The golf gods are gracing us with a quick turnaround from The American Express, where longshot Hudson Swafford came from behind on Sunday to capture his third win on TOUR and to gather a victory in back-to-back seasons. Now they head to the San Diego coast for the first Wednesday start as the Farmers Insurance Open will end in primetime on Saturday night to dodge the AFC and NFC Championship games in the NFL on Sunday.
This will also be the first time this year we have an elite type of field in a full field, cut event, which makes it quite intriguing from a DFS perspective. The top of the board is littered with elite talent, including the season debut of Dustin Johnson, who will make a surprise start at the Farmers before making his annual stop at the Saudi International. World No. 1 Jon Rahm will tee it up once again after winning his first major championship on this same course back in the Summer, in addition to the great course history he has had at this event. They will all be looking to take the Farmer’s title away from Patrick Reed, who won last year’s event in dominant yet controversial, fashion. Hopefully, we can avoid that type of drama this week.
DraftKings is upping the ante this week with a $20 Pitch + Putt tournament that has $800,000 in the prize pool, with 25% of that or $200,000 going to first place. We will put our focus on that contest for this article this week as we dive in for an attempt to take down a large-field GPP.
As always, you can start your research with Matt Vincenzi and his course fits article that identifies some of the best fits for what is needed at Torrey Pines and how they can benefit your GPP lineups. Landon Silinsky also covers his favorite cash game plays to help you see a bit of where the chalk builds will tend to start as it translates to GPPs, but also give you some solid pieces for your core. Justin Bailey discusses his three golfers to build around for single-entry tournaments.
Now let’s get right into my plays for the week.
Top Tier ($9,000-$11,200)
Jon Rahm ($11,200 DraftKings)
I started in this same spot last week, but I like it even more this week. I hope that some will shy away from Rahm and go down the board a bit to build more balanced in a week with so much talent in the field. I am not fully expecting it, but there is no question that the best play is the World No. 1 as he has done everything you could ask for from a player around Torrey Pines.
As I mentioned earlier, it wasn’t enough that his first TOUR win came on this course in 2017. He also added his first major on it in June of 2021. That makes a total of five finishes in the top seven over his last six trips to Torrey Pines, including two of his five career wins.
We really can’t ask for much more from the Spaniard out here, and for that reason, I am going to plug and play him in a large chunk of my MME lineups this week regardless of ownership.
Justin Thomas ($10,900 DraftKings)
Normally, I go down the board to show how I may start to build during the week, but I really like the prospects of Justin Thomas this week. Torrey Pines really should be a course that fits him well with how great he is on approach, especially with long irons. We have also seen a number of players with similar issues to JT off the tee have success at this event, with the likes of Marc Leishman and Patrick Reed racking up solid finishes over the years. Surprisingly though, Thomas hasn’t played the Farmers since 2015 but was brought back for the U.S. Open last summer when he finished 19th.
I expect we see JT be a bit contrarian when lock comes around on Wednesday as he is just a few hundred dollars short of Rahm, and there are a number of guys below him with more course history for people to lean on. I will happily take the leverage if it is given to me with Thomas this week as this course mitigates his weakness of the tee, and even on the greens where Poa is his preferred surface, and he has a great track record of putting weeks at this event.
Talor Gooch ($8,900 DraftKings)
Gooch let me down in a big way last week as he was my top bet and one of my favorite plays in DFS. I am hoping that others have that same sentiment and may shy away from him this week. As of this writing, I don’t have narrowed down Ownership Projections on the short week, but I expect he will fall through the cracks a bit due to his missed cut last week and his position on the DraftKings board. He is priced right below some of the top-tier course history guys in Leishman and Finau and also right above the defending champion Patrick Reed.
If we ignore last week, everything checks out for Gooch to bounce back as he prefers Poa, he has a great history at this event, even before he was a better-known name, and all of his stats check out for what we want this week.
I am going back to Gooch with the hopes of leverage and upside on a course he posted a top-three finish back in 2019.
Maverick McNealy ($8,200 DraftKings)
If you read our staff best bets article on Action Network, you know my top bet is with Maverick McNealy. He is a player I expect to break through for a win soon, and I think it will come on the west coast. If he doesn’t get it done this week, I will certainly be back in next week at the AT&T, but that doesn’t deter me in any way for the Farmers.
McNealy is the perfect combination of short game and long iron play that can take down the big names at this tournament. He ranks as one of the best putters on TOUR and is tops on Poa greens in this field. He also ranks in the top 10 of this field on approaches from 200 yards or more, which will make up more than a quarter of the approaches at these courses.
I like him as a bet, but also as a mid-tier lock with winning upside.
Luke List ($7,600 DraftKings)
One of my favorite plays in DFS this week will come in the form of Luke List. To me, he is the perfect leverage play between what I expect will be some popular choices around him with Francesco Molinari and even Justin Rose just a bit further up the board. List has some similar history on this course himself but has also been playing some really solid golf dating back to the Fall Swing.
He has always been a player that is long off the tee and a solid ball striker when dialed in but held back by a balky putter. List ranks inside of the top 20 of this field in both approach distances that matter to me this week from 175-200 and 200-plus.
If he can put it all together this week, this is a course I can legitimately see him winning on, and I am hopeful that we can get him at a bit of an ownership discount.
Brandt Snedeker ($7,400 DraftKings)
Snedeker is not a player I often get to in DFS, but when I do, it’s typically on the West Coast, where his “pop” putting stroke works wonders on the bumpy Poa greens. He comes into the week off of a T14 finish at the AmEx, and another made cut the week before in Hawaii.
Sneds will look to continue his solid start to the year at a course and event where he has made the cut in each of his past five appearances, including two top 10s. I believe he will come in under the radar but is quickly becoming a favorite play of mine this week.
Joseph Bramlett ($6,700 DraftKings)
My DFS week may be made or broken by Joseph Bramlett this week. I absolutely love him as my salary saver as he comes in with some decent form, having made both cuts this year, and will make his third appearance at this tournament. He posted a top 20 here in 2021, and that is more than enough to pay off this price tag. The oddsmakers have Bramlett priced well above his DraftKings pricing rank this week, and with everything else checking out, I won’t overthink my play on the former Stanford Cardinal.
Sahith Theegala ($6,500 DraftKings)
Here we are again with Theegala, this time at a cheaper price tag. I will continue to go back here as I believe in the talent, and frankly, he was positioned to make a run last week before falling apart on Sunday at the AmEx.
Still, back-to-back made cuts, and staying on the West Coast has him in my large-field GPP mix this week as another player that can provide a combination of upside and salary relief.