WATCH: PIVOT PLAY – SHANE LOWRY
The PGA Tour makes it’s pilgrimage to Torrey Pines in San Diego this weekend for the Farmers Insurance Open. With a bunch of the golfers in the world on hand, there are lots of tough decisions to make as you build your lineup, so here are a few names to consider from every price range.
Jason Day ($11,400) – He had three straight top-ten finishes here from 2013-2015, ending up 9th, 2nd and 1st. Coming off a T12 at the SBS Tournament of Champions, he at least showed that he appears healthy, for now, coming through with four straight rounds under par. When healthy and comfortable, he’ always a consideration to anchor your lineup.
Hideki Matsuyama ($11,200) – Every time I write or think about drafting him, I have to remind myself that he is 24 years old. He seems like he’s been around for a long time, but he could easily be on the verge of the best golf of his life, and if that happens, this string of awesome performances doesn’t have to end any time soon. He struggled a bit with the putter in Hawaii, but he is placing the ball exactly where he wants it, putting himself in a position to put up a big number every time out.
Brandt Snedeker ($9,500) – His track record here is enough to make you consider him no matter how his recent performances have looked: two wins, top-ten in five of the last seven years and six times overall. And despite the missed cut at the Sony Open the week prior at the SBS Tournament of Champions, he looked great, finishing with 17 birdies and just four holes over par, good for a T12 finish.
Shane Lowry ($9,000) – He has been inside the top-15 in both of his two trips here, with a T13 last year and a T7 the year prior (2015). We haven’t seen him since he played with Graeme McDowell at the World Cup in November, when the pair managed to finish 9th overall. His best strength is off the tee, but he managed to turn that into a top-50 scoring average of just over 70 last season. This typically amounts to him consistently turning nice drives into fantasy points, exactly what you’re looking for from your big hitters.
Byeong-Hun An ($8,500) – He’s never played Torrey Pines before, which could be an issue and likely makes him a GPP candidate only for me this weekend. His most recent results have all been good on the European Tour, with a T13 in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago, and top-15s in Dubai and Turkey back in November as well. He is showing an ability to make some noise on the greens when he puts himself in position, which can make him dangerous on any course.
Francesco Molinari ($8,100) – At the CareerBuilder Challenge last weekend, he finished T12 after entering the weekend much further back on the leaderboard. He got there with rounds of 66 and 67 on the weekend, which he did on the back of some amazing work off the tee (led the field in driving accuracy). He ended last season very well, and if that performance last weekend was a sign that he is going to start this season where he left off, he could prove to be a very useful fantasy option pretty regularly throughout the summer.
Tiger Woods ($7,900) – He ultimately finished third from the bottom in the Hero World Classic last month, but this weekend marks his real return to competitive golf, as Torrey Pines marks the first in a run of four tournaments he’ll play in over the next five weeks. Assuming his health holds up, there is simply no one ever with a track record like his at this course – it’s no wonder he chose it to kick off his 2017 season, as he has eight professional victories here, including the U.S. Open in 2008.
Tony Finau ($7,700) – His price is going to start inching upwards soon, even in these more top-heavy fields, if he keeps up his current play. I’ve said it before, but it’s not often you find a golfer in this price range with truly elite length, especially someone who is consistently converting that length off the tee into birdie tries. He had two straight top-20 finishes in Hawaii, finishing with 39 birdies and eagles against just 16 bogeys for eight straight rounds without a single score higher than 70.
Luke List ($7,200) – Another golfer who just needs to keep doing what he is doing to see his price rise, and to me, that’s a pretty clear indicator of some inherent value. He has had 20 birdies and an eagle each of the last two weeks, and has limited the mistakes enough to turn that into an average of just over 93 fantasy points per week. Currently top-30 in both Strokes Gained (SG): Off-the-Tee and SG: Putting, that’s a combo that’s helpful in putting up fantasy points in bunches.
Ryo Ishikawa ($6,800) – His short game can make him dangerous, as his performance at the CareerBuilder Challenge was chock full of up-and-downs from around the green, chipping close and one-putting. Saving pars that way is a must for golfers who aren’t going to be as long off the tee as some others, and right now, he is making it work with three made cuts and two top-25 showings in four tries so far this season (going back to last fall).
Andres Gonzales ($6,500) – Anytime you’re selecting someone in this price range, there is plenty of risk attached to the choice. While he likely won’t go out and win the tournament, over the last two weeks, he has two made cuts and only 15 total bogeys. He isn’t scoring enough to get him high on the leaderboard, but just having someone you trust to be out there all weekend trying to rack up some fantasy points is enough in a cash game, or to fill out the bottom of a stud-heavy GPP lineup.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theasquad) 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.