PGA DFS Core Plays - DraftKings & FanDuel: Farmers Insurance Open

Top-ranked DFS player, Notorious, breaks down his favorite PGA DFS plays at various salary ranges for the coming week’s golf tournament. Who should you be building around? Find out below.

Farmers Insurance Open

While I wouldn’t call last week a complete failure, it was my first losing main slate of the year. The decision to play Patrick Cantlay over Jon Rahm was costly and Cameron Davis really disappointed. Jason Day, Andrew Putnam, Adam Hadwin, and Cam Young were all solid selections, but none of them were able to crack the top 10 (which was needed for the bets). We’ve been at this long enough to know that bad weeks are going to happen in golf betting/DFS. We dust ourselves off and look forward to the Farmers Insurance Open.

If you didn’t like the three-course rotation last week, perhaps you will like the two-course rotation this week. Torrey Pines will host the event with the South Course being played for three of the four rounds. This is a true test of golf, as it’s a Par 72 that stretches to nearly 7,800 yards. This course hosted the 2021 U.S. Open and is routinely one of the top five most difficult courses on the PGA Tour. The fairways are hard to hit, the greens are hard to hit, the scrambling success rate is low, and the three-putt percentage is high. Essentially, all aspects of a golfer’s game will be tested at the South Course.

The North Course will only be played for one of the four rounds and is a polar opposite of the South Course. While it is a Par 72, it is just under 7,300 yards. We don’t have any ShotLink data for the course, but it routinely plays as one of the 10 easiest courses on tour. The winning score of the event is usually somewhere in the mid-teens (depending on weather) and a large portion of that winning score is accumulated on the one round from the North Course. Scoring and length are not the only differences, as the North Course features bentgrass greens while the South Course has very tricky poa annua greens.

There are 156 golfers in the field this week and there will be a cut after the first two rounds. I’m focusing most of my attention on golfers that fit well with the South Course, as it will be played for the majority of the rounds. Driving distance isn’t a must, but it is certainly a premium this week. Additionally, long iron play will be critical to success. Most of the approach shots will come from 150-225 yards, so this won’t be a wedge fest like we have seen from other events this year. Birdies are always important for DFS scoring, but this screams bogey avoidance to me. Limit mistakes, hit greens, and make as many pars as possible.

One final angle that I wanted to bring up is the weather. The forecast could always change, but we are expecting very little wind for three of the four rounds. However, there are potential 30+ MPH gusts for the second round. This brings up an interesting debate. Do golfers playing the easy course in the wind or in the calm conditions have more of an edge? On the one hand, playing the North Course in little wind will lead to some very low scores. On the other hand, playing the South Course in 30 MPH gusts could lead to some huge blowups. I’m not sure which wave will have an edge, but I do think one will come out on top. I love the idea of building course stacks on both sides in tournaments.

Oh… and lineups lock on Wednesday! Make sure to set your lineup early in the week just in case you forget about the day early start time.

Model Video & Download Link for the Farmers Insurance Open

Tournament Info

Field Size:

  • 156 golfers

Cut Rule:

  • Top 65 and ties move on after the first two rounds

Weather Forecasts

Core Plays

Will Zalatoris

DK: $9,700 — FD: $11,100

SG: OTT — 5
SG: APP — 2
Bogey Avoid — 4
SG: ATG — 57
SG: Putting — 74
Noto’s Rating — 93.3

Am I going to regret not making Rahm a core play this week? There’s a good chance of that happening. While he’s the clear favorite and while he has two wins at this course, he is $1,100 more expensive than the next closest golfer on DraftKings and $600 more expensive than the next closest golfer on FanDuel. We also have a very strong second tier of golfers and very few punts that we can fill good about. For all of these reasons, I like starting in the $9,000 range on DraftKings.

Zalatoris is known for his ability to play well on difficult courses. He has even said that he has a better chance at majors than he does in some of these birdie-fests. He’s an excellent ball striker and he hits a ton of greens. Hit putter can be hit or miss from short range, but he does make his fair share of long putts. Torrey Pines is a tremendous golf course for his game and it’s no surprise that he nearly won here last year. He’s been able to shake off the rust with two starts already this year, finishing T11 at the Tournament of Champions and T36 at the American Express.

Jason Day

DK: $8,800 — FD: $10,500

SG: OTT — 41
SG: APP — 38
Bogey Avoid — 15
SG: ATG — 25
SG: Putting — 31
Noto’s Rating — 77.3

According to Google, there are at least 100 billion stars in our galaxy. It’s truly mind-blowing when you think about it. Anyway, all of those stars seem to be aligning for Day this week. I’ve written a lot about his swing changes to help relieve some of the torque on his back. In interviews, he’s talked about the major improvements in his health and his ability to practice a lot more because he’s not always in pain. The results have certainly followed, as he’s rattled off five top 25 finishes in his last six starts (gaining 22 strokes ball striking during that stretch). He now returns to what might be his favorite course on tour. Over the last 10 years, he has two wins and four more top 10 finishes at this event. Even with no incoming form last year, he founds himself in contention. It’s time for Day to get back in the winner’s circle.

Conviction Plays

Maverick McNealy

DK: $8,600 — FD: $10,200

SG: OTT — 66
SG: APP — 102
Bogey Avoid — 32
SG: ATG — 77
SG: Putting — 3
Noto’s Rating — 73.3

During the swing season, I was banging the fade McNealy drum as loud as possible because his putting felt unsustainable. In fact, he gained 6.5, 3.3, 6.2, and 10.5 (!!) strokes putting over his last four events before the end of the year. He was losing strokes tee to green and finishing in the top 20 because he couldn’t miss on the greens. I’m not sure the putting can continue, but I do expect some improvement with the ball striking. McNealy grew up and went to college in California and has played his best on very long golf courses. He’s played here four times and has three top 30 finishes on his resume. He fits nicely into the balanced builds this week.

Justin Rose

DK: $8,100 — FD: $9,700

SG: OTT — 54
SG: APP — 63
Bogey Avoid — 94
SG: ATG — 89
SG: Putting — 13
Noto’s Rating — 71.1

A few years ago, Rose cost me a chance at winning the Fantasy Golf World Championship. All I needed from him was to make the cut and I believe he missed on the number because he couldn’t make any of his six-foot putts that week. I’ve tried to target him every now and then since and I’ve gotten the same result. However, 2023 is a new year and I just turned 36. I’m too old to hold any grudges. Rose is incredibly volatile, but this is a course that treats veteran golfers well. In his last five trips here, Rose has won and has three more top 10 finishes. He’s not a player that we should look to in cash games, but he offers a very high floor for GPPs.

Ryan Palmer

DK: $7,500 — FD: $9,200

SG: OTT — 39
SG: APP — 103
Bogey Avoid — 106
SG: ATG — 54
SG: Putting — 96
Noto’s Rating — 59.8

Sticking with my theme of veterans that seem to always play well at Torrey Pines, Palmer fits the mold. He had a very disappointing 2022 year of golf, but he gained over four strokes ball striking at the Sony Open and made the cut. He’s always a player that tends to perform his best in the first few months of the season and I’m hoping his poor projection keeps ownership at a reasonable level. In his last five trips here, T21 was his worst finish and he had two runner-ups during that stretch.

Gary Woodland

DK: $7,400 — FD: $9,200

SG: OTT — 30
SG: APP — 25
Bogey Avoid — 24
SG: ATG — 108
SG: Putting — 72
Noto’s Rating — 66.0

Another pick and another veteran with a nice track record at Torrey Pines. The last time we saw Woodland he was missing the cut at the Sony Open. While not ideal, he battled back in his second round and nearly did enough to stick around for the weekend. His 2022 year was full of missed cuts and high-end finishes. The exact type of golfer that we like to target in tournaments. He’s a good ball striker and he’s made 11 of 12 cuts at this event in his career. He’s also very comfortable on poa annua greens, as he won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Matthew NeSmith

DK: $7,100 — FD: $8,600

SG: OTT — 57
SG: APP — 9
Bogey Avoid — 46
SG: ATG — 86
SG: Putting — 64
Noto’s Rating — 66.7

NeSmith was one of my favorite value plays last week and he started on the easiest course of the three that were in rotation. He shot a 75 while everyone else was out there shooting in the low 60s. He managed to battle all the way back to within a stroke of the cut line over the next two days. I was impressed with the bounce-back and he’s always a player that has good results on the West Coast swing. He’s an excellent iron player and he’s never missed a cut at this event.

PGA Betting Card

To compare odds across sportsbooks, check out the Scores and Odds golf page.

Last week: -13 units

Season total: -1 unit

This week: 5 units in play

Farmers Insurance Open

Outright:

Will Zalatoris +1800 (DraftKings)
Jason Day +2800 (PointsBet)

Top 10:

Jason Day +240 (DraftKings)
Justin Rose +500 (DraftKings)

Top 20:

Jason Day +110 (DraftKings)

Image Credit: Imagn

Meet the Experts Content Posting Times

Top-ranked DFS player, Notorious, breaks down his favorite PGA DFS plays at various salary ranges for the coming week’s golf tournament. Who should you be building around? Find out below.

Farmers Insurance Open

While I wouldn’t call last week a complete failure, it was my first losing main slate of the year. The decision to play Patrick Cantlay over Jon Rahm was costly and Cameron Davis really disappointed. Jason Day, Andrew Putnam, Adam Hadwin, and Cam Young were all solid selections, but none of them were able to crack the top 10 (which was needed for the bets). We’ve been at this long enough to know that bad weeks are going to happen in golf betting/DFS. We dust ourselves off and look forward to the Farmers Insurance Open.

If you didn’t like the three-course rotation last week, perhaps you will like the two-course rotation this week. Torrey Pines will host the event with the South Course being played for three of the four rounds. This is a true test of golf, as it’s a Par 72 that stretches to nearly 7,800 yards. This course hosted the 2021 U.S. Open and is routinely one of the top five most difficult courses on the PGA Tour. The fairways are hard to hit, the greens are hard to hit, the scrambling success rate is low, and the three-putt percentage is high. Essentially, all aspects of a golfer’s game will be tested at the South Course.

The North Course will only be played for one of the four rounds and is a polar opposite of the South Course. While it is a Par 72, it is just under 7,300 yards. We don’t have any ShotLink data for the course, but it routinely plays as one of the 10 easiest courses on tour. The winning score of the event is usually somewhere in the mid-teens (depending on weather) and a large portion of that winning score is accumulated on the one round from the North Course. Scoring and length are not the only differences, as the North Course features bentgrass greens while the South Course has very tricky poa annua greens.

There are 156 golfers in the field this week and there will be a cut after the first two rounds. I’m focusing most of my attention on golfers that fit well with the South Course, as it will be played for the majority of the rounds. Driving distance isn’t a must, but it is certainly a premium this week. Additionally, long iron play will be critical to success. Most of the approach shots will come from 150-225 yards, so this won’t be a wedge fest like we have seen from other events this year. Birdies are always important for DFS scoring, but this screams bogey avoidance to me. Limit mistakes, hit greens, and make as many pars as possible.

One final angle that I wanted to bring up is the weather. The forecast could always change, but we are expecting very little wind for three of the four rounds. However, there are potential 30+ MPH gusts for the second round. This brings up an interesting debate. Do golfers playing the easy course in the wind or in the calm conditions have more of an edge? On the one hand, playing the North Course in little wind will lead to some very low scores. On the other hand, playing the South Course in 30 MPH gusts could lead to some huge blowups. I’m not sure which wave will have an edge, but I do think one will come out on top. I love the idea of building course stacks on both sides in tournaments.

Oh… and lineups lock on Wednesday! Make sure to set your lineup early in the week just in case you forget about the day early start time.

Model Video & Download Link for the Sony Open

Tournament Info

Field Size:

  • 156 golfers

Cut Rule:

  • Top 65 and ties move on after the first two rounds

Weather Forecasts

Core Plays

Will Zalatoris

DK: $9,700 — FD: $11,100

SG: OTT — 5
SG: APP — 2
Bogey Avoid — 4
SG: ATG — 57
SG: Putting — 74
Noto’s Rating — 93.3

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About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in RotoGrinders.com’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

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