DRAFT PGA Value Watch: Sony Open

Each week, Justin Van Zuiden will list the players he is overweight (heavier exposure than the field) and underweight (lower exposure than the field) on. Dominate your DRAFT drafts with this cheat sheet from one of the best in daily fantasy sports!

Sony Open

Golfers I Am Overweight On

Justin Thomas and Gary Woodland – There’s a clear duo at the top for me in this event with Thomas and Woodland, as I don’t really like a lot of the other high-end players a ton. Thomas is a former champion of this event that seems to be the class of this field, while Woodland has been playing great golf for almost a full year now. You can even make an argument that Woodland could be considered as the top option. Some people might make the argument to fade Woodland after he “lost” the Tournament of Champions last Sunday, but that had absolutely nothing to do with Woodland’s performance. After all, he had a three shot lead heading into Sunday and shot a final round of five under par. In addition, he didn’t make a single bogey in that final round and hit all but one green in regulation. He simply got beaten by a ridiculously hot (and somewhat lucky) round by Xander Schauffele. Woodland did not choke, and he has four straight top 15 finishes at this event. I’ll rank them as Thomas #1 and Woodland #2, but I will be happy with either one as a first round pick on DRAFT.

Charles Howell – If he is available toward the back end of the second round in larger field DRAFT games, take advantage and add Howell to your roster. Howell has teed it up here 17 times, and he has made the cut every time. He has six finishes of fourth place or better despite never winning the tournament (two 2nd’s, two 3rd’s, and two 4th’s). Regardless of whether or not you weigh course history a lot, it’s hard to ignore those results. It’s even more eye-opening when you consider that Howell has been playing some of the best golf of his career over the past 6-8 months. He ranks fourth on the PGA Tour in ball striking so far in the 2018-2019 season, and he kicked off some rust with a decent performance at the Tournament of Champions last week after a rough first round.

Cameron Smith – The DRAFT projection on him is simply too low. I have him ranked as the #5 option in this field, and DRAFT has him far below that. Smith might be the hottest golfer on the planet that nobody is paying attention to right now. He’s notoriously streaky, too, so fire him up while he’s trending in the right direction. He finished 18th at this event a year ago. He finished 7th at the CIMB Classic in the fall swing. He returned to his native Australia and won the Australian PGA Championship at the start of December. Australian golfers are known for being more comfortable in events where the wind blows, so it’s no surprise that a lot of them tend to play well in Hawaii. Give him a look as a third round pick.

Stewart Cink – The veteran is a steady option that won’t tank your rosters, as he is generally a mortal lock to make the cut at an event like this one. He has made the cut in five straight editions of this event, with no finishes better than 20th and no finishes worse than 42nd. Take your top 35 and move on. Cink is a fine pick in the later rounds.

Steve Stricker – He’s a great fit to round out your roster in the final rounds of larger field DRAFT games. The 51 year-old Stricker is still capable of delivering the goods on the PGA Tour. At this stage, the veteran doesn’t play in a ton of Tour events any more, but he picks his spots on courses that suit his game, and Waialae is no exception. He has plenty of career success at Waialae with just one missed cut in more than ten trips to the venue to go along with two third place finishes and a fourth place finish. Stricker will pepper the fairways and greens and give himself a lot of chances to score. Despite his plodding nature, he’s one of my favorite back end selections of the week.

Golfers I Am Underweight On

Keegan Bradley – There is no way I can consider Bradley as a top five option in this field. Even though it isn’t the strongest field we will see this year, it’s strong enough to where it becomes a head scratching thing to see Bradley listed in the top five. I’m not targeting him in the first round of any DRAFT game.

Jordan Spieth – Even though his DRAFT projection keeps him as a second round option, there’s no doubt that some Jordan Spieth homer will end up drafting him in the first round if you are in an eight-person game. That’s just… not wise at this point. Spieth hasn’t hurt anyone that has faded him for about nine months now. He doesn’t have a top eight finish since last year’s Masters. If I lose this week because I didn’t play Jordan Spieth, so be it.

Patrick Reed – I was on the Reed bandwagon last week, and now I will make my exit. He is not a renowned ball striker, as he ranks 100th during the 2018-2019 season to date in that category. He ranked 168th last year. He has also never played here, and first-timers tend to struggle to find success at Waialae. I’ll pass.

Kevin Na – This is primarily a public service announcement for those who might not be paying close attention. Kevin Na withdrew with a finger injury prior to the tee-off of the Tournament of Champions, and it turns out that he is going to be sidelined for a month with a broken finger. DRAFT does not have him listed with an injury designation, so it’s buyer beware. Don’t be the one to get burned.

Ted Potter – He might get a little bit of traction as a final round value, especially from casual players who may have noticed that Potter made the Tournament of Champions last week. The bad news is that he played poorly at that event, and he rolls in with a string of three straight missed cuts in his last three trips to this event. Steer clear.

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