Fantasy Golf

2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational DFS Golf Outlook

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Hello, and welcome to the 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational DFS Golf Outlook. I’m your host, Tyler, and today we will be exploring the comfy landscapes of Bay Hill.

Okay, enough of the etiquette crapola – this article is about making some money in DFS golf! We here at the Fantasy Six Pack would like to formally welcome you to the first golf article of the site! Exciting times! We would love the feedback and support of any readers! As long as it is all positive feedback of course…

On to the tournament, it’s been a jam-packed season here in February and March. So, the talk of the town is how many golfers are forgoing this tournament to rest up for the prestigious events upcoming. Now, that’s understandable given the schedule, but this is a great tournament in its own right. I mean, it’s the first tournament here since the great Arnold Palmer passed away. It has tons of meaning to some of the guys on tour – enough to make a great effort to compete.

All in all, it’s a decent field! We have some usual big names, hungry up-and-comers, and everything in between. It’s a great preparation run for the aforementioned Masters coming up in just a few weeks. As fantasy players, DFS exposure in this tournament is also great preparation for the Masters! What better way to warm up to DFS golf than to play in the API?

So, mix yourself some lemonade and sweet tea – it’s time to break down the 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational! (FYI, prices listed below are specifically for FanDuel contests. I don’t play DraftKings, but this information can be easily transferred to the sister site.)

2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational DFS Golf Outlook

Course Preview

Bay Hill Club & Lodge 
Par72
Rating75.2
Slope137
Length7,381 yds
GreensTifEagle Bermudagrass
WeatherSunny, 75°F
Purse$8.7MM

Key Statistics

  1. Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
  2. Strokes Gained: Putting
  3. Par 5 Scoring
  4. Ball Striking
  5. Driving Accuracy

The ‘Strokes Gained’ statistics are going to be common in these rundowns. The importance of those two is obvious, so I won’t spend any more time on that.

Aggressiveness on par 5’s is vital for success at Bay Hill. Some may say that, since the par 3’s and 4’s are more difficult relative to the rest of the PGA Tour courses, it would be more important for golfers to be great at those. However, past champions have been very effective on the par 5’s. Last year’s winner Jason Day (-17) and runner-up Kevin Chappell (-16) both shot -10 on par 5’s.

Ball striking is a wonderful statistic that lumps Driving Distance, Driving Accuracy, and GIR all into one ranking. Furthermore, I wanted to emphasize the impact that Driving Accuracy has on this course. Bay Hill is notorious for having a treacherous rough. Therefore, it’s imperative that shots from the rough are limited throughout the weekend.

Recent History

The following table shows the top 10 over the last three years in this tournament. I calculated z-scores for each player based on their finishes in each tournament and summed them up. I only included players who played all three years in this chart. This gives a good idea of what type of players do well at Bay Hill.

Playerz-2014z-2015z-2016Total
Henrik Stenson1.862.472.106.44
Matt Every2.562.63-0.464.74
Jason Kokrak2.041.660.914.61
Francesco Molinari1.861.011.424.29
Adam Scott2.210.531.253.99
Zach Johnson0.291.501.763.55
Brandt Snedeker1.691.180.573.43
Keegan Bradley2.390.200.573.16
Matt Jones1.162.31-0.463.01
Ben Martin-0.241.821.252.83

Golfers to Own

Hideki Matsuyama, $10000

Just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be mentioned. Matsuyama has been on absolute fire this season. He’s in the top tier in money list (1st), FedEx points (2nd), and just about everything but driving accuracy. Now, I know that driving accuracy was one of the major ingredients of success at this course. However, he’s had pretty good scores at Bay Hill the last two years and he’s just going to be worth the salary.

Francesco Molinari, $7700

Molinari is my pick of the week for DFS play. Though the Italian may not win it all, you gotta love the way his style reflects the Bay Hill landscape. His statistical performance in the five listed above lies in the top three of the field (Matsuyama and Rickie Fowler, another golfer I love this week). To top it off, his last three years in this tournament have been stellar. Do not pass him up – this is as easy money as it gets in the DFS golf realm. You know what – I say he wins it!

Keegan Bradley, $6900

Another regular in the top 10 of the API in years past, Bradley enters the tournament in a bit of a rough patch. Missing three cuts in his last seven contests is certainly nothing to be proud of. However, his cost is definitely deflated because of it. I’m banking on Keegan bouncing back this week, not just because his stats support it. He plays these tracks consistently well. Consistency is not the first noun you think of when discussing Bradley, which is a testament to his mentality here at Bay Hill. I’m taking the flier on Bradley’s low salary and hoping for a breakthrough.

Golfers to Avoid

Jason Day, $10300

I mentioned earlier how Day ran train through this course en route to an API crown in 2016. You would be foolish to fade him in DFS play, right? Well, as the second highest golfer on the board, I am willing to take the risk here and avoid him. He has had a roller coaster 2017 and, while I could totally see him just recapturing his 2016 form in this tournament, I’m going to play the wait-and-see game.

He’s okay in cash/50-50 play, but I’m off him in large-pool tourneys.

Bubba Watson, $8800

Look at that stank face. Now, imagine this is your face after deciding to roll him out in your DFS lineup for the API. It doesn’t sound fun, does it? I don’t see this course layout playing too well for ‘Bubba golf’. His strokes gained stats are subpar and his driving distance won’t be on full display because of his natural fade/slice on these dogleg rights. I see him playing from the rough off the tee quite a bit, leading to an uninspiring performance.

Branden Grace, $7700

For a guy whose best finish this season is T13 at the Sony Open, his salary remains high on FanDuel. Everyone has that one mid-priced player they end up buying shares of in DFS just because of how the salary cap plays. For me, I have been creating my stars and scrubs lineups, then filling in with mid-range guys as necessary. Picking between that $7400-$7800 range has been a common decision in the days prior to this one. Grace won’t get you near the performance that Molinari will for the same price. In fact, I would rather go with Martin Laird, Kevin Kisner, or Ryan Moore at similar or lower salaries.

Sleeper of the Week

Kyle Stanley, $5400

I could talk about Stanley’s decent season thus far or his ascent to 58th in the FedEx Cup rankings. However, his appearance here is based solely on my chosen statistics at the beginning. Stanley placed fourth in my player rater for the week behind Matsuyama, Molinari, and Fowler. Pretty good company, right? At this price, he holds incredible value when building lineups.

My Friend JSK’s Lock of the Week

For each tournament, I will ask my friend known simply by his initials, JSK, which golfer he predicts to win. JSK follows golf much more closely than I do and I appreciate his input. Also, he is a pretty funny dude, so there’s an added bonus.

“Coming off a strong week at Valspar, Henrik Stenson is a not-so-risky pick heading into the Arnold Palmer Invitational. From 2012-2016, the Ice Man has gone T15, T8, T5, 2, T3 at Bay Hill. Not too shabby.

Also, this guy is more consistent at hitting the green than Willie Nelson, and if you don’t think that’s important on this track, just ask Tiger Woods how well it worked for him here.

Lastly, even with a weak putter, the reigning Open champ is a leaderboard scare, but if he finds his stroke this week he could demoralize the field. I highly recommend Stenson for any fantasy golf or arm-wrestling leagues.”

Damn, maybe my friend John should just write the whole freaking article? Witty, informative, and direct is the name of his game. You better listen up!

Proposed DFS Lineup

So, for those new to the FanDuel format, you pick four Thursday-Friday contestants and four weekend ones. The way I approach it is to use my lower salary players in Rounds 1 & 2. Then, I bring in my big money closers for the weekend finish. Here’s what I configured for my lineup:

RoundsPlayerSalary
Total$49,900
1-2Kyle Stanley$5400
1-2Pat Perez$6700
1-2Jim Herman$4800
1-2Chez Reavie$5600
3-4Hideki Matsuyama$10000
3-4Rickie Fowler$9500
3-4Henrik Stenson$10200
3-4Francesco Molinari$7700

This is the ultimate stars-and-scrubs lineup. I was able to squeeze in each of my top four competitors in the tournament for the weekend. That was made possible by the ‘scrubs’ I used in the early rounds. If I can hit on three of those four making the cut, I should be sitting pretty come Sunday evening.

About Tyler Thompson

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