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Valspar Championship DFS picks 2023: How close is Jordan Spieth to winning?

March 14, 2023
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 12: Jordan Spieth of the United States waits with his caddie Michael Greller before hitting his shot from the third tee during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 12, 2023 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

The final leg of the Florida Swing is here as the PGA Tour heads to the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort. This course will reward precision on the second shot and creativity around the greens. Sam Burns enters as the back-to-back defending champion—winning this event in both 2022 and 2021.

Though the field isn’t nearly as strong as The Players Championship, it is top-heavy favorites Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Matt Fitzpatrick in Tampa. The rest of the field gets filled out by some talented golfers on the verge of breaking out.

Here are the players who have my interest—and those who certainly don’t—this week at the 2023 Valspar Championship.

Golfers I'm Definitely Playing

Tommy Fleetwood ($9,800 DraftKings | $11,100 FanDuel)

Fleetwood has all the tools that the Copperhead Course will require this week. He has gained on approach in nine straight events and has one of the better short games on tour. He boasts a solid, well-rounded game, and his putter has the capability of getting hot. That’s a desirable set of skills for this week.

Wyndham Clark ($8,800 DraftKings | $11,100 FanDuel)

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Meg Oliphant

Thanks to a T-27 finish at The Players Championship, Clark now extends his made-cut streak to 10 events. He’s been elite in the ball-striking categories, gaining 19 strokes in his past five starts—the seventh best in the field, per the RickRunGood.com golf database. It feels like he’s on the verge of a massive week.

Akshay Bhatia ($7,500 DraftKings | $12,100 FanDuel)

Bhatia has completed the circle on the PGA Tour—after earning his Special Temporary Membership status last week, he’ll make his next start where it all began: the Valspar Championship. His professional debut came at this event in 2019, and he’s thrilled to be back. He finished runner-up in Puerto Rico in his last start and T-49 at the Honda Classic in his previous start. That Honda Classic result was impressive, as Bhatia gained 5.82 strokes on approach.

Will Gordon ($7,500 DraftKings | $10,900 FanDuel)

Gordon hit a little turbulence early in 2023, failing to make the weekend in three straight from The American Express to Pebble Beach. He’s starting to get right, making three cuts in a row including The Players Championship, where he shot the low round on Friday. He’s cleaning up his game and getting back to his strengths, which is a great sign because his upside is magnificent.

Dylan Wu ($6,800 DraftKings | $10,600 FanDuel)

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Meg Oliphant

Wu is quietly in a great stretch of ball-striking, gaining five-plus strokes at Pebble Beach and the Honda Classic. He gained over four strokes last week, meaning that he has gained over 1.5 strokes per round over his last 10 measured rounds. Obviously a small sample size, but it’s getting to elite levels and needs to be taken seriously.

Golfers I Might Play

Jordan Spieth ($10,600 DraftKings | $9,200 FanDuel)

The top of the board generally has more questions than answers, and Spieth is not exempt from that conversation. However, he has gained strokes on approach in four straight, and the putter is showing some positive signs. It hasn’t been pretty to watch, but he finished T-6 in Phoenix, T-4 at Bay Hill and T-19 at The Players Championship.

Adam Hadwin ($9,200 DraftKings | $11,300 FanDuel)

Hadwin has a “high upside” skill-set, leaning on great approach play and solid putting. When those two things work together, he scares the top of the leaderboard. He finished T-10 in Phoenix and T-13 at The Players Championship, and now he heads back to the Valspar Championship, where he won in 2017 and finished T-7 last year.

Justin Suh ($8,900 DraftKings | $10,600 FanDuel)

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Douglas P. DeFelice

Suh has started to find his footing on tour, making four consecutive cuts and earning two top-six finishes in the process. He gained strokes in all four major categories last week at The Players, and he has been a much-improved putter in 2023. It’s an expensive price, but he’s earning that tag.

Victor Perez (7,800 DraftKings | $7,400 FanDuel)

The past 13 events for Perez have all been on the DP World Tour, but don’t overlook him. He won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at the end of January and has gained 23 strokes to the field in his past three tournaments. He’s gained strokes ball-striking in 18 of his past 20 starts worldwide, per the RickRunGood.com golf database.

Ludvig Aberg ($7,700 DraftKings | $9,600 FanDuel)

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Octavio Passos

Aberg is currently the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world, and he’s showing that he’s ready to take the step to the next level. His 2023 has featured a made cut at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World Tour and a T-24 in a stacked field at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He could have a wide range of results, but the talent is clearly ready for this circuit.

Golfers I'm Fading

Sam Burns ($10,200 DraftKings | $11,400 FanDuel)

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Icon Sportswire

The reigning 2022 and 2021 Valspar champion looks like a shell of himself right now. Once a top-20 approach player on tour, Burns has lost strokes in that category in six of his past eight starts. His results have been volatile, missing two of his last three cuts but popping to a T-6 at the WM Phoenix Open. This price feels inflated for a golfer who is clearly out of form.

Brian Harman ($9,200 DraftKings | $10,000 FanDuel)

Speaking of approach struggles, Harman has now lost strokes on approach in seven straight events. The best finish during that stretch was a T-16 at the Tournament of Champions and he’s missed the cut three times. Despite a T-5 finish at Valspar last year, Harman has missed four of his last five cuts, and his game seems to be trending down.

Maverick McNealy ($8,700 DraftKings | $9,900 FanDuel)

McNealy made his return last week at The Players since injury forced WDs at Pebble Beach and Phoenix. He made the cut, but that’s about the only positive takeaway for the week. He lost 7.55 strokes ball-striking, the seventh-worst mark of anyone in the field. That reliance on putting makes McNealy’s path to the top much narrower than his peers.

Alex Smalley ($7,400 DraftKings | $8,700 FanDuel)

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David Cannon

Yes, Smalley made an ace last week, but don’t let that highlight fool you. Smalley has struggled mightily, losing strokes on approach in three of his past four. Additionally, he’s lost strokes putting in seven of his past eight. We feel lightyears removed from his great finish to 2022, and he hasn’t been able to bounce back in 2023.

Adam Long ($6,700 DraftKings | $8,000 FanDuel)

The 2023 season for Long is not going according to plan. He has made 15 starts but has failed to make the cut in seven of those events. His best finish was a T-30 in Jackson, and he’s been burning strokes to the field in the ball-striking categories.

Rick Gehman, founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.