Josh Culp

DFS Dish

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DFS Dish: Genesis Open

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

With the dual-course events in the rear-view mirror, the DFS golf season is ready to rev things up. 

This week, we head to Pacific Palisades in California for the Genesis Open. 

Focusing on DFS specifically, let's go through some last-minute strategy tips that may help you reach the top of leaderboards this week. 

Course History
This is always a hot topic for fantasy golf gamers. Does it really matter? And how much does it matter? 

To start with, external factors like weather leading up to an event (and during an event) can create variance from a year-to-year perspective when it comes to course setup and how difficult the scoring environment is. It's important to see who plays well over a long stretch of time. That is tough to do when the sample is so small to begin with, wherein lies the problem with applying course history as a blanket stat. Thriving under different conditions, winds, etc. is a big plus when it comes to grading out course history. 

Another important aspect to consider is form entering an event. Does a golfer typically thrive on the West Coast Swing but is struggling ahead of this year's tournament? Or Vice Versa? Has a golfer's skills noticeable declined over the years? These are all important aspects to consider before blindly following a list of historical tournament results.

Lastly, how difficult is a course to prep for? Some courses have a steep learning curve while other courses are just right out in front of you, not requiring much knowledge to avoid trouble. This could involve knowing where to miss with your drives/approaches or it could involve knowing the intricacies of the greens, for example. 

As for this week, I think course history is very important. More specifically, course experience.  

"Local knowledge is very important, from previous times you can see a break going one way and the green book says another way and you have to trust your instincts and hit it." - Vijay Singh

That is one specific example but Phil Mickelson is another great case study. He finished T15 or worse in each of his first seven visits to Riviera CC. After that, things sort of clicked and he went RUNNER-UP --> WIN --> WIN over his next three trips. "When I came back in 2007, I lost in a playoff to Charles Howell and then won the following two years, I quickly fell in love with the place and started to appreciate it for its nuances."

Mickelson's story is not rare for golfers here at Riviera CC. Dustin Johnson finished T59 his first start here. Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker, Keegan Bradley, Paul Casey, Luke Donald, and Martin Laird all missed the cut in their debut. These are all names that now have loads of course success.  

Of course, there is also Tiger Woods, who never won at Riviera Country Club in 10 visits. That is the most he's played a course on TOUR  without winning.  

Recommendation: Personally, I will not be investing in any golfers making their course debut at Riviera Country Club. If you don't want to be that extreme, consider using course experience as a tiebreaker this week. 

Weather Update

Forecasts for the Pacific Palisades are calling for sunny conditions for the majority of the event with temps in the mid-60s for most of the week. 

Winds also appear to be dead calm, so we shouldn't be concerned with tee-time waves at all this week. 

Course Fit

Each week I will point out one angle to target, given the course/s in play for the week. This shouldn't be the only thing you look at, but something to consider if you need a tiebreaker.

This week's course uses poa annua greens which are common for the West Coast. They can be tricky and often get bumpy as the day progresses. 

Looking at performance on similar grass types since the start of 2014, the top 10 performers on a per-round basis looks like this: 

Dustin Johnson
Thomas Pieters
Jordan Spieth
Tommy Fleetwood
Justin Thomas
Paul Casey
Adam Scott
Phil Mickelson
Bubba Watson
J.B. Holmes

*Small samples for Pieters and Fleetwood. 

Other than raw performance, we can also look at who shows the biggest improvement on poa annua greens (versus their baseline). Using that as the criteria, the following names pop: 

Sangmoon Bae
Jhonattan Vegas
Charlie Beljan
D.A. Points
Dustin Johnson
Martin Laird
Scott Stallings
Patrick Rodgers
J.B. Holmes
Jonas Blixt

 As if you needed another reason to load up on World No. 1, Dustin Johnson. He easily tops the field (and world) when it comes to performance on poa annua putting surfaces. J.B. Holmes also appears on both lists, so don't be afraid to jump back on the Holmes train after a pair of missed cuts. 

Value Spotlight
Thomas Pieters The Belgian Bomber broke all the rules last year when a final-round 63 catapulted him into a runner-up finish here on his debut. The sneaky secret was that Pieters wasn't seeing Riviera Country Club for the first time in competition. Back at the 2012 NCAAs, Pieters actually lapped the field at The Riv, beating a star-studded field by three shots (over three rounds). It was love at first sight. 

After last year's big finish he said this, "I love Riviera. It just suits my eye. You want to keep playing the course almost. I just want to go out there right now and play some more, it’s so much fun to play."

With Riviera being a long track that forces you to hit loads of drivers (and doesn't punish most errant tee shots), it makes a lot of sense that Pieters would love it here. 

I have Pieters ranked inside my top 10 this week but he sits at 23rd in FanDuel's pricing and 24th on DraftKings. You can also easily pick him up on PlayDraft leagues with your 3rd, 4th, or 5th pick (depending on league size). 

Best of luck in all your contests this week! 

Josh Culp joined Rotoworld in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.
Email :Josh Culp

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