FanDuel PGA DFS Picks: Rocket Mortgage Classic Cash and GPP Strategy

FanDuel PGA DFS Picks: Rocket Mortgage Classic Cash and GPP Strategy

This article is part of our FanDuel PGA DFS Picks series.

Rocket Mortgage Classic

Course: Detroit Golf Club (7,370 yards, par 72)
Purse: $9,200,000
Winner: $1,656,000 and 500 FedExCup points

Tournament Preview

With the Signature Events now done for the season, the focus now shifts to the players battling to get into the top 70 and make the FedExCup Playoffs. A lot of players in the field at the Rocket Mortgage Classic this week are returning to action after having three weeks off, those events of course being two Signature Events in the Memorial and the Travelers with the U.S. Open sandwiched in between. This is the start of a seven-week stretch, which includes the Olympics, of players trying to position themselves in the best spot in the standings, with ample opportunities to all the PGA Tour membership to be able to make a late-season move. 

There certainly isn't the star power we have enjoyed the last few weeks, but the Rocket Mortgage Classic field this year still does include some notables, particularly some which were in the mix last week at the Travelers Championship. Tom Kim is the highest ranked player in the field at No. 16 and is coming off a playoff loss to Scottie Scheffler after being the solo leader after the first three rounds. This will be the ninth straight PGA Tour event that Kim was played. Cameron Young is back in action after shooting the 13th sub-60 round in PGA Tour history last Saturday at TPC River Highlands. Akshay Bhatia was also right there hoping to pick up his third PGA Tour win before fading late. Min Woo Lee, Will Zalatoris, Robert MacIntyre, Nicolai Hojgaard and defending champion Rickie Fowler make up some of the other top-50 ranked players in the field. 

Another big story this week will be all the young talent in the field. It starts with 15-year-old Miles Russell who became the youngest golfer to make a cut on the Korn Ferry Tour earlier this year. Russell also was the youngest player to ever be named the American Junior Golf Association's Player of the Year. Jackson Koivun received a sponsors exemption as well after a historic freshman season at Auburn that saw him become the first player ever to sweep college golf's three national player of the year awards. Koivun is well on his way to earning a PGA Tour card with 16 of the 20 PGA Tour University accelerated points earned. Neal Shipley will be in the field after winning low amateur at both the Masters and U.S. Open this year. Shipley just beat out Luke Clanton for low amateur honors at Pinehurst, who will also tee it up in Detroit after having the best season in Florida State history. Virginia's Ben James was named NCAA Outstanding Freshman of the Year in 2023 after a five-win campaign and is looking to be the best of this talented crop of future stars at this week's Rocket Mortgage Classic.

After a birdie-fest last week at TPC River Highlands, players will need to stay on the attack again to keep pace at Detroit Golf Club. The winning score has hit at least 23-under-par in four of the first five editions of this event. With all the rain that the midwest has seen over the last few weeks, you can bet it will be a dart-throwing contest on what is the flattest course on the PGA Tour schedule. It could be made even softer with rain expected on Tuesday and Wednesday. The good news is that it looks to be sunny and in the mid-70s for three of the four tournament rounds. The main question will be on Saturday where thunderstorms will likely interrupt the tournament at some point. The wind is expected to pick up as the tournament moves along. 

Recent Champions

2023 - Rickie Fowler (-24)
2022 - Tony Finau (-26)
2021 - Cam Davis (-18)
2020 - Bryson DeChambeau (-23)
2019 - Nate Lashley (-25)

Key Stats to Victory

  • SG: Off-the-Tee/Driving Distance
  • SG: Putting/Putts per GIR
  • SG: Approach/GIR percentage 
  • Par-5 Scoring

Champion's Profile

Detroit Golf Club is a much more open setup than what players faced last week at the short TPC River Highlands. Driver will be used on nearly every hole because there really isn't that much of a penalty for inaccurate shots. There are a lot of patchy areas in the rough that you can find a pretty good lie fairly easily if you stray from the short grass. That will instantly give an advantage to the bombers this week. That being said, there are still enough short par-4s out there to where even the shorter hitters will get plenty of wedge opportunities. 

In any shootout the formula is pretty simple, hit greens and sink putts. If you can maximize the amount of opportunities you have for birdie inside of 15-20 feet, that's going to be the best way to keep your foot on the gas and move up the leaderboard. This is not going to be a place where you can win putting average, you need to be pouring in quite a bit of putts. These Donald Ross greens are the biggest defense of the course which feature some significant undulation in spots. Expect players who putted well last week to have success again with Detroit GC having the same bentgrass/poa annua mix that was used at TPC River Highlands. Because of the expected high GIR percentage this week and lack of short grass around these greens, we don't have to pay too much attention to scrambling and SG: Around-the-Green numbers even despite the greens being below average in size. 

The last key is going to be par-5 scoring. This course features four of them and it's amongst the easiest par-5 quartets on Tour. The long hitters are going to be able to get to all four of them in two shots, and that gives them even more upside in DFS with eagle bonuses. The ideal player build this week is going to be bombers who can putt that are also solid approaching the green with wedges. 

FanDuel Value Picks

The Chalk

Min Woo Lee ($11,600)

This should be a great venue for Lee, who is a terrific driver. The Aussie ranks fourth in driving distance, second in total driving and eighth in SG: Off-the-Tee. On top of that he has really found something on the greens, gaining strokes putting in his last five starts. It's probably not a coincidence that he finished T26 or better in each of those five events -- three of which were major championships. The 25-year-old loves shootouts and should be in the mix on the weekend if he is solid on approach.

Maverick McNealy ($11,300)

McNealy is trending toward his first PGA Tour win, going T23-T17-T7 in his last three starts with six top-25s on the season. McNealy has been one of the best putters on Tour for years and is having another strong season in that department as well. The difference this year is that the rest of his game is much more well-rounded as he ranks 18th in SG: Off-the-Tee and 19th in SG: Tee-to-Green. McNealy is fourth on Tour in scoring average and has a T8 and T21 in Detroit previously. 

Robert MacIntyre ($10,500)

MacIntyre has proven his ability in shootouts of late and racked up five top-16 finishes over his last eight starts, including his breakthrough victory at the Canadian Open. The Scot is a terrific putter who has gained strokes on the greens in seven of his last eight starts. On top of that MacIntyre doesn't get enough credit for how far he hits the ball and he has gained strokes off the tee in six of his last seven. He is also top-20 on Tour this season in par-5 scoring. 

The Middle Tier

Taylor Pendrith ($10,400)

Pendrith makes for a great option in any format this week. Detroit GC is the perfect kind of fit for his game and it should be no surprise he has gone T2 and T14 in two career starts here. That combination of power and putting will prove huge. Pendrith is 15th in driving distance and fourth in SG: Putting on the PGA Tour. The Canadian has missed just one cut in his last nine starts with seven top-25s in that stretch, including his win at the CJ Cup. 

Ryan Fox ($9,800)

Fox is much the same type of player as Pendrith as he ranks 17th in driving distance and 27th in SG: Putting on the PGA Tour. The Kiwi will throw in his share of poor performances, but his upside is as high as anyone in this range. He has picked up three top-seven finishes in his last seven starts, and had a similar stretch late last year on the DP World Tour which included three top-three finishes in four starts. Fox's wedges are better than he gets credit for and will be a factor for him in Detroit. 

Sam Stevens ($9,500)

Stevens has quietly been finding some form racking up four top-15s in his last seven PGA Tour starts. Just to stay warm he even went to the Korn Ferry Tour event last week in his home of Wichita and grabbed a T2 result. Stevens should be able to continue the momentum on this course. He is fifth in par-5 BOB%, 29th in driving distance, 50th in GIR percentage and 52nd in SG: Putting this season, all of which will help him at Detroit Golf Club. 

The Long Shots

Chris Gotterup ($8,800)

Gotterup has struggled since a three-event top-25 streak that culimanted in his first PGA Tour win in Myrtle Beach, but this should be a perfect venue for him to attack. Gotterup ranks sixth in driving distance and second in club head speed this season. He also has a lot of touch ranking top-55 in both SG: Around-the-Green and SG: Putting. Gotterup has one prior start in Detroit in 2022 before he had a PGA Tour card and he led the field in SG: Off-the-Tee. 

Jake Knapp ($8,500)

This is a prime buy-low spot for Knapp in a weaker field like this. It's certainly been a tough go for him that last couple months, but I think there's a lot of similarities to Detroit Golf Club and the Mexico Open which he won back in February in terms of the openness off the tee. Knapp will be able to use his greatest asset with very little potential for penalty this week. He is also a sneaky good wedge player ranking 11th from 100-125 yards, a distance he will face a lot of this course.

Kevin Tway ($7,300)

At this price why not give Tway a shot this week. He has finished top-25 in four of his last six starts on the PGA Tour, three of those being top-11 results. Tway has also played in every Rocket Mortgage Classic to date notching a top-15 in 2021. He hits it plenty long enough to contend and would rank in the top-10 in par-5 scoring if he had enough rounds to qualify. Tway would also rank inside the top-50 in SG: Putting and putts per GIR. 

Strategy Tips This Week

Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap

With some solid options near the top of this board and a pretty deep $9-10K range, there are no shortages on ways to construct a lineup this week. This is also an easy cut to miss because you can play solid golf and just not make enough putts to get to three-to-five-under-par, which has been required to make the cut in every edition of this tournament so far. That's why we want to place a big emphasis on putting this week, as well as distance because it will be easy to gain strokes in that area for the long-hitters with so little trouble off the tee. I would be a little hesitant to pay $12,000 for Kim considering this is his ninth straight week playing and he's coming off a very mentally-taxing tournament. 

Rounding up your Rocket Mortgage Classic wagers? Take a look at the FanDuel Promo Code!

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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Ryan  Andrade
Ryan has covered golf, college basketball, and motorsports for RotoWire since 2016. He was nominated for "DFS Writer of the Year" in 2021 and 2023 by the FSWA.
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