Yahoo PGA DFS Picks: Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches Cash and GPP Strategy

Yahoo PGA DFS Picks: Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches Cash and GPP Strategy

Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
PGA National (Champion Course) - Par 71 - 7,147 yards
Field - 144 entrants
Purse - $9.0M

The Preview

Formerly known as the The Honda Classic, a new sponsor has secured the naming rights for the first leg of the Florida Swing, where a relatively feeble field once again heads to PGA National, this time for the Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches. On the bright side, tournaments like these often allow the more studious DFS competitors to reap the rewards of maintaining a pulse on their favorite hidden gems all year, much like us Jake Knapp backers were rewarded last week in Mexico.

Adding to our puzzled expectations this week is the water danger that envelops the Champion Course at PGA National, where nobody's safe from seeing doubles or worse painted on their scorecards. Scoring opportunities are somewhat limited with just three par-5s, while all four par-3s measure between 175-226 yards, and the infamous "Bear Trap" emphasizes the importance of precision down the stretch. The tough layout becomes even more difficult when the coastal winds howl off the Atlantic, and thunderstorms could come into play for Sunday's final round.

Recent Champions

2023 - Chris Kirk
2022 - Sepp Straka
2021 - Matt Jones
2020 - Sungjae Im
2019 - Keith Mitchell
2018 - Justin Thomas
2017 - Rickie Fowler
2016 - Adam Scott
2015 - Padraig Harrington
2014 - Russell Henley

Key Stats to Victory

SG: Approach
Proximity: 125-200 yards
SG: Off-the-Tee
Bogey avoidance

Yahoo Value Picks

Based on $200 salary cap

Cream of the Crop

Rory McIlroy - $45

A distant betting favorite priced only a couple dollars higher in salary than names like Matt Fitzpatrick, Tom Kim and Chris Kirk, McIlroy is a no-brainer click up top. Selecting the best player in the field (by a wide margin) at just $45 is barely a hindrance to the rest of your build, and the $35-$40 range is littered with too many mediocre options, anyway. So, you'll have to get unique elsewhere in your GPP lineups when selecting McIlroy, but that shouldn't be too difficult with a 144-man field teeing it up at a volatile track. McIlroy hasn't played here since 2018, but he won the 2012 Honda Classic, and he's No. 1 over his last 50 rounds in SG: Off-the-Tee, Birdies or Better Gained, Double Bogey Avoidance and Par-4 Efficiency.

Eric Cole - $39

Cole is another chalk candidate, especially after placing runner-up in his Honda Classic debut here last year when he racked up 18 total birdies and an eagle to ultimately force a playoff at 14-under. Since then, he added the 2023 Rookie of the Year award to his resume, and he hasn't lost strokes with his irons in 11 consecutive measured events. Sampling his past 24 rounds, Cole ranks top-5 in SG: APP, SG: Putting and Proximity from 175-200 yards.

Glue Guys

Luke List - $34

Slightly discounted from the tier in which he probably belongs, List appears in the No. 6 spot of my 24-round custom model this week, thanks in part to rankings of third in P3: 175-200 Efficiency, third in Double Bogey Avoidance, 16th in SG: APP and 20th in SG: OTT to name a few metrics within this frame. He's coming off one of the best putting performances of his career en route to a second-place finish at The Genesis Invitational, where he also gained 6.1 strokes on approach. List may have missed the cut in three straight Honda Classic appearances after his 2018 runner-up effort here, but his putter was almost entirely to blame for those more recent MCs. It'd be pretty baffling if he manages to lose 5.5 strokes putting across just two rounds here again.

Doug Ghim - $29

Ghim produced for us with a top-10 last week in Mexico where he tallied 21 total par-breakers and a season-high 98.7 fantasy points, yet his salary didn't budge from the $29 mark despite notching his third straight top-15 since the Farmers Insurance Open. He's No. 2 in my custom 12-round model, landing second in P3: 175-200 Efficiency, third in Prox: 150-175, third in Bogey Avoidance and sixth in SG: APP. Hopefully, lousy course history will help limit his ownership, having missed the cut in all three of his previous Honda Classic outings. However, he lost a collective 11.8 strokes putting throughout those six rounds, so much like List, positive regression on the greens is a likely scenario for Ghim.

Bargain Bin

Justin Lower - $26

Lower might have only tied for 64th in his lone PGA National appearance in 2022, but he actually paced the entire field in SG: Approach that week, and he's now coming off a third-place result at the Mexico Open at Vidanta where he gained strokes across the board. A 36-round overview of his form includes top-10 rankings in each of SG: APP, Prox: 150-175, Prox: 175-200 and P3: 200-225 Efficiency, so the strong iron play could provide quite a nice floor for someone in the mid-$20s.

Daniel Berger - $20

Yahoo DFS still hasn't caught up anywhere close to market value on Berger, who I've seen as short as 33/1 in outright betting odds this week in his first start since a top-30 performance at the WM Phoenix Open where he gained 5.3 strokes ball striking. The Strait-Vibin' Florida man owns a trio of top-4 finishes across seven PGA National showings, and he's gained strokes off the tee in all seven of these references. It'll be interesting to see if such a mis-priced Berger can catch McIlroy in the ownership column, but it'd be a disservice not to point out these blatant values.

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