Spieth is back! Well, he never left, but the media likes to create stories. Spieth has been consistently finishing the top-10 for months now, but they gave him a bad reputation because he hadn’t won. His iron play was stellar, his putting was stellar, and he pulled away from the field all week. He’s back in the field this week at Riviera.
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 to Riviera CC for its annual stop. It’s a fantastic and traditional golf course, and always attracts the world’s best players. Because of this, there’s plenty of course history to draw upon, and that’s a big indicator for me this week. The field is stacked, so I suggest spreading out your exposure this week. Riviera is a par-71 that plays around 7,300 yards, which should show you the benefit bombers will have here. Players will contend with the same poa annua greens we saw last week, so keep riding guys who putted well last week. Driving accuracy is not so important here because the fairways are tough to hit and the rough isn’t too penal. We’ve seen this in the past, with inaccurate bombers like Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson playing extremely well here. It’s more of a tactician’s golf course on the approach shots, so find some elite ball-strikers as well. SG: Approach will be one of my key statistics this week. One last thing to note is that on a par-71, there’s an extra par-4. Many of those par-4s are longer than 450 yards, which gives us a key metric to look at. Par-4 scoring overall and efficiency on long par-4s could be great indicators this week.
Regarding stats I feel are important, SG: Approach, driving distance, and long par-4 scoring. Correlating courses that I’ll take a small look at this week are Firestone Country Club and Augusta National.
This week’s field is headlined by Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Justin Thomas, and Phil Mickelson. STACKED! If I had to pick one of these guys to win this week, it would be Dustin Johnson.
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: Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson.
Finished in the top-20 in two of the last three years: Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth, J.B. Holmes, Brendan Steele, Jim Furyk, Ryan Moore, Keegan Bradley, K.J. Choi,
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 Farmer’s Insurance Open, the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
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): Riviera is a ball striker's course, so I’m targeting elite iron players this week. 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 challenging, as are some of the Kikuyu chipping and pitching areas around the greens. 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, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, and Jimmy Walker.
Par 4 Scoring (P4): Since we have a par-71, players will contend with an extra par-4 this week. Because of that, P4 scoring will be key. Guys like Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Roberto Castro, William McGirt, and Webb Simpson pop out as names to target this week. We can also put some added emphasis on long par 4s – those over 450 yards. You’ll see a lot of similar names, but also one of my favorite GPP punts: Ollie Schniederjans.
Proximity 200 – 225 yards: I don’t often look at proximity stats because they’re often skewed by small sample size, but this one popped for me when going through course research. Rivera is a longer course, and players will often find themselves at this range on par-4s and par-3s. I’m going to look at 2016 stats due to sample size, but some of the names that pop are Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Thomas, Charl Schwartzel, Marc Leishman, and Jason Kokrak.