The CareerBuilder was a fun (and weird) DFS week. Again, we had some mega-chalk plays miss the cut – headlined by Jamie Lovemark and Ryan Palmer – and another 59 was carded. As far as my sleepers, it was a mixed bag, but we did get great performances by Sean O’Hair and David Lingmerth.
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.
This week, the Tour heads back to Torrey Pines, a staple of the California swing. Therefore, we have plenty of course history to draw upon for this field. One note: there was extreme rain and wind here a year ago, and Sunday’s round was almost unplayable. Brandt Snedeker shot a ridiculous 69 to win the event, but I’m disregarding most of the weekend rounds from last year. This event is also held on two courses, the North and South courses at Torrey Pines. Each player gets one round on each track before the 36-hole cut, so unless there’s extreme weather one day, starting course doesn’t make a huge difference. There is, however, a major difference between the courses. The South course is brutal, playing nearly 7,700 yards and averaging a stroke and a half over par, historically. The North Course historically plays about four strokes easier but has undergone recent renovations. Trees and bunkers have been removed, the greens have been made larger, and one of the par-4s has been extended into a par-5. If your picks manage anything under par on the South course, you’ll be in great shape heading into the weekend. In terms of stats to focus on this week, par-5 scoring and driving distance are two keys. Historically, bombers have great track records here, although there have been shorter hitters who have excelled at this event. These greens are tough to hit, to elite iron players and scramblers are good targets as well. The last thing I’ll mention – as usual – is to keep playing the local angle here. Many junior golfers growing up in California played events at Torrey Pines, and are very familiar with the courses. One popular name this week, Beau Hossler, won here as a junior.
This week’s field is headlined by Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods. There are still lingering questions about Jason Day’s health and fitness, DJ and Rickie are jet-setting from Abu Dhabi, and Phil is coming off a very solid performance after hernia surgeries. And then there’s Tiger. He flashed his upside at the Hero World Challenge, where he led the field in birdies, but he showed his rust as well. I expect him to find some form at one of his favorite courses, and most likely make the cut. If I had to pick one of these guys to win this week, it would be Jason Day.
Recent Tournament History
Here is the data we can draw upon for this week’s Tournament History:
Finished in the top-10 each of the last three years: None.
Finished in the top-10 in two of the last three years: Jason Day, Brandt Snedeker, J.B. Holmes, Jimmy Walker, Martin Laird, Scott Stallings, K.J. Choi.
Current Form Review
Each week, we’ll 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. I have, however, included the top-20 from the past two events: the Sony Open and last week’s CareerBuilder Challenge. I’ve highlighted the players in this field:
Birdie or Better % (BoB%)
There are not many weeks where we aren’t going to target birdie or better percentage because that’s what fantasy golf scoring is all about. Guys like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Jason Day, Robert Garrigus, and Tony Finau come to mind in this week’s field when targeting birdie makers who will benefit from the no-cut format. It’s possible to have a player finish top-10 in fantasy points while not finishing anywhere close to the top-10 in the actual event.
Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee (SG: OTT)
You can target driving distance alone, but I also wanted to target some accuracy metrics, as well. With the recent rain in California, the rough should be sticky and difficult on approach shots, especially those over 200 yards. Certain bombers can overcome those stats because they hit it far enough that they’ll have wedges in their hands anyways. However, SG: OTT stats point towards the bombers anyways, while allowing certain shorter hitters to pop, too. In 2016, the top-10 in SG: OTT were: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, J.B. Holmes, Ryan Palmer, Jason Kokrak, Andrew Landry, and Boo Weekley. That’s 7-8 bombers and a couple of tacticians.
Par 5 Scoring (P5)
I expect the winning score this week to be around -8, with the bulk of that scoring coming from the par-5s. When you look at par-5 scoring, you’ll see bombers like Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, but also elite wedge players like Matt Kuchar and Roberto Castro.
On top of these stats, we’re going to focus on getting as many elite golfers into our lineups as possible. We want bombers, and we want local Californians. For comparison courses, look at Riviera, Quail Hollow, and Doral.