Yahoo PGA DFS Picks: Valspar Championship Cash and GPP Strategy

Yahoo PGA DFS Picks: Valspar Championship Cash and GPP Strategy

Valspar Championship

Palm Harbor, Florida
Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead Course) - Par 71 - 7,340 yards
Field - 155 entrants
Purse - $8.4M

The Preview

TPC Sawgrass failed to show its full set of teeth as nearly 20 names reached double-digit red numbers by the end of THE PLAYERS Championship on Sunday, but the carnage theme typically extends into the Florida Swing's finale at the Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead Course, where the infamous "Snake Pit" provides an entertaining three-hole stretch to close out a par-71 venue that features five long par-3s and a full quartet of par-5s. Lengthened rough places an emphasis on driving accuracy over distance off the tee, with a significant portion of approach shots expected to come from 175-plus yards, especially when considering the aforementioned demanding par-3s. A gnarly combination of wind and rain figures to arrive during Friday's second round, which could cause weather delays in addition to inflated scores.

Recent Champions

2023 - Taylor Moore
2022 - Sam Burns
2021 - Sam Burns
2020 - None
2019 - Paul Casey
2018 - Paul Casey
2017 - Adam Hadwin
2016 - Charl Schwartzel
2015 - Jordan Spieth
2014 - John Senden

Key Stats to Victory

SG: Approach
Par-3: 200-225 efficiency
Driving accuracy
Par-5 scoring

Yahoo Value Picks

Based on $200 salary cap

Cream of the Crop

Xander Schauffele - $44

Coming off his best finish of the season with a runner-up effort at THE PLAYERS Championship last week, Schauffele has risen to the No. 1 spot among this week's field in each of SG: Tee-to-Green, P4: 450-500 Efficiency and Bogey Avoidance over his last 24 rounds. Despite making just one prior appearance at the Copperhead Course when he gained 8.4 strokes ball striking en route to a T12 here in 2022, Schauffele can be found as short as 6/1 in the outright betting market, signaling more than enough win equity to return value at a sub-$45 Yahoo salary.

Sam Burns - $40

With back-to-back wins here in 2021 and 2022 before adding another top-6 result at the Innisbrook Resort this past year, Burns will be a popular horse for the course despite carrying his highest salary of the season at $40. He struggled on and around the greens during his final round at TPC Sawgrass on Sunday, causing him to lose strokes putting in an event for the first time since August, but he remains top-10 in SG: Putting, Par-5 Efficiency, Opportunities Gained and Bogey Avoidance over his last 24 rounds.

Justin Thomas - $39

Thomas burned his backers last week with a missed cut at THE PLAYERS, but he actually gained 4.7 strokes with his irons across just 36 holes while posting his worst SG: Putting performance since last June's U.S. Open. The hope is for Thomas' short game to positively regress this week at a venue where he's finished T18 or better in five of six career outings, notably gaining strokes from tee to green in all six appearances.

Glue Guys

Christiaan Bezuidenhout - $33

After struggling with his irons at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, especially from 150-175 yards, Bezuidenhout gained a career-best seven strokes on his approach shots this past week at TPC Sawgrass, where he also ranked sixth among the field in scrambling. Additionally, the South African has gained strokes with the flat stick in four straight starts.

Keith Mitchell - $32

Mitchell finished dead last among those who made the cut at THE PLAYERS, but he's still No. 1 in proximity from 200-plus yards, second in Opps Gained and sixth in SG: T2G over his last 24 rounds, and he hasn't lost strokes off the tee since the Sanderson Farms Championship in early October. Mitchell's short game is a concern, but it hasn't kept him from making seven of eight cuts to begin the 2024 season, and his ball-striking floor/ceiling is quite admirable at this price.

Aaron Rai - $32

Making his Valspar Championship debut, Rai is coming off three consecutive finishes of T35 or better dating to the Mexico Open at Vidanta, and he's second to none in driving accuracy over his last 24 rounds. Within this sample size, he's also ninth in Prox: 175-200 and 12th in SG: APP. The Copperhead Course should be a solid fit for a plodder like Rai, and he's not a good enough putter to contend in a birdie-fest, so the heightened difficulty level could be a bonus for the Englishman as well.

Bargain Bin

Doug Ghim - $27

Despite racking up five straight top-20s from the Farmers Insurance Open through THE PLAYERS Championship, Ghim still hasn't cracked the $30 salary mark, so it wouldn't be surprising to see his ownership reach 25 percent in Yahoo's flagship GPPs this week. He's certainly a difficult fade at just $27, considering he's gained an average of five strokes from tee to green per event throughout his past five events played. Although he missed the cut here at the Copperhead Course in 2021, Ghim has gained a collective 9.2 strokes from tee to green across six career rounds at Innisbrook.

Maverick McNealy - $27

McNealy's approach play has been below average again this season, but every other facet of his game has been strong since a sixth-place showing at the WM Phoenix Open, and he's made six straight cuts dating to the Farmers Insurance Open. He's coming off a T9 at THE PLAYERS where he paced the field in SG: Around-the-Green while converting a tournament-best 25 of 29 scrambling opportunities, and he's top-15 in each of SG: T2G, Bogey Avoidance and P4: 450-500 Efficiency over his last 24 rounds.

Daniel Berger - $20

Berger missed back-to-back cuts after his top-30 performance at TPC Scottsdale, but the Florida native has remained accurate off the tee since his return to action this season, ranking fifth on Tour in FIR percentage. He's also 20th in overall proximity and 34th in GIR percentage, so I'm comfortable leaning into Berger's risk in exchange for quite a bit of ball-striking upside compared to most of the $20 minimum options surrounding him.

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