We are back for more bombs and more values as the Tour heads into the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, THE NORTHERN TRUST at Liberty National. On the surface, an event whose last 6 winners read Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Jason Day does not scream “Bomb week”. However the leaderboard in 2019 at Liberty National also featured Abraham Ancer and Harold Varner III inside the T3, just one and two strokes off the lead respectively, and they entered this event in some very mediocre form that year, so I’m feeling optimistic we’ll see some bombs towards the top of the leaderboard once again this week. Here’s a look at my favorite low price, high upside plays of the week across Draft Kings DFS and the betting board.
DFS Values & Betting Bombs
Pricing from Draft Kings
Jason Kokrak ($7,700, +7500)
We kick things off with my Spotlight Player of the week, Jason Kokrak. It’s hard to get too excited about playing him when looking at the totality of his career, but it’s much easier to feel optimistic when we limit our expectations to just 2021 Kokrak, having picked up his first two career victories this season on Bent grass events in the CJ Cup and Charles Schwab. At the CJ Cup, he capitalized on an OG Russell Henley Sunday collapse (to my demise) before it was trendy, but got it done with a hot putter, which then set the tone for the rest of the season as he’s gone through an Oosthuizen-esque flip of the script on the greens. Korkak enters this week as the #1 putter on Bent Grass greens, which should poise himself to improve on his T12 finish at Liberty National in 2019 where he gave back a stroke to the field putting in an otherwise solid T2G performance.
Shane Lowry ($7,500, +7500)
Royal Portrush is a Top 4 Course Fit to Liberty National according to Data Golf, so that alone gets me excited to play the 2019 Open Champion, Shane Lowry at this price. Lowry has played himself safely onto the European Ryder Cup team this year with 4 T10 finishes dating back to THE PLAYERS in March. Like THE PLAYERS, this ALL CAPS event will be moderate in length, moderate in scoring conditions, and feature plenty of water hazards and contoured angles that will force conservative clubs off the tee. For a player in Lowry who has lost strokes OTT in 5 of his last 7 measured rounds, he should welcome a course like Liberty National which makes it just a bit easier for players to find fairways with many forced layups.
Shane Lowry’s strengths of SG: APP (28th) and SG: ARG (11th) profile well for Liberty National, if he can just avoid the hazards off the tee with his first shots. The putter has prevented Lowry from firing more T10 finishes this year, but he has shown promise he can gain on Bent grass, with plus performances on the greens most recently at Muirfield Village, Torrey Pines, Shadow Creek, and Winged Foot. He also gained 1.2 strokes putting in his last trip to Liberty National, so there’s plenty of reason for optimism. Lowry has finished T10 in each of the last three times he’s gained strokes putting, and with all the recent Bent success on his side, there’s a high ceiling for him once again at Liberty National.
Branden Grace ($7,200, +9000)
There’s a growing list of players who we can expect to be disrespected with their pricing week to week regardless of recent form. Patrick Reed, Daniel Berger, and Roger Sloan come to mind as players who are constantly under-valued by odds makers and DK Pricing. I began to think Branden Grace was getting the same disrespect treatment heading into the Wyndham Championship, but after seeing his price dip even further following a playoff loss last week, Grace can officially be welcomed into the disrespect zone.
Branden Grace has 3 T10 finishes in his last 4 starts. He’s $7,200 and 90/1! This is crazy! What’s even crazier is that Grace is not a course specialist firing these results on niche layouts that favor a particular skillset, or even to the benefit of facing weaker competition. These T10 finishes came at the Wyndham Championship, The US Open, and the Memorial. He’s been a reliable putter for a sustained amount of time, gaining strokes putting in 8 of his last 9 measured events, including 8.7 strokes gained at Wyndham last week. But Grace hasn’t been reliant on just the putter to score recently, the irons have been on fire as well, gaining 2+ strokes on approach in 5 of his last 6 measured rounds. In his trip to Liberty National in 2019, Grace gained 7.8 strokes T2G (albeit mostly tied up in SG: ARG) but finished a modest T30 after losing 4.5 strokes putting. I would be shocked if Grace gives that many strokes away on the greens this time around, and think a T20 finish is a safe bet for the South African in this spot.
Seamus Power ($7,000, +13000)
Seamus Power picked up his first career PGA Tour victory at the Barbasol Championship two starts ago, and now that he’s won, we’re done playing him. Have I gotten that right? Sure, he was disappointing at the Wyndham Championship last week, barely sneaking through the cut with a T60 finish. I’m willing to look past that for a player who, like Grace, also has 3 T10s in his last 4 starts. While not as impressive as the US Open and Memorial finishes on Grace’s resume, Power’s T10s at the John Deere and Rocket Mortgage along with the Barbasol victory are still notable sitting at a flat $7K.
It’s really important to find players who can gain in all four major SG categories to find success at Liberty National, and Power finds himself in elite company joining Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Scottie Scheffler, and Harris English as the only 5 players in this field to be averaging 1+ stroke gained per round OTT, APP, ARG, and P over their last 24 rounds. He’s also one of just 9 players this week to rank Top 50 in SG: BS, SG: APP, SG: SG, and SG: P (Bent), the most premium stat categories I’m looking at for THE NORTHERN TRUST. It would be a shock if Seamus Power came out on top over this field, but he’s proven little doubt he should make it through to the weekend with his recent play, and at $7,000 he’s poised to be a high floor salary saver in DFS formats.
Hank Lebioda ($6,300, +25000)
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, Hank Lebioda enters THE NORTHERN TRUST with not one, not two, but THREE T10 finishes over his last 4 starts. It’s slight coincidence that these last three value plays all share that in common, but hey, I have a type this week. I like cheap players who can string together a trend of high places leading into the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Lebioda’s stretch comes with a bit of an asterisk in that his outing at the 3M Open is not recorded after having to WD for personal reasons after making the cut. Even still, Lebioda was 45% owned in certain DFS contests that week, and now after missing the cut at the Wyndham Championship by one stroke following a 69-69 performance, he’s $300 removed from stone minimum? I’m old enough to remember Lebioda’s stretch of three straight T10s at the Travelers, Rocket Mortgage, and John Deere, so I’m not going to let two mediocre showings since then distract me from that not so distant time. What those three T10 events share in common with Liberty National is the Bent grass greens, and considering Lebioda gained a whopping 17 strokes putting combined in those 3 starts, we should continue to expect another plus-putting performance again this week to go along with his steady iron and wedge play.