This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
WGC-FedEx St. Jude Classic
TPC Southwind (7,237 yards, par-70)
$1,845,000 and 550 FedEx Cup points to the winner
Although the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is no more and the PGA Tour will miss Firestone CC, having the FedEx St. Jude Classic serve as the season's World Golf Championships finale is nothing to be upset about, as a great deal of money and awareness is raised for the children's research hospital. This event had annually been held as a typical 156-man tournament in June, but only 63 competitors will be in attendance this time around. TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee can be a tenacious track as a relatively long par-70, while heat and humidity will certainly become a test after high temps failed to reach even 70 degrees over in Northern Ireland at the Open Championship this past week. Let's jump right into our targets in FanDuel contests as the PGA Tour's regular season begins to wind down.
Recent Champions (St. Jude Classic @ TPC Southwind)
Key Stats to Victory
P4: 450-500 efficiency
Prior to Dustin Johnson's 19-under rout in 2018, no winner at TPC Southwind recorded an overall score better than 13-under in the previous eight editions of the St. Jude Classic. The par-70 layout lacks an abundance of easy birdie opportunities with only two par-5s appearing on the scorecard, while seven lengthy par-4s measure between 450 and 500 yards. Bermuda rough is kept under three inches in length, but these greens are still among the toughest to hit in regulation on Tour. This wrinkle not only heightens the importance of quality ball-striking, but also places an emphasis on the elements of scrambling in SG: Around-the-Green and one-putt percentage.
FanDuel Value Picks
Dustin Johnson, $12,000 - A pair of wins and four top-10s in six career appearances at TPC Southwind will make Johnson a chalky anchor, especially after he cruised to a six-shot triumph here just last year. The only concern with Johnson is the flat stick, as he lost over six strokes putting at the U.S. Open and has failed to finish on the positive side of this metric since the PGA Championship in mid-May. He's gained an average of 6.3 strokes from tee to green over his last five tournaments, however.
Brooks Koepka, $11,900 - The World No. 1 broke 70 in each of his first three rounds at Royal Portrush before a final-round pairing with the stubborn J.B. Holmes sent Koepka into frustration mode and led to a three-over 74 to finish T4. Koepka's potential effort level in a non-major after traveling back to the U.S. from Northern Ireland will be questioned, but he's been pretty solid at TPC Southwind, with results of T30-T37-T2-T3-T19 the past five years. He paces this week's field in both P4: 450-500 efficiency and overall par-4 scoring over his last 24 rounds.
Justin Rose, $11,000 - Despite ranking 26th or better in SG: Approach and SG: Tee-to-Green, Rose has dipped to 167th in GIR percentage this season. Luckily, a red-hot putter has kept him afloat. The Englishman leads the PGA Tour in overall putting average as well as one-putt percentage, and he has gained strokes both with the flat stick and off the tee in each of his last six measured starts.
Patrick Cantlay, $10,900 - He'll be debuting down in Memphis at TPC Southwind, but Cantlay's all-around game sets up nicely for this difficult track. The 27-year-old ranks third in fairway proximity, fourth in SG: Tee-to-Green, ninth in birdie average and he paces the Tour in scoring. Nobody in the field has scrambled better than Cantlay over their past 24 rounds, either, and he's second in bogey avoidance during this time frame.
Longer Shots Worth a Risk
Matt Kuchar, $10,000 - Kuchar has been MIA from TPC Southwind for over a decade now, but he's 5-of-6 in terms of cuts made at the venue, with one top-10 to his name as well. He's first in putting from 5-10 feet and fifth in P4: 450-500 over his last 24 rounds, and he's also fifth on Tour in GIR percentage this season en route to his current positioning of second in the FedExCup standings.
Billy Horschel, $9,000 - The former Florida Gator has been exceptional throughout his past five voyages to TPC Southwind, with a quartet of consecutive top-10 finishes from 2013-2017. A missed cut at the Open Championship might help keep his ownership somewhat in check, but he's still gained an average of 3.8 strokes tee to green over his last five tourneys. Horschel ranks 16th on Tour in both putting from 4-8 feet and putting from inside 10 feet.
Danny Willett, $8,800 - Willett's long-awaited resurgence continued with a T6 at the Open Championship last week, where he gained over 10 strokes off the tee and played his middle 36 holes in a collective 10-under-par. The Englishman remained outside of the OWGR's top 300 as recently as late October, but he's soared back up to a much more respectable 58th. Additionally, he leads the PGA Tour in proximity from 150-175 yards.
Rafa Cabrera Bello, $8,600 - The Spaniard became quite a popular value play at Royal Portrush on the heels of three straight top-10s from the BMW International Open to the Scottish Open, but he missed the cut at the Open Championship by a handful of shots as he lost 3.6 strokes from tee to green in two rounds. Nonetheless, he's top-20 in SG: Around-the-Green and SG: Putting over his last 24 rounds and second to none on the PGA Tour in terms of par-4 birdie or better percentage.
Strategy Tips for this week (based on 60k standard salary cap)
FanDuel was fairly generous in pricing only 10 out of 64 entrants above the $10,500 mark, so you can take advantage by selecting multiple marquee names along with a punt play or two given the lack of any sort of cut. Although a stellar short-game performance and bogey avoidance will go a long way in determining who lands on the podium come Sunday afternoon, birdie or better percentage still plays a key role in DFS success, as risk tolerance can be adjusted for this limited-field format.