This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.
The American Express
La Quinta, California
PGA West Stadium Course - Par 72 - 7,158 yards
PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course - Par 72 - 7,147 yards
La Quinta Country Club - Par 72 - 7,060 yards
Field - 156 entrants
Purse - $7.6M
The Sony Open in Hawaii felt like a return to normalcy after the Sentry Tournament of Champions appeared first on the 2022 schedule, but the upcoming American Express is slated to restore the event's lawlessness to pre-pandemic levels. Encouraging sluggish rounds of five-plus hours, each of the 156 professional entrants will be paired with an amateur in the pro-am format, with the action spread out across an unusual three-course rotation from Thursday to Saturday. Following a 54-hole cut down to the top 65 and ties, the Stadium Course at PGA West will host the final round.
All three layouts are relatively short in length for par-72s as they each feature several reachable par-5s. Their bermudagrass greens have been overseeded with poa trivialis, which will run on the slower side, but much smoother than traditional poa annua as many west-coast players express their affinity for the putting surfaces on these tracks. Birdie opportunities should be in abundance this week as the sun shines for four straight days in the Coachella Valley, so expect the leaders to have no trouble surpassing the 20-under-par mark by Sunday afternoon.
Key Stats to Victory
Yahoo Value Picks
Based on $200 salary cap
Cream of the Crop
Jon Rahm - $51
Paying up for Rahm at $51 in Yahoo DFS lineups is much less stressful than putting all your eggs in one basket on a 5/1 outright ticket, which he's certainly earned in betting markets as a dominant world No. 1 coming off a runner-up effort at Kapalua. There are a ton of good bargains further down the board this week, especially given the possibility for higher risk tolerance with three guaranteed rounds, so Rahm should be a popular anchor despite the magnified salary. He's a collective 43-under-par in his last two trips to La Quinta, which include a victory here in 2018.
Patrick Cantlay - $47
The Pete Dye Stadium Course is often mentioned as the most difficult of the triumvirate at this event, but that didn't keep Cantlay from firing an 11-under 61 in the final round last year on the way to his runner-up finish. He also paced the 2021 AmEx in par-3 scoring, par-4 scoring and total birdies with a T3 ranking in putting average. The reigning FedExCup champion opened his 2022 calendar year with a fourth-place effort at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he gained 5.9 strokes from tee to green while amassing 27 par-breakers and 149.9 fantasy points.
Matthew Wolff - $41
After a disappointing conclusion to Wolff's 2020-21 season that included back-to-back missed cuts at the Wyndham Championship and The Northern Trust, the 22-year-old rebounded throughout the fall series, tying for 17th at the Sanderson Farms Championship before placing 2-T5-T11 from the Shriners Children's Open to the Houston Open. The $41 salary is somewhat of a gift in this range when guys like Abraham Ancer ($43), Talor Gooch ($43) and Will Zalatoris ($43) all have less win equity in my opinion. Unremarkable course history combined with a two-month layoff should help reduce Wolff's rostership, too. However, I'm not very worried about the lengthy break, and neither is his swing coach.
Seamus Power - $36
Power continues his rapid ascent in the Official World Golf Ranking, reaching a career-best 49th after his T3 last week at the Sony Open where he ranked fifth in SG: Putting and seventh in SG: Off-the-Tee en route to three rounds of 65 or better. The Irishman, who finished T3-T15-T4 in three starts dating to the RSM Classic, is No. 1 in par-5 efficiency and seventh in eagle percentage over his last 24 rounds. Additionally, Power owns two career top-25s in three appearances at the AmEx.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout - $33
Bezuidenhout gained a career-high 4.7 strokes from tee to green this past week at Waialae Country Club, tying for 17th while making at least five birdies in all four rounds. Over his past 24 measured rounds, the South African ranks 11th in proximity, 12th in SG: Putting and 19th in SG: Approach.
Luke List - $26
The ball-striking guru is exactly fourth among this week's field in several metrics throughout his past 24 rounds, including SG: Off-the-Tee, Birdie or Better percentage and par-5 efficiency. Although he ranks just 149th in SG: Putting in that same span, List habitually racks up more than enough scoring opportunities to return value from a DFS scoring perspective. He's placed top 20 in four of seven starts to begin his 2021-22 campaign.
Adam Svensson - $21
Svensson missed back-to-back cuts at the Houston Open and RSM Classic heading into the new year, but he bounced back by notching his first career top-10 last week at the Sony Open. The Canadian gained north of six strokes on his approach shots alone, but he also finished 12th in SG: Putting. Svensson's overall talent and the respect he's quickly earning on Tour have become evident by the fact that Tim Tucker and Ted Scott have caddied for him in various events already this season.
Russell Knox - $20
Not only has Knox placed T37 or better in four consecutive AmEx outings, but he's now coming off a T7 performance in Honolulu where he hit 61 of 72 greens in regulation. Knox has gained strokes with his irons in 10 of 11 measured tournaments dating back to the Rocket Mortgage Classic last July. Unfortunately, he could end up as the most popular minimum-priced option on the slate, so it might be best to eat the potential Knox chalk in cash lineups rather than being over-exposed in GPPs. Builds that start with both Rahm and Cantlay at the top will be more common with Yahoo's pricing compared to other sites, which will encourage gamers to pick someone like Knox and/or Svensson down here at the bottom for salary relief in a stars and scrubs scenario. Michael Thompson ($21) is another prime candidate for inflated rostership, especially on Yahoo.
Dylan Wu - $20
Wu ranked seventh at the Sony Open in SG: T2G, but a couple rough outings with the flat stick in Rounds 2 and 4 limited his finish to a T20. It was still the best result of his young PGA Tour career, however, and there weren't signs of him being a very terrible putter before last week. If his solid approach play continues, Wu could really reap the benefits from any positive regression on the greens this week.