The first leg of the PGA Tour playoffs starts this week. For the first event of the three-event playoff, only the top 125 players in the standings are allowed entry. After this week, the next event (BMW Championship) will see only the top 70 in the standings move on. That makes this week of utmost importance for many players who are hovering around No. 100 in the standings. The field this week is also strong, as all of the top 15 players in the OWGR are in the event. Some notable withdrawals are Tommy Fleetwood, Daniel Berger and Lanto Griffin. Since it’s the playoffs, they don’t get replaced by alternates and the field will instead stay at 122 players.
To help wade through this star-studded event, we’ll use the Stokastic projections below to highlight who the best fantasy golf plays are this week at the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
FedEx St. Jude Championship DFS Golf Picks & Projections
The course this week is TPC Southwind, which plays just over 7,200 yards as a par 70. The venue was the 14th hardest on the PGA Tour in 2020 and has yielded a winning score of 16 under par in two of the last three seasons. It has plenty of water, doglegs off the tee and small Bermuda greens, which means that it sets it up similarly to many of the tougher courses in the Florida stretch (Copperhead and PGA National). Southwind isn’t a course where players will be smashing driver off every hole, but consistent ball striking is still vital, as thin fairways and small greens are guarded heavily by the water. That leads to a high rate of water balls at this event.
TPC Southwind Stats and Info
- Par 70; will play at 7,233 yards with smaller Bermuda greens. Water comes into play on 11 holes, both off the tee and around the greens.
- Greens in regulation and fairway accuracy are both extremely low here compared to most venues, with the field averaging well under 60% in both categories.
- 2020 winner Justin Thomas gained 7.7 strokes on approach for the week of his win, and all three men involved in the playoff in 2021 gained four strokes or more on approach.
- Tee-to-green play is important this week, with extra emphasis on players currently striking it well with their mid to long irons.
FedEx St. Jude Championship 2022 DFS Golf Picks
Total Points Projection: 85.0 | Top 6 percentage: 36.35%
Rory McIlroy has not played since he blew the lead at the Open in July. Despite the lack of finish he’s shown in the big events for 2022, the Stokastic projections haven’t soured on him at all. They are even more bullish on his chances this week than at the last major, where he was also leading the pack in the projections. McIlroy’s 36% top-six projection is 7% higher than second-place Patrick Cantlay, and McIlroy also carries the highest projection of the week by over 5 points.
TPC Southwind has been a hit-or-miss event for McIlroy, as he finished well outside the top 30 here in 2020 but also grabbed a fourth-place finish in 2019 and gained 7.9 strokes putting plus around the green for the week. McIlroy’s iron play has been phenomenal since the start of the summer, and he’s now gained over four strokes on approach in six of his last seven starts. There’s zero reason to be shy about paying up here, especially with good value down the board.
Projected PGA DFS Ownership: DraftKings 16.8%| FanDuel 28.5%
- Ranks first in DraftKings points over the last 24 rounds and second in strokes gained ball striking.
- Gained an absurd 12.4 strokes ball striking alone at this event/venue last season, on his way to just a 12th-place finish.
Total Points Projection: 73.3 | Top 6 percentage: 20.27%
The Stokastic projections are finally starting to show some love for the man who has posted three runner-up finishes on the season, including last month at the Open. Cameron Young has a solid top-six rate of over 20% in the model this week and also carries the highest point projection of any golfer below $9,500 on DraftKings. He is still searching for his first win on the PGA Tour but is just a week removed from a second place finish where he gained 5.3 strokes off the tee and showed a burgeoning short game.
Young’s power might be stifled a bit by TPC Southwind’s design, but if he’s going to gain over seven strokes putting/around the green again, then it won’t matter much. While this may not seem like an ideal setup for a power hitter, his third-place finish at Harbour Town in April showcased that his game is well rounded enough to find success anywhere on the PGA Tour. Even with an increase in price since the last major of 2022, the model likes him as an upper-tier value for balanced lineups.
Projected PGA DFS Ownership: DraftKings 11.3% | FanDuel 15.4%
- Has gained over 3.5 strokes off the tee in each of his last five measured starts on the PGA Tour.
- Is fifth in DraftKings points and first in around the green play over the last 24 rounds.
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Low-Owned PGA DFS GPP Flier
Chris Kirk ($7,400)
Total Points Projection: 56.5 | Top 6 percentage: 5.22%
For a GPP value this week, Chris Kirk is projecting for under 5% ownership, which is surprising given his low-to-mid-$7,000 salary. Kirk is one of the most consistent players off the tee, ranking 16th in strokes gained over the last 50 rounds and also second in around-the-green play over that time. He hit the ball fine at Detroit (17th) but just couldn’t find much luck around the greens there. The switch to a tighter Bermuda track should help him, though, as earlier this season he finished seventh and fifth at Bay Hill and PGA National, a couple decent corollary courses to this week’s. As a former PGA Tour playoff winner (2015), don’t be shocked if he gets in the mix this week, as his overall play in 2022 has already gotten him in contention in numerous elite fields.
Projected PGA DFS Ownership: DraftKings: 4.3% | FanDuel 3.5%
Top 3 Under 5% in DraftKings Fantasy Golf This Week
This section will target players that should end up under or close to 5% ownership in larger DraftKings Golf GPPs. These picks are boom/bust PGA DFS players with an almost 100% focus on the upside.
Emiliano Grillo ($7,000)
Grillo is smashing the ball right now. He’s gaining massively off the tee and has two runner-up finishes in his last three starts — yet is languishing around 2.4% in the Stokastic ownership projections. Use the irrational negative sentiment as an advantage.
Mito Pereira ($7,500)
Pereira is coming off four missed cuts in a row but remains the classic GPP pedigree play. Like many of the young players on the PGA Tour, his upside is to get in the mix and post a top-three finish, as he did earlier at the PGA Championship. Downside-wise, if he keeps playing like he has over the last few starts, he’ll be done by Thursday p.m.
Anirban Lahiri ($6,700)
Lahiri finished eighth last week at the Wyndham but actually led the field in strokes gained tee to green for the week. His poor putting at Sedgefield is worrisome, but he also finished sixth at TPC Southwind the last time he played it (2018). Plus, his second-place finish at the Players in March is another great indicator that the track this week will be a good setup for him. Lahiri is trending for almost no ownership.
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