The DraftKings salary board is truly something for this week’s John Deere Classic. The field is extremely weak, with only 13 players that have a spot in next week’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush and only four of the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings. That’s how you get Viktor Hovland and Collin Morikawa as the most expensive players, with Matthew Wolff, Joaquin Niemann, and Kevin Streelman as the others in the $10,000 price group.
This will be quite a week in golf DFS, that’s for sure. A lot of the top players are playing the Scottish Open to get ready for The Open Championship, so we’re going to have to dig really, really deep to find some good candidates that qualify as value picks.
Salaries are from DraftKings.
Pat Perez ($7,500) – Even though TPC Deere Run is a par 71 coming in at well over 7,200 yards, big hitters have rarely dotted the leaderboard. Guys like Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, and Steve Stricker have prevailed here. Why not a guy like Pat Perez? Perez ranks 169th in driving distance, which is anything but nice, but he makes up for it by being in the top 20 in SG: Putting. He’s also top 25 in SG: Around the Green. He’s 69th in driving accuracy, which is pretty nice. If you hit it straight, play from the short grass, and make putts, you can contend at TPC Deere Run. It’s the long hitters that go into the woods or the guys that three-putt a GIR that struggle here. Perez looks like a solid play this week at a very, very reasonable price.
Sam Ryder ($7,500) – Another $7,500 price tag makes the list this week with Sam Ryder. Ryder was second here last year and has made three of his last four cuts this season. He hasn’t finished higher than 34th, but he was dealing with an injury earlier in the season. When Ryder has been out there, he’s posted some pretty decent stats, as he ranks in the top 50 in par 4 scoring, par 5 scoring, SG: Approach, SG: Putting, Birdie or Better, and Bogey Avoidance. He’s in the top 100 in driving distance and the top 80 in driving accuracy. In a field with a lot of inconsistent players, Ryder’s stats suggest more consistency than we’ve seen from him in recent weeks and he’s a pretty good play here as far as I’m concerned.
Sepp Straka ($7,300) – Speaking of consistency, Sepp Straka hasn’t had a lot of it. But, he’s a guy that has a lot of talent and we’ve seen players like that make a push up the standings here in recent weeks or get more notoriety in their first or second years. Straka is a big hitter, one of the biggest in this tournament, as he ranks 36th in driving distance. He’s just outside the top 100 in accuracy, but a lot of guys are far worse than him in that department. Straka has had problems putting, but he’s 65th in SG: Tee to Green and 46th in SG: Off the Tee. He’s 41st in SG: Approach. These greens are gettable, so hopefully he’ll give himself some makeable birdie putts this week and maybe have a few eagle cracks with that length.
Johnson Wagner ($7,200) – A punt with potential this week is Johnson Wagner. Wagner has only made nine of 14 cuts this season, but he played well last week in the 3M Open. Wagner played four rounds under 60 and ranked top 10 in SG: Putting. He’s got three top-25 finishes this year and he has played exceptionally well at TPC Deere Run in the past. Wagner was 16th last year after a missed cut in 2017. From 2014-16, Wagner was seventh, fifth, and fifth. Wagner hasn’t won an event since 2012, but his career wins are at Mayakoba and the Sony Open in Hawaii. Those are events that older guys that don’t hit the ball all that far can win. Wagner is 33rd in driving accuracy and 23rd in SG: Putting this season. That’s a good way to be in the hunt at the John Deere and I’d fully expect him to be up there this week.
Luke Donald ($7,000) – Look, I know what you must be saying. Luke Donald has not played well this season at all. The former No. 1’s best days are very much in the past. But, let’s look at the situation here. There is a ton at stake for Donald. If he can somehow be the highest top-five finisher without a berth in The Open Championship, he would get one. He also ranks 181st in FedEx Cup points. He missed the FedEx Cup Playoffs last season. He really needs a big effort in this event. It would be a surprise to see him play the alternate events that are coming up, but he doesn’t have an invite to Royal Portrush and isn’t in the WGC-FedEx St. Jude either. This is the type of course for an old man like Donald to make a run. That’s not to say that he will, but simply to say that turning back the clock might not be as hard as it seems. He hasn’t played this event in at least the last 10 years, so it’s pretty clear how serious he is.