This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.
East Lake Golf Club - Par 70 - 7,346 yards
Field - 30 entrants
FedEx Cup Bonus Fund - $60M
Staggered starting spots for the TOUR Championship's revamped format are finalized after a season-long battle for positioning brings us to the 2019-20 season finale at East Lake Golf Club once again. Just 30 players remain as this exclusive crew hunts for the robust $15M payout that awaits the FedExCup champion, easily the largest check ever issued for a win on the PGA Tour. In addition to an inflated prize pool, a five-year exemption is up for grabs with a Calamity Jane replica also being sent to the winner, honoring Atlanta native Bobby Jones' famous putter. Speaking of the ATL, it's going to be hot and muggy as per usual in the late Georgian summer, with high temps surpassing the 90-degree mark throughout the first two rounds. The humidity is expected to intensify over the weekend, increasing the likelihood of scattered thunderstorms and consequent weather delays. That being said, it's essentially impossible to determine a tee-time advantage with such a miniature field in attendance.
Key Stats to Victory
GIR percentage - This ball-striking metric is paramount on a weekly basis, but a heightened emphasis is placed on hitting greens at East Lake, where a slew of approach attempts will come from out of the rough
Driving accuracy - Landing areas are tight, as trees line the fairways here, resulting in an average driving accuracy percentage that comes in nearly seven points lower than the Tour average, at just 54.25 percent
Scrambling - A mixture of short-game factors, including SG: Around-the-Green and one-putt percentage, have an impact on scrambling, which is an important dimension when considering the difficulty of hitting these firm greens in regulation
Yahoo Value Picks - based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Justin Thomas - $52
The top-ranked player in the FedExCup standings is set to tee off with a predetermined score of 10-under-par Thursday afternoon, so Thomas will already have Yahoo's 25-point, first-place finish bonus credited to his name while strutting down the fairway on No. 1. This initial bonus could evaporate quickly with Patrick Cantlay and Brooks Koepka beginning their tournaments no more than three strokes behind, but Thomas' favorable starting position explains the elevated price tag. Not to mention the 26-year-old did just pick up his 10th career PGA Tour victory at the BMW Championship, where he cruised to the new tournament scoring record of 25-under-par. Thomas also leads this week's field in SG: Approach over his last 12 rounds and has gained an average of 8.4 strokes from tee to green per event throughout his last five tourneys.
Patrick Cantlay - $45
The aforementioned Cantlay will carry a one-stroke advantage over Koepka ($51) out of the gate, as the former resides just behind Thomas in the FedExCup standings. Cantlay's putter has been red hot throughout the first two legs of the playoffs, with him gaining 4.6 strokes with the flat stick at the Northern Trust before gaining another 6.0 strokes on the greens last week at Medinah. He racked up 26 birdies on the way to runner-up honors at the BMW Championship, forcing Thomas to stay somewhat aggressive down the stretch. Cantlay finished no worse than 18th in any Strokes Gained subcategory in Illinois, but he'll need to improve upon a 55.36 percent FIR rate at East Lake.
Webb Simpson - $36
Simpson fell outside of the top 50 in terms of GIR percentage at the BMW Championship, but he ranked 10th in SG: Approach and 14th in scrambling to salvage his 11th consecutive top-30 result. He'll add a 12th straight this week in Atlanta by default, but Simpson's appeal is evident, as he sits third in SG: Putting on bermuda surfaces over his last 24 rounds and has not lost strokes with the irons since March's Valspar Championship.
Tony Finau - $32
A tree-lined venue that doesn't exactly reward power off the tee might not sound like a great spot for Finau to potentially notch his first win since the 2016 Puerto Rico Open, but that also doesn't mean Finau won't return value at such an affordable price like he did at Medinah. The 12th-ranked player in the OWGR posted a solo-fourth at the BMW Championship, leading the field in GIR percentage and SG: Tee-to-Green while gaining over eight strokes on approach shots. Finau now paces his peers in SG: T2G over his last 12 rounds.
Patrick Reed - $30
Reed followed a win at the Northern Trust by placing top-25 for a seventh straight showing last week at Medinah, hitting nearly 75 percent of the greens in regulation and gaining over three strokes with the flat stick for a third consecutive start. Reed's lousy track record at East Lake will be a concern for gamers, but he'll begin the tournament at six-under-par behind only Thomas, Cantlay and Koepka in the staggered start. Although he usually fosters attention for his short-game prowess, Reed has gained an average of 3.2 strokes off the tee over his last five tournaments.
Adam Scott - $27
The Aussie has not lost strokes in any SG subcategory throughout the playoffs, producing back-to-back top-10s at Liberty National and Medinah while rising to sixth in SG: Tee-to-Green over his last 12 rounds. Scott averaged just one bogey per round at the BMW Championship, where he also finished T12 or better in GIR percentage, scrambling and SG: Approach. He went T8-T9 in his last two voyages to East Lake GC.
Hideki Matsuyama - $23
A mini-slump by Matsuyama's standards during the late stages of the 2018-19 campaign included disappointing results of MC-T43-MC-T30 from the Open Championship to the Northern Trust, and he entered the BMW Championship outside the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings. He delivered a clutch performance by finishing solo-third at Medinah, however, ultimately climbing 18 spots to a comfortable positioning of 15th, and he'll now tee off with a three-under kickstart Thursday. Matsuyama even gained 3.7 strokes with the flat stick at the BMW Championship, his best showing with the flat stick since mid-May.
Brandt Snedeker - $20
Snedeker is going to be a super popular punt play given his T6-T5 playoff initiation, especially for the gamers who are attempting to fit Thomas and/or Koepka as their lineup anchors. Sneds is 10th in SG: Approach over his last 12 rounds and he went bogey-free throughout the weekend at Medinah CC, leading the field in scrambling as he ranked second in SG: Putting and fourth in SG: Around-the-Green. Ball striking was iffy for Snedeker at the BMW Championship, but he had gained at least 2.7 strokes on approach shots in three starts prior from the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational to the Northern Trust.
Strategy Tips on Yahoo this week
Overall game plans and projected ownership percentages are understandably a bit mysterious from a fantasy perspective heading into the TOUR Championship and its new format, but the likes of Thomas, Koepka and Rory McIlroy aren't priced much higher than they would be without the staggered start, which provides them with a much higher chance at the first-place bonus. Because of the somewhat soft pricing at the top of the board, expect a lot of studs-and-duds lineups as risk tolerance also hikes given the limited field and four guaranteed rounds for all six selections. It's entirely feasible to pair two of Thomas, Koepka and Cantlay, but expect Snedeker and Matsuyama to be chalky because of this scenario.