Yahoo DFS Golf: Waste Management Phoenix Open

Yahoo DFS Golf: Waste Management Phoenix Open

This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.

Waste Management Phoenix Open

Scottsdale, Arizona
TPC Scottsdale - Par 71 - 7,261 yards
Field - 132 entrants
Purse - $7.3M

The Preview

The buzz surrounding this year's Waste Management Phoenix Open won't focus on the hundreds of thousands of patrons who usually roam the fiesta-filled grounds of TPC Scottsdale, but limited crowds have clearly piqued the interest of the game's best as the event sees one of its strongest fields in decades with players seeking those man-in-the-arena vibes. Even the Monday Qualifier this week was filled with past PGA Tour champions. The course itself is a step down in difficulty and luxury from Torrey Pines, but Strokes Gained: Approach reigns supreme once again as quality iron play is paramount here. Four of the last five WMPOs have culminated in extra holes, and although such a small sample size doesn't exactly provide much legitimate predictive analysis, wagering on a "Will there be a Playoff" prop at 7/2 pre-tournament odds appears to be a bit more +EV than playing the guessing game on Gatorade color or forking up the vig on a coin-toss bet at the Super Bowl this weekend.

Recent Champions 

2020 - Webb Simpson
2019 - Rickie Fowler
2018 - Gary Woodland
2017 - Hideki Matsuyama
2016 - Hideki Matsuyama
2015 - Brooks Koepka
2014 - Kevin Stadler
2013 - Phil Mickelson
2012 - Kyle Stanley
2011 - Mark Wilson

Key Stats to Victory

SG: Approach
Birdie or better percentage
Proximity
SG: Putting (bermuda)

Yahoo Value Picks 

Based on $200 salary cap

Cream of the Crop

Jon Rahm - $48

The former Sun Devil will tee it up in the Valley of the Sun as the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 2 in the OWGR. Rahm is coming off three consecutive T7s from the Masters through the Farmers Insurance Open on the heels of a runner-up effort at the ZOZO Championship. Rahm is second to none in SG: Tee-to-Green and SG: Off-the-Tee over his last 36 rounds, but he's also built a solid WMPO resume with results of T9-T10-T11-T16-T5 in five appearances since 2015. I'm also really high on Justin Thomas ($47) and Xander Schauffele ($47) this week, but Rahm just feels like he has more win equity this time around.

Webb Simpson - $45

Yahoo is begging gamers to select Rory McIlroy at just $44, but I'll avoid the bait as he heads into his WMPO debut looking completely lost from inside 150 yards as of late. Instead, I'd rather absorb one more dollar of precious salary on the defending champion. Simpson is a horse for the course with five career top-10s and two 72-hole scores of 17-under-par at TPC Scottsdale since 2017. He provides a top-tier floor at 16th in SG: Putting, fifth in scrambling and second in driving accuracy, but he's also 23rd in birdie average and 18th in par-5 scoring.

Glue Guys

Will Zalatoris - $32

What do Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Francesco Molinari and Jordan Spieth have in common? They've all been leapfrogged in the OWGR by Zalatoris, who's risen to No. 52 after compiling four top-10s in just seven starts since a T6 at the U.S. Open in late September. He'll be ultra chalky at such a discount compared to his betting odds in the mid-30/1 range, but he's impossible to ignore at third in SG: Approach and 11th in SG: Tee-to-Green over his last 24 rounds. Zalatoris is coming off a T7 at the Farmers Insurance Open where he ended the week with a highlight-reel eagle on his 72nd hole.

Corey Conners - $32

The smooth-swinging Canadian is one of my personal favorite players to watch on Tour, but confidence in including Conners here comes from the data as he gained strokes on approaches in all but one of his last 11 starts dating to the PGA Championship in August. Despite relatively moderate power by today's standards, he's graded even better off the tee and has gained an average of 5.9 strokes from tee to green per event in four measured tournaments since a top-10 performance at the ZOZO Championship. He's legitimately one of the best ball-strikers on the PGA Tour, but won't be salaried accordingly until the putter cooperates on a consistent basis. Buy the dips and pray for any resemblance of positive regression with the flat stick.

Max Homa - $30

Homa came through for us last week with a third consecutive top-25 finish, which included a pair of eagles to further boost his daily fantasy output at Torrey Pines. We'll go right back to the Phoenix resident again as he gets to sleep in his own bed with a short commute to TPC Scottsdale each day. Homa placed T6-T26 in his first two WMPO showings and just finished eighth in SG: Approach and third in SG: Around-the-Green at the Farmers Insurance Open. 

Bargain Bin

Sam Burns - $23

For good reason, Burns and Henrik Norlander are going to be such unbelievably popular plays this week at just $23, but I'll exclude the latter from the Bargain Bin as a somewhat risky game-theory fade. Burns' rostership could fall slightly below that of the Swede's after Burns struggled in the final group Sunday at the FIO en route to a closing 75 on the South Course. Nonetheless, Burns ranks third in proximity from 175-200 yards and fifth in proximity from 100-125 yards over his last 24 rounds. Beware of his potential volatility if considering Burns in cash-game formats, but he's also third in SG: Off-the-Tee, sixth in GIR percentage and 25th in birdie or better average this season.

Nick Hardy - $20

It wouldn't be constitutional to pump up the competition level of the Monday Qualifier and NOT lend Hardy some much-deserved clout. The 25-year-old Fighting Illini product fired a seven-under 65 at McCormick Ranch Golf Club before defeating Anirban Lahiri in a two-man playoff for the final spot in the Waste Management field. Hardy also Monday qualified at the Sony Open in January, which translated to a T14 finish and five birdies per round at Waialae Country Club. 

Davis Riley - $20

Riley didn't exactly flash his potential throughout the fall series as he missed the cut at the U.S. Open and the Sanderson Farms Championship, but he won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020 while ranking fourth among his peers in both the KFT's all-around ranking and birdie average. Riley was a standout at the University of Alabama and actually lived with Zalatoris upon the conclusion of their collegiate careers as they dominated on the Korn Ferry Tour together. Riley makes for a risky lineup consideration in his WMPO debut, but he'll provide scarcity as a punt pivot in low-cost, massive entry contests and is definitely someone to monitor moving forward.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Bryce Danielson plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: brycedanielson99, FanDuel: brycedanielson99, Yahoo: RotoBOOM.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bryce Danielson
Bryce covers the PGA for RotoWire and provides input on the golf cheat sheet. He also contributes to the coverage for NFL, NBA and other sports.
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