Welcome back to Golf News Net's weekly fantasy golf picks. Each week of the PGA Tour season, we'll present our top picks for that week's tournament and make recommendations for DraftKings' one-week fantasy leagues.
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The 2016 portion of the PGA Tour's 2015-16 season kicks off this week at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. The field at Kapalua's Plantation Course is reserved only for winners of PGA Tour events since and including the last Hyundai Tournament of Champions, won by Patrick Reed.
Jordan Spieth and Jason Day headline the field of 32, combining for 10 PGA Tour wins last season. Zach Johnson, a former Kapalua winner, is in the field as well, accounting for all of the 2015 major winners.
STORY CONTINUES BELOW
Four big names -- Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jim Furyk and Shane Lowry -- are missing from the field, but it's still a solid start to the new year.
Now, on to the picks!
1. Jordan Spieth -- The best player on the planet had some nice showings after his PGA Tour year ended, finishing joint runner-up in the Australian Open title defense -- in heavy winds, mind you -- and a T-4 at the Hero World Challenge. Curious what his offseason tweaks did to his game.
2. Patrick Reed -- The defending champion had a strong, active finish to his year by playing out the European Tour's Final Series. He has been in the top 10 in his last six worldwide starts.
3. Jason Day -- Day shot 62 in the final round here last year, stirring thoughts of what would be the most insane 59 in PGA Tour history (since it's a par-73 course). Took the fall off to become a dad again. Word is that his fitness has improved in the offseason. Yikes.
4. Bubba Watson -- Watson won in his last start at the Hero World Challenge, and he has back-to-back top-10 finishes in this event. He loves shotmaking on this course.
5. Rickie Fowler -- Fowler gets to Kapalua for the first time since his breakthrough win in 2012. Coming off a three-win year in 2015, Fowler was T-3 in his last start at the Hero World Challenge.
6. Dustin Johnson -- Johnson is a former winner of this event, albeit in 54-hole fashion in 2013. He played the most consistent golf of his career in 2015, and he should be locked in for another great year.
7. Zach Johnson -- The other Johnson in the field won here in 2014, making it back-to-back Johnsons at Kapalua. Great 2015 for Johnson, but he really flopped at the finish of the year. Perhaps he was just gassed, but it tempers our ranking.
8. Kevin Kisner -- Kisner broke through in the final PGA Tour event of 2015 at The RSM Classic. He had finished second -- again! -- at the WGC-HSBC Champions and finally got his first W. Killer short game should be good here.
9. Brooks Koepka -- Another first-timer, Koepka should absolutely love the extra yards he'll get on many of the Plantation Course's generous, sloping fairways. He struggled through the FedEx Cup playoffs, but he's pegged by many to have the year Spieth and Day enjoyed last year.
10. Justin Thomas -- One of 14 first-timers in the field, Thomas won the CIMB Classic after a season filled with disappointing rounds on the weekends. Thomas said himself he thought he would win sooner than he did. He makes a lot of circles on the card, which should be good at Kapalua.
My DraftKings team for this week:
1. Patrick Reed -- $9,900
2. Kevin Kisner -- $9,200
3. Russell Knox -- $8,100
4. Emiliano Grillo -- $7,900
5. Bill Haas -- $7,400
6. Alex Cejka -- $7,000
If you want to win at DraftKings daily fantasy golf, you have to figure out a way to find six golfers that play all 72 holes and earn roughly 85 points each.
You likely have to identify a couple of players in the top five, at least the top seven, and you'd ideally not have a player finish outside the top 20.
Doing that takes research, looking at a variety of factors, including:
- Finish trends, both in recent weeks on the PGA Tour and at that week's event,
- Salary trends, deciphering which players are showing value based on their performance, and
- Statistical trends, identifying the common threads among winners in that week's event
That's what Golf News Net will deliver each week to GNN Plus members in this space, offering a complete research package which dives into these three areas to find the players that should be in your lineup for this week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
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