In my last article, Bombs & Values, I searched for value at the bottom of the board, looking into all the viable DFS plays in the sub-$8K range or north of 40/1 betting odds. But in this article, we really get to the meat and potatoes for the Genesis Invitational. In order to have success this week in DFS, you’re going to have to evaluate the Top 10 in this field correctly, and I think you need at least 2 players from the Top 10 of this field in your DFS lineup to win. So Bombs & Values, Faves & Fades, they’re two complimentary pieces that come together this week to paint the picture for your DFS lineup construction.
I very rarely bet outrights on players who open sub-20/1. But this week, there are 7 players in that range, and I just don’t think I can comfortably go into this weekend without having a ticket on one of them to win. For now I only have an outright on of those Top 7 players (spoiler alert, it’s Bryson), but I am going to try to practice some patience and jump on a discounted live number if any get off to a slow start. Until then, here’s a look at the players I’m actively targeting and avoiding at the top of the board this week.
Jon Rahm (+1200, $10,400)
I’m not going to talk about Dustin Johnson in this article. You can’t bet him at +550 and honestly even if he wins this tournament, he may not be in the optimal lineup priced up at $11,300. But look $900 cheaper for the OWGR #2 ranked golfer in Jon Rahm, and you’ve got my attention.
In a non-Dustin Johnson Field, I would favor Jon Rahm to win this tournament. He’s #3 in Putting at Riviera, #16 Putting on Poa, #13 in Driving Distance, and #2 T2G. In his two career trips to The Genesis, he’s finished T9 in 2019 and T17 in 2020. I’m willing to lift the statute of limitations on the equipment change now that he’s gotten a few rounds under his belt in the 2021 season, so I’m all systems go for Rahmbo.
Bryson Dechambeau (+1700, $10,100)
I knew I was going to play either Bryson, Xander, or Cantlay in this range when odds first opened, but it took me a couple days to really know for sure where I’d land. Xander has 6 Top 5s in his last 8 starts, which is absurd. Cantlay has 3 Top 3s in his last 5 starts, including a win at the Zozo about 30 miles west of Riviera. But after exhaustively harping on Distance and Putting this whole week, I decided I’d better follow my own advice, so I landed on Bryson.
DeChambeau, by no surprise, is #1 in driving distance, but I was surprised to see him also pop up as #1 in Poa putting. That elite distance is going to help turn the 285 yard Par 4 10th into a bona fide Eagle opportunity hole, while the rest of the field will be content to walk away with Par. We were just starting to see Bryson bulk up at the Genesis last year, where he finished T5, and 4th overall in Driving Distance. I think this time around the extra experience and distance will help launch him to the top. That’s what I have my money on, at least.
Tony Finau (+2200, $9,300)
Please ignore the odds, I’m never going to endorse an outright bet on Tony Finau to win until after he’s proven again that he can do it. I would be absolutely floored if after all these years, it was this field that he took down for his first win since the 2016 Puerto Rico Open. But when I see 10 other players in the Field priced ahead of Top-5 Tony, that grabs my attention.
Including his most recent appearance at the Saudi International, Finau rolls into Riviera with three consecutive T4s or better. His course history at The Genesis comes with some ups and downs, but he did finish T2 here in 2018, which is a Win by Tony Finau standards. I like that he’s #33 Putting in this field, I’m very happy to see he ranks #7 in Par 4 Scoring, and I love that he’s #10 in Driving Distance.
We’re getting Tony Finau in his hottest form this week, and at $9,300, you can afford him and whoever else you think at the top will actually win this event in your lineups. My advice, just make sure Finau isn’t the most expensive golfer in your lineup this week, and you’ll be set up for success.
Rory McIlroy (+1250, $10,500)
There’s going to be plenty to like about a guy like Rory when you’re priced as the third favorite to win in a loaded field. I love the distance off the tee (#3), and I love that he’s coming off back-to-back T5s at the Genesis his last two years here. I’ll even go as far as to say that I love his expected ownership, as you can get leverage on DJ, JT, or Rahm owners by playing Rory instead. For any of those reasons, I wouldn’t talk you out of playing Rory.
But here’s the case against Rory McIlroy, the 3rd favorite and 3rd highest priced player in this field. He has just 1 Top 5 finish in his last 15 PGA events since the 2020 API. Sure, he’s coming off 4 consecutive T20 finishes (5 straight if you count the Euro Tour), but if you’re paying up for Rory’s price in DFS, anything less than T5 is a disappointment. In both 2019 and 2020, Rory came into The Genesis hot, riding back-to-back T5s. This year, Rory still hasn’t hit his full stride, so I don’t think we can expect a third straight T5 this go around. His putting has been okay lately, but the man still just cannot hit a 5-foot putt when it matters. In this field of 120, Rory ranks #113 in Putting 0-5ft and no other track on the PGA circuit surrenders more missed putts inside 5 feet than Riviera.
Brooks Koepke (+2500, $9,700)
Is Brooks back? Maybe. Am I still salty that I wasted my OAD pick on Brooks for his MC at The Farmers one week before he took down the WMPO? Mayyyybe. But I’m going to try to be analytical about this fade.
Brooks ranks 93rd in this field putting on Poa, which is bad, and in his only two trips to The Genesis, he finished T43 in 2020 and MC 2017. Despite his heroic chip in eagle at the WMPO, his around the green game is not spectacular, ranking 76th in the field SG: ARG. It was his short game that did him in at Torrey Pines, and with somewhat comparable greens complexes at Riviera, I’m not going to be jumping on Brooks at this price.
Collin Morikawa (+3300, $9,500)
I will not be playing any Collin Morikawa this week. That’s a very dangerous sentence to utter, but looking at the other options around him, I’m comfortable with the decision. He had a solid debut here in 2020, finishing T26 and is riding a sharp T2G game recently coming off of two straight T7 finishes. But I’m sticking to my guns and fading the shorter hitters this week.
More than anything else though, it’s the putting I’m fading Moriwaka for this week. He’s lost strokes putting in 6 of his last 8 events and ranks 76th in SG:P. It’s been reported this week that he’s experimenting with some new putter equipment changes, and while that’s probably the smart move for his long term career, I’ll be sitting out this new trial and error phase we’re in. If I wanted to sweat a bad putter this week, I’d much rather pivot to defending champion Adam Scott, who has historically dominated this track and comes at a nice price discount.