All stats from Fantasynational.com!!! Ownership projections also provided by FantasyNational as well as data and trends from Fansharesports.com! Follow @fantasynational @fansharesports @sscherman
Go follow BigBucksNoWhammie (@BPSnow11 on Twitter) for an AMAZING course preview and please check out my 2018 recap and 2019 preview on amateurhourgolfpod.com for most exciting moments from last season, young guys I’m excited for in 2019, early Major predictions, and much more!
The real start of the 2019 PGA Season is here as the Tournament of Champions only featured 34 guys and this week we have a (mostly) full field with 140 teeing it up on the last stop of the Hawaii swing. Some quick notes about Waialae CC in Honolulu, HI: It’s arguably the easiest Par 70 of the year, features Bermuda greens, has an average green size of around 6,400 sq. ft., and while the rough is not incredibly penal, it’s worth noting that the driving accuracy is about 10% lower than the TOUR average (52% at Waialae CC compared to the 62% on TOUR). Guys who excel on Bermuda greens and are dialed in on their approaches from about 150-200 should be locked and loaded and on our radar this week. For a much more in-depth course preview, go check out Bucks’ preview on Gups Corner (@GupsCorner on Twitter).
Key Stats – Last 8, 12, 24, and 50 Rounds (courtesy of FantasyNational.com)
In order of importance (excluding SG: T2G since it’s ALWAYS key):
- SG: BS
- Opportunities Gained/BoB Gained
- SG: APP (Custom Blend of 150-200)
- Fairways Gained
- DraftKings Points Gained
- GIRs Gained
- SG: Par 4s
- Overall Proximity
Players I’m Targeting This Week (and my approximate exposures):
9K and Above:
Justin Thomas ($11,400): JT is going to be the mega chalk this week and while some may try to fade due to ownership, I think that’s insane. He’s the clear class of the field as he shines in every statistical category, has won here before (with a 59 in the opening round), and is coming off a 3rd place finish last week in which he lost putting. Pretty remarkable. The only area in which JT isn’t elite is Fairways Gained, in which he ranks 91st; however, as said above, the rough is not U.S. Open conditions and as long as JT avoids the bogeys, I see him pretty locked in for a 7th place finish or better. Minimum 75% exposure.
Paul Casey ($9,100): Only other guy I like above 9K is Casey who’s coming off a middling T16 at the Tournament of Champions with nothing glaring except that he gained strokes on approaches (1.1). Casey is known as a consistent player and I think this course suits him well as he ranks 19th in the SG: APP blend, 20th in SG: BS, 12th in DK Points Gained, and 12th in BoB Gained. As he finally got the monkey off his back last year with a win at Valspar, I see him continuing his fine form here and the rest of 2019. I will target between 30-40% exposure, depending on how ownership projections shake out.
Mid-Tier Options (7.0K to 8.9K):
Adam Scott ($8,300): We haven’t seen Scott in quite some time, with his last start coming at the WGC – HSBC in October, where he finished T18 after finishing T10 the week before at the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges. Scott also hasn’t played this event in a few years but does hold an 8th and a 2nd in 2014 and 2009, respectively. Without a doubt, Scott is one of the best ball strikers in the game and hits green at a very high clip; however, if he doesn’t have the cheater putter this week then all bets are off. Scott ranks 8th in BoB Gained, 8th in DK Points Gained, 12th in GIRs Gained, and 24th in SG: BS. I think he’ll end up getting some buzz and be around 15-18% owned but I think he’s a rather safe play and if he gets his putter going can storm to a T10 or better. I will target around 30% exposure.
Sam Ryder ($7,200): I love Sam Ryder and even though he’s cost me a few times, I think he’s immensely talented and on the stats side of things is an absolute stud. Ryder is 8th overall in my full model as he ranks 3rd in SG: T2G, 5th in SG: BS, 9th in Overall Proximity, 11th in the SG: APP blend, 18th in SG: Par 4, and 4th in Opportunities Gained/BoB Gained. He can be a little sporadic as his last 5 starts have gone: MC, 54th, 3rd, 43rd, 4th, but he has the talent to climb the leaderboard anywhere. I like Ryder a lot as a secondary core play and will target around 20-25% exposure and will adjust based on ownership.
Low Tier Options (Under 7K):
Shawn Stefani ($6,800): Nothing worse than having a guy like this pop in your model, especially in the stats category, but here we are with Stefani. To his credit, he’s played here 4 times before and does have a 6th place finish and stats wise, he ranks 6th in the SG: APP blend, 19th in GIRs Gained, 14th in Overall Proximity, 14th in Fairways Gained, and 17th in SG: BS. His current form isn’t the best as he’s missed 3 straight cuts after finishing 7th at Sanderson Farms in October. Stefani definitely isn’t a guy I would go massively overweight but he’s an interesting cash game saver and someone I’ll probably target 10-15% and hopefully be at least double or triple the field.
My Favorite Cash Game Plays
1) Justin Thomas
2) Paul Casey
3) Scott Piercy
4) Matt Kuchar
Fades for Me
Patrick Reed: Expecting ownership of around 10% for a guy who honestly hasn’t played that great and had a very lackluster effort last week
Cameron Champ: If Champ keeps gaining about 5 strokes a week putting he’ll go down as the greatest player ever and win 458 tournaments… no I don’t think that’s going to happen. Last week he lost -1.1 strokes T2G, lost -1.3 strokes around the green, and lost strokes on approaches. Something’s gotta give.
Jimmy Walker: Will get buzz since he won here back to back in 2014/2015 but hasn’t played well in a while and never know the status of his health.
Marc Leishman: I rarely play him anyway and he’s due some regression in his putting.
Bryson Dechambeau: Purely an ownership fade; he’s a stud and could win anyway but you have to make stands and can’t own all the top guys!
My DK Power Ranks – Generated using 45% Key Stats, 40% Recent Form, and 15% Course History
- Justin Thomas
- Gary Woodland
- Scott Piercy
- Matt Kuchar
- Bryson DeChambeau
- Paul Casey
- Emiliano Grillo
- Sam Ryder
- Chez Reavie
- Adam Scott
- Justin Thomas – 25%
- Gary Woodland – 22%
- Zach Johnson – 18%
- Charles Howell III – 15%
- Marc Leishman – 15%
Betting/One and Done
Wanted to add to this article to provide possible betting insights and some options for any One and Done pools that you’re in as well as some pivot options. Please note that these are not always one’s that I personally have bet; however, I will note when I have bet them and at what number. Hopefully you either find better numbers, fade me completely, or let me know who you’re betting!
Patrick Rodgers: 90/1
Pros: In good form, ranks 9th on SG: Par 4s, 9th in BoB Gained, Strong Overall Proximity
Cons: Didn’t play ToC (6/7 last winners played ToC), bad CH, 107th in Fairways Gained
Danny Lee: 80/1
Pros: In good form, 7th in SG: Par 4s, 11th in GIRs Gained, 15th in BoB Gained
Cons: My arch nemesis, 88th in Fairways Gained, he hates me, weak CH
Sam Ryder: 110/1
Pros: Great form, solid stats (see above), has a great name
Cons: Didn’t play last week, is a below average putter, not very strong in the wind
Paul Casey: 33/1
Pros: See above for stats/form, played last week, gained on approaches in 8 straight tournaments, putter has been cold, very strong wind player
Cons: Average on Bermuda grass, not an elite Par 4 scorer, average on Par 5s
One and Done: Note that not all chalk is bad but if you want to differentiate here are some options
Predicted “chalk” for OAD – Woodland, CH3, JT, Leishman, ZJ, Cameron Champ
Matt Kuchar: Averaging a 7th place finish in 7 starts here with 3 Top 5s
Kyle Stanley: Made the cut 6/6 times here, great ball striker/approach player
Sungjae Im: Amazing stats and has the ability to get HOT just about anywhere
Ian Poulter: Has putted horribly but done well T2G and APP; played last week and finished 18th despite losing -4.3 strokes putting
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