The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – WGC HSBC

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte November 4, 2015 07:40

Let’s just go ahead and get it out of the way; Danny Lee screwed us pretty good by withdrawing from the CIMB Classic with a blister last weekend. The first thing I heard on it was that it was a finger injury. Now, if I see a bone protruding from a hand, I am willing to concede that a withdrawal may be an appropriate course of action. Perhaps, even an ugly dislocation would suffice as a decent reason to exit the event and to seek proper medical attention. However, when Danny Lee tweeted out a picture of a blister on his hand, I had to remind myself once again that PGA golfers are not quite in the same ballpark of toughness as athletes from other sports. It soured what had been up until that point, a very solid weekend of picks, which included the winner, Justin Thomas, and Kevin Na, who finished in 3rd.

Outside of what we learned about Danny Lee, there are a couple of good lessons here to discuss. Lee was one of my favorite plays going into last week. His emerging tee to green play, solid iron play and reliable putting made him an easy pick, particularly on a scorers course. However, as I like to preach with cash games, you never want to be all in on anyone in a given week. Even in an event with no cut, you never know what may transpire to derail your hopes of winning. Although I very much wanted to start Lee across the board in my cash games, I held back and stuck to my rule of not using a player in more than two of my three cash game lineups on a weekly basis. My third team did well on the performances of Kevin Na and Brendan Steele, allowing me to recoup some of my losses and helping to limit some of the volatility in my bankroll.

Another valuable lesson, if you had not learned it already, is that it really is not worth risking a lot of your bankroll on events without a cut where there is a smaller field. You just do not get paid off as well when others make big mistakes in selecting their lineups the way you would if there were a cut. There were people who won big GPP events last week that had Jerry Kelly in their lineups. That would not have happened had there been a cut and those lineups more than likely would have struggled to earn back any money. Plus, with smaller fields, there is even more clustering than normal around the players that stand out the most in the field so that it is even harder to find those players who would otherwise be overlooked by owners.

What I want you to do for the week in terms of strategy is to keep your bankroll exposure small and to drop down a bit and to build more teams in smaller buy in events. If you play at the $9 level, focus more on the $3 GPP this week. If you normally do $3, drop down to the Quarter Arcade and build extra lineups. Take advantage of the opportunity to practice building a lot of lineups and also in choosing players that you know are going to be underowned. Start with our ownership projection tool and start building lineups that veer away from what others in the field are going to be doing. There is going to be a bit more variance for these types of events so give yourself the extra bullets to fire in the smaller events.

Finally, a good reason to pull back a bit is that the contests right now for GPPs just is not as appealing as during the regular part of the season. Without the $100,000 prize for the $3, there just are not going to be as many people entering the contests. It is already very time consuming to build dozens of lineups, so if the payoff is lowered, it does not always feel like it is worth the extra effort. Let DraftKings know that you are frustrated with how they have limited the size of the events over the last three weeks. This will mark the third week in a row that all the GPPs fill well before the event tees off. We understand why they are downsizing a bit due to the start of the NBA season and the fact that the NFL is in full swing, but there is now a specific group of players who love DFS Golf above other sports and are going to play regardless of how many other sports are going on at the same time. Let your voice be heard. We want to see the game expand in the next year so stick with it and send out a few e-mails or tweets to show your love for the game.

This week the Tour heads to China where the WGC HSBC makes its annual appearance at the Shensen International Golf Club in Shanghai. Make sure that you examine the last few years of the tournament with the exception of 2012. In the weeks leading up to this event, the tour made a few stops at courses that played much easier than the average courses throughout the season. That should change this week and we should start to see scores more in the normal range again as this Par 72, 7,266 yard course will not be producing scores in the -20 range. The course is longer than the last couple of weeks, but that is not to say that there are not a few scoring opportunities. With four Par 5 holes that the bigger hitters will be able to reach in two shots, scoring opportunities abound. However, the four Par 3 holes are all over 200 yards so while players will have chances to score on Par 5 holes, they will have to fight to hold steady for the Par 3 holes on the course. There are also a number of bunkers scattered around the course, and many of the holes have significant dog legs so we should have plenty of Shot of the Week candidates this weekend.

The key statistics that we are looking for this week are:

Strokes Gained Tee to Green
Birdie or Better Percentage
Par 4 Scoring
Greens In Regulation
Par 5 Scoring
Strokes Gained Putting

At this point in the season, looking at the stats on the PGA Tour page is not going to be a great help to us. The stats for this season only cover a couple events, and last season’s numbers are not quite recent enough to totally give us a true idea of how players have performed in the most recent of events. Fortunately, for FGI subscribers, we are working on a solution to this problem as we are working on segmenting statistics and will start to deliver them based on recent form so that you can compare and contrast them with how they look for the entire season. This should help in determining who is actually the best fit on a given week, particularly if the player had struggled through a portion of the season, thus ruining their overall numbers for the year. As you look at the players this week, it is okay to check out their numbers for the first couple of events, but also go back and flip through their previous seasons to get a better idea for their tendencies.

One of the best ways of evaluating players this time of year is to take a look at how Vegas sees the field each week. Combining the odds with early season stats and recent form is really helpful when working through the numbers. As the season wears on, the PGA season stats will become more and more reliable, but at this point in the year, it requires a little more leg work and dare I say, artistry, to rank the field and to come up with recommendations. Also, you really should be using the ‘Who’s Hot’ page, specifically for events like this where a number of European and Asian Tour regulars join field and we have little to rank them by other than how they have played in events around the world. These players represent a bigger risk, but also a bigger reward for those that do their homework ahead of time. This is the time of year when even some of the top fantasy players are still unfamiliar with some of these players so finding the ones that can jump in immediately and contribute can give you a nice edge in both cash games and GPPs. Much like last week, I will give you a few of those players who I believe will have immediate success.

Good luck this week with your lineups. Please remember that lineup lock takes place on Wednesday night at 6:45 pm Central Standard Time. Be sure to get your teams entered early in the day as the main GPPs are going to fill pretty easily. I am sure that there will be secondary contests, but obviously, the payoff on those is not nearly the same. Keep us informed as to how things are going for your teams and if any of you have a good shot of the week, tweet us a picture of you doing the shot and which player it is for and we’ll give you a shout out on our show next week. We had some great ones last week so keep them coming. It has been a lot of fun getting to know some of the new folks that have joined us recently.

Finally, we are into the last two months of 2015. When 2016 hits, we will be raising our prices, but not for those that have subscribed this year and maintained their subscription. If you have not already subscribed, do so now so you can lock in your rate today and be sure to let any friends out there know about us so that they can take advantage of this opportunity as well. We tend to send out swag to folks who bring in new subscribers so let us know if you helped us out and we’ll send you out a t-shirt as a sign of thanks and appreciation.

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Bubba Watson ($10,500) – Starting off at the top, Bubba Watson stands out as a nice spot to start building rosters this week. As the defending champion of the event, Bubba won the event in style last year, chipping in for eagle on the 18th hole of the last round to force a playoff where he then defeated Tim Clark. Bubba is long off the tee, one of the best tee to green players in the game and made big improvements to his putting game last season. His chipping and scrambling improved enormously last season and he will look to continue to elevate his game this season. He ended last season with a 5th place finish at The Tour Championship and a 10th place finish the week prior at the BMW. He may come in a bit rusty, but without a cut, we know he will have plenty of chances to score if he starts slowly. Bubba will be heavily owned this week so he may not make for the best GPP play, but he certainly works in cash games and I will have some exposure in GPP formats as well.

Dustin Johnson ($10,300) – DJ won the title here back in 2013 and fits a similar profile to Bubba Watson who won the event a year later. He led the PGA in driving distance last year and was 9th in Strokes Gained Tee to Green. People will remember him for the meltdown that took place at the US Open, but putting did improve as the season wore on. He had a victory at Doral last year and many other close calls, although he could be a bit erratic at times as well. He tends to show up and play well for the bigger events and was 5th on the tour in Birdie or Better Percentage so even if he does not win the event, he can still be one of the leaders in points for DraftKings. I like DJ for GPP play this week as the upside is there. I would avoid him in cash games just in case this is another weekend where he melts down after a round or two and does not put in much effort if out of contention.

Kevin Na ($9,500) – When Kevin Na pulled out his 3 Wood in the final round on the Par 5, 18th hole, down two strokes, I have to admit, I was incredibly disappointed. I realize the odds of Na getting on in two shots for an eagle putt were minimal, but he owed to himself to give it a shot and seeing him give up without a fight was really telling. Fortunately, we do not need a team with six players who finish in 1st place to win and with Na placing in the Top 3 for the first three events of the season, he is picking up a lot of points for his owners. His string of great play combined with a nice 20th place finish here last year make him a nice pick for cash games and GPPs. He has always been a good tee to green player as well as a good putter. While his putting has been a bit off so far, all other areas of his game are even better than before, particularly in hitting greens and in his iron play. He fits well again into cash games, but may be someone to fade in GPP formats as I anticipate very high levels of ownership for Na this week.

Justin Thomas ($9,400) – Thomas won the CIMB Classic last week and after a 3rd place finish at the Frys, he is the early leader in FedEx Cup points. Thomas was plagued by close calls and late meltdowns last year so I am very pleased that he was able to win for the first time in his young career. This should help to settle his nerves in future events where he finds himself in contention. While some would fade Thomas a week after winning, he fits the profile of a winning player at this event. He plays well tee to green, hits a lot of greens, plays all ranges of irons well and is one of the leaders in birdie or better percentage. In two events this year, his putting stroke is even better than last which will truly help to keep him in contention in events throughout the season. I really like him in cash games, but he will be the highest owned player in GPPs so fading him there could be the proper play as I do not see him winning in back to back weeks and in the higher priced GPPs, he could be owned by as much as 40% of the field.

Paul Casey ($9,200) – It still hurts to write him up week after week, but Paul Casey has certainly earned it with his consistent play and results throughout last season. In eight starts here, Casey has FIVE Top 10 finishes and has never finished worse than 20th. He did withdraw in 2009, but was in 12th place at the time of his WD. At his price, and with his history here, I think he is almost a must start in cash games, and I will have a fair share of him on my GPP rosters as well. He comes into the event having placed 24th last week, but also managing to score 97 DK points. Casey was one of the best ball strikers on tour last season and was 10th in Strokes Gained Tee to Green. Casey is a fantastic iron player from all ranges and his only weakness is his mediocre putter.


Louis Oosthuizen ($8,800) – Louis is always a bit of an enigma to me. His streaky play can take him from the bottom of the standing to the top within a couple of rounds. When he is on his game, he is unstoppable. The mystery is always Oosty’s health. He is one of several players with a history of withdrawing from events so there is always a little bit of risk in rostering him. However, he makes for a great GPP play this week as he is almost always overlooked by the rest of the field and he possesses the upside to finish in the Top 10 almost any week. He is a slightly lesser version of the players mentioned above with good tee to green skills, but with a slightly weaker, more streaky putter. His last start on tour, he withdrew from the Tour Championship, but he followed that up by playing fantastic golf at The Presidents Cup event a month ago so he appear to be healthy….currently.

Anirban Lahiri ($8,300) – Lahiri started slow last week at the CIMB, but finished strong and ended up in 21st place for the week which was his worst finish in his last six events, a stretch that includes four Top 10 finishes. He has a balanced game that works well on many different styles of courses. Plus, as he has continued to play with better competition, his nerves have seemed to calm down a bit. At $8,300, he works well for cash games, but I still believe that there are not that many people watching golf right now so he will be lightly owned and still work well in GPPs. Stick with players that are in form this week and you will be rewarded.

Matthew Fitzpatrick ($8,200) – If you have been paying attention to what we have been saying this week in our preview column and on our webcast, you already know about Fitzpatrick. The 21 year old phenom and former 2013 US Amateur winner has already claimed a victory this year in winning the British Masters to go along with FOUR (yes FOUR) other Top 3 finishes in recent events on the European Tour. This is the week to own him in all formats as he will still be somewhat unknown to other plays just the same way as Patton Kizzire, Smylie Kaufman and Emiliano Grillo were in previous weeks. I will own him highly in all formats.

Scott Piercy ($8,100) – Up until winning the Barbasol event last summer, Piercy had endured a bit of tough season never quite playing that consistently. However, in the last month of the year, his game picked up and he finished well in the at the BMW Championship and then started this season with two solid performances, to include a 7th place finish last week at the CIMB Classic. Piercy has traditionally been a good tee to green player, but is not a great putter. However, his game has been sharp as of late and he finished in 21st place here two years ago so there is plenty of upside for his price.

Chris Wood ($8,100) – There was a small amount of buzz around Chris Wood before the PGA Championship where he promptly missed the cut and headed back to the European Tour. Since that time, he has finished 4th at the Alfred Dunhill, 9th at The British Masters, 2nd in Portugal and 5th in Turkey last week. He also finished 39th in his lone start here back in 2013 so he offers a nice floor for cash games and the potential for upside given his recent strong play.

Charl Schwartzel ($8,100) – Last season was a struggle for Schwartzel who had a hard time getting on track. However, there were glimpses of improvement over the last couple of months with a 3rd place finish at The Wyndham and a 6th place finish at The Frys to open this season. In seven starts here, Schwartzel has three Top 10 finishes so he is the sort of player we are looking for in GPP formats this week as I think he will probably get overlooked by owners, but has high upside potential. If he can recapture his tee to green game of recent years, he has the ability to do very well this season.

Daniel Summerhays ($7,300) – Few players on tour can equal the recent form of Daniel Summerhays who seems to improve on his finishes with each passing week. After a mostly disappointing 2015 season, Summerhays came to life in the FedEx Cup Playoffs with back to back top 10 finishes to start things off. This season, he started with a 32nd place finish at the Frys, then a 16th place finish at The Shriners and then a 14th place finish at The CIMB Classic last weekend. He is making his debut here this week and while he does not possess the skills of some of the bigger hitters off the tee, I live by the rule that form trumps stats so I am sticking with him this week as I think he’s a solid value for the price.


Soren Kjeldsen ($7,200) – If you have been a subscriber long enough, you will recall that I have been a fan of Kjeldsen for awhile going back to the PGA Championship where he missed the cut as one of my deep sleeper picks of the week. Since then, he has been on a nice roll in European events with three Top 10 finishes in his last four starts. He finished in 10th place in his last start here back in 2009 and will be a name that most folks gloss over in their research.

David Lingmerth ($7,000) – The key to this recommendation is that we are going to get four rounds from Lingmerth. All four of the rounds will not be good. That much I am sure of. However, Lingmerth is the type who can have one awful round and three incredible rounds and end up putting together a nice weekend. The last time he played in a WGC event, he took 6th place. He was great during the summer months and looked solid heading to the FedEx Cup playoffs before squandering his momentum and missing the cut in his first two events. Fantasy owners have long memories and most will still be off of him this week, but he turned in a 14th place finish last weekend to get this season off to a good start. There really are not any players down around this price that you are going to be able to trust, so in this case, I have selected a player with a high ceiling.

Matt Jones ($6,900) – The bottom of the salary range that I considered this week came in at $6,900 with the last two players that I like this week. Matt Jones is a good, but not great player out of Australia. He is a pretty low risk play considering his price and although he finished 53rd here last year, he would only need a slight improvement to make value for the week. He has been an okay tee to green player over the years and up and down with his putting. He ranked 18th in Par 5 scoring last season and 15th in birdie or better percentage so I do not mind taking a couple of shots with Jones in GPP play.

Chris Kirk ($6,900) – After winning the Crowne Plaza in May, things were headed in the right direction for Kirk, but an injury derailed him and slowed him up the rest of the season. Typically, he has good balance between his tee to green game and his putting game, but last season, the numbers were off in part due to the injury. However, I don’t think it would be too far of a stretch to see him return to the form he had in both 2013 and 2014. He took 14th place he last year so this is a high risk, high reward type of play. Given his rough play recently, I think owners will stay away so he could be the player that helps you diversify your lineup this week.


Danny Lee ($7,700) – I spent the opening paragraph badmouthing him, but I have trained my memory to be short. Lee withdrew last week with a blister, but my thought is that he could have toughed it out had he been in contention. My thought is he wanted to give the blister extra time to heal before the more prestigious WGC event this week. In Lee, we get a nice discount on a very talented player who can pile up points in a hurry when everything is clicking on all cylinders. Owners will probably avoid him due to the withdrawal last week and with the discount, we have a nice opportunity. Watch his Twitter account for updates and make sure he does actually appear to be recovered, but the upside is there to make him worth the risk this week.

Good Luck!



Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte November 4, 2015 07:40

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