Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP
By now, you've probably dabbled in daily fantasy sports, but if not, don't worry. Now is a great time to start, especially with FanDuel's daily fantasy golf offering.
Golf can be one of the most exciting DFS sports to follow, as tournaments span four days and allow ample time to prepare each week. It's a great balance between time to research and time spent tracking your team.
But whether you're brand new to the PGA or daily fantasy sports in general, we have you covered -- and we have daily fantasy golf projections and lineup building tools, too.
Let's take a look at some golfers to target this week.
|Key Stats for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Strokes Gained: Off the Tee|
|Par 4 Scoring|
|Strokes Gained: Around the Green|
This week, the PGA Tour heads to Japan for the first time, so we have a lack of data at Accordia, which is a 7,041-yard par 70. The course layout suggests that accuracy should be prioritized over distance this week, though -- particularly on the back nine -- some holes offer clear looks off the tee. Trees, bunkers, and water hazards all cause problems, so even though I'm just suggesting we look at strokes gained: off the tee, I'll be weighing in accuracy in addition.
The par 4s range from 350 to 529 yards, and five of them are from 350 to 405. Four range from 498 to 529, so you could break the scoring down into the 350 to 400 range and 500-plus range this week.
With sand in play all around the greens, we should be adding in some short game this week. You can look at sand saves or proximity from sand, but I'm a fan of trusting the larger samples and looking at around-the-green performance overall.
I think there's merit this week to building lineup stacks based on skillset rather than tee times. You can target bombers in case the course's tree-lined nature proves to be a pushover -- or you can target precision players with good scrambling and around-the-green numbers in case saving par and converting putts on the undulating greens.
Stats cited below come from FantasyNational and include the past 50 rounds on the PGA Tour unless noted. Ranks are among the field.
Best of the Best
Rory McIlroy (FanDuel Price: $12,300 | PaddyPower Win Odds: +800) - You really can't go wrong anchoring your lineup with McIlroy or Justin Thomas ($12,200). Thomas is fresh off a victory in Korea last week. McIlroy did play in the skins game at this course earlier in the week, and he's been the better golfer over the entirety of 2019. McIlroy ranks 1st in strokes gained: off the tee, 8th in strokes gained: approach, and 30th in fairways gained (still 2nd in distance). I'll be building lineups that have both studs -- that's for sure.
Xander Schauffele ($11,100 | +2000) - A cheaper pivot is Xander Schauffele against Hideki Matsuyama ($11,200). Matsuyama has the Japanese narrative in his favor, and he also played in the skins event this week. Schauffele and Matsuyama have been virtually identical over the entire 2019 year in adjusted stroke average. Schauffele has plenty of overseas experience and grades out top-15 in both ball-striking stats.
Paul Casey ($10,700 | +2200) - Casey ranks top seven in strokes gained: off the tee and strokes gained: approach. He's also more accurate (8th) than he is long (35th) and hits greens in regulation (2nd) often. Priced right near Tiger Woods ($10,500) and close to the studs, Casey offers a high floor and high ceiling. Casey has a win on the European Tour since a third at the TOUR Championship.
Viktor Hovland ($10,000 | +2800) - Hovland grades out third in fairways gained and leads the field in opportunities gained, a FantasyNational stat that indicates scoring chances. He also ranks top-five in both strokes gained: off the tee and strokes gained: approach. Hovland struggles around the green and could struggle in the sand, but that's about the only blemish.
Jason Day ($9,900 | +3000) - Day will carry ownership after winning the skins event, but he can scramble (27th) and get out of the sand if he gets in trouble. Day's price is actually pretty spot-on for how non-elite his ball-striking is relative to the rest of the field.
Collin Morikawa ($9,800 | +3000) - Morikawa is a natural pivot from Day. He ranks 16th in fairways gained (Day is 59th), and while he -- like Hovland -- is more of an elite ball-striker than a scrambler, this course could wind up being scorable. In that case, he has a good shot to rack up more fantasy points than Day, even if they finish similarly.
Byeong-Hun An ($9,200 | +4000) - Despite his top-tier ball-striking, An doesn't convert a lot of birdies (43rd in birdie or better rate gained), and the greens look pretty testing. However, An really stands out for reasons similar to Jason Day: he's elite around the green. An actually ranks first in strokes gained: around the green and scrambling.
Joaquin Niemann ($9,100 | +4500) - Niemann's stats are great, and they have been for a full year. Niemann grades out top-12 in strokes gained: off the tee and strokes gained: approach, and he's also 10th in opportunities gained. Niemann also checks the box scrambling (28th) and sand saves (3rd).
Shane Lowry ($9,000 | +4500) - Lowry is more of a short-game maven (he's top-13 in strokes gained: around the green and putting over the past 50 rounds) than a ball-striker. He's 48th in fairways gained. But. Adjusting for field strength, he's been much better than someone priced where he is, and he should be priced closer to $10,000 than $9,000 based on his adjusted stroke average and win odds.
Adam Hadwin ($8,900 | +4500) - Hadwin should be popular, but it's for good reason. He's 11th in fairways gained and greens in regulation gained in our sample, plus 32nd in scrambling and 12th in sand saves. That's a pretty safe profile for hitting fairways and avoiding blowup holes.
Kevin Kisner ($8,300 | +5000) - Kisner's strokes gained stats are underwhelming outside of his putting, but he's 5th in fairways gained, 20th in greens in regulation gained, and 20th in scrambling. Kisner is quite cheap and should avoid disaster.
Shugo Imahira ($8,100 | +8000) - Imahira ranks 52nd in the world and enters this week on quite the streak. Since a 27th at the FedEx St. Jude, Imahira has finished top-20 in nine straight events -- including a win two weeks ago in a two-round Bridgestone Open format on the Japan Golf Tour. Imahira ranks second on the Japanese Tour in greens in regulation in 2019, and since the St. Jude, Imahira ranks 13th in the field in adjusted stroke average and is 18th on the full 2019 calendar year.
Ryo Ishikawa ($7,500 | +12500) - Ishikawa is 104th in the world rankings and has a few strong finishes of his own. He won the Japan PGA Championship back in July and followed that up with a win at the Shigeo Nagashima Invitational in August -- his next event. Since then, Ishikawa has three top 10s and five total top-15s in seven events, making every cut. Since his win in August -- so not even including the Japan PGA Championship win -- he ranks 11th in this field in adjusted stroke average in that span.