Berryman’s Core Plays: Scottie Scheffler Fits The American Express Profile

Building lineups and making American Express DFS picks will come down to finding core plays in lineups and filling out with top projections and value. That is possible at the top this week with Scottie Scheffler.

The American Express brings the PGA Tour back to California after two weeks in Hawaii. Last week’s Sony Open was an underdog’s paradise with three of the four highest-priced players missing the cut. Only Hideki Matsuyama made it through, and he was mediocre overall.

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2023 American Express DFS Picks And Core Plays

Scottie Scheffler – $10,500

Scheffler stands out as the top play in the upper price range this week. With five top-10 finishes in his last six starts, he appears to be back to his normal self after a mid-season “skid” last year.

His elite ball striking and birdie-making ability are exactly the right player profile for this week. Scheffler ranks first in birdie-or-better percentage and fourth in strokes gained on approach over the last 100 rounds.

He’s registered two top-25 finishes in his three career starts in this event, including a third-place finish in 2020. Coming off his career year in 2022 that included three wins and a second-place finish in the Tour Championship, Scheffler should carry his momentum into 2023 with a strong finish this week.

Tom Hoge – $8,400

Given the winning score is likely set for better than 20-under par, the goal is to target elite approach players that will give themselves plenty of chances to pile up birdies. And very quietly, Tom Hoge has cemented himself as one of the best iron players in the world.

He’s second in the field in strokes gained on approach in his last 100 rounds, second in his last 50 rounds and first in his last 24 rounds. He’s 10th in the field over his last 24 rounds in birdie-or-better percentage. He’s 10th in the field in overall strokes gained on the Stadium Course, which will be featured twice if players make the cut.

Hoge has the 18th-highest salary on the board at DraftKings, but projects to score the 13th-most points with even bigger upside according to Stokastic’s PGA DFS projections.

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Alex Smalley – $7,500

Coming off an impressive run in the swing season, Smalley headlines core plays for the lower-priced tier on DraftKings.

With finishes of 11th, fourth, and fifth in consecutive starts through October and November, Smalley flashed his ability and upside.

This is an event that should suit his game perfectly – he ranks top 25 in this field in both strokes gained on approach and birdie-or-better percentage over the last 50 rounds.

It will be tough for him to win this event given the strength of this field, but he doesn’t need to win at this price to pay off in lineups. Smalley is an attractive budget option with single-digit ownership.

Matthew NeSmith – $7,100

NeSmith rounds out core plays as the best value of the week.

He fits the targeted profile, ranking seventh in birdie-or-better percentage and 14th in strokes gained on approach over the last 24 rounds.
He also went on a nice run through the swing season, with three straight top-10 finishes in the month of October.

The only concern with NeSmith is his shaky putter, which has been an Achilles heel for him during his time on tour. However, Bermuda is NeSmith’s best putting surface by a large margin, which makes up the vast majority of the hybrid style greens players will face this week.

At 5% ownership, his ability to ball strike his way around golf courses makes him an intriguing tournament option this week.

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