Welcome back to Faves & Fades! It’s Wells Fargo week, which means we’re dialing up the models for long distance and ability to score in long or difficult conditions. It’s a loaded field, so we’re going to have to take some especially difficult stances at the top of the board with both the betting card and DFS plays.
If you’re new to these articles, this is where I dive into the three players I think fit the course’s needs best to have success here, as well as three players I’m looking to fade for leverage in DFS, or actively target against in Matchups. Let’s get started!
Jon Rahm (+1000, $10,800)
Jon Rahm is appropriately at the very top of the odds board this week, and questionably the third highest priced player on Draft Kings, south of $11K, behind Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau. Even despite the DFS price value, I still think he’s in a great spot with projected ownership.
I’m not going to feature Will Zalatoris in this article because I’ve already written him up at length in my Tournament Preview, but from a player profile standpoint, Jon Rahm’s numbers are nearly identical to Zalatoris’ coming in, with a more established pedigree to back it up. He’s Top 10 in Ball Striking, OTT, and APP, he’s Top 20 in Driving Distance, and he ranks out well in all of the key proximity ranges this week. He’s always had a reputation for playing difficult courses well, with his most recent wins coming at The Memorial and The BMW Championship. Rahm is surprisingly still searching for his first win of the 2021 Season, but with 8 T15s in his last 9 starts, I would say that win will inevitably be coming soon. There are really no holes you can poke in his game right now and with JT and Bryson commanding more attention from their recent wins and course history, this presents a nice leverage spot for Rahm, even at the high price.
Bryson DeChambeau (+1500, $11,000)
Although I think Bryson DeChambeau should be priced behind Rahm in DFS, it’s only by a hair, and if you want the highest upside in this field, it’s going to be Bryson. You don’t need to do any research at all to make the association that a long, 7,600 yard course should suit the longest driver on tour well. With an emphasis on Driving Distance this week, Bryson is the clear cut #1 ranked player in my model. Beyond the Driving Distance, he also ranks #1 in Prox 200+ and weighted Prox 175+, which should give him a great leg up on the field T2G here.
Bryson finished T4 in his last Wells Fargo appearance in 2018, and take your pick of any other long, difficult comp course over the last 2 years; Bryson has had good results there. He’s won at Bay Hill and Winged Foot and finished Runner Up at the 2019 WGC Mexico. I won’t be able to get there on my outright card, but as long as ownership doesn’t get out of hand, I’ll be looking to get plenty of exposure to Bryson in DFS.
Patrick Reed (+3000, $9,300)
I understand if the books want to disrespect Reed because the demand isn’t typically there; the general public is not jumping to throw their money at him. But from a DFS perspective, this is a wild discount for a $10K-caliber player.
He’s coming off a MC at the Valspar last week, but that’s due to an uncharacteristically poor putting performance despite him gaining strokes T2G. You’d have to go back to February 2018 to find the last time Reed missed consecutive cuts, and more recently he’s followed up his last two MCs with a dominant win at the Farmers and a T22 at THE PLAYERS.
Reed has a spotless record at Quail Hollow. He’s never missed the cut here in 7 career appearances, and that includes a T2 at the 2017 PGA Championship and T8 in 2018. Beyond the aforementioned Torey Pines and Quail Hollow success, Reed’s always played his best on challenging courses, with career wins at the WGC Mexico, The Masters, and The Northern Trust (both Liberty National and Bethpage Black). Reed ranks Top 10 in P4 450-500 and P5 550-600 Scoring over the last 36 rounds, so I expect the trend of high finishes on long, difficult tracks to continue on this week.
Patrick Cantlay (+3000, $9,600)
Let’s consult the Patrick Cantlay flowchart. Is the event being played on the east coast or the west coast? If east coast, fade. If west coast, play. Last I checked, North Carolina shares a coast with the Atlantic, so I cannot play the Californian this week.
Cantlay is in the midst of what is statistically the worst slump of his career, as this is the first time he has ever missed 3 consecutive cuts. What’s more concerning is those last 3 missed cuts have come at courses that should have suited his game perfectly as a shot-making ball striker between Harbour Town, Augusta, and TPC Sawgrass. I will continue to root for Cantlay’s downward spiral to juice up his US Open Future odds before his much-needed return to the West Coast at Torrey Pines.
Max Homa (+3500, $9,000)
The Wells Fargo defending champion was expected to be a popular play this week. He looked fantastic for 3 rounds last week at Valspar for a T6 finish and is obviously a very popular guy off the course that golf fans like to root for. Those 3 factors of course history, recent form, and general likeability are recipe for chalk in DFS, and if that’s the case, I can easily pivot to players like Joaquin Niemann, Abraham Ancer, and Sungjae Im in the same price range. There’s no doubt Homa is playing better golf now than when he came into this tournament in 2019, but let’s not forget that Max Homa needed to gain 10 strokes putting to take down this tournament last time, so expecting just little bit of regression, I don’t think it’s fair to expect the same result again in 2021.
Bubba Watson (+5500, $8,300)
Bubba Watson has been living in the 100/1+ odds range throughout 2021 with 0 T20s in his first six starts of the year, so the 55/1 price tag seems like a bit of an over-reaction to last week’s T13 finish at Valspar. Bubba’s played Quail Hollow twice since 2014 and missed the cut both times. My biggest concern for Bubba this week is his Proximity rankings, as he’s nearly dead last from 175-200 (132nd) and 200+ (126th). If Bubba continues to gain popularity from last week’s showing, he’s someone I’ll want to target against in H2Hs and fade in DFS.