Waste Managment Phoenix Open DraftKings Fantasy Golf Picks & Plays
Welcome back to another week of DraftKings PGA DFS. @DFSJimmie here to give you the full report on the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. Phoenix is one of my favorite places in the world, and this is one of the biggest party stops on the tour (at least for the crowd). Get ready for tough-to-hit fairways, firm greens, a stacked field, and an exciting closing stretch of holes all set against a divinely picturesque desert backdrop. Its stands overflowing with drunken college students and Scottsdale socialites alike, The Waste Management Open at TPC Scottsdale lives on as one of the best weeks in all of golf. Let’s get started.
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TPC Scottsdale sits in the northeast corner of the Valley of The Sun, otherwise known as Phoenix. It’s a Par 71 that plays just over 7,200 yards and has historically averaged -0.78 strokes under par. After renovation in 2014, TPC Scottsdale got a bit tougher and only averages -0.34 strokes under par these days.
Its Bermuda greens are over-seeded with Rye/Poa this time of year. This over-seed seems to be the reason poor putters have found ways to succeed at this track over the years. Let’s be honest; any course that Hideki Matsuyama can win twice doesn’t require elite putting. Instead, this course requires a solid game off the tee and deadly accurate approach shots. TPC Scottsdale favors a strong T2G game. How much more important is ball-striking compared to putting this week? See the chart below.
Like I said, great ball strikers are at a premium here.
Let’s move to the chart below and see the breakdown for TPC Scottsdale in terms of scoring. You can find my in-depth scorecard breakdown here.
From a scoring standpoint, the key to success at TPC Scottsdale are the Par 5s. Accounting for 30 percent of the DK points scored and playing a full stroke under par, Par 5 scorers will be the ones to target this week. The Par 4s are basically there to eat up strokes, playing over par as a group and offering only one Par 4 (#17), which is less than 400 yards and plays consistently under par. It’s coincidentally part of the closing stretch of holes, which averages close to a half stroke under par and has the ability to swing the outcome of this tournament in the final holes. In short, it’s always an exciting finish at TPC Scottsdale!
- Birdie or Better/DK Points
2. Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking
3. Par 5 550+ yds Scoring
4. GIR Gained or GIR+F
5. Par 4 Scoring (400-450 & 450+)
PGA DFS Players:
Top Tier: $11.5K – $10.3K
Hideki Matsuyama ($11.5K) – With his elite course history, stellar T2G game, and a hot round to close out Sunday at The Farmers, Hideki Matsuyama is tough to ignore as the favorite. Having never finished worse than fourth here and sporting the best all-around T2G game on the tour, look for Deki to heat up. At his price, he needs to top three or a win to pay off. I like his chances this week.
Rickie Fowler ($10.4K) – His MC last week might keep some away. Yet the past two years, Rickie Fowler missed the cut at Torrey and went on to second- and fourth-place finishes the following week in Phoenix. Thus, I’m not too concerned. Once again, focusing on the T2G angle here, Rickie is the best driver of the golf ball in this field. He also has a deadly approach game, as well as being the best scrambler in the field. And he’s just clutch in general. Look for Rickie to bounce back this week at a course that really suits him well.
Justin Thomas ($11K) – Justin Thomas started the year off with another win at 9 Bridges. Then, he sort of took it easy with mediocre finishes. He’s a high-risk, high-reward player who missed the cut here the past two years but previously notched a 17th in 2015 with some hot iron play. At Sony, Thomas’ irons encouragingly came back around. He gained 4.5 strokes through his approaches. JT will likely go less owned than he should, and I expect him to make the cut and be worth his price in GPPs.
It’s tough to find a reason to fade any of these guys. With some cheap options down low, you can stack two of the higher-price golfers if you are looking for a stars-and-scrubs approach to lineup construction.
Other to consider: Jon Rahm
Mid Tier: $9.7K – $8K
Daniel Berger ($9.5K) – Daniel Berger is coming in off three consecutive finishes inside the top 15. He’s clearly in form and ready to improve on his impressive past three years at TPC Scottsdale. He previously posted a top 10 in 2015, a 58th in 2016, and a T7 last year. Consistently making cuts at this track and sporting some improved consistency off the tee so far this year, Berger is looking to snag a win outside of the St Jude & TPC Southwind this season to really establish himself among his peers. This could be the spot for him. If he is in contention Sunday, I love his odds to win from two or three strokes back. Berger is the kind of guy who makes a $20 bet with $10 in his pocket and always plays to win.
Webb Simpson ($8.5K) – Like I’ve said in previous articles, I have a strict No Webb Rule. That said, he does genuinely seem to have improved his putting, and his T2G is as good as always. I am chalking up Webb’s recent struggles to his being a bit tired after a trip to Hawaii and back. Ultimately, I will break my No Webb Rule and roster him a good bit this week. His elite T2G game is exactly how to attack TPC Scottsdale. Plus, Webb has had success here in the past, finishing top 15 or better his last four visits, including second place last year. Webb’s only downside is that he will be chalky at his price.
Matt Kuchar ($8.4K) – Matt Kuchar is the prototypical steady golfer who excels at being consistent. Kuchar is priced right and is a back door top 10 machine. He posted a top 10 last time around here as well. His skillset is built for golf courses like this, and his renovated putting grip is producing results. Look for another solid outing from Kuchar.
Austin Cook ($8.3K) – Austin Cook is red hot right now as he makes his way through his rookie campaign on the PGA Tour. He’s posted consistent top 20-25 results after his first win. Rating well tee to green and in the models, Cook is a solid play at $8.3K with plenty of upside.
Others to consider: Ryan Moore, Harris English, Byeong Hun An, Alex Noren
Value Tier: $7.9K and Lower
Ryan Palmer ($7.9K) – I mentioned a few weeks back that I saw a spark in Ryan Palmer during his first round at the TOC. That flash turned into a bang last week at the Farmers. This week, we could be looking at an explosion. Palmer’s game looked solid throughout, and his approaches were on the money all day. Palmer has shown well at this event in the past, and I expect him to pick up right where he left off Sunday, on his way to another solid week.
Zach Johnson ($7.7K) – Ranked lucky 13 in my model this week, Zach Johnson is criminally under-priced for a guy who’s found his game off the tee through the swing season. Even more, he finished inside the top 15 at TPC Scottsdale the past three years. I expect him to be very chalky this week, but I also expect him to play well and find another top 15 finish. He could even contend for the win on Sunday. Zach’s solid long irons and impressive wedge game are the foundations of his course management and efficiency.
J.J. Spaun ($7.5K) – If you just keep knocking at the door, someone will eventually open it, right? J.J. Spaun is in the boat right now, playing consistently well especially with his approach game and just knocking on the door of some really low rounds if he can get a few putts to drop. I am looking for Spaun to continue his good play and back up his solid outing last year.
Others to consider: Cam Smith, Bud Cauley, Ryan Armour, Brian Stuard, Beau Hossler, William McGirt, John Peterson, Peter Uihlein
That does it for the Waste Management Open breakdown. Good luck this week, and I’ll see you next for Pebble Beach Pro-Am at Pebble Beach and its two sister courses as the tour jumps back to the California coast.
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