Hi everyone! Welcome back to another edition of your PGA daily fantasy preview. This week is a World Golf Championship Event taking place at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico. This is a 7,267 par 71 course which is played at 7,500 feet of elevation – meaning the ball travels really far here. Also of note, there are only 65 golfers in the field and this is a no cut event.
I have some interesting memories of playing daily fantasy for this tournament last year. As I recall, my two most highly owned players were Henrik Stenson and Tommy Fleetwood. It ended up being Fleetwood’s coming out party as he was a birdie machine, finishing in 2nd place behind Dustin Johnson and costing only $6,900. But all my lineups went into the toilet because Stenson could not get to the toilet fast enough. The big Swede had some intestinal issues due to drinking the Mexican water and shit himself on the front 9 on Thursday and had to withdraw from the tournament. Hopefully there is no repeat of that this season.
This week, at this no-cut event, my focus is going to be on scoring. Often we make the mistake of treating fantasy golf like a competition to pick which golfers will place the highest in the tournament, but we must remember that this is not the goal. We must pick the golfers who score the most points, and in fantasy, birdies and eagles are rewarded more than bogies are penalized. As an example, last week, Jason Dufner finished in a tie for 17th at the Honda Classic at +2, while Ollie Schniederjans finished 8 strokes worse at +10, finishing in a tie for 64th place. Yet despite being 8 strokes worse at the tournament, Schniederjans outscored Dufner 56-51 on DraftKings as he amassed 15 birdies with 19 bogeys and 3 double bogeys, while Dufner had 8 birdies and 10 bogeys. In a no-cut event, we can take more risk and try to find more guys like Schniederjans, so I am going after the birdie makers this week and less guys like Dufner. I am all about the birdie makers. Let’s get right to it.
If you have any questions – don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter at @AssemblyNeil.
Dustin Johnson ($11,900 DraftKings/$12,800 FanDuel) – Let’s get started with last year’s champion at this event, world #1 Dustin Johnson. DJ enters this tournament in pretty good form as he has top 20 finishes in his last 4 events, with three of those being top 10s. For my purposes this week, Johnson is ideal as he ranks 1st on Tour in birdie or better percentage and is always a good bet to score points. Johnson may be expensive, but he will be the anchor in many of my lineups this week.
Jon Rahm ($10,600 DraftKings/$12,100 FanDuel) – The big Spaniard is priced to play this week on DraftKings, as $10,600 is just about as cheap as you will find Rahm all season. While he might be a very popular play, I will find it very tough to fade Rahm as he ranks 2nd on Tour, trailing only Dustin Johnson in birdie or better percentage. Rahm also seemed to like this golf course last year as he finished a very solid 3rd place. Rahm is a must play in cash and he will be in plenty of my GPP lineups as well.
Upper Middle Class
Rickie Fowler ($9,800 DraftKings/$11,700 FanDuel) – Fowler disappointed a lot of people with a missed cut at the Honda Classic last week and I am hoping that this leads to slightly depressed ownership. I have a feeling that his DraftKings price that dipped below 5 figures will have people jumping right back into the well with Rickie. No matter as I will be playing him plenty too. Going into last week’s event, Fowler ranked 8th on Tour in birdie or better percentage, though that dropped to 18th after his poor performance at the Honda. Last year, however, Fowler was birdie machine finishing 4th in the PGA in birdie or better. Rickie should be a scoring machine once again and I am firing him up.
Tony Finau ($8,500 DraftKings/$10,700 FanDuel) – With this course being at altitude, all of the par 5s are reachable in 2 shots and there are 3 reachable par 4s as well. In other words, there are eagle chances aplenty in Mexico City. And if we are talking about eagles, Finau is a man to watch as he ranks in 6th place on Tour in eagles per hole. On top of the massive scoring opportunities, this looks like it will be a course that fits Finau’s eye and he could be in for a nice finish.
Xander Schauffele ($7,800 DraftKings/$8,800 FanDuel) – The reigning PGA Tour rookie of the year comes in way too cheap on FanDuel where he is practically a must play. I will have plenty of shares of Schauffele on DraftKings as well as he comes in to this event in fine form with top 20 finishes in his last two events, including a top 10 at Riviera just 2 weeks ago. I have heard many analysts state that Riviera is a great corollary for Club de Golf Chapultepec. Let’s see if Xander can prove that theory true.
Marc Leishman ($7,600 DraftKings/$10,300 FanDuel) – Leishman has had a bit of a rough patch recently, but I will take him at this price any day of the week. There are actually plenty of big names in this price range and I think that despite the discount, Leishman will be moderately owned. The big Aussie is 9th on Tour in birdie or better percentage and should score plenty of points this week. I think he is a great play in both cash games and tournaments.
Bang for your Buck
Brendan Steele ($7,500 DraftKings/$9,000 FanDuel) – When I took a first glance at the prices on both major fantasy sites, one of my first thoughts was that Steele was going to be uber-chalky. However, as the week has progressed, I have not heard many touts talking about Steele and I feel like maybe he is somehow flying under the radar. I sure hope so, as Steele is consistently a great fantasy scorer. His last outing at the Genesis Open was his first of the season where he made less than 16 birdies. On the whole, he is 8th in birdie or better percentage. I will have plenty of shares in my lineups.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat ($7,300 DraftKings/$8,200 FanDuel) – This is a boom or bust tournament play only. Aphibarnrat, sometimes known as the Asian John Daly, is a chain smoking, portly guy who absolutely bombs it and can score with the best of them. My concern here is that a fat guy who sucks down cigarettes may not do the best at high altitude and he could need an oxygen machine by the 18th hole. I will still roll with Aphibarnrat, as he has made over 20 birdies 3 times already this year.
Peter Uihlein ($7,100 DraftKings/$7,800 FanDuel) – Uihlein is another scorer that you can get for cheap on both major sites. The young American is actually an interesting play as sometimes he barely makes any birdies (4 tournaments with 6 or less birdies) but sometimes he scores in bunches (4 tournaments with 16 plus birdies, including one with 25). Uihlen will likely be owned at less than 5% and he will be a contrarian GPP pivot for me.
Johnny Vegas ($6,900 DraftKings/$7,900 FanDuel) – While I haven’t heard too much chatter about him, I fear that Vegas will be very chalky this week as he is the only recognizable name for the casual American golf fan priced under $7,000 on DraftKings this week. I will still be playing plenty of Vegas who ranks 36th on Tour in Eagles per hole. He should post some pretty decent fantasy points and I will be pairing him with Dustin Johnson in a lot of lineups.
Good luck to everyone this week!
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