My PGA DFS Plays & Fades for the American Express 2022

As I mentioned in my preview, the American Express is a very wonky golf tournament. 3 different courses that players rotate through, Pro-Am involvement making for longer rounds, and a history of long-shot winners.

For those reasons I’m dialing it back this week on both golf betting and DFS. Nonetheless, here are the plays I’ve landed on and golfers I’m fading…

10K+ Range:

Jon Rahm ($11,300):
I said this last week with Cam Smith, but I’m once again just not going to overthink my favorite play in the $10,000+ range on DraftKings. Rahm is the best golfer in the world right now, and is far and away the best player in this field — with Patrick Cantlay able to give Rahm a run for his money in any event.

I’ve searched high and low for reasons to fade Rahm this week, but I just can’t find anything that makes logical sense other than the possibility of him just having a rare off week all-around.

I’m not willing to bet on that happening though.

Tony Finau ($10,200):
I don’t completely dislike Finau this week, but out of the 4 golfers in this range Finau is the one I just feel most confident will not burn me if I don’t play him.

In other words, if I have to choose one guy — between Rahm, Cantlay, Scheffler, and Finau — who I don’t think produces a top-5 finish this week at the AmEx, I’d choose Finau.

On a legitimately negative note, Finau has lost 2 or more strokes putting in each of his last four statistically measured events, going all the way back to the Tour Championship last September. This is admittedly a bit nit-picky, but I need something to make me feel better about fading the always-rootable Tony Finau.

9K+ Range:

Matthew Wolff ($9,300):
Wolff looked like the contrarian play du jour earlier in the week — but he’s gotten steamed up into a moderately popular, though certainly not chalky, play on DraftKings.

I’m definitely in on the ever-volatile Wolff this week, fully understanding that it’s probably going to go swimmingly well or disastrously wrong.

I’m hopeful we do get the top end version of Wolff though, who appeared to be finding his groove again at the end of the fall season — finishing 11th at the Houston Open, 5th at Mayakoba, Runner-Up at Shriners, and 17th at Sanderson Farms.

When things are going good for Wolff he’s an absolutely electric scorer, which is perfect for DraftKings purposes. Because even if Wolff finishes outside the top-10, there’s still a good chance he makes enough birdies (and even eagles) to help you win…

Russell Henley ($9,000):
If Henley is truly near 25% ownership as I see him projected for this week, this is a very easy fade to make.

It’s not even the fact that he blew a 5 shot lead on the back nine to Hideki last week (which surely has got to be an emotional gut-punch). We just simply come to a course (courses) where Henley has historically struggled — missing his last 4 cuts at the AmEx dating back to 2017.

8K+ Range:

Patrick Reed ($8,800):
I’m not a fan of this range on the whole…and it seems like most people aren’t, as no single golfer in it is picking up a ton of projected ownership. If I have to take a shot on someone though, I think I’m going to just blindly play a low-owned Patrick Reed.

It doesn’t feel good given how poorly Reed has played of late (several months at this point) — just absolutely bleeding strokes to the field in the ball striking category over his last 7 events, going back to the start of last August.

That said, in between these bad events Reed has a peculiar 3rd place finish at the Hero World Challenge and a Runner-Up at Bermuda. Neither event has strokes gained stats, so it’s hard to know how well Reed truly played…but I can’t imagine his game could be THAT far off.

Even if it is like the stats indicate, Reed is one of the guys on tour who I always envision working and grinding incredibly hard to get his game back to where it needs to be.

Charles Howell III($8,000):
In a range full of a lot of guys who feel a tad over-priced and out of place, I think Howell feels the most out of place to me. He’s not going to be popular, which doesn’t qualify him as much of a true fade.

I just see Howell as the first name I spot in this range who appears to have very little upside this week. He’s had just one top-10 finish over the past year, coupled with a ton of missed cuts.

7K+ Range:

Adam Svensson($7,000):
Svensson is going to be mildly popular coming off of an impress T7 finish at Sony last week…and I think it’s warranted. His approach play ranked 6th in the field last week, and so I’m hopeful he can just ride that great iron and wedge play for one more week.

There’s definitely a bit of an unknown factor with Svensson — a 28 year-old Canadian who I believe lost his tour card a few years ago, and then regained it after a very strong campaign on the Korn Ferry Tour last season.

Many people around pro golf believe in the talent, indicated by the fact that Bryson DeChambeau’s former caddie — Tim Tucker — has chosen to now caddy for Svensson. This player-caddie duo proved last week to be a potentially great combination moving forward this season.

If Svensson ends up being as good as advertised, then this $7,000 price tag on DraftKings may feel like a steal come Sunday.

Michael Thompson ($7,500):
Michael Thompson was unbelievable last week, finishing T-5 at Sony and nearly leading the entire field in strokes gained approaching the green.

But projecting as one of, if not the highest owned golfer in the $7,000 range, I’m willing to just fade Thompson and his new lumberjack beard…Thompson’s been a bit of a boom-or-bust golfer for a while now, so I’ll just bet on him busting this week.

6K+ Range:

Jason Dufner ($6,600): This is a complete shot in the dark on a former winner of this event, just hoping and praying he brings some good vibes to La Quinta this week.

Dufner played few events on tour in the Fall, and wasn’t particularly great in any of them. That said, even in Dufner’s decline he’s remained an exceptional ball striker — gaining strokes to the field in every event he’s played since July.

The putter is always the big bugaboo for Duf, but if he can just putt half-way decently this week there’s a good chance he’s helping your DK lineups more than hurting them. Big IF though.

Everyone else below $7,000 if you can.




“Strokes Gained: Narrative” is a PGA Tour betting and DFS blog aiming to supplement golf data and stats with storylines and humor.

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Nick DeMott

Nick DeMott

Golf Writer + Naturalist + Old Man at Heart

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