FanDuel PGA: John Deere Classic Picks and Strategy

FanDuel PGA: John Deere Classic Picks and Strategy

This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.

John Deere Classic

Course: TPC Deere Run (7,289 yards, par 71)
Purse: $7,100,000
Winner: $1,278,000 and 500 FedExCup points

Tournament Preview

This is an opportunity week for many players. One look at the top FanDuel salaries this week and you can see that there aren't a lot of household names. That being said, this tournament still carries the same amount of FedExCup points as all other regular PGA Tour events on the calendar. With just six more weeks left before the FedExCup playoffs begin, this is a chance for those that are trying to make up ground to get into that top-125 and secure full playing status for the 2022-23 campaign. There will also be three Open Championship spots up for grabs at the John Deere Classic for the highest finishing non-exempt players. That Open Championship Qualifying Series holds extra weight this year with this being the 150th anniversary of golf's oldest championship at the home of golf in St. Andrew's.

The John Deere Classic has been held at TPC Deere Run in the Quad Cities community of Silvis, Illinois since 2000. It is an event known for giving young players a shot via sponsors exemptions and also being a place that players can take it really low. The John Deere Classic gave an exemption to teenager Michelle Wie in 2005 and 2006, which generated a ton of media coverage. It also saw Jordan Spieth in 2013 become the first teenager to win on the PGA Tour since 1931. Five of the last 10 winners of the John Deere Classic have been first-time winners on the PGA Tour. Since the move to TPC Deere Run, the winning score has been at least 16-under-par every year, and on 10 occasions it reached 20-under. In 2010, Paul Goydos became the fourth player in PGA Tour history to shoot 59. In that same round, Steve Stricker shot a 60 to help propel him to his second of three straight John Deere Classic victories.

The toughest conditions the players will face this week will be in the first round where winds will extend upwards of 20 miles per hour. The final three rounds call for relatively benign wind conditions, but a stray thunderstorm can't be ruled out at this time of year. Any precipitation would improve scoring conditions that much further to what will be another birdie-fest.

Recent Champions

2021 – Lucas Glover (-19)
2020 – None
2019 – Dylan Frittelli (-21)
2018 – Michael Kim (-27)
2017 – Bryson DeChambeau (-18)
2016 – Ryan Moore (-22)
2015 – Jordan Spieth (-20)
2014 – Brian Harman (-22)
2013 – Jordan Spieth (-19)
2012 – Zach Johnson (-20)

Key Stats to Victory

  • Birdie Average
  • SG: Approach
  • SG: Putting
  • Driving Accuracy

Champion's Profile

If you look back the last few years at the numbers some of the champions put up, there isn't necessarily one consistent part of the game they excelled in apart from making a ton of birdies. The course is not long at 7,258 yards on the card, which opens it up to the whole field to be able to compete. It's not a place where we will see driver used as much as some other venues on the PGA Tour, as a number of fairways pinch in or just straight up end where an average driver would land. Considering that and the fact that the primary rough will extend to around four inches, driving accuracy will be much more the stat to look at than driving distance. TPC Deere Run profiles much more of a second-shot golf course, with most of the players hitting from very similar positions on a number of holes.

For as flat as the upper Midwest is, TPC Deere Run does feature a decent amount of elevation change. That will make being in control of your distances that much more important. The bentgrass greens are just about average size for PGA Tour standards. The putting surfaces will be prepped to run around 12 on the Stimpmeter, but may speed up on the weekend similar to TPC River Highlands last week if we can avoid any precipitation. Maximizing your birdie chances is always key in a shootout, but you're not going to be able to win here without a hot putter.

FanDuel Value Picks

The Chalk

Webb Simpson ($12,000)

Simpson is coming off his second best finish of the season in a T13 at the Travelers Championship. It has been a challenging season for the veteran, but he has finished T27 or better in three of his last four starts. Simpson is still gaining strokes in every measured category and is also 28th in driving accuracy, 12th in proximity to the hole and 19th in putts per round. This is a prime spot for the seven-time PGA Tour winner to potentially notch another victory.

Adam Hadwin ($11,700)

Hadwin is having one of his best PGA Tour seasons to date. He is coming off a strong T7 showing at the U.S. Open, which was his 10th top-30 finish of the season. Hadwin ranks top-45 in a number of key categories including SG: Approach, SG: Around-the-Green, driving accuracy, GIR percentage, scrambling and birdie average. The Canadian has made just two starts at TPC Deere run, but they were a T18 and a T8.

Charles Howell III ($10,800)

Howell has only made 15 starts to this point this season, but nine of those were finishes of T36-or-better. Howell's 4.08 birdie average is tied for the highest in the field this week. The veteran ranks 35th in SG: Tee-to-Green and sixth in GIR percentage on the season. Howell has one of the best records at this event going 12-for-13 with three top-six finishes and nine top-25's.

Nick Hardy ($10,400)

Hardy should have some good support this week playing at his home tournament. The former Illini standout has gone T21-T35-T14-T8 in his last four starts on the PGA Tour. Hardy got to make two starts at the John Deere Classic as an amateur and made the cut in both. He has been putting very well recently and ranks 18th in both SG: Off-the-Tee and GIR percentage this season.

Longer Shots with Value

Lucas Glover ($9,900)

The defending champion comes into the week having made the cut in seven of his last eight stroke play events. Prior to last year's victory, Glover had notched four other top-25 finishes at TPC Deere Run. The veteran is one of the best ball-strikers in the field this week, ranking 36th in SG: Approach, 13th in driving accuracy, 22nd in GIR percentage and 22nd in proximity to the hole.

Chez Reavie ($9,500)

Reavie is playing his best golf since the COVID-19 pandemic. Over his last five starts he has gone T13-T15-MC-T27-T8. En route to that T8 last week at the Travelers, Reavie ranked T1 in driving accuracy, T9 in GIR percentage and 17th in SG: Putting, all of which should be key stats again at TPC Deere Run. The 40-year-old is 7-for-9 here with three top-20s, which includes a T18 last year.

Nate Lashley ($8,900)

Lashley has always been a player that thrives in birdie-fests like what this is expected to be, as he ranks 24th in birdie average on Tour. He is not the most consistent player, but has popped on several occasions this year totaling 10 finishes of T28-or-better. Lashley is in the top quarter of the PGA Tour in SG: Putting, driving accuracy, GIR percentage, scrambling and putts per round.

Scott Brown ($8,000)

Brown is the sneakiest Deere Run specialist of the week. In nine starts here, the South Carolina native has a whopping seven top-25 finishes, which includes a best finish of T4 last year. Brown has been splitting time this season between the PGA and Korn Ferry Tours this season. The 39-year-old ranks top-25 on the KFT in driving accuracy and GIR percentage and scored a top-10 last week at the Live and Work in Maine Open.

Strategy Tips This Week 

Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap

With no top-tier names in the field, this should be one of the most spread out ownerships of the season. After his performance last week at the Travelers Championship, I think there's a case for Sahith Theegala being one of the top-three owned players at the John Deere Classic. I think at $11,500, however, there's not much value, especially having no course history at all. With 156 players and a strength of field this weak, it's better to not look at missed cuts and instead focus on players who rank high in birdie average and/or have some good past performances at TPC Deere Run.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Ryan Andrade plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: Ku_Bball_Fan, FanDuel: ku_bball_fan.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan  Andrade
Ryan has covered golf and college basketball for RotoWire since 2016. He has also written articles for ProGolfNow.com.
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