A new season begins now! If this is your first time joining us, this is an article where we highlight six golfers to use in two popular fantasy golf platforms, DraftKings and FanDuel. On each, you must select six golfers for your lineup under a specific salary cap. (DraftKings $50,000, FanDuel $60,000.) It’s the start of the fall swing, where fields aren’t the strongest, but the prize pools are plenty big. In case it’s your first time reading, a little about me, I’m a golf nut with a 1.3 handicap and a nose for analytics — according to Rotogrinders, I’m one of the top daily fantasy golf players, and ranked inside the top 25 of all players. There are some new faces to keep an eye on this year, including my personal top five. For more on the full class, check out my free Web.com preview on tourlevelfantasy.com that includes a cheatsheet and rankings. Now, on to this week.
The Tournament: The Safeway Open
Course: Silverado Resort & Spa
Average Winning Score: -16
Average Cut: -1
Yardage: 7,200 yards
Skills emphasized: After analyzing the top finishers at this event since 2014, it became clear that strokes gained tee-to-green was the most predictive stat. In 2010 the Silverado course was redesigned by Johnny Miller, who in his prime was known for his elite ball striking and solid tee-to-green game, so it’s no surprise that he puts an emphasis on it.
Top 5 finishers from 2017
Only three of the world’s top 50 are competing this week, led by my personal favorite, and Vegas’s favorite.
Patrick Cantlay (Odds: 14/1, DraftKings $11,600 FanDuel $11,900) Cantlay has been a model of consistency since returning to the Tour almost two years ago. In two years he’s missed two cuts – two. One at the Masters, and one in Texas. He put up nine top 25s last season and absolutely loves to score DraftKings points. Sure, he may be the highest-priced guy on the board this week, but he’s everything you’d want out of a cash game cornerstone. Statistically speaking, Cantlay ranked 4th last season in strokes gained, tee-to-green, by far and away the top-ranked player in this field in that category. Cantlay was able to pick up a win over the fall circuit last year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he does it again this week.
Going Streaking: Players entering this week in great form
Adam Hadwin (Odds: 33/1, DraftKings $9,400, FanDuel $10,500) Quietly Hadwin had a pretty good season but couldn’t add another win. The year before last, when Hadwin shot 59 in California and won in my hometown of Tampa, his putter ran incredibly hot. In 2018 though, that flatstick cooled off. But he did finish in the top 25 in each of the three events before the Tour Championship. He ranked 46th in tee-to-green last year, which is 13th in this field. He missed only three cuts last season while racking up seven top 25s. A perfect complement to play with Cantlay.
Chris Kirk (Odds: 50/1, DraftKings $8,600, FanDuel $10,700) In this type of field, it’s almost a no-brainer to play Kirk at such reasonable prices. He makes cuts and cracked the top five in this event last year. He should be primed for another big week in Napa. He had only six top 25s last season, which is concerning, I still like him in this diluted field.
Cameron Davis (Odds: 40/1, DraftKings $7,900, FanDuel $7,800) The first Tour rookie to hit our list, Davis has risen quickly through the ranks over the last year. He first made a splash in his native Australia by taking down Jordan Spieth to win the Australian Open. He played 15 Web.com events last season, earning eight top 25s, four top 10s and one win. Look for Davis to make a splash on the PGA Tour sooner rather than later.
Sam Ryder (Odds 80/1: DraftKings $7,400, FanDuel $8,700) Ryder found a spark near the end of the season, with runner-up 10 weeks ago followed by a 7th-place finish the following week. He made two cuts in the FedEx playoffs before he was eliminated. Ryder ranks in the top 20 in the field in tee-to-green and leads this field in GIR. He missed the cut here last year in his only trip to the Safeway Open.
Mulligans: A player who has struggled but expects to play well
Jason Dufner (Odds: 70/1, DraftKings $7,800, FanDuel $9,400) Dufner has struggled for a while now — in his last five starts he’s missed three cuts, with two other finishes of 51st and 66th. Something has gone array with his game (not entirely sure what), but maybe a weaker field and a new season will create a spark.
Where to play this fantasy Golf this week:
1. $6 buy-in contest called “Tee To Green,” with a top prize of $100,000 and a guaranteed prize pool of $300,000
2. $555 buy-in called “Signature Hole,” with a top prize of $50,000, and a guaranteed prize pool of $150,000.
3. $44 buy-in called “Club Twirl,” with a top prize of $10,000 and a guaranteed prize pool of $100,000.
1. $7 buy-in called “Eagle” with a top prize of 5,000 and a guaranteed prize pool of $40,000.
2. $333 buy-in called “Monster,” with a top prize of $3,000 and a guaranteed prize pool of $10,000.
These are just some of the many contests between the two sites. For a full breakdown of all contests and offerings check out the links in my bio. Good luck this week!
Jason Rouslin is the founder of tourlevelfantasy.com. He has been playing golf for the last 20 years, betting on golf for the last five and writing about golf for the last two. Connect with him on twitter @dfsgolfer23 or check him out on the @rotogrinders live golf show on Tuesday’s @ 8 PM.