This article is part of our FanDuel PGA DFS Picks series.
Course: Silverado Resort North Course (7,123 yards, par 72)
Winner: $1,512,000 and 500 FedExCup points
For the last several years the next PGA Tour season would have began with the Fortinet Championship. This year the Napa event kicks off the FedExCup Fall, which will create even more drama than previous seasons. The Fortinet Championship is the first of seven fall events which will help determine the membership for next season, provide opportunities for players to get a spot in the first two Signature Events in 2024 and reward players who are able to win one of these events. The FedExCup Fall will conclude in November with The RSM Classic, where all FedExCup points earned in the fall will be deleted and set us up for a clean slate at the Tournament of Champions in January for the 2024 PGA Tour season.
The pressure is on for all players ranked outside the top 70 in the FedExCup Standings. They will battle to stay in the top 125 and lock up full status for the 2024 season. Players who finish the fall at 126-150 will earn conditional status for the 2024 season. There is also a chance for players who missed the FedExCup Playoffs to have a good fall and finish 51-60 in the standings and earn a place in the two West Coast Signature Events, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Genesis Invitational. The top 50 who qualified for the BMW Championship already secured a place in all Signature Events in 2024. Players who win one of the seven FedExCup Fall events will earn a two-year PGA Tour exemption, 500 FedExCup points to move up in the fall standings and spots in the Tournament of Champions and the Masters.
As you can see there is still plenty to play for this fall. Even those players who don't have much of anything to play for can still tee it up in any FedExCup Fall event. Six players who finished inside the top 50 of the standings will be in the field at the Fortinet Championship. That group is led by Max Homa, who is looking to three-peat in Napa. Justin Thomas is not part of that group after missing the playoffs by finishing No. 71 in the standings. He was a Ryder Cup Captain's pick, though, and will look to find some form in Napa before going over to Rome in a couple weeks. U.S. Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson is also teeing it up this week along with vice captain Stewart Cink, who won this event in 2020. In recent years we have seen a lot of Korn Ferry Tour graduates tee it up in the fall, but that won't be the case this year as they still have three events left to determine the 30 players who will receive PGA Tour cards for the 2024 season.
Perfect conditions are on tap for the field of 156 players in the field in Northern California. Temperatures will rise into the low-to-mid-80s each of the four tournament rounds and precipitation in not expected to fall. Winds should average around 10 miles per hour each day, but gusts will pick up in the afternoon and challenge those players. The North Course at Silverado has hosted this event since 2014 and we've seen the winning score net out to at least 14-under-par on all nine occasions. The winning margin hasn't been greater than two shots in any of those instances either, so expect a tight an exciting battle all the way to the end on Sunday night.
2022 - Max Homa (-16)
2021 - Max Homa (-19)
2020 - Stewart Cink (-21)
2019 - Cameron Champ (-17)
2018 - Kevin Tway (-14)
2017 - Brendan Steele (-15)
2016 - Brendan Steele (-18)
2015 - Emiliano Grillo (-15)
2014 - Sangmoon Bae (-15)
2013 - Jimmy Walker (-17)
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Approach
- Proximity 100-125 Yards
- Driving Distance
The North Course at Silverado features some of the narrowest fairways on the PGA Tour. That being said, driving accuracy hasn't really proven to be that important over the years. Many players still hit driver all over this short course and accept the few consequences if they miss a fairway. The rough won't be an issue for these players coming into average sized greens, which are expected to be receptive. The main defense of the course will be some of the hole locations on tricky tiers and runoff areas around the greens. This is also a return to West Coast poa annua greens, which are among some of the most difficult to convert within five feet.
All four par-5s will be reachable to virtually every player in the field. The back-nine features three of them in the final seven holes, and making an eagle could be a deciding factor in the championship on Sunday. The par-4s are also on the short end with not one stretching over 460 yards. The majority of the field will be hitting a lot of wedges and short irons this week, so I'm zeroing in on proximity numbers from 100-125 yards. All in all, the ideal player this week is one that can get it out there, is good with their short irons, and has a solid short game.
FanDuel Value Picks
Max Homa ($12,000)
Homa is without question the best player in the field, and this is honestly a very generous price tag compared to what it could have been. Homa missed cuts at the U.S. Open and Travelers, but since then has gone T21-T12-T10-T6-T5-T9. Homa on poa annua is a dangerous combination and he will feel right at home this week in Northern California. There are checks across the board for the man trying to win this event for a third straight year.
Cam Davis ($11,500)
Davis closed last season strong with top-10 finishes in three of his last four starts. He has become a much more well-rounded player, gaining strokes off the tee in six of his last seven, on approach in five of six, around the green in three of four and with the putter in three of five. Davis will be making his fifth start at Silverado, and his distance should be a weapon.
Beau Hossler ($11,200)
The price will likely scare some away, but I think Hossler has a chance to have a really good week. He has been inconsistent his whole career but closed last season by going T26-T6-T13-MC-T20. Hossler has always been a great putter, but lately it has been the ball striking, where he has gained in five of his last six starts. The former Longhorn was 31st in SG: Around-the-Green last season and put up top-25s the last three years at Silverado.
Akshay Bhatia ($10,700)
Bhatia secured his PGA Tour card with a win at the Barracuda Championship in late July, which was the third top-4 finish of the season for a player who previously only had Special Temporary Membership. Bhatia has proven to be an elite ball striker, gaining 1.14 strokes per round over his six tournaments when combining the off the tee and approach numbers. I'll take that and let the California native try to figure out these familiar poa annua greens.
Longer Shots with Value
Doug Ghim ($9,900)
Ghim checks in at a great price considering how well his ball striking has been over the last few months. He has gained at least 5.78 strokes in that department in five of his last eight starts, a stretch that includes a trio of top-20 finishes. Ghim is a player who always has had a pretty solid short game, but the questions remain with the putter. These poa annua greens should be an adjustment for everyone and Ghim notched a T14 at Silverado in 2020.
Nate Lashley ($9,000)
Lashley is one of the safer options in the field, having made the cut in nine of his last 11 starts. The 40-year-old has proven to be a strong iron player at 22nd in GIR percentage and 14th in proximity to the hole. Despite Lashley's lack of distance, e still ranks top-20 on Tour in par 5 scoring average, which will be key at Silverado. This will be the seventh start in Napa for Lashley, who owns a pair of top-20 finishes here.
Greyson Sigg ($8,800)
Sigg played very well last fall, making the cut in all six events he played and tallying a trio of top-15 finishes. The middle of last season was rough, but he closed by making the cut in five of his last seven starts, a stretch that included a pair of top-20s. Sigg ranks top-100 in every strokes gained category and is also 30th in proximity to the hole. There are a lot more risky plays in this range than Sigg, who has made the weekend in both attempts at Silverado.
Will Gordon ($8,600)
Gordon started last season by making eight straight cuts, and it looked like he was going to challenge for a playoff spot. Inconsistencies would follow due to some poor short game play and now Gordon sits 100th in the FedExCup Standings. I still believe in the talent and think he profiles really well for Silverado, though. Gordon ranks 23rd in SG: Off-the-Tee, ninth in total driving, 11th in GIR percentage and 28th in birdie average.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
DFS players who have been on the grind all season have to recognize that this fall there are going to be some pretty questionable fields. We should expect very few top-50 finishers in last season's FedExCup Standings to commit to any of these events. As a result the reliable options are going to fall off a cliff under about $9,000 as these full-field events will start to be filled by players who have not played many tournaments, or who have missed well over double-digit cuts. There are certainly a few guys this week in the $11K+ range that are worth paying up for, and I think is possible to do with a pretty weak $10K range. One thing to keep in the back of your mind is that this is in some ways a reset for a lot of players. Most of them did not make the FedExCup Playoffs and have not played since the Wyndham the first week of August. Recent form is great, but it's not quite as big of an indicator for this tournament given the lengthy time off. If ever there was a time to take a flier on a player who has shown flashes in the past, but has struggled over the last few months, this would be it. Cameron Champ ($9,400), K.H. Lee ($8,900), Luke List ($8,800), and Mackenzie Hughes ($8,700) all come to mind.
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