Faves & Fades WGC-Workday Championship

2021 WGC-Workday Championship Faves & Fades: The 3 Best Players To Play and Avoid In DFS and Betting Markets

It’s a strange thing writing a golf article in the wake of a tragic Tiger Woods car accident. The golf world, and really the general pop culture zeitgeist stands still when you try to process it. Tiger Woods is the reason many of us grew to love this beautiful game and I know I speak for everyone wishing him a safe and healthy recovery. With a heavy heart, the show must always go on, and there is plenty to talk about when dissecting all the sub-30/1 players in WCG-Workday field this week.

A consistent trend for me this season has been butchering my conviction plays and faring pretty solid across the board otherwise. It’s the biggest thing holding me back from more consistent DFS success unfortunately. Last week I built around Carlos Ortiz and Bryson DeChambeau and well, that didn’t work out so great. But in last week’s Faves & Fades article, I have to say the rest was spot on, identifying Jon Rahm (T5) and Tony Finau (2) to build around at the top, and avoiding exposure to Rory McIlroy (MC), Brooks Koepke (T38), and Collin Morikawa (T43). This week I like a number of guys at the top, so I’ll be a bit more coy about where my conviction lies in the hopes to spell that jinx once and for all. Now let’s jump in to the top players to target and fade at the top of the board this week.

Faves

Dustin Johnson (+600, $11,600)

I wanted no part of Dustin Johnson’s odds or price last week at The Genesis going against a loaded field with other strong options at the top and limited viable value plays in the $6K range. You’re always going to be splitting hairs when trying to find a reason to fade exposure to DJ, but I didn’t love his recent Poa stats or Scrambling numbers, so I was content taking a chance on the other top names around him. That fade paid off last week, but looking at these large Bermuda greens at The Concession, and all the viable $6K options this week, I’m out of reasons not to play the Florida resident.

Appropriate to his price, he’s number 1 in this field in SG: TOT, SG:T2G, BS, and APP. He has 4 wins in his last 12 events and 11 T12s or better in that span. Last week he was a non-factor on Sunday en route to a T8, which probably felt like a T20 to most people by DJ’s standards. By looking slightly human last week and facing an even stronger field here at the WGC-Workday, I think ownership is going to come down just a hair from his 21% GPP usage last week, and that’s enough to get me on board this week in DFS.

Daniel Berger (+2200, $9,300)

It’s a weird stigma in this fantasy golf/golf betting industry. After a guy wins a tournament, they lose popularity the following week. “What are the odds this guy wins twice in a row” is such a strange sort of logic to buy into. I would argue someone who’s won a recent event is exponentially more likely to win again than someone who has not. Hell, Brendon Todd was able to win back to back events in 2019 so I’m not going to rule out Daniel Berger’s odds of joining the same company. If you want to say there’s an emotional hangover to overcome after reaching the high of a PGA Tour victory, I could buy into that, and certainly believe that will be the case for Max Homa who just won his version of the Super Bowl taking the crown at Riviera. But Daniel Berger edged out Mav McNealy and Nate Lashley in a ho-hum field two weeks ago before traveling back to his home state of Florida to prep for a WGC. He still has plenty more to prove that he belongs amongst the elite tier of players in the game right now, and with Ryder Cup chatter starting to heat up, what better stage to prove yourself than the WGC-Workday Championship.

He’s one of just 6 players this week to rank above field average in all of my key stat categories, clearly has proven win equity, and finished T2 in the last WGC Event we saw at The St. Jude in August. We know he’s a great ball striker with distance, and his putting just keeps getting better and better, ranking #6 SG: P (TOT), #10 SG: P (Bermuda), and #14 SG: P (Florida Swing). Berger’s just getting warmed up, so I don’t plan to stop backing him now.

Viktor Hovland (+2250, $9,400)

I have to admit after I wrapped up my Tournament Preview article, the first name that came to mind for a course that values Ball Striking & Distance and throws away any advantage gained from course experience was Viktor Hovland. I was a little surprised to see him sub-30/1 when he opened on the books, but considering he has 3 T5s in his last 4 starts, including a win at Mayakoba, I have to say that price tag is justified. If you had asked me to rank this next generation of world class golfers after last year’s US Open, I would’ve said (1) Matthew Wolff, (2) Collin Morikawa, (3) Victor Hovland. But fast forward 5 months later to the present, and we see Hovland (+2250), Collin Morikawa (+4650), and Matthew Wolff (+11000)

I know making cuts doesn’t matter at all here, but the fact Viktor Hovland has made the cut in 20 consecutive events since last year’s Honda classic should tell you all you need to know about Hovland’s rank amongst the game’s best right now.

Fades

Tony Finau (+1800, $9,800)

Poor Tony Finau. It feels like I write him up every single week in this article – sometimes he’s a Fave, sometimes he’s a Fade. As soon as I learned this course has water in play on 12 of the 18 holes, my immediate reaction was RIP Tony Finau. If there is a water hazard on a given course, Tony Finau will find it, and at The Concession, you’re hard pressed to avoid it.

This is not a very analytical fade, I just know subjectively not to play Finau when water is in play. I know he’s an even-keeled, level-headed guy, but he is human, and I have to imagine this burden of not being able to win a golf tournament weighs heavier than ever after last week’s dramatic playoff loss. After 3 consecutive Runner Up finishes in his last 3 events, it might do his heart some good to hang back in the middle of the pack this week.

Oh, and if you’re looking for an actual statistical reason to fade Tony Finau, he’s no good putting on Bermuda (#42 SG: P), and he’s been especially bad putting on the Florida Swing (#49 SG:P – Florida courses).

Bryson DeChambeau (+2000, $9,900)

Well this is awkward. Exactly one week after I proclaimed I’d never bet Bryson DeChambeau again unless he were to slip beyond 20/1, he slipped to 20/1. The universe is testing me, but I’m not taking the bait this week. While all the storylines will mention that Bryson won the 2015 NCAA Championship on this track as the last significant competitive event held here, I have a few reasons to be apprehensive about him hoisting another trophy at The Concession.

There are hazards abound everywhere at The Concession, so while slight runoffs through the fairways into the first cut and light rough won’t hurt you, more significant misses will land you in the water, fairway bunkers, or natural woodlands. There are many holes on this course where distance is going to give you a huge advantage, but there are even more holes where missing your mark off the tee is going to land you OB. When I see Bryson ranking #63 in Driving Accuracy in a Field of 72, I am avoiding like the plague. But it’s not just the Driving accuracy I have a problem with this week. At a course where I’m valuing SG: APP as my #1 key stat, Bryson has dipped down to 39th, which is below average in this field. For this price, there are much better options with better ball striking form I’d rather pivot to.

Tyrrel Hatton (+2250, $9,600)

I often forget this because Hatton plays so infrequently on the PGA Tour, but I hold a deep grudge inside of me for how often he’s burned me. I played him three times last season: The US Open (MC), Zozo (T28), and The Masters (MC). If I’m fading him, that’s generally the time you want to hop on board, but I have the stats this time to back up why I’m avoiding the best Euro Tour player in this field.

When I see a Par 72, 7,474 yard course and I don’t have course history to go off of, I’m automatically going to put a premium on Distance stats and Par 5 Scoring. Hatton ranks 39th in Driving Distance in this field and 50th in Par 5 Scoring, which is going to put him at a huge disadvantage versus the other big names here. Comparing his results on other P72 7,400+ courses, he ranks #52 SG: TOT and #48 SG: T2G. While we can expect high level approach play and short game from Hatton, I think The Concession’s length is going to relegate him to the middle of the pack this week.