DFS DISH: The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP

Josh Culp

The wait is over for golf fans in Japan who have been waiting all their lives for a PGA TOUR event to roll into town. 

An event in Japan means another early start, so make sure you set your lineups before Wednesday night, Stateside. 

Looking at the field, we have 78 golfers this week with no cut-line to worry about. Just like last week's CJ CUP in Korea. 

For DFS purposes that means you can take a few extra risks but at the same time you need to get as many golfers as possible inside the top 20 so punting with extreme value isn't always the proper strategy. For example, if we look at the winning lineups from last week you'll find they all had Justin Thomas at the top but none of them filled out the bottom of their rosters with KPGA or Asian Tour golfers. Stick to the known commodities of PGA TOUR or Euro Tour talent because they are not making a huge leap in level of competition. 

Weather Update

Thursday (R1): Mostly Cloudy with a high of 69 degrees. Winds at 10 to 15 MPH with gusts of 20. 

Friday (R2): Heavy rain likely (90%) with a high of 69 degrees. Winds at 12 to 18 MPH with gusts of 25. 

This course can't catch a break this week. They are getting soaked in the lead-up to the event and then have 2 to 3 inches of rain scheduled to land on Friday. 

The field is small so there isn't much of a tee-time wave advantage. With a small field, they may be able to sneakily play around the rain on Friday but that will all depend on how well the course drains and how long the rain pours down. Friday could be a wash-out day. 

Oh yeah, they are also dealing with steady winds all week.  The scores might start out ugly before birdies flow a little better over the weekend. 

DRAFT.com 

The best part about season-long leagues is the draft. You don't get that same rush with normal DFS contests but there is hope still. DRAFT has come along to fill that void and I'm having a lot of fun playing in their weekly golf drafts. 

The first place to start is to build your pre-draft rankings for the week. I will point out a few golfers I think are overvalued in the raw rankings and a few that are undervalued in the raw rankings. 
 

OVERRATED GOLFERS

Adam Hadwin (77.32 Projected Pts): The Canadian arrives with some good recent results but is it worthy of 4th on the DRAFT board? That's a little crazy when you consider names like Rory, Hideki, Xander, and Tommy all sit below him. Definitely drop Hadwin a bit before starting your drafts. 

Scott Piercy (66.08 Projected Pts): Where has the form gone, he enters off a T75 (of 78) last week and finished MC and 67th in the two starts prior. Let him sort things out before you reinvest, especially when he's this high on the DRAFT board. 

UNDERRATED GOLFERS

Collin Morikawa (42.03 Projected Pts): A new week but his projection didn't budge. He ended last week on a sour note but also fired a 7-under 65 in round three so he salvaged a T36. Has family ties to Japan but only been here once before. A great steady option at the bottom. 

Sergio Garcia (54.31 Projected Pts): Growing up in Spain, he's no stranger to tight, tree-lined layouts. He's projected well below where his recent form and course fit should put him. Don't sleep on Serge. 

Course Fit

The forecast calls for rain this week but it also calls for steady winds all week. Let's see who plays well in those conditions. 

Looking at sample-size-adjusted performance in rounds played with 14+ MPH winds over the last three 3 years (PGA, KFT, Euro Tour) the top 15 performers on a per-round basis looks like this: 

Hideki Matsuyama
Tommy Fleetwood
Rory McIlroy
Paul Casey
Tony Finau
Jason Day
Justin Thomas
Sergio Garcia
Shane Lowry
Adam Scott
Ryan Moore
Patrick Reed
Joaquin Niemann
Gary Woodland
Rory Sabbatini

Other than raw performance, we can also look at who shows the biggest improvement in the wind (versus their baseline). Using that as the criteria, the following names pop:  

Max Homa
Hideki Matsuyama
Troy Merritt
C.T. Pan
Ryan Moore
Rory Sabbatini
Joaquin Niemann
J.T. Poston
Kevin Tway
Joel Dahmen
Tommy Fleetwood
Si Woo Kim
Scott Piercy
Sergio Garcia
Abraham Ancer

Overlap List: Looking for overlap on the two lists we see Hideki Matsuyama, Ryan Moore, Joaquin Niemann, Sergio Garcia, and Rory Sabbatini

Niemann doesn't have a monster sample (35 wind rounds) but his early results are good in the wind. He also won at a tree-lined Old White TPC so he might be worth a look. Garcia has proven to love the wind over the years and Hideki can control his ball with the best of them. 

Value Spotlight

Kevin Kisner: When it comes to value you can look for the obvious plays and ride along with the field or search a bit off the radar for a home-run pick. Kisner falls closer to the latter this week since he hasn't pegged it in a few months. That will keep his ownership very low but he ended the season on a hot streak and this week's course might allow him to pick up right where he left off. Visually, there are a ton of trees this week, some of them overhanging. That claustrophobic feel might remind him of a course like Harbour Town where he finished runner-up back in 2015. A bit of a risk with no action since the TOUR Championship in August but a risk that could definitely pay off for gamers.

Best of luck in all your contests this week!