CareerBuilder Challenge DFS Golf Insights
It looked like the door was open for just about anyone to win this past weekend at the Sony Open in Hawaii. There were even some surprising performances by rookies such as Talor Gooch, Keith Mitchell, Austin Cook, Brandon Harkins, Nate Lashley, and many more. Jordan Spieth was a quadruple bogey and a couple of putts away from winning the tournament as well.
Brian Harman showed to be the rock-solid player everyone is expecting to see this year. There was also evidence that Webb Simpson, Chris Kirk, and Russell Knox could all be back, as they all finished T10 or better.
Nobody separated themselves from the field all weekend. By the time it went into a playoff between James Hahn and Patton Kizzire, a majority of the sports world had directed their attention toward the “Miracle in Minneapolis.” After six playoff holes that went deep into Sunday, Kizzire finally topped Hahn to earn his second win in just seven events to kick off his 2018 season.
Building a DFS Golf Lineup for DraftKings
When we look at the top of the board, most will gravitate toward Jon Rahm ($11,800), Brian Harman ($11,500), and Phil Mickelson (10,000). With Rahm clearly being the best player in the field, his price tag is somewhat justifiable. When a player gets near or over the $12,000 mark on DraftKings, I always find it hard to pay up for them because they almost always need to be a lock to finish in the Top 10 to return value. However, Rahm does provide a nice floor in a field in which he is the clear favorite. I also like that fact that Rahm has only missed four cuts in his 37 events played on Tour.
Brian Harman, on the other hand, is not a golfer that I am willing to pay over $11,000 for in any field. I know he is on an absolute tear as of late, posting five Top 10s in five events in 2018, but there are players who are much more intriguing. If you want to pay up for anyone in DFS Golf, the smartest move is to go up $300 and start your team with Jon Rahm.
Finally, Phil Mickelson does seem to be priced appropriately in this type of field. He is a cut-making machine and can contend in any event. Many will shy away from the fact that he hasn’t won since 2013. Well, here’s some good news for you, wins don’t matter all that much in DraftKings. Yeah, it’s a nice boost to pick the winner, but it’s just as beneficial to have a golfer who shows the type of consistency that Mickelson shows week in and week out. I think all three of these players will be very popular this week as people begin building their rosters.
If I am paying up at all this week, I will limit my exposure to Patrick Reed at $11,100 and Zach Johnson at $9,400. Looking at this field, there is almost no reason to pay up. A stars and scrubs lineup is always an option in DFS golf, but there are many solid options in the $7,500-$9,000 range. So many, that you could build a lineup of six players within this range. Those who start their team with Jon Rahm or Brian Harman are not able to afford many players from this price range.
When I look to the middle here, I have a hard time believing that Kevin Chappell is only priced at $7,700. He showed us last year that he is capable of winning and is already off to a solid start in 2018. Both cuts that Chappell has made on tour resulted in Top 25 finishes. Another player in a similar spot that could go overlooked is David Lingmerth ($7,800). Though he only finished the 2017 season with just one Top 10, he caught my eye when he went T12, T15, T21, T26, and T5 early in the summer. This streak occurred in the middle of Lingmerths 12-straight cuts made from late April to late August. Lingmerth has won on tour and has the ability to grind out cuts. Other options in this range include Bill Haas ($8,600), Russell Knox ($8,500), J.J. Spaun ($7,900), Brandt Snedeker ($7,700), and Adam Hadwin ($7,600)
For those going with the stars and scrubs approach, there are some very good value plays under $7K. The first name that caught my eye was Ben Martin ($6,900). He finished with a very respectable -14 under last week at the Sony Open, which was good enough for a T7. That makes two consecutive Top 25s for Ben Martin in his last two starts on tour, the last one being a T22 at The RSM Classic. Another golfer that will have a very low ownership is Dominic Bozzelli ($6,800). The Boz was hit or miss all of last season but showed solid form all four days in his return from an undisclosed injury last week. Almost half of the cuts he made in 2017 resulted in a Top 25, which included a solo third at the Valspar Championship, where he made a name for himself.
Mulligans of the Week
Tom Hoge – What got into Tom Hoge this past weekend? He held the lead longer than anyone in the field and looked as if he was going to go on and win it outright after the third round. Even though he didn’t end up holding on, Hoge showed that he can play in a talented field as his solo third and -16 under shocked everybody, naking him one of our Mulligans of the Week. This was already his second Top 10 thus far in the 2018 season. The 29-year-old opened as No. 46 in the reshuffle, but if he keeps this type of play up we’ll be seeing a lot more of him. It’s also good to see him in the field for the CareerBuilder Challenge.
John Peterson – Before a rough Saturday, John Peterson was very much in contention this weekend at the Sony Open. He currently does not have his card but is a couple of good outings away from earning it. Right now he is a major medical and after the Sony, he still needs 253 FedEx Cup points in his next seven starts on tour. For time being, Peterson will be as motivated as ever and we can bank on him playing in at least seven more events. The wait-and-see approach might be the way to go, but after this week he could only have six events remaining. Now might be the time to jump on him in deeper league