Golf Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

    Chris Durell

    Daily Fantasy PGA Picks and Betting Guide for DraftKings & FanDuel – Farmers Insurance Open

    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. Want more? He also provides a cheatsheet with stats, course history, current form, player write-ups for cash and GPP, a customizable model, and much more. You can get access to the sheet in the member's chatroom.


    The small California swing continues this week as the PGA Tour heads to Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open. As it always does, this year's event draws a loaded field led by Tiger Woods who has won this event seven times along with a victory at the 2008 US Open. Joining Tiger are Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, and defending champ Justin Rose, all of which rank inside the Top 10 in the Official World Golf Rankings. One of the big draws this season is the fact the South Course will host the 2021 US Open.

    Much like last week, we get a multi-course rotation but more traditional as each player will get a round at both Torrey Pines South and North courses before the cut(Top 65 & ties) is made on Friday. Those making the cut will then play their final two rounds on the South Course. Even with the renovation on the North course back in 2016 which opened the course up while adding over 200 yards in length, there is still a one to two-stroke difference in average scoring. This is especially important when playing Round 1 & 2 Showdown contests as you will want to concentrate most of your core on players playing the North course.

    In terms of stats and player profiles that fir the course, distance is king this week. It comes down to the fact that everyone is going to miss fairways(average driving accuracy just over 50% last five years combined) and then combine that with thick, penal rough and the bombers get an advantage using less of a club on approach. This all depends on the weather, of course, as windy conditions like we saw in 2016 can bring the shorter players back into play. This doesn't mean we shouldn't immediately dismiss shorter hitters, it just means tread lightly and make sure those players have good long irons especially from the rough and/or a good around the green game.

    Speaking of that weather, which can change how we approach key stats and ultimately build lineups, it appears the players are in for a treat as early forecasts show winds under 10 mph for the entirety of the event with temps in the mid 60's. As always with how much weather can change, especially on a seaside course, it will be important to monitor the forecast leading up to lineup lock.

    The Courses

    Torrey Pines(South)
    Par 72 - 7,698 yards
    Greens - Poa Annua

    Torrey Pines(North)
    Par 72 - 7,258 yards
    Greens - Bentgrass

    Previous Five Winners

    • 2019 - Justin Rose(-21)
    • 2018 - Jason Day(-10)
    • 2017 - Jon Rahm(-13)
    • 2016 - Brandt Snedeker(-6)
    • 2015 - Jason Day(-9)

    Top Stats in the Model

    • Strokes Gained: Off the Tee w/ emphasis on Driving Distance
    • Strokes Gained: Approach w/emphasis on Rough Proximity
    • Par 4 Scoring
    • Par 5 Scoring
    • Strokes Gained: Around the Green
    • Putting Performance on Poa Greens

    When breaking down the top stats I use a combination of my own cheatsheet and the tools over at FantasyNational.com.

    Top Tier Targets

    Hideki Matsuyama
    World Golf Ranking (23#)
    Vegas Odds (18/1)
    Draftkings ($9,900)
    FanDuel ($11,000)

    From a raw points perspective, Rory is easily my top golfer this week and pick to win but for cash games, I am going another direction and building around Hideki. He is #2 in my overall model and checks every box starting with a price tag under $10K on DraftKings. Since missing back to back cuts here in 2015 and 2016 Deki has seemingly figured this place out with a T33 in 2017, T12 in 2018, and T3 last year gaining 8.6 strokes tee to green. Looking at each player in the field's stats coming in, he also ranks 22nd in SG: Approach, 13th in Par 4 scoring from 450+ yards, 11th in Par 5 Scoring, 3rd in SG: Around the Green, and 1st in Bogey Avoidance. If he putts even just slightly above average this week he should be in contention on Sunday and is in play for me in all formats.

    Cameron Smith
    World Golf Ranking (#33)
    Vegas Odds (40/1)
    Draftkings ($8,700)
    FanDuel ($9,900)

    Smith is coming off his first career win(not counting the team event Zurich win in 2017) at the Sony Open where he closed with rounds of 65, 66, and 68 and while he struggled with his approach shots(-.8 for the week), he finished 3rd in Par 4 scoring and first in Strokes Gained: Putting. The approach shot has been an issue for some time(109th in this field over the last 24 rounds) but he more than makes up for it in other areas as he ranks(in this field) 13th in Par 4 scoring(27th from 450+ yards), 3rd in Opportunities Gained, 2nd in Birdies or Better Gained, 15th in SG: Around the Green, and 15th in Bogey Avoidance. Like Matsuyama, he has gotten better here with each trip finishing T33, T20, and T9 in his last three trips. At these prices, I will have exposure to Smith in all formats this week.

    Mid Tier Targets

    Ryan Palmer
    World Golf Ranking (#72)
    Vegas Odds (60/1)
    Draftkings ($8,000)
    FanDuel ($9,700)

    Palmer comes in at #5 in my overall model and looking at the sheet you can see why as he is one of just three players(McIlroy, Woodland) ranking Top 15 in all four categories(form, history, stats, DK scoring). Let's start with the form which has been spot on to start the season as he has made all five cuts with a Top 5, four Top 20's, and no finish worse than T37. Over his last 24 rounds, he ranks(in this field) 22nd in Par 5 scoring, 33rd in Par 4 scoring(16th from 450-500 yards), 24th in Sg: Off the Tee and 20th in Birdie or Better Gained. he now returns to Torrey Pines where he has posted finishes of T13 and T2 over the last two years, his only twp trips since a missed cut back in 2010. At these prices, he is in play for me in all formats this week.

    Lanto Griffin
    World Golf Ranking (#94)
    Vegas Odds (60/1)
    Draftkings ($7,900)
    FanDuel ($8,400)

    Like Palmer, Lanto first checks the current form box as he has had a phenomenal start to the season making eight of nine cuts, all of which have been Top 25 finishes including his first career win at the Houston Open. He also followed up his one missed cut(RSM Classic) by churning out two Top 15 finishes at the Sony Open and Tournament of Champions. Statistically, he stands out as well ranking(in this field) 5th in Par 5 Scoring, 19th in Birdie or Better Gained, 17th in SG: Around the Green and he has the distance to take advantage of this course averaging over 306 yards per drive. The PTS/$ floor is very high making him an excellent addition to a balanced cash lineup and he has flashed upside over and over making him a nice GPP play as well.

    Value Targets

    Carlos Ortiz
    World Golf Ranking (#147)
    Vegas Odds (175/1)
    Draftkings ($6,900)
    FanDuel ($8,800)

    For cash games, I am mostly sticking in the $7K+ range on DraftKings but if you are wanting to fit the McIlroy's, Rahm, and Tiger's of the world you are going to need to dip your toes down in the $6K range this week. One player that stands out right away is Carlos Ortiz who, since missing the cut at the Greenbrier to open the season, has reeled off seven straight made cuts including three Top 10 finishes. He also pops in my current starts model on FNGC ranking 9th in Par 4 Scoring(2nd from 450-500 yards), 26th in Driving Distance gained, 26th in Bogeys Avoided, 8th in SG: Around the Green, and 12th in SG: Putting on Poa greens. While I won't be using in cash, he sure does fit the profile if you are going more stats and scrubs and don't be afraid to fire him up for GPP's.

    D.J. Trahan
    World Golf Ranking (#308)
    Vegas Odds (300/1)
    Draftkings ($6,500)
    FanDuel ($7,800)

    There are other players I like more in this range in terms of upside and fantasy scoring but Trahan is one I would consider in a stars and scrubs cash build so here we are. What stands out the most is not the fact he has made six of seven cuts this season with a Top 10 and two Top 25's, it's his ball-striking which ranks 26th on my sheet(long term form) and 24th on Fantasy National(short term form) since the start of the season. He has the distance to take advantage of the long South course and the accuracy to not get into too much trouble. Not that he is bad in other areas but pretty much field average in all other stats.





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