A week after dishing out 75/1 Max Homa and $7,300 Brandt Snedeker at the Valspar Championship, we are back again for another installment of Bombs & Values: Wells Fargo Edition! I’m starting to get a good feeling about my DFS core this week already, and it is very much shaping up to be a Stars & Scrubs week for me. I love the guys at the top like Rahm, Bryson, and Rory, and I feel comfortable that I can get to them with the upside of some of the $7K-and-below players in this article. From a betting perspective, there are no shortage of high-upside, proven winners in the 100/1+ bomb range, so whether it be outrights or placement bets, I’ll have plenty of bomb exposure as well on my card. Let’s get into it!
Pricing from Draft Kings
Aaron Wise ($7,100)
I’m going back to a couple players who tortured me at the Honda Classic this week, the first of them is Aaron Wise. After building up a commanding 36-hole lead, Wise gave it all away on the greens over the weekend, as I watched him 4-putt while in contention on Sunday to go along with multiple other missed putts from within 3 feet. I cannot believe I’m saying this, but over the last 36 holes, Aaron Wise ranks dead last in this field SG: P, and I still have the audacity to write him up as a solid play this week, after Team No Putt chairman, Keegan Bradley’s inspiring efforts at Valspar.
If we’re strictly looking at Course History, Wise is a no brainer play this week. He’s made two career appearances at The Wells Fargo Championship, which include a T18 in 2019 and T2 in 2018. He even managed to gain 4.2 strokes putting in his 2018 Runner Up finish, so we at least know a ceiling of positive performance on the greens of Quail Hollow does exist for Wise. Despite having just 8 rounds under his belt here, he still ranks out #6 T2G at Wells Fargo in this field.
Looking at Wise’s recent form, he has 3 T15 finishes over his last 10 starts and has gained strokes T2G in 11 of his last 13 events. He ranks 24th in both T2G and Ball Striking and 11th in GIRs gained over the last 36 rounds. So he’s hitting the green more frequently than most in this field, he’s just been a disaster once he gets there. Here’s the interesting thing though about Wise’s putting. Yes, he’s statistically the worst putter setting foot at Quail Hollow (that includes the marshals and spectators), but when you dive into the SG ranks by putting distance, he shockingly ranks 12th in the field in SG: P 10-15 ft, which for what it’s worth, was the highest jump in correlation to success at Quail Hollow versus the Tour average. As you may expect, he’s dead last in 3-putt avoidance and SG: P 0-5 ft & 25+ ft, but if it’s not too much to ask Wise to just stop three-putting and start hitting three-footers, he’s going to pay off his price.
Patrick Rodgers ($6,500)
Patrick Rodgers was the talk of the DFS community a few years ago when he showed the ability to intermittently go low in spurts. He’s burned the fantasy community time and time again as we’ve banded together hoping he can rekindle his prodigal past. Miraculously however, I’ve never been burned by Patrick Rodgers (yet). I’ve only played Rodgers once and it was at the Genesis Invitational where he finished T12. This is the first time since the Genesis Invitational that I’m looking to put a premium on Driving Distance and Putting, so it makes sense that I find myself back again on Rodgers in this spot.
Five of the last six winners at Quail Hollow ranked in the Top 15 in Driving Distance coming into the event, and Rodgers fits that criteria this week, ranking 12th in the field. I’m not saying he’s going to win, but it certainly helps his case. Rodgers has also been elite on the greens, ranking 16th SG: P over the last 36 rounds. Rodgers also ranks #2 in SG: P (10-15 ft), which, as noted for Wise, may prove to be a key putting distance at Quail Hollow. His Approach game is his Achilles Heal, ranking a miserable 145th SG: APP, however despite that, he is ranked 25th in Prox 200+, where a majority of second shots will be played from this week, so I expect him to see a better showing from the irons this time around.
The recent results have not been great with 4 MCs in the last 5 starts, but these have come across primarily shot-maker courses that emphasize strong Approach play. Looking at just the course history at Quail Hollow however, Rodgers has been great with a T2 and T34 to go along with a MC in his 3 career trips. I’m eying Rodgers as a high upside GPP play and potential T20 placing value this week.
Seamus Power ($6,300)
Seamus Power was a surprise late entry to the field after Monday Qualifying with a dominant 8-under showing down the road, and I’m happy to have the chance to get exposure to him now on a course that suits him perfectly.
With a name like “Seamus Power”, I was going to assume this guy was a bomber, so it’s even cooler that the numbers back up his distance. At this point in time, Power is not loaded into Fantasy National for Wells Fargo, so I can’t exactly pull his Driving Distance ranks relative to the field. Looking at his Average Driving Distance however, he is in line with Tommy Fleetwood, who ranks 44th in that category versus this field. Over the last 36 rounds, Power ranks #36 on the entire PGA Tour in SG: ARG and on Bermuda Greens, he ranks a respectable 68th out of ~300 players on Tour.
Power has been grinding for Tour status in 2021, so hasn’t gotten a ton of reps this year, but it’s encouraging to see he’s made the cut in his previous two appearances at Corales and the Puerto Rico Open. And I’m sure I’m burying the lede by just now mentioning that in Power’s 3 career Wells Fargo appearances, he’s finished T49, T27, and T13. I love when a guy with some recent Tour success goes low to win a Monday Q, so if Power continues to ride that hot hand and build on his improving year over year Wells Fargo placing trend, he should be in for a deep run this week.
Cameron Percy ($6,300)
Like Aaron Wise, Cameron Percy also crushed my hopes and dreams at the Honda Classic, torpedoing a would’ve-been 6/6 lineup for me by 3-putting 3 of his last 6 holes to miss the cut on the number. I remember it vividly and I’ve held a grudge against him for it ever since. But if Sam Burns has taught me anything, it’s that holding grudges against players for missing cuts in dramatic fashion can only lead to more pain. So I am practicing penance and asking Percy take mercy on me.
Percy is no stranger to my models, he pops no matter what and I can never fully understand why because the results have not necessarily backed it up, but that is always the formula to find upside in value players. Key Hole Proximities are huge for this week, with so many holes concentrated under the same distances and approach shots funneled in the 175+ yard range. Percy was amongst only 7 players in the field this week to rank above average in Proximity & Scoring from each of these key distances. It also helps to see Percy rank 21st SG: APP and 31st SG: BS.
Percy has missed the cut in all three of his appearances at Wells Fargo, despite the fact he’s gained strokes T2G every trip here. The missed cuts are a result of abysmal putting, as he’s lost 3+ strokes each time here, a pretty remarkable achievement over three 2-round increments. Percy’s not a very good putter, but ranking 80th in this field SG: P – Bermuda, he should be capable of piecing together a field-average putting performance, and if he does, I expect he’ll survive the weekend.
Will Gordon ($6,200)
This is a steal of a price for Flash Sale Gordon, whose strengths are in exactly the areas you need to succeed at Quail Hollow. Will Gordon ranks 2nd in the field this week in Driving Distance and 32nd in SG: OTT. He’s also known to be a great putter; his rank of #61 SG: P is normally much stronger, but it’s tarred by the 5+ Strokes he’s lost putting over the last two weeks at the RBC Heritage and Valero Texas Open. I’m banking on him correcting those issues with the putter this week, and returning to the form as the player who’s lost strokes putting just once in his last 10 events prior to Valero.
In addition to Driving Distance and Putting, Gordon also ranks 16th in P4: 450-500 Scoring, which is huge for this week where we’ll see 8 Par 4s played within that range. He also ranks 7th in Prox 200+, which will make a notable difference versus the field on most holes this week.
This will be Gordon’s first trip to Quail Hollow, but considering he’s made the cut in 6 of his last 7 starts, he presents a relatively high floor and high ceiling potential at near minimum price on Draft Kings. His ability to go low and string together birdies makes him a compelling FRL play this week as well at +15000.
Harold Varner III (+9000)
HVIII has quietly molded himself into Corey Conners-lite in 2021. Historically a top ball striker and liability on the greens, Varner has progressively improved his putting week over week recently. I love looking at Fantasy National’s rolling reports to track how a player is trending in a given category over time. Varner was #98 in the Field SG: P over the last 100 rounds but has steadily improved since. He’s #56 L50, #44 L24, #33 L12, #10 L8, and #6 L4. At this rate, he’s going to lead the field in Putting at the Wells Fargo and then hold that mark into perpetuity.
Varner is really trending in all facets over the last 36 rounds, ranking 17th T2G, 21st BS, 35th OTT, 25th APP, and 20th ARG. He’s also 3rd in Opportunities Gained and 9th in Par 3 Scoring. HVIII joins Viktor Hovland and Emiliano Grillo as the only three players in this field to rank Top 50 in both Driving Distance and Driving Accuracy, and he ranks the best of the three in combined APP + ARG from there.
The Carolina native should be expecting a homecoming at Quail Hollow, as he looks to continue the Carolina heater on from his previous Runner Up finish at Harbour Town last we saw him. The recent result have been solid with 4 T25s in his last 8 starts, so if the putter continues to cooperate, watch out!
Talor Gooch (+12500)
Talor Gooch is the safest bet on the board this week, because if for any reason he goes on to not win, he’ll just reimburse your bet back on Venmo. Let’s not even think about that right now though, because there’s plenty of signs to expect Gooch to contend to win this week.
As chairman of the TalorGang and Gooch Sweaters board, I root for him every week, regardless if I’m backing him or not. But 125/1 is just too good to pass up on for one of the most consistent scorers on Long, Difficult tracks we have in this field, so I’m jumping to buy low on the value here after an MC at the Valspar last week. Despite the MC, Gooch comes in with great stats over the last 36 rounds. He is the only player in the field this week to rank Top 50 in SG: TOT, T2G, BS, SG, APP, P, and Top 75 in both Driving Distance & Driving Accuracy. He’s just a very well rounded player who has the ability to flare up for dominant Approach and/or Putting performances any given week.
Gooch has 4 T15 finishes in his last 13 starts, and they’ve all come on difficult scoring tracks, like Quail Hollow. Those finishes include a T5 at the CJ Cup, T4 at the Houston Open, T12 at the Genesis, and T5 at THE PLAYERS. In his lone appearance at the Wells Fargo in 2018, he finished T13. Doesn’t it seem appropriate to have Gooch’s Zurich Classic teammate hand him over the trophy this time around at Wells Fargo?
Lanto Griffin (+12500)
I was all in on Lanto at the Valero Texas Open because he popped in every key stat category for the week and was priced at ridiculous odds. In return, Griffin gave us a pedestrian T34 finish, though encouragingly gaining 5.6 strokes T2G. For whatever reason his normally strong putter just wasn’t cooperating for him in San Antonio, losing 3 strokes putting. After a couple more let down performances at The Masters and Valspar, I’m ready to buy low and jump back in on Lanto at double the odds we saw for Valero.
My models absolutely love Quail Hollow for Lanto as my 14th ranked player this week. That’s a credit to him ranking above-average in every key stat category this week, including #2 P4: 450-500, #12 SG: APP, #18 SG: BS, #18 Driving Distance, and #25 Prox 175-200.
Lanto missed the cut in his only previous Wells Fargo appearance because he lost 3 strokes putting. Considering he has gained strokes putting in 7 of his last 9 events and ranks 19th in the field SG: P, I’m optimistic that won’t happen again.
Francesco Molinari (+12500)
The 2018 Open Champion is simply too talented to be priced at 125/1 alongside the likes of Denny McCarthy, Brendan Steele, and Matthew NeSmith. Sure, the Francesco Molinari who teed it up the last three outings (T52, MC, MC) might be a 125/1 golfer, but that’s not the Francesco Molinari I’m betting on this week. I’m betting on the guy who fired three T10s in his first four starts of 2021. I’m also betting on the guy who has finishes of T17, T2, and T16 in his only 3 career trips to Quail Hollow. That T2 mind you, came in Quail Hollow’s most difficult conditions at the 2017 PGA Championship.
Molinari is far from a bomber, but judging by his course history here, that isn’t the end all be all. He actually rates out Top 50 in all of the same SG categories as Gooch, minus the Driving Distance. He can compensate for that however, by ranking 15th in P5 550-600 Scoring and 12 in P3: 200-220 Scoring, two crucial long distance hole ranges for this week. At this price, it’s worth a gamble that Molinari can tap back into his old recent form.
Patton Kizzire (+17500)
I became a fan of Patton Kizzire ever since he retreated from his Thursday run last week to chase down Keegan Bradley’s FRL. As a thank you for his bold restraint, I’ve chosen to endorse him this week at Wells Fargo.
With Kizzire, you’re getting a top-tier putter, and someone who has gained strokes putting in each of his last 5 events, good enough for 20th in the field SG: P. His biggest weakness is SG: OTT where he’s lost strokes in 8 consecutive events and ranks out 85th in field, but that’s mainly an issue of Driving Accuracy, which ranks 105th. His solid Distance (56th) should help mask those OTT short comings this week on a track that won’t kill you to miss the fairways.
What’s most appealing about Kizzire this week however, is his Proximity ratings. Knowing there’s a premium on Proximity 175+ at Quail Hollow, it’s encouraging to see Kizzire rank out #1 Prox: 175-200 and #27 Prox: 200+. Combine those together into a 175+ blend, and Kizzire ranks out 4th overall between these ranges. It also makes sense that given those proximity strengths, Kizzire ranks 10th in Par 5: 550-600 Scoring, which could prove to be a major difference maker in scoring by the end of this week.