names at the very top of the board into my lineups this week, and if that means I need to get a minimally priced guy through the cut to afford them, then I’m heading straight to Whaley at $6,200.
Over the Last 24 Rounds, Whaley rates out a very solid 23rd SG: TOT, thanks largely to his short game, which nets out to 22nd SG: SG, 31st SG: ARG, and 28th SG: P. If recent winners Kevin Na, Kevin Kisner, and Jordan Spieth have taught us anything, it’s that you can hang around and win at Colonial if you have a really good short game. Although the ball striking numbers sit around average, I’m encouraged to see that Whaley rates out 21st in Par 4 Scoring and 8th in P4: 400-450 Scoring, where a majority of the holes here are funneled to. I likely won’t have Whaley on my betting card this week, but his consistent cut-making ability at worse course fits recently make him a high floor DFS play for this salary-saver range.
Chris Kirk (+8000)
There is a consensus value player who finds himself on everyone’s card across the industry each week. The track record for these types of players isn’t great, but as always, it’s more an indictment on the gross mispricing from the books than shoddy groupthink. So, the flavor of the week for the 2021 Charles Schwab Challenge turns to Chris Kirk.
Kirk won at Colonial 6 years ago and has made the cut here in each of his last 8 trips, including 5 T15s in that span. Kirk’s repeated success at Colonial should come as no surprise; he fits the profile of all the other winners perfectly. He’s accurate off the tee (36th), great on approach (16th), elite around the greens (8th), and a reliable putter (37th) with the ability to get hot on Bent grass. Even looking at the secondary stats, he’s 6th in Bogey Avoidance, 10th in Birdies or Better Gained, and…drumroll…#1 in Par 4 400-450 Scoring, the most important hole range at Colonial.
The only conceivable explanation for Kirk, who ranks 9th in SG: TOT and 7th in SG: T2G, to slip to this number would be his 2 consecutive MCs at the Valspar and the PGA Championship. At the Valspar, Kirk was on the good side of the cutline through 34 holes before closing with a disastrous Triple Bogey, Bogey finish on his final two holes. And I’m willing to cut him some slack for missing the cut at the PGA Championship, catching an early flight home with the likes of Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, and Xander Schauffele. So yeah, I’ll overlook one bad blowup hole at Copperhead and an early exit from Kiawah’s carnage if the return is a discounted number on a former champion in Kirk at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Kevin Kisner (+10000)
Pick a Kevin, any Kevin, they’re all in play this week! Seriously, I wouldn’t stop anyone from starting their cards or lineups with Streelman, Na, and Kisner. But of the Kevin triumvirate, Kisner happens to be my favorite this week, despite having the longest odds.
Kisner won this event in 2017, and it’s no surprise why looking at the history of how other short but accurate drivers with great short games, particularly on Bent grass, have fared at Colonial. Those strengths have continued with Kisner’s game in 2021, as he ranks 14th in Driving Accuracy, 36th SG: SG, 20th in Total Putting, and 15th in Bent Putting.
Sea Island GC is one of the top comp courses to Colonial CC, considering each are sub-7,200 Par 70s which emphasize Driving Accuracy, Approach, and ARG. That happens to be where Kisner delivered his best finish of the 2021 season with a T2 at the RSM Classic in November. There are plenty of tracks where Kisner tees it up and hopes for a T20 at best. Last week at Kiawah would be a perfect example of that, but Kisner should come to Colonial with this event circled as a legitimate opportunity to win again.
Ian Poulter (+10000)
Like Kisner, Poulter reminded us he’s a spectacular Match Play golfer in his previous WGC trip to Austin, despite what the Stroke Play results have yielded. Both players sacrifice distance for accuracy off the tee and make a living with their short game, as Poulter ranks #16 SG: SG. He thrives especially on Bent greens, where he ranks 9th SG: P. In most weeks, I’m quick to dismiss short game, but Colonial has proven time after time that a class short game is required to win here.
The course history is solid, with a T5 in 2015 and a T29 in his most recent appearance last year. Like Denny McCarthy, Poulter tends to lose strokes to the field in Par 5 Scoring, Proximity 200+, and Driving Distance, so the de-prioritization of those categories should do Poulter wonders. The approach numbers may be a concern ranking 87th SG: APP over the last 36 rounds, but he’s showing signs of turning the form around, gaining strokes in that department in 4 of his last 6 individual rounds. If that trend in approach continues, we know the rest of the game is ready to go at Colonial.
Joel Dahmen (+11000)
Sadly, my Joel Dahmen Top 20 prop at the PGA Championship did not cash last week, although he did come into Sunday in position at T21. It’s alright, it’s Kiawah Island on a nasty Sunday, I’m not going to hold a grudge against him for it. The stats tell a much better story than the T55 finish though, as Dahmen gained over 7 strokes with his Ball Striking, he just had some of the worst short game in the field. As Brooks Koepke put it, I don’t think anybody could putt well with that wind (unless you’re starting it on the right line), so I’m more optimistic the short game issues can be corrected quickly in one week for Dahmen, who jumps from 101st SG: P (TOT) up to 36th SG: P (Bent).
Dahmen has made three career appearances at Colonial and finished T20 in two of them. He also gained strokes around the green in two of his three appearances here, which leaves room for optimism if that’s all that’s held him back in recent weeks. He has not missed a cut since earning his first career Tour win at Corales four starts ago, and if the wind picks up as it often does in the Dallas area, that should continue to play into his strengths, as we’ve seen recently with the Ball Striking at the Ocean Course, Quail Hollow, and Corales.