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PGA DFS: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (Preview)

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Shockingly, we got another Hideki Matsuyama victory in Phoenix. He loves that course, and not using him was a gross oversight for may DFS players. Course history and recent form lined up, and he should have been way higher owned than he was. My rankings were solid last week, with Hideki leading the way. We also had strong finishes from Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm, J.B. Holmes, Daniel Berger and Louis Oosthuizen.

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.

Tournament Stop

This week, the Tour heads back to Pebble Beach, although we’re on a three-course rotation chalk full of hackers and celebrities. That’s right; it’s pro-am week, one of the worst for DFS and for TV viewing purposes. I suggest scaling back your normal volume this week and saving your bankroll for more predictable weeks. Players will face Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and Monterey Peninsula one time each, before a 54-hole cut. The final round will be at Pebble Beach, where we have the most relevant course history. I recently took a trip to Monterey and played Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. I have some good insight into those tracks but don’t know much about Monterey besides what you read. Monterey is a bit quirky and seems to be the players’ least favorite of the rotation. All the courses are very short and feature the demanding poa annua greens. Short hitters are well in play this week, and we should focus on the California angle/narrative again. Monterey and Pebble Beach are Oceanside courses, where scenic views, water, and windy conditions can wreak havoc. Spyglass Hill is a bit more difficult and tree-lined, featuring difficult undulations and greens. Overall, scoring should be low this week, but Spyglass is the hardest of the three courses. Regarding stats I feel are important, SG: Approach and SG: Around-the-Green are keys this week. Pebble Beach features the smallest greens on Tour, and scrambling will be key.

This week’s field is headlined by Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, and Phil Mickelson.  I had to pick one of these guys to win this week; it would be Jordan Spieth.

Recent Tournament History

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

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

Finished in the top-20 in two of the last three years: Roberto Castro, Jason Day, J.B. Holmes, Dustin Johnson, Matt Jones, Phil Mickelson, Pat Perez, Jordan Spieth, Vaughn Taylor, Jimmy Walker.

Current Form Review

Each week, we’ll look backward at the last three tournaments on the PGA and European Tours. I have included the top-20 from the past three events: the CareerBuilder Challenge, the Farmer’s Insurance Open, and last week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Statistical Report

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 Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson, and J.B. Holmes come to mind in this week’s field when targeting birdie-makers. Bombers, you see. 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 Approach (SG: APP)

Pebble Beach, specifically, features some of the smallest greens in the world. Because of that, players will deal with some gnarly lies and short-sided chips when missing greens. I’m going to target SG: App because players who find the most greens and give themselves the most birdie opportunities will capitalize most. The poa greens this week are wet and extremely bumpy, so putting skills are mitigated. If you have a player who sticks approach shots inside 10’ consistently, he’s going to shoot up the leaderboard and contend on Sunday. Some names that stand out in the field are Roberto Castro, Kevin Chappell, Stewart Cink, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker, and Webb Simpson.

SG: Around-the-Green (SG: ATG)

Because these greens are so small and difficult, players will inevitably need to scramble. Putting is a little hit-or-miss this week, so I’m going to focus on SG: ATG. Players are all going to make birdies this week, so scrambling for pars is key. I played Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill a few months ago, and I can attest that I lost tons of strokes around the difficult green complexes. Focus on good scramblers, and you’ll be in good shape. The names that popped out to me were Chad Collins, Luke Donald, J.B. Holmes, Chris Kirk, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, and Gary Woodland.

Par 5 Scoring (P5)

I expect the winning score this week to be much lower than the carnage we saw at Torrey Pines, and similar to what we saw last week in Phoenix. Although there are some short par-4s, most of the scoring this week will be done on the par-5s. Pebble Beach has a very reachable par-5 (2nd hole) where we should see some eagles. Spyglass Hill’s 11th hole is also reachable in two shots. When you look at par-5 scoring, you’ll see bombers like Dustin Johnson and Jimmy Walker, but also elite wedge players like Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, and Roberto Castro.

On top of these stats, we’re going to focus on getting as many elite golfers into our lineups as possible. Because of the 54-hole cut, it’s more likely that the better players will rise to the top. Because of that, I’m going to recommend a more balanced strategy when constructing your DraftKings lineups this week.

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