When filling out a DraftKings lineup (use the promo code SGP), picking among the favorites is a fairly safe proposition. It’s when you have to choose between a pool of golfers down the line is where you make or break your chance to win big.
Here’s the critical decisions you’ll face as you fill out your lineup for the 2019 ZOZO Championship (values courtesy of DraftKings).
Golfers Valued $8,000-$8,900
- Jason Day – $8,900
- Sungjae Im – $8,800
- Byeong Hun An – $8,700
- Rafa Cabrera Bello – $8,600
- Marc Leishman – $8,500
- Louis Oosthuizen – $8,400
- Sergio Garcia – $8,300
- Joaquin Niemann – $8,200
- Adam Hadwin – $8,100
- Shane Lowry – $8,000
Rafa Cabrera Bello had an OK week at the CJ Cup, but he had much higher expectations based on his recent form than what he ended up producing. Entering the CJ Cup he had Top 10’s in two of his previous three tournaments on the back of impressive iron play. That still was strong at Nine Bridges, but his putting was mediocre and led to his T26 finish. He should be able to put himself in the same position on a less-than-driver golf course that suits his strengths and let his putter decide his fate. Any positive regression on the greens this week should produce a better finish on the leaderboard.
Marc Leishman was another golfer who had a very disappointing week at the CJ Cup. Leishman’s struggles off the tee reared it’s ugly head at Nine Bridges, as he finished 74th overall in driving accuracy on the week. He should benefit this week with the ability to leave the driver in the bag and rely on more accurate clubs off the tee, and despite his inaccuracies with the driver he still managed to finish a respectable T27 in Greens In Regulation %. With the ability to lean more on his irons this week, we should see a version of Leishman closer to what he showed at the Safeway Open than what he showed at Nine Bridges.
Louis Oosthuizen hasn’t played a competitive round of golf since the Tour Championship, so he’s the biggest wild card of this tier this week. Before that, Oosthuizen had enjoyed some solid golf with five consecutive Top 20 finishes (though calling a Top 20 finish at the Tour Championship is, admittedly, a total cop out). Oosthuizen struggles with consistency tournament to tournament, as he can appear frustratingly aloof to anyone who backs him. At his best, though, he’s a world class ball striker, particularly with his longer irons and fairway metals. His driver also sometimes gets him in trouble, but he should benefit with the ability to keep that in the bag more often this week.
Golfers Valued $7,500-$7,900
- Kevin Na – $7,900
- Ryan Moore – $7,800
- Billy Horschel – $7,700
- Kevin Kisner – $7,600
- Ian Poulter – $7,500
- Emiliano Grillo – $7,500
With the small sample size of data for each player over the last two months, DFS contestants need to take a more philosophical approach to this tournament and try and match player attributes to the golf course. Ryan Moore is a great fit for Narashino Country Club. Moore will never wow fans with towering long shots but he’s an accurate grinder who squeezes the most he can out of his game tee-to-green. His putting is very hit or miss, but at the moment he appears to have that part of his game going right now and that’s helped him card some good finishes so far this Fall. If that’s working again, he can parlay that with his always reliable iron play for another good finish.
Kevin Kisner is another wild card in this tier, as he is making his first start since the Tour Championship. Playing Kisner this week takes a leap of faith that the solid form he displayed in the FedEx Cup Playoffs is still there, and that the attributes he relies on to be a successful golfer matches the type of golf course Narashino Country Club presents to him. Kisner traditionally leans on the strength of strong iron play and hot putting, which looks to be the recipe for success this week on a short, less-than-driver golf course with below average paced greens. It remains to be seen if he can pick up where he left off, but the tools are there for a good finish from him.
Bottom of the Barrel (Golfers <$7,500)
Corey Conners – $7,200: As long the putter is cooperating for Corey Conners, continue to ride him in DFS. While a T38 finish last week at the CJ Cup in Putts per Round isn’t all that impressive, a field average performance on the greens is all it really takes for Conners to post a good finish on the leaderboard. His ball striking tee-to-green is just that good, and translates to both bomb and gouge and less-than-driver tracks. The bottom could certainly fall out for him on the greens this week, but like last week he has the safety net of a no-cut event that won’t kill his chances should he have a poor round or two with his putter.
Graeme McDowell – $6,800: Playing McDowell this week is a leap of faith based on who he is as a player at this stage of his career. McDowell self admits that he struggles on most PGA Tour venues because of the lack of length off the tee. That won’t be an issue for him this week at Narashino and he can let his irons do most of the talking this week. We’ve seen him raise his game on short golf courses like Harbour Town and Pebble Beach in the past, and the narrow tree lined fairways are akin to more European Tour setups that he fares better at. He’s set up for a good performance at the ZOZO Championship.
Others To Consider: Chez Reavie ($7,400), Rory Sabbatini ($7,100), J.T. Poston ($6,600), Joel Dahmen ($6,400)