FanDuel recently updated their PGA DFS offering, so players are trying to figure out the new format and optimize their lineups accordingly. Basically, they’ve taken away their eight-man rosters, and made their PGA product very similar to DraftKings’ product. The main difference is that you’ll have to adjust to the scoring system and new pricing.
FanDuel Golf Scoring System:
- Eagle = 7 points
- Birdie = 3.1 points
- Par = 0.5 point
- Bogey = -1 point
- Double bogey (or worse) = -3 points
- Streak bonus = 0.6 points per hole under par
- Bounce back (birdie or better after making bogey or worse) = 0.3 points
- 5+ Birdies in a round = 4 points
- Bogey-free round = 5 points.
- 1st place = 20 points
- 2nd-5th place = 12 points
- 6th-10th place = 8 points
- 11th-25th place = 5 points
This week, the Tour heads back to Pebble Beach, although we’re on a three-course rotation chalk full of hackers and celebrities. That’s right, it’s pro-am week, one of the worst for DFS and for TV viewing purposes. I suggest scaling back your normal volume this week, and saving your bankroll for more predictable weeks. Players will face Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and Monterey Peninsula one time each, before a 54-hole cut. The final round will be at Pebble Beach, where we have the most relevant course history. I recently took a trip to Monterey, and played Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. I have some good insight into those tracks, but don’t know much about Monterey besides what you read. Monterey is a bit quirky, and seems to be the players’ least favorite of the rotation. All the courses are very short, and feature the difficult poa annua greens. Short hitters are well in play this week, and we should focus on the California angle / narrative again. Monterey and Pebble Beach are Oceanside courses, where scenic views, water, and windy conditions can wreak havoc. Spyglass Hill is a bit more difficult and tree-lined, featuring difficult undulations and greens. Overall, scoring should be low this week, but Spyglass is the hardest of the three courses. In terms of stats I feel are important, SG:Approach and SG:Around-the-Green are keys this week. Pebble Beach features the smallest greens on Tour, and scrambling will be key.
This week’s field is headlined by Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, and Phil Mickelson. I had to pick one of these guys to win this week, it would be Jordan Spieth.
Recent Tournament History
Here are the leaderboards from the past three installments of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am:
Current Form Review
Each week, we’ll look backward at the last three tournaments on the PGA and European Tours. Because this is the start of a new season, many of the world’s best haven’t played since the Tour Championship. Tread lightly. Here are the leaderboards from the past three events: the CareerBuilder Challenge, the Farmers Insurance Open, and last week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open:
Strokes Gained Approach (SG:APP): Ball-striking, especially with irons, is going to be a major key for players this week. All three tracks are short venues, where wedge and iron play will be key. The players are going to need to back a bundle of birdies this week. In terms of recent play, the players to target in strokes gained approach are Chez Reavie, Chesson Hadley, Phil Mickelson, Gary Woodland, Scott Piercy, and Jordan Spieth.
Strokes Gained Off-the-Tee (SG:OTT): Every week, off-the-tee play is a main target. Guys who can hit it long and straight have a huge advantage over the rest of the field. It makes courses shorter, and allows them to hit approach shots from shorter distances, setting up birdies. Even on shorter courses like we’ll see this week, hitting the ball long and straight will lead to success. The best off-the-tee players are Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Kevin Chappell, Patrick Cantlay, Jason Day, and J.B. Holmes.
Birdie or Better % (BoB%): There are really not many weeks where we aren’t going to target birdie or better percentage, because that’s what fantasy golf scoring is all about. This event should lend itself to low scores, with some short par-4s and reachable par-5s. The best players in this field in recent birdie or better percentage are Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Pat Perez, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day, Kevin Kisner, Gary Woodland, and Chesson Hadley.
Par-5 Scoring (P5): All three tracks this week are par-72s, which means par-5 scoring will be a major differentiator. Players who can attack these holes and rack up birdies and eagles will be leading throughout the week. This could mean bombers, or it could mean elite wedge players. Some of the best par-5 scorers in this field are Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Jason Kokrak, Jon Rahm, and Phil Mickelson.
*In order of my rankings
Dustin Johnson ($12,800) – When we come to Pebble Beach, there’s no better course horse than Dustin Johnson. Although these courses aren’t long, elite drivers can excel here. DJ won this event in 2009-10, nearly won the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, and has posted five additional top-10 finishes. He’s coming off an 8-stroke victory in the Tournament of Champions, and is clearly the man to beat.
Jordan Spieth ($12,200) – What in the world is going on with Jordan Spieth? In short, nothing. He’s just struggling on the greens right now, and spraying a tee shot here and there. Ultimately, he’ll figure it out, and there’s a reason why he’s a 3-time major champion. Spieth is the defending champion here, and should be motivated by last week’s MC and his sponsorship with AT&T.
Rory McIlroy ($12,000) – Rory is back! He’s healthy, and playing some really solid golf. He’s posted back-to-back top-5s on the European Tour, although those were courses that suited his game perfectly. He’s never played this event, and only played Pebble Beach during the 2010 U.S. Open, where he MC. In any event, it’s great to have Rory back on Tour, and he’s a force to be reckoned with every time he tees it up.
Jon Rahm ($12,400) – Rahm continues to contend each and every week, but we’ve seen him lose steam the past two weekends. The Waste Management is always his highlight of the year, as he’s the hometown favorite, so I do expect a bit of a letdown here this week. Rahm also doesn’t have the patient mentality it takes to focus during these 6-7 hour pro-am rounds. Although he posted a top-5 finish here last season, I have some serious reservations about Rahm this week. He’s really going to have to reign in his driver to contend.
Jason Day ($12,300) – We’ve seen this story before. The injured Jason Day pulled out of the pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, only to go on and win the event. He’s clearly feeling better, and seems to have found his 2016 putting stroke. Day loves playing out on the West Coast, where he’s had success at Torrey Pines (two wins) and here (four top-10s). Day is one of the streakiest players on Tour, so when he’s playing well, I’m going to continue to buy in.
Brandt Snedeker ($10,900) – Like Jason Day, Snedeker is just a guy I’ll always play in California. These courses lend themselves towards accurate ball-striking and elite poa annua putters, and that’s Snedeker in a nut shell. He’s clearly healthy again, after fighting wrist and rib injuries in 2017. This will be his fourth straight week, and he’s improved his finishing position each time. Snedeker has two wins and a fourth place finish in the past five season at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Patrick Reed ($10,700) – Slowly but surely, Reed is showing some consistency again. He’s made four of his past five cuts, with nothing worse than a 23rd place finish. He was 17th last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and now comes to Pebble Beach which should suit his game well. Reed has made all five cuts here, with all five finishes in the top-30 including two top-10 finishes. He’s a great wedge player, and should be able to keep his errant driver in the bag most holes.
J.B. Holmes ($9,700) – I absolutely love Holmes as a sneaky play this week. After nearly winning the Farmers Insurance Open, Holmes MC last week at one of his favorite courses. Now he comes to another of his favorites, where he’s had a ton of success. Holmes has made nine of eleven cuts at this event, including five finishes inside the top-16. He’s a birdie-maker, a good wind player, and a very aggressive putter on these tricky, poa annua greens.
Chesson Hadley ($9,500) – Hadley should be popular this week, but his price and Vegas odds have him elevated into a different tier. He continues to show elite consistency while making a ton of birdies, apparent in his 5th place finish last week in Phoenix. Hadley now comes back to Pebble Beach, where he’s posted two top-10 finishes in three tries. Hadley plays well in the wind, he plays well on short courses, and he’s one of the best wedge players in the game right now.
Jason Kokrak ($9,200) – Although Kokrak is known as one of the longest hitters on Tour, he’s shown an ability to contend on shorter tracks like Pebble Beach and Harbour Town. He mostly excels on any venue where SG:OTT is key (Quail Hollow, Riviera, etc.). Kokrak continues to improve each season, showing consistency and upside in his tee-to-green game. The only thing holding him back is his putter, which we saw again last week in Phoenix. In his career here, Kokrak has posted 9th, 30th, 23rd, and 19th place finishes.
This section focuses on “odds” players – those players whose odds vary the greatest with respect to their Fanduel salaries. Keep in mind, this doesn’t make these players “good plays” or “bad plays”, but it simply measures the value based on their price. I’ve done this not just with the actual rankings, but as a percentage. So, if two players have a difference of 10 spots in pricing versus odds rankings, the player ranked higher overall will have a higher percentage. It’s a quick way to find value. I use an aggregate of odds from various odds makers to come up with my valuation.
The value differential column shows the number of spots lower in salary than their odds to win imply. The differential % column shows that as a percentage of the players Fanduel salary ranking. Here is a list of the top-20 “values” based on my aggregations:
On the flipside, we have the list of players Vegas believes are overpriced based on their odds to win. Using the same model and calculations as above, here are the top-20 worst “values” based on my aggregations:
FanDuel lineups for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Stars and Scrubs: