After a terrible start to the 2018 season, we finally saw the Rory McIlroy we have been waiting for. Shooting a tournament low, 64 in the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational was more than enough to get the job done for McIlroy. With birdies on five of his last six holes, Rory was able to ice the field. It got to a point where he could not miss. The poor performance at the Valspar resulted in many fading Rory as he was just 5.6% owned in DraftKings “PGA $350K Fore” tournament.
Tiger Woods was as highly owned as we all expected, but it really did not matter. Coming in at over 35% ownership, Tiger’s T5 was more than enough in terms of returning value. At just $6,900, Bryson DeChambeau ended up being the best value of any with a solo second place finish. DailyRoto rated him out well compared to other players under $7k.
Since the field was a bit smaller, there were not as many players cuts. Surprisingly, Kiradech Aphibarnrat was one of the higher owned players who missed the cut coming in a bit higher than 20%. A few other notable players who missed the cut included Charl Schwartzel, Brandt Snedeker, Kevin Kisner, and Louis Oosthuizen.
Match Play Format
Since the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play is a much different format than all other tournaments on tour, DraftKings has pumped out a unique scoring system:
Starting off in groups of four in a “pool play” type setting, each player will face off against one another. Points can be gained by holes won, tied (halved), not played, matches won, and matches tied (halved) with bonus points awarded for three holes won in a row, and no holes lost. The good thing about match play is that big numbers don’t count against you as much as they would in stroke play. Say one were to triple bogey a hole, they would only lose the hole itself, it would not matter if their opponent birdied it. Since the points can be so skewed, DraftKings has added point for “Holes Not Played.” This means that once the match is over, if Golfer A is up by three with two holes to play, both would get points for holes that they were not able to finish.
The groups of four were drawn live on The Golf Channel Monday night and this is important when picking a DraftKings team. Since only one of the four move on into the round of 16, it is important to pinpoint who is going to move on. Last year, just five of the Top 16 seeded players moved on into the round of 16.
Rory McIlroy ($10,000)
Fresh off of a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, McIlroy is the early favorite to win the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play. Of all the top options this week, it seems McIlroy finds himself with the weakest group from top to bottom. Brian Harman ($7,500) could be sneaky in this group, but Peter Uihlein ($6,700) and Johnny Vegas ($6,700) should not be a factor. McIlroy finished fourth here in 2016 but did not make it out of his group a season ago. Though he is going to be highly owned, McIlroy is a nice play up here in the $10k+ range this week.
Hideki Matsuyama ($9,000)
The sixth ranked player in the world finds himself in a fairly weak group for this week’s Match Play event paired up with Patrick Cantlay ($7,400), Cam Smith ($6,900), and Yusaku Miyazato ($6,600). Most groups are fairly difficult with four superstars, but this one seems to be an outlier. Though anything can happen in match play, Matsuyama is far and away the best player in group #5. His first week off injury resulted in a T49 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and he showed flashes of his game with a couple hole-outs. However, Patrick Cantlay is another option in this grouping if you don’t feel comfortable with Matsuyama.
Paul Casey ($8,800)
Another previous winner his last time out at the Valspar Championship, Paul Casey finds himself grouped with Matthew Fitzpatrick ($7,700) Russell Henley ($7,100), and Kyle Stanley ($6,800). Fitzpatrick is the second-tier player in this group but is coming off of back-to-back missed cuts and has not looked like himself. Though Henley and Stanley could put up a fight, Casey stands out as the best player in this group. Since the pricing came out before the groups were made, we are able to exploit value in weak groups. Casey currently has the eighth best odds to win it all this week and is the 11th most expensive player. Roll out Casey again this week with confidence.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello ($8,000)
RCB also finds himself is a favorable pairing. With such high-end options, as 55 of the top 58 players in the world are in this field, value is going to be crucial. Falling just short of making the round of 16 last year, RCB went 2-1 and lost in three-way playoff. In 2016, RCB made a name for himself as he beat Rory McIlroy in the third place match. Coming off four consecutive top-30 finishes on the PGA Tour including his T3 at the WGC Mexico, Cabrera Bello is in great form heading into Match Play this week.
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Luke List ($7,300)
My pick to be a Cinderella Story this week is the 60th seeded Luke List. In group two, with World No. 2 Justin Thomas ($11,400), Patton Kizzire ($7,900), and Francesco Molinari ($7,200), List does have an outside chance. He is in great form with six cuts made in a row, with two of his last three resulting in Top 10s. His playoff loss to Justin Thomas at the Honda Classic could provide him with some motivation as he has some unfinished business. His matchup with JT on Wednesday is going to have a huge impact on what the rest of the week has in store for him.
Zach Johnson ($6,800)
In a grouping with the lowest possible top-tier player, Matt Kuchar (16), Zach Johnson comes in as a nice option. Also in group #16 is Ross Fisher ($7,400), and Yuta Ikeda ($6,500). Johnson is having a sneaky good season thus far as he has made all five cuts since the Sony Open with four of them resulting in T26 or better. Also an underdog last year as the 44 seed paired with Fleetwood, Kuchar, and Steele, Johnson made it out of his group, going 2-1 before losing to DJ in the round of 16. At just $6,800, Johnson provides one of the best values on the board and has a legitimate chance of advancing yet again this year.
Strong Groups to Avoid
With such a talented field, there are some groups that are just too tough to get a grasp of. None of these players are complete fades, since the field only features 64 players, but they should be looked at with caution. When there is such a strong group of four that is up for grabs, it is important to weigh the risk of selecting a player who might not make it to the round of 16. Here are three of the strongest groups that can be avoided:
Group #4: Jordan Spieth ($10,500), Patrick Reed ($7,700), Charl Schwartzel ($7,000), and HaoTong Li ($6,700).
Group #9: Tommy Fleetwood ($9,700), Daniel Berger ($7,800), Kevin Chappell ($7,500), and Ian Poulter ($6,800).
Group #13: Alex Noren ($8,700), Tony Finau ($7,900), Thomas Pieters ($7,600), and Kevin Na ($6,600).
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