For about a month, the Genesis Open has been shaping up to be one of the best tournaments of the year. The field is stacked with eight of the top 10 players in the world, and a guy named Tiger Woods was expected to make his return to the event. Unfortunately, Woods has withdrawn with back spasms, leaving a lot of the sold-out tournament patrons disappointed, but this is still the most talented field of the year so far.
Riviera Country Club is host to the Genesis Open, formerly known as the Northern Trust Open. Riviera is a Par-71 course that plays close to 7,240 yards, making Driving Distance (DD) a key factor this week. Also playing into the DD stat is the fact that only about half of the fairways are hit by the field. As always, we will lean heavily on Birdie-or Better-Percentage (BoB%) when building our DraftKings lineups, as well as Bogey Avoidance (BA).
Due to some faulty player pricing by DraftKings, we are changing our focus of this article this week. There are a lot of great players between $7,000-$7,500 and several sitting all the way down around $6,700, so we expect that a lot of DFS players will be landing on those value players and pairing them with studs like Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama and Dustin Johnson. Therefore, we are eyeing golfers who will likely be lower owned to lessen your chance of a duplicate lineup and help you take down a big GPP.
Now, that doesn't mean we're telling you to fade popular guys like Brooks Koepka, Charles Howell III, J.B. Holmes and Brendan Steele. You can pair one or even two with a high-salary guy and find a couple contrarian plays to round out your lineup. But to be totally contrarian and take a huge risk you could fade all of them in a lineup, which might be a winning strategy on DraftKings this week.
Key Stats: BoB%, Par 5 Scoring, Approaches 150-175 yards, Bogey Avoidance, Par 4 Scoring, Putting 20’-25’
Jason Day ($10,000)
The world’s No. 1 golfer could lose that title this week if he doesn't win, but that doesn’t change the fact he is still No. 1 and sits $2,600 below Spieth on DraftKings. As of Tuesday Day sits as the ninth-most tagged golfers by DFS touts according to FanShareSports, well behind Johnson and Matsuyama, which means he might be one of the lowest-owned golfers at $9,000+.
Day placed fifth at Pebble Beach last week even after shooting a 41 on the back nine in the third round. He closed with a sizzling 67 and looks like he may have found his game after a terrible missed cut at the Farmers Open. Day’s course history at Riviera isn’t anything to brag about as he has two missed cuts and a 62nd, but those were from 2010-2012 when he wasn't winning tournaments left and right like he is now. Day hasn’t played in this event since then, and with his game where it is now, he can definitely contend.
Although Day has only played great in one event so far this season, he still sits very high in two of our key stats. He ranks seventh in BoB% (third last season) and third in Par 5 Scoring (second last season), and he's also improved his GIR from 53rd last season to 14th this season. Day is one of the top-ranked players in our projection model at The Fantasy Fanatics. He's a perfect play to pair with one of the higher-owned top players, and you can also use him to anchor a balanced lineup.
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Adam Scott ($10,300)
Like Day, Scott is flying a bit under the radar early in the week. Many people will be off Scott because this is his first tournament since November. However, if you look at Scott's history of layoffs, you'll find that this is the norm. Plenty of times Scott has used Riviera as his first PGA event of the year. Looking back to 2012 and 2013, Scott finished 17th and 10th playing this event as his PGA opener for the season. He paired those finishes with a runner-up last season.
Although there aren’t many stats we can use this season as Scott has only played in one PGA-sanctioned event, looking back to last season, he is a stat ninja. He finished ninth in BoB%, 21st in BA, 13th in DD, eighth in Par 4 scoring, and … well, you get the picture. We look for Scott to be near Day’s ownership and can be played as a pivot off Day or paired with Day to build your lineups around.
Value Picks and Sleepers
Justin Rose ($8,400)
If you're looking for value outside of Howell, Koepka, Holmes and Steele, Rose is a great place to start. The 12th-ranked golfer in the world has a runner-up and fourth-place finish so far this season, and was in contention last week until he stumbled to 39th on Sunday after shooting a 73. Now his price has dropped all the way to $8,400. Makes no sense, right? Well, we are going to call DraftKings' bluff on this one. Although you can use good final rounds to better judge a player's plus progress, you shouldn’t use bad final rounds to judge negative progress. The reason: even the smallest distraction can get your mind wandering (like playing in the final round at Pebble with an energized Justin Timberlake).
Rose is in great form after his back injury and he also has really good course history at Riviera; he's finished 9th, 13th and 16th in the last 6 years. Last season Rose was great in three of our key stats, ranking 22nd in BoB%, 16th in driving distance, and 17th in Par 5 Scoring. He hasn’t missed a beat this season; he ranks 10th in BoB%, 17th in DD and 34thin Par 5 Scoring. Rose is a great play from the mid-salary range and needs to find his way into your lineups.
Francesco Molinari ($7,800)
Molinari is looking to put his stamp on the PGA Tour like he did with the European Tour. In his opening three PGA events this season, he placed 4th, 12th and 14th. Although his course history is a bit underwhelming (52nd, MC, 40th last three years), Molinari seemed to have improved the areas needed to contend at Riviera. A breakdown of his stats from last season to this season proves it:
Molinari is in great form and being priced around a group of well-known PGA players will keep his ownership down. Look for Molinari continue his great start to the season.
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