Fantasy Golf: Who to play at the Waste Management Phoenix Open

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This article appears courtesy of RotoExperts.com.


Another week, another playoff on the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines. However, this week it involved three golfers: Jason Day, Alex Noren, and Ryan Palmer. As the tournament concluded on Monday, Jason Day finally brushed off Alex Noren after the sixth playoff hole. They were neck and neck through five playoff holes on Sunday evening, but neither could make the big putt to get the job done.


It was nice to see Ryan Palmer get back into form with a T2 this weekend, even though he failed to go further than the first playoff hole. Palmer is coming off a 2017 season during which he had some issues on and off the course. He is already looking much better this season, as he has made the cut in all three events played thus far.


Tiger Woods finally played a full weekend for the first time since 2015 after scrapping to make the cut during the second round on Friday. A T23 in his return is a very good outing but it might not have been enough to pay off his price tag. Tiger played solid golf all weekend but just could not go low.


Some of the notable missed cuts at the Farmers Insurance Open were Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele, Ollie Schniederjans, and Peter Uihlein. Fowler has not had much luck at Torrey Pines recently but is in a good spot this week. All three of these players were just a stroke away from making the cut, so it’s not that big a concern.


On the other hand, we did see the bombers show up: J.B. Holmes (4), Tony Finau (T6), Luke List (T12, and Gary Woodland (T12). Finau did look like the favorite with the early lead but fell a bit over the weekend. Still, he paid off his value with a good outing. Let’s look at the Waste Management Phoenix Open from a DraftKings perspective this week:


Starting at the top of the board, which is going to be the chalk, is Hideki Matsuyama at $11,500. Even though he’s the highest priced player on DraftKings, I still expect him to be the highest owned player in all formats and his course history backs it up. Over the past four years, here are Matsuyamas’ finishes at TPC Scottsdale: Two wins, T2, and T4. I never like going with a player who is going to be so popular, but Matsuyama is a freak here. You just don’t see a course history like this very often, and it is very hard to talk yourself out of rostering him. It is worth a look to fade Matsuyama in large field tournaments, however, I would make sure to have some shares of him. He showed he is in good form last week with a quiet T12, and he is going to be ready to go this weekend to defend his reign.


After Matsuyama there are four more studs in this tournament: Jordan Spieth ($11,400), Jon Rahm ($11,000), Rickie Fowler ($10,400), and Justin Thomas ($10,300). For tournament purposes, it’s hard to gauge which one of these four is the best bet. While most will go to Rahm, I will be leaning toward Spieth and Fowler.


Spieth has a decent course history at the Waste Management Phoenix Open with two top 10s in his last two starts. He has failed to finish worse than T18 this season and lines up well. Spieth currently ranks second in par five scoring, fourth in par five birdies or better, and sixth in strokes gained tee-to-green. At just $100 less than Matsuyama, I do not see many people going with Spieth if they’re paying up this week.

Hideki Matsuyama.

Hideki Matsuyama.

(Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)


Fowler is in a similar spot in terms of ownership. Missing the cut last week will still be in the back of everyone’s mind, but I am willing to overlook it. Fowler also has a nice course history at the Phoenix Open with a T4, 2, and T46 in the past three years. Before missing the cut last week, Fowler made his first two cuts, and both ended in Top 5 finishes. He is always an exciting play, especially when he is discounted $1,100 below the top-priced player.


Among the players priced over $10K, I expect Thomas to be the lowest owned. He has a poor course history at TPC Scottsdale with two missed cuts in the past two years and a T14 in his first appearance. I will not have many shares of JT, but we can’t overlook the fact that he is a still a world-class player. I see Justin Thomas as a great tournament play as a pivot off the Top 4.


In the next range of players just under 10K, I have my eyes set on Daniel Berger ($9,700). Berger is another up and coming star in the game, and he also plays well at the Phoenix Open, making the cut in all three visits including two top 10’s. Berger has two career wins on his resume in his young career on tour. He has been just about as solid as it gets, as he has made all four cuts this season, three of them resulting in a T24 or better. I don’t expect anyone in this range to see a marginal amount of ownership.


Going down the list a bit further, there is a ton of value to be found. Patrick Reed must not be thought highly of in DraftKings’ pricing structure because it seems as though he is always of value. At just $7,600, I find it very hard to fade him in this field. He might not rate out as well as some of the others here at the Waste Management Phoenix Open but has made three cuts in three tries here. The 24th ranked player in the world is looking for his first win since 2016, and he is not far from it. Patrick Reed is currently fourth in strokes gained around-the-green, 11th in strokes gained tee-to-green, and 14th in strokes gained approaching the green. He is coming off a quiet T23 last week and is not going to be on many radars. I will be rolling out Reed with confidence this week at the Phoenix Open.


Other value plays to target from the mid-range tier: Harris English ($8,100) Byeong-Hun An ($8,000), Zach Johnson ($7,700), Russell Henley ($7,600), and Francesco Molinari ($7,300).


Though there are great plays at the top of the board, I found the most value when dropping down under $7,000. The first name that I found to be shockingly low was Peter Uihlein at just $6,800. Currently ranked 59th in the world, there is a lot of promise for Uihlein this season. After failing to make the cut at the Farmers, I fully expect Uihlein to bounce back this week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. This price of $6,800 is crazy low and should be taken advantage of. Another play down here who was one of my mulligans of the week earlier in the season, is John Peterson ($6,900). With over 250 FedEx Cup points still to earn, Peterson will be taking full advantage of his opportunities in his six upcoming tournaments. He has made his last two cuts here at TPC Scottsdale and currently ranks fourth in strokes gained approaching-the-green and fourth in par five birdies or better.


Other value plays under $7K: William McGirt ($6,900), Si Woo Kim ($6,900), Brandon Harkins ($6,800), and Billy Horschel ($6,800).


Mulligan of the Week


Martin Flores


Despite going five over par on Sunday, I think Martin Flores surprised many people this weekend. Flores was six under par heading into the final round and had a nice weekend going. This performance still resulted in a T35 but could have been much higher if he didn’t fall apart on the back nine. Many players struggled on Sunday, so it is not much to be worried about. Martin Flores has made five of seven cuts this season and is currently 119th in the FedEx Cup ranking. Since he was in the Top 125 a season ago, Flores will be a high volume player in 2018.

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