This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Quicken Loans National – Potomac, MD
TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm (7,107 yards, par 70)
$1,278,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner
For a second straight year, TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm near Washington D.C. will host the Quicken Loans National. As site of the old Kemper Open and other events between 1987 and 2006, the course took a pause for much-needed course renovations, which totaled $20 million and were completed in 2009. After successful tournaments held on the Champions Tour, Web.com, and PGA Tour (last year), the event returns for another go in 2018. The par-70 layout stretches just over 7,100 yards and features bentgrass tees, fairways, and greens. Just seven of the top 50 in the world are present this week in the 120-player invitational field with no Monday qualifiers. As a top story, Tiger makes his first start since his missed cut at the brutish U.S. Open at the event he started in 2007. Expect another successful event despite the diluted field, especially if top draws Rickie Fowler and Tiger can get into the mix Sunday.
Recent Past Champions
2017 – Kyle Stanley (TPC Potomac)
2016 – Billy Hurley III
2015 – Troy Merritt
2014 – Justin Rose
2013 – Bill Haas
2012 – Tiger Woods
2011 – Nick Watney
2010 – Justin Rose
2009 – Tiger Woods
2008 – Anthony Kim
Key Stats to Victory
• Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
• Birdie-or-Better percentage
Using last year as the only realistic gauge for viable player stats, it's clear that the tee-to-green game is a critical component for success. All it takes is a quick look at last year's playoff of Kyle Stanley and Charles Howell III to realize that ball striking is key. Start your research with Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green as it accounted for 70 percent of the scoring advantage for the top 12 finishers last year. Given the course's one-year history on the PGA Tour since the major renovations, the greens should still be relatively unfamiliar to most of the field, further backing the idea that ball striking will be the key difference maker. Though a relatively high score of seven-under-par won last year, players who have a history of making lots of birdies seem to do well here – the rationale is that the high degree of difficulty really cuts down on birdies in general, so players who can make a few will stand out since FanDuel strongly rewards under-par scoring.
FanDuel Value Picks
Rickie Fowler, $12600 – As the clear-cut top player in the field, Rickie enters on the heels of five top-25 finishes his last six events. The flashy Fowler tied for third at TPC Potomac last season and ranks 31st in SG: T2G and 21st in birdie or better percentage. It's hard to see Rickie not in the mix Sunday in such a weak field.
Tiger Woods, $12300 – Yes, Tiger is coming off an embarrassing missed cut at the U.S. Open, but this week represents a great opportunity for Woods to capitalize on a much-weaker field. He ranks fifth this season in SG: T2G and let's not forget his two career wins at this event. Even though he's playing TPC Potomac for the first time in competition, this shouldn't be a big factor for Woods.
Francesco Molinari, $10700 – Molinari is among the hottest players in golf right now, though the win he notched recently came overseas. The Italian ball striker ranks 16th in SG: T2G on the PGA TOUR this season and was top-10 in his only start at this event in 2016 at Congressional.
Kyle Stanley, $10100 – Defending his title from last year, Stanley is obviously a fantastic combination of form and fit for the course. He enters off a playoff loss at the Memorial and T15 at last week's Travelers.
Longer Shots Worth a Risk
Kevin Na, $9500 – Na was top-25 last year at TPC Potomac and enters this week with two top-6s in his last three starts. Na is a great iron player who should excel at a venue like this.
Stewart Cink, $9400 – Cink has quietly hit a hot streak with top-5s his last two starts, including a runner-up at the Travelers last week. The veteran ball striker is top-50 on TOUR in SG: T2G and represents a great middle-tier option this week.
David Lingmerth, $7900 – Now, Lingmerth has struggled to make cuts this season, but he did win the Web.com event at TPC Potomac in 2012 and was top-5 at this course again last season. There's some risk here, but the course appears to fit his eye and he did finish T19 last week at the Travelers, so there's reason to believe there's upside at $7900.
Ben Martin, $7600 – Martin doesn't seem to fit the mold at this venue, but his results speak for themselves: a top-5 at TPC Potomac last season and another at this event back in 2014. In fact, Martin holds the fourth most strokes gained at this event, so there's some potential here. He is a great lineup filler if you choose to get a couple top players in your roster this week on FanDuel.
Strategy Tips for this week (based on 60k standard salary cap)
A diluted field means very few star options, creating at least two viable strategies. One is to get Rickie and Tiger and fill in from there, the other is to secure 4-5 mid-to-upper tier options and 1-2 flyers. In a smaller 120-player field where a higher percentage of players make the cut, both schools of thought can work well. Just make sure each player is either a great ball striker or trending well in recent weeks and you just might line your pockets handsomely this week.