What’s goin’ on fantasy golf fans?! I hope everyone had a successful weekend at the SBS Tournament of Champions thanks to fitting in Hideki Matsuyama and Pat Perez, while fading Bubba Watson! We didn’t nail the winner last week, but luckily we can quickly turn the page and focus on the Sony Open.
The PGA Tour is staying in Hawaii for the Sony Open hosted by Waialae Country Club. This event has only be held at Waialae CC, so we have plenty of course history to draw from. It is a 7,044 yard Par 70, consisting of only two Par 5s. The fairways are very narrow, especially compared to last week’s runways the players were hitting on. Waialae is a prototypical accuracy course, with a strong emphasis put on the player’s second shot, assuming they are in a good position off of the tee. The stats to target this week will be approach based stats and proximity. Obviously, a solid driver of the ball will benefit as well, but driving accuracy or good drive percentage should only be a tiebreaker when comparing two players. The typical score here reaches the high teens, so birdie or better percentage will also be heavily weighted.
Alright, let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Jordan Spieth – $11,500
Don’t get cute. I have been seeing and listening to fantasy golf experts saying they may pass on the entire $10K+ range this week and opt for a more balanced lineup. To me, that makes no sense, especially with the softer price in the $7K range. I like Spieth this week for a number of reasons. His ownership will likely be lower than it should be, given that he is the betting favorite and along with Hideki, is head and shoulders above the rest of the field. Second, he finished the Tournament of Champions with a 65 on Sunday, and if it wasn’t for a couple of arrant shots earlier in the week, he could easily have won. He led the entire TOC field in birdies, which will be needed this week at the Sony Open. There are plenty of options this week that will allow you to afford a Spieth or Matsuyama – so do it. Rarely do you get to play the highest priced golfer and still feel super comfortable with your cash game lineup.
Scott Piercy – $8,900
Scott Piercy is another guy I am going to be including in a lot of my lineups. He has a great blend of stats, course history and recent form that make him a strong play, even at a somewhat inflated price tag. He is one of the best ball strikers in the field, and can make birdies just as well as anyone. In his last four trips to the Sony Open, he has three top 15 finishes including a runner-up finish in 2015. This is the exact type of tournament I can see Piercy winning – at a course he has had success at in the past and with a field that has enough talent to challenge him. His betting odds are around 40-1, which is a nice value for Piercy. A top five finish is a strong possibility.
Russell Knox – $8,100
Russell Knox’s course history baffles me. This seems like a perfect course for him, where he would excel given his shorter, more accurate style of game. Yet, in the past five attempts, he has missed the cut four times. He did manage to squeeze in a T13 finish in 2015. I’m choosing to ignore this questionable course history, because the golfer Knox was back in 2012 is not nearly the same golfer we are seeing today. He has become a very consistent top 20 finisher, as he has strung together four of those results in a row. His price tag of $8,100 surprised me at first, and now that I see him as only the 14th most tagged golfer on FanShareSports.com, he will likely become my highest owned golfer this week.
Hudson Swafford – $7,000
I will try not to lull you to sleep with the Hudson Swafford love, but there is no reason why Swafford shouldn’t be owned in 100% of cash game lineups this week. He could easily be the most player in golf, but he is a cut making machine, making 17 straight cuts – good for the 4th longest active streak on tour. Swafford doesn’t do anything exceptional, but he does enough every week to collect a paycheck, and that is all you are looking for when building a cash lineup. He has two top 10 finishes at the Sony Open in the past three years, solidify the fact that he is a great cash game play and will allow you to spend up at the top.
Bad course fit? Terrible recent form? Players I will have no share of.
Gary Woodland – $9,100
This won’t be the last time Gary Woodland shows up in the automatic fade section. There is just something about his game I do not like and I don’t see him as a $9,100 golfer. His solid finishes seem very hard to predict, as he is never in consistent form multiple high finishes. He only has six top 10s in his last 40 tournaments, so high finishes are not something Woodland is used to. At an accuracy course like Waialae, the odds of a high finish are next to none. Take your money and spend it elsewhere.
Bill Haas – $8,400
Like Woodland, Bill Haas is another golfer I have a tough time putting my finger on when he might show up. I typically just fade Haas unless he is in a field where he is clearly one of the top 10 golfers. Haas’ best finishes come sporadically, and he rarely puts together back-to-back top 10 finishes. At $8,400, I can find much safer options with equal upside at a cheaper price.
So you got burned?
Recently got screwed by a missed cut or a poor performance? Looks like a good time to jump back on.
Si-Woo Kim – $7,900
He’s back! And by back, I mean in this section of the article again. Si-Woo only beat one golfer last week at the Tournament of Champions (see below) – an extremely underwhelming result. In hindsight, maybe rostering Kim in his first tournament back from injury wasn’t the smartest idea. Rust was clearly an issue, which is hopefully gone as he enters the Sony Open. I can see him going completely overlooked, especially in this crowded price range. Si-Woo Kim finished 4th at this event last season and a repeat of that performance would represent tremendous value.
Branden Grace – $7,500
Branden Grace was the highest owned golfer across DraftKings last week, and boy did he disappoint. He rewarded owners with a dead last result – four painful rounds in a no cut event. This is the definition of a “So you got screwed” player as so many players felt the affect of his terrible outing. Waialae is a course that Branden Grace can excel at. It is a tight course that requires accuracy both off the tee and attacking the green. He won at Harbour Town in 2016, which is very similar styled course. Grace is solid on Par 4s and his strokes gained on approach is very good. While others are still bitter at Grace, jump back on while he is at a perfect course fit.
Identifying the chalk, and going elsewhere.
Justin Rose – $9,300
A healthy Justin Rose in this field would be priced in the five digit territory, but since he has been dealing with a back issue, you get to save some money. Priced in a range with a ton of other popular guys, Rose present a perfect pivot option. According to FanShareSports.com, Jimmy Walker(1), Paul Casey(6) and Brandt Snedeker(8) are all inside of the top 10 golfers being touted this week across the industry. All three of these golfers are priced just ahead of Rose, who when healthy, is the best player out of the group. In tournaments, Rose makes for a great play if you are willing to take on some injury risk.
Keegan Bradley – $8,000
Keegan Bradley sneakily put together an impressive fall swing season, finishing his 2016 calendar year with three straight top 15 performances. He has been driving the ball extremely well, and his strokes gained stats are elite for this price range. Currently, Charles Howell III is the most tagged golfer according to FanShareSports.com, who happens to be $200 cheaper than Bradley. Keegan could easily go overlooked, as he hasn’t played a competitive round in a while, and he is surrounded by other popular plays. Don’t be afraid to go overweight on Keegan this week.
“The Price is Wrong, Bob!”
The pricing on these golfers just doesn’t make sense.
Fabian Gomez – $8,100
I will not be paying up for Fabian Gomez this week. To me, all you are paying for here is the fact that he is the defending champion. He only has one top 20 in his past four events, and prior to his victory last year, he had two finishes outside of the top 65 at this event. At $8,100, you need your golfer to finish inside the top 20 at minimum with a good chance of winning. Gomez’s betting odds are in the range of 80-1, which does not correlate with his DraftKings price.
Bryce Molder – $6,000
This is not a recommendation to jam Bryce Molder in a ton of your lineups, but if you need a dead minimum priced golfer in order to complete a stars and scrubs lineup, you could do a lot worse than Bryce Molder. He has shown flashes of solid golf in the past, and saw his DraftKings price creep up into the $8K range. Molder has had success on courses similar to Waialae, specifically Harbour Town, where he has back-to-back top 15 finishes. His betting odds also suggest you are getting value when rostering Molder.
Thanks for checking out my Sony Open Preview article! Be sure to follow me on Twitter @EPattersonFS. Also, check out @FanShareSports as the curate content from all across the DFS Golf industry and breakdown which players are being mentioned the most.
Good luck this week everybody!