Welcome back, RotoBallers! In his 10th season on the PGA Tour, Jason Kokrak was finally able to hit the lottery out in Las Vegas for his first career title. The 35-year-old entered the week as one of just a few players that had played Shadow Creek in the past, and it showed to be an advantage that helped propel him over the finish line.
Kokrak provided a complete effort that saw him rank eighth in strokes gained tee to green, but it was his astronomical 10.293 shots gained putting over the field that helped him put up a tournament-leading 26 birdies. The victory qualifies Kokrak for the 2021 Masters, and we will also see him tee it up at Augusta in November after punching his ticket earlier in the year.
I take great pride in the research and energy I put into my selections from a mathematical standpoint, but my numbers or information aren't always the law. If you have any questions about a particular player from a PGA DFS or PGA betting perspective, please feel free to contact me on Twitter @Teeoffsports. Many golfers barely miss out on being mentioned here by fractions of a percent, and I am more than happy to discuss my feelings or stance on anyone that may have caught your eye. Like always, the purpose of this piece is to help you put together your optimal daily fantasy golf lineups for DraftKings, whether that be from a GPP perspective or a cash-game mentality. Be sure to also read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS articles to help you win big!
PGA DFS Rankings Wizard - ZOZO Championship
We have a special treat for all you RotoBallers and golf enthusiasts. In addition to this article, be sure to also check out Spencer's PGA DFS Rankings Wizard - a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet, allowing user inputs to create custom rankings and models for golf. If you would like to create your own spreadsheet, you will need to make a copy under "file, make a copy." We hope you enjoy!
ZOZO Championship - PGA DFS Overview
Sherwood Country Club
7,006 Yards - Par 72 - Greens Bentgrass
The Chevron World Challenge, now known as the Hero World Challenge, took place at Sherwood Country Club from 2000 to 2013. The event consists of only 18 players, so it is difficult to gauge too much from the past, but we have seen the average winning score hover right around 16-under par. With a field that will have nearly five times the number of participants this go-around, I'd anticipate we see that number boosted, but it is important to realize what you see is not exactly what you get in the yardage.
Playing as a par-72 that measures under 7,100 yards, added distance won't do as much as it might seem like on paper. Don't get me wrong, proper accuracy with distance is never a negative, but this is a ball-strikers venue that will reward second shots. It is one of the reasons why we have seen Tiger Woods win here five times in the past, and players will be tested with approach shots from various ranges.
Bunkers come into play both off the tee and around the greens, and we will get a unique situation with their being five par-five holes for the week. There are two additional par-fours that play under 400 yards, and we will see most of the scoring come during this seven-hole stretch.
Let's Look At The Stats
|Average Three-Putts Per Round||N/A||0.55|
In Vegas, as of Monday, Jon Rahm leads the way at 10/1 and is followed by Xander Schauffele at 11/1 and Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas at 12/1.
- Par-Five Birdie or Better Percentage 20%
- Ball Striking 20%
- Weighted Proximity 15%
- Strokes Gained Approach 15%
- Bent Putting + Scramble (Weighted) 10%
- Birdie or Better + Bogey Avoidance (Weighted) 10%
- Sand Save Percentage 10%
Fantasy Golf Lineup Picks for DraftKings (PGA DFS)
We have tons of great weekly PGA articles, DFS analysis, tools and DFS advice. Be sure to read our other fantastic articles regarding this week's event.
High-Priced DraftKings DFS Players
There are five players this week priced above $10,000:
Xander Schauffele ($11,200)
It was somewhat jarring to see Xander Schauffele listed as the man to beat on DraftKings, but it isn't easy to make that strong of a case against it being factual. The 26-year-old has finished inside the top-five in his last three events and hasn't ended a tournament worse than 25th since the Travelers Championship in June. I believe we get a slight decline this week in ownership because of him being listed at the top of the board, and I don't mind buying back in at $11,200 when a lot of the industry is still frustrated with Xander being unable to close out events.
Jon Rahm ($11,000)
We are going to have to use ownership, stats and other factors to decipher where we want to go for the week between our big four golfers. All have upside for victory and shouldn't be entirely discounted, but that doesn't provide the answer to what is proper. If you are playing a plethora of lineups, I don't mind spreading out my exposure a little more than usual, but DFS players that only play a few games will need to make some tough decisions. Personally, I prefer Schauffele over Rahm, but we are talking about fractions of a percent.
Justin Thomas ($10,600)
Early returns have Justin Thomas as the projected highest owned player for the ZOZO Championship, but can you really blame anyone? The 27-year-old gets a venue that will reward second shots and par-five scoring, and Thomas ranks first compared to the field in both categories. You might not be able to handpick a better venue than Sherwood Country Club for the 13-time PGA Tour winner, and I believe he should have been listed as the highest-priced player on the board.
Rory McIlroy ($10,400)
As much as I want to keep going down the Rory McIlroy road, it eventually becomes counterintuitive to keep gaining negative-EV performances out of him from a DFS perspective. McIlroy hasn't paid off his salary in quite some time, and while he is technically adequately priced for the week, I wouldn't play him as much more than a contrarian option in the $10,000 range. I'd like to see a top-five performance before buying back in right now.
Tyrrell Hatton ($10,000)
Tyrrell Hatton brings with him two consecutive top-three results after finishing last weekend in a share of third place, but there is no other way to say it; this increase is too much. Hatton should be in the low-$9,000 range, and I will let him beat me if it comes down to it.
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Mid-Priced DraftKings DFS Players
Collin Morikawa ($9,800)
We saw some life from Collin Morikawa last weekend at Shadow Creek for the first time since his victory at the PGA Championship. Morikawa's 12th place result was aided by him gaining nearly six shots with his irons, and he receives the perfect venue to keep the momentum rolling again. Ownership always wants to get back onto the young American, so I doubt we get a version of him that is under 15%, but his upside is about as good as anyone in the field.
Webb Simpson ($9,700)
This general interpretation of Webb Simpson's skillset just isn't fair. The American has transformed himself into a statistical monster in 2020, but we continue to believe that it can't be possible for him to maintain this level with the way he is priced. There are only 78 players in this field, which will push Simpson into being very popular, but I have a hard time justifying Rory McIlroy or Tyrrell Hatton being above him in salary. Simpson should be considered value.
Viktor Hovland ($9,200)
If approach play is an expected benchmark needed to find success at the ZOZO Championship, Viktor Hovland might be the poster boy for the tournament. Hovland is ranked inside the top-10 in strokes gained approach compared to the field, and he is impressively grading out first in weighted proximity - a number you can find in my DFS model.
Daniel Berger ($8,900)
I keep mentioning this point about Daniel Berger, but it hasn't stopped the carpet from slowly being pulled from underneath him when it comes to his price tag. Right before and after the restart, Berger was playing like a freight train that looked like he might be the best golfer in the world, but we knew that wasn't exactly sustainable. As a result, his four more recent finishes between 17th to 34th place have been viewed as a disappointment, but it is fair to say that negative regression across the board has hit his game at once. If we want to move the American back into the $8,000 range because of a few subpar results by his standards, it is going to mean that I find myself significantly overweight to the field. Berger is perfectly suited to find success in California.
Joaquin Niemann ($8,400)
We have beaten the drum the last few weeks that Joaquin Niemann was underpriced, and we finally get a correction on the Chilean. Still, though, Niemann is someone I have properly priced in the high $8,000 section, and I believe there is still value to be had on the explosive youngster.
Low-Priced DraftKings DFS Players
Abraham Ancer ($7,800)
After a run that looked like Abraham Ancer was closing in on his first PGA Tour title, things sputtered for the 21st-ranked player in the world for two months. Ancer could only provide one top-40 result in that time frame, but he seems to have regained some of his form with two top-30 finishes in Vegas - including a fourth place at the Shriners Open. The 29-year-old has the ball-striking acumen to keep his momentum rolling at Sherwood Country Club and should be considered a potential longshot to capture the title.
Brian Harman ($7,300)
Brian Harman hasn't finished outside the top-40 in his last seven starts but gets priced as the 33rd choice on DraftKings. The shorter venue should play into his quality short game, and I believe he is one of the better cash-game options on the board because of his recent success and price tag.
Cameron Smith ($7,200)
Similar to what I just said about Brian Harman, Cameron Smith has provided six straight top-40 finishes and enters the week priced at only $7,200. Even in a no-cut event, the safer routes will hold value in cash-game builds, and it isn't as if either player mentioned doesn't have the potential to crack the top-10.
Sebastian Munoz ($7,200)
The second-rated golfer in my model when it comes to inequality in price differential, Sebastian Munoz is quickly beginning to transform himself into a player to be reckoned with weekly. The Colombian has contributed five top-27 finishes over his last six events and continues to add to this region of lower-priced options with safety and upside.
Kevin Na ($6,900)
Nearly four strokes gained off the tee at the Shriners mixed with about 1.5 with his irons at the CJ Cup has Kevin Na trending in the right direction for the ZOZO Championship. Na is the fourth-ranked player in my model when looking at Bentgrass putting and scrambling, and his overall proximity totals should add another level of optimism. We have seen in the past that the 37-year-old is a threat to win when located at any price, and this week is no different.
Adam Hadwin ($6,700)
I understand the pricing for Adam Hadwin. His most significant advantage typically comes because of his ability to make the cut, and the lack of that in California takes away some of the reason to play him. However, there is a hidden upside available to the Canadian that some might be overlooking. Hadwin ranks inside the top-25 in proximity, sand save percentage and Bent putting, as well as being inside the top-10 over his last 24 rounds around the green. None of those statistics necessarily guarantee him to score, but I do think his overall nature of consistency makes him hard to ignore at $6,700.
Corey Conners ($6,600), Kevin Streelman ($6,600), Brendan Steele ($6,500)
There are a few options lower than this in price that will still be playable, but the bottom of the board starts to shrink up rather quickly. None of that means we can't take our chances with a Danny Lee, Mark Hubbard or Carlos Ortiz if we need to open up some salary elsewhere, but I do think we lose some of the win equity present once we bypass this area. Conners, Streelman and Steele all should be viewed as hit-and-miss options, but a ball-strikers course firmly places them in a territory of being under consideration.
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