The Memorial picks, sleepers for daily fantasy golf contests

Written By Bennett Bedford

The PGA Tour is finished with the Texas swing and makes its way up to Ohio to Jack’s place for the Memorial Tournament, held at Muirfield Village GC. The Memorial brings in an excellent field year in and year out for PGA DFS players, and this season is no different with Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Tiger Woods, and last week’s winner Justin Rose all making the trip. There is also a typically deep mid-range of high-upside picks, with players such as Matt Kuchar, Henrik Stensen and Patrick Reed making this one of the most loaded fields we see all season long for daily fantasy golf contests.

Muirfield Village is a moderate-length 7,400-yard, Par-72 layout. The best way I can describe Muirfield is that it is one of the most pure and pristine courses on the entire PGA Tour rota. The fairways are wide and have generous landing areas; however, there is danger to be found if players stray off the fairway. The rough is thick and the fairway bunkering is extremely tricky, so hitting the fairways, regardless of how wide they are, will be crucial. The emphasis on hitting fairways will lead to some players clubbing down off the tee and generally gives a bump to the accurate drivers of the ball. I’ll be targeting ‘good drive percentage as my main off-the-tee statistic due to length giving a nice advantage on some of the longer Par 4s and 5s. However, the added length does bring in a lot of trouble that is lurking off the fairway.

The greens as Muirfield are also lightening fast with some of the largest undulations of any course on tour outside of Augusta National. The speed and difficulty of the greens will put a heavy emphasis on approach game, and we have seen that whoever is striking their irons at an elite level will have a great shot at competing for the win at the end of the week. I almost never look at greens in regulation as a key stat, but Muirfield is the rare exception, as it is an incredibly difficult course to scramble on if you start missing greens.

MORE DFS: Lineup Builder | Strategy

In terms of roster construction, pricing is fairly loose this week, so you can really roster any pair of golfers you would like. There will only be 120 golfers teeing it up this week, so we should also see a high percentage of lineups sneaking six-for-six through the cut, which really brings a stars-and-scrubs lineup construction into play. However, you can absolutely also go with a more balanced approach with how loaded the $7,500-9,000 range is, especially in cash games. 

There's plenty of strategy that goes into putting together a winning DFS lineup, and the best place to start is RotoQL’s DFS tools. Our RotoQL PGA Lineup Optimizer offers a massive advantage when you're building lineups, regardless of contest size or site. I'm always there to help, too, so check me out on Twitter (@DFSBenj) for even more NFL, NBA, MLB and PGA daily fantasy content.

Key Stats:

Ball Striking 
Strokes Gained: Approach 
Greens in Regulation 
Good Drive Percentage 
Par 5 Scoring 

The Memorial picks (Daily Fantasy Golf)

Top-Tier Targets

Dustin Johnson - DK: $11,300, FD: $12,300

DJ has seen his grasp on the world No. 1 ranking slip, but with that in mind, I love him going into this week at a course that is a better fit for his game then his course history would suggest. A high cut is the preferred shot shape here, and there isn’t a player in the world who hits a better high-cut than DJ. A missed cut here last season when he was battling a back injury should keep his ownership way down this week, but the T-3 we saw in 2016 should be closer to what we see from him this year. I’m projecting DJ to be the lowest owned among players over $9,500, which is certainly a situation that you should look to exploit. 

Tiger Woods - DK: $9,400, FD: $11,300

Tiger is a perfect 15-for-15 in made cuts with five wins at Muirfield and is my top overall play of the week, regardless of price. Tiger has flashed great form in all facets of his game since spinal fusion surgery, but he has yet to put together four rounds to put him in position for a win. However, Muirfield is an ideal setup for Tiger to break through, and the extremely fast bentgrass greens fit his putting style perfectly. Tiger is a cash-game lock at this price, and I will look to go way overweight the field in large-field tournaments. 

Others to Consider: Justin Rose, Justin Thomas 

Mid-Tier Targets

Matt Kuchar - DK: $8,500, FD: $11,300

Speaking of cash-game locks, Kuchar is the ultimate course horse and is an autoplay at this event at an insanely good value of $8,500 on DraftKings. Kuch is another guy who loves to hit a high cut and will keep himself out of trouble off the tee and look to set up his solid iron play, which is half the battle at Muirfield. He has posted back-to-back T-4 finishes here and won the whole damn thing back in 2013. Lock him in to your cash lineup, and good luck fading him, even at projected high ownership in tournaments. 

Emiliano Grillo - DK: $8,400, FD: $10,400

There aren’t many players who are playing better golf than Grillo right now, and he will likely be a popular option yet again this week at the Memorial. He has a solid course history here with finishes of T-40 and T-11 the past two years, and he's striking the ball better than he has in his entire career right now. The concern with Grillo is always going to be his putter, but the speed and difficulty of the greens has helped poor putters pop here in the past (hello, Jason Dufner.). 

Bryson DeChambeau - DK: $7,700, FD: $10,300

All of the Par 5s at Muirfield are reachable in two shots and are the best scoring opportunities on the course. DeChambeau is an all-world Par-5 scorer and has been a core play for me anytime he tees it up on a track that puts an emphasis on Par-5 scoring. His form has been trending in a positive direction all year long, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win at one of these elite-caliber events very soon. 

Others to Consider: Hideki Matsuyama (GPP), Jason Dufner, Kyle Stanley 

MORE DFS: Lineup Builder | Strategy

Value Targets 

Keith Mitchell - DK: $7,200, FD: $9,300

Mitchell has been extremely consistent all year long and is one of the top value plays yet again this week at Muirfield. Mitchell has been solid with his approaches and is coming off one of his best career finishes, a T-3 at the Byron Nelson a few weeks ago. Mitchell is also an excellent birdie maker and crushes Par 5s, which plays perfectly for what we are looking for in a daily fantasy format. 

Keegan Bradley - DK: $7,200, FD: $9,000

Writing up Keegan is terrifying, but I have a great feeling about him going into this week. Bradley has a very solid history at Muirfield with top 10s in 2015 and '16. His putting is horrendous and probably won’t flip anytime soon, but Muirfield’s layout should help hide some of this issues he has with the flat stick while highlighting his excellent approach play. 

Others to Consider: Adam Hadwin (cash), Rory Sabbatini, Stewart Cink

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