Name the 50 best active golfers you can think of and all 50 are probably in the field for this week’s PLAYERS Championship. Why wouldn’t they be? This is the PGA Tour’s flagship event and it has a prize pool in excess of $12 million. The first place cut is $2.25 million. Also, this is one hell of a challenge a few weeks in advance of the Masters at Augusta National.
This is a stocked and fully loaded field, which means that some outstanding players are below the average player cost per the DraftKings salary cap. As always, we’ll be digging even deeper to find some good value candidates so that you can put some of the stars on your roster.
Here are this week’s value picks for the star-studded event at TPC Sawgrass.
Xander Schauffele ($9,000) – I know. I know. This isn’t the type of player that usually goes in this article, but is there a guy that elevates his game more in premier events than Schauffele? The San Diego State product already has wins this year in the WGC-HSBC Champions event and the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He tied for second last year at the PLAYERS. He was second in The Open Championship. He was sixth at the US Open. He won the TOUR Championship in 2017. The guy just finds a second gear in tournaments like this. After last year’s 50th-place showing at the Masters, I can’t help but think Schauffele wants to be in the best form possible and a good showing here would just continue what he’s done this season. If you want a stat, he’s also 11th in strokes gained: approach, which is a pretty big deal with all the hazards here at TPC Sawgrass.
Matt Kuchar ($8,000) – When he’s not being a petulant arsehole that stiffs caddies, Matt Kuchar is a pretty good golfer. This seems like the right type of event for a player with his skill set. Kuchar doesn’t hit bombs, but he’s able to keep it between the proverbial lines. Kuchar is sixth in driving accuracy this year. He’s also 19th in strokes gained on approach. Those are two critically important attributes at this course because it punishes errant first and second shots. Kuchar picked up top-20 finishes last year and in 2014 and was third in 2016.
Ian Poulter ($7,600) – Ian Poulter is my favorite futures play this week and a guy that is very much worthy of being on your radar. Poulter is a two-time runner-up here, once all the way back in 2009 and the other time back in 2017. He finished 11th last year. He opened 69-68 in 2016, but shot 79-75 over the weekend as it got away from him. Poulter is aging like golf’s version of a fine wine, as he simply seems to be getting better as he gets older. Poulter is also top 25 in driving accuracy and inside the top 60 on strokes gained on the approach. He had some hiccups last week, but still pulled a top-25 finish at Bay Hill.
Rafael Cabrera-Bello ($7,400) – It is a little bit surprising to see this price point for Cabrera-Bello. He finished in the top five last week at Bay Hill, which has extracted most of his futures value from the equation, but he’s still got a ton of value this week in the DFS marketplace. Along with last week’s top-five to showcase his recent form, which includes three straight top-25 finishes, Cabrera-Bello was 17th here last year, including a 67-69 to finish out the tournament, and fourth in 2017. Even when he missed the cut in 2016, he shot a respectable 1-over. It is amazing to see his price tag this low.
Paul Casey ($7,900) – Paul Casey might be something of an afterthought this week because he didn’t play the Honda Classic or the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but he’s in the field this week for the PLAYERS Championship. Casey struggled at the start in Mexico for the WGC event, but shot a couple of weekend 65s to finish third. He’s played well at courses with a lot of water and warmer weather and winds so far with that third in Mexico and a second at Pebble Beach. Casey is 11th in driving accuracy and 18th in strokes gained on approach. You could certainly do far worse for this price point.