The highly anticipated 2018 FedEx Cup Playoffs will get underway this week in Paramus, New Jersey at The Northern Trust. The top 125 players in the FedEx Cup points standings will tee it up at Ridgewood Country Club, one of the oldest country clubs in America. Ridgewood CC was designed by A.W. Tillinghast in 1929 and is made up of three 9-hole courses. This week, The Northern Trust is being played on the Championship Course, a combination of the more challenging holes from the three courses. The players will play the first seven holes of the East Course, numbers 2 through 6 from the Center Course, and conclude with numbers 4 through 9 on the West Course.  The 7,319 yard, par 71 will favor those who are accurate off the tee with above average short games, two statistics that proved to be pivotal in 2014 when Hunter Mahan took home the hardware. With tensions running high and pressure mounting to get inside the top 100 to advance to next week’s Dell Technologies Championship, this week should be incredibly entertaining.

Ridgewood Country Club will host the FedExCup Playoffs opener for the fourth time this season. (Ridgewood CC photo)

As our prediction model has proven to be successful in selecting our previous DraftKing’s lineups, we will continue with the same strategy, focusing on certain players’ tendencies and statistics that will allow for success at Ridgewood Country Club. Some of these key stats include, but are not limited to: Driving Accuracy, Strokes Gained: Putting, Fairways Gained, and Strokes Gained: Around The Green. Ridgewood Country Club is a difficult course due to its length, tree-lined fairways, and major-like rough, therefore finding the fairway off the tee will be at a premium. Although it plays long, previous results show that success here doesn’t necessarily come from the players who are capable of overpowering a golf course, but instead by players such as Hunter Mahan and Matt Kuchar who have strategically plotted their way around this course. For many of these reasons, we have selected players from each salary tier that you should consider when making your DraftKings lineup.

Top Tier ($11,500 – $9,000)

Jason Day ($10,700) – With a T5 and T2 finish at Ridgewood CC in 2010 and 2014, Jason Day is a player that should be considered this week. He ranks 1st in Strokes Gained: Around-The-Green, 1st in Strokes Gained: Putting, and 7th in Scoring Average. Jason Day’s ball striking is peaking at the right time, and with the way he rolls the ball on the green, he should find himself towards the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.

Justin Rose ($9,900) – Ridgewood Country Club should be a perfect fit for Justin Rose this week. Although he withdrew from the WGC Bridgestone Invitational three weeks ago, he proved to be healthy at the PGA Championship where he finished T-19. Rose hasn’t missed a single cut this year and has 13 Top-10 finishes. He ranks 6th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 10th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 2nd in Strokes Gained: Total. As an already accomplished player, Rose will look to add a FedEx Cup championship to his resume and will look to get off to a strong start in the playoffs this week.

Middle Tier ($9,000 – $7,500)

Zach Johnson ($8,700) – A player who we like to have a strong showing this week is Zach Johnson. As of late, he has been extremely consistent with six straight top 20 finishes. In addition, Zach Johnson ranks in the top 25 in many of the categories that will be important this week such as Strokes Gained: Around the green, Scoring Average, and Driving Accuracy. Not to mention, he has two top 25 finishes at Ridgewood Country Club in 2010 and 2014.

Patrick Cantlay ($8,600) – One of the players that has gone under the radar for much of the season is Patrick Cantlay. He has been undeniably playing some good golf this season, making 15/17 cuts, five of which have been top 10 finishes. Not only that, Cantlay ranks 12th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 7th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 11th in Strokes Gained: Total. Look for Cantlay to be somewhat unowned and have a good chance at adding another top 10 this week.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello ($7,900) – For a player who is towards the low end of the middle tier players, Rafael Cabrera-Bello is someone who we like to put up a strong performance this week. He has played very well lately, finishing 17th, 10th, and 11th in his last three starts and his game is coming around at the right time of the season. He already has eight top 10 finishes and ranks 14th in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green, 17th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 13th in Strokes Gained: Total, and 25th in Driving Accuracy. With these stats, Cabrera-Bello should feel as though he has a great chance this week.

Low Tier/Sleepers ($7,500 – $6,200)

Ryan Moore ($7,500) – One of the low tier/sleeper picks we like this week is Ryan Moore. He has made 16/20 cuts this season with five top 10 finishes. Last week at the Wyndham Championship, Moore finished 6th, and his statistics align greatly with our prediction model for The Northern Trust. Although he does not rank in the top 10 in any of our targeted categories, his numbers show consistency with him ranking 30th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 24th in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green, 20th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, and 15th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. He hit the ball extremely well last week and will look for that to carry over at Ridgewood Country Club.

Kevin Kisner ($7,300) – Kevin Kisner’s ball striking appears to be back in solid form. In his most recent start, he finished 12th at the PGA Championship and will look to ride that momentum into the playoffs. If Kisner can repeat the ball striking performance he put on display last tournament, his putting is fully capable of getting him towards the top of the leaderboard. This season, he ranks 9th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 4th in 3-Putt Avoidance, and 12th in Total Putting. Look for Kisner to come out determined to contend this week.

Notables from the PGA Championship

Justin Thomas- T-6, Jason Day- T-19, Ian Poulter- T-31, Tommy Fleetwood- T-35, Tony Finau- T-42