Editor’s Note: Jason Day is struggling with the flu. There was question whether he’d play in the Farmers Insurance Open, but he IS out on the range warming up. According to Ryan Lavner, Senior Golf Writer at GolfChannel.com, Day will “give it a go.”

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.


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The Field:

The field this week is 150+ golfers. This isn’t a Pro-Am like last week so regular tour cut rules will be back in effect with the main cut taking place after Fridays round. Only the top 70 players and ties will be playing on the weekend (unlike last week where everyone got three rounds in). Not all of the top players are here but the number 2 player in the world (Jason Day) and the number 4 player in the world (Rickie Fowler) will both be teeing it up, as well as some other top names like Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson. This is a tournament with a great list of former champions that is being played on a course that’s been used at past major championships… as such I expect some of the top players to contend and for one of them to likely take home the hardware at the end.

The Courses:

Torrey Pines—San Diego, CA

South (home course) 7600-7700 yards, par 72
North 6900-7000 yards, par 72

This week the tour heads to San Diego to take on one of the tougher courses on tour in Torrey Pines (South) but will also get in a round on its easier neighbor, Torrey Pines (North). Everyone will get a round in on each course before the cut and then the real grind will begin as both Saturday and Sunday will be played on the far more difficult South course. The courses really could not be more different this week as TP South can play at a whopping 7600+ yards at its longest and is generally one of the toughest courses the players come up against all year. Meanwhile the North course often plays under 7000 yards yet is also a par 72 and plays as one of the easiest courses. The North course features 4 very reachable par 5’s and you’ll need a good round from your player there if they are going to advance to the weekend. The differences don’t just end at length however as the greens at South course are generally much bigger and play at a much faster pace, making it very US Open like in feel and play as well.

The players will also be playing on poa annua greens (or mixed poa annau/bentgrass) this week which can be a bit different. A few of the other courses on the West Coast swing also use poa annau (Pebble Beach comes to mind) and many of the players will be more comfortable than others on this surface. This is important as certain players really tend to thrive this time of year and the green surfaces certainly play a part in that. All in all, expect a tough weekend and a much lower winning score than you saw last week. This tournament has played as one of the toughest on tour the last couple of go arounds.

Last 5 winners

Jason Day—2015
Scott Stallings—2014
Tiger Woods—2013
Brandt Snedeker—2012
Bubba Watson—2011

Winning Trends

Recent form does not seem to be a huge deal at this event (at least for the winners) as only 1 of the last 6 winners were coming off a top ten performance the week before (Snedeker in 2011). The other five either hadn’t played for at least 3 weeks or finished outside the top 50 the week prior.

Statistics:

Driving Distance
Par 5 scoring
Par 5 birdies or better

There’s no doubting the fact that distance is a huge factor this week. Looking at the leaderboard from last year alone 3 of the top 10 players were inside the top 20 in driving distance for the year with only two of the top 10 ranking outside of the top 50 (61st and 78th). There’s no doubt that with Torrey South playing so tough the longer players have a huge advantage on the par 5’s and longer par 4’s, I’d weigh distance off the tee as the one of the most important factors of the week.

The other area of importance statistic-wise has to do with how the players play the par 5’s. Last year only one person inside the top 5 played the par 5’s at worse than -6 for the entire week. On the long Torrey Pines South being able to take advantage of the par 5’s will be crucial as those holes will represent the best scoring chances for the players. Last year 5 of the top 6 players all ranked inside the top 30 at the end of the year for par 5 scoring. That is pretty serious correlation and makes it an important stat to look at this week. While putting is always important, this is a week where I’d definitely put more weight on distance off the tee and performance on the par 5’s. Focus on those stats this week when you’re deciding on your rosters.

Vegas Values

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.

PlayerVegas OddsDraftKings PriceComparables
Tony Finau
67-1$7,500Nick Watney 76-1 and $7600

Fabian Gomez 80-1 and $7700

Cameron Tringale 71-1 and $7600
Scott Stallings71-1$7,200Lucas Glover 100-1 and $7400

Brian Harman 80-1 and $7600

Francesco Molinari 80-1 and $7300
Si Woo Kim61/66-1$7,600Danny Lee 66-1 and $7900

Daniel Berger 61/66-1 and $8200

Shane Lowry 60/80-1 and $8000

HORSES FOR COURSES

  • Nick Watney loves this course. In his last 7 appearances he has never missed a cut and has 5 top tens to his name, including a win.
  • Charles Howell III is a West Coast beast for fantasy and this tournament is one of his faves. He has made seven cuts in a row here with three top tens and seems to always play well at this time of year.
  • Bill Haas has made 9 straight cuts here and in that time has only finished outside the top 30 twice. With three top tens to his name he looks like one of the steadier plays this week.
  • Brandt Snedeker loves this course and tournament. In his last 6 appearances he has a victory to his name and two runner-up finishes as well, he might not hit it long but he can sure score here.

DFS STRATEGY

This week is definitely the week you want to pay attention to course history and how a player has performed on the West Coast swing in the past. With scoring likely to be tough all week choosing some more “experienced” players will be key since navigating the course and grinding out pars will be more important than making a ton of birdies. Look for players who have good records at tough courses and like playing on the West Coast. Long hitters with experience at Torrey Pines are a really good way to start making your teams this week and I’d load up with as many of those types of players as you can.

Top Performing Studs from recent weeks

  • Charles Howell III
  • Phil Mickelson
  • Brandt Snedeker

Top Performing Value plays from recent weeks

  • Lucas Glover
  • Chez Reavie
  • Fabian Gomez

MY PICK: Jimmy Walker

As tempting as it is to pick Jason Day this week I think there’s a couple players in the field who have just as a good a shot to win, and one of them is Jimmy Walker. Walker went through a rough patch at the end of last season but a recent modification to his swing looks to have helped out as evidenced by his solid play in Hawaii. Walker has destroyed the West Coast tournaments the last few years and loves these Poa Annau and mixed Poa/Bentgrass greens. He’s been in contention late in this tournament in two of the past three running’s and I think it’s possible he can pick up another win this week.

CareerBuilder Pick: Graham DeLaet (T42)
Sony Open Pick: Danny Lee (T33)

MY SLEEPER: Robert Garrigus

Garrigus is one of the streakier players out there on tour. He’s been pretty consistent however to start the year and was 2nd and 15th in GIR in his last two tournaments, which shows he’s playing with some good consistency tee to green. Garrigus was also 2nd in driving distance last week and can pummel it off the tee with the best of them, perfect for the course this week. I like him as a low priced sleeper and think he could be a great value play at only $6600 this week.

CareerBuilder Sleeper: Chez Revie (T17)
Sony Open Sleeper: Daniel Summerhays (T13)