John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

PGA DFS: The Safeway Open (Preview)

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Golf is back! I know, it’s only been about three weeks, but I missed the full field, cut events. This week, we are in Napa Valley for the Safeway Open – formerly the Frys.com Open – where Emiliano Grillo is the defending champion. During the Fall Swing, we have a huge edge due to the influx of web.com Tour graduates playing in the field. 99-percent of casual DFS players have no clue who these guys are, and we can leverage this into some serious cash.

Daily and weekly fantasy sports have become all the rage. Battling it out over an entire season is fun, but sites like DraftKings offer a quicker payoff and big payouts for winners! Not only do they offer daily action in the four major professional sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) as well as college basketball and football but also the PGA Tour.

Your DraftKings lineup is made up of six golfers you select from within the $50,000 salary cap.

Each week DraftKings offers a wide selection of games to enter at a variety of price points. You can even get a feel for the game in a freeroll contest. Before you put your cash on the line, I'll offer my Top Values and Steals in this space every week, specifically geared to help build a winning DraftKings squad. I'll also give you my Overpriced golfers to avoid and a couple of “Vegas Says…” tips to help you find those players for GPPs.

*The key to cashing in Daily Fantasy Golf is getting golfers who make the cut.*

You can cash if you get at least four golfers who make the cut though it can be tough with just four. With five (or if you are lucky six) you are nearly assured of cashing. So, you'll see some focus on making cuts while trying to balance upside for those top 10 finishes everyone is chasing.

Tournament Stop

This week, players face the Silverado CC’s North Course. The layout is a 7,203-yard, par 72 featuring four par 3s and four par 5s. As expected, scoring on the par-5s is going to be important, but not as important as the par-4s. The course features tree-lined fairways and a decent number of doglegs, so accuracy off-the-tee should be important. What I love about this track is that any player can contend, not just the bombers. The greens are extremely undulated, but won’t be running too quickly. If you take a look at some of the quotes from players over the years, these points are reflected. As far as comparable courses, I would look towards Riviera CC and TPC Four Seasons, because we’ve seen a lot of players with great track records on both of those venues. Additionally, I’m going to favor some California-based players, because these tricky Poa Annua greens favor those who have a ton of experience putting on them.

Recent Tournament History

Silverado CC’s North Course has only been the host of this event since 2014, so we can only draw on two seasons of course history. However, there are some correlation courses to look towards: TPC Four Seasons and Riviera CC.

Here is the data we can draw upon for this week’s Tournament History:

Finished in the top-20 each of the last two years: None.

Made cut in each of the last two years: Brendan Steele, Tony Finau, Martin Laird, Graham DeLaet, Kyle Reifers, Hudson Swafford, Daniel Summerhays, Charles Howell, Aaron Baddeley, Spencer Levin, Chez Reavie, Colt Knost, Cameron Tringale, Adam Hadwin, Tyrone van Aswegen, Hunter Mahan, Carl Pettersson, Mark Hubbard.

Rookies to watch: Grayson Murray, J.J. Spaun, Trey Mullinax, Xander Schauffele, C.T. Pan.

Current Form Review

Each week, we’ll take a look backward at the last three tournaments on the PGA and European Tours. However, because this is the start of a new season and most players have had a month or so off, we will focus on course history and stats.   

Statistical Report

Birdie or Better % (BoB%): Players in contention this week will need to have between 18-22 birdies at a minimum, so we should see some great DraftKings scoring. Sometimes it’s not about making a perfect lineup, but finding those players who can finish top-10 in DraftKings scoring even if they don’t finish top-10 in the actual event. Guys like Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, and Smylie Kaufman come to mind in this week’s field. We also saw Bubba Watson on a winning Millionaire Maker team this summer when he wasn’t anywhere near the top-10 on the leaderboard.

Par 4 Scoring (P4): Par-4 scoring is one of the most important metrics this week. The toughest holes at Silverado are the par-4s, so this is where the tournament will be won or lost. Par-3 scoring is always tough to predict, and everyone has a chance on par-5s, so I’m focusing on players who have performed well on par-4s.

Par 5 Scoring (P5): Not as critical as par-4 scoring this week, but there are four reachable par-5 holes that players will need to dominate. I’m not just targeting bombers here, but players who score well on all types of par-5 holes.

As usual, we will be looking towards strokes gained tee-to-green from last season, but with a lot of players coming off month-long breaks, it’s a bit unpredictable. I also suggest looking at players who perform well in California, and specifically on Poa Annua greens.

Weather Report

As always, check back on the weather Wednesday to see the final forecast. This week it looks like players will see temperatures in the mid-50s and 60s with rain throughout the weekend.


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