Fantasy Sports Column

Kings of Fantasy analyzes the Genesis Open

By Wesley Woodbery | Feb 14, 2017
Photo by: File The 18th hole at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California.

Fantasy sports have been around since the 1980s, when sportswriter named Daniel Okrent invented the first season long fantasy baseball league. Back then, it was called “rotisserie baseball” because Okrent and his friends met at the restaurant, La Rotisserie.
In 2007, the first Instant Fantasy Sports burst on to the scene with the mission of taking the time frame of season-long fantasy sports and shrinking it to daily. In February 2012, the Boston-based DraftKings was established by former VistaPrint executives Jason Robins, Matthew Kalish, and Paul Liberman and daily fantasy sports instantly exploded into a multi-billion dollar industry.
Season long and daily fantasy sports also increased sports fans’ viewership significantly.
So big Draft Kings became that in April 2013, Major League Baseball invested an undisclosed amount in the operation, becoming the first U.S. professional sports organization to invest in daily fantasy sports.
Today, Fantasy Sports Industry Demographics (FSTA) reports that 57.7 million people play daily fantasy sports. If you go by any magazine rack, there are magazines specifically about fantasy sports along with major sports magazines devoting entire issues to the game.
There are now season-long fantasy leagues and daily fantasy sports for baseball, golf, football, basketball, e-sports, mixed-martial arts, hockey and soccer.
Even here in Haywood County, season-long fantasy sports and daily fantasy sports participation has grown by leaps and bounds.  
I have been playing in season-long fantasy sports leagues for more than four years and have been competing in daily fantasy sports for more than two years.
Recently, I’ve formed a small group of successful fantasy players from Haywood County called the “Kings of Fantasy,” which consist of myself (Wesley Woodbery), Mike Munoz, Scott Worley and Chuck Fiebernitz. The Mountaineer will be presenting our weekly podcast (time to be determined) every Wednesday, beginning Feb. 22.
In addition, we will have a special section in the newspaper’s new website, which is expected to be rolled out by late March. The section will archive the Kings of Fantasy’s podcasts and my fantasy sports weekly columns. We will also be on The Mountaineer’s Facebook page and we have our own Twitter (@KOF841) and Instagram (@KOF841) accounts.
If you are playing daily sports or are in a season-long league and are interested in following us or have a question regarding currently daily sports in NBA, NHL, European League Soccer, MMA or even e-sports, check us out on Twitter or Instagram.
If you seek opinions, information, analytical data from our research to help you with upcoming sports such as baseball and NASCAR, check us out on Twitter and Instagram or listen to our podcasts.
As for golf, after meeting with the other Kings of Fantasy, this column will analyze the upcoming PGA Genesis Open (formerly known as the Northern Trust) at Riviera in Pacific Palisades, California.  
First and foremost, let’s get to know the course and what type of pro golfers will do well at the Riviera.

The Genesis Open
The Riviera

It’s 7,366 yards (Par 71) consisting of 11 Par 4s, four Par 3s and three par 5s. The Riviera’s greens are bent grass and have a slope rating of 135. The average PGA course slope rating is about 113, which means the Riviera will play much harder than the average course.
Weather Report
It will be sunny and clear for Thursday’s first round, rain and high winds are in the forecast for Friday (potential for flooding Friday night) and Saturday with overcast skies expected for Sunday’s final round.
Expect scores to be low on Thursday and Sunday and golfers’ scores to be knocked up for Rounds 2 and 3.
Stats To Target
What you want to look at when building a lineup for the Genesis is to analyze PGA stats for golfers in shots gained: tee-to-green, shots gained: putting, driving distance (this is a long course), birdies for Par 4s and 5s and greens in regulation.
‘A’ List golfers
1. Hideki Matsuyama (DK $11,500): He is a “ghost pepper golfer” (red hot golfer) coming into the Genesis with five wins in his last nine worldwide starts. The last three finishes at the Riviera for the 24 year-old from Ehime Japan are tied for 11th, tied for 4th and tied for 23rd.  
2. Dustin Johnson (DK $11,400): Today he is one of the steady golfers on the PGA circuit. In his last five appearances at the Riviera, he has four Top 5 finishes, including back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2014, 2015 (tied for first but lost playoff to James Hahn and Paul Casey).
3. Adam Scott (DK $10,300): This is his first appearance of the 2017 golf season in the United States. In his last five world wide starts, he has finished no worse than tied for 14th. His last three appearances at the Riviera have been tied for 2nd, tied for 10th and for tied for 17th. The Aussie is also regarded as one of the top golfers on the circuit.
‘B’ List golfers
1. Brendan Steele (DK $7,100): He is another “ghost pepper golfer” coming into the Genesis and has made five straight cuts at the Riviera.
2. Charl Schwartzel ($8,100): in 2013 and 2014, he finished tied for 3rd and 5th, respectively, at the Riviera. In addition, Schwartzel has made the cut four out of the last four appearances in this tournament.
3. Jim Furyk ($6,700): Coming off his first tourney appearance of the 2017 season at Pebble Beach, where he missed the secondary cut, the savvy veteran has four straight Top 25 finishes at the Riviera.
‘C’ List golfers (Sleepers)
1. J.B. Holmes (DK $7,100): He has made three straight cuts at the Riviera, finished in the top 15 in 2016 and is the No. 3 golfer in this tournament in birdies for Par 4s.
2. Marc Leishman (DK 7,600): In his last six Tour starts, he has finished no worse than 25th, finished tied for 5th at the Riviera in 2016 and is sixth in this tournament field in shots gained: putting.
3. Anirban Lahiri (DK $7,700): In his last three world wide starts, the pro from India has progressively climbed up the leaderboard from tied for 25th, to tied for 19th, to tied for 7th. Last year at the Riviera, he finished in the Top 20.
Continue to have fun playing daily fantasy sports and don’t forget to check out the Kings of Fantasy (@KOF841) for all you fantasy sports inquiries. Next week, we will breakdown the PGA Honda Classic and NASCAR’s Daytona 500.

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