DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: Sony Open
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 Sony Open at Waialae CC|
|Strokes Gained: Approach||TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks (Valero Texas Open)|
|Fairways Gained||Harbour Town Golf Links (RBC Heritage)|
|Birdies or Better Gained||Colonial CC (Charles Schwab Challenge)|
|Strokes Gained: Par 4s|
Let's get to the picks. For details on why these stats stand out this week, check out the course primer.
Stats are from Fantasy National Golf Club and are for golfers in the field over the last 50 rounds, unless otherwise noted.
Justin Thomas (DraftKings Price: $12,000 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: +500) - Thomas is about as hot as it gets right now. With six top 5's -- including three wins -- in his last seven events, JT is unstoppable right now. He was solid at the Presidents Cup and made an impressive recovery after almost gagging away the Tournament of Champions on the 72nd hole. He is first in strokes gained: tee to green and birdies or better gained, third in strokes gained: par 4s, and fifth in strokes gained: approach. What more can we say about Thomas except that while Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy are duking it out for best player alive, Thomas might just pass both of them this year.
Webb Simpson ($11,100 | +1200) - For as good as he's been, it's easy to forget that Simpson doesn't actually win all that often on Tour. He won THE PLAYERS in 2018 and last collected hardware in 2013. He played the Tournament of Champions the following years and skipped the Sony, but lucky for us he failed to win once again in 2019 and so starts his season at Waialae, where he has been consistently stellar. He was T4 two years ago and T13 each of the three prior seasons, and his performance at other short coastal courses proves his bona fides. Despite a disappointing Presidents Cup, Simpson looks to be a great play for those willing to fade JT. The course history is there, and he hits all the statistical marks -- 2nd on par 4s, 6th on par 5s, 6th in birdies or better gained, 7th in approach, and 14th in scrambling gained.
Collin Morikawa ($10,300 | +1600) - Morikawa ended last week tied for seventh despite not shooting a single round in the 60s, a testament to the strength of his game to grind out finishes in big-time fields. He is 2nd in strokes gained: approach, 3rd in both birdies or better gained and strokes gained: tee to green, 5th on par 4s, and 22nd in fairways gained. It is jarring to see him already priced this high, but Morikawa is absolutely worth it this week.
Joaquin Niemann ($9,400 | +2900) - Niemann broke his Bermuda curse last week, and while his reputation was well earned on those slick Florida surfaces, these greens are some of the slowest Bermuda we'll see all year. The ball-striking is so good that he is a near-lock to contend if he gains with the putter. He is 4th in strokes gained: tee to green, 5th in birdies or better gained, 7th in strokes gained: par 4s, 8th in strokes gained: par 5s, and 10th in strokes gained: approach. He had quite a fall, picking up his first Tour win and punching his ticket to the TOC, as well as making an impressive Presidents Cup debut.
Marc Leishman ($9,200 | +3300) - Leishman is the owner of some of the best course form in the field, having played here 10 of the past 11 seasons and made the cut each time. He played well in the Presidents Cup but was unlucky enough to bump up against a white-hot Thomas three times, but maintained solid form the following week with a T10 at the Emirates Australian Open. Leishman is 8th in scrambling gained, 15th in strokes gained: approach, and 17th in strokes gained: tee to green, and his reputation as a wind player is well earned. He serves as a nice pivot off the chalkier Charles Howell ($9,100 | +3700).
Corey Conners ($8,900 | +4800) - Conners had the first big finish of his career last year with a T3 at the Sony, an event he had to Monday-qualify into. He'd top that finish later in the season with a win at the Valero Texas Open, and he closed the season strong enough to make it all the way to the Tour Championship. While his win at Waialae was followed by three straight missed cuts, he found consistency as the season wore on and has just one finish worse than T27 since The Open Championship.
Brian Harman ($8,200 | +6500) - As mentioned in the primer and likely many other places this week, golfers who play at Waialae after the TOC historically have done quite well at the Sony Open. That is important information to consider when building daily fantasy lineups, not just to pinpoint strong plays but also to identify leverage opportunities. Harman is bracketed by two golfers who played well in the fall and were in the field at Kapalua -- Brendon Todd ($8,300 | +4500) and J.T. Poston ($8,100 | +5000). Each will be far higher owned than Harman just because of the fact that they played last week. Harman, meanwhile, looks the best from a long term statistical view. He is 6th in scrambling gained, 9th on par 5s, 10th in strokes gained: tee to green, 14th in birdies or better gained, 15th on par 5s, 17th in approach, and 31st in scrambling gained.
Low Priced Options
Brian Stuard ($7,900 | +6000) - Stuard had an up and down Fall, with five finishes of T28 or better (including two top 10s) and three finishes worse than 50th. He closed the fall with a T10 at the RSM Classic, and he has shown an ability to grind his way to a decent finish here in the past with four top 10s since 2013, including each of the past two years. Stuard is 2nd in fairways gained, 29th on par 4s, and 31st in approach. He rates well on our comparison courses as well, with top-5 finishes at both the Valero Texas Open (2019) and the RBC Heritage (2014).
Rory Sabbatini ($7,600 | +8000) - This year will mark the 22nd consecutive Sony Open for Sabbatini, with just two missed cuts in the past 15 years. He doesn't flash the way Thomas, Simpson, and Howell do, but Sabs is clearly comfortable at this course. His form is missing the flair he showed in the spring and summer, but he fits this course and our comparables as well as anyone in the $7k range. He was top 10 at both Harbour Town and Colonial last year, and the stats are above average even if they lack a certain pop -- which sounds exactly like Sabbatini himself. He's 8th in strokes gained: tee to green, 26th on par 4s, 34th in approach, and 34th birdies or better gained.
Kevin Na ($7,500 | +8000) - Na nearly played himself onto the Presidents Cup team with another win in the fall. It was his second in 2019 after taking down the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial. He is one of the ultimate heat check guys in any field, and if he gets it rolling on these slow greens he could lap the field in putting. We can forgive a dud at the TOC, where his accuracy and short game are overmatched by the bomb and gouge gang.
Vaughn Taylor ($7,400 | +10000) - Taylor closed 2019 with back to back top 10s and is currently on a Tour-best streak of 9 consecutive rounds in the 60s. He does exactly what we are looking for here, ranking 12th in birdies or better gained, 14th in fairways gained, 17th on par 4s, and 23rd in strokes gained: approach.
Bud Cauley ($6,900 | +10000) - We haven't heard from Cauley since he closed his 2019 with a T9 at the Houston Open. He is all the way back from a scary car crash, and 2020 will be the year he gets back to his peak form from 2017-2018, which included back to back top 10s at Harbour Town and TPC San Antonio - AT&T Oaks. He is 7th in scrambling gained, 12th in strokes gained: tee to green, 19th on par 4s, and 23rd in strokes gained: approach.
Charley Hoffman ($6,700 | +12000) - Hoffman is past his prime but has been too solid with his wedges for too long to pass on in this range full of Tour newbies. Even amidst a poor 2019, he posted a runner up finish at the Valero and a T13 at Colonial. The wind won't bother him and he can easily pay off this salary at low ownership.
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.