DraftKings PGA Recommended Plays: Arnold Palmer Invitational

Mar 14, 2018

Bay Hill is one of the more memorable courses on Tour, and this week, the Tour is making its way there for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Perhaps there is a reason that Bay Hill has so many memorable moments, and that reason finished tied for second at the Valspar Championship. Winner of eight Arnold Palmer Invitationals, Tiger Woods is turning a corner in his latest comeback, and it pains me to utilize the overused phrase “Tiger is back,” but if last week is any indication, he just may be. Last week’s showing at the Valspar was different for an important reason. Tiger had complete control over his game. This is something we haven’t seen since the last time he won. His recent return attempts have flashed the clutch putting and low stingers that we all know and love, but at the end of the day, not even Tiger was confident that he knew where the ball was going every time he swung the club. Last week was the first time in a long time that it looked like he was hitting the shots he was trying to hit, one after another.

With that being said, I won’t be recommending Tiger this week. I want to see more. I know he’s won eight times on this very course, but his most recent was in 2013, prior to a pretty significant renovation in 2015 that included new grass for the fairways and greens. He hasn’t seen the most recent version of the course. The other argument is that he looked unstoppable last week at Copperhead, playing nearly flawless golf en route to a T-2. I will give you, he was awesome. But if someone who was ranked 389th in the world finished T-2 one week, would you go out of your way to get him in all of your lineups the following week? I know it’s hard to take the objective point of view on one of the greatest golfers of all time, but I think it’s necessary. He hasn’t won an event since 2013, and not only that, but he hardly has even been competitive. I’m taking the wait-and-see approach, and with a price at $10,000, it makes it a little easier to fight my urge to use Tiger wherever possible.

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Here’s how I did last week at the Valspar Championship:

Jordan Spieth: MC
Ryan Moore: MC
Adam Hadwin: T-12
Louis Oosthuizen: T-16
Steve Stricker: T-12

Okay, that’s it, I’m done recommending Spieth. He doesn’t have it right now, and if you watched him for 10 minutes last week you would know that. The confidence is gone, the enthusiasm, the fire. He doesn’t look like a Masters champion or a US Open Champion, he looks like a rookie, and he’s got some things to figure out before the first major of the year in Augusta. On the bright side, three of my guys finished in the top-16, the second straight week I’ve been able to say that. Let’s keep the momentum rolling this week in Bay Hill.

Top-Tier Recommendations

Justin Rose ($11,500)
Rose is one of the better picks you can make on any given week because there’s really no apparent weak spot to his game. His game is built to go low on easy courses but also built to withstand the test of any difficult course around. This week, he’s coming off a T-5 finish at the Valspar Championship, his third top-10 in his last five events. Better yet, he’s finished ninth and 13th the last two years at Bay Hill. Rose is a solid pick almost any time of the year, but when his current form and past success on the current course match up, that’s when he becomes a lock. The price will be worth it this week.

Jason Day ($11,800)
Well there you have it, I’ve recommended the two most expensive options on the slate this week. This time I think the price tags over at DraftKings are spot on. I really believe these two guys have the best chances to win this week. Day sightings have been somewhat of a rarity so far this year, but in the instances where he showed up, he definitely made his presence known. His first start of the year was a victory at Torrey Pines, which he followed with a T-2 finish in his next start at Pebble Beach. Most would substitute quantity for quality in return, and playing less might be a brilliant choice for Day, someone who has been hampered by injuries over the last few years. If he needs any motivation this week, he should just watch the highlights from the 2016 Arnold Palmer Invitational, because that guy looked pretty unstoppable en route to a victory.

Mid-Priced Plays

Adam Scott ($8,700)
There are times when Adam Scott looks like one of the better golfers on Tour, and there are times when you forget he even exists. After a short stretch of making little to no impact on any leaderboards, Scott is rounding into form a little bit as of late. His last two finishes have been T-13 at the Honda Classic and T-16 at the Valspar Championship. Neither course is particularly easy, which gives me confidence that Scott is confident going into this week (I’m confident I used confident too much in that sentence). His last start at Bay Hill was a T-12 finish. What more reason do you need to give him a try this week? Maybe the sole reason for my recommendation is that I want to see Scott win again, I like seeing his name at the top of leaderboards. But anytime a player strikes the ball as well as he does, their floor is pretty safe. Scott’s safe floor is what you’re looking for this week.

Brian Harman ($8,500)
There’s absolutely no reason Harman should be under $9,000. No reason at all. The guy has five top-5 finishes this year, plus another eighth-place finish. How can a guy who’s having one of the best seasons of the year be the 14th most expensive option? I have no idea, but I do know that I’m gonna take advantage of that and use him wherever I can this week. Harman was tied for fifth in Mexico his last time out, with four rounds in the 60s. He hits fairways and greens, and he makes putts, which is all he’s ever done for the last few years, but still, he’s criminally underrated. His 17th and 13th place finishes in his last two starts at Bay Hill are only icing on the cake for someone who’s too hot to leave out of lineups this week.

Sleeper for Cheaper

Kiradech Aphibarnrat ($7, 900)
Who? Yeah I know, his name is as hard to pronounce as it is to find on the pricing slate this week, but once you scroll far enough down to find him, do me a favor and use him. The last tournament he played resulted in a victory, which was on the Asian Development Tour, which is the developmental tour for the Asian Tour, similar to the relationship between the Web.com and PGA Tour. His last event played on Tour was in Mexico, where he quietly used a Sunday 65 to sneak into the top-5. Better yet, he has two top-6 finishes at Bay Hill, both of which come after the renovation (2015 and 2016). I know it’s hard to use someone you’ve never heard of before, but if a player with a recognizable name had those numbers going into this week, you would do everything you could to use them. If you’re looking to save money, Kiradech is your guy.

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Nick Swantek is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Nick, check out his archive and follow him @nick_swantek.

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