Bombs & Values THE PLAYERS

2021 THE PLAYERS Championship Bombs & Values: The 5 Best Value Plays For Your DFS Lineups and Betting Cards

We are back for another installment of Bombs & Values: 5th Major Edition! Last week’s Bombs & Values featured some league winners in Corey Conners and Chris Kirk. This week we’re hoping to feature a handful more that land inside the T10.

With pricing released early on Draft Kings for this week, we are seeing some soft pricing, particularly in the $9K range, so while I don’t think this is your typical Stars & Scrubs week where you need a $10K player, I do think you’re going to want to dip down for at least one guy in the $6K range to afford multiple $9K options. As I wrote about in the Tournament Preview, THE PLAYERS always tends to draw in some random, unheralded players to finish in the T5 (Jim Furyk, Jhonattan Vegas, Eddie Pepperell, and Brandt Snedeker rounded out the previous event’s Top 5 after Rory for God’s sake). So while I won’t be going overboard on betting Bombs this week as outrights, there’s definitely T5 equity anywhere you look across the board, so the options below offer some great potential returns.

If you’re new to the program, this article identifies salary-savers on Draft Kings and high-upside longshot bets with win equity at 70/1+ odds. Let’s jump right in!

DFS Values

What's in the Bag: Canadian Open champ Jhonattan Vegas | Golf Channel

Pricing from Draft Kings

Cameron Smith ($7,900)

I’ve written in the past about how Cameron Smith is the light version of Patrick Reed. They have great history at many of the same courses and fit the same player profile in that they are both above average Ball Strikers with excellent short games. I’ve talked a lot this week already about the importance of great Around The Green game at TPC Sawgrass, and since I’ve already backed that up with an outright on Patrick Reed to win, it only makes sense that I pair this correlation play with Cameron Smith in DFS as well.

Ownership-wise, I have a hard time believing anyone is jumping to play Cameron Smith at $7,900 when Joaquin Niemann sits $200 cheaper, but there’s plenty of reasons to jump onboard with Smith, and leveraging the low ownership is just the beginning.

In order to contend at THE PLAYERS, you need a well-rounded game in all facets – OTT, APP, ARG, P – and it helps if your Short Game is the strongest of those categories. In this entire field, there are only two players who rank above average T2G, BS, APP, & OTT, and Top 30 in SG, ARG, and Putting: 2018 champion Webb Simpson, potential 2021 champion Cameron Smith. That’s it, that’s the list. Any time you’re on a short list with Webb Simpson at THE PLAYERS, you’ve got my attention.

In terms of recent form, Smith has 10 (!) T25 finishes in his last 13 events, and just 1 MC in his last 16 events dating back to July 2020. His course history is unremarkable, that’s probably the reason why he’s in the $7K range to begin win. But it’s been 2 long years since he last played here, and the recent form should tell you he’s ready to make a serious run this time around at TPC Sawgrass.

Brian Harman ($6,900)

Nobody fires off 8th place finishes at Pete Dye courses like my man Brian Harman. He has two 8th place finishes at THE PLAYERS including one his last visit here in 2019. He also finished 8th in 2019 at The Travelers, and 8th this year at The AmEx. He does not have an 8th place finish at the other short Pete Dye track, Harbour Town, but he has sandwiched that with both a 7th and 9th place finish there in his career. I’m not writing up Brian Harman because I have a fascination with the number 8, I’m writing him up because he’s in the $6K range and consistently destroys short Pete Dye tracks. 8’s aside, Harman has 34 career T10 finishes and 9 of them have come at these 4 comp courses.

Harman’s stats won’t dazzle you, but I’m drawn to him because he’s in the $6K range and nothing about his game is scaring me away like they usually do down here. Looking at all the major SG categories, Harman ranks above field average in every single one (TOT, T2G, BS, SG, OTT, APP, ARG, P). Now, he doesn’t rank better than 50th in any of those categories either, but at this price, we’re only asking for Harman to make it through the cut to pay off his value, and if another T8 finish is his ceiling, that’s perfectly fine by me. When I look at the $6K guys, I’m mostly concerned with their floor, as I’m really relying on the higher-priced guys in my lineups to do all the scoring. Harman has 1 MC in his last 18 events dating back to July 2020, so consider him a low risk in an otherwise volatile range.

Kevin Streelman ($6,800)

When evaluating value plays this week, one of the most straightforward places for me to start is by looking at success on the other short Pete Dye comp tracks, as there tends to be a specific, repeatable formula to navigate these courses for certain players. In Kevin Streelman’s case, he is a model of consistency who jumps from average to above average when you put him on a short Pete Dye track. He ranks 15th in this field SG: TOT at these 4 Pete Dye comp course events (THE PLAYERS, Travelers, RBC Heritage, The AmEx), and 10 of 35 career T10s have come from these 4 events.

Streelman’s game is starting to come into form with 4 straight made cuts, including a strong T11 showing at the AT&T Pro-Am. He is 5th in this field in Good Drives Gained and 11th in GIRs gained, proving he is at his best on a course like TPC Sawgrass where you can play positional golf to set up your second shots, without having to worry about losing Distance to the field.

He has not had the best results at THE PLAYERS of late, but has shown through his history at other comp courses and solid recent form that he is primed to make it through the cut this year.

Andrew Putnam ($6,300)

I thought I was going to be done talking about Andrew Putnam for the rest of the year after he slid his way into a featured group pairing with Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy at the Genesis Invitational, following a late Texas snowstorm-induced WD from Cameron Champ. But while he’s continued to look like the nobody I thought he was on the tee box, the rest of his game has been shockingly great lately.

Did you know that Andrew Putnam has made the cut in 6 consecutive events coming into this week? I most certainly did not. I also did not know that he comes into THE PLAYERS riding back to back T5 finishes at the Puerto Rico Open and Arnold Palmer Invitational, nor did I know he also finished T7 a month ago at The Waste Management. He must be back dooring all of these finishes because I swear I’ve never seen his name pop up once this year on the Sunday broadcasts, but 3 T7s in his last 5 events is nothing to overlook, especially when you’re $300 removed from minimum price.

Putnam’s been putting on a short game clinic over this recent run of his, gaining at least 3.5 strokes in his Short Game in each of his last 5 events. Normally I’d just chalk that off as unsustainable, but with Short Game being as important as it seems to be this week, I’m intrigued! And while the Ball Striking numbers are bad, that’s mostly to do with him ranking 145th out of 154 players in this field in Driving Distance. To put that into perspective, that’s less than Matt Kuchar and even with Henrik Stenson, who doesn’t even carry a Driver in his bag. But lack of distance aside, he makes up for it with accuracy, ranking 5th in Good Drives gained. If he was able to finish T4 at the event Bryson bombarded his way to victory in, Putnam should welcome this sub-7,200 yard track with open arms.

Jhonattan Vegas ($6,300)

I promise you Vegas is going to find his way into my DFS lineups this week. He flies under the radar for many reasons, which is why he sits here only $300 higher than the stone minimum on Draft Kings. Here’s all of the reasons I disagree with Draft Kings’ valuation of my favorite Venezuelan.

First is Course History. Since we didn’t get to finish play here in 2020, the last full tournament at THE PLAYERS feels like a distant memory, and yet, the last time we were here, Vegas finished T3. Vegas is your prototypical bomber and rarely loses strokes OTT. While TPC Sawgrass does not really fit the mold of a bombers course at all, Vegas has found success here Tee to Green. That is, he’s great Off The Tee and great on the Greens, just so-so everywhere in between. But at this price, you’re getting someone who has only missed the cut at TPC Sawgrass once in 6 career trips, including 2 T10s in that span.

The other reason I like Vegas is his recent form. While nobody paid attention to or cared about the Puerto Rico Open two weeks ago, Vegas put together a great -18 Runner Up performance in the shadow of the WGC Workday. Clearly that performance isn’t being factored into this price at all because they really could not have listed him any lower. He has also made 5 of his last 7 cuts, which you like to see from a minimum-priced player.

If none of these stats have grabbed you yet, also keep in mind that when looking at the field’s total rounds played at TPC Sawgrass, Vegas ranks #1 in Par 5 Scoring, #5 in Birdies or Better Gained, #6 in Putting, and #7 in DK Points. I’m not endorsing any bets on Vegas per se, but his Course History and recent form suggest high potential to make the cut and exceed his placement scoring value at a price that welcomes more top names into your lineups.

Betting Bombs

Presidents Cup rookie Abraham Ancer: 'I would like to play against Tiger' |  Golf Channel

Abraham Ancer (+8000)

I know that 48 of the top 50 golfers in world are teeing it up this week, and Abraham Ancer, who ranks 28th in the world and has never won a Tour event, is quite the longshot to take down his first win here. But when I finished writing my Tournament Preview and started going through all the key stats for this week, I said to myself, “Damn, Abraham Ancer really is about to win himself THE PLAYERS Championship in 2021”.

Over the last 24 rounds on the aforementioned Pete Dye comp courses, Ancer ranks #1 TOT, #1 T2G, #1 APP, and #1 BS. He’s also #5 OTT, despite being #85 in Driving Distance. And while he’s great on the comp courses, his success is not just limited to those four tracks. Looking at the last 24 rounds played on courses less than 7,200 yards, Ancer ranks #7 TOT, #3 APP, and #1 BS. Remove distance from the equation, and Abraham Ancer is the best Ball Striker in the world. A lofty statement, but these aren’t my words, it’s the numbers talking.

Ancer has been playing some of the best golf of his career lately with 5 Top 20s in his last 7 starts dating back to The Masters in November, and his best finish in that span came at The AmEx where he finished T5 on the The Stadium course, designed to replicate TPC Sawgrass. Ancer looked excellent in his only previous career trip to THE PLAYERS, finishing T12 here in 2019. Well worth taking a shot on the Tequila mogul.

Adam Scott (+8000)

Adam Scott is getting a lot of disrespect on his number this week. He is #1 SG: TOT at TPC Sawgrass over the field’s last 36 rounds here despite having not won over that span (he did however win THE PLAYERS 17 years ago in 2004). Over the last 36 rounds, he is also #2 T2G, #4 BS, and #4 ARG. I did a double take when I saw Adam Scott ranks #44 putting at TPC Sawgrass and then did a triple take when I realized he ranks #38 in the field in total putting over the last 24 rounds and has lost strokes putting on just one occasion over his last 8 events. Seriously, how the hell is it possible that Adam Scott is not only not a bad putter statistically, but rather an objectively good putter by the numbers?! I watched this man miss 6-footers every opportunity he had when I sweated him at The Farmers, and to my dismay, Fantasy National is telling me he gained 3.1 strokes putting at that course.

Putting tangent aside, Adam Scott has been playing much better golf lately than the 80/1 tag suggests, having made 11 consecutive cuts since the COVID restart. And while even the best players in the world tend to have up and down swings at TPC Sawgrass, Scott has been unflappable here, with 4 consecutive T12-or-better finishes. Nobody else in this field can say that.

Si Woo Kim (+10000)

An endorsement for Si Woo Kim at THE PLAYERS should not come as a surprise. This is not a gutsy take. This is a bet on Course and Comp Course history with the added bonus that this player won a tournament less than 2 months ago at a near replica of TPC Sawgrass.

As the Brian Harman endorsement suggested, it’s important to have a great all around game to succeed at TPC Sawgrass, and with Si Woo, we have a Top 50 player in all categories (TOT, T2G, BS, SG, OTT, APP, ARP, and P). And as I mentioned with Cameron Smith, you want your strength to be in the Short Game here, and we all know with Si Woo, that is definitely the case, ranking 19th ARG.

His recent history post-win at The AmEx is as scary as Harris English’s is post win at the Sentry. But Kim has shown more than anyone else on Tour that he can quickly flip a switch, and at 100/1, why not take a gamble on the Pete Dye assassin who’s never missed a cut in four trips to THE PLAYERS?

Sam Burns (+12500)

At the risk of sounding like a crazy person, I’m willing to give another crack at Sam Burns, if nothing else for the sheer FOMO if I get off the Burns train now. I also have a 0% success rate with Sam Burns, so please be mindful when reading through that I may be personally responsible for ruining Sam Burns for the industry as a whole.

But if we’re talking bombs, I don’t see why you wouldn’t take a chance on a well-rounded player in Sam Burns who’s found himself in the Sunday final pairing in 3 of his last 7 events. While Bermuda Burns broke our collective hearts at TheAmEx with a disappointing MC, you may remember the damage was all done with a brutal opening round 77, before he lit up The Stadium Course with a too little, too late 66 on Friday. We should only be putting stock behind Stadium Course performance when looking at The AmEx as a comp event for THE PLAYERS anyway, so I left that round feeling optimistic about Burns’ prospects for THE PLAYERS.

And while we all already know that Sam Burns is a phenom when it comes to stats, I’m still obligated to tell you that Burns ranks #18 TOT, #16 BS, and #4 P in this loaded field. Burn me thrice, shame on me, and I’m well past three strikes on Burns already so I have no problem shamelessly backing him once again here.

Keegan Bradley (+17500)

I might put one or two dollars on Keegan just based on the fact alone that he gained 5.6 Strokes with his Short Game last week. I know that isn’t sustainable, but his Ball Striking has shown no signs of stopping, so if he can go two consecutive weeks on Florida Bermuda grass gaining strokes with his Short Game, he’s basically a lock to finish T20.

Bradley has gone 14 consecutive events now in which he’s gained strokes on Approach, dating back to the PGA Championship last August, and he’s only lost strokes OTT on two occasions over the same span. He has also only gained strokes putting twice over that stretch, however both times he accomplished that feat, he finished T10. Even looking at his history at THE PLAYERS, it’s the same. Over his last 6 trips to TPC Sawgrass, he has gained stroked putting one time, and that resulted in a T7 finish here in 2018. So with Keegan, it really is that simple: Get lucky with a better-than-average putter for the week, contend to win.