It's nice to get back to single-course events with a moderate-sized field.
That's what we have this week for the Genesis Open which is played at Riviera Country Club with a field of 144 golfers.
With Top 70 and Ties making it through the cut, that means that getting 6-of-6 through the cut line will still be tough, but way easier than last week when it was a field of 156 golfers and only the top 60 and ties played on Sunday.
For DFS purposes, that means balanced lineups and stars-and-scrubs lineups are both very viable this week. With a return to a single course we can also look at the weather to see if there are any potential tee-time advantages. Let's have a look at that weather angle then look at DRAFT.com values, and then see who might fit the course.
Thursday (R1): Rainy, breezy, and cool. High of 63 degrees with Winds from the SW around 15 MPH. Gusts at 20-to-25 MPH.
Friday (R2): Mostly cloudy with a high of 61 degrees. Winds from the WSW at 8 MPH. Gusts around 15 MPH.
There is no avoiding this rain on Thursday, it's just a matter of how hard the course will get hit...and when. Winds are expected to pick up in the afternoon which would put the Thursday PM wave at a disadvantage but if the rain delays play then the Thursday PM wave may get pushed into Friday with much-better conditions.
After Thursday, it looks like the threat of precipitation is minimal so we shouldn't see a repeat of last week's hail storm at Pebble Beach.
The best part about season-long leagues is the draft. You don't get that same rush with normal DFS contests but there is hope still. DRAFT has come along to fill that void and I'm having a lot of fun playing in their weekly golf drafts.
The first place to start is to build your pre-draft rankings for the week. I will point out a few golfers I think are overvalued in the raw rankings and a few that are undervalued in the raw rankings.
Rafa Cabrera Bello (76.38 Projected Pts): RCB posted a strong finish last week on what he calls his favorite course in the world (Pebble Beach). Now he heads over to Riviera for a second look at the California course. He finished T26 here in his debut last year. While his overall talent may be deserving of this high rank, there is a concern about his performance on fast greens. Looking at his PGA TOUR starts on greens with a stimp higher than 12 feet, he's posted just six top 25s in 22 tries. That's not so bad, a 27% strike rate but it looks worse when you see his top-25 rate in all other PGA TOUR events is 23-for-52 (44%). As a long-time Euro Tour talent, it may be tougher for him to adjust to this quicker greens speeds. It's possible that he improves now that he's seen it more but in the mean time I will gladly pass on weeks like this.
Kevin Na (64.24 Projected Pts): It may be tempting to ride the hot course history with back-to-back top 5s here from Na. I say 'not so fast.' Before those top 5s, Na had posted five straight finishes at Riv that landed outside the top 60. Those top 5s were aided by 5+ strokes gained putting both times, not something I'd want to depend on. More recently, Na lost 4.2 strokes on approach at the WM Phoenix Open and he's battled a pinky injury still.
Sergio Garcia (49.25 Projected Pts): That Spaniard has top 25s in seven of his 11 visits to Riviera. He rattled off seven straight international top 10s before his recent controversial DQ at Saudi Arabia. That DQ makes him a wildcard but Garcia has dealt with plenty of controversy of his career so I'm suggesting he doesn't belong in this bargain tier. I will boost him up into my top 25 for sure.
Jason Kokrak (65.84 Projected Pts): The old adage says form is temporary but class is permanent. This is a case of riding the temporary form as Kokrak enters the week with three straight top 20s. Adding to his appeal, he was the 36-hole leader here at Riv during the 2016 edition, ultimately finishing in a tie for second. When good form meets good history, you have to give it a long look.
Another week in California means another week on poa annuagreens. Some golfers love to battle with this turf while others try to avoid it at all costs.
Looking at sample-adjusted performance on poa annua since the start of 2014, the top 15 performers on a per-round basis looks like this:
Other than raw performance, we can also look at who shows the biggest improvement on Poa Annua (versus their baseline). Using that as the criteria, the following names pop:
Kyle Stanley: I've already mentioned Jason Kokrak above but he'd also fit nicely in this spot. Instead, I will go with an out-of-form Stanley as a good value option for GPPs. The elite ball-striker posted a T22 at the Sony Open before back-to-back missed cuts at the Farmers and WM Phoenix Open. He lost more than 15 strokes to the field in those four rounds played. However, he hasn't lost strokes to the field in three straight events since the end of the 2017 season. From a long-term standpoint, he's one of the 20 best iron players in the field which is the key area I'm focusing on this week. I am expecting a big bounce back from the Clemson product and I think he'll do it with extremely low ownership in DFS contests.
Best of luck in all your contests this week!