What’s goin’ on fantasy golf fans?! I hope the CJ Cup treated you well. New rule, never fade Justin Thomas. The guy is a monster, can win on demand and seems to be under owned far too often. Unfortunately we won’t have a chance to implement the new rule for a while. JT is taking some deserved time off.
Next up, we have the World Golf Championship – HSBC Champions from Shanghai, China. This event has been hosted by the Sheshan International Golf Club every year since it was established in 2005. We have another 78 man field, no cut event to deal with. The limited field and guaranteed (sort of) four rounds of golf, pretty much makes every golfer an options in multi-entry tournaments. This isn’t your typical WGC event either, due to its location, not all of the super stars show up. The course is relatively easy, as the winning score five out of the last six years has been -20 or better. It is a 7,200 Par 72 course and even though less fairways are hit here compared to the average PGA Tour event, the fact that scores get a low as they do makes it seem that it’s a bombs away track.
For stats this week, I will be focusing heavily on Strokes Gained Ball Striking (Off the tee + Approach). I don’t care how these golfers get to the green, whether it be with accuracy or distance – get there more efficiently than the field and they’ll find their way onto some rosters. As mentioned before, we have another no cut event so birdies will be coveted. Birdies equal scoring on DraftKings, so Birdies or Better Gained will be a stat I’m weighing heavily. All the Par 3s are between 200-225 yards, so Par 3 Scoring – 200-225 will be looked at. Toss in Eagle Rate and Bogey Avoidance to complete the stat package.
Alright, let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Jason Day – $10,200
You can’t go wrong at the top of the board this week. DJ will be tough to fit in due to his price and the lack of talent at the bottom of the field. Deki and Rose have their strengths as well, but if I am going to build a single lineup, Jason Day will be the first golfer I click. I am going to look past the terrible bubble vest he wore in South Korea and focus on his numbers. He ranks 1st in my weighted stat model over the past 12 rounds thanks to his elite Bob Gained, eagle rate and P3 scoring from 200-225. He finished a respectable 11th last week at the CJ Cup as well. Day hasn’t played this event within the last five years. Perhaps this is a sign that he is confident in his game and is ready to bounce back after a disappointed 2017 campaign.
Paul Casey – $9,400
Paul Casey is becoming an extremely boring, but rewarding golfer to own in DFS. Just because he cannot win a golf tournament, doesn’t mean you should ever avoid him. You can’t roster six winning golfers. Casey came T7 at the CIMB Classic and T19 last week at the CJ Cup, showing his form from 2017 has carried on into the fall season. He has three top 25s at the HSBC Champions in his last three appearances. Casey’s $9,400 price tag is very affordable in cash and I highly recommend you make room for him on your roster.
Ross Fisher – $8,400
Fisher is likely going to be the chalk of the week for many good reasons. He enters this week with back-to-back runner up finishes in the last two weeks. If it wasn’t for Tyrrell Hatton’s hot putter, he would have at least one win. Fisher has also had tremendous success at Sheshan International, T6 in 2016 and T3 in 2015. His form and course history make him an obvious strong play. The one reason to fade him would be fear his ownership gets out of control and exceeds 30%. I don’t think that will be the case. The majority of the people playing DFS will roster much more familiar names in his price range like Reed or Berger.
Tony Finau – $7,700
Finau’s price has been yo-yo’ing the last few weeks. He has been over $10K twice and now $7,700 twice in four events. That decrease in price will entice people to roster him, but the entire price range is littered with other solid plays that his ownership shouldn’t get over 20%. Finau ranks 4th in BoB Gained over the last 12 rounds and makes more eagles than most golfers in the field. He enters this week with a T26 at the CJ Cup and a 2nd at the Safeway Open. I like his price and form and I’m excited to see how Finau performs in his first ever WGC event.
Thorbjorn Olesen – $7,300
Thorbjorn Olesen is the sexy pick of the week that seems to be gaining traction. Olesen has a combination of recent form, tournament history and stats that make him a solid value play. Olesen has missed one cut in his last 12 events, a run that includes multiple top 10 finishes. He also seems to love playing at Sheshan GC. He has played here three times in the past five years, with his best finishing being a T6 in 2014 and worst being a T19 in 2015. Olesen also ranks 2nd in the field in SG:Putting on bent grass over the past 50 rounds.
WGC-HSBC Champions Interactive Data
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Identifying the chalk, and going elsewhere.
Brooks Koepka – $9,700
Brooks is back! We haven’t seen him since the Tour Championship, an event he came 6th in. This event should set up perfectly for him and yes, I’m aware of his T40 last year. He’s a birdie making machine and should give himself numerous looks at eagle as well. Remember, all we care about his DraftKings scoring and even if he finishes 20th, he has a great chance of finishing inside the top 10 in DK points. Koepka only has 11 tags on FanShare Sports, which is the fewest out of anyone priced above $9K.
Patrick Cantlay – $8,900
What happened to the hype that surrounded Patrick Cantlay all of last season? Cantlay had an incredible season, not missing a single cut in the 12 events he played. He made the Tour Championship despite playing only nine events prior to the FedEx Cup Playoffs. That is insane. Now priced at $8,900, no one is talking about him. Cantlay only has seven tags on FanShare Sports and will be one of the lowest owned golfers above $8K. Easily my favorite GPP play on the board.
Alexander Noren – $7,900
Noren is priced in a crowded price range, surrounded by chalky options Fisher, Hatton, Molinari and Finau. What a great time to pivot. Noren doesn’t have the best recent form – T38 at the Italian Masters two weeks ago and a missed cut prior. However, he did come T12 at this tournament last year, can make enough birdies and is known for hitting a ton of greens in reg. Noren has yet to prove himself on a big time stage since jumping up into the top 10 in the world, but this could be the event he does. It still has a Euro Tour vibe to it, which is what he needs.
Hudson Swafford – $7,200
Swafford ranks 9th in my weighted stat model and is 10th in SG:BS over the past 12 rounds in this field. He has the length and birdie making ability that can go a long way at Sheshan GC. He is priced only $300 more than the dead minimum, which is crazy for the form he has entering this week. If the stats don’t sell you, Swafford only has three tags on FanShare Sports, and will be way less owned then Haas, Olesen and Li.
Bad course fit? Highly owned for the wrong reason? Players I will have no shares of.
Henrik Stenson – $9,600
In a field of this strength with no cut, it’s difficult to narrow down automatic fades. So taking a look at golfers that have no chance to make my cash lineup, let’s begin with Henrik Stenson. Stenson has great course history, coming T2 last year and T11 in 2015. However, Stenson hasn’t played since the BMW Championship compared to most of the other top plays who have a few events under their belt this fall. Let’s also not forget Stenson does have the DGAF reputation if things go south on Thursday.
Lucas Glover – $7,800
Glover has had a strong Asian season with a T7 in Malaysia and T15 in South Korea. He is a golfer that will always light up the score sheet because of his elite tee to green game. With that said, I don’t like his $7,800 price tag – seems too high for a golfer with limited winning upside. The reason for that limited upside is his putter, especially on bent grass. Over the past 100 rounds, Glover ranks 59th out of the 61 golfers who qualified.
So, you got burned?
Recently got screwed by a missed cut or a poor performance? Looks like a good time to jump back on.
Jon Rahm – $10,000
Although Rahm didn’t have a chance to burn those who only play PGA DFS, he did miss the cut at his home event on the European Tour. A lot of people will look at his missed cut last week and figure he is out of form. You can imagine the amount of pressure Rahm would have putt on himself last week in Spain. Chalk that missed cut up to nerves, pressure and getting in his own way. Rahm will be under owned in a prime bounce back spot.
Xander Schauffele – $8,700
Ouu boy that was ugly. Those who backed Xander in a big way last week are feeling the burn after his 82 on Friday. He didn’t bounce back at all on the weekend either and fell to the bottom of the leaderboard. Xander has been playing a ton of golf lately which is a bit concerning, but his ownership will be non-existent this week. If bombers have an advantage at Sheshan GC, then Xander definitely has a shot. The conditions last week were miserable, perhaps it was a good week for Xander to take off and go through the motions. Time to load back up.
Si Woo Kim – $7,300
Si Woo struggled in his native country last week with a lot of expectations on him. We know how inconsistent he is – almost like extreme case of the Justin Thomas’s. Anyone who can win The Players is worthy to be in a GPP lineup or two in a no cut event. Kim doesn’t have a single tag on FanShare Sports, which gives you an idea of what his ownership will be.
Thanks for reading the HSBC Champions preview article! You can follow me on Twitter for more golf and betting talk! Also, make sure you check out @FanShareSports. They track and curate content produced across the DFS Golf industry, and highlight which players are being tagged or talked about the most, translating to an excellent ownership guide.
Good luck this week everybody!!