The Cheat Sheet provides fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.
For a regular tour stop, last week was truly an amazing tournament as two of the best young players in the game went head to head in a playoff that saw them each sink multiple clutch putts and cut well into the start of the Super Bowl. I won’t comment on Rickie Fowler’s decision to hit driver off the 17th in regulation, but it certainly made DFS players who owned Hideki Matsuyama very happy! This week we’ll get to watch the players take on one of the most iconic courses in golf and also watch many famous, and semi-famous, amateurs play alongside them. This is a week where I’ll likely tune in to watch just to see the course itself and hope to catch a glimpse or two of my players (hopefully not hitting it into the ocean). It should be interesting and a great field awaits a great course.
The field this week consists of 154 players. All of the players will be paired with a Pro-Am partner for the first three rounds though and will play in foursomes which will make for some long rounds. Unlike regular weeks there are three courses that the players will visit which means that the cut will take place on Saturday after everyone has had a chance to play each course once. Only the top 60 players and ties will be allowed to play the weekend which means that getting all six of your players through to Saturday will be even more difficult than usual. Given the fact this event has a lot of big sponsors attending its Pro-Am many of the big named golfers are here too and you’ll see Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day all tee it up this week. There is a lot of talent at the top of the field and I’d expect one of them to grab the trophy and a big check when all is said and done.
Pebble Beach (main course), par 72, 6800-6900 yards
Spyglass Hill par 72, 6900-7000 yards
Monterey Peninsula, par 71, 6800-6900 yards
All three of these courses rank as some of the easiest on tour . Most people will be familiar with the host course Pebble Beach which is well known for its natural beauty and iconic holes. The course plays incredibly short however and features many reachable par 5’s, along with pretty forgiving fairways. Long hitters like Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson (in his prime) have prospered here and benefit from being able to attack the smaller than average greens with wedges and short irons. Even though there is trouble (most people remember the famous cliffs on 18) the course allows for aggressive play and low scores, and with the weather looking pretty decent I’d expect this week to be no different.
In terms of toughness Spyglass Hill generally plays a bit longer and is less forgiving off the tee. Some its holes play up hill making the course longer than its actual yardage. It should be noted that on a windy day Spyglass might be the best course to play since it does have trees lining the fairway in many spots. As for Monterey Peninsula it generally plays as one of the easiest on tour. With the course now playing as a par 71 and featuring four par 5’s and five par 3’s you should see some low scores here and will likely need your player to have a good day on this course if he’s going to make the cut. With a three course rotation in play a lot may depend on the weather this week and avoiding players who are out on Pebble or Monterey on the windy days might be a decent strategy to employ for DFS.
Last 5 winners
Phil Mickelson —2012
– 5 of the last 7 winners have ranked inside the top 25 for Strokes Gained: Total in the year of their victory.
– Recent form is also important this week: 5 of the last 6 winners recorded a top ten or better in their previous two starts on tour before winning here.
Strokes Gained: Total
Proximity 50-125 yards
The course this week demands that players make a ton of birdies if they are going to survive into Sunday and the cut last year ended up at -7 (so playing level par will get you no where this week). Last year five of the top six players ranked 8th or better in birdies made for the week and using this stat to help identify players who on average make more birdies than the field is a good way to start research.
I also like using the Strokes Gained: Total stat for this tournament. It measures how many strokes a player gains on the field over an entire hole. Given that the ease of these courses mean players will have to hit it well and sink a lot of putts I think comprehensiveness of this stat makes it a good one to use this week and the last four winners of this event have ranked 39th, 13th, 18th, and 11th in this category in the year of their victory.
Finally, proximity to the hole on approach shots will be key this week as most of the tee shots are fairly straightforward, but the greens are smaller than normal (at least at Pebble). While the players will face a variety of approach shots the players who are handy with wedges will prosper this week and looking at proximity from this distance (50-125 yards in) is a good way to spot potential fantasy targets.
The Daily Fantasy Golf Edge
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their odds of winning this week.
|Player||Vegas Odds||DK Price||Comparables|
|Matt Jones||70-1 (Average)||$7,800||Luke Donald $7900 and 90-1
Fredrik Jacobson $8100 and 80-1
K.J. Choi $8000 and 90-1
|William McGirt||100-1 (Average)||$7,400||Jason Bohn $7700 and 125-1
Daniel Summerhays $7500 and 125-1
Andrew Loupe $7400 and 175-1
HORSES FOR COURSES
– Jimmy Walker has now made five straight cuts at this event and finished 9th or better in four of those five appearances—including a win in 2014. He’s as solid as it gets this week.
– Bryce Molder has also played at Pebble and made five of his last six cuts here. In that span he’s had four finishes of 12th place or better.
– Pat Perez has a long history at this event and has now made 10 of his last 11 cuts since 2006. He hasn’t been playing great but this event brings out the best in him.
– Dustin Johnson has a long and mostly successful history at Pebble (bar one US Open meltdown). In eight appearances he has five top 5’s and two wins. A definite horse for the course if there ever was one this week.
There’s a lot of top players at this event for you to chose from for fantasy but the field gets thin pretty quick as you roll down in salary. I’d definitely suggest picking out your value plays carefully this week as the salaries are quite tight and some players lower down in the ranks will be needed to make your team work in most cases. The good news is that the style of this event (3 days before cut) means that taking chances can pay off as people who miss the cut will only cost you one day’s worth of play. I’d suggest spending extra time searching out those diamonds in the rough this week and to not be afraid to roster some lessor knowns. This tournament has a history of seeing all kinds of players have success here.
Top Performing Studs from recent weeks
o Brandt Snedeker
o Jimmy Walker
o JB Holmes
Top Performing Value plays from recent weeks
o Andrew Loupe
o Bryce Molder
o Colt Knost
MY PICK: J.B. Holmes
There’s a lot of talented players at this event and picking a player for this week wasn’t easy. Still, I love pretty much everything about J.B. Holmes at this tournament for fantasy. Holmes is playing very solidly at the moment and currently ranks 19th in strokes gained: total for the year. Last year he used his length off the tee to shoot rounds of 65 and 64 on Pebble Beach and record a top ten finish. While it’s easy to see Day or Spieth winning this week (and one may very well), I do think Holmes will be in contention and could see him taking home the trophy. He’s my main pick for this tournament.
WMO Phoenix: Justin Thomas (MC)
Farmers Pick: Jimmy Walker (T4)
CareerBuilder Pick: Graham DeLaet (T42)
Sony Open Pick: Danny Lee (T33)
MY SLEEPER: Alex Prugh
Sleeper Qualification: must be under $7000 in salary and projected by me to be less than 10% owned
Prugh’s a player who has bounced between the regular tour and the Web.com tour the past couple of years. Still, as a Washington state native Prugh is very familiar with many of the West coast courses and the Poa Greens that the players will be putting on this week. Over his career he’s landed 6 top tens on tour with 3 of them being at either the Farmer’s or this event (both of which use Poa greens). Prugh’s coming off a top ten on the Web.com tour and should be ready for this event, I like his chances for a top 25 this week and love his cheap price tag.
WMO Phoenix: Jason Kokrak (MC)
Farmers Sleeper: Robert Garrigus (T50)
CareerBuilder Sleeper: Chez Revie (T17)
Sony Open Sleeper: Daniel Summerhays (T13)