Top DraftKings PGA DFS Picks for Valspar Championship 2022
Top DraftKings PGA DFS Picks for Valspar Championship 2022
The PLAYERS was an absolute thriller last week, even if it did take nearly the entire week to finish. It was a slog on Thursday and Friday, with most of the play suspended for heavy downpours and subsequent standing water all over the Pete Dye design. Then Saturday happened.
Unfortunately, some of our favorite golfers were a part of the wave that was forced to play in nearly unplayable winds. Gusts over 40 miles per hour tossed the golfers’ shots around an already-daunting TPC Sawgrass. Those who were spared a Saturday tee time trekked their third round in an unseasonable chill on Sunday morning, but there was nearly a 10-stroke difference in scoring average.
Our hero from last week’s article was the Aussie, Cameron Smith. His flowing golden mullet and stringy blonde mustache were absolutely nails on and around the greens, en route to a huge payday over $3 million. If not for a dreadful final round for Sam Burns, one of my lineups was nearly perfect. My favorite, Collin Morikawa was swept away in the Saturday gale. Another player pool staple was Hideki Matsuyama, who withdrew from an injury in Thursday warmups.
I was not awake at 3 A.M. Pacific to pull Matsuyama, but still cashed in some of his lineups thanks to the rest of the tools and data available at Team Rise or Fall. The most important decision I made last week with the weather threat was to cap my exposure to each player in the player pool at 30%, meaning my favorites who were whisked out of contention by environmental misfortune didn’t tank all of my DFS lineups.
This week, the PGA Tour heads to Innisbrook Golf Resort in Tampa, Florida for the Valspar Championship. The Copperhead Course is among the most challenging in the tour’s rotation, especially off the tee. The defending champion is Sam Burns, who triumphed by three strokes over Keegan Bradley.
The key stats that will help me build my player pool are strokes gained off the tee and strokes gained on approach. I will also pay close attention to projected ownership figures on the Rise or Fall PGA Study Hub in order to not over-expose myself to volatile, chalky players. Without further ado, let’s tee off.
Stick It Close: Studs to Target
Xander Shauffele (DK: $10,300; FD: $11,800; Y!: $45)
I like grinders. The sandwich type and the guys who go out there and play solid golf every single week. Schauffele is the quintessential grinder on the PGA Tour and backs it up with one of the most well-rounded games in the world. This is his first chance at the Valspar, which is nice because he will likely be much less chalky than the surrounding golfers at the top of the scale. Schauffele’s game also fits the Copperhead course very well, with his length off the tee and overall consistency.
He is fourth in this field in total strokes gained, which for Schauffele is a reflection of every advanced metric appearing near the top with no glaring weaknesses. Xander also is the type of player who responds with birdies after a bad hole, meaning he is rarely far from the top of the leaderboard in DFS scoring.
Brooks Koepka (DK: $9,400; FD: $11,000; Y!: $42)
Speaking of making birdies, one of the tour’s best ball strikers has had his share of troubles in that department this season. Koepka is still one of the longest hitters on Tour, but has been erratic. The only saving grace for the 21st-ranked player in the world has been his clutch putting.
This is another golfer who is competing at the Valspar for the first time. Koepka’s scuffling has still resulted in more than 4.0 birdies per round. His game closely resembles that of defending champion, Sam Burns. You can roster Koepka for $200 less on DraftKings, with less than half of the roster percentage. If Koepka has one thing going for him, it’s something to prove.
Bubba Watson (DK: $8,800; FD: $9,900; Y!: $40)
Another stud lying in the weeds this week is multi-major champion, Watson. Bubba is the best in the field on approach and his expertise off the tee needs no introduction. It’s no wonder, with his unique game, that Bubba has played extremely well at the Valspar over the years. He finished 13th last year and 4th in 2019. The key to winning at the Copperhead course seems to be a combination of length off the tee and excellent iron play on approach.
Bubba has both of those traits in spades and carries a projected roster percentage of under 7%. You might have also missed his near-impossible bogey-free 68 on Saturday at the PLAYERS over the weekend, when everyone else was blown into the bunkers and water hazards at Sawgrass. Watson’s form is very sharp.
No Gimme: Tap-In Values
Aaron Wise (DK: $7,700; FD: $9,500; Y!: $36)
Wise has been an enigmatic DFS play this season. He is one that I haven’t gotten right very often. He is popping up in the analytics this week once again, which gave me some pause until I dug deeper. Wise is a dynamite player when it comes to the advanced PGA Tour metrics, when compared to his DFS salary. He is a relatively long hitter who hits a lot of greens.
He has made 8/11 cuts this season, which I am salty about because two of those missed cuts were in the last month (and he was in my player pool both times). His very recent form has been much stronger, even though his one appearance at the Valspar was less than stellar. I’ll trust the projections on Wise this week. He is due for a correlation between the stats and his place in the standings.
Mito Pereira (DK: $7,200; FD: $8,900; Y!: $36)
Next to Wise in the advanced metrics and projection tools is the young Chilean, Pereira. Mito is turning into one of my favorite golfers to watch, as well. He appears 8th in total strokes gained in the field this week, which flies in the face of his DFS pricing on all three sites I’m invested in.
Pereira gets it done with incredible iron play, with nearly a stroke gained on approach per round (7th in the field. When you combine that with his very serviceable length and consistency off the tee, Pereira is primed to continue his ascent from 95th in the World Rankings. Mito is the type of player who is on the verge of a career-vaulting win, which the Valspar has been the host of many times.
Vaughn Taylor (DK: $6,700; FD: $7,200; Y!: $20)
I have surprised myself with some of the most successful deep sleeper plays this season. I didn’t go searching for Vaughn Taylor, but he arrived on my DFS doorstep through my research process this week. For one, he is a bargain. More importantly, Taylor has played the Valspar twice and finished in the top-20 both times. He is an accurate driver of the golf ball with a solid approach game. His strength is around the greens, which is great because he’s a dreadful putter.
Something about the Copperhead course clearly suits Taylor’s game. For someone ranked 386th in the world, he makes a respectable 3.75 birdies per round. Call it a hunch, but if Taylor repeats his historical form at the Valspar this week, you’ll be the only one holding him in your lineup.
I will be with you for an entire PGA Tour season of DFS picks. I hope you join me in victory throughout 2022 and beyond. I promise to be a better DFS golfer than an actual golfer. You can find all of my musings on Twitter. Good luck and hit ’em straight!