GOLF

Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES

Who can you build around on FanDuel this week as the PGA Tour heads to Jeju Island?

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

Key Stats for the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES at Nine Bridges
Strokes Gained: Approach
Driving Accuracy
Scrambling
Strokes Gained: Around the Green
Bogey Avoidance


This week, the course has just two years of data and no strokes gained information, so we have to make more assumptions than usual. The way that I'm approaching this week is finding all-around golfers. That means hitting fairways despite the varying undulations, picking up approach strokes, playing well around the green, scrambling when errant, and avoiding disasters.

It's a no-cut event, but that doesn't mean we can ignore bogeys entirely. We need four steady rounds to contend with the top of this field.

For a more detailed breakdown on the course, check out our course primer from Mike Rodden.

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

Justin Thomas (FanDuel Price: $12,000 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: +650) - Justin Thomas is the odds-on favorite and grades out as the most likely winner in my win simulations. He is the only golfer in the field to rank top-10 in all three tee-to-green stats over the past 50 rounds on the PGA Tour, and he is actually 2nd in strokes gained: around the green, a key stat for me this week. He also won here two years ago.

Brooks Koepka ($11,900 | +850) - Koepka isn't as safe as Thomas, but he's a standout tournament play because if this course plays tough, we can see him separate himself more easily from the field than he would when birdies are abundant. Last year, Koepka won here by four strokes and was one of six golfers with multiple eagles. Even if he doesn't win, his fantasy production should stand out relative to the field, and he is a good scrambler and sand player.

Hideki Matsuyama ($11,100 | +1400) - Matsuyama debuted with an 18th here last year with no traditional stats that really stand out (75% of greens in regulation was just middle-of-the-pack), but his recent form remains strong, and he grades out top-15 in all three tee-to-green stats, including 6th around the green. Matsuyama ranks 4th in bogey avoidance and is 22nd in scrambling. I like this profile for a high-floor week.

Viktor Hovland ($10,800 | +2000) - I know Hovland is another very pricey option, but this week, there are value plays to be had given the field type and the pricing FanDuel gave us. It's not that golfers are mis-priced so much as there isn't a huge gap between golfers priced in the $9,000 range and golfers priced in the $8,000 range, so that helps us spend up. Hovland will be making his course debut, which is a little scary given the course, but he is top-3 in both ball-striking stats and is 13th in bogey avoidance, despite not being a great around-the-green player. He's an upside bet and someone who should go overlooked with his price where it is. Tommy Fleetwood ($10,900) also fits that category. It's a good way to pivot from the chalky studs (Thomas and Koepka).

Jason Day ($10,400 | +2200) - Day's case is rarely made through stats but rather the course. If we're seeking good play around the green, scrambling, out of the sand and putting, well, that's what Jason Day can do really, really well. He finished 5th here last year after placing 11th the year before. He shouldn't carry significant ownership in this price range.

Mid-Range Options

Billy Horschel ($10,000 | +2700) - Horschel brings a balanced profile with him and is more of a bogey-avoider (23rd) than a birdie-maker (49th). While we still need scoring to win here, we don't need every golfer in our lineups to win, especially in cash games. Horschel was fine here last year from a greens-in-regulation standpoint but was the second-worst putter in the field as he finished 67th.

Joaquin Niemann ($9,500 | +3300) - Niemann ranks 8th in strokes gained: off the tee and 9th in strokes gained: approach over the past 50 rounds. He is 14th in bogey avoidance and has good sand splits and putting splits on bentgrass greens, his best surface. He has a great stats profile for Nine Bridges and finished a 5-under 36th here last year.

Chez Reavie ($9,200 | +5000) - Reavie is top-15 in both ball-striking stats and leads the field in fairways gained in our sample. He also has finished 15th and 7th here in his past two tries, so he has results and knowledge few in the field do.

Byeong-Hun An ($8,900 | +4500) - An is an elite tee-to-green player and is really good around the green (he leads the field), which I'm emphasizing this week. He followed up an 11th-place debut at Nine Bridges with a 41st last year. He's coming off of two straight missed cuts, but just before that, his tee-to-green numbers were on fire.

Low-Priced Picks

Rory Sabbatini ($8,700 | +6000) - Sabbatini ranks top-25 in all four strokes gained stats over the past 50 rounds, avoids bogeys (8th), and makes birdies (12th). He isn't the sexiest pick each week, but he's coming off a 10th-place finish and should be a safe option.

Corey Conners ($8,500 | +5000) - Conners is a tournament play, given his ball-striking (3rd off the tee and 7th in approach) and scoring ability (8th in opportunities gained but 50th in birdie or better rate conversion). He's almost guaranteed to gain distance and fairways on the field. He just needs to avoid disaster on and around the green.

Emiliano Grillo ($8,300 | +8000) - Grillo is back on bentgrass, which is what we need to see to feel somewhat confident with his putter. Similar to Conners, he is 11th off the tee and 1st in approach but 68th around the green. He has scoring chances often because of his ball-striking, but he'll need to bring the putter.

Vaughn Taylor ($7,200 | +13000) - Taylor ranks 24th in the field in adjusted stroke average in 2019, but he's priced like an afterthought. His per-round average (0.74) places him on par with Danny Willett (0.77), who is $9,700. Based on win odds and adjusted stroke average, Taylor should be priced around $8,600.

Jhonattan Vegas ($7,100 | +15000) - Vegas is also priced as a full-on punt play, and that's fair. His peripherals suggest he should be around $7,900, but we are now getting the field's best off-the-tee player at a cheap tag. He ranks second in opportunities gained and sixth in birdie or better rate, so even if the final score is poor, he can produce fantasy points.