After an awesome end to a couple of weeks in Hawaii and a second win on the season for Patton Kizzire, the Tour is heading to California for the annual Career Builder Challenge, formerly the Bob Hope Classic. The tournament has a very unique format, featuring three different golf courses and a cut that is made after 3 rounds (54 holes) rather than the usual 2 round cut before the weekend. The three courses are La Quinta County Club, the Nicklaus Tournament Course, and the Stadium Course. Similarly to last week, none of the above are extraordinarily long courses, but do present their individual challenges. Instead of going into depth with what each course entails, I’ll throw out some stat categories that have proven to be important to having success in this tournament.
Two stats that will be of utmost importance here will be strokes gained approach and strokes gained putting. The greens are relatively flat and as I mentioned, these courses are not very long. It is safe to say the winner of this week’s event will be north of -20, meaning birdies, birdies, and more birdies are going to be necessary. I normally stress the importance of getting a full lineup through to the weekend, and although that does hold true again this week, there will be a little less stress put on that element due to the cut being made after three rounds rather than two. This opens up a little room to get creative and take some risks.
Here are the stats that I took into consideration this week: SG approach, SG tee to green, SG putting, birdie or better gained, SG scrambling, SG around the green, and SG off the tee. An emphasis was put on SG approach, SG putting, and SG around the green. Something to take into consideration this week: 5 of the last 11 winners here have been first-time PGA tour winners. So again, this is a good week to get creative and try to be different, especially in GPPs. All the stats I’ll be highlighting below will be based on each player’s standing within the 150+ main field, over their last 36 rounds – as always, these stats are compliments of fantasynational.com
For starters, here’s a quick rundown of some notable finishes over the past three years at this event:
Studs ($10,000+ DK)
Jon Rahm ($11,800): His last two starts were the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai and the Tournament of Champions – he finished 1st and 2nd. He’s coming off a ridiculous year and played decent here last year. In my opinion he is the overwhelming favorite here and is deserving of the high price tag. I think there are plenty of value and/or punt options so I don’t see him going too low owned, but fading him may be tough.
Brian Harman ($11,500): As a guy who has trouble accepting this kind of price tag for a name like this, I have to say – five straight top-10 finishes (5th-8th-4th-3rd-4th) is extremely hard to ignore. Still, if I can choose between Brian Harman or Jon Rahm, I’m choosing Jon Rahm. As I said before, there are plenty of ways to go in terms of value on this slate, so it’s very possible to fit him in there, but I will advise you to roster him with caution. How long will the streak last?
Phil Mickelson ($10,000): I see Phil as a guy who will rarely hurt you, with very very high upside. He is coming off of a long layoff, but had a decent fall run finishing 3rd at the Safeway and 15th at the WGC HSBC. For 36-round stats, Phil is 3rd SG approach, 6th SG tee to green, 46th SG putting, 5th birdie or better, and 26th SG scrambling. As you can probably imagine, he is very familiar with this tournament and these courses. His last three starts in the event he’s finished 24th, 3rd, and 21st.
Other Studs: The other studs here are Patrick Reed and Kevin Kisner. Patrick Reed has decent tournament history but is simply priced too high for me to be interested. He hasn’t played since November and with a guy like Reed, I need to wait. Kisner continues to play well and has been playing a lot. However, he’s another guy that I just can’t pay this type of price for in this field. There are simply too many viable options elsewhere.
Mid-Range ($8,000 – $9,900 DK)
Webb Simpson ($9,700): Simpson’s price is still under $10k after his 4th place finish last week and that’s enough to convince me that’s he’s a viable option this week. He finished last week with a 63 and a 65 – talk about heating up. For 36-round stats Webb sits 12th SG approach, 17th SG tee to green, 5th SG putting, 14th birdie or better, and 2nd SG scrambling. I recommend rostering him while he’s affordable at a tournament where he has had plenty of success in the past.
Chez Reavie ($8,800): Yes – I’m doing it again. Chez’s price is going up and I don’t like it, but understand that he has earned it. His six starts on the season have all resulted in top-25 finishes and I still feel like the guy goes nearly unmentioned. He also finished 17th here in 2016 and 12th here last year. For 36-round stats, Chez is 16th SG approach, 11th SG tee to green, 20th SG putting, 34th birdie or better (this could be his downfall for DFS purposes), and 11th SG scrambling. Another guy who I will keep rostering until I really can’t pay what they’re asking for him.
Bud Cauley ($8,400): Bud is a player who I love rostering and I hate rostering. I will say however, this is a time that I feel more comfortable than usual. He’s can definitely burn you, but he can also be what gives you a leg up on the field. The past two years he has finished 14th and 3rd at the Career Builder. For 36-round stats, Cauley is 24th in the field SG approach, 2th SG tee to green, 20th SG scrambling, 22nd SG around the green, and 14th SG off the tee. His standing at 100th SG putting is hard to swallow – but he hasn’t competed since November – that may a good thing in this respect.
Other Mid-Range Options: Jason Dufner – I really do like him, but won’t pay nearly $10k for him. Zach Johnson – loved him last week, like him this week – right now, I’m undecided. Patton Kizzire – I’m going with the narrative that he has been drunk for the past 4 days and will be super tired – could be wrong, he’s playing great! Russell Knox – Fantastic option that I like.
Value ($7,100 – $7,900 DK)
David Lingmerth ($7,800): Just looking at his tournament log, he appears to be an up-and-down kind of player. Going one step further and looking at his tournament history makes him a bit more appealing. He’s finished 24th-2nd-34th here the past three years. His last start was the RSM Classic where he went 68-69-67-67. For 36-round stats in the field, he sits in 19th SG putting, 13th birdie or better, and 6th SG scrambling. On the opposite side of things, he’s 100th SG approach, and 68th SG around the green. It’s a toss up, but his tournament history makes me want to fire him up this week.
Ryan Armouor ($7,400): I rostered him last week and it paid. His price is up but he’s playing well and unlike a lot of guy’s in this week’s field – there isn’t any rust. His 36-round stats in comparison to the field are what impresses me the most. He’s currently 5th SG approach, 8th SG tee to green, 42nd SG putting, 6th birdie or better, and 17th SG around the green. I am not scared to throw him in my lines this week and I don’t think you should be either.
Tom Hoge ($7,000): This is a guy who showed us what he’s capable for three of four rounds last week. Unfortunately, he crumbled a bit on Sunday. Looking at recent starts, he’s made 5 of 6 cuts on the season and finished 7th at the Shriners, 25th at the RSM and 3rd last week. For 36-round stats, he’s 14th SG appraoch, 49th SG tee to green, and 17th birdie or better. Another good option who shouldn’t pose any surprises for a decent value.
Other Value Options: JJ Spaun – Very tempting at this price. Not a guy I would rule out. Brandt Snedeker – Yes Yes Yes – I think he showed us he’s past the injury with 67-67-70-70 at the RSM – he is once again a contender, no doubt in my mind. Luke List, Kevin Streelman, Brian Stuard – three more guys I am interested in.
Super Cheap Punts (<$7,000 DK): Ben Martin, Tyrone Van Aswegen, Peter Malinati, Rorty Sabbatini, Brandon Harkins, Sam Saunders, Ben Silverman, Aaron Wise, Brian Gay, Talor Gooch
That’s all for now – Feel free to reach out on Twitter at @donaldremington // @LineupLogicDFS. Thanks for reading and good luck this week!