DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: Desert Classic
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.
|Key Stats for the Desert Classic|
|Strokes Gained: Tee to Green|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
Check out the course primer for more info on the format and three unique courses as well as details on why these stats stand out this week. Stacking courses and tee times is very viable this week so be sure to check for correlated schedules if tee stacking is part of your process. Let's get to the picks.
All stats are from Fantasy National Golf Club and are for golfers in the field over the last 50 rounds, unless otherwise noted.
Jon Rahm (DraftKings Price: $11,600 | bet365 Win Odds (15/2) - The defending champion enters the week as the highest-priced player in the DraftKings player pool despite the World No. 1 and FedEx champion Justin Rose in the field. Rahm also headlines the betting market and unsurprisingly pops in many of this week's statistics. He is fourth in birdies or better gained, fifth in strokes gained: tee to green, and eighth in bogeys avoided. His approach and par 5 ranks (55th and 24th, respectively) leave something to be desired, but his form is immaculate, and he has dominated in January each of the past two seasons.
Justin Rose ($11,000 | 10/1) - An equipment change has raised doubts about Rose, the aforementioned top player in the world. The Englishman signed with newcomer Honma Golf and will get his first tournament under his belt with the new gear at the Desert Classic. Any tweak to the equipment can have ripple effects, so a complete overhaul is bound to come with growing pains. Rose, however, has rattled off five straight top-4 finishes on Tour and had just three finishes worse than 23rd in all of 2018. He is first in birdies or better gained and bogeys avoided, fourth in strokes gained: tee to green, fifth on par 5s, and ninth in approach. The equipment change could be huge, but Rose has the talent and form to make almost anything work right now.
Adam Hadwin ($10,000 | 26) - While the statistical profile isn't ideal for the price, Hadwin seems to enjoy this event, notching three consecutive finishes of T6 or better. While history is funky here given the format, Hadwin is clearly comfortable course-hopping and chatting up his minor celebrity playing partners. He had two top 10s in the swing season and ranks 25th in strokes gained: tee to green. His long-term stats are middling at best, but his recent form is much more encouraging, ranking 21st in strokes gained: par 5s and 31st in birdies or better gained over his last 12 rounds (versus ranks of 41st and 62nd over his last 50).
Abraham Ancer ($9,300 | 36) - Ancer is 10th in strokes gained: tee to green, 35th in strokes gained: par 5s, and 38th in birdies or better gained. Pretty good, but not blowing your socks off. Ancer really pops in a couple auxiliary stats, specifically bogeys avoided (3rd) and DraftKings points (12th). Ancer had two top 5s in the swing season and came in 29th last week at the Sony Open and is a fast riser this season who should be able to secure a strong finish in this field.
Chez Reavie ($9,200 | 41) - Reavie's form looked incredibly sharp last week, and he has been moving in the right direction over his past few tournaments. He is 13th in strokes gained: approach, 35th in strokes gained: par 5s, and 50th in strokes gained: tee to green. He came in third at the Sony Open, and his four prior tournaments did not track strokes gained data over the swing season. His true form is not reflected in his stats, but he finished 26th at Mayakoba and 7th at the CJ Cup in that span.
Luke List ($9,000 | 36) - List makes his regular season debut after a successful swing season that featured fourth-place finishes at the RSM Classic and the Safeway Open. List is third in strokes gained: tee to green and sixth in strokes gained: par 5s. He missed the cut here last year but does have a sixth place finish to his name back in 2016. Even though he is a big hitter off the tee, List's best results have come at short courses like the ones he'll face this week.
Lucas Glover ($8,600 | 46) - Glover is 6th in strokes gained: par 5s, 15th in bogeys avoided, and 21st in strokes gained: tee to green. His form has really come on of late, ranking 3rd tee to green and 15th on approach over his last 12 rounds. He is also 2nd in bogeys avoided and 12th in birdies or better gained in that sample and turned in four consecutive top-17 finishes in the swing season.
Cheng-Tsung Pan ($8,400 | 67) - Pan has the best statistical case in this range: 6th in strokes gained: approach, 8th in strokes gained: tee to green and birdies or better gained, 12th in bogeys avoided, and 30th in strokes gained: par 5s. That lone blemish on the par 5s has been his strong suit of late as he ranks first on those holes over just his last 12 rounds. Pan will rightfully be very popular at his price this week.
Joaquin Niemann ($7,600 | 61) - The stats darling has fallen off pace a bit lately as he has just one top-25 finish since July. Still, he is first in strokes gained: approach, second in strokes gained: tee to green, and fifth in birdies or better gained over his last 50. The talent is there but the form is not, and DFS players will have to decide whether to ride out the storm and be there when he pops or stay off until he shows more consistency.
Brendan Steele ($7,600 | 71) - Steele is 35th in strokes gained: tee to green, but besides that, his numbers are cover-your-eyes bad. Out of 156 golfers in the field, Steele is 147th in birdies or better gained and 134th in bogeys avoided. What he does have, though, is terrific history at this event. Over the last four years, his finishes are T20, T6, T34, T2.
Richy Werenski ($7,600 | 61) - Werenski has been solid of late, ranking 7th in strokes gained: approach, 11th in strokes gained: tee to green, 15th in strokes gained: par 5s, and 30th in birdies or better gained. He has just one missed cut since June and has finished in the top 25 in 5-of-10 events.
Corey Conners ($7,500 | 67) - Conners is a terrific ball-striker whose weakness is the flat stick. He is 5th in strokes gained: approach, 6th tee to green, and 10th in birdies or better gained. He is usually inconsistent, but his recent form has been to extremes, with his last six finishes of T3, T23, MC, MC, 2nd, MC. If he makes a few putts, he can find himself in contention.
Sam Ryder ($7,100 | 141) - Though not quite the disaster-level Conners can approach, Ryder's downfall is also his putter. But until last week's missed cut, he was terrific tee to green, and this pick is a bet on him to get right. He is 3rd in strokes gained: approach, 7th in strokes gained: tee to green, 10th in strokes gained: par 5s, and 13th in birdies or better gained.
Sam Saunders ($6,800 | 176) - DraftKings loaded up the $7,000 range, but there are still a few morsels to be found in the $6,000s. Saunders is right at the top of the list. He is 11th in strokes gained: par 5s and 14th in birdies or better gained. Saunders is a mediocre 49th in strokes gained: tee to green, but with three rounds to make birdies, he has a chance to pay off his DraftKings salary even if he fails to post a good finish on the leaderboard.
Sebastian Munoz ($6,500 | 251) - Munoz ranks sixth in birdies or better gained, a position that makes him really stand out in this price range. His 10th-place finish last week was his best since July 2017. and if his game is clicking right now, his history shows it won't last long. An event with an extra round before the cut gives Munoz extra life.
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.