5 DraftKings Picks I Love for This Week’s Genesis Invitational
Genesis starts tomorrow, and with such a stacked field in L.A. I’m especially eager to toss in a handful of lineups on DraftKings.
As alluded to in my mini-preview of the event, Riviera sets up as a tough test for golfers. The course is fairly long, making distance off-the-tee and/or long iron play important. With tough bunkers and difficult green complexes, short game should factor into the equation as well.
With all that in mind, I don’t really view this as a week where struggling golfers will suddenly flip a switch and start playing well. The elite ball-strikers in the field will avoid constant scrambling around Riviera, and the person who ultimately comes out on top will likely be the golfer who best minimizes the damage whenever they do inevitably hit a bad shot or two.
So altogether I want to play well-rounded golfers who I feel confident are in tremendous form coming into this event. To me this doesn’t feel like the week to take as many insane dart throws, or pray struggling golfers return to their baseline ability.
Justin Thomas ($10,700)
Any time the best in the world are teeing it up at the same event, it’s hard for me to not to play Justin Thomas. He seemingly just thrives in the most competitive environments, relishing any opportunity to prove why he’s elite.
It’s been nearly a year since Thomas won at the 2021 Player’s Championship. Over that span Thomas — for his standards — has played lot of mediocre golf.
However, as of late Justin Thomas has been awesome, particularly in the ball striking department. Last week at Waste Management, Thomas gained an insane 10.44 strokes ball striking, and likely wins the event if he just putts to the field average (of course the same could be said for Jon Rahm too). He finished in 8th.
Despite missing the cut at Genesis each of the past two seasons, Thomas’ elite tee-to-green game seemingly sets up for success here. This shown by JT’s runner-up and 9th place finish at Riviera in 2019 and 2018.
I think there’s somewhat of a chance people see JT’s most recent missed cuts at this event and opt for safer golfers in the 10K+ range. That said, I’m excited to play a guy in JT whose recent form suggests he may be on the verge of getting back in the winner’s circle.
Hideki Matsuyama ($9,300)
Admittedly, I’m still very torn between Hideki and Cameron Smith ($9,100) as my favorite DraftKings play in this range.
(Cam Smith’s game sets up extremely well for Riviera — we saw this last year when Smith finished T4 here. He’s seemingly an even better player than he was a year ago too, hitting the ball off the tee farther and becoming more consistent with his approach play. So I’m certainly in on Smith for this week.)
That said, it’s hard for me to ignore the spectacular stretch of golf Matsuyama is on right now. Similar to JT, Matsuyama’s ball-striking was awesome at last week’s WM Phoenix Open. Though what Matsuyama did even better than JT was in the short game, where he gained 4.5 strokes to the field.
Hideki has 4 top-11 finishes in 7 trips to Riviera, so the strong course history is certainly a plus also.
What more can I say? Matsuyama has been playing as good as anyone in the world in recent months, comes to a course that suits him well, and continually gets underpriced and overlooked on DraftKings. Sign me up!
Will Zalatoris ($8,800)
I don’t want to overthink this one. Play Willy Z at tough golf courses where lag putting, two-putts for Par and Bogey avoidance is welcomed.
We saw it play out a few weeks ago where Zalatoris probably should have won at Torrey Pines. His ball-striking was outstanding all week, and nearly two-putted every hole on his way to victory on Sunday.
Willy Z finished T15 at the Genesis Invitational last year, in which he gained nearly 5 strokes putting. So I’m hopeful he can match his typical elite ball-striking with some good vibes on these greens.
If I have any reservations for Zalatoris this week, it’s because he was forced to withdraw from the Pebble Beach Pro-Am after testing positive for Covid. Hard to say how much that might’ve affected his game and the great stretch of golf he was on to start 2022…
I’ll just go ahead and assume Zalatoris brings his A-game to Riviera.
I’m also very excited to play Tony Finau ($8,400) and Adam Scott ($8,200) in this range.
Joaquin Niemann ($7,800)
Joquain Niemann is sort of quietly having an awesome start to 2022, and it’s like nobody even cares!
In his only start on the PGA Tour this year, Niemann finished T6 at the Farmer’s Insurance Open on the back of incredible ball-striking (our buzzword of the day apparently). He gained over 3 strokes to the field in both off-the-tee and approach play — looking very comfortable with his game all week I thought.
Niemann continued his strong play the following week in Saudi Arabia, where he notched another top-10 finish.
In his short career thus far, Niemann’s produced mediocre finishes at Genesis. One might assume it’s because of his around the green woes, but Joaquin’s actually never lost strokes to the field around the green at Riviera. It’s been merely a sub-standard iron week here, or a poor putting week there.
All that said, Niemann is a young player who continues to get better and better. I believe in the talent of the 23-year-old Chilean long-term, and really feel like he can bring strong recent form into this week’s Genesis Invitation and have a great week.
The 7K+ range is loaded this week, and I’ll certainly spread out my interests accordingly. My secondary favorite plays include: Marc Leishman ($7,900), Sergio Garcia ($7,800), Paul Casey ($7,600), Luke List ($7,400), Corey Conners ($7,300), Mavrick McNealy ($7,200).
And my absolute mega-mind play of the week is Robert Macintyre ($7,100).
Sebastian Munoz ($6,800)
Sebastian Munoz is one of those golfers you absolutely need to catch when they get on one of these random hot streaks. When Munoz is in form, he seemingly finds a way to regularly get onto the first page of leaderboards.
Even more than that — for our purposes — he can just fill it up with DraftKings points too. Munoz is a pure scorer.
Munoz had a rough start to 2022, missing the cut at the AmEx. But then he bounced back with a T39 finish at Torrey Pines and then a T23 finish last week at TPC Scottsdale.
Last week Munoz actually finished 4th in the field in strokes gained tee-to green — indicating that he’s in solid form coming into Genesis.
Munoz has finished 43rd and 26th in the past two years at Riviera (his only two trips here). For just $6,800 on DraftKings, Munoz feels like the perfect guy to round out a roster.
Only other 6K+ golfer on DraftKings I really like this week is Aaron Rai ($6,400), who feels underpriced.