Welcome to the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open Fantasy Picks and Pro-Tip
News and Notes
The 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open will be played at TPC Scottsdale, a Par 71 that plays just under 7300 yards and is notorious for the party scene and stadium surrounding the Par 3 16th green. While the shenanigans will be present on the course, it is another strong field this week with Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Hideki Matsuyama headlining the field. Now a few weeks into the season, most golfers have played at least one event with some as many as three or four. Last week’s Farmers Insurance Open highlighted the value of making contrarian pivots as Justin Rose and Jon Rahm went off at sub 15 percent ownership, Adam Scott cracked the Top 5 at 5 percent ownership, and Rory McIlroy and Jason Day also outscored more popular options like Tony Finau, Patrick Cantlay and Rickie Fowler. Striking the balance of strong contrarian options and the value “good chalk” once again proved pivotal though, as popular value plays Hideki Matsuyama and Gary Woodland cracked winning rosters.
As a reminder, DataGolf has revamped the projection model for 2019 and there are a few key changes:
- More alignment with the finishing probability
- Moving towards a decay model for Current Form and Long-Term form to weigh rounds
- Incorporation of specific strokes gained metrics based on the predictive power of each metric
The weather looks nice in Scottsdale if a bit cool but not the cold front sweeping the country. There is no clear wave advantage to start the event but the wind does look like it could kick up on Saturday. Early AM Saturday golfers could be decent targets for Showdown but you should check back as the day gets closer to see if there has been a shift.
This weeks’ event is just a 130 man field so generating 6/6 lineups will be easier this week and expect a better performance from the PGA DFS field.
Course Fit and Course History
TPC Scottsdale has historically overindexed in strokes gained via off the tee play with nearly 20 percent of strokes being gained OTT compared to the tour average of 15 percent. The majority of these pull from the approach play, and so while strokes gained approach still matters more than off the tee play it is a bit muted relative to other events. You can check out the historic event data at DataGolf for more detail.
Not captured here, and perhaps lending even more credence to off the tee play, is that the majority of DraftKings scoring opportunity is set up on the back nine where 78 percent of the eagles and 58 percent of the birdies were found at last year’s event. The Par 5 13th connects with the Par 5 15th for a potential birdie streak opportunity, and the Par 5 15th connects with the scoreable 16th and driveable Par 4 17th hole. The majority of birdies streaks will happen during this 5 hole stretch of golf that should set up for an exciting finish to the event.
Hideki Matsuyama’s WD last year was crippling for DFS but he still holds the fort down on course history, gaining nearly a stroke more per round over the next best golfer in the field at this event, going WD-1-1-2-4 over the last few starts. Jon Rahm (11-16-5) also has a strong record and comes in with good form finishing inside of the top ten in his last five starts on the global stage. In general, you’ll notice the presence of several mediocre putters (Hideki-bot, Steele, Webb Simpson prior to last season, Bubba Watson) and a mix of ball strikers and bombers.