Golf Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy PGA Picks and Betting Guide for DraftKings & FanDuel – The Zozo Championship
Chris will be bringing you weekly PGA picks, analysis, and breakdowns to help you cash on DraftKings and FanDuel. As every week in DFS PGA changes with the course setup, field of players and weather, Chris will be providing a range of different picks for cash games as well as upside plays for tournaments. If you have any questions to lineup lock you can reach him a variety of ways. Leave your question/comment below in the comments section, find him in the DFSR Chat room or hit him up on Twitter(@Jager_Bombs9). Chris is also providing his DFS PGA Weekly cheatsheet where he provides stats, course history, current form, fantasy points, and much more. Grab your copy today and edge out the competition.
The Zozo Championship
This week the PGA Tour's Asian Swing continues with a brand new event, the Zozo Championship, hosted at the Acocrdia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan. This will be another small-field, no-cut event headlined by Rory McIlroy(#2), Justin Thomas(#4), Xander Schauffele(#8), and Tiger Woods(#10) who all rank inside the Top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings. They are also joined by 27 other players ranked inside the Top 50 OWGR bringing us the strongest field(average 81 OWGR) since the Tour Championship.
Not only is this a new event on a new course to almost all the players, but it is also a very unique setup. In terms of length, the Par 70 course is pretty standard at 7,041 yards but breaking it down there are five Par 3's and three Par 5's which does throw a bit of a twist into things(I love twists!). After studying the course with the help of the awesome flyovers on the ZozoChampionship website, players will face smaller than average fairways which will have some players using a "less than driver" strategy but that only goes so far as five of the Par 4's on this course come in over 480 yards. Ball striking is at a premium this week with the edge going to the approach and especially in the long iron department. The most interesting thing about this course is that every hole has two greens(only one used per round obviously) which gives the setup team a ton of combinations for pin locations each day.
The other big thing to track this week is the weather which could greatly affect the winning score and overall difficulty of this course. Using Windfinder, we see that winds are projected to get up Thursday afternoon and then climb even higher on Friday after(see forecast below). If this forecast stays relatively close to what we see now, I will be Strokes Gained: Around the Green/Scrambling a lot higher in my model. With that forecast combined with it being a new event/course I am projecting a winning score of around -11 this week.
Let's get into the picks.
Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club - Chiba, Japan
Par 70 - 7,041 Yards
**Click the image above to see a hole by hole breakdown from PGATour.com**
**Click the pic above to see an updated forecast from Windfinder.com.**
Top Stats in the Model
- Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
- 60/40 split on SG: Approach and SG: Off the Tee
- Strokes Gained: Around the Green(bump if the forecast stays windy)
- Par 4 Scoring
- Emphasis on the 450+ range
- Bogey Avoidance
- Birdie or Better %
Top Tier Targets
With a very strong field this week we get Tony Finau at an excellent price from a PTS/$ and fantasy pricing to odds differential standpoint. After finishing T7 at the Tour Championship, Finau traveled overseas finishing T51 at the BMW PGA Championship and followed that up with a T10 at the Alfred Dunhill Links. He then made his PGA Tour season debut at the Shriners and was very consistent shooting all four rounds in the 60's resulting in a T9 finish. Looking at the last 24 rounds data(via FNGC), Finau ranks 3rd in this field in SG: Ball Striking, 4th in SG: APP, 1st in Proximity from 175-200, 5th in Par 4 scoring in the 450-500 yard range, and to top it off the scrambling has been on point as he ranks 14th in SG: Around the Green in the sample size. All things considered, he is my top DFS play of the week.
With an event new to the Tour it only adds more variance to the equation making pivot plays even more viable for GPP formats this week. One player I will be focusing on is Patrick Reed who has a chance to be one of the lowest owned players in that top tier. This marks his first start on the PGA Tour in the fall season but he has been busy on the Euro Tour and has been trending in the right direction with finishes of T36, T15, and T4 coming into this week. While his stats overall don't jump off the page, he stands out a ton if the wind is going to play a role as he ranks 11th in SG: Total in windy conditions over the last 50 rounds(via FNGC) and is an elite scrambler(14th in SG: ATG last season) and above-average putter(44th in SG: Putting last season). I won't be going here in cash games but love it in GPP formats with the upside plus projected low ownership.
Mid Tier Targets
It has been a terrific start to the season for Adam Hadwin who finished runner-up at the Safeway Open and T4 at the Shriners. In those events, he has averaged a score of 67 per round on the back of his iron game which has produced a whopping 12.2 strokes gained on the field and even better, the flat stick has also been on fire as he has gained 8.3 strokes there as well. He is trending towards a win, Canadian(bias lol), and at these prices, I will have exposure in all formats.
The mid-range is packed with chalk plays but it will be hard to avoid a player trending the way Ryan Moore has been trending in the fall. He opened the season missing the cut at the Safeway but has since finished T13 at the Shriners and T8 last week at the CJ Cup. What really stands is that he ranks 1st in this field in fairways gained, 21st in ball-striking, 22nd in Bogeys Avoided, and 5th in Par 4 from 450+ yards over the last 24 rounds putting him easily inside the Top 20 in my model. At these prices, I will have exposure in all formats.
World Golf Ranking (#67)
Vegas Odds (66/1)
The putting is always going to be the issue with Conners but it is hard to ignore the ball-striking at these prices. Since opening the season with a missed cut at the Sanderson Farms Championship he has finished Top 15 in back to back events including a T12 at the CJ Cup last week. Going back into last season, Conners has gained strokes ball striking in eight straight events and looking at the last 24 rounds data, he ranks Top 20(in this field)in fairways gained, Par 4 from 450+ yards, opportunities gained, and birdie or better %. From a PTS/$ perspective, he is my top value play in this week's no-cut event.
Chris Durell has been playing Daily Fantasy Sports for six years and fantasy in general for more than a decade. He is an active player in college football, NFL, MLB, NASCAR, NHL and of course PGA. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife and two daughters. You can follow him on Twitter at @Jager_Bombs9 for advice, strategy, answers to any PGA questions and how he copes with the winters up north.