WATCH: CHASE OR FADE – ADAM SCOTT AND SERGIO GARCIA
The PGA Tour is heading to PGA National for the Honda Classic this weekend, and it’s an interesting field, with several top international players on hand but a few of the best Americans missing. There are a few studs to target, but plenty of other ways you can go about building your lineup, so here are a few players you can target from every price range.
Adam Scott ($12,200) – His T11 performance last weekend at the Genesis Open in his first action in a while featured 14 birdies against just five bogeys. He was playing great golf, striking the ball solidly all weekend, a good sign heading into his title defense this weekend at PGA National. He is leading the Tour right now in most putting stats, the kind of streak that makes someone who was No. 1 on Tour in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green last season truly dangerous.
Sergio Garcia ($10,900) – What’s not to like about this choice? He’s been playing well recently (a win in Dubai three weeks ago featured four rounds in the 60s). He has a great course history (runner-up last weekend, his third showing of T20 or better). His game is perfectly suited to putting up huge fantasy numbers (his 13 birdies last weekend for his T49 finish was only one birdie back of Adam Scott, who finished 38 spots higher on the leaderboard). He’s been inside the top 20 five times in his last six starts, the kind of consistency you like to see before you trust him in a cash game, which means he is now a viable candidate in any format contest.
Russell Knox ($9,000) – He has played here three times, and his T26 last season was his worst performance by far, following up a T2 and a T3 in his first two tries. Last time we saw him he was missing the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but he was in the top 20 in both of his two January showings before that one. He is definitely hoping that a return to a course where he has had plenty of success can help get his 2017 year off to a good start.
Tyrrell Hatton ($8,500) – In his last two showings, in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, he has a T13 and a T3, respectively, with only one round over par. He has 37 birdies and eagles in those two weekends, compared to just 13 holes over par, the kind of ratio you normally only see from only the most elite fantasy options. He has been on fire internationally since last fall, and should be on your radar. You might only trust him in a GPP this weekend, but he could be a name you start thinking about for every possible lineup very soon if he continues his current run of solid golf.
Brendan Steele ($8,100) – He has been inside the top 15 here each of the last two years, which is enough to make you look in his direction. And then when you do you see a bunch of made cuts in a row and four top-20 showings in 2017. That’s the kind of convergence of recent success and course success that can get you excited about a fantasy option, especially one with an affordable price tag.
Branden Grace ($7,900) – It’s hard not to notice three straight top-25 showings coming in for an option at this price point. I am not going to have too much trouble just taking the push and grabbing him as an affordable building block for any type of roster. He has plenty of exposure to the top Europeans playing here this weekend, so he shouldn’t be feeling any extra pressure as he pushes for a spot near the top of the leaderboard.
Luke Donald ($7,600) – He has been inside the top 10 here at PGA National four times. Another textbook example of the idea of trends converging, he also now has two straight top-25 showings this season. The 39-year-old is currently sixth on Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting, a number that likely won’t be sustained all year long. But while he is putting that impressively, he’s worth a look. He still hits enough greens in regulation that he sees plenty of scoring chances so this putting stroke is just him capitalizing on those chances, which makes him a threat on the leaderboard as well as on your fantasy roster.
Scott Brown ($7,400) – His T2 last weekend may have been his best performance of the year by far, but he hasn’t really had any bad ones, making the cut every time he has tried so far this season. He finished T10 here at PGA National last season, and he is entering the weekend in even better recent form this time around, easily explained by his current rank of 24th in total Strokes Gained: Putting, an improvement over prior seasons.
Tim Wilkinson ($6,900) – He has been no worse than T41 in four starts so far in 2017, the kind of track record that makes for a great low-cost cash-game option if it holds. His price never spikes due to some perceived upside, so he can consistently return value at this price point. While he might have plenty of off holes to help balance them out, he is averaging almost 16 birdies per tournament so far this year, good for a fantasy scoring average just north of 70 points per weekend.
Anirban Lahiri ($6,600) – He opened last weekend well, firing rounds of 70 and 67 on Thursday and Friday, respectively, before dropping all the way down to T64 over the weekend. But those first two rounds were a continuation of some success he has seen in Europe recently, where he had two straight top-20s to open the month, in Dubai and at the Maybank Championship.
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.