PGA DFS

DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Picks & Plays for the Hero World Challenge

Welcome back for another week of PGA DFS at DraftKings and FanDuel. We’re here to give you the full report on fantasy golf picks for The Hero World Challenge at Albany.

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The course

Albany Golf Club is located just a few minutes away from the Nassau International Airport on the south side of the Nassau Island. Albany is an uber-exclusive club in an idyllic spot in paradise. Designed by Ernie Els in 2010, it is the host of this exclusive small field event since 2015. The par 72 stretches out close to 7,400 yards. It is designed in the same vein as a desert links-style courses, which use little water resources and maximize the use of native dunes and unmaintained areas of native grasses and sand flats. It is open and exposed to the prevailing winds that are a constant on the island. Albany is a premier and pristine spot for this annual event.

How it plays

Since this is an unofficial PGA event, we don’t get the usual bevy of stats and scoring histories. Heck, we can even find a listing for the type of grass on the greens at Albany. We would have to imagine it is Bermuda or seashore paspalum turf, which generally runs a bit slower than most courses throughout the year. The fairways are usually firm and allow the ball plenty of run. This course is wide open with generous fairways to help accommodate players off the tee for the potential wind conditions. While players shouldn’t have too many issues finding the fairway and staying out of the native areas, they may struggle to hold a few of the greens at Albany. Many are in the style of Donald Ross, slightly elevated green with shaved runoffs all around and plenty of bunkering. The only difficulty the players could have this week is finding a way to get up and down should they happen to miss the greens.

Though, we wouldn’t worry too much about missed greens. In 2015 when the event moved to Albany, the winning score has averaged 20 under par. The unique setup of five par 3s and five par 5s emphasizes scoring on the par 5s to keep pace. There are plenty of eagles that will be scored this week, especially if conditions are calm. Generally speaking, this is an easy golf course for these guys and with a field of only 18 players, it is literally anyone’s tournament to win.

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Key stats

  • Birdie or better
  • Par 5 scoring
  • Strokes gained ball striking
  • Proximity from 150-175

Top Tier: $11.5K – $9.6K

Dustin Johnson ($10.5K) 

Dustin Johnson is coming with little fanfare after his 30th place at China’s World Golf Champion-HSBC event, mixed into his resume of a couple of near-bottom finishes and a third place. Johnson has a lot of question marks surrounding him this season. For those reasons, we think he makes an interesting GPP play this week. He will likely be the lowest-owed golfer but with a ton of scoring upside. With so few golfers to choose from — and the increased likelihood for duplicated lineups — finding a way to differentiate your lineups will be crucial. Johnson can do that for you this week; the question marks should keep plenty away despite the obvious upside he has in similar fields.

Tiger Woods ($10.3K) 

Tiger Woods is fresh off a head-to-head loss to Phil Mickelson. Since Woods is coming into his own foundation’s event and at a course he helped build and design, you can bet he’s fired up. Despite a poor finish at this event last year (that was post-surgery), he posted the most birdies in the field. Woods knows this course well and shouldn’t have any issues with dismantling it again with a better finishing position come tournament end.

Others to consider: Rickie Fowler will undoubtedly be the chalkiest golfer of the top tier and rightfully so with strong finishes year in and year out here with a win last year. Justin Rose is also going to be popular given that he has a house on the course and posted a couple of top 5 here.

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Mid Tier: $9.5K – $7K

Justin Thomas ($9.2K)
Justin Thomas has the perfect game for this kind of event: no cut and needs to go low. He posted an 11th place here last year in his first outing at Albany. Expect that finish position to improve and with it, plenty of scoring. Thomas has shown his ability to play these coastal, wide-open-wind tracks well. The additional par 5 should have Thomas settling in for multiple eagles this week. We expect a lot of people to stack Fowler and Thomas in lineups this week. Rostering Thomas without Rickie could be helpful in differentiating this week.
Xander Schaufelle ($7.3K) 

Xander Schaufelle has shown his game in all the important events for a couple of seasons. This season he breaks out with a major win and contends for the player of the year title. Granted, we have some lofty goals in mind for our guy X. We feel like this is the perfect event for Schaufelle to get aggressive with a tight but ultra-talented field (exactly where we think, he thinks he belongs) and show off with a week of birdies against all the big boys of the game. Schaufelle has it all regarding game and swagger; look for both to be on display this week.

Others to consider: Jason Day makes an interesting play, super cheap for a former elite. Tony Finau will be crazy popular but rightfully so. Jon Rahm is the interesting GPP play, been consistent lately and surely eager to get back among the world’s best. Bryson closed out his season hot and could just as easily start this one on the same note.

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Value Tier: $7.8K and Lower

Hideki Matsuyama ($6.9K)

Hideki “Deki” Matsuyama is a previous winner of this event. Priced like some scrub, even though his world-class ball striking has found its way back to top-notch. Last season’s injuries kept Matsuyama out of consideration as one of the contenders. This season — and this week especially, I see Deki as the chalky play down low but likely the player to cash in GPP. Deki seems to putt well on this track, and anytime Matsuyama can putt well, the top of the leaderboard is always in jeopardy. His consistent ball striking will have him sticking approaches and his length is enough to keep up with the super bombers and attack the par 5s. At $6.9K, Matsuyama is the cheap elite who allows you to grab a couple of the top-end guys in price. I’ll be locking in Deki this week.

Alexander Noren ($6.5K)

Regarding ownership, we suspect Alexander Noren will be the forgotten player down in this range. Woodland is going to get all the bottom-end attention, which will leave guys like Noren and Stenson under-owned relative to their upside, especially in this small field event. Noren is a capable golfer in the wind, nearly winning on a windy West Coast swing last year. He recently has been putting up decent results, which include a pair of 18s at the previous two WGC events. Noren has a great ball-striking game but struggles to convert some birdies from time to time. This course’s slower greens should help him out. For the $6.5K price tag and likely low ownership, he could be the secret to success this week in  GPP.

Others to consider: Henrik Stenson is in a similar boat to Noren, lower owned but decent upside. Bubba Watson is very much in play, the 2015 winner and will be firing at all the par 5s this week. Gary Woodland is the highest-tagged golfer on Fanshare this week and will undoubtedly be the most popular guy people will round out their lineups. Despite how much we like Woodland, in a 15-man field, his ownership makes him fade-able in our eyes this week.

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