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DraftKings Fantasy Tip Sheet: Northern Trust Open

Before heading to Florida, the PGA Tour makes a final stop in California, at the Northern Trust Open, where Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Jimmy Walker and Jordan Spieth highlight the field.

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Watson and Johnson are past winners at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., while Walker and Spieth are also playing at a high level. Watson is DraftKings’ most expensive player this week at a cost of $14,500, and Johnson, Spieth and Walker are all priced at $12,300 or higher.

Riviera, a par-71, 7,349-yard layout, is one of the toughest courses we’ve seen so far this PGA Tour season, and it played to a 71.21 scoring average last season.

Golf season has arrived and DraftKings, a company that creates and hosts one-week fantasy-golf contests, has a unique way of upping the ante for PGA Tour fans. It’s simple and allows you to pick any player in the event each week, which is certainly appealing because nobody likes to be told which players to select. There are no groups, and a new game begins each week. That means no season-long commitment.

A variety of contests can be played each week, ranging from head-to-head to a large contest that ends with a big payout for the top fantasy players.

Each golf game provided by DraftKings allows you to pick six different players who will make up your team for that week. Of course, you can’t just take the best six, you have to keep your selections (each player carries a value) below the salary cap.

So, do you load your squad with big names? Do you take a few longshots, hoping to benefit from a good week? Or do you play it safe with a bunch of mid-range players?

The most important thing is the players you pick need to make the cut. You will earn no points on the weekend if your player doesn’t make the cut.

– Lance Ringler, Golfweek

Another interesting note: In the past 10 PGA Tour seasons, only once has the schedule gone more than 14 events without producing a multiple winner (Hunter Mahan won twice in 15 events in 2012). Ten of this year’s Tour winners are in the field: Walker, Watson, Sang-Moon Bae, Charley Hoffman, Ben Martin, Ryan Moore, Brandt Snedeker, Robert Streb, Nick Taylor and Bill Haas, who won this event in 2012.

Other notables in the field include Jim Furyk, who held the 54-hole lead a week ago at Pebble Beach in his season debut; Sergio Garcia, who is making his season debut this week; and Wake Forest freshman Will Zalatoris, who shot 67 on Monday to win the Northern Trust Open Collegiate Showcase and earn his first PGA Tour exemption.

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Here is the complete list of past winners in the field: Bubba Watson (2014), John Merrick (2013), Bill Haas (2012), Aaron Baddeley (2011), Charles Howell III (2007), Rory Sabbatini (2006), Mike Weir (2003-04), Robert Allenby (2001), Ernie Els (1999), Fred Couples (1990, ’92).

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Expert picks

Here are the players our experts are picking:

LANCE RINGLER (LANNYLALA)

(Last week: 549 points; Season total: 2,227.5)

  • Jimmy Walker ($12,300): Again worth the price. Four top 10s in past six starts and four top 20s in past four starts at NTO.
  • Nick Watney ($9,600): Top 10s in last two events including solo second last week.
  • Charl Schwartzel ($9,300): Always a threat to win. Pair of top-5 finishes in past two starts at Northern Trust Open.
  • Francesco Molinari ($7,300): Good value pick. Has made 16 consecutive cuts playing around the globe. His game figures to fit Riviera well.
  • Charlie Beljan ($7,200): In two career starts at Riviera, he has a T-12 and a runner-up finish. Finished third last week at Pebble.
  • David Lingmerth ($4,200): Seems to play well on tough golf courses. In only start at Riviera, he finished T-29.

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ADAM SCHUPAK (GOLFWEEKSCHUPAK)

(Last week: 439.5 points; Season total: 1,930)

  • Jordan Spieth ($13,600): Playing for a fourth week in a row, Spieth is ready to remind everyone why he should be a favorite at Augusta. I also like that he has a lot of experience here (for a 21-year-old) dating back to the 2012 NCAA Championship and a T-12 last year.
  • Bill Haas ($9,500): He won at Riviera in 2012 and held the 54-hole lead in 2013. He knows he needs to pile up points to make the Presidents Cup team to be captained by his dad, Jay. This is always a good spot for him.
  • Charl Schwartzel ($9,300): T-3, fifth past two years. How has this guy not won on the PGA Tour since donning the green jacket? It wouldn’t surprise me if he did this week.
  • Luke Donald ($7,000): I may kick myself for taking him instead of Sang Moon-Bae or Charlie Beljan, both who are playing better of late, but I remember his runner-up finish to Steve Stricker here and he’s going to turn it around soon, right? Use the force, Luke.
  • Aaron Baddeley ($6,500): Former champion here who has made six cuts in his last seven events. This is a horses-for-courses play. Can his hot putter be even hotter than it usually is?
  • Matt Every ($4,000): What a steal at this price. He finished T-6 last year. I think his game is very underrated.

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JIM MCCABE (GOLFWEEKMCCABE)

(Last week: 518.5 points; Season total: 2,219.5)

  • Dustin Johnson ($13,700): Big-ticket item, but for good reason. He has returned with some form and he’s had a second, third, and fourth in the last five years at Riviera.
  • Jordan Spieth ($13,600): Won’t shy away from this big price, either, not with the remarkable consistency that the 21-year-old puts forth.
  • Keegan Bradley ($8,600): – In need of a good tournament, Bradley is in a comfortable arena, having been T-20, T-16, T-2 in his last three trips here.
  • Luke Donald ($7,000): Not the best of starts of the Englishman, but he’s had a second, a third, and four other top 16 finishes at Riviera.
  • Matt Every ($4,000): Rough start, but here’s thinking that “the Riv,” where he was T-6 a year ago, will rekindle the fire.
  • Scott Verplank ($3,100): Only $3,100 left to spend and guess who’s there at that price? A veteran who fits well into Riviera landscape.

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JEFF BABINEAU (GOLFWEEKBABS)

(Last week: 370 points; Season total: 1,957.5)

  • Dustin Johnson ($13,700): Game looked very solid at Pebble, and still feel he could win before the Tour leaves the West Coast.
  • Jimmy Walker ($12,300): Has to drive it well, but his game is consistently good, and this is his favorite course on Tour. A good combination.
  • Charl Schwartzel ($9,300): Has taken an instant liking to The Riv, finishing T-3 and fifth the last two years here. A world-class contender.
  • Kevin Chappell ($7,200): Has a local connection (UCLA) and was in good form last week. Top-25 finishes in two of last three years here.
  • Jim Renner ($3,300): He’s a New Englander just happy to be someplace he doesn’t have to shovel snow.
  • Robert Allenby ($3,700): Good value in this slot, he is a past champion at Riviera and sound ballstriker who knows the place well. Owns five top-10 finishes at Riviera.

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ALEX MICELI (GOLFWEEKMICELI)

  • (Last week: 464 points; Season total: 2,039)
  • Jordan Spieth ($13,600): Won NCAA’s as a team at Riv, but is struggling with his swing. Spieth’s instructor is in LA and he’s hoping it is a quick fix. If it is, watch out.
  • Bill Haas ($9,500): Already won this year and has won at Riviera, great value compared to others.
  • Nick Watney ($9,600): Led in the final round last week at Pebble, but couldn’t get it done. This week is a whole new week and Watney is playing very well.
  • Charles Howell III ($7,000): Is a Riviera fan and is hitting the ball solidly.
  • Matt Jones ($6,200): Playing well and has Jimmy Johnson on the bag.
  • Kenny Perry ($3,800): Loves long and tight golf courses, over 50 is not an issue.

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BRENTLEY ROMINE (BROMINE20)

(Last week: 528.5 points; Season total: 2,216)

  • Jordan Spieth ($13,600): Spieth tied for 12th here last year and he won an NCAA title at Riviera in 2012 as a freshman at Texas, beating Justin Thomas, then at Alabama, in his final match.
  • Jimmy Walker ($12,300): He’s cheaper this week than he’s been in past weeks, and he hasn’t finished worse than T-20 in his last four starts here, including a pair of T-4 finishes.
  • Brendon Todd ($7,500): His best finish here is the T-35 he posted last season, but he’s only missed two cuts in his last 19 PGA Tour starts and closed with a 65 to tie for 10th last week at Pebble.
  • Brian Harman ($6,900): Harman has made four straight cuts this season and tied for third last year at Riviera.
  • Bryce Molder ($5,700): He’s finished T-21 or better in his last three starts here, including a T-6 last year.
  • Matt Every ($4,000): For a guy who was T-6 here a year ago, Every is a steal at this price.

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NICK MASUDA (NICKMASUDA)

(Last week: 486 points; Season total: 1,160.5)

  • Bill Haas ($9,500): He already has one title this season (Humana Challenge), and the Northern Trust has been his personal playground over the past four years. He has never finished outside the top 25 and won in 2012.
  • Charl Schwartzel ($9,300): Opened the season at Riviera the past two seasons, finishing fifth in 2014 and T-3 in 2013. Those happen to be his only starts in the Northern Trust. Pretty solid 2-for-2 action there.
  • Harris English ($9,000): The Bulldog has a T-3 at the Sony Open and second-place finish at Farmers so far in 2015, plus a T-10 at last year’s Northern Trust. A great player that seems to fly under the radar, and really shouldn’t.
  • Webb Simpson ($8,900): Has four starts in the wraparound season and has three top-15 finishes (including two in top 7), and finished T-6 at Riviera in 2013.
  • Justin Thomas ($8,100): Took a week off in the sun in Florida, but the Tour rookie has been impressive this season with three top-10s in nine starts.
  • Max Homa ($5,200): Obviously low on cash at this point, but Homa is a great low-value pick. He finished T-29 last week at Pebble and is a Southern California boy that is looking to make his sixth cut in 10 starts on the PGA Tour this season.

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Full field

(Players listed in order of Golfweek/Sagarin ranking)

  • 1. Jim Furyk
  • 6. Bill Haas
  • 7. Sergio Garcia
  • 10. Jordan Spieth
  • 12. Bubba Watson
  • 13. Jimmy Walker
  • 18. Gary Woodland
  • 19. Brandt Snedeker
  • 20. Dustin Johnson
  • 22. Hideki Matsuyama
  • 23. Keegan Bradley
  • 24. Francesco Molinari
  • 26. Marc Leishman
  • 28. Ryan Moore
  • 29. John Senden
  • 30. Kevin Na
  • 35. Robert Streb
  • 36. Paul Casey
  • 38. Justin Thomas
  • 39. Brendon de Jonge
  • 42. Daniel Summerhays
  • 44. Shawn Stefani
  • 45. David Hearn
  • 47. Brendon Todd
  • 49. Retief Goosen
  • 54. Graham DeLaet
  • 55. Jason Kokrak
  • 56. Hunter Mahan
  • 57. Charl Schwartzel
  • 59. Cameron Tringale
  • 60. Charley Hoffman
  • 62. Brendan Steele
  • 64. Charles Howell III
  • 65. Bernd Wiesberger
  • 66. Luke Donald
  • 67. J.B. Holmes
  • 68. Tony Finau
  • 69. Kevin Chappell
  • 70. Webb Simpson
  • 73. Brian Harman
  • 75. Andrew Svoboda
  • 78. Ernie Els
  • 79. Scott Piercy
  • 81. Blayne Barber
  • 83. Carl Pettersson
  • 84. Harris English
  • 85. Derek Fathauer
  • 86. Rory Sabbatini
  • 87. George McNeill
  • 88. Russell Henley
  • 89. Chris Stroud
  • 90. Fabian Gomez
  • 93. Michael Putnam
  • 94. Seung-Yul Noh
  • 97. K.J. Choi
  • 100. Vaughn Taylor
  • 101. Scott Langley
  • 102. Bo Van Pelt
  • 110. Kevin Kisner
  • 115. Vijay Singh
  • 116. Nick Watney
  • 120. Erik Compton
  • 121. Pat Perez
  • 122. Jeff Overton
  • 123. Martin Flores
  • 124. Ben Martin
  • 125. Troy Merritt
  • 126. Angel Cabrera
  • 129. Kevin Streelman
  • 131. William McGirt
  • 134. Colt Knost
  • 137. Camilo Villegas
  • 140. Ricky Barnes
  • 142. Billy Hurley III
  • 148. Matt Jones
  • 149. Adam Hadwin
  • 152. Sang-Moon Bae
  • 154. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
  • 155. Aaron Baddeley
  • 160. Jhonattan Vegas
  • 163. Tim Wilkinson
  • 165. Andres Gonzales
  • 169. Ryo Ishikawa
  • 173. Andres Romero
  • 176. Scott Brown
  • 177. Michael Thompson
  • 182. Danny Lee
  • 183. Carlos Ortiz
  • 186. Zac Blair
  • 188. John Huh
  • 192. Alex Prugh
  • 193. Justin Hicks
  • 194. Andrew Putnam
  • 195. James Hahn
  • 197. Morgan Hoffmann
  • 203. Luke Guthrie
  • 205. David Lingmerth
  • 207. Justin Leonard
  • 209. Stuart Appleby
  • 210. Max Homa
  • 222. Matt Every
  • 226. Geoff Ogilvy
  • 229. Davis Love III
  • 237. Steven Bowditch
  • 248. Kyle Reifers
  • 250. Brice Garnett
  • 253. Hudson Swafford
  • 255. John Peterson
  • 261. Spencer Levin
  • 262. John Merrick
  • 263. Brian Davis
  • 265. Chad Campbell
  • 267. Brian Stuard
  • 276. Nicholas Thompson
  • 282. Bryce Molder
  • 296. Scott Stallings
  • 302. Chesson Hadley
  • 303. Ken Duke
  • 323. Robert Allenby
  • 331. Charlie Beljan
  • 354. Padraig Harrington
  • 357. Nick Taylor
  • 392. Mark Wilson
  • 407. Lucas Glover
  • 424. Woody Austin
  • 433. Derek Ernst
  • 473. D.A. Points
  • 509. Jon Curran
  • 543. Carlos Sainz Jr.
  • 546. Mike Weir
  • 639. Jim Renner
  • N/R. Blake Adams
  • N/R. Michael Block
  • N/R. Fred Couples
  • N/R. Kenny Perry
  • N/R. Chez Reavie
  • N/R. Chad Sorensen
  • N/R. Scott Verplank
  • N/R. Cameron Wilson
  • N/R. Will Zalatoris

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