2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational - PGA DFS Plays, Bets, and Fades

SI Fantasy golf analyst Mark Farris breaks down his favorite DFS tiers, bets, and a fade for the PGA’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
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Previous 2021 PGA Tour Event Winners & DraftKings Salary

  • Workday Charity Open: Collin Morikawa ($9,500)
  • AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Daniel Berger ($10,100)
  • Waste Management Phoenix Open: Brooks Koepka ($8,800)
  • Farmers Insurance Open: Patrick Reed ($10,100)
  • The American Express: Si Woo Kim ($8,200)
  • Sony Open: Kevin Na ($7,500)
  • Sentry Tournament of Champions: Harris English ($8,700)


$9,000+ Range

Viktor Hovland, Sungjae Im & Paul Casey

Again, this is an invitational. Close to what we had last week, but not quite. No one is guaranteed four rounds, but we only have 120 participants. As with any week, you can start your lineups with the top guys. I like McIlroy ($11,500) and DeChambeau ($11,000), but the price limits you. In fact, I was a little on the fence with Hovland at $10,600, but I just like the way this guy is playing. My model ranks him 5th, and, frankly, Tyrrell Hatton ($10,000) and Patrick Reed ($10,200) rank higher. So, these three guys are right there with Rory and Bryson; they just cost less.

Sungjae Im ($9,700) is a play on course history. I’ve found that this is an important thing in the Florida swing with the change in greens from the west coast and the unpredictability of the wind. With that said, Sungjae has two appearances here and has two top 3s.

Paul Casey ($9,100) is a value here. He has no course history but is playing very well. He’s also a guy that I can never count out on any course. If salary cap is your issue, don’t fear dropping down to him in this Tier from any of the other plays.

Since Ben is otherwise occupied (his wife just had their second child - CONGRATS!), I’ll throw in another bonus for you. Matthew Fitzpatrick ($9,800). He’s playing well now, and in the last four appearances here, he has a missed cut and three top 15s.

$7,500 - $8,900

Marc Leishman & Jason Kokrak

I really would like to take a shot on Francesco Molinari at $8,700 given his course history here - and he’s starting to play like the guy in the zone in 2019. But he would be my third choice this week.

Leishman is also beginning to play like he is capable of playing, and I love his course history here too. In his last five appearances here, he has four top 20s and five top 25s. Plus, if the wind kicks up, I always like some Aussies in the wind.

Jason Kokrak is consistent and has been playing well as of late. In seven appearances here (2014-2020), he has a missed cut. However, wrapped around that are five top 20s. That, and his T9 last week in the Sunshine State, makes me feel good about him at this price as well.

Bonus: Another Aussie with no course history but playing well - Cameron Davis ($7,900)

$7,400 and Under

Ian Poulter & Zach Johnson

I’m going back to an old friend and off the rails a little bit here with these two picks. Anyone that has followed my write-ups knows I love the Honey Badger (Poulter). I like him a lot when it’s a Major or an extremely competitive environment. Not the case here, but this is an event that PGA players covet when they win because it’s Arnie’s event. Plus, the fact he hasn’t missed a cut here in 10 years helps with my confidence. At this price, you want a cut maker! And the potential for a high finish doesn’t hurt either.

Off the rails? Well, I very rarely, if ever, suggest playing Zach Johnson. Much of the time, it’s because he’s a short hitter, and length is en vogue in today’s golf environment. But, much like Corey Pavin - how many of you know that name? - there are certain events where even the long hitters can’t shake this guy. This is one of them! Ten Years, Ten Cuts! He won’t win the tournament, but he will give you a great chance for weekend play at a sub-$7K price.

Top Fade

Hideki Matsuyama

Why? Well, Hideki doesn’t have the greatest course history here. He hasn’t broken the Top 30 since 2016 (where he was T6). Much like his current form - and barring last week T15 with no cut - he’s doing about the same this season. You have to take a stand, and I’m probably not going with Rory or Bryson much either, given the price, but I think Hideki will stay in the bullpen this week on the PGA tour DFS roster for me.

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