Genesis Open DFS Preview
The 7th event of 2019 takes us to one of the most difficult courses played yearly on the PGA Tour as Riviera Country Club plays host to the Genesis Open. Gone are the days of 3 course rotations, 54-hole cuts, and horrific amateur golfers as the pros tee it up this week at a course that ranked as the 9th toughest on Tour last year. Just as was the case last week, the weather looks to play a major role in the pace of this week’s event, with early forecasts leaning towards Thursday being a near washout, but that won’t stop an absolutely loaded field from showing up to try and claim their share of the $7.4 million purse that is up for grabs this week. Bubba Watson returns as the defending champion here, an event in which he has actually won 3 times in the past 5 years. Combine that with 6 of the Top 10 players in the world in the current Official Golf World Rankings and we have the makings of a truly special event this week. And oh yeah, Tiger is back in the field this week as well, which is never a bad thing!
For this week’s stats model I’ve pulled eight figures that have consistently shown up amongst players that have finished in the Top 10 over the last 6 years. As always, the stats I use are powered by Fantasy National, hands down the best data site available for DFS golf. Here are the stats I’m using this week:
Strokes Gained: Par 4s (20%)
Strokes Gained: Tee To Green (20%)
Strokes Gained: Approach (15%)
Birdie or Better Gained (10%)
Strokes Gained: Putting (10%)
Greens In Regulation Gained (10%)
Strokes Gained: Par 5s (10%)
Strokes Gained: Par 4s – 450-500 Yards (5%)
As we are starting to get a little more recent form data on the players in the field on a weekly basis we are able to lean on our stats models slightly more each week. This week I’m really focusing on my stats model zeroing in on each golfers performance over their last 12 rounds played. We will feel spoiled this week with ShotLink data being available every day of the event, which will help us form our Weekend Golf lineups when we get to Friday night as well. After all of that, let’s get ready for the best event of the year to this point and break down my favorite plays for this year’s Genesis Open!
It is always tough to figure out what to do up top in DFS golf from both a cash and GPP perspective, but I feel like our decisions are made even more difficult this week with such a stacked field of players. Every single player in the $10K range could have an argument made for them, but when you have to make a decision for just the current week I feel like you have to go with the player who you think is the best right now, and for me that’s Bryson DeChambeau ($10,200 DK, $11,700 FD). While his stats model is a little bit skewed because his last 2 events were played in the Middle East on the European Tour, he has opened his 2019 campaign with 4 consecutive Top 10 finishes, including a win in Dubai 2 weeks ago. His tournament history is one of the poorest in this $10K range, so that may suppress some of his ownership, but at this stage of his career I think Bryson is essentially matchup proof – there aren’t too many courses that this guy can’t win at, and I think he has a great shot once again this week.
Justin Thomas ($11,000 DK, $11,900 FD) is the stat monster of the $10K range for me this week, ranking #1 in my overall model over his last 12 rounds. Thomas is another guy with a mediocre course history here, but he has started his year with 3 straight Top 16 finishes, including two 3rd places finishes, so hopefully his current form can override his poor course history and lead to a good result this week.
This range is loaded with guys that I seem to have a fondness to play on a weekly basis – names like Cantlay and Finau are usually fixtures in my lineups when they decide to tee it up. But this week I’m a believer in the resurgence of Hideki Matsuyama ($9,300 DK, $11,100 FD), who has posted Top 15 finishes in each of his last 2 starts. The wrist injury that plagued him for a portion of his season last year appears to be a thing of the past and he is back to being the great ball striker he was before he hurt himself almost exactly a year ago. He ranks #5 in my stats model over the last 12 rounds, which includes #2 rankings in SG: T2G and SG: APP, two of my most heavily weighted statistics. Prior to missing last year’s event he had posted 3 consecutive Top 23 finishes, including 4th and 11th place finishes, before missing the cut in 2017. I’ll take my chances on Hideki being back in great form, especially at this very reasonable price.
With so many poplar selections in this price range (Phil, Tiger, Bubba and Spieth) I’ll take a shot with the very steady Patrick Cantlay ($9,000 DK, $10,800 FD) this week in my lineups as well. #7 in my stats model, Cantlay withdrew from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last week, presumably just to avoid the bad weather. Prior to his missed cut a few weeks back at the Farmer’s Insurance Open, Cantlay had made 15 cuts in a row, posting an amazing 9 Top-15 finishes in that run. Coming off of a 4th place finish here last year makes him a great sleeper in this price range full of big names.
Perhaps the chalkiest play of the week will be found in this price range in the person of Matt Kuchar ($8,500 DK, $10,300 FD). Its impossible to argue with his form to start the 2019 season (4 straight made cuts, none worse than T22nd, including a win) and his tournament history is very Kuchar-like (3 consecutive made cuts, none worse than 26th). He ranks #2 overall in my stats model, ranking inside the Top 16 in all 8 of the stats I used to create the model – not even my #1 player (Justin Thomas) can say that! I’ll go back to the well again with Kuchar as a near lock for my cash game teams this week. Cameron Smith ($8,400 DK, $10,400 FD) continues to be a great DFS option in this mid-$8K range despite his not start to the 2019 season. Smith has made 3 consecutive cuts in 2019, finishing no worse that T22nd in any of them, and has progressively gotten better at the Genesis Open over the last 3 years (63rd in ‘16, 28th in ‘17, and 6th in ‘18.) #3 in my overall stats model helps give a little substance to his great performance to start the 2019 season – I really like Smith this week in all formats for DFS. If you are looking for a GPP sleeper in this range, how about Sergio Garcia ($8,200 DK, $10,500 FD). Coming off of an embarrassing DQ in Saudi Arabia last week, Garcia is poised to make his PGA Tour debut for the 2019 season after consecutive Top 10 finishes on the Euro Tour prior to last week’s DQ. His stats model ranking won’t tell the whole story on Sergio as his Euro stats are not factored in, but he place inside the Top 10 seven consecutive times worldwide prior to last week’s DQ. His form is there – hopefully the bunkers are more to his liking this week at Riviera!
One guy that I was just dying to play last week at Pebble Beach was Jason Kokrak ($7,600 DK, $9,200 FD). But his decision to skip the AT&T may bring down his ownership for this week a little bit, making him a guy that you could play in all game formats this week. 3 consecutive Top 20s to open his 2019 season and 4 consecutive made cuts at this event (3 straight finishes T22nd or better, including a 2nd in 2016) makes him a really nice option in the mid-$7K range here. #6 in my overall stat model Kokrak also ranks #2 in SG: Par 4s this week, an extremely telling stat for players who have finished in the Top 10 in years past – I like Kokrak a lot this week.
I never enjoy writing up Keegan Bradley ($7,300 DK, $9,300 FD) because it forces me, even if for a short amount of time, watch him actually play, which will drive anyone insane. But all biases aside, Bradley has had a nice start to his season, making his first 4 cuts of the season and continuing to prove that he can be an elite level ball striker when he gets it going (#7 in my model in SG: Approach over his last 12 rounds.) He can’t putt – that has always been true – but if his iron game can stay on point I like him to make another cut for us this week at the Genesis.
If you are like most DFS players this week and plan on starting your rosters in the $10K range this week you will undoubtedly need to dip into this $6K range to fill out your lineups. Two guys that stand out in this range for me simply because of their current World Ranking are Kyle Stanley ($6,600 DK, $8,400 FD) and Kiradech Aphibarnrat ($6,700 DK, $8,100 FD). Stanley has missed two cuts to open his 2019 and has a below average tournament history at this event, but we have seen his game click enough to get him into the Top 35 in the Official World Golf Rankings – I think you could do worse down here than Stanley for sure. Aphibarnrat is making his debut performance at this event and after starting his 2019 on both the Euro and Asian tours, he did post a T33 2 weeks ago in Phoenix. This is another guy that seems to show up when the lights are the brightest and the fields are the toughest – I’ll be taking a chance or two on Kiradech this week.
One guy that I like as a really discounted player this week is Julian Etulain ($6,300 DK, $7,300 FD). When all you are looking for down in this range is to have your guys make the cut, look no further than Etulain, who has made his first 4 cut on of the season on the PGA Tour. He has also proven to be a tremendous putter, especially on poa greens like the players will find here at Riviera. Despite the fact that this field is a big step up in class for him, I’ll take a shot with him being able to make it to the weekend.
As always, thank you so much for giving my article a glance this week as you prepare for the Genesis Open. If you have any questions you would like to ask me about your lineup or about my article in general, join us on DPA Premium where you can get exclusive access to myself as well as the rest of our other experts for NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL.
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Until next time, enjoy a real event for a change – this one should be a real treat!