Fantasy PGA Preview: Farmers Insurance Open

As the Pacific Northwest collectively mourns the loss of logical playcalling, Super Bowl 49 will go down as a classic murder mystery. Of course in the end, it was the Butler, with the pick in the endzone, that did it. Nobody got to hear Marshawn Lynch “Roar”. Pete Carroll thought he could “play with magic”, but Malcolm Butler showed why he is a “Dark Horse” hero. It all resulted in Tom Brady dancing like a “Californian Gurl”, and Russell Wilson pondering about “The One That Got Away”. Then it got all creepy when Bill Belichick “kissed a girl” and sort of liked it.

With the end of the Super Bowl, it also marks the official end to the Fantasy Football season. Moment of silence . . . . . . . . . .

Luckily the PGA has your back (as well as the NBA, NHL, MMA and Soccer). The PGA lads are in sunny San Diego for the Farmers Insurance Open, and there is no better time than now to get into some PGA action. As usual I will be talking about DraftKings PGA, but I will also touch on the new kids on the block: Victiv.com PGA.

Waste Management Open Recap

Boy was it nice for my blog to get back on track after the Humana. My top pick, Hideki Matsuyuma, had a chance to send the tournament into a playoff, but came up a fraction short. After a hole-out eagle on the first hole, I really did think he was on his way to his second PGA Tour win. On a side note, I have written about Hideki three times this season (Frys, Shriners and Waste Management) – his three results in those tournaments? Third, 10th and second. Now I’m not saying he should sign over all of his paychecks to me, but I’d be happy for 10 percent.

On a serious note though, his form has been impressive and he has joined Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlory as my early Masters favourites.

The other picks went four-out-of-five in making the cut. My sleeper impressed with a 17th-place finish. Molinari looked like a top 10 finish until Sunday, but that hole-in-one bonus really helped out. Hunter Mahan and Shawn Stefani both managed a 30th place. The only blemish was Gary Woodland. He missed the cut by one on the 18th hole, and I was gutted. I’m not going to let his missed cut bother me, because Friday was a tough day for golfers, so I’ll give him a pass this time.

In the end it was Brooks Koepka taking the tournament for his first PGA win. From what I read, there were a few Shawshank Redemption remarks at the tournament as well as floating around on Twitter. Mostly “Brooks was here”. I think the most fitting one, considering the name of the tournament would be – “Brooks Koepka – a man who crawled through a river of [Waste] and came out clean on the other side.”

New to daily fantasy PGA was Victiv.com. I enjoyed my experience on their site and will be playing again this week. Their pricing was tighter than the other site, something that I enjoy, as it really makes you research those lower priced players a little harder. On Victiv you select seven golfers but only use the best five, and I’m still working on a good strategy. Last week I had six good plays and one punt option under 3K (Robert Allenby).

Farmers Insurance Open

It was at this event last year DraftKings tossed their hat into DFS PGA. Now just one year later they are the top dogs of the sport. A lot has changed since then, but the biggest change is the tightening of the pricing. It is night and day. Tiger was the top priced player that week at a mere 11.2K. Top priced players now range from 14K to 16K, a welcome change.

The Farmers tournament is another tournament that utilizes more than one course. Unlike the Humana, there are only the two courses used: Torrey Pines South Course (Host Course) and the Torrey Pines North Course. Golfers rotate between the North and South course for the first two rounds, then move exclusively to the South Course for the final two rounds. The South Course also played host to the 2008 US Open (won by Tiger Woods). Traditionally the North Course plays easier than the South Course.

In the past, I have had a few questions about strategy between the two courses. “Is it beneficial to start players playing on the North Course on Thursday or not?” I decided to take a look at whether there is much of a difference. It turns out there is a slight advantage, but not by much. Over the last three years, when players are teeing off on the North Course Thursday, here are the stats on how they finish:

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Finish 2014 2013 2012
Top 5 3 out of 7 2 out of 6 3 out of 6
Top 10 8 out of 16 7 out of 15 7 out of 13
Top 25 13 out of 28 8 out of 27 17 out of 27
Made Cut 42 out of 77 43 out of 76 41 out of 77

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As you can see, over the last three years it is pretty much 50/50 on whether you start at the North Course, or start at the South Course. So, there’s no sense in halfing your options due to which course a player starts on.

Golfers

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Justin Rose
DraftKings $11,700
Victiv $11,600
DraftDay $21,200
I like Rose at this price. At 5th, he is the top ranked player in the world within this field, yet not the top priced. In fact, he is 3.5K cheaper than Spieth. I like Rose because he is priced the same as my go-to guy Hideki. Casual DFS players will see that Hideki came second last week and will most likely roll with him at this price. This will be Rose’s first event on US soil since Tiger Wood’s Hero World Challenge. When Rose plays on US soil for the first time, he has made the cut five out of six times with three of those being top 10 finishes. His lone missed cut was during the Memorial when he called a penalty on himself, which dropped him under the cut line. Rose has had four top 20 finishes in his last five events.
Last Three Events
Qatar Masters Abu Dhabi Hero
13th 12th 6th
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Marc Leishman
Draftkings $9,000
Victiv $7,700
DraftDay $17,750
Leishman is my token Australian play for this week. For good reason though. His price of 9K is decent, considering his past history at this event. Leishman has made five of six cuts here all time. Three of those cuts have been top 10 finishes, including a tied second last season. Leishman has had only two missed cuts since the Heritage last year. He has had one top 10 in his last five events worldwide. For this price range, I would also consider Justin Thomas as well. Leishman is also another great value play on Victiv.
Last Three Events
Sony Aussie PGA Champ HSBC
37th 11th 9th
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Pat Perez
Draftkings $7,300
Victiv $5,500
DraftDay $15,850
Though he was born in Phoenix and resides now in Scotsdale, Pat Perez actually grew up in San Diego. In fact, in high school he beat Tiger Woods by 8 strokes at this very venue. Now what does that have to do with daily fantasy golf? Nothing, just an interesting tidbit about Perez. Another interesting fact about Perez and this course is he has four straight years of a top 25 finish or better. This includes a second place finish last season. Perez has not missed a cut since the Shriners event and has not finished any worse than 30th this calendar year. Now, as I write this, I realize I have written about Perez, Leishman and DeLaet, three of the five players that came second last year. That wasn’t my intention, but I like Choi as well and I’m a massive Jason Day fan too. There, that is all five of them covered.
Last Three Events
Waste Humana Sony
26th 30th 17th
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Fredrik Jacobson
DraftKings $6,500
Victiv $6,000
DraftDay $15,450
It was nice to see Freddie get back into a top 10 finish last week (would have been even better if I played him). Freddie shot a 64 in the final round of last week’s Waste Management, tied for best with Kevin Streelman. Freddie withdrew from last year’s Farmers, but that is the only missed cut he has had here in the last three starts here over the last five years. His other two starts had him finish 25th and 22nd. Since 2010, Freddie owns a 80% made cut rate when finishing in the top 10 the event prior: 83% of those are top 25 finishes.
Last Three Events
Waste Humana Mayakoba
7th MC 62nd
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Ian Poulter
Draftkings $7,300
Victiv $7,300
Draftday $16,200
For me Poulter screams value on Draftkings. He is on an impressive three event stretch of solid finishes. In terms of strength of field, the Dubai and HSBC events were the two strongest events since the PGA Tour Championships last year. As you can see below he finished strong in both. Just as a fun comparison with last weeks winner Brooks Koepka. They both tied at the BMW Masters (48th). Poulter finished 21st in Dubai, Brooks 42nd. Poulter lost to Brooks by 1 stroke in the Turkish (2nd). His 6th at the HSBC out weighs the Nedbank Challenge were Brooks finished 11th. Now I’m not saying Poulter is a lock to win the Farmers, but he does own one top 10 at this event in three starts.
Last Three Events
Dubai Turkish HSBC
21st 2nd 6th
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Sleeper

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Mark Hubbard
DraftKings $4,300
Victiv $4,000
DraftDay $11,900
Back before the Humana, I was tossing up between writing about Chez Reavie or Mark Hubbard. I chose Chez and I am sorry. Hubbard is quietly become DFS gold with his extremely low price and his solid six of seven cuts made record. He frees up a lot of salary cap space and give you the ability to chase some of the bigger names in the field. The way Tiger played last week, I wish I had some Tiger Woods vs Mark Hubbard odds. I would be backing Hubbard for sure. If you read Hubbard’s Twitter feed, you can tell he is enjoying golf and having fun. A great mindset to be in when playing golf.
Last Three Events
Humana Sony Mayakoba
20th 60th 49th
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Victiv Punt Play

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Chris Williams
DraftKings $3,800
Victiv $2,800
DraftDay $10,500
Now I know what a few of you will be thinking. Yeah cool Gibb, your punt play is the cheapest priced player on Victiv. Wow original. There lies the strategy of Victiv for me. Choose the cheapest player possible that has a chance to make the cut. Well Chris Williams has made the cut at the Farmers, in fact it was only just last year. Going into that tournament, he had missed cuts in three of his last five events. Coming into this year’s Farmers as a member of the Canadian Tour, he has made the cut in every event on that tour. He is a total flier, but I like his upside at that price opposed to other veterans of the PGA Tour that are just hanging in there. Go Chris!
Last Three Events
Canadian Tour Champ Celtic Classic Wildfire Invitational
10th 6th 16th
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So, there you have it folks: my picks for this week’s Farmers Insurance Open

Good luck to all

Cheers,

Gibb

About the Author

  • Gibb Pollard (gibbathy)

  • Gibb Pollard has been a member of RotoGrinders since 2012. He is an example of the power of the RotoGrinders blog section, taking a little weekly PGA blog in 2012 and turning it into a two-time FSWA nominated column. In 2014 he took down the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year award. Originally hailing from Australia, he is a regular on our PGA GrindersLive shows, giving our cast of hosts some international flavor.

Comments

  • Putz

    Thanks for the Victiv analysis.

  • leafs93

    great article, one edit freddie jacobson last three tournaments T7 phoenix , Cut humana, T62 mayakoba, He was on my radar also.

  • gibbathy

    2014 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year

    • Blogger of the Month

    Hey Leafs – Thanks for the pick up.

    I use a template for my tables, they get rather complex with the coding. Missed editing that section.

  • leafs93

    No worries always wondered how you guys got that set-up.

  • sawbones529

    I also played DFS golf on victiv last week. Hit with some, missed with some. But that’s how it goes. I’m going back again this week with their freeroll and hope to cash out. Thanks for the victiv & DK prices & picks along with the victiv punt play. Will be a great help with making out my lineup on both sites.

  • TheCustodian

    RG Blogger

    Just saw that Graham DeLaet has the flu and has withdrawn from the Farmers.

  • boc4life

    Are you sure it was this event last year when DK started offering golf? I really thought I played DK for Phoenix Open last year.

  • gibbathy

    2014 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year

    • Blogger of the Month

    Yes, since the season kicked off a week later this year the Waste Management is always tied with the Superbowl. They flipped the Farmers and Waste Management this year

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