DraftKings PGA Preview: Genesis Open

DraftKings PGA Preview: Genesis Open

This week on DraftKings there are nine golfers priced at $9,400 or higher (at least $1,000 more than the average roster spot). Dustin Johnson is once again the top dog at $11,400. Justin Thomas is the only other player in the $11k range. Rory McIlroy ($10,700), Jon Rahm ($10,400), and Bryson DeChambeau ($10,200) are the only other golfers priced at five figures. The average roster spot is $8,400 as you have $50,000 to roster six golfers. This week’s event is played on just one course (Riviera CC) and there are no celebrities or amateurs playing. We also will have a pretty good gauge on how this course plays since this event has been played here for more than 50 years.

All of the plays that I mention in this article are plays that I will be considering for my lineups. That doesn’t mean that I will end up with all of the guys that I mention. Additional news, research, and roster construction may lead me to different plays. Realize that golf is the DFS sport that probably has the most variance from week to week. Anyone can miss a cut, and anyone can finish in the top five (or even win). Remember to check the news and social media reports leading up to the first golfer teeing off. Though golf is more difficult to get injury news, you might be able to pick up a nugget or two that helps with roster construction – especially when dealing with possible withdrawals. Have a solid process and use all the information available to you to make the best decision possible for your lineup. Good luck and have fun!

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TOURNAMENT NOTES

The Genesis Open is played at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California. The course is a Par-71 measuring 7,322 yards. The fairways are narrow and the POA greens are small.

The first hole (503-yard Par 5) has the highest birdie or better rate on tour (60%). In the last two years alone, 65 eagles have been made at this hole.

140 players are scheduled to tee off with the top-70 (and ties) making the cut and playing the weekend.

The average winning score has been 13-below par and the average cut line has been 2-OVER par.

Previous winners of the event that are scheduled to play this week include Bubba Watson (2018, 2016, 2014), Dustin Johnson (2017), James Hahn (2015), Bill Haas (2012), Phil Mickelson (2009, 2008), Charles Howell III (2007), Adam Scott (2005), Ernie Els (1999)

None of the past eight winners came into that event having missed the cut at their previous event. In other words, if that stat were to hold this year, don’t expect past champs Adam Scott or James Hahn to win this time around as they missed the cut at Pebble Beach. Sungjae Im, J.B. Holmes, J.J. Spaun, Jimmy Walker, and Russel Henley are also notable players that missed the cut at Pebble Beach. Also, don’t forget that DFS favorite, Patrick Cantlay, missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, which is the last event he played in.

RECENT FORM

Rory McIlroy ($10,700)He has made 14 straight cuts (though not all on the PGA Tour). His last two starts on the PGA Tour have resulted in top-five finishes. In his last 14 events, he has seven top-10 finishes.

Phil Mickelson ($9,900)This might be a bit of a stretch as he missed the cut two weeks ago at the Waste Management. However, that is sandwiched between a runner-up at the Desert Classic and his dominating win this past weekend at Pebble Beach. He also beat the GOAT, Tiger Woods, back in November if you want to look at what he has done beyond his last three events. I rarely play Phil, but he’s definitely showing some nice form right now.

Keegan Bradley ($7,300)Nobody in the field has made more consecutive cuts than Bradley’s 15. I may have just jinxed him like I did Brandt Snedeker last week. His MC this past week is still on my mind as I am a little light in the wallet after that. Anyway, during Bradley’s streak, he has four top-six finishes, including a win.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Dustin Johnson ($11,400)The worst he has finished in the last five years is T16 last year. Prior to that, he had four straight top-four finishes, including a win in 2017.

Bubba Watson ($9,700)He truly is a “course horse” as he has won this event three of the past five years. Overall, he has made the cut nine times and finished in the top 20 seven times in his 12 starts.

K.J. Choi ($6,200)In his 18 starts here, he has only missed the cut once. Ironically, that was last year for whatever that is worth to you. Overall, he has seven top-20 finishes. His best finish was third in 2009, but he did finish fifth as recently as 2016. He has gained the fourth-most strokes on the field in the last five years.

COURSE FIT

There are more than 60 bunkers on the course making sand saves and short game important. In the last 36 rounds, there are only two players that rank in the Top-10 for both Strokes Gained: Short Game and Sand Saves. Matt Kuchar ($8,500) and Beau Hossler ($7,200) could be interesting plays this week from this perspective.

This tends to be a bombers course as it plays much longer than its official length of 7,322 yards. Some of the Par 5s are very short and the Par 4 10th hole is very short. The fairways tend to be narrow, so I want to look at guys that are long off the tee but also fairly accurate off the tee. In the last 36 rounds, Dustin Johnson ($11,400), Rory McIlroy ($10,700), Cameron Champ ($7,600), and Luke List ($7,400) are the only four players that rank in the top-10 in both Driving Distance and Strokes Gained: Off the Tee.

The greens at Riviera are smaller than most, and so it will be important to hit these in regulation. The five players that are ranked in the top-10 for Greens in Regulation over the last 12 and 36 rounds are: Hideki Matsuyama ($9,300), Matt Kuchar ($8,500), Charles Howell III ($7,900), Adam Hadwin ($7,800), and Jim Furyk ($6,900).

The small greens at Riviera are also POA grass. You may want to target players that can get hot with the flat stick and have demonstrated that they can putt well on this surface. When looking at players who have done well on POA in the last 12 and 36 rounds, the five players that ranked in the top-10 for both time periods were: Cameron Smith ($8,400), Adam Hadwin ($7,800), Kevin Na ($7,500), Michael Kim ($6,500), and Jonas Blixt ($6,300).

FAVORITE STUD

Dustin Johnson ($11,400)The cop-out answer is to go with the high-priced stud that is projected to be the lowest owned for fantasy purposes. Any of the top-end guys can win on a given weekend, but it’s hard to predict that. It is easier to predict ownership and if your guy hits them you’ll be ahead of the field. With all of that being said, I will be getting right back up on my horse DJ this week. He disappointed a lot of people last week (myself included), and I am hoping that keeps his ownership lower than normal. He is a course horse here at Riviera with four top-four finishes in the last five years, including a win. Prior to his disappointing finish last week at Pebble Beach, he had a win and a fourth-place finish already in the 2019 calendar year. His form (outside of last week), talent, and course history make him my favorite player to pay up for this week. My second favorite equity play this week would be Justin Thomas. I could easily see a win from him. I do expect a high finish from him as he is playing well lately finishing third in two of his last three events, plus he has decent course history. I am also not opposed to Jon Rahm as he is one of my favorite golfers and will be getting a win one of these days. He has a streak of five straight top-10 finishes going but has never played this event, which historically has not been a good thing for most golfers.

FAVORITE VALUE

Adam Hadwin ($7,800)He is not egregiously priced or priced significantly better on DK than he is on FD, but I like Hadwin this week as a great point per dollar play. Relative to what he has been priced previously we are getting a discount. In the last three weeks, he has been priced at $8,700 > $9,000 > $10,000. He is below the average roster spot this week by $600. He has made the cut here in all four attempts with his best finish coming last year when he finished sixth. During those four starts, he has gained the fifth most total strokes on the field. He has made eight straight cuts on the PGA Tour with three of those resulting in top-10 finishes. He and Phil Mickelson tied for second at the Desert Classic a few weeks ago to Adam Long, who came out of nowhere to win the event.

FAVORITE PUNT

Brian Gay ($7,000)I normally look at punt plays in the 6k range, but $7,000 is close enough. Gay is not a typical punt play because he is not a boom or bust player. Sure, this is golf, and anyone can miss a cut at any time, but Gay is typically pretty solid in this area. He has made the cut in 14 of his last 15 events. He is normally not a guy that will get you a high finish but just last week he finished seventh in a decent field. You are not getting a huge discount from where he is normally priced on DK, but he is priced significantly higher on FanDuel at $9,700. We went with him as our punt play last week and he rewarded us with a seventh-place finish. Let’s go ahead and roll the dice again.

PROCEED WITH CAUTION

Tiger Woods ($9,500)Even when the GOAT was at his peak, he didn’t win this event. Even though he says he likes this course, his results haven’t been spectacular. Even though he had a great year last year culminating with a win at the Tour Championship, I don’t see him finishing near the top of the leader board in a stacked event at a course he has not excelled at. He will probably finish in the top 25 but I don’t see him paying off his salary. At this price, at this course, and at this time of the year, I will be fading him except for one lineup. He is one of my favorite athletes of all-time and I always play one lineup with him in it whenever he tees it up no matter how he is playing. It is my fun lineup consisting of my…

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