Each week we will break down the tournament field by pricing tiers and give our favorite cash & GPP Draftkings plays. Brandon, Miles and Dan have also started picking our One and Done’s in this article. We use advanced stats from FantasyNational.com to determine our plays of the week that correspond to the course and history of the event. We will continue to update our picks if news changes prior to the Draftkings contest start time on Thursday mornings. Be sure to check the weather updates as well on our Course Preview article, we will also be updating the article with any necessary changes up until lineup lock. Cheers!
Brandon’s Cash Core Picks
Dustin Johnson ($11,900) – I usually go with a balanced cash lineup. However, with the quality of golfers in the 7k range that in my opinion are just as solid as most of the 8k golfers, I will be starting with DJ up top. DJ has 4 straight top 5’s at Riviera with a win and 2 runner ups. Keep it simple and start your lineups with DJ.
Brendan Steele ($7,900) – In his last 5 tries at Riviera, Steele is 5 for 5 in made cuts to go along with 2 top 15 finishes in the span. That is what we are looking for in cash. In his last 24 rounds, Steele ranks 4th in my custom model. Steele comes in 7th in GIR%, 10th SG:T2G and SG:OTT, and 9th in Par 4 scoring. Those are incredible stats for a player priced at $7,900. Every year I play Steele on the west coast.
Patrick Cantlay ($7,600) – I am going against the grain here in that I usually look into course history pretty significantly for safety of cash games to see who plays well at the particular course. However, Cantlay is an exception as I am bullish on his talents. With the lack of history due to stepping away from golf while on the PGA Tour, Cantlay actually played this course at the 2012 NCAA Championship and finished 4th.
Chez Reavie ($8,000) – You can’t ignore the quality golf Chez has been playing so far this year. Although he missed the cut here last year, he posted a 7th place finish the year before. He may not be the longest hitter, but his accuracy can overcome distance here at Riviera. If he starts hitting it in the rough we could be in big trouble as an extra 20-30 yard approach shot from Kikuyu grass is no bueno. I will ride the hot streak Chez is on one more week.
Others to consider: Ollie Schneiderjans, Charles Howell III
Dan’s GPP Core Plays
Rory McIlroy ($11,100) – So here we have Rory coming off a missed cut in his only event in the states for the 2018 season. I personally think alot of people shy away from him this week and just pay up for DJ and take the “safe” approach. With golf being so volatile week to week, I am going to be massively overweight on Rory in hopes that DJ shows he is not immortal. Rory looked great in Dubai and Abu Dhabi this past month and his putter has been his only weakness. Rory ranks 6th in the field in DK points, 3rd in SG: T2G and 2nd SG: OTT.
Daniel Berger ($9,200) – Berger is a tee to green monster and goes under the radar each and every week. Berger has finished no worse than T14 in his last 4 starts and no one gives him any attention. Over his last 50 rounds he ranks 16th SG: T2G, 10th in SG: BS, 8th in SG: APP and gains more strokes putting on Poa than any other grass. I suspect Berger to be around 10% owned this week.
Tommy Fleetwood ($9,500) – Fleetwood has made a change to his schedule this year and will playing in quite a few PGA Tour events rather than Euro leading up to the Masters. His stats are difficult to gauge since Euro Tour does not have strokes gained metrics but he ranks near the top in the Euro Tour rankings. Last year we saw him nearly win the US Open, and this month he won the Abu Dhabi Classic and finish T6 in Dubai. I love these guys in the $9k range as I think they go a tad under owned with people paying up for DJ and reaching down for value.
Ryan Armour ($6,900) – Armour comes at a discount and he is one of the best ball strikers below $7k. Armour has missed cuts at Waste Management and the Career Builder in the past month but he was close to the cutline and its his putter that holds him back. Over the past 50 rounds he ranks 16th in total SG, 26th in SG: T2G, 21st in SG: APP and 33rd SG: ARG. His game aligns well for Riviera in his first appearance. I expect him to be sub 4% owned.
Martin Laird ($6,900) – Party Marty has a T8 and T11 finish here at Riviera in his last two appearances. Laird had a very strong outing at the Waste Management posting a 9th place finish. He ranks very similar to Armour over his past 50 rounds, 32nd in total SG, 34 SG: T2G and 8th in SG: ARG. I would recommend keeping your ownership on Armour and Laird under 20-25% as they are more volatile golfers.
Others to consider: Aaron Wise, Jhonny Vegas
Just as a reminder, our numbers might be slightly different as we all look at different time periods (I generally look at the short side and focus on a player’s last 12 rounds).
This week, I’m going to focus specifically on international golfers since the normal DFS player doesn’t generally have much exposure to them, and they go under-owned because of this (I’ll put in a couple of American darts in the “Others to consider” section though).
Martin Kaymer ($7,500) – Like everyone I’m focusing on this week, this price is just too cheap for this guy’s talent and we will get him at an ownership discount to boot. Even though he only ranks a middling 73rd in my model this week and has never played at this course before, he has finished no lower than 30th in each of his last 6 tourneys.
Charl Schwartzel ($7,800) – Schwartzel has sneaky good course history here as he has missed the cut once, finished in the 40’s twice, and then finished top-5 his two other times here. His stats over the last 12 rounds have both green flags and warning signs as he ranks 24th in SG:T2G, 28th in P4: 400-450, and 29th in Bogey Avoidance, but also a lowly 127th in BoB gained.
Francescoooooooooo Molinari ($7,200) – We were all over Molinari last year, and I’m hopping right back on the Italian Stallion this weekend. He does not have great course history here with 2 MC’s and never a finish above 40th in his two made cuts, but $7,200 is way too cheap for him especially at 10% ownership or less. He has been rock solid so far this year with 0 missed cuts, and I expect that to continue this weekend as he ranks 8th in SG:T2G, 18th in P4: 400-450, 22nd in SG:BS, and 23rd in GIRs gained. Basically, the guy is a ball-striking machine. He hasn’t performed well here previously as his downfall does seem to be putting on Poa as that is his worst putting surface – he loses almost 0.48 strokes on it – so obviously don’t go too overboard.
Alex Noren ($8,700) – Noren is currently the 16th-best golfer in the world, but a lot of people aren’t that familiar with him as he only played in the States a handful of times last year. He’s playing over here more so far this year and already has a 21st at the Phoenix and a 2nd at the Farmer’s to show for it. As you can imagine from these finishes, he has some pretty good numbers over his last 12 as he ranks 3rd in GIRs gained, 10th in BA, and 27th in SG:BS. His 35th in SG:T2G is a tad low, but even with this he ranks 14th in my model this week.
Others to consider: Sam Saunders, Brandon Harkins, Brian Gay, Cam Smith
One and Done Picks
Dan’s OAD: Patrick Cantlay / Paul Casey (alternate)
Brandon’s OAD: Phil Mickelson
Miles’ OAD: Brendan Steele / Paul Casey (alternate)