If we thought figuring things out last week in the team event was difficult, the field at the Mexico Open has said: “hold my beer,” to that with its group set to tee it up at Vindata Vallarta. Jon Rahm is the clear top-class player to play the event and the oddsmakers see it too, with him set at a ridiculous +350 to win pretournament at some books. The next player on the board in those cases is down in the +2000 range. I can’t remember a time we have seen that wide of a gap on TOUR between the top player and the next one.
DraftKings, for DFS purposes, has tried to mimic that gap to some extent, but Rahm is arguably too cheap at just $11,300. Tony Finau is the next player at $900 cheaper, and the field bunches up from there. The biggest decision we will have to make, especially in large-field GPPs this week, is to Rahm or not to Rahm. He is going to likely come in at over 30% owned even in the biggest contests, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that number actually fall in the mid to upper 30s.
I’ll address my thoughts there with Rahm at the very top as we look to pull down the $250,000 top prize in this week’s $20 Pitch + Putt on DraftKings.
If you missed it, we added two new metrics in our models — Perfect% and SimLeverage. You can find an explainer on those metrics here.
The cliff notes version is that you can use SimLeverage to quickly find leverage plays in tournaments, while Perfect% is great for finding the best price-considered plays for cash games.
High-Priced PGA DFS Picks
Jon Rahm ($11,300)
I don’t have the guts to fully fade Rahm. Even as he has been short on end results this season, he is still one of the best ball-strikers on TOUR in 2022, and frankly, all of the guys in his stratosphere in that category are not playing this week. I mentioned above that he is +350 to win at some books, and those places are also giving him a 50% chance of a top 5.
This simply isn’t a normal week of fading the chalk in the top tier for leverage as we are often splitting hairs between the elite players in the game. I’ve got this as a case of a player that is well ahead of everyone else he is competing against, and even as I know anything can happen in golf, it all aligns for Rahm being a top finisher or winner this week.
I am not going to lock him into all of my lineups this week, but he will be the starting point for single-entry or 3-max. On my MME large-field GPPs, I am leaning towards about 50% ownership right now.
Patrick Reed ($10,000)
If you are looking for a pivot from Rahm, then I am going to drop down to the bottom of the five-figure range to the player with the next best winning pedigree in Patrick Reed. I know he hasn’t been great this year, but the majority of his issues have been off the tee. I expect that issue to be lessened this week as he will have big fairways to am at around this course, and if he is playing from the short grass, he can still be a top-flight player from fairway to green.
Reed will challenge Kevin Na for the lowest owned in this price range, almost certainly in single-digit ownership. He has some of the best upside if he happened to find things a bit since his last start at the Masters, and his price is low enough to allow us to build a balanced lineup from there without having to dip down into an ugly $6,000 range.
Mid-Priced PGA DFS Picks
Matt Jones ($9,000)
Technically I usually put this price point in the top tier, but I dislike this $8,000 range a lot and didn’t want to miss on highlighting Jones. He is my pick to win this week partly because of some solid odds but also due to his well-rounded game that matches well on a smaller scale with Patrick Reed. His deficiency is off-the-tee, and I think the wide fairways will go a long way to helping him navigate this course.
The Australian has a fantastic iron game when he is dialed in, as we have seen across a number of events this year and dating back to his win last year at the Honda. He makes for a great ceiling play in GPPs at what is likely to be single-digit ownership this week for the Mexico Open.
Carlos Ortiz ($8,600)
It has been well documented that this is a very different course in getting prepared for the Mexico Open, but Carlos Ortiz at least has the lay of the land. He has played this track numerous times, and that has to be some sort of edge for a player that will be driven to play well in front of his home fans.
Ortiz addressed some injury issues he has had this season that has led to less than spectacular play, but it seems he is past those, and I expect we see him back to his old ball-striking self sooner than later. I won’t go overboard here, as I may skip this range quite a bit with my builds, but Ortiz is one I’ll be sure to have some shares of this week.
Value PGA DFS Picks
Chad Ramey ($7,900)
If there is a new coastal course specialist to find in this field, it has to be Chad Ramey, who is fresh off his first TOUR win at Corrales Puntacana last month. He also had a top-5 finish on the coast of Puerto Rico in March and has positioned himself as someone that is ready to play on these paspalum surfaces.
There is reason to believe in the talent of Ramey beyond the recent alternate field tournaments. He has performed well as he put together a great year in 2021 on the Korn Ferry to receive his promotion this season. He is showing a great combination of form, and course fit that may go a bit overlooked as he is still unknown to the general masses.
Emiliano Grillo ($7,200)
It seems I am transitioning in this range from the new to the former king of coastal courses, as it was Emiliano Grillo who we always expected to show up on these tracks in the past. The Argentinian hasn’t quite had that same form this year, though as he has surprisingly struggled with his ball-striking. My play on him is that he has shown us a consistency long term to be elite in that ball striking category, and pairing that with his long term results on these courses, I’ll take a chance that he bounces back this week at a low price point in GPPs.
Robert Streb ($7,000)
I inadvertently created a running joke on Twitter when I tweeted multiple weeks about learning that Robert Streb was in a particular field when I saw him at the top of the early leaderboard. I won’t make that mistake this week, as he looks like a viable play this week at the bottom spot of this tier.
He has gained better than two shots on approach in each of his last three tournaments, including 3.4 in a 7th-place finish at the Valspar. Streb has been playing some really good golf and has a few top-15 finishes on these paspalum courses to his name, as well as his most recent win on the coastal track at the RSM Classic in 2020.
He can be a solid cut-maker with a nice ceiling that is tough to find this low.
Sleeper PGA DFS Picks
Kiradech Aphibarnrat ($6,900)
Most of my builds are going to be set for a rule to include “at most” (a feature in our optimizer) one player from this range, and ideally, I won’t dip down here at all. There will undoubtedly be some names that pop up and play well, but I want to be spread out down here as there isn’t one that stands out as a play for me.
The closest to that is with Lee Hodges and Aphibarnrat at $6,900. I’ll highlight the latter here as he is talented enough to compete in this weak field. He has a lot of experience across multiple tours and has the upside to contend for a quality finish.
He seems to flash at random times, so I can’t give you an exact predictor or point you to form to see it coming, but down here, I’ll take a chance on his talent.