The 2016-17 PGA Tour schedule continues on this week with the Shriners Hospital for Children Open, teeing off from TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas on Thursday. Many of the top players in the world are not on hand, but there are still plenty of quality options to consider. Here are a few of those players, from every possible price range.
Ryan Moore ($11,000) – A former winner here, Moore has started off the season well with a T17 and a T23 this month after finishing up the 2015-16 year with a T2 finish at the Tour Championship. In 2016, he finished 18th on Tour in total Strokes Gained (SG) by being inside the top-50 in SG Approach-the-Green, Around-the-Green, Tee-to-Green and Putting. The only one he was outside the top-50 in was Off-the-Tee, and even there his strength is accuracy rather than distance which should play well on this course, making him the priciest play possible for good reason.
Chris Kirk ($10,300) – No worse than T10 in his last three starts, he led after three rounds last weekend at the Sanderson Farms Championship before settling for a T2. Those performances have left him currently ranked 28th in SG: Tee-to-Green as well as 11th in SG: Putting for the young season, but if he can put himself in position to score and then capitalize like that this weekend, he should be a useful fantasy asset even as one of the more expensive players on the board.
Jon Rahm ($9,800) – He now has eight professional tournaments under his belt, and he has been inside the top-25 five times, including in his most recent showing, a T15 at the Safeway Open. But more than just making cuts and finishing high up on the leaderboard, he is doing it in the best way possible to make him a potentially elite fantasy option: lots and lots of birdies. Through eight pro tournaments, his Birdie or Better of 25.74 would have put him second on Tour in 2016, wedged between Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy.
Scott Piercy ($9,700) – He has finished inside the top-25 here five times in the last six years, including three times inside the top-10. He also, in case that’s not enough for you, had been inside the top-25 four out of five times heading into the WGC-HSBC Championship, including top-10 performances at both the Safeway Open and the CIMB Classic over the past few weeks. When he is playing well he can score in bunches (he was T16 on Tour for this season in Birdie or Better % at the conclusion of the CIMB Classic).
Grayson Murray ($8,900) – One of the hottest golfers to get off the Web.com Tour last season, Murray can do a lot of damage off the tee (currently T38 in Total Driving on Tour). He secured his first top-10 on the PGA Tour last weekend, ending up at T8 at the Sanderson Farms Championship on the back of his first two rounds, in which he opened 67-65. Despite only shooting 72-71 on the weekend, he ended with a total of 17 birdies against just six holes over par, a ratio that should keep him in contention and keep potential fantasy owners more than satisfied.
Tony Finau ($8,600) – He is one of the longest hitters on Tour, that we know. But he actually manages to convert those longer drives into scoring opportunities at a pretty good clip as well, which is what contributed to his fantastic season last year. He has played here twice, and finished T7 and T16, and that combined with his six straight made cuts and eight straight rounds at par or better makes him a prime example of the convergence of history and current play that definitely makes me feel comfortable having him in any contest format.
Cody Gribble ($8,400) – Last week’s somewhat surprising winner, he shot 63-67-65 over the last three days of the tournament to finish with 140.5 DK fantasy points. That showing was on the heels of a T8 at the Safeway Open, a fantastic couple of weeks for a player whose last performance before that was on the Web.com Tour (although even that was another T5). Golf is golf, and he is hitting the ball very well right now, making him a very viable option for your lineups.
Kevin Streelman ($8,000) – He has been inside the top-25 here in each of the last five times he has played the tournament, which is enough in and of itself to make you at least consider him for your lineups at this price. He opened with a 63 last weekend, which was enough to propel him to a T18 despite ending up 73-71-71, but that low round shows his potential to put up a massive fantasy total for you on a course he likes.
Russell Henley ($8,000) – Henley is as up-and-down as it gets, which makes him a great tournament play, because his price reflects both the highs and the lows. He ended up the 2016 season just inside the top-60 in SG: Putting, and if you get him when his putter is hot, there is no doubt he will outperform his price. I like him this weekend because he isn’t contending with the most elite players in the world, so he can actually get himself near the top of the leaderboard, potentially, with just a couple of exceptional rounds, assuming he can avoid any real trouble holes.
Ryo Ishikawa ($7,600) – Maybe my favorite pick on the entire board for this price, he is coming off a T10 at the CIMB Classic, his fifth top-10 performance in a row, mainly in Asia. That kind of hot streak should be able to translate stateside, making him someone I trust in any kind of contest as a safe option with plenty of upside.
Nick Taylor ($6,300) – He missed five out of six cuts prior to last weekend, but bounced back in a big way with a T23 at the Sanderson Farms Championship. Last season, he showed a streaky side, and when he was on, he was more than capable with competing with even slightly more talented fields. This could be an opportunity to jump on a hot golfer early, but clearly with all the missed cuts, he’s not the safest option, making him the kind of player I would be more likely to target in a larger tournament.
Peter Malnati ($5,600) – Malnati made three cuts in October (and six straight overall), and over the course of those 16 rounds, he has had only 27 holes over par. That is the kind of trouble avoidance that is enough to remain in the field scoring fantasy points all weekend long, especially when contending with a weaker field. He did also have 44 birdies over that span, giving him plenty of upside to use as a cheap filler option, especially in cash contests.
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.