Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: Sony Open in Hawaii

Justin Thomas is the class of the field in Waialae. Who else can we target on FanDuel?

By now, you've probably dabbled in daily fantasy sports, but if not, don't worry. Now is a great time to start, especially with FanDuel now offering a revamped version of PGA golf.

Golf can be one of the most exciting DFS sports to follow, as tournaments span four days and allow ample time to prepare each week, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the basics of building a lineup on FanDuel, the scoring setup, and advanced stats to know about the PGA.

But whether you're brand new to the PGA or daily fantasy sports in general, we have you covered -- and we have daily fantasy golf projections and lineup building tools, too.

Let's take a look at some golfers to target this week.

Key Stats

Key Stats for the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club
Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
Strokes Gained: Par 4s (Especially 400 to 500 Yards)
Strokes Gained: Par 5s
Strokes Gained: Putting on Bermudagrass

You can lump strokes gained: approach and strokes gained: off the tee into strokes gained: ball striking if you want, but I generally like to keep them separate in order to ensure approach gets enough weight. Not using strokes gained: ball striking also just lets us see who is excelling in either category and who may be getting boosted in ball striking by being great either off the tee or on approach shots.

Via FantasyNational, 10 of the 18 holes span between 400 and 500 yards as par 4s. You'll want golfers who can score on the two par 5s, the two most scorable holes on the course (naturally) which cede eagles. It's not quite this simple, but the past results indicate that a big discrepancy between making the cut and finishing top-20 is performance on par 5s here.

Stats cited below come from FantasyNational and include the past 36 rounds (strokes gained: putting is for the past 100 rounds) on the PGA Tour unless noted. Ranks are among the field.

Best of the Best

Justin Thomas (FanDuel Price: $12,300 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: 6/1) - Thomas, the odds-on favorite to win, is also the odds-on favorite to be the week's most popular pick. However, his path to success is pretty clear, as he ranks 2nd in approach strokes gained and 3rd on par 5 strokes gained over the past 36 rounds. He's finished 6th, cut, 1st, and 14th at this event over the past four years.

Gary Woodland ($12,000 | 15/1) - A near-winner last week, Woodland returns to a course he's thrived at in the past: 3rd, 13th, 6th, 7th over the past four years. That's despite ranking 94th in the field in strokes gained: putting on Bermuda over a sizable sample (100 rounds). Woodland is one of two golfers to rank top-15 in both ball striking stats (7th in approach and 4th off the tee; Bryson DeChambeau is the other (5th and 7th)). He's worth the price.

Hideki Matsuyama ($11,300 | 37/1) - Matsuyama's approach game is the hottest among the field right now over the past 36 rounds. The recent events are a bit sparse (just an 18th at the Hero since a T30 at the WGC-HSBC), but he can possibly build on his T27 here in 2017, when he finished 6th in strokes gained: tee to green.

Marc Leishman ($10,900 | 19/1) - Leishman finished fourth last week at the Tournament of Champions and was top-10 in both strokes gained: tee to green and strokes gained: putting. Before that, Leishman finished 2nd at the Australian PGA Championship, 18th at THE CJ CUP, and 1st at the CIMB.

Matt Kuchar ($10,500 | 44/1) - Kuchar ranks 24th in approach over the past 36 rounds and is top-20 in par 4 strokes gained on holes 400 to 500 yards, the money area this week. Gaining approach strokes and scoring on the par 4s is a good sign for Kuch this week. He hasn't played here the past two years but was 8th in 2014, 3rd in 2015, and 13th in 2016.

Mid-Range Options

Ian Poulter ($10,000 | 55/1) - Poulter sits 15th in approach and 5th in strokes gained on 400- to 450-yard par 4s over the past 36 holes, and he has the checkbox ticked by playing last week, when he finished 18th at the Tournament of Champions. He gained strokes on approach shots last week but tanked on the greens.

Kyle Stanley ($9,900 | 46/1) - Stanley has been 13th, 36th, and 10th at Waialae the past three seasons but hasn't played since the WGC-HSBC back in late October, where he finished 18th out of 77 (unless you count the QBE Shootout). We can only do so much with some of these guys this week in terms of recent play, and this course sets up well for Stanley.

Scott Piercy ($9,500 | 48/1) - Piercy finished 19th at last week's Tournament of Champions and did lose strokes on approach shots, which is concerning, but he plays well at Waialae (2nd, 13th, 57th, and 25th the past four years) and has finished well in his most recent events (6th, 10th, 5th, 27th).

Abraham Ancer ($9,300 | 41/1) - Ancer leads the field in strokes gained: off the tee over the past 36 and is 11th on 400- to 450-yard par 4s but is just 72nd in approach, so we can't get overconfident here. Ancer's last event was in mid-November, a 5-stroke win at the Emirates Australian Open.

Low-Priced Picks

Keith Mitchell ($8,900 | 120/1) - An upside play (i.e. tournament-only) Mitchell ranks 17th in strokes gained: approach and 10th in strokes gained: off the tee over the past 36 rounds. He finished 25th here last year but wast 15th in strokes gained: tee to green. He hasn't played since an on-the-number missed cut at the RSM in mid-November.

Sam Ryder ($8,900 | 120/1) - Ryder's last event was a missed cut at the RSM in mid-November. He finished 58th here last year while averaging +0.44 strokes gained: tee to green and -0.43 strokes gained: putting. Over his past 36 rounds, Ryder ranks 10th in approach, 18th off the tee, and 2nd in par 4 strokes gained on holes 400 to 450 yards.

Patton Kizzire ($8,800 | 41/1) - Kizzire, last year's winner, ranks 27th in approach over the past 36 rounds and 16th in Bermuda putting over the past 100. He did play last week (8th at the Tournament of Champions) and gained strokes on the Bermuda greens and on approach strokes. Last year at Waialaie, Kizzire did rank fourth in strokes gained: putting, but he was also fourth in strokes gained: approach.

Dylan Frittelli ($8,700 | 90/1) - Frittelli has finished steadily in his five events since November 11th: 21st, 7th, 5th, cut, 12th. He ranks 12th in strokes gained: approach on the Euro Tour this season to help us buy in, even though he hasn't played here before.

Sungjae Im ($8,600 | 90/1) - Im is one of a few value plays we can be remotely confident in. He's 58th in approach but 16th in strokes gained: off the tee. His past three finishes on the PGA Tour are 15th at the Shriners, cut at the OHL, and 37th at the RSM. He also finished 15th at the CJ Cup in early December.

Shugo Imahira ($8,300 | 240/1) - You probably don't need to dip this far down, but Imahara is actually 53rd in the Official World Golf Rankings and has made 24 of 27 cuts in 2018 with a win, three runner-ups, three thirds, and seven more top-10 finishes.