Welcome back to Golf News Net’s weekly fantasy golf rankings. Each week of the European Tour season, we’ll present our top fantasy golf picks for that week’s tournament and give fantasy golf and betting tips for DraftKings’ one-week fantasy leagues and other fantasy golf leagues.
The European Tour heads to the Middle East for the first of three events in the region, including two in the United Arab Emirates. The first is the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, which, in many ways, has overtaken the Dubai Desert Classic as the top event in the swing. Once again, this is another one of those weird weeks where you go from struggling to identify 10 players to like to easily knowing who you’d roster.
For those new to our weekly European Tour picks, we offer our top five players for free. GNN Plus members get our full top 10, additional analysis and research otherwise hidden to the general public, and that’s in addition to access to a searchable database of PGA Tour results from 2011-present, top-15 PGA Tour trends and season-long DraftKings salary trends.
2017 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship rankings: Top 10 picks
1. Henrik Stenson – Stenson was in the mix here last year, his first top-15 finish in this event. He’s typically great in the Emirates, and he’s got the long game to destroy here.
2. Dustin Johnson – This is obviously a pick based on pedigree and world ranking. We don’t have an earthly idea of how DJ will do here, but if you look at guys who have won, many of them are long hitters.
3. Thomas Pieters – I’d be somewhat shocked if Pieters doesn’t have a breakout win of some kind in 2017, perhaps even a major. He ended the season mired in mediocrity, but he has a good record in Abu Dhabi.
4. Rafa Cabrera Bello – The Spaniard ended 2016 as a runner-up in Hong Kong, which leaves some good vibes.
5. Tyrrell Hatton – Hatton concluded the European Tour season with a runner-up in Dubai. He should’ve won. Two top-15s here.
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6. Rickie Fowler – Wow, defending champion at sixth? Well, he was great last year, but this seems to be an every-other-year thing with Fowler and winning. Probably overvalued this week.
7. Joost Luiten – Luiten is such a European Tour stud. He just rakes up for a guy who’s never done a ton elsewhere. Good record in this event; among the most consistent here.
8. Thomas Bjorn – The new Ryder Cup captain gets to take a little victory lap here this week. He likes this event, and he’ll want to play well to start getting early looks at potential picks.
9. Martin Kaymer – Kaymer used to be an absolute lock here. He found himself on the European Tour toward the tail end of last year, and he seems poised to strike back in a big way this year.
10. Peter Hanson – This is a total horse-for-course play. He’s got three top-15 finishes here in the last five years.
My DraftKings lineup for this week:
- Rafa Cabrera Bello – $9,300
- Thomas Pieters – $8,800
- Joost Luiten – $8,600
- Tyrrell Hatton – $8,100
- Peter Hanson – $7,800
- Alejandro Canizares – $7,400
GNN Plus Research and Analysis
Recent European Tour Trends
We would typically start by looking at the recent past, but we don’t really have much to work with since the Tour has been off a month.
Event Finish History
We’re also interested in the players in the field that have finished in the top 15 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship (they dropped golf from the title!) in multiple times at this venue in the last five years:
- Byeong-hun An – 2
- Thomas Bjorn – 3
- Rafa Cabrera Bello – 2
- Alejandro Canizares – 2
- George Coetzee – 3
- Jamie Donaldson – 2
- Anders Hansen – 2
- Peter Hanson – 3
- Tyrrell Hatton – 2
- Thongchai Jaidee – 2
- Martin Kaymer – 2
- Joost Luiten – 3
- Thorbjorn Olesen – 2
- Thomas Pieters – 2
DraftKings salaries change from week to week, depending on field strength and size, as well a player’s recent record and their history on a course. It’s in looking at how a salary changes over time that we might get some clues as to players that could be a little overrated or underrated.
We’re still working on developing salary profiles for the year, and we’ll need some more events to judge that, but you can find our updated spreadsheet in GNN Plus tools.[/s2If]