Each week in this column, you’ll find my favorite pivot plays in DraftKings tournaments. This isn’t to say to eat some of the chalk, sometimes the popular plays tend to be popular for good reason, and you should use some of those players in your lineups. Remember, never pivot off of a good play to a bad play just because they’re projected to be lower owned. That’s moronic. A shrinking of a lower-owned play or two, however, can grant you a lot of leverage in what a mostly coin-flip situations.
Brooks Koepka, $9,700
With the all-star power in this field, one name is being passed by: Brooks Koepka. You know, the guy who was hoisting a novelty check the last time we saw him in action. Currently, of the top-10 players in the field, he’s the only one projecting in single-digit ownership on DraftKings, likely due to his “Bad in California” narrative. That’s a narrative that overlooks his tie for second at the 2019 US Open, and run at last year’s PGA Championship before a final round melt down. The thing is, he just rarely plays in California.
He’s twice teed off at Riviera with little to show for it. Koepka missed the cut in 2017, in the middle of a six-event run where he lost strokes with his irons and missed four of six cuts. Last year, he was T43 in this event, but should have finished a lot higher when you look at the numbers. He was top 20 in both driving and approach but chipped and putted himself out of the tournament. A bad short game isn’t really Koepka’s MO. There’s always a ton of volatility with when you select him, as evidence by three top-10s and three missed cuts in his past six starts, but when you can grab his amount of win equity, at a discount price, and no ownership, it’s a risk you have to take.
Matthew Fitzpatrick, $7,600
The No. 20-ranked player in the world is 33rd in DraftKings pricing for the week. That alone is good enough for me, but Fitzy actually makes sense at Riviera. Yes, targeting bombers is a better idea on the whole, yet there will inevitably be short smackers near the top of the leaderboard. And they tend to have the Brits skill set: Accurate off the tee, great with long irons, immaculate short game. It’s a tougher task for him at a lengthy course, but his skill vastly outweighs everyone else in his range. Sometimes it’s best to simply side with the talent.