DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: Hero World Challenge
Daily fantasy golf requires a new approach for each and every event.
The course and field change week after week, making no two contests alike. That means you need to refine your approach for each PGA Tour event to try to find golfers who are primed to excel for your daily fantasy golf lineups.
This Week's Course
18 of the top golfers in the world head to the Bahamas this week, where the Hero World Challenge at Albany golf course awaits. This event, hosted annually by Tiger Woods, features an invitation-only field composed of last year's major winners and the defending champion, as well as the highest available ranked golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking and a few invitees.
Albany is a par 72, 7,400-yard track that mostly lets the world's best have a grand old time for four days. Since taking over hosting duties in 2015 (technically the 2016 PGA season), the winning score has been -25, -18, and -18. Only 3 of the 52 competitors have finished the week over par in the three editions at Albany. Given the small sample, strong field, and easy course, parsing the statistics that point to a winner is an exercise in futility. That being said, strokes gained: tee to green is always a good barometer for overall play. While it usually pays to key in on par 5s on par 72 courses, Albany yields enough birdies across the board that focusing on par 5s is not necessary. For example, in the 2016 and 2017 editions (played in late 2015 and 2016, respectively), the winners were first in strokes gained: par 5s and first or second in strokes gained: par 4s. Last year, however, Rickie Fowler took the crown gaining an absurd 6.9 strokes on par 3s, with only one other golfer gaining more than 2.9 on such holes.
Birdies are the name of the game here, but avoiding bogeys is actually an even bigger advantage when the round numbers come so easy to the entire field.
|Key Stats for the Hero World Challenge at Albany|
|Strokes Gained: Tee to Green|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Performance in Strong Fields|
Data on the top three stats are for the field over the last 24 rounds on Tour unless otherwise noted and come from Fantasy National Golf Club, while Performance in Strong Fields is mined from data collected by Fantasy National and Future of Fantasy.
High Priced Studs
Justin Rose (DraftKings Price $11,100 | FanDuel Sportsbook Odds 7/1) - The world's number-one ranked golfer tees it up for just the second time since winning the FedEx Cup. Rose is third in strokes gained: tee to green and birdies or better gained, and fourth in bogeys avoided. His 2018 major championship and playoff record (top 25 in all four majors, three straight top-5's to win the Cup) prove he brings his best stuff when taking on the top golfers in the world. Per Future of Fantasy, he has gained the third-most strokes on the entire Tour in strong fields.
Rickie Fowler ($9,800 | 17/2) - The defending champ set the course record on Sunday last year, firing a 61 to win by 4 strokes. Fowler had two third place finishes in his other two cracks at Albany, by far the best course history of anyone since the event moved to the Bahamas. He is sixth in both birdies or better gained and bogeys avoided, and ninth in strokes gained: tee to green. Where Fowler really stands out is on the greens, as he is first in strokes gained: putting. The hot putter and the course history make Fowler a core play even in this strong field.
Justin Thomas ($9,200 | 17/2) - Thomas is second in strokes gained: tee to green and seventh in birdies or better gained. He is first in eagles gained in this field and fourth on the entire Tour over his last 24 rounds, making him a great fit on a course with four holes featuring an eagle rate of higher than 2%. Thomas has performed well in the wrap-around each of the past two years and is on the right track again this season. From October through January over the last two years, JT notched four combined wins and no finishes outside the top 25. In this year's swing, he finished T5 at the CIMB Classic before a T36 as the defending champ at the CJ Cup. His prior PGA Championship and FedEx Cup Playoff wins are evidence of his ability to thrive in strong fields.
Bryson DeChambeau ($8,700 | 19/2) - DeChambeau spent last season establishing himself as one of the best players in the world and started the new season with a win at the Shriners this fall. He is first in strokes gained: tee to green and second in birdies or better gained. The Mad Scientist has five wins already in his young career, and while two (2017 John Deere and 2019 Shriners) have come at "easy" events -- to the extent that any win on the PGA Tour is "easy" -- three of Bryson's wins have come against great fields -- at last year's Memorial and the first two legs of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, the Northern Trust and the Dell Technologies Championship.
Low Priced Options
Tony Finau ($7,500 | 16) - Finau's three top-10s at the first three majors last season show he can hang with the big boys on the biggest stages, and while he is yet to break through with a win, he can make boatloads of birdies along the way even if he doesn't finish at the top of the leaderboard. He is third in strokes gained: par 5s, fourth in birdies or better gained, and fifth in bogeys avoided.
Xander Schauffele ($7,300 | 18) - Schauffelle is an interesting statistical case, as he is a steady golfer who does not excel in any one area but finds his way to the top of the leaderboard, especially in strong fields. On the entire Tour over his last 24 rounds, the 25-year-old is 115th in strokes gained: off the tee, 68th in strokes gained: approach, 134th in strokes gained: around the green, and 112th in strokes gained: putting. Yet somehow, he is eighth in total strokes gained in that span and has a win and two other top-10s. He gains 1.88 strokes in strong fields versus just 1.51 overall, per Future of Fantasy. Many of Schauffele's best finishes have come at the biggest events: wins at this year's WGC-HSBC and the 2017 Tour Championship, and second place finishes at both the 2018 PLAYERS and Open Championship.
Hideki Matsuyama ($6,900 | 23) - The 2017 winner at this event, Matsuyama is first in strokes gained: approach over his last 24 rounds, not just in this field but on the entire PGA Tour. He is 4th tee to green (11th on the entire Tour), but middle of the pack in birdies or better gained and bogeys avoided. Hideki is 15th on the entire Tour since 2013-2014 in total strokes gained in strong fields and 8th on easy courses.
Gary Woodland ($6,300 | 30) - Woodland is first in birdies or better gained, fifth in strokes gained: par 5s, and seventh in strokes gained: tee to green. Not historically known as someone who thrives in strong fields, Woodland definitely can attack birdie-fests regardless of who else is on the course. He has been sharp of late, beginning with a T6 at the PGA Championship and riding that momentum through the Playoffs and into swing season. Since that career-best major championship finish, Woodland has picked up five top-12 finishes in his last eight events.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.