Professional / Fantasy

Fantasy golf expert picks: Arnold Palmer Invitational

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy (Getty)

Need fantasy-golf advice for this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill? Our Golfweek experts are here to help, providing their pick to win, sleeper players, DraftKings bargains and more.

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  • Projected champion: Rory McIlroy. Big price, but big talent with big stretch of golf ahead. Time to get serious.
  • DraftKings bargain: Maverick McNealy ($6,200). For the same reason I told you to invest in Lee McCoy last week.
  • Course horse: Ernie Els. Has a win, a T-4, and a T-13 in his last five visits to Bay Hill and if he gets a little rhythm, he quickly gets interested.
  • Sleeper pick (outside the top 100 in OWGR): Charles Howell III. Only one top 10 in 15 Bay Hill starts, but playing beautifully of late and might surprise this week.
  • Fade (player to avoid): Great kid, nice talent, but Zac Blair is struggling. MC five of last seven events, and he’s 27 over in his four rounds on this Florida swing.

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  • Projected champion: Rory McIlroy. He failed to close at Riviera and Doral, and this week, he’ll do something about that. Lots of good players have won in the lead-in to Augusta, and he does not want to be left out.
  • DraftKings bargain: Ian Poulter ($7,100). Has not finished worse than T-21 in his last five starts here, medium-length players can do fine here, and needs to find his way back into the world top 50.
  • Course horse: Henrik Stenson. Here’s how he’s trending at Arnie’s Place: T-15, T-8, T-5, second … and probably should have won a year ago. Makes the short commute from home at Lake Nona, and maybe this is the year.
  • Sleeper pick (outside the top 100 in OWGR): Jason Kokrak (116). Stayed in the hunt until the end at Riviera, and his power gets rewarded at Bay Hill, where he has been T-6 and fourth the last two years.
  • Fade (player to avoid): Ryan Palmer. He’s got the right name, but he hasn’t had much success at Bay Hill, making but one cut in six starts, and failing to make it to the weekend in each of his last five starts. Making first appearance at Arnie’s Place since 2012 (MC).

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  • Projected champion: If you follow the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, you’ve been capitalizing on Danny Willett for a while now. He knocked on the door a few weeks ago at Doral. Now he is going to knock it down and get his first win on American soil.
  • DraftKings bargain: Don’t sleep on the Stanford whiz kid Maverick McNealy this week at $6,200. He could be this week’s Lee McCoy. Tony Finau has missed four cuts in a row, but at $5,900, I’d risk it that he can turn it around this week.
  • Course horse: Henrik Stenson has some unfinished business after letting the title slip away last year. His ballstriking will be rewarded here.
  • Sleeper pick (outside the top 100 in OWGR): Sam Saunders finished T-22 at Valspar and now heads to the course he grew up playing. Something tells me he will play inspired golf for his grandpa.
  • Fade (player to avoid): Patrick Rodgers is going to be a stud — and soon — but he’s shot a round of 77 or higher in his last three starts and missed the cut so I’d avoid him until you see a return to form.

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  • Projected champion: Henrik Stenson. The Swede hasn’t missed a cut here in seven tries and has been T-8 or better his last three attempts, including a runner-up finish last year to Matt Every.
  • DraftKings bargain: Kiradech Apihibarnrat ($6,700). The Barn Rat was T-6 in his API debut last year after shooting 65-69 on the weekend. He’s ranked 46th in the world, too, so for this price he’s a big steal.
  • Course horse: Zach Johnson. Johnson is 15th in career earnings at the API and has played Bay Hill every season since 2004. During that span, he’s missed just one cut and has five finishes of T-11 or better.
  • Sleeper pick (outside the top 100 in OWGR): Jason Kokrak (116). He is coming off two straight missed cuts, but was T-2 at Northern Trust Open before that. He also likes Bay Hill as he’s finished fourth and T-6 the last two years here, respectively.
  • Fade (player to avoid): Matt Every. I know he’s won here twice before, but he also has just one top 20 since last year’s API triumph. He’ll likely make the cut, but I doubt he wins a third straight title at Arnie’s Place.
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