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DFS Dish

DFS Dish: WM Phoenix Open

by Josh Culp
Updated On: January 29, 2019, 9:34 am ET

The PGA TOUR presses pause on the California Swing and the multi-course event swing as they head to TPC Scottsdale for the Greatest Show on Grass. 

The course is a straightforward desert test that doesn't provide them with too many obstacles. For DFS purposes that means a fair amount of birdies and eagles will fly off the shelves without many big numbers getting in the way. Scoring should be moderate. 

At 132 golfers we don't have a full field but it's also larger than a WGC or Invitational. We should expect slightly higher 6/6 percentages compared to a 156-man field but it still won't be easy to get your entire team through the cut line. It never is.  

Let's have a look at the weather, course fit stats and then end with a value play. 

Weather Update

Thursday (R1): Mostly Sunny with a high of 71 degrees. East Winds at 5-to-10 MPH becoming South in the afternoon. 

Friday (R2): A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly sunny with a high of 68 degrees. ENE Wins at 5-to-10 MPH becoming south in the afternoon.  

Saturday (R3): The threat of precipitation remains throughout the weekend. It doesn't look to be anything major but something to our eye on. 

The weather was great in the desert last week and it looks like more of the same at Torrey Pines. This event has seen some windy conditions in the past but as of now it looks rather calm with temps staying right around historical averages of 65 to 70 degrees. The highest winds of the week look to come on Saturday afternoon but even that is just 10 MPH with a few gusts higher than that. Of course, the forecast could always change so keep your eyes peeled. 

Overall, it looks like a good week for scoring. 

 

DRAFT.com 

The best part about season-long leagues is the draft. You don't get that same rush with normal DFS contests but there is hope still. DRAFT has come along to fill that void and I'm having a lot of fun playing in their weekly golf drafts. 

The first place to start is to build your pre-draft rankings for the week. I will point out a few golfers I think are overvalued in the raw rankings and a few that are undervalued in the raw rankings. 

OVERRATED GOLFERS

Austin Cook (65.62 Projected Pts): Cookie is making his first start since becoming a new dad. We haven't seen him since The RSM Classic in the fall. Let's let him shake off the rust before we hop back in. 

Kevin Na (63.9 Projected Pts): The Vegas resident had an 11th-hour withdraw from the Sentry TOC and then shockingly made the trip over to Waialae and played a practice round. He had a splint on his injured pinky but ultimately didn't make that start either. It's possible that his finger injury is already a non-issue but there is also the possibility that he needed more time to rest. There is no reason to risk it this week with all the other viable options on the board. 

UNDERRATED GOLFERS

Jon Rahm (81.5 Projected Pts): I usually stick to the extreme values here but Rahm is sticking out like a sore thumb. He enters the week in great form (three straight top 10s since the 2019 schedule started). Now he gets a home game where he's finished T16 or better in all three starts here. He sits at #5 on the draft board but personally I would take him as #1 or #2 this week. 

Sungjae Im (42.00 Projected Pts): Here is one of those extreme values that may get overlooked if you don't scroll to the very bottom of the draft board. The PGA TOUR rookie has gained strokes off-the-tee in all 8 of his career ShotLink starts. He led the Web.com Tour money list last year. Oh yeah, he is only 20 years old. He's yet to really erupt yet but if a young American had this resume then he'd be one of the biggest talking points every week. Take advantage of the media bias and keep investing while he stays somewhat off the radar. 
 

Course Fit

Similar to last week, this is a course where golfers can reach for the driver A LOT. There aren't many doglegs to worry about so if the big hitters want to challenge so bunkers then they can give it a rip. 

Looking at sample-adjusted performance when playing Driver-Heavy Courses since the start of 2014, the top 15 performers on a per-round basis looks like this: 

 

Jon Rahm
Hideki Matsuyama
Rickie Fowler
Justin Thomas
Matt Kuchar
Tony Finau
Bubba Watson
Phil Mickelson
Gary Woodland
Xander Schauffele
Brandt Snedeker
Jason Kokrak
Martin Laird
Keegan Bradley
Webb Simpson

 

Other than raw performance, we can also look at who shows the biggest improvement on Driver-Heavy Courses (versus their baseline). Using that as the criteria, the following names pop:  

Carlos Ortiz
Martin Laird
Jason Kokrak
Ollie Schniederjans
Sung Kang
Nick Watney
Colt Knost
James Hahn
Rory Sabbatini
Harris English
Bubba Watson
Andrew Putnam
Jonas Blixt
K.J. Choi
Scott Stallings

 

Recommendation: Looking for golfers that crack both lists we find Bubba Watson, Jason Kokrak, and Martin Laird. Not too surprising that these big hitters should enjoy using their biggest weapon. 

 

Value Spotlight

Zach Johnson: ZJ opened his career at TPC Scottsdale with finishes of T24-MC-WD-T12-T24. It wasn't terrible but also not the best fit for him at the time, since the course was somewhat of a bomber's paradise before the 2014 renovations. He didn't make the trip to this event for four years after that and I don't think it's a coincidence that his first return visit was right after the renovations. Since then, he's played here four straight and posted top 15s in three of his four visits. Thanks to the 2014 course work, this is a layout that no longer putts him as a big disadvantage off the tee. He can now hand around and try to get hot with the putter. Last year's T57 is basically his floor here with a top 15 being the upside. Given his price tag across the DFS industry, he's definitely worth a look in cash and GPP lineups this week. 

Best of luck in all your contests this week! 

 

Josh Culp

Josh Culp joined NBC Sports Edge in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.