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Players Championship DFS picks 2024: To Scheffler or not to Scheffler?

March 11, 2024
ORLANDO, FLORIDA - MARCH 10: Scottie Scheffler of the United States celebrates after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard at Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Golf Course on March 10, 2024 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Brennan Asplen/Getty Images)

After a thrilling week in Orlando where the PGA Tour finally received a much-needed infusion of star power, we now head north to Ponte Vedra Beach for The Players Championship. The “fifth major” remains the flagship event of the PGA Tour season, and it now features the largest purse in golf, a whopping $25 million, which has doubled since 2019. The field consists of 144 players and will feature the strongest collection of talent in a non-major event all year.

The host venue is the iconic Pete Dye-designed Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass, which has hosted The Players since 1982, and storylines are abound this week as defending champion Scottie Scheffler will look to build upon his victory at Bay Hill. Scheffler’s five-shot rout last week looked as dominant as ever, and it will be fascinating to see if he can continue his momentum, as no player has ever gone back-to-back at The Players. In fact, we have never seen a defending champion finish better than fifth in their title defense.

TPC Sawgrass: Stadium
TPC Sawgrass: Stadium
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
TPC’s stadium concept was the idea of then-PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman. The 1980 design was pure Pete Dye, who set out to test the world’s best golfers by mixing demands of distance with target golf. Most greens are ringed by random lumps, bumps and hollows, what Dye calls his "grenade attack architecture." His ultimate target hole is the heart-pounding sink-or-swim island green 17th, which offers no bailout, perhaps unfairly in windy Atlantic coast conditions. The 17th has spawned over a hundred imitation island greens in the past 40 years. To make the layout even more exciting during tournament play, Steve Wenzloff of PGA Tour Design Services recently remodeled several holes, most significantly the 12th, which is now a drivable par 4.
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With that being said, Scheffler’s newfound form with the flat-stick presents an incredibly scary proposition for his challengers, and his DraftKings price reflects that, as the former Masters champion is priced at a whopping $12,800 dollars, $1,200 clear of Rory McIlroy. To Scheffler or not to Scheffler remains the question of the week, but he is far from the only intriguing name worth discussing. Let’s dive into the pricing.

Should You Bet Scottie Scheffler at The Players?

$10,000 range

Play: Justin Thomas, $10,600:


Brennan Asplen

The easy answer here is Scottie Scheffler, who has clearly cemented himself as the best player in the world given his newfound confidence on the greens. Whether you decide to view Scheffler as a free square in your lineups or not, nailing the second man in or the correct pivot in large DFS tournaments like this week will be absolutely essential. In the non-Scheffler division, Justin Thomas is the most likely winner of this tournament via my numbers. Given the wealth of options in the low sixes and $5,000 range, Thomas works as either a second man in with Scheffler, or a lineup anchor for those bold enough to fade. The former Players Championship winner is coming off a 12th-place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational where he gained strokes in all four major categories, and he possesses the rare combination of course experience, elite approach form and deft touch around the greens.

Fade: Patrick Cantlay, $10,300:

One of the strongest indicators of success at the Players Championship is incoming approach form and something has just off all year with this aspect of Patrick Cantlay’s game. The former FedEx Cup champion has lost strokes on approach in five of six starts in 2024, culminating last week where he lost 3.5 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. TPC Sawgrass remains one of the most demanding approach courses on the PGA Tour, and I have a difficult time paying such an exorbitant price for a player who has been below field average in this category nearly every time he’s teed it up this year.

$9,000 range

Play: Hideki Matsuyama, $9,800:


Brennan Asplen

Following his win at the Genesis Invitational, Hideki Matsuyama continued his strong form at the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a 12th-place finish. Even more encouraging is the fact that he improved in both ball-striking categories. Similar to Justin Thomas, Matsuyama is one of the few players in this field to check the box of recent approach play, course form and elite short game skill.

Fade: Max Homa, $9,600:

Similar to the case against Patrick Cantlay, a simple rule of thumb this week is to avoid high-priced players in poor approach form. In five straight starts, Homa has now failed to gain over a stroke on approach, and he ranks 133rd out of 144 players in long-iron approach proximity. The six-time PGA Tour has been accumulating the vast majority of his results this year on the basis on strong chipping and putting, a formula that cannot be counted on with any form of confidence at TPC Sawgrass.

$8,000 range

Play: Corey Conners, $8,300:


David Cannon

If I was designing a golf course for Corey Conners, it would look an awful lot like TPC Sawgrass. Conners’ largest advantage over the average PGA Tour player is his elite accuracy off the tee and overall approach ability, two skills that the Pete Dye design heavily accentuates. The concern with Conners always remains the short game and putting, yet the Canadian has quietly experienced a great deal of success on over-seeded Bermuda greens. Coming off back-to-back weeks where he gained over five strokes on approach, Conners is one of my favorite plays on the entire slate.

Fade: Matt Fitzpatrick, $8,200:

While the idea of Matt Fitzpatrick at TPC Sawgrass makes sense on paper, the former U.S. Open champion has struggled greatly on the Pete Dye design long term. In seven appearances at Sawgrass, Fitzpatrick has made just three cuts, with a lone top-25 finish, which was largely buoyed by a spike putting performances. MCs at Bay Hill and Riviera leave me feeling very pessimistic about the state of Fitzpatrick’s game, and TPC Sawgrass is not the type of course where players in poor form suddenly “find it.” Fitzpatrick is an easy pass for me at this price tag.

$7,000 range

Play: Brian Harman, $7,900:


Icon Sportswire

Brian Harman proved a lot of doubters wrong at the Open Championship in terms of his ability to hang with the best players in the world, and I’m fairly surprised he is priced this low on a golf course where he’s had so much success on. The reigning Champion Golfer of the Year has already recorded three top-10s at TPC Sawgrass, and he is coming off a 12th-place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational where he gained over five strokes on approach. Still possessing one of the strongest short games in this field, Harman is an incredibly easy click in stronger field events anytime he shows any semblance of approach form.

Fade: Chris Kirk, $7,600:

For a player that should make sense on paper at TPC Sawgrass, I was surprised to find that Chris Kirk has failed to record a top-10 in 11 appearances at the Pete Dye design. While Kirk started off the year on a high note with a win at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, he appears to be on the wrong side of a bad run. Kirk has now lost strokes on approach in four of his past five starts, and his confidence on the greens is waning as well. I’d feel way more comfortable deploying a ton of other options in the $7,000 range than Kirk, who I have a lot of questions about.

$6,000 range

Play: Billy Horschel, $6,600:


Douglas P. DeFelice

It’s no secret that the Players Championship is an extremely meaningful event to Billy Horschel, who lives just down the road and spends a great deal of time practicing at TPC Sawgrass. Unfortunately, his results at this event have been a bit of a mixed bag. That being said, the former FedEx Cup champion appears to be rounding into form at just the right time. Horschel is coming off a ninth-place finish at the Cognizant Classic where he gained over two strokes off the tee and over three strokes on approach. There are very few players in the $6,000 range that have proven their meddle in strong field events like Horschel, and he is one of the few players priced this low to actually possess winning upside.

Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also a data analyst and writer for Run Pure Sports, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for RickRunGood.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports