If you paid up for the favorite last week you probably didn’t regret it. John Rahm took it wire to wire it’s hard to act all too surprised about that – the guy is on fire. Looking ahead to the Farmers Insurance Open, Rahm once again sits atop the salary charts and for good reason. Jon Rahm has finished 1st, 2nd, 1st in his last three starts and quite honestly, seems to be just about the exact player you are looking for at Torrey Pines. Other notable names we’ll see this week include Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Jason Day, Phil Mickelson, and … Tiger Woods. Yes, Tiger is making his first return to a full field PGA Tour event since last year’s back surgery. We did get a glimpse of what he has to offer at his Hero World Challenge event in the Bahamas at the end of last year, but this will be the true test us golf fans are waiting for. With that said, from a DFS standpoint, approach Tiger with caution – he could be dangerous!
Stream the Podcast Breakdown of Farmer’s Insurance Open by Alex and Mike here-
The Course: Torrey Pines GC (North & South) – Another week with a small spin on it. Each player will play the North course and the South Course once during the first two days. After that, a cut will be made, and the weekend will consist of the South course only. A little background: The North course is 7,698 yards and the South course is 7,258 yards – both are par 72. Although neither course is particularly easy, it’s clear that the South course would be considered the more challenging of the two, first and foremost due to the total yardage. Torrey Pines has a very long history with the PGA and a lot of this week’s field has plenty of experience here. To put things into prospective, Tiger has won this event seven times. Yes – seven times. And that’s not including his 2008 US Open victory at Torrey Pines. Maybe even crazier, this will be Phil Mickelson’s 29th start at this event. And hey, that has to count for something.
The course is located on the coast of California, right up against the Pacific Ocean. As you can probably guess, it’ll be windy. Bunkers are prominent and water comes into play. Successful golfers will not only be able to hit the long ball, but keep it straight and in play, first and foremost. Greens in regulation will give you a leg up, and getting up and down and scrambling for pars and occasional birdies will set you apart. I chose to break down this week’s field based on the following stats, all based on each player’s past 24 rounds (stats compliments of fantasynational.com), as always: SG tee to green, SG approach, SG putting, SG scrambling, SG around the green, SG off the tee, bogeys avoided, fairways gained, and greens in regulation (GIR) gained. For starters, here’s a breakdown of some notable finishes from this week’s field over the last three years at this event:
Studs: $10,000+ (DraftKings)
Jon Rahm ($11,800): I’ll start by stating the obvious – he’s on fire, he’s the defending champion, and he won last week. As I said earlier, his past three starts have resulted in a win, a runner up, and another win. His recent play is more or less checking every box. In my opinion, the only thing that could get him in trouble is missing fairways. If he can keep the ball in play and keep his game the way it’s been from 150 in, he’s going to do just fine here. The only real question is the question you ask of any top-priced guy – can you find enough value elsewhere to justify the fade.
Hideki Matsuyama ($10,800): Hideki’s tournament history is nothing to get overly excited about. He missed the cut in 2015 and 2016 and finished 33rd in 2017. He has however started looking real good as of late. He finished 5th at the Hero World Challenge (remember this was a limited field) and 4th at the Tournament of Champions at the beginning of this month (another limited field). For 24-round stats, Hideki is 2nd SG tee to green, 1st SG approach, 135th SG putting (yikes), 52nd SG off the tee, 34th SG around the green, 45th bogeys avoided, and 30th GIR gained. Again, the question will be whether his price justifies what he’s capable of. Right now, I’m leaning toward a no thank you.
Justin Rose ($10,600): Justin Rose was the talk of the golf world during the fall into the end of last year, and hasn’t showed too many signs of slowing down. After his back to back wins at the WGC HSBC and DP World Championship Dubai he had two more top-10’s and finished 22nd last week at the Abu Dhabi Championship. His 24-round stats in this field are impressive: 6th SG tee to green, 17th SG approach, 8th SG scrambling, 18th SG around the green, 30th SG off the tee, 3rd bogeys avoided, 40th fairways gained, and 18th GIRs gained. At this price, he is my favorite top-tier option this week.
Other Studs – The only other one here is Rickie Fowler ($11,400). His past three starts here have resulted in a 61st and two missed cuts. On the other hand, his three starts this season (two being in November of 2017) have resulted in three top-5 finishes. I will never tell you not to roster Rickie, but I would advise taking some caution this week given the magnitude of options, many of which have proven their ability to score at Torrey Pines.
Mid-Range Options: $8,000 – $9,900
Jason Day ($9,400): Jason Day is a guy some people may gravitate toward this week based on the name and his reasonable price. And there are definitely some risks that come along with rostering him. For starters, he’s missed the cut here the past two years. On the other hand, he won here in 2015. We have definitely seen a different side of Jason Day over the past year or so, but he finished last year strong finishing 11th at the CJ Cup and 11th again at the WGC HSBC in October of last year. Looking outside the DK “game log” – Day played in the Australian Open at the end of Novmeber and held the lead until the final round, eventually giving it up to Cameron Davis. One way or another, he kept his decent and consistent play going and I don’t think you can count him out this week. He’s very affordable and compares favorably to the field stat-wise.
Shane Lowry ($8,800): Shane Lowery has has a lot of success at Torrey Pines and that can be seen through his 7th, 13th, and 33rd finishes the past three years. Adding on to that, Lowry’s past four starts have resulted in top-20 finishes including 8th at the Turkish Airlines Open in November, 12th at the NedBank Golf Challenge, and 2nd at the DP World Challenge last year. For 24-round stats, Lowry sits 60th SG tee to green, 3rd SG putting, 17th SG off the tee, 27th bogeys avoided, 13th fairways gained, and 15th GIRs gained. I really like him at this price.
Tony Finau ($8,700): Finau is coming off of a great season and and has seemingly kept it going, while flying under the radar just a bit. His price is very reasonable at $8,700 – coming off of a modest 32nd place finish at the Sony Open two weeks ago, where he finished 67-67-67. The most enticing part is his tournament history. Finau has finished 24th, 18th, and 4th here the past three years. For 24-round stats in the field, he sits in 11th SG tee to green, 9th SG approach, 52nd SG putting, 42nd SG scrambling, 29th SG off the tee, 15th bogeys avoided, and 16th SG tee to green.
Gary Woodland ($8,600): Woodland has made 5 cuts in 5 starts this season and has showed promise at Torrey Pines. He continues to be a popular and safe DFS play and for good reason. 40th place was his worst finish on this season and he finished 7th at the Sony Open two weeks back. Tournament history here is also respectable: 45th, 18th, 20th the past three years. For a safe cash-like option with potential upside, Woodland is a good bet.
Other Mid-Range Options I like: Marc Leishman, Ollie Schniederjans, Patrick Cantlay, Charles Howell III, Cameron Smith
Value Plays: < $8,000
Kevin Streelman ($7,500): He’s made 6 cuts in 6 starts and continues to be a model of consistency. He played last week at the Career Builder and finished 29th after falling slightly backward on Sunday. He has decent tournament history finishing 3rd here in 2016 and a not-so-great (but cut-making) 67th last year. If the man can make some birdies he can be a valuable asset to have especially considering how safe of an option he truly is. His 24-round stats in comparison to the rest of the field are very interesting. He is 14th SG tee to green, 31st SG approach, 1st in bogeys avoided, 2nd in fairways gained, and 1st in GIRs gained. A big BUT here – he’s 141st in SG putting, 90th in SG scrambling, and 68th in SG around the green. He doesn’t cause trouble – but can he make some birdie putts?
Kyle Stanley ($7,400): Stanley is one of my favorite options below $8k right now. His tournament history consists of a 67th in 2015, 25th in 2016, and 14th last year. He started at the Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open and finished 30th (not great in a field of 32) and 10th at the Sony – much better. He gave himself a real chance at the Sony, but closed with a 4th round 71. He is not a long ball hitter at all, but can make up for it with his accuracy and all around consistency. I think he’s trending upwards and this is a great price to catch him at a course/event that he has demonstrated an ability to perform at.
Harris English ($7,400): Here’s an option I think it’s safe to say could go under the radar and be low owned – and probably for good reason. English has only made 2 cuts in his 7 starts this season, but those two cuts happen to be his two starts in 2018. He finished 64th at the Sony Open and 11th in the Career Builder last week. Even better, he’s finished 2nd, 31st, and 14th here the past three years. I like to look for guys trending in the right direction and he fits the bill. It’s risky, but it sure is an interesting GPP option.
Other guys $8,000 to consider: Bud Cauley, Russell Knox, Adam Hadwin, Charley Hoffman, Lucas Glover, JJ Spaun, Tyrone Van Aswegen, Keegan Bradley, Brendan Steele, Aaron Wise, Jhonattan Vegas, John Huh, Kelley Kraft
Two other guys I feel like I have to mention:
Tiger Woods ($9,700): He chose this as his time to make his return for a reason – he is comfortable here. He likes the course, he’s won here a crazy amount of times, and it just makes sense for him. However, from a DFS standpoint, I am staying away from him. I need to give it some time, see how he looks, and take it from there. He is priced way too high for consideration in my book. I would truly love to see him take this tournament down, but the chances are slim to none. I have to trust common sense instead of my heart with this situation.
Chesson Hadley ($6,800): This price just seems too good to not mention. Hadley has an incredible fall run at the end of last year going 3rd in the Safeway, 2nd at the Sanderson Farms Championship, and 4th at the Shriners. He WD’d from the OHL with food poisoning, finished 37th at the RSM, and 42nd at the Career Builder last week. We all know what this guy is capable of and this price seems very low – This could be a nice option to fit some of those higher priced guys into your lineups.
That’s all for now, thanks for reading and good luck this week. Be on the lookout for some more PGA content at http://www.LineupLogicDFS.com
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