DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: The Genesis Invitational

Rory McIlroy is the top player in the world and the highest-priced golfer on DraftKings. Is he worth the lofty salary this week?

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.

Each week, we have a course primer, and our daily fantasy golf projections and lineup builder can help you get started, but these golfers stand out specifically on DraftKings for the Genesis Invitational.

Key Stats

As Key Stats for the Genesis Invitational at Riviera CC
Strokes Gained: Ball-striking
Strokes Gained: Par 4s
Birdies or Better Gained
Scrambling Gained
Strokes Gained: Putting (Poa)

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.

High-Priced Studs

Rory McIlroy (DraftKings Price: $11,600 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: +750) - We are primarily focusing on ball-strikers and particularly drivers of the ball this week, and no one is better than McIlroy in that regard right now. He is 1st in total ball-striking, broken down as 1st by a mile in off the tee and 10th in approach. He is also first in birdies or better gained and bogeys avoided, and fifth both in scrambling gained and on par 4s, He overtook Brooks Koepka as the top-ranked player in the world this week for the first time since 2015. He has been on quite a run of sustained excellence to earn this distinction without winning a major championship, with top-10 finishes in 20 of his last 26 worldwide events dating back to the start of the 2019 season. While he doesn't have quite as much history at Riviera has some of the American studs, McIlroy lines up well and has delivered in a small sample with a T4 last year and T20 in both 2018 and 2016.

Justin Thomas ($11,000 | +1000) - Thomas was the runner up here last year, by far his best finish in five tries. He's made the cut each time but finished inside the top 30 only one other time, a T9 in 2018. The current form is terrific, with three wins in his last eight starts and just one finish worse than T17 dating back to July (a missed cut at the Sony Open). He is second in birdies or better gained, fourth on par 4s, and fifth in ball-striking. The putter has been the weak point since returning from a wrist injury last summer, but he has plenty of spike weeks mixed in to give some encouragement that he's capable of sinking a few each round.

Dustin Johnson ($10,000 | +1400) - This time last year, Johnson was the betting favorite and most expensive golfer on DraftKings heading into the Genesis and went on to finish T9, his fifth top 10 in his last six trips to Riviera Country Club. He is an elite value this week at $1,600 cheaper than McIlroy, and while it's true he hasn't been at his best since last summer, he suffered and rehabbed a knee injury in that span and looks to be back at full strength. Outlier wind conditions prevented any major move on Sunday at Pebble Beach, but Johnson should encounter no such resistance this week as the forecast looks beautiful in the Pacific Palisades. His A-game is still right up there with anyone else's, and he'll roll it with a ton of confidence on these bumpy poa surfaces he's mastered in the past.

Mid-Priced Options

Xander Schauffele ($9,200 | +2200) - Schauffele doesn't have the flashy finishes at Riviera that some of his comrades in the high-priced tier do, but he's been plenty consistent and his game should line up well. If premier players with elite distance are the norm here, X certainly fits the bill. We talked about Kapalua and Augusta as potential comps in our course primer, and in the last 14 months, Xander has a first and a second at the Tournament of Champions and a T2 at the Masters. He's a good enough putter on all surfaces that his poa prowess doesn't get hyped as much as other golfers', but he is 8th in this field in putting over his last 50 rounds on poa greens. He is 7th on par 4s, 7th in scrambling gained, 9th in ball-striking, and 17th in birdies or better gained.

Adam Scott ($9,000 | +2900) - Scott has been one of the top ball-strikers in the world for over a decade and a half, and even with a disappointing driver of late, he still ranks 12th in this field in total ball-striking thanks to his top-tier iron play. He is 4th in strokes gained: approach and 60th off the tee, and he's openly criticized the Tour for its straightforward bomb and gouge setups. While big hitters have dominated here of late, Riviera is actually a pretty traditional setup. Scott is a decent poa putter -- 18th in what is admittedly a pretty long-term sample relative to some others -- and his style creates plenty of scoring opportunities. He is 6th in birdies or better gained and 9th in strokes gained: par 4s, and even when he misses, he can get up and down, as he ranks 13th in scrambling gained.

Patrick Reed ($8,600 | +4200) - Reed has slipped a bit after a tremendous stretch of golf dating back to the U.S. Open through the Playoffs and swing season. A missed cut on the European Tour two weeks ago raises some red flags, with Reed opting to play the Farmers Insurance Open in California, travel overseas for an event in Saudi Arabia, and then back to California for this week. That's a lot of travel, but Reed is eager to prove his place among the game's elite and always brings his best form to strong fields. He is first in the field in strokes gained: par 4s and has great overlap at our comp courses, with a green jacket in his closet and a playoff loss to Thomas at Kapalua just a few weeks back.

Justin Rose ($8,500 | +3700) - Rose seems like the guy no one is excited about this season, a slight in an Olympic year to the reigning gold medalist. He does not pop off in the stats like some others, but he is rock solid across the board and has both solid recent form and past performance at Riviera. He is 13th in birdies or better gained, 16th on par 4s, 29th in scrambling gained, and 31st in ball-striking. A missed cut at his last event will temper his ownership, and while everyone around him could potentially draw major attention, Rose -- the 10th-ranked player in the world -- looks likely to go overlooked despite four top 20s in his last five trips to Riviera.

Low-Priced Options

Paul Casey ($7,900 | +4500) - The third highest-priced golfer on DraftKings last week checks in under $8K coming off one of the worst rounds of golf of his professional career. Casey lost 5.8 strokes putting on the week, his worst measured event since at least 2013. Note that only his two rounds at Pebble Beach were tracked, so it's possible the number could be even worse. More unusual is the fact that he also lost strokes on approach for the week. In his final round, he lost 2.2 strokes via his approaches, one of the 10 to 15 worst rounds of his career. Long term, we know Casey is a stud -- 2nd only to McIlroy in ball-striking (5th off the tee, 9th approach), 28th on par 4s, 30th in birdies or better gained -- and he's shown a propensity to bounce back. The last time he lost strokes both on approach and putting was the 2019 PLAYERS. He won the Valspar Championship the next week.

Matt Kuchar ($7,800 | +5500) - Finally, $7K Kuchar is back! Everybody's favorite cash-game play is right back where he belongs after starting off last season #TooGood and pricing himself into the mid-$8K's for basically the rest of the year. A quiet win in Singapore shows what kind of form he's in, and he has just one missed cut at Riviera in 13 attempts. Kuchar's salary allows him to be a cog in any lineup construction -- he easily fits with two golfers priced at $9K or above, and he is perfect for a balanced lineup where he is one of the two cheapest golfers.

Matthew Fitzpatrick ($7,700 | +7000) - Another huge salary drop coming off a horrendous Sunday at Pebble, Fitz gets up for the strong events and is unafraid of demands off the tee. He has posted five runner-up finishes worldwide in the past year, and while most were on the weaker European circuit, he's more than held his own against the world's best. He was 7th at the WGC-HSBC Champions, T4 at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, T20 at the Open Championship, and T21 at the Masters in the past 10 months. His split schedule in Europe makes any statistical reading too long term relative to most of the field, but he is steady and consistent no matter where he plays. He has just two missed cuts since late 2018.

Scottie Scheffler ($7,400 | +9000) - Time to step up to the big time. Scheffler emerged as an elite ball-striker on the Korn Ferry Tour and into the swing-season fields on the PGA Tour, but the best of the best are simply in a different tier. Scheffler has consistently outperformed his weaker opponents, and he ranks 11th on par 4s, 11th in birdies or better gained, and 13th in ball-striking. If he would like to be in the conversation with the world's best, he will need to go head to head with McIlroy, Thomas, DJ, and the rest. He'll get his chance this week.

Erik Van Rooyen ($7,000 | +10000) - Van Rooyen has displayed good form for the better part of a year now, though primarily on the European Tour. He plays almost every week and finally got his elusive win at the Scandinavian Invitation. EVR showed last year that his game can translate across the pond, finishing T8 at the PGA Championship. He is not afraid of elite competition and held his own at a driver-heavy track in Bethpage. The concern with Van Rooyen, as it is with Fitzpatrick, is that he is seeing Riviera for the first time this week. There is a template, though, as Scott won in his debut back in 2005 and Schauffele posted a solid T9 two years ago in his first time.

Bargain Basement

Lanto Griffin ($6,800 | +13000) - Griffin is prone to hot streaks, and his swing-season win came amidst seven straight top 20 finishes this fall. He's been more up and down lately, but at this price, the chance for one of those high points is too good to pass up. In his last five events, he's finished T9, MC, MC, T7, T13. He is 10th in scrambling gained and 23rd in birdies or better gained.

Carlos Ortiz ($6,800 | +12000) - Ortiz quietly ranks 16th in this field in total strokes gained over his last 50 rounds. He has leveled out after three top-5 finishes in the swing season, with recent finishes of T25, MC, T48, and T53. He pops on our radar -- ranking third in scrambling gained and fourth in strokes gained: putting on poa -- and he can open up your lineups into almost any structure without sacrificing floor or ceiling.

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.