What’s goin’ on fantasy golf fans?! Welcome back to DFS on Demand for another year of DraftKings Golf! I am really excited about the 2017 season and I am sure you all are as well. I look forward to previewing the each and every tournament with you throughout the year, doing my best to pick winners, hunt for value, explain my weekly approach and thought process and most importantly, have a ton of fun. If these criteria consistently align, it will be a profitable year on DraftKings!
The 2017 season kicks off in Hawaii with the SBS Tournament of Champions, which takes place at the Plantation Course at Kapalua. The 32 man field will take on a rare Par 73, 7,452 yard course consisting of four Par 5s and three Par 3s. In 2016, it ranked as the easiest course the Tour visited, which I do not expect to change this season. Last year, Jordan Spieth ran away with it, winning by eight shots and finished at -30. The course has massive fairways and large greens that the players will be able to attack with ease. There is a chance of rain this week in Hawaii that may soften the course up slightly, but I wouldn’t go all in on bombers just because of the softer conditions. The Tournament of Champions is a no-cut event, giving elite birdie makers a slight edge. In the event that the tournament turns into a putting contest, rostering strong putters could play dividends. Unless of course, your golfers are knocking them to a few feet on their approaches.
If you haven’t read my articles in the past, I like to group players to discuss, rather than just list my favorite plays. To me, it is a more beneficial way to think about different players that may not be getting mentioned around the industry. The sections will remain fairly consistent for most of the season, unless I cannot logically find a player who fits the bill.
Alright, let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Hideki Matsuyama – $11,000
If you have read any of my previous articles in the past, you know I have a strong attraction to Hideki Matsuyama’s game, especially in no-cut events. It also helps that he is the hottest golfer on the planet, winning four of his last five events, and finishing second in the other. Hideki has seen his world ranking jump from 18th to 6th in just three events this fall, thanks to a massive win at the WGC-HSBC Champions win in China. Matsuyama fits this course to perfection and should be attacking pins all week long. His putting has turned around drastically the past few months making him even more of a no brainer. I could go on for ever as to why Hideki is a must play in cash this week, but I’m sure you have already caught my drift.
Brandt Snedeker – $8,700
Snedeker is another guy that will be locked into my cash lineup this week. He makes a ton of sense to me for a bunch of different reasons. First, Sneds has been a world class putter for a long time and consistently ranks near the top in putting stats. If this event comes down to putting, I like Snedeker’s chances. He is also an great Par 4 scorer, and this course has a ton of them. He has a win since the 2016 season ended, albeit in Fiji, but Brandt did finish T6 at the Hero World Challenge, his last event played. Snedeker has also performed very well at this event in the past, finishing inside the top 3, twice in three tries. At $8,700, Snedeker might get overlooked due to the popular Daniel Berger priced right below him, making him a strong tournament option as well.
Pat Perez – $7,100
The Mullet is back! Pat Perez and all of that glorious hair of his missed almost the entire 2016 season with a shoulder injury that required surgery. But, he made his return this fall and crushed it. He has played in three events in the swing season, making the cut in all three, including a T7 at the Shriners and winning the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. With limited stats and course history to draw from to prove that Perez is worthy of a spot in your lineup, his amazing recent form will have to do. He carries a very fair price tag, one that he should easily be able to return value on, even with a top 15 finish. I expect Branden Grace, Si Woo Kim and Aaron Baddeley to be owned enough this week to keep Perez’s ownership at a reasonable number for GPP contests.
Bad course fit? Terrible recent form? Players I will have no share of.
Bubba Watson – $9,200
A pink ball Bubba? Seriously? I thought the pink driver was loud enough, but he is now taking it to a new level. Regardless, I don’t think the ball will matter too much this week for Bubba, who has had marginal success at this event in the past. Yes, he has back to back top 10s here, but you’d expect more from the 6th highest priced golfer. Bubba also comes in ranked 15th in my model, as his Par 4 scoring average and putting stats are dragging him down. There is too much blow up potential with Watson for me to stomach rostering him this week.
So you got burned?
Recently got screwed by a missed cut or a withdraw? Looks like a good time to jump back on.
Si-Woo Kim – $7,300
It has been a while since any of these golfers have had the ability to screw us, but Si Woo Kim did his best to end the 2016 season. Kim finished his 2016 season with withdraw and missed cut in back-to-back events. Now that he has had some time off to rest his back injury, I feel confident saying that he is fully healthy, or else he wouldn’t be risking a setback at this event. Kim played extremely well during the 2016 FedEx Cup Playoffs, with three consecutive top 20 finishes, included at T10 at the Tour Championship. Like Perez, he is in a crowded price range that could easily produce multiple top 5 finishers this week in Hawaii. Roster this young Asian star, while others are busy (and deservingly so) paying attention his neighbour from the north.
Identifying the chalk, and going elsewhere.
Jason Day – $10,600
Jason Day, the number one golfer in the world, a pivot? Hear me out. Yes, it seems crazy that Jason Day is the fourth highest priced golfer heading into the week, but I still think he will be the lowest owned out of the four. Spieth is defending his title, and clearly treats this event as one he expects to win. Dustin Johnson is always a popular player, has previously won at this event, and his bombs away style is intriguing for DraftKings scoring purposes. And Hideki will easily be the most popular play of the week. That leaves lonely Jason Day all by himself in the $10K price range. Day finished the FedEx Cup playoffs with back-to-back withdraws, and hasn’t played since. Rust could be a factor due to the extended time off, but his obvious winning upside is well worth the risk at his lower than usual price tag.
“The Price is Wrong, Bob!”
The pricing on these golfers just doesn’t make sense.
A new section! Everyone loves new sections, or at least I think they do. Here, I will highlight guys that stood out to me at my first look through the DraftKings pricing as either being overpriced or underpriced, depending on the golfer. It is a good way to compare betting odds to DraftKings pricing, which usually correlate very strongly.
Branden Grace – $7,200
The first player to be considered as a mispriced player is Branden Grace. The South African is the 7th highest ranked player in the field (17th ranked in the world), yet has the 18th highest price tag. I understand that the Official World Golf Ranking is not the end all be all to a player’s success any given week, but that seems like a glaring difference, especially in a small field, no cut event. I’ll take four, pretty much guaranteed rounds, from the 17th best golfer over someone ranked in the 100s.
Charley Hoffman – $6,300
Big Charley showed up as having the largest difference between DraftKings salary and betting odds. At 66-1 to win the tournament, he shares the 18th best odds to win, yet he is in the bottom five in terms of salary. That is a glaring value that should be taken advantage of. I am not saying to go all in on Charley, but having a sprinkle of him is definitely worth a shot.
That’ll do it for this week! Thanks for checking out my first article of the 2017 season. I am so excited to get the season underway and continue to provide insight for each event. I look forward to improving my research each week and sharing the results with you! Give me a follow on Twitter @EPattersonFS for more golf talk!
Good luck this week everybody!