PGA Tour Fantasy Picks: SBS Tournament of Champions
The PGA Tour returns to action this week, marking the end of a long offseason for fantasy managers.
The start of the new year means the start of a new batch of PGA Tour fantasy leagues. While some sites remain in operation through the fall season and carry the results over to the new year, certain ones, such as Yahoo!, have been on hiatus since the Tour Championship, and of course, DraftKings aficionados haven’t been able to get their PGA Tour fix in more than six weeks now. No matter how you slice it, this is a good week for fantasy managers.
Of course, we’ve been presented with a challenge right off the bat — with just 32 golfers in the field at the SBS Tournament of Champions, differentiating your lineups from those of your competitors will be more difficult than usual. Hopefully, the following five picks can help you make some tough decisions and get your fantasy year off on the right foot.
Let’s get to it. Here are five smart fantasy plays for the SBS Tournament of Champions.
Hideki Matsuyama has made just one prior appearance at Kapalua, but his sterling form is a major calling card this week.
This native of Japan is the hottest golfer in the field, but his price doesn’t quite reflect that — in fact, both Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson will command higher salaries this week. Those players possess superior track records at Kapalua, but we can’t ignore Matsuyama’s recent run of six consecutive top five finishes, a stretch that includes four victories in his last five starts.
He also tied for third at the 2015 Tournament of Champions, so it’s not like he’ll be flying blind this week. There are more experienced players available, but his form is more than worthy of an investment.
Justin Thomas has the right skill set to do some major damage at the Plantation Course.
This young gun couldn’t quite rise to the occasion in his Kapalua debut last year, but all the pieces are there. The Alabama product has been on a tear over the past few weeks, piling up four top 10s in his last five starts, including a win at the CIMB Classic and a tie for fourth at the Dunlop Phoenix.
He’s also got some significant length, and the wide fairways at Kapalua ought to mask his characteristic inaccuracy off the tee. With another year of PGA Tour experience under his belt, he should be able to improve on last season’s result with ease.
Bomber Tony Finau will look for his second PGA Tour win in his Tournament of Champions debut.
Thomas isn’t the only long-hitting young gun in the field this week — there’s also Finau. The Utahan ranked third on the PGA Tour in driving distance last season; like Thomas, finding the fairway is his bugaboo, but Kapalua shouldn’t give him too many problems on that front.
While his fall season wasn’t outstanding, he did make three out of four cuts, and with no cut this week, he’ll have a full four rounds to move up the leaderboard. Given his statistical profile, it’s hard to ignore the possibility of him taking an immediate liking to the Plantation Course, so invest away.
Jason Dufner looks primed to make the most of his first trip to Kapalua in three years.
After a nice comeback season in 2016, Dufner took it easy in the fall — his last start came at the Tour Championship, where he tied for eighth. That finish was his ninth top-35 in his last 12 starts, so he’s established a nice, consistent standard of play that could lead to a big payday against this week’s minute field.
He’s also come close to winning this event in the past, notching a solo fifth in 2014. He’ll be among the more experienced players in the field, and at $7,400 in DFS, he won’t break the bank either.
Pat Perez lacks name recognition among casual fans, but his great recent play more than makes up for that.
He’s no star, but Perez was playing like one the last time he saw him — with a win and a tie for seventh in his last two starts, he’ll be one of the hotter players at Kapalua this week. He didn’t exactly set the world on fire in his lone previous Tournament of Champions appearance, but he wasn’t bad either, winding up seven strokes behind winner Geoff Ogilvy in a tie for 10th.
With a revamped swing, a ton of confidence and the right price in DFS, he’s worth a long look this week.
Who’s in your fantasy lineup for the Tournament of Champions? Let us know in the comments and keep it here at Pro Golf Now for more PGA Tour updates.
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