The PGA tour is finally back after only a few weeks of off-season. If you’re like me, you spent the entire two weeks anticipating the Fall swing like Christmas Eve for golf fanatics. With so many new faces on tour this season, you’ll need to choose carefully when deciding what golfers to roster. Below is a list of golfers I love, like and hate for some help when building your lineups this week.
Golfers I Love
Paul Casey ($11,600) – With the return of the new season, a quick glance at the field this week is a reminder that many of the top golfers choose to skip the first several events. Paul Casey is one of the few golfers in the field who finished the season in great form through the Tour Championship with three straight top five finishes in his last three events. In a field missing top talent, Casey presents a great opportunity to roster a golfer who just may be part of the upper echelon.
Jon Rahm ($10,200) – Rahm made a splash on tour late in the season last year, and is a player I’ve been hoping to target in the swing season for some time. Rahm has shown the ability to finish at the top of the leaderboard on many occasions, and in a weak field like we find in the Fall, I could easily see Rahm finding a way to win this event and could potentially be low owned because of his high price tag.
Kevin Na ($9,900) – Na is in the top tier of my statistical projections, which makes sense considering his second place finish last year at this event. On a course that seems to allow opportunities for both bombers and accuracy players, Na should have the well-rounded game that will lead to success.
Wesley Bryan ($7,900) – If you haven’t become familiar with Wesley Bryan yet, you probably will be soon enough. Bryan made his way onto the PGA tour late last season via the battlefield promotion which occurs when a player on the Web.Com tour wins three events in a season. Bryan has shown the ability to play well against PGA talent and should be firing on all cylinders early this season.
Rick Lamb ($6,400) – While I won’t be going all-in on Lamb, his story is truly an incredible one. After battling to qualify for much of the year on the Web.com tour, Rick broke through and managed to qualify for the LECOM Health Challenge, only his third event on the Web.com tour, and he won. Not only did he win the event, he did so after chipping in with ice in his veins to seal the deal in a playoff. After playing only 13 events on the Web.com tour, Rick still managed to earn his exemption in the top 25 of the money list. Expect some volatility and inconsistency out of the gate from this up-and-comer, but there is definitely some upside potential here.
Golfers I Like
Justin Thomas ($10,400) – Most people are likely going to gravitate towards Emilliano Grillo in this price range, which makes Justin Thomas an excellent pivot play. People will have forgotten that Justin Thomas just missed out on a playoff at this event last year finishing in third place. Being one of the top talent golfers in this field at low ownership makes Justin Thomas a great option this week.
Jhonattan Vegas ($9,100) – Vegas, normally a golfer with very mixed results, has quietly found some consistency in some of the most difficult fields at the end of last season, while playing his way to the Tour Championship. With top twenty-five finishes in five of his last seven events including a win in an event with a weaker field of golfers, Vegas makes for a great GPP option this week.
Brendan Steele ($8,700) – While I don’t necessarily love the price point for Brendan Steele, we have seen Steele perform well in situations like we have this week. With Steele’s decent ability to score on par 5’s and distance off the tee, he should have the advantage on this course.
Harold Varner III ($7,100) – HV3 boasts the best par 5 scoring average in the field among those who played on tour last year. On a course where par 5’s will be key to a successful finish come Sunday, I like HV3 to do some damage this week. Be careful about Varner in cash formats (H2H or 50/50 games)though, because inconsistency has been a common thread with Varner.
J.J. Spaun ($6,800) – If you’re looking for a consistent golfer for cash formats, you may have found your man in J.J. Spaun. With him being fairly new on tour, I likely won’t have too much exposure to Spaun, but with his ability to consistently perform on the Web.com and Canada’s MacKenzie tour last year he’s a player I’ll be expecting to make a lot of cuts this year.
Golfers I Hate
Phil Mickelson ($11,300) – I’m actually quite surprised to see Mickelson in this field after such a long late stretch into the Ryder cup. With Phil having played so much golf the last two months, including traveling all over the country, I am a bit concerned about Phil being burnt out.
Bryson DeChambeau ($8,500) – Despite being a popular commodity in DFS and golf media last season, DeChambeau had several sub-par performances late in the season. Despite winning recently on the Web.com tour, I don’t think DeChambeau warrants this price tag. With players like Tony Finau, Smylie Kaufman, Danny Lee, and Webb Simpson all coming in cheaper than Bryson, I just don’t see myself finding a way to pony up the extra dough to fit DeChambeau into my rosters.
Martin Laird ($8,000) – Laird is surrounded in salary by many of my favorite options this week, so if you’re seeking low ownership look no further. Unfortunately, Laird does not score well on par 5s and hasn’t had any stellar finishes for nearly three months. I’ll be looking elsewhere for value in this price range.
Will MacKenzie ($7,000) – MacKenzie, similar to Laird, is surrounded by several great options and doesn’t score well on par 5s at all. With his price tag, inconsistency, and lack of ability on par 5s I would suggest searching elsewhere for value in the $7k range this week.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is IthinkIcan1) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.