The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and other industry metrics to highlight notable golfers.
Finally, the Pro-Am is out of the way and The Genesis Invitational is here. This field is stacked with the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Tiger Woods, and many other high-profile golfers participating this week.
Let’s dive in.
I did a full breakdown of the course. Check it out.
Key metrics: Driving distance, par-4 and par-5 scoring, birdie scoring, Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green, Strokes Gained: Approach, Scrambling.
And as usual, I like Long-Term (LT) and Recent Adjusted Round Scores (Adj Rd Score) as catch-all metrics.
DFS Breakdown for 2020 Genesis Invitational
This is an incredible field with a ton of depth. The pricing reminds me of the Masters or any other major. Typically for these strong fields, I am looking to take somewhat of a balanced approach to rosters. I’d rather have someone like Xander Schauffele ($9,200 DraftKings; $11,300 FanDuel) with Hideki Matsuyama ($9,300 DraftKings; $11,000 FanDuel), rather than someone priced above $11,000 paired with someone in the $7,000 range.
At the time of writing, my plan for roster construction is to roster two or three of Deki, Xander, Patrick Cantlay ($9,800 DraftKings; $11,400 FanDuel), or Adam Scott ($9,000 DraftKings; $10,800 FanDuel). Ideally, I’d want three of them if I can make the rest of the roster work. Cantlay, Deki, Xander would be my ideal combination since Scott hasn’t played any golf since December.
Additionally, those three golfers all boast top-eight LT Adj Rd Scores, and they rank inside the top 10 in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green over their last 50 rounds. Moreover, all three have strong games off the tee, along with the distance, touch around the greens and strong iron play to compete here.
I’d expect you can get Patrick Reed ($8,600 DraftKings; $10,600 FanDuel) at under 10% ownership. He’s not elite off the tee, and his approach game isn’t as strong as the other elite guys in the field. Granted, ranking 37th in Strokes Gained: Approach isn’t anything to write home about, but he does have an elite short game and putter than recover on any errant approach shots. Also of note, Reed should be able to handle the tougher holes on this course since he ranks second in par-4 efficiency from 450-500 yards over his last 50 rounds.
Justin Rose ($8,500 DraftKings; $10,700 FanDuel) hasn’t been priced under $9,000 on DraftKings since September of 2017. Overall, he has the ninth-best LT Adj Rd Score in the field, but he’s priced as the No. 16 golfer. I could understand the hesitance of rostering him after he missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, but he did take second at the Singapore Open the weekend before. Maybe he was worn out a bit? In a scenario like this, I tend to think he can progress back to his long-term form, especially a golfer of his caliber.
J.T. Poston ($6,900 DraftKings; $8,800 FanDuel) doesn’t fit the distance mold of this course, but he has a serviceable short game, saving par on 62.3% of holes that he’s missed the greens. Poston has a decent history at Riviera, making both cuts in his two appearances and finishing 28th and 17th.
For $100 more on DraftKings, Abraham Ancer ($8,200 DraftKings; $9,800 FanDuel) is an intriguing pivot off Collin Morikawa. Ancer has been in excellent form, making every cut over his last eight events, including four top-eight finishes. Overall, he ranks 13th in the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green over his last 24 rounds, including 18th in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green in the same time frame.
In this stacked field, Morikawa’s price has dipped to $8,100 on DraftKings. He’s more than capable of holding his own in this tournament considering he leads the field in Strokes Gained: Approach over his last 50 rounds. Even though he doesn’t have experience at Riviera, I don’t think his irons care. They’re the best part of his game, especially on longer approaches. Over his last 50 rounds, Morikawa ranks second in proximity from 175-200 yards and 11th in par-4 efficiency from 450-500 yards. His strengths play right into the course’s best defenses. It’s hard to pass on Morikawa when he’s priced as the No. 20 golfer and hasn’t missed a cut in his 20 PGA events. Oh yeah, and he has the ninth-best LT Adj Rd Score, a metric that is both course and field adjusted.
Carlos Ortiz ($6,800 DraftKings; $8,400 FanDuel) is reasonably long off the tee, sporting a 302.5-yard Long-Term Driving Distance (LT DD). While he likely doesn’t have much upside, he has a solid balanced game that could at least get him to the weekend. Over his last 50 rounds, he’s 16th in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green and 16th in Total Strokes Gained. Overall, Ortiz has had reasonable success at this course, making all three cuts and not finishing worse than 26th over that span.
It goes without saying, but everyone in the $10,000-plus range on DraftKings is playable. It just comes down to how you’re trying to fill out the rest of your roster. If you plug in Poston and Ortiz, it’s easy to get to one of those guys. Poston-Ortiz-McIlroy still gives you an average salary of $8,233 to fill out the rest of your team.
Sungjae Im ($8,000 DraftKings; $9,900 FanDuel) is just a cut-making machine with his last missed cut coming at the British Open in July of last year. He doesn’t stand out in any single metric, but he’s solid in par 4s and 5s, averaging -1.1 and -5.8 adjusted strokes on them over the last 75 weeks. Sungjae also has the ability to save for par, sporting a 64.8% scrambling rate over the same time frame. His price allows him to fit in nearly any roster build.
Scottie Scheffler ($7,400 DraftKings; $9,200 FanDuel) has the distance and iron play to compete here, but he’ll just need to show he can get up-and-down for par to avoid any disastrous holes. The most encouraging aspect of his game is that he ranks inside the top two in the field in both adjusted strokes on par 4s (-3.0) and par 5s (-6.6).
Another youngster who is considerably cheap is Joaquin Niemann ($7,300 DraftKings; $9,400 FanDuel). My biggest concern with him is his short game, but he has excellent irons, ranking 18th in Strokes Gained: Approach over his last rounds. Niemann should also be able to compete with these long par 4s as he ranks 19th in par-4 efficiency from 450-500 yards.
Note: Strokes Gained and efficiency data via Fantasy National.
Photo credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Pictured: Hideki Matsuyama