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Sam’s Teeing Off – 2021 Genesis Invitational DraftKings Preview/Picks/Fades/Pivots

All stats from Fantasynational.com! Ownership projections also provided by FantasyNational as well as data and trends from Fansharesports.com! Follow @fantasynational @fansharesports @sscherman on Twitter.

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Courses: Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, CA

Fast Facts

  • Par 71; 7286 yards with 3 Par 5s
  • Narrow fairways, approx. 26 yards wide on average
  • Smaller than avg. greens (approx. 5000 sq. ft.); Poa surface
  • Thick Kikuya rough
  • Driving Distance a big advantage as the course plays sneaky long since Par 5s are short
  • Field: 120 players; Top 65 and ties make the cut
  • Average Cut of +2
  • Driving Accuracy about 53% compared to TOUR avg. 61%
  • 23-24% of all DK points are scored on the first hole (short par 5)
  • Corollary Courses: Torrey Pines South, Augusta, Bethpage Black, Club de Chapultepec
  • Top Course Fit Targets: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Adam Scott, Tony Finau, Hideki Matsuyama, Xander Schauffele, Cameron Smith, Patrick Cantlay, Bubba Watson, Jason Kokrak

Course and Weather Notes: I saw Pat Mayo tweet out that the “golf preseason” is over and I couldn’t agree more with the course we get this week and the field that follows. After WD-ing last week, we get DJ as the class of the field, going off around 5 or 6/1 and coming in with insane form, insane course history, and a scary fade for any DFS players. I say it on the podcast often that obviously driving distance will never really “hurt” you, it is of sneaky importance at Riviera as the listed scorecard doesn’t look crazy long but when you see that the first hole is a 500 yard Par 5, the other 2 Par 5s are gettable for most of the field in 2, and the 10th hole (one of the coolest on tour) is sub 300 yards, you’re left with 7 Par 4s over 450 yards and a very difficult test for everyone’s driving and long iron game. With a 120 man field compared to the normal 144 or 156, we should see a higher 6/6% so while it’s tempting to jam in 2 of the expensive studs and go down to the low 6k range, I would opt for a safer route in single entry/3 max tournaments and really focus in not only on Approach game, which is key every week, but guys who can scramble and avoid big numbers, as Kikuya rough is some of the most difficult to get out of and these greens are fast/tough to save par with the average 5-6 footer much more difficult than average. Onto the picks and yes… I think DJ is a great play.


Key Stats – Last 8, 12, 24, and 50 Rounds (courtesy of FantasyNational.com)

In order of importance:

  • SG: Approach (emphasis on 175+)
  • SG: OTT (big emphasis on Driving Distance)
  • Birdie or Better %
  • SG: T2G
  • SG: Putting (Poa emphasis)
  • Bogey Avoidance

Salary Ranges: Plays, Fades, Pivots, Ownership

The players listed below are not my only plays I like but some of the highlights and those I find intriguing for one reason or another.

9K and Above:


1) Dustin Johnson ($11,300) Projected Ownership: 20%

Key Stats: 11th SG: APP/7th SG: OTT/2nd BoB/1st T2G/37th SG: P/1st Bogey Avoidance

Form: 1st/11th

Course History: 10th/9th/16th/1st/4th/2nd/2nd/MC/4th/MC

Notes: Explaining why DJ is a good play is like explaining why Davante Adams or CMC are a strong play… form is unmatched, has a win and 6 Top 10s in his last 10 starts here and does every single thing well… the only reason to fade him is because you won’t ownership leverage… can’t avoid for me

2) Jon Rahm ($10,400) Projected Ownership: 15%

Key Stats: 13th SG: APP/10th SG: OTT/17th BoB/3rd T2G/33rd SG: P/9th Bogey Avoidance

Form: 13th/7th/7th

Course History: 17th/9th

Notes: Rahm hasn’t missed a cut since the first tournament after COVID (June 2020) and hasn’t finished worse than 23rd in his last 11 starts… seems like despite having 3 T7 finishes in his last 4 starts he hasn’t even been showing his best stuff, his best surface is Poa, and has gained T2G in 11 straight, gained in SG: OTT in EVERY TOURNAMENT SINCE MAY OF 2019, and is DJ’s biggest competition here


1) Bryson DeChambeau ($10,100) Projected Ownership: 20%

Key Stats: 35th SG: APP/1st SG: OTT/22nd BoB/6th T2G/14th SG: P/11th Bogey Avoidance

Form: 18th/7th

Course History: 5th/15th/41st/WD

Notes: Obviously the best player by a wide margin in SG: OTT but his APP still hasn’t been consistent and despite the newfound distance over the last year, he still is susceptible to big numbers… he has high win equity every time he tees it up, but I can’t play everyone and prefer spending up to Rahm/JT or dropping down to Xander/Cantlay, etc. over Bryson

2) Jordan Spieth ($9,200) Projected Ownership: 8%

Key Stats: 39th SG: APP/95th SG: OTT/15th BoB/44th T2G/29th SG: P/75th Bogey Avoidance

Form: 3rd/4th/MC

Course History: 59th/51st/9th/22nd/MC/4th/12th/MC

Notes: Really great to see him playing well again, with back to back T5s, but his history here isn’t great the last few years, he still has his struggles off the tee which you can’t hide here, and historically, Poa is his worst putting surface; similar to Bryson, would rather play the guys around him

 Favorite Pivot

1) Justin Thomas ($10,700) Projected Ownership: 13%

Key Stats: 3rd SG: APP/25th SG: OTT/1st BoB/8th T2G/34th SG: P/2nd Bogey Avoidance

Form: 13th/MC/3rd/12th

Course History: MC/2nd/9th/39th/54th/41st

Notes: Calling JT a “pivot” is probably unfair but I think he’ll come in under owned as most flock to DJ/Rahm/Bryson/Xander/Finau; still the best iron player in the world, as he’s gained in SG: APP in his last 14 straight tournaments, gained T2G in every tournament since February 2020, and his best putting surface is Poa… could easily come in 5-8% less than the other studs which is great leverage

Mid-Tier Options (7.0K to 8.9K):


1) Joaquin Niemann ($8,800) Projected Ownership: 18%

Key Stats: 8th SG: APP/11th SG: OTT/3rd BoB/4th T2G/43rd SG: P/32nd Bogey Avoidance

Form: 2nd/2nd/23rd

Course History: MC/44th

Notes: He’s going to be popular but one of my favorite plays of the week given his stats/form; gained on APP in 6 straight tournaments, gained T2G in his last 7, and made 10 straight cuts that includes back to back runner up finishes a month ago… his week will rely on his putter but I love how consistent he is

2) Carlos Ortiz ($7,800) Projected Ownership: 16%

Key Stats: 75th SG: APP/29th SG: OTT/12th BoB/47th T2G/10th SG: P/36th Bogey Avoidance

Form: 4th/29th/14th/37th/8th

Course History: 26th/9th/26th/20th

Notes: Anyone who reads this know how often I play Ortiz, but Poa is by far his best putting surface, he’s made 8 straight cuts that includes a win, 8th/4th, in that time span and while I was originally scared of how many strokes he’s gained with the putter, I think he’s improved his putting over the last year and can avoid the big numbers

3) Cameron Tringale ($7,600) Projected Ownership: 11%

Key Stats: 31st SG: APP/37th SG: OTT/9th BoB/31st T2G/5th SG: P/4th Bogey Avoidance

Form: 7th/17th/18th/56th

Course History: 30th/MC/8th/68th/47th/12th/21st/24th/21st

Notes: I loved Tringale last week and like him again this week as he continues to show great form and show that he’s more than just a stat model guy… gained on APP in 6 straight tournaments, gained T2G in 6 straight, and is on by far his best putting surface in Poa greens; I like that he’s play at Riviera a lot, has made 8/9 cuts that includes 6 T30 finishes or better, which is more than fine for this price point


1) Marc Leishman ($8,600) Projected Ownership: 14%

Key Stats: 16th SG: APP/93rd SG: OTT/82nd BoB/56th T2G/84th SG: P/27th Bogey Avoidance

Form: 18th/4th/24th/MC

Course History: 43rd/4th/MC/MC/5th/MC/59th/61st/17th/MC

Notes: Leish has looked much better his last couple compared to his horrendous year he had in 2020, but despite good APP play, his OTT game is still suspect, his worst putting surface is Poa, and I don’t like the projected ownership on someone so expensive and inconsistent

2) Matthew Wolff ($8,100) Projected Ownership: 8%

Key Stats: 24th SG: APP/46th SG: OTT/40th BoB/65th T2G/25th SG: P/90th Bogey Avoidance

Form: 36th/WD/40th

Course History: MC

Notes: I’m not fading Wolff due to the WD a few weeks ago as I think that was more because he was out of it, not because he was hurt; however, his OTT game has really left him over the last 5-7 tournaments and with that being so key here and his best asset to his long term game, I’ll fade until I see more signs of consistency with the driver… his best putting surface is Poa, but he’s now lost strokes T2G in 4 of his last 5, lost OTT in 4 of his last 5, and lost on APP in 2 of his last 5

Favorite Pivot

1) Sergio Garcia ($7,700) Projected Ownership: 9%

Key Stats: 97th SG: APP/5th SG: OTT/32nd BoB/25th T2G/104th SG: P/28th Bogey Avoidance

Form: 12th/6th/47th/11th

Course History: 37th/37th/49th/MC/4th/13th/4th

Notes: I feel like playing Sergio here I’m pretty much playing a $1400 cheaper Hideki as Sergio is amazing OTT, gaining in every measured tournament since February 2020 and while his APP numbers look horrible, those are mostly PGA stats and he has a T12/T6 in his last 2 starts on the Euro tour… the putter will always be scary as he can lose a million strokes in a hurry, but I like that he’s made 6/7 cuts at Riviera and has made his last 7/8 starts in the last few months

OTHERS I LIKE: Viktor Hovland, Si Woo Kim, Corey Conners, Lanto Griffin, Talor Gooch, KH Lee, Wyndham Clark, Matt Jones

Low Tier Options (Under 7K):


1) Matthew NeSmith ($6,900) Projected Ownership: 8%

Quick Hits: Two straight T16 or better finishes and has gained 6.6/4.5/5.6 strokes on APP in his last 3 starts… gets a $1100 discount from last week and ranks 23rd T2G, 5th SG: APP, 34th BoB, and 31st in Bogey Avoidance… can go really low and I think has a win in the not-so-distant future

2) Doug Ghim ($6,900) Projected Ownership: 7%

Quick Hits: Continues to play well T2G, as he’s made 3 straight cuts, gaining on APP in all 3, has gained OTT in 2 of those 3, and ranks 33rd in the field in T2G and SG: APP, 23rd BoB, and 30th in SG: P on Poa

3) Charles Howell III ($6,800) Projected Ownership: 2%

Quick Hits: Used to be much more of a model of consistency but has now missed his last 2 cuts… historically great in the California swing, Howell is still a strong Poa putter long term and ranks 28th in the field in SG: P on Poa and 21st in Bogey Avoidance; made his last 6 cuts at Riviera with a 6th and T15 in 2 of his last 4 starts

4) Michael Thompson ($6,700) Projected Ownership: 3%

Quick Hits: Finished 7th here 2 years ago and ranks 43rd in the field in SG: APP, 39th in BoB, 42nd in SG: P on Poa, and 37th in Bogey Avoidance; has gained over 2 strokes T2G in his last 3 starts, gained on SG: OTT in 3 straight, and has made 9 of his last 10 cuts on TOUR

Cash Game Options

1) Dustin Johnson                         

2) Jon Rahm

3) Xander Schauffele

4) Tony Finau

5) Hideki Matsuyama

6) Bubba Watson

7) Joaquin Niemann

8) Viktor Hovland

9) Corey Conners

10) Talor Gooch

11) Matthew NeSmith

12) Charles Howell IIII

My DK Power Ranks – Generated using 25% Key Stats, 40% Recent Form, 5% DK Points Last 5 Events, 5% of my calculated odds for them to win, 15% of their Top 20 Odds, and 10% Course History Rank

  1. Dustin Johnson
  2. Xander Schauffele
  3. Justin Thomas
  4. Jon Rahm
  5. Tony Finau
  6. Rory McIlroy
  7. Patrick Cantlay
  8. Joaquin Niemann
  9. Bryson DeChambeau
  10. Viktor Hovland
  11. Carlos Ortiz
  12. Collin Morikawa
  13. Adam Scott
  14. Brooks Koepka
  15. Cameron Tringale
  16. Jordan Spieth
  17. Sergio Garcia
  18. Si Woo Kim
  19. Abraham Ancer
  20. Will Zalatoris

Betting/One and Done

Value Bets:

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