Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Fantasy Golf: WGC Mexico Championship Preview

This gig has never been tougher. Consider this. Let's say you had gotten off to a rough start to the one and done season so you might have been inspired to make a bold move at the Genesis Open where you had two of the most stone cold lead pipe locks of the season in Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson who, over the past five years, have combined for four wins, two runner-ups and a 4th place finish. By that math, there was a 70% chance that one of them would finish in the top four and a 60% chance that it would be a win or a runner-up. It was like picking Seabiscuit or War Admiral in a donkey race.  

But not this week as D.J. finished tied for 9th and Bubba finished tied for 16th. Not awful but certainly not what you expected when you mortgaged a chunk of your future having lost the chance to use D.J. for the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach or Bubba for the Masters. Hopefully you listened to me and hedged with either Tony Finau or Patrick Cantlay and, if you're one of the jamokes in my league who picked Justin Thomas, I hope you enjoyed those three putts. Suckers. But I digress. My point is that if you picked Bubba or D.J., it's not your fault. It's not your fault. It's not your fault. DON'T FUCK WITH ME SEAN . . . NOT YOU!!!

And we're back. Look, J.B. Holmes is a random lurking threat who can show-up anywhere and at anytime to grind a field into submission* and this just happened to be one of those weeks. The other guys who squeezed D.J. and Bubba off the top of the leaderboard were perennial top five guys Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Marc Leishman along with "remember me?" Si Woo Kim who likes to mix missed cuts with high finishes like they're vodka and Gatorade (mmmm just thinking of that makes me feel like summertime). 


So what can we do to combat these forces that conspire against us? More research!!! You ready to geek out? Let's geek out. 


"Stay with me here people!"
I've been tinkering in the RV meth lab of my brain with this idea of combining (1) a player's most recent five finishes in any tournament with (2) his average finish on this week's course to come-up with a single number for ranking purposes and then giving that number a really painful self-aggrandizing name like the "FGR Factor." This week's tournament presents the perfect opportunity to test this out because they've only played Club de Golf Chapultepec twice making the research easy and the field is loaded so we get a preview of how the best players stack-up against each other. This thing is going to blow our minds for the Masters and The Players

The complete list of every player I considered ranked by DraftKings price is below but here is what the top fifteen looks like when we rank them by the FGR Factor.


DK Price
2018
2017
Last 5
FGR
Justin Thomas
$11,800
2nd
T5
5.8
9.3
Dustin Johnson
$11,500
T7
1st
12.0
16
Rory McIlroy
$11,100
DNP
T7
10.8
17.8
Jon Rahm
$10,700
T20
T3
6.4
17.9
Phil Mickelson
$9,300
1st
T7
17.4
21.4
Sergio Garcia
$8,000
T7
T12
12.4
21.9
Paul Casey
$8,600
T12
T16
12.2
26.2
T. Fleetwood
$8,200
T14
2nd
23.2
31.2
Rickie Fowler
$10,300
T37
T16
7.2
33.7
Rafa Cabrera-Bello
$7,800
T3
T38
16.4
36.9
Patrick Cantlay
$8,500
T30
DNP
10.0
40
Tyrrell Hatton
$7,300
T3
10th
35.4
41.9
Bubba Watson
$8,400
T9
T38
19.0
42.5
Marc Leishman
$8,700
T37
DNP
6.2
43.2
Lee Westwood
$7,100
DNP
T28
15.8
43.8

Based on this and just about any other metric you want to use this week, Justin Thomas is clearly the man. He is both the hottest player coming in and he has the best track record in Mexico. So of course I'm going to ignore the research and pick someone else and here's why: (a) I think there is going to be a bit of a hangover from the rogering that Riviera gave him on Sunday and (b) I have a gut feeling that Jon Rahm is about to get on the board with his first elite field win (major, WGC, Players, etc.) and no I am not counting the freakin' Hero World Challenge though it doesn't hurt that he won that in the midst of his current seven consecutive top ten run. If he didn't have the tie for 20th at last year's WGC-Mexico, then he would be right there with Thomas in the rankings and that 2018 finish was an anomaly as it came during a rare mediocre run for Rahm. He is on no such run now my friends. No sir.  

As for the rest of the top ten, you have to like Sergio Garcia based on the tournaments he's played lately where he hasn't tried to renovate the greens and you also have to take a look at Tyrrell Hatton who has a tie for 3rd and a tie for 10th on his two trips to Mexico. At $7,300, they're begging you to pick him and you should give them what they want. I'm also banking on the fact that a Swedish guy named Alex is going to have a good week. 

This is one of my top five favorite
partial pictures of a horse statute. 
One and Done Pick: Jon Rahm

Other Guy I'd Pick: Justin Thomas

Sleeper Pick: Tyrrell Hatton

DraftKings Top Ten

Justin Thomas
$11,800
Jon Rahm
$10,700
Tony Finau
$8,900
Paul Casey
$8,600
Sergio Garcia
$8,000
Rafa Cabrera-Bello
$7,800
Louis Oosthuizen
$7,500
Tyrrell Hatton
$7,300
Alex Noren
$7,100
Alexander Bjork
$6,100

And here is every other player I remotely considered. Note that you don't get to have an FGR Factor if you've never played the course. If, however, you played it once we'll let you slide-in with that finish as your average . . . but we're not happy about it. The main players this affects are Tiger and Bryson DeChambeau but I don't like either of them this week and not just because they don't fit into my nifty little rating system. It's because of other reasons that I don't want to get into right now. Sorry. It's not them. It's me.  

                                        THE HORMEL VEGETARIAN CHILI
                                      HISTORICAL PERFORMANCE CHART


DK Price
2018
2017
Last 5
FGR
Justin Thomas
$11,800
2nd
T5
5.8
9.3
Dustin Johnson
$11,500
T7
1st
12.0
16
Rory McIlroy
$11,100
DNP
T7
10.8
17.8
Jon Rahm
$10,700
T20
T3
6.4
17.9
Rickie Fowler
$10,300
T37
T16
7.2
33.7
Bryson DeChambeau
$10,000
DNP
DNP
7.2
N/A
Brooks Koepka
$9,800
DNP
T48
12.4
60.4
Tiger Woods
$9,500
DNP
DNP
11.8
N/A
Phil Mickelson
$9,300
1st
T7
17.4
21.4
Hideki Matsuyama
$9,000
DNP
T25
23.4
48.4
Tony Finau
$8,900
T27
DNP
23.6
50.6
Jordan Spieth
$8,800
T14
T12
53.2
66.2
Marc Leishman
$8,700
T37
DNP
6.2
43.2
Paul Casey
$8,600
T12
T16
12.2
26.2
Patrick Cantlay
$8,500
T30
DNP
10.0
40
Bubba Watson
$8,400
T9
T38
19.0
42.5
Webb Simpson
$8,300
T37
DNP
7.2
44.2
T. Fleetwood
$8,200
T14
2nd
23.2
31.2
Sergio Garcia
$8,000
T7
T12
12.4
21.9
Patrick Reed
$8,000
T37
T61
23.6
72.6
Gary Woodland
$7,900
T50
T38
13.4
57.4
Ian Poulter
$7,900
DNP
DNP
13.2
N/A
Rafa Cabrera-Bello
$7,800
T3
T38
16.4
36.9
Charles Howell, III
$7,800
DNP
DNP
9.8
N/A
Matt Kuchar
$7,700
T58
T20
13.8
52.8
Billy Horschel
$7,700
DNP
DNP
20.8
N/A
Louis Oosthuizen
$7,500
T30
T48
8.8
47.8
HaoTong Li
$7,400
63rd
DNP
10.8
73.8
Cameron Smith
$7,400
DNP
DNP
11.4
N/A
Tyrrell Hatton
$7,300
T3
10th
35.4
41.9
Joost Luiten
$7,300
T37
T25
16.2
47.2
Kevin Kisner
$7,200
29th
11th
37.4
57.4
Shane Lowry
$7,200
DNP
DNP
18.4
N/A
Lee Westwood
$7,100
DNP
T28
15.8
43.8
Alex Noren
$7,100
T14
T55
22.6
57.1
Thor Oleson
$7,000
DNP
T63
29.2
92.2
Keegan Bradley
$7,000
DNP
DNP
31.8
N/A
Emiliano Grillo
$6,900
DNP
T52
18.4
70.4
Eddie Pepperell
$6,900
DNP
DNP
42.4
N/A
Branden Grace
$6,800
T30
T32
33.2
64.2
Russell Knox
$6,800
DNP
70th
23.8
93.8
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
$6,700
T5
DNP
43.2
48.2
Danny Willett
$6,600
DNP
69th
23.2
92.2
Kyle Stanley
$6,400
T25
DNP
54.0
79
Alexander Bjork
$6,100
DNP
DNP
21.2
N/A

Footnote

* There was a lot of good Twitter fodder on J.B. "The Putting Sloth" Holmes but holy shit . . . this one takes the cake:

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com