Yahoo DFS Golf: WM Phoenix Open

Yahoo DFS Golf: WM Phoenix Open

This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.

WM Phoenix Open

Scottsdale, Arizona
TPC Scottsdale (Stadium Course) - Par 71 - 7,261 yards
Field - 132 entrants
Purse - $8.2M

The Preview

We golf nerds can finally rejoice upon the conclusion of the frustrating portion of the PGA Tour's schedule that features rotating courses and pro-am nonsense, as four rounds of ShotLink data await throughout the upcoming week at TPC Scottsdale like a gift from the heavens. "The Greenest Show on Grass" is well known as one big party on turf for its hundreds of thousands of patrons, but we're also getting one of the strongest fields in the WM Phoenix Open's history this time around. Six representatives from the Official World Golf Ranking's top 10 will be in attendance, and the event's purse has been magnified by nearly $1M from last year. 

The Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale is not overly difficult, but it tends to reward elite all-around games like a tougher track would, and a handful of risk-reward opportunities throughout the layout bring even more excitement to the table. Per usual, approach play is key, but power off the tee lends an advantage here as firm greens make pins more difficult to target from further away. Diving a bit more into this breakthrough rocket science, these putting surfaces contain a smoother Poa Trivialis strain with a bent/rye overseed this time of year, which tend to run fast as poor putters have a better chance of positively regressing to the mean. Peeking at the past champions below, Hideki Matsuyama and Kyle Stanley are proven cases of this in the past decade.

Recent Champions

2021 - Brooks Koepka
2020 - Webb Simpson
2019 - Rickie Fowler
2018 - Gary Woodland
2017 - Hideki Matsuyama
2016 - Hideki Matsuyama
2015 - Brooks Koepka
2014 - Kevin Stadler
2013 - Phil Mickelson
2012 - Kyle Stanley

Key Stats to Victory

SG: Approach
Birdie or better percentage
Proximity: 125-200 yards
Driving distance

Yahoo Value Picks 

Based on $200 salary cap

Cream of the Crop

Jon Rahm - $51

This has become a recurring theme, but if you want some exposure to the best player in the world, paying the premium for Rahm around the $50 mark in Yahoo DFS contests is way less demanding on your asset allocation than forking up an outright wager at 6-1 at the betting window. The former ASU Sun Devil and current Scottsdale resident has never placed worse than T16 in six career appearances at the WMPO, most recently tying for 13th in 2021 when he carded just five total bogeys across 72 holes. Rahm gained an average of 5.33 strokes from tee to green per event throughout his first three starts to begin the 2022 calendar year, finishing 2-T14-T3 from the Sentry Tournament of Champions to the Farmers Insurance Open. He also hasn't lost strokes off the tee since the 2019 TOUR Championship.

Justin Thomas - $46

Thomas has gained 2.1 or more strokes on his approach shots in six of seven measured events dating back to the beginning of August, and he's second in proximity from 150-175 yards over his last 12 rounds. As Justin Ray of Twenty First Group laid out on Twitter, Thomas is No. 1 in SG: Approach, SG: Total, score in relation to par and par breakers throughout the last four years at the WMPO among those with a minimum of 10 rounds played. Thomas should be fresh with just two appearances thus far in 2022, including a week off between his T20 at Torrey Pines and this trip to the desert. It feels like he's due for another podium finish.

Jordan Spieth - $44

Spieth's iron play had been extremely underwhelming in recent months as he lost a collective 14.6 strokes on his approaches in seven starts from the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational to the FIO, but he did a complete 180 at Pebble Beach last week where he paced the entire field in SG: APP and SG: T2G on the way to runner-up honors after his missed cut in La Jolla. He ultimately gained 12.9 feet in proximity on the field from 175-200 yards and 27.9 feet from 200-plus. This sudden development reminds me somewhat of Brooks Koepka's outlook ahead of his WMPO victory last season. There were major concerns about Koepka's form as he missed three straight cuts before teeing it up at TPC Scottsdale, but his underlying proximity metrics were actually quite impressive during the mini-slump, which drew me to him at limited rostership in many formats and it paid off in a big way. It's obviously safer to have confidence in Spieth after the pro-am performance, and it doesn't hurt that his track record at the WMPO includes a trio of top 10s in five outings.

Glue Guys

Corey Conners - $36

The Canadian's Yahoo salary has deflated back down to the mid-$30s range, but Conners' back-to-back missed cuts in California don't worry me too much, especially when he's identically priced next to a much more volatile player in Max Homa ($36). Conners is still fifth in GIR percentage and eighth in SG: Off-the-Tee over his past 12 rounds. He tied for 17th at TPC Scottsdale in 2021, playing the par-5s in 11-under-par as he recorded four sub-70 scores while hitting 60 of 72 greens in regulation.

Luke List - $33

List's win at the Farmers Insurance Open was preceded by three consecutive top-25s from the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open to The American Express, and there's no reason to stop riding such a quality ball-striker now at just $33. He's second to none in SG: T2G over his last 12 rounds, while also ranking third in driving distance, third in Birdie or Better percentage and 10th in Prox: 175-200 yards in this span. List has missed the cut in four of seven voyages to the WMPO, but he's also posted three top-30s here since 2018.

Aaron Wise - $31

Wise gained 3.2 strokes with his irons and made the cut at the WMPO last year, but he lost over 10 strokes with the flat stick while dropping to a solo-66th result. It was the worst putting performance of his career by nearly five shots, and that just physically can't happen again. He's now gained strokes on the greens in four straight measured tournaments dating to his T8 at the Shriners Children's Open. Throughout his last 12 rounds, Wise sits 14th in SG: Approach, eighth in par-5 efficiency and fourth in eagle rate.

Bargain Bin

Adam Hadwin - $23

Last week we targeted a $20 Pat Perez and his affinity for the West Coast Swing, ultimately returning value with a T9 finish at Pebble Beach. This week, Hadwin lands in a similar situation with a discounted expense despite his proclivity for outperforming usual expectations when it comes to a desert golf setting. Hadwin has made the cut six consecutive years in Scottsdale, and he's notched a pair of top 25s in three starts dating to The American Express. He's 10th in SG: Approach, 12th in proximity from 175-200 yards and 16th in GIR percentage over his last 12 rounds.

Nate Lashley - $21

Lashley gained a collective 12.2 strokes from tee to green across his first couple looks at TPC Scottsdale the past two years, finishing T17-T3 here. What's even more intriguing to me than the course history is the fact that he ranks fifth in Prox: 175-200 over his last 12 rounds among a field packed with elite ball strikers. Out of the five golfers salaried at $21 on Yahoo, Lashley could realistically carry the fourth-lowest rostership percentage so you'd be getting pivot potential as well. Francesco Molinari ($21), Joel Dahmen ($21) and Doug Ghim ($21) are all better players, but Lashley deserves attention in this spot, too.

Russell Knox - $20

Knox has simply been too good of a ball striker to continue deserving the minimum salary, given he leads the WMPO field in GIR percentage over his last 12 rounds. During this recent stretch, he's also second in SG: Approach, eighth in SG: T2G, 14th in Prox: 175-200, 21st in Opportunities Gained and 23rd in Prox: 125-150. The putter is definitely a concern, but Knox has actually gained at least 3.3 strokes on the greens in three of six career WMPO showings, tallying three top-20s along the way.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Bryce Danielson plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: brycedanielson99, FanDuel: brycedanielson99, Yahoo: RotoBOOM.
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Bryce Danielson
Bryce covers the PGA for RotoWire and provides input on the golf cheat sheet. He also contributes to the coverage for NFL, NBA and other sports.
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