2018 Genesis Open Boasts Strongest Field to Date
The odds were stacked against Ted Potter Jr. heading into the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Tied with the No. 1 ranked player in the world, Dustin Johnson, nobody really gave Potter a chance. The Web.com Tour grad and former winner on tour, Ted Potter Jr. posted a tournament low 62 on Saturday and held off Johnson by shooting three-under on Sunday. Who would have thought that the first time in four weeks a tournament is decided in 72 holes would result in Ted Potter Jr. pulling away from Dustin Johnson? Either way, it was a very impressive performance and Potter Jr. put himself on the Fantasy Golf radar.
I was very impressed by a few other performances as well. Chez Reavie is playing as good as anyone on Tour with two second place finishes in a row. Scott Stallings followed up his T23 at the Phoenix Open with a solo seventh place finish at Pebble Beach with a 66 on Sunday. Paul Casey made his 2018 debut with a T8, displaying his consistency in DFS. Casey will back his way into plenty of Top 10s but can’t seem to get a win, which lines up perfect for DraftKings. Looking back at last week’s article 2018 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Fantasy Golf Picks, we were able to exploit the value under $7K, as six of the seven value plays made the cut.
Looking forward to this week, the Tour concludes its West Coast swing at the Riviera Country Club for the Genesis Open. Riviera is a Par 71 with more than half of its par 4s ranging from 450-500 yards. Driving distance and SG Approach will be key stats to look at when building your lineups. From top to bottom, this is the strongest field we have seen all year. There are many Europeans making their debut this week, including Tommy Fleetwood, Thomas Pieters, Martin Kaymer, and Hao-Tong Li.
Consider Paul Casey A Sneaky Top Tier Choice
Dustin Johnson leads the way again this week at $11,900. Since 2008, DJ has made the cut at Riviera eight of ten times, with seven of those being Top 10 finishes (1, 4, T2, 2, CUT, T4, CUT, T3, T10, T59). That is as consistent as it gets and this is a whole different version of the Dustin Johnson who had success here in the past. According to DailyRoto’s Finish Probabilities Tool, DJ ranks far and above the rest with a 10.17 percent chance of winning outright, 44.84 percent chance to finish among the Top 10, and an 88.92 percent chance of making the cut. I am all in on DJ again this week.
Rounding out the rest of the over $10K players, we have Jordan Spieth ($11,300), Rory McIlroy ($11,100), Justin Thomas ($10,700) and Paul Casey ($10,200). Though I will be fading this group of players due to the amount of exposure I will have on DJ, I don’t mind Paul Casey. It looks as if Casey is the odd man out, priced with four of the Top 10 players in the world. This should leave many shying away from Casey.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 14, 2018
DailyRoto’s Finish Probability Tool has Casey with the third-best odds of making the cut at 84.01 percent. As I mentioned earlier, Casey thrives in DFS because high finishes pay off. He has made five straight cuts here (T39, T39, T2, T12, T22) and showed he is in good form last week. Currently ranked first in both SG: Approach, and SG: Tee-To-Green, Casey makes for a nice play in both cash games and tournaments.
Opt In on Daniel Berger’s Stable Floor and Fade Fleetwood
Into the next range just under $10K, there are going to be a lot of people on Tommy Fleetwood ($9,500). Though I am a fan of Fleetwood, he scares me since it’s his first tournament on US soil this season. I will, as always, be dropping down to Daniel Berger. I have been riding Berger all year and he has yet to disappoint. Berger has finished T14 or better in all three events he has played and has a very stable floor in cash games. The Finish Probability model on DailyRoto.com also gives Berger a slight advantage over Fleetwood in both making the cut and winning the tournament.
Plenty of High Caliber Mid-Range Values
Tony Finau is a great value at just $8,200. The course sets up nicely for him and he ranks as the 25th-best value on DailyRoto’s projection chart. Chez Reavie ($8,000) is playing too well to overlook right now and ranks as the 13th-best value on DraftKings. Patrick Cantlay seems way underpriced at $7,600 and DailyRoto has him as the best value. He has been priced in the $9,000 range lately and this is a good place to exploit this discount. I also like Ollie Schniederjans priced at $7,600. Schniederjans backed his way into a T3 at the Phoenix Open, and finished T8 here last year. He ranks 15th in both SG: Approach and Driving Distance. Both Adam Scott ($7,400) and Charles Howell III ($7,300) are great value plays for the high caliber players that they are. Scott struggled last week, but both are worth a look.
Seek Value Plays Below $7K
I always look for players whose names just don’t belong down here. The first one that stood out was Ryan Moore ($6,900). Although Moore has struggled recently, it is not right to price him down in this range. Still the 70th ranked player in the world, Moore only missed five cuts in 24 starts last season. He should not be priced below Vijay Singh and Camilo Villegas. I also like Harris English ($6,900) at this price point. Just two weeks ago at the Phoenix Open, we were paying $8,100 for him, now he’s dropped over $1,200. Maybe it’s because he is coming off a missed cut in Phoenix, but English was one of the hottest golfers on Tour. I have no problem going right back to him at this price point.
Peter Uihlein ($6,900) shows up in this section far too often, but he has one of the highest probabilities of making the cut of anyone priced under $7,000 according to the Finish Probability model at 64.21 percent. This is the cheapest we have seen Bud Cauley ($6,700), as he joins the sub-$7K club for the first time this year. He also pops on the Finish Probability model with a 64.84 percent chance to make the cut; just a bit higher than Uihlein. However, Jamie Lovemark is the cheapest of them all at $6,600, with a 56.62 percent chance of making the cut. At this minimum price, Lovemark does not need to do much to return value. He has struggled early but still has the right game for Riviera ranked at 30th in driving distance.
Mulligan of the Week
Troy Merritt – Finishing T8 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last week was the perfect way for Merritt to put himself back on the map. After a quiet of couple years following his only win in 2015, Merritt showed some life this past weekend. Currently 33rd on the Web.com Tour graduate reshuffle, Merritt should find himself playing in plenty of tournaments. It was nice to see him put four whole rounds together and finish in the top 10. I’m not expecting Merritt to get a win this year, but I think he is worth a look in season-long leagues. It is a good sign to see him in the field this week at the Genesis Open. You can expect Merritt to play upwards of 28 times in 2018.
Interested in free access to daily fantasy golf projections, place probabilities, ownership projections, lineup optimizers, head-to-head research tools and more? DailyRoto is offering a free trial of their product powered by DataGolf this week!
Paul Casey Photo Credit: AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili