The Cheat Sheet provides DraftKings fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.
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The TOUR has three more stops left on its fall swing and heads to Mexico this week for its annual stop in Mayakoba. This event has endured a plethora of name changes, but the host venue has remained the same. It will again be played at El Camaleón, a Greg Norman-designed resort course that runs alongside the Caribbean Sea. This field is somewhat similar to last week’s but does contain a handful of bigger names, who have decided to make the easier trip to Mexico (after skipping the longer hike to Bermuda) and go after a bigger $7.2 million prize purse.
Justin Thomas leads the betting odds here at +1100 on DraftKings Sportsbook and is followed closely by last year’s winner Viktor Hovland at +1600. Other big names in the field include Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau. Twenty of the world’s top 50 in the OWGR are in attendance, which should make this week a lot more exciting for fantasy purposes.
El Camaleón, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Par 71, 7,017 yards
This is a Greg Norman-designed course set on the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. This course has hosted the event since 2007, although the dates changed from February to November back in 2013. This change is significant, as the tournament has seen much lower scores since the move since the winds at this time of year are usually much milder than they are in February. In the last five years, the lowest the winning score has been here is 19-under-par (back in 2017).
As a shorter course with a lot of hazards, driving distance almost always takes a backseat, as players will often “club down” to find fairways and avoid trouble. This is very much a second-shot course where players will simply be looking to avoid trouble off the tee, then fire short to mid irons into most of the greens. One other thing to note is the course uses Paspalum-style greens, which will be average or slower than normal on the stimpmeter. There is rain in the forecast this week, so wet, receptive greens could be in store.
The setup here is fairly standard, as El Camaleón plays as a par 71 with three par 5s and four par 3s. As previously mentioned, the course plays short for TOUR standards at right under 7,000 yards, making wedge and short-game play emphasized. In terms of the hole setups, three of the four par 3s measure in at 155 yards or less and none of the par 5’s come in at longer than 554 yards, making it essential for players to score on these holes.
Last year, Viktor Hovland used some great ball-striking to set himself up for the win, as he led the field in Greens in Regulation percentage and was also top 20 in Driving Accuracy. Hovland also ranked top 20 in Putts per GIR, and his weaker short game wasn’t stressed much given how many greens he hit. Expect a similar formula out of the winner this week.
2021 Weather Update: Per usual, the weather is not a big worry for this event. While the course is set just off the ocean, the winds here don’t get up in November, and the first two days has gusts staying around five to eight mph. The temperatures will be warm but not scorching either, with highs set around 85-87 degrees Fahrenheit. The final day does have some rain forecast in the afternoon, so it could be the worst scoring day of the week, as the wind is expected to approach 10 mph. All in all though, expect soft conditions again and for the humidity to keep the greens relative slow and easy. This event should live up to its birdie-fest status again in 2021.
Last 5 winners
2020—Viktor Hovland -20 (over Aaron Wise -19)
2019—Brendon Todd -20 (over three players at -19)
2018—Matt Kuchar -22 (over Danny Lee)
2017—Patton Kizzire -19 (over Rickie Fowler -18)
2016—Pat Perez -21 (over Gary Woodland -19)
- Four of the past 10 winners were playing this event for the first time in their career — Patton Kizzire and Matt Kuchar had each played here just once before winning while last year’s winner Viktor Hovland had missed the cut here in each of his first two visits.
- Four of the last five winners had recorded a top-15 finish in one of their previous two starts before winning here.
Winners Stats and Course Overview
2020 Winner: Viktor Hovland
(2020 lead-in: T15-T47-T12-T13-T20)
Green in Regulation %: 1st
Pitts per GIR— 13th
- Hovland had a great week striking the ball in 2020, as he found lots of fairways and then rarely missed the green on approach. He ranked near the bottom of the field in scrambling and around the green play, but because this course has such easy to hit greens, his lack of polish there didn't matter much.
- 2019 winner Brendon Todd used a similar approach, ranking third for the week in GIR %, but he also had a bit better week scrambling than Hovland. Regardless, the theme here is you want a player who can hit his irons (mainly short irons) consistently well all week.
- El Camaleón is an easy course because it features both relatively easy to hit fairways and greens. The field here averages a couple percentage points above TOUR average in both Driving Accuracy and Green in Regulation %.
- Despite the venue featuring three par 5s, it’s the par-4 efficiency where players can pick up strokes. Five of the last six winners have finished inside the top 5 in par-4 scoring for the week. Hovland ranks third in that category, in long-term form, in this field.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
Harold Varner III +4000 and $7,400
Keegan Bradley +4500 and $8,300
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
HORSES FOR COURSES
1. Abraham Ancer ($10,700; best finish: T8-2018, T9-2020): Ancer has seemingly rocked it at this course every time he’s come. The winner of the FedEx St. Jude WGC event from earlier this year hasn’t missed the cut at this event in the last five years (in his home country) and has finished T12 or better here in three of the last four seasons. Given how well he’s playing, he should be viewed as a top horse this week.
2. Russell Knox ($7,300; best finish: second – 2015): Knox lost in a playoff at El Camaleón in 2015 and has finished inside the top 10 at this venue in three out of eight starts. He’s 8-for-8 in terms of cuts made here and ranks fourth in the field in terms of strokes gained total stats over the last five years. Coming off a 12th-place from last week, more good results could be coming here for Knox.
3. Pat Perez ($7,200; best finish: Win – 2016): The winner here back in 2016, Perez has a load of experience playing at this week’s venue. He added a T6 finish to his record in 2018 and was T8 here in 2020, as well. The veteran can be streaky but leads the field in strokes gained total stats at this venue over the last six years.
4. Emiliano Grillo ($7,500; best finish: T9 – 2016): Grillo has played this event in each of the past five seasons and has posted top-10 finishes here in three of the past four seasons. His game has been up and down of late, but his elite iron play has produced solid results here on almost every occasion. He’s second behind Perez in strokes gained total stats at this venue.
5. Billy Horschel ($10,100; best finish: T5-2020): Horschel has taken to this track quickly over the last few years, producing top-10 finishes at El Camaleón over the last two seasons. Like many veteran PGA pros, the easy to hit fairways and greens mean he can dominate with his superior putting and around the green game. Expect another solid outing this year, too.
1. Aaron Wise ($9,600; T5-T8): Wise comes into this event off the back of two top-10 finishes. He’s been looking great in the fall swing and has gained over +3.3 strokes on approach in each of his last two starts.
2. Cameron Tringale ($8,900; T2-T59): Tringale keeps knocking on the winners door and putting up consistent results in the process. He was second his last time out at the ZOZO and hasn’t missed a cut in 10 straight starts on the PGA TOUR.
3. Talor Gooch ($9,000; T5, T11): Gooch is yet another young player who looks close to breaking through. He’s posted top-5 finishes in two of his last three TOUR starts and has now gained over +5.0 strokes on approach in three of his last five TOUR starts.
4. Taylor Pendrith ($7,200; T5-T47): Pendrith held the lead into final round last week but slipped to T5 after a disastrous Sunday back-nine. He has made five cuts in a row, though, and has been one of the best off the tee of late while also gaining over a stroke with his putter in five straight starts.
5. Patrick Rodgers ($7,400; T4): Rodgers comes into this event off the back of a T4-finish last week. He is also still searching for his first PGA win, but he has come close of late, as he also posted a T6 at the Fortinet Championship in September. He ranks first in Strokes Gained: Total stats in this field over the last six weeks.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Abraham is your answer
As cliches go that title is bad, but Abraham Ancer ($10,700) and his ridiculous course record at this venue/event is hard to turn down at under $11K in this field. Among this field, Ancer ranks top 12 in DraftKings fantasy points gained, Approach and Putting over the last 50 rounds and was in contention late his last time out (THE CJ CUP). Further down, both Russell Henley ($8,200 - see below) and Joaquin Niemann ($7,800) look entirely too cheap for this setup. Niemann finished a tidy T23 at this event last season and looked better his last time out. Other potential cash game targets/values for this event include Keegan Bradley ($8,300), Russell Knox ($7,300) and Brian Harman ($7,300).
Tournaments: Get up to Thomas
Justin Thomas ($11,200) may be the only player above $11K in this field, but it’s for good reason. He ranks first in strokes gained tee to green stats and approach stats over the last 50 rounds and has now gained over +2.0 strokes on his approaches in each of his last five starts. Thomas finished T12 at this event last season and may not be that heavily owned with lots of options in the $10K range. Christiaan Bezuidenhout ($8,000) is another player who could be worth a look here. His price on DraftKings has dropped by $2.7K this week, but he ranks well in short-iron and mid-iron proximity and first in strokes gained putting stats. A big bounce back here wouldn't be shocking, and he won't be heavily rostered after slumping to T57 last week. Other potential GPP targets here include Rickie Fowler ($8,600), Henrik Stenson ($7,100), Jimmy Walker ($6,600 - see below) and Davis Riley ($6,500).
MY PICK: Russell Henley ($8,200)
Last year at this event, Henley called an eight-stroke penalty on himself after his round, just for playing the wrong type ball. It moved him from contending to missing the cut for the week. He displayed a lot of class in the proceeding, and you have to think maybe karma rewards his honesty at this year’s event.
A win here would be the type of thing movies are scripted after, but Henley brings the game to make it happen. He ranks second in proximity stats in this field and inside the top 15 in proximity form every major distance under 200 yards. While his recent results only read T21 and T25, he’s gained +5.2 and +7.3 strokes on approach in those starts, respectively, and has been a hot putting week away from contending. After a couple of weeks of rest, you have to think Henley likely comes in with a sharper short game and putter, on a course where we know his iron game will be set up to dominate.
Forgetting all the karma and narrative stuff I mentioned, at just over $8K, Henley is a great mid-tier DraftKings target given his recent form alone. He’s a player who has come awfully close to grabbing a win — on multiple occasions over the last two years — and looks set up for another solid run at a trophy here.
MY SLEEPER: Jimmy Walker ($6,600)
I’ve been waiting to see where Walker would tee things up next, and we finally got our answer this week, as he’s in the field in Mayakoba. Walker was last seen at the Shriners, where he grabbed a solid T24 finish and has now finished T24, T45 and T11 over his last three PGA starts. It may not seem like much, but the veteran’s ball-striking has shown jolts of solid play for a couple of months now. He grabbed a T6 finish at the Memorial last June, gaining +11.8 strokes tee to green against an elite field, and has now gained +2.0 or more strokes on his approach in each of his last two TOUR starts.
This course sets up well for veterans like Walker, who maintain an elite putting game but can be disadvantaged at longer setups off the tee. Walker is also a past winner on another Greg Norman-designed venue (TPC San Antonio), and we’ve seen good correlation in the past between the two courses. He should be well under five-percent rostered in GPPs this week and makes for an interesting punt play in GPPs. He also has nice odds to chase in the top-20 market at +700 on the DraftKings Sportsbook.
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