Waste Management Phoenix Open: 3 Undervalued Golfers for DFS Play
Hector Vivas/Getty Images. Pictured: Brooks Koepka.
Every week the golf community collectively plants its flags on guys that end up bombing. The purpose of this article is to find value on players that are coming into play off poor performances the week prior. This applies to the betting market and for DFS purposes.
My analysis will frequently reference Strokes Gained, a set of proprietary metrics generated by the PGA TOUR using millions of data points to calculate how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. Strokes Gained is now available in the FantasyLabs PGA Models.
There are a variety of Strokes Gained-related metrics, but the six main categories that you need to know include:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (SG: Off-the-Tee)
- Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green (SG: Around-the-Green)
- Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: Putting)
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (SG: Ball-Striking), which is SG: Off-the-Tee + SG: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (SG: Tee-to-Green), which is SG: Ball-Striking + SG: Around-the-Green
For more information on Strokes Gained data and how to use it, check out this article from Bryan Mears on The Action Network, which unpacks each of the above metrics in detail. I also recommend Chris Murphy’s Strokes Gained column each week, which highlights golfers to buy and fade following each round of play at that week’s PGA TOUR event, and Matthew Vincenzi’s weekly “Stats That Matter” column, which highlights which Strokes Gained sub-metrics matter the most for a given course.
Hideki Matsuyama ($9,800 DraftKings)
Matsuyama did not play great at Torrey Pines last week, but he still made the cut and actually struck the ball very well his last time out at the Sony Open. His main issue as always, is his putting, as he’s now lost strokes on the green in eight of his past 11 rounds.
Matsuyama’s price on DraftKings this week is not as low as it probably should be, but the Japan native has elite history at TPC Scottsdale. In seven starts in the desert, he has two wins and two additional top fives.
There’s nothing in Mastuyama’s long-term rolling numbers that are alarming, as he sits 14th in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green across his past 24 rounds. We know that when he’s on, Matsuyama boasts one of the most elite approach games in the world, and I believe we’re in for a bounce back week at a course he loves.
He makes for a great GPP play and is a solid bet at +2500 on BetMGM.
Brooks Koepka ($8,800 DraftKings)
As usual, it will come down to “If Brooks cares” this week.
We know when he wants to, Koepka can win any tournament at any given time, but it feels like he treats all non-majors as practice rounds, making it difficult to pinpoint when he will decide to show up.
However, he did win this event back in 2015 and with the caliber of field we have this week, it would be foolhardy to think the four-time major winner won’t be invested in getting another victory.
Koepka ranks 18th in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green and eighth on approach across his past 24 rounds.
His price is suppressed both in the DFS industry and the betting markets. You can get him at +5000 on DraftKings, which is kind of insane considering he’s a four-time major champion.
I love Koepka as a contrarian GPP play and as an outright.
Bubba Watson ($8,500 DraftKings)
A horrid Friday torpedoed any chance of Watson contending at Torrey Pines last week. He did, however, shoot a two-under bogey free round on Thursday, so it’s not as if his game is that far off.
We can give Bubba a slight pass since it was his first event since the Masters back in November.
Before last week, the two-time major champion had been striking it beautifully, ranking No 1 in this field in SG:Tee-to-Green over his past 24 rounds. He’s no stranger to TPC Scottsdale either, having posted a ridiculous five top-five finishes across his past 10 stops here.
All things are shaping up for a strong week for Watson, and he even saw a $300 price drop on DraftKings which makes him a stronger play than last week. You can get him at +900 to finish top-five on DraftKings, as well.