Welcome to the Fantasy Six Pack, where each week we highlight six golfers to use in two popular fantasy golf platforms, DraftKings and FanDuel. On each, you must select six golfers for your lineup under a specific salary cap. (On DraftKings it’s $50,000, on FanDuel it’s $60,000). As a reminder, I'm a golf nut with a 1.3 handicap and a nose for analytics — according to Rotogrinders, I'm one of the top daily fantasy golf players, and just last week was able to win for the seconds straight week, and third time in four weeks! Want to check out the tools I used to help me earn those wins? Head to tourlevelfantasy.com!
For a less than stellar field, and a back nine that lacked fireworks, there were a few good stories that came out of the week. One was Kevin Na. If you haven’t seen his message to his Korean fans, it's fantastic. Now, onto this week, where we have an even weaker field, but for the second straight week NOT weak DFS contests! Three different contests offering $100,000 for first place this week, as we are just one week away from the third major! DraftKings will be running their “Millionaire Maker” contest again next week, which costs $20 to enter, but you can win a “golden ticket” for as little as .25 this week.
Tournament: 2018 John Deere Classic
Course: TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Ill.
Average Winning Score: -20
Average Cut: -4
Yardage: 7268 yards
Skills emphasized: Winning scores could reach well into the 20 under par range, so players must have the ability to score and make birdies. We’ll be focusing on birdie or better percentage a lot this week as well as par five scoring.
Top-10 finishers last year:
Recap of last week’s picks:
Two top 10’s and four top 25’s is pretty good for a six-person pick ‘em. I was able to rely on the players mentioned in this article (like Niemann and Henley) to a first-place finish in a FanDuel contest worth $6,500! A week before the British Open, let’s see who made the trip to play the John Deere Classic.
Bryson DeChambeau (Odds: 15/1, DraftKings: $11,400, FanDuel: $12,100) It seems like it has been the summer of Bryson and Francesco Molinari (the other favorite this week). Both golfers have performed exceptionally well from tee to green, and when their putters perform, they are at the top of the board almost every start. Bryson gets the edge as he is the defending champion of the event, but between the two of them over the last nine weeks, they have three wins, five top 10s and seven top 25s, with only one missed cut. Now the only question remains, how focused will they be on this week, knowing that one of the golf’s most coveted prizes awaits them next week? A quick statistical look, Bryson is number one in the field regarding birdie or better percentage on the year, and the two golfers mentioned, Bryson and Francesco, rank number one and two in the field this week relating to Strokes Gained: Total.
Going Streaking: Players entering this week in great form
1. Zach Johnson (Odds: 25/1, DraftKings: $11,200, FanDuel: $11,700) It’s not often that I’ll include the three top-priced golfers in this article, but it would be impossible not to bring up Zach Johnson when we talk about the John Deere Classic. Since 2012 he’s had a win, two second place finishes, a third place and a fifth place. There’s only one word to describe that: Wow. Now you add in the fact that he’s working off back-to-back top 20s, and a season in which golfers who no longer “can win” on Tour are now winning, like Paul Casey and Kevin Na. Maybe it’s Zach’s turn to break his winless streak, which is just shy of three years. Statistically speaking, ZJ ranks fifth in the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and eighth in birdie or better percentage.
2. Joel Dahmen (Odds: 100/1, DraftKings: $7,600, FanDuel: $9,000) Setting aside off-course antics, Joel showed up to play and earned himself a nice paycheck by coming in fifth! His best finish of the year by far. He missed out on the chance to qualify for the Open as he was behind Austin Cook who shot 66 on Sunday to capture the fourth and final spot given to those who hadn’t already qualified. Joel will look to replicate the secret sauce of last week and improve his 0/1 record here at the John Deere Classic. When we check in on Joel statistically, we see a golfer that is very consistent off the tee. But he may not be able to make enough birdies to win the tournament. His recent form should keep him around the whole week.
3. Brandon Harkins (Odds: 150/1, DraftKings:$7,300, FanDuel: $8,400) This older rookie made his way to Tour via the Web.com Tour last year and has so far had an outstanding season. He’s made 19 of 24 cuts, earning two top 10s, and is on a streak of three straight starts finishing in the 30’s. Now that may not sound super appealing, but consider the fact that he’s facing a much weaker field this week, and at these low price levels we don’t necessarily need him to win to have it be a profitable investment.
4. Sam Saunders (Odds:125/1, DraftKings: $7,200, FanDuel: $8,300) Another great story about last week centered on Sam Saunders using a putter his grandfather Arnold Palmer used back in the day. That decision gave Sam the spark he needed after missing four of the last six cuts before last week. Whatever change that needed to happen happened, and quickly, as he came in fifth last week. Statistically, Sam is one of the best fits of any golfer, ranking second in the field in birdie or better percentage, and if that putter stays hot this week… watch out. Sam could find the winners circle for the first time on the PGA Tour.
5. Norman Xiong (Odds: 200/1, DraftKings: $6,600, FanDuel: $7,600) If you read my article last week, you’ll know that I added Norman to it. While he didn’t make the cut, he missed it by just 1 shot, and I’m sure I’m not the first to point out that he was terrible with his putter, missing a plethora inside 15 feet and ranked the second worse in that category for the two rounds he did play. As mature and mentally strong as he is, I have no doubt he’ll be able to bounce back strongly this week.
Mulligans: Players who need a reset and expect to play well this week
Aaron Wise (Odds: 66/1, DraftKings$: 8,500, FanDuel: $8,500) Since his breakthrough win at The ATT&T Bryon Nelson, Wise has missed four straight cuts. Now two of them have been on the number, but Wise would have liked to have any other result than the one he currently has. Aaron ranks third in the field in birdies or better percentage, and was no stranger to the birdies last week, even if it was just for two rounds, making 10 birdies in his two rounds. If he can avoid the bogeys this week, this could be an excellent opportunity for a bounce-back week for the talented young golfer.
Where to play this fantasy golf this week:
DraftKings: Three contests with a $100,000 first prize, which is pretty good for a rather week field.
1. $5 Buy-in contest called “Drive the Green” contest with a top prize of $100,000 and a prize pool of $500,000.
2. $444 Buy-in contest called the “Pressure Putt” with a top prize of $100,000 and a guaranteed prize pool of $325,0000
3. $44 Buy-in contest called the “Club Twirl” with a top prize of $100,000 and a guaranteed prize pool of $400,000.
FanDuel: Another increase in FanDuel’s main offerings, as golf continues to improve as a viable fantasy option on FanDuel.
1. $7.77 Buy-in contest called the “Eagle” with a top prize of $20,000 and a guaranteed prize pool of $100,000
2. $.60 Buy-in contest called the “Lob Wedge” with a top prize of $600 and a guaranteed prize pool of $8,000
3. $333 Buy-In contest called the “Monster” with a top prize of $8,00 and a guaranteed prize pool of $30,000.
These are just some of the many contests between the two sites. For a full breakdown of all contests and offerings check out tourlevelfantasy.com.
Jason Rouslin is the founder of tourlevelfantasy.com. He has been playing golf for the last 20 years, betting on golf for the last five and writing about golf for the last two. Connect with him on Twitter @dfsgolfer23 or check him out on the @rotogrinders' live golf show on Tuesdays at 8 p.m.