2024 Valspar Championship DFS Fades, Pivots & Stands: No Thanks, Xander Schauffele

I faded Scottie Scheffler in favor for Xander Schauffele and a more balanced build at THE PLAYERS Championship. Xander was great. Scottie was better. What do we do this week with the best player in the 2024 Valspar Championship?

It didn’t work out last week, but all I can do there is tip the cap to the best golfer on the planet and be even more impressed with the fact that he ran down the Sunday leaders with a bum neck. Luckily this week, Scheffler isn’t teeing it up to ruin the 2024 Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida.

I’ll be taking a deep dive into the field sorted by tiers to let you know how I’ll be building my lineups, including fades, pivots and players I’m taking a stand on. It’s not always comfortable, but that’s the life of PGA DFS.

You can use this information how you’d like, including when you build your lineups in the Stokastic Sims. One other option when building lineups this week is with PGA Lineup Generator. Get it for a week for just $1 when signing up here with promo code STIXLG.

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2024 Valspar Championship DFS Fades, Pivots, Stands 

Weather notes

The weather looks dicey for the whole tournament outside of Thursday’s opening round. I cannot say with confidence there is an edge to any tee-time wave at this time. Keep an eye on forecasts and I’ll try to update this article as I learn more.

Top-Tier ($9,000 – $11,200)

Xander Schauffele ($11,200)

A semi-similar situation to last week where the majority of the field is going to flock to the most expensive (and arguably most in-form) golfer of the week. Xander is beloved my both the betting and DFS markets and for good reason. The only difference here is that Xander Schauffele is not Scottie Scheffler, but you could certainly argue that Xander in comparison to this field strength may have equal or even more win equity than Scheffler had at THE PLAYERS.

For me, I’ll use Xander as a staple in my cash games and will again pass on the highest-owned player (get full PGA ownership projections here) in GPP tournaments. His expected Strokes Gained: Approach grades second overall for me this week, but I’ll roll the dice that the putting history on fast and firm Bermuda isn’t worth the price-tag/ownership combination this week in GPP contests.

Justin Thomas ($10,400)

I don’t love Justin Thomas by any means, but his iron play is in elite form and he is No. 1 in my projections for expected proximity out of the rough. The Copperhead Course does demand hitting fairways at an elite clip and that has always been a struggle of JT’s, but I love his ability to recover from errant tee shots and club-down off-the-tee to put an emphasis on hitting more fairways than his baseline. He grades third overall for me in expected proximity from that 150-200 yard approach bucket we will see often at this track. If he has a strong week off-the-tee, his iron play and elite short game should give him plenty of opportunities to make a run, especially if the wind picks up. At the price, I am not in love with the play but the upside is there (which is what I want in GPP builds).

Brian Harman ($9,800)

Only writing up Brian Harman so I do not get fined. The DFS community loves recency bias and it’s hard to ignore Brian Harman’s ELITE ball-striking thus far in March (third in SG: Ball-Striking at THE PLAYERS, eighth at the API). He’s a fairway finder who’s lighting it up in all aspects of golf and it’s hard to think that that stops. At ~25% ownership, I always fear Brian Harman chalk will disappoint, but there is nothing on paper (inclement weather included) that says he’s a fade candidate at the Valspar.

Cameron Young ($9,600)

I look at Cameron Young as a more affordable Justin Thomas. Elite iron-play (second in overall expected SG: Approach) and like Thomas should benefit dramatically from being able to lean on shorter clubs off-the-tee to hit more fairways. He’s going to be more volatile than most in this $9K group, but give me a 12-14% owned Cameron Young over a 20% Sungjae Im all day. Or… maybe you can construct your lineup with multiple in this $9K range.

Tony Finau ($9,300) 

Every week of my life I write this guy and I won’t stop now at an affordable price in a watered-down field. As mentioned in last week’s article, the putting change seems to be a positive one that no one is talking about and outside of Scottie Scheffler, Tony Finau is my model’s top expected ball-striker.

Honorable Mention: Sungjae Im, Nick Taylor
Fading: Jordan Spieth, Min Woo Lee

On the Fence: Sam Burns

Upper-Tier ($7,500 – $8,900)


Christiaan Bezuidenhout ($8,800)

More affordable version of Brian Harman. Everything looks fantastic for the course-fit and recent form.

Keegan Bradley ($8,600)

Historically an elite ball-striker who is in shaky form and will be 7-10% ownership. In terms of win equity, there is no one close to Keegan Bradley in terms of actual pedigree which makes him a no-brainer for me to go overweight on in GPP exposure. Though the SG: Approach numbers do not look like what we’re used to, but the mid-to-long iron play is still in a prime position. His ability to scramble on a consistent basis will also keep him in the mix in what should be a tough-playing venue.

Aaron Rai ($8,500)

Rai doesn’t do much for me but he’s one of the most accurate players off-the-tee and comes in sporting three top-35 finishes in a row with top-tier ball-striking numbers. Hard to take him out of my player pool this week.

Doug Ghim ($8,400)

You shouldn’t need me to explain the Doug Ghim chalk. I have a hard time stomaching it, but I also have a hard time stomaching a fade with this form.

Andrew Putnam ($7,700)

Well-rounded player who excels at courses that put an emphasis on hitting fairways and being able to scramble/clean up around the green. This is a fair price for a golfer in excellent form at a course that should fit his game. The downside here is his peak upside is probably a 10th-to-20th-place finish.

Honorable Mention: Adam Hadwin, Patrick Rodgers, 
Fading: Maverick McNealy, Beau Hossler
On the Fence: Eric Cole, Keith Mitchell, Sepp Straka

Mid-Tier ($6,500 – $7,400)

Sam Ryder ($7,300)

Ryder is playing incredible golf over the past two events and gaining strokes with his iron play seven out of his last eight events. Fair price for a mid-tier player who will very likely produce mid-tier results.

Akshay Bhatia ($7,100)

Boom or bust, Bhatia. We know he’s an excellent ball-striker who can score at-will, but the putter and around-the-green play is always a threat to push him towards a missed cut. I do not have the stones to play him in a single entry, but I have no problem playing Bhatia or Daniel Berger at 5-8% ownership over Lucas Glover at 20% on a course that will require putts to be made. He’s 30th in my expected SG: Approach simulation.

Ryo Hisatsune ($7,000)

I cannot quit betting on the talent and the upside. He was cruising for a bit at THE PLAYERS for us, but the volatility of TPC Sawgrass showed true and we missed the cut on the number. I’ll go back to the well here this week in the weaker field.

Davis Thompson ($7,000)

One of the most underpriced golfers on the slate this weekend who legitimately has tournament winning upside. My model and Spencer Aguiar from the Bettor Golf Pod also seems to agree. I love to target the upside when the DFS community is rostering “safe” players in this pricing tier.

Jimmy Stanger ($6,900)

A past Korn Ferry Tour winner who can absolutely rip the golf ball at 1% ownership. I cannot speak much on the data side of things with the extremely limited sample size, but I love these cheaper players with elite ball-speeds who will hit less-than-driver more times than not at this venue. This dude had four consecutive rounds inside the top-45 in ball-striking at PGA National and showed an extremely confident short game when he did miss greens. Bet on low-owned talent in this price range!

Ben Griffin ($6,800)

Like Ryo, but with less upside, another target of mine from last week that missed the cut on the number. At 1-2% ownership, Griffin possesses the accuracy and ball-striking makeup of someone who should be able to finish inside the top-40 here and provide our lineup with some salary relief upside.

Honorable Mention: Brendon Todd, Adam Schenk, Daniel Berger, Lee Hodges
Fading: Lucas Glover, Ryan Fox
On the Fence: Mackenzie Hughes, Matthew NeSmith, Adam Svensson

Low-Tier & Punt Plays ($5,000 – $6,400)

Chan Kim ($6,200)

A pure ball-striker at a ball-strikers’ course while showing consistent improvement in the short game.

Jacob Bridgeman ($5,900)

A surprising top-40 inside my expected SG: T2G at 0% ownership. Limited sample size, but has shown the ability to score and give golf tournaments a run during his time on the Korn Ferry.

Parker Coody ($5,800)

Bit of a bomber off-the-tee but should also benefit from the club-down nature of this venue. He’s a quality short game player with above-average expected approach numbers for this field.

Justin Lower ($5,700)

Nothing much to write home about, but grades as an above average ball-striker for the price with a decent implied probability of being a safe cut-maker.

Honorable Mention: Greyson Sigg, Parker Coody, Chandler Phillips
Fading: Carson Young, Dylan Wu, Tyler Duncan
On the Fence: Alexander Bjork, Bud Cauley, Aaron Wise, Ricky Castillo, Adrien Dumont De Chassart

Good luck to all this week in the 2024 Valspar Championship DFS contests and please do not hesitate to reach out to me on X @StixPicks.

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