This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
Silverado Resort & Spa (7,168 yards, par 72)
Winner: $1,152,000 and 500 FedExCup points
After being the official kick-off event for the new PGA Tour season, the Safeway Open has been flexed back to the third event of the 2019-20 season. It seems to have been a good move for the tournament, which has put together the best field in its history. There will be eight players that qualified for the upcoming Presidents Cup in the field (Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, Abraham Ancer, and C.T. Pan), along with Phil Mickelson making his fourth consecutive appearance in Napa. 2018 Open Champion Francesco Molinari will be in the field as well fresh off a T14 across the pond in Wentworth, England. Rain is not expected to be a factor, while the winds will reside in the 10-20 mph range throughout the tournament.
Key Stats to Victory
Last year's event saw a three-man playoff of Kevin Tway, Ryan Moore, and Brandt Snedeker. It was Tway and Moore who surged at the end, while Snedeker fell. It was Tway who ended up getting his first PGA Tour victory with a birdie on the 3rd playoff hole. Ball striking seemed to be the biggest key last year. Tway finished third in SG: Tee-to-green, while Moore was first in driving accuracy and T2 in GIR's. Tway's short game was also impressive, as he co-led in scrambling percentage and ranked seventh in SG: Around-the-green. The combination bentgrass-Poa annua greens will make consistently converting inside of 10 feet quite the challenge. Look for players who are strong at approaching the green and solid with the putter, particularly from short range, to contend this week.
FanDuel Value Picks
Justin Thomas ($12,200)
The top ranked player in the field should also be the highest owned player at Silverado. Thomas was second last season in both SG: Approach and SG: Tee-to-green. The 26-year-old also led the PGA Tour in birdie average. Thomas has not finished outside the top-12 in his last six starts worldwide and has gone T3-T8 in his last two tries in Napa. Don't overthink it, Thomas is worth the hefty price tag this week.
Patrick Cantlay ($11,900)
Other than Rory McIlroy, nobody was as complete of a player last season as Patrick Cantlay. The former UCLA standout ranked second in both SG: Total and scoring average. His worst strokes gained category last season was putting, where he was still a very solid 26th. Cantlay finished T17 at Silverado last season in his debut at the Safeway Open. The 27-year-old is as hard to pass up on a week-to-week basis as any player in golf when he is in the field.
Adam Scott ($11,700)
Scott is rested after his playoff run in which he went 5th-T9-6th. His strong finish to the season quietly put him third best on Tour in SG: Total. His ball striking was still as strong as ever, but the putting and short game is where he took a huge leap, as he finished last season ranked 10th in SG: Around-the-green and 31st in SG: Putting. The Aussie should find Silverado to his liking this week as he searches for his first win since 2016.
Brandt Snedeker ($10,700)
You'd be hard pressed to find a better putter in the world on poa annua greens than Snedeker. His success on poa venues like Torrey Pines and Pebble Beach is proof of that. Snedeker will be motivated after his disappointment last year of losing a four shot lead with nine holes to play. He was as good as anyone on Tour last year around the greens.
Longer Shots Worth a Risk
Jim Furyk ($8,900)
The 49-year-old had a bounce back season last year after a few seasons riddled by injuries. Furyk made 16-of-21 cuts with eight top-25's, including a runner-up at THE PLAYERS Championship. He ultimately finished 22nd in SG: Total and 19th in scoring average. What is most encouraging this week is his combination of iron play and putting. Last season Furyk was seventh in SG: Approach and eighth in putting inside of 10 feet. On top of that, he is almost always playing out of the short grass.
Adam Long ($8,400)
The winner of the Desert Classic last season struggled to find consistency from week-to-week. Long has looked like a new player this season, however, with finishes of T14 and T23 in the first two events. The Duke product is second in SG: Tee-to-green this season at an impressive 2.7 figure. The putter is the last piece to the puzzle for Long to go from top-25 to contending for wins. Luckily for him, pretty much everyone will struggle on these greens, allowing his strong driving and iron play to take center stage.
Sam Ryder ($8,400)
Last season Ryder got his season off to a great start with a T4 showing here at the Safeway Open, finishing just a shot outside a playoff. Putting is what led him last season, while the ball striking was a little off. Through two events this season, however, his iron play ranks 15th on Tour and is 14th in birdie average. Ryder's improved ball striking and confidence at Silverado will lead him to a good showing this week.
Scott Piercy ($8,300)
Piercy represents the best value in the field this week. For years Piercy has been one of the top ball strikers on the PGA Tour, which is part of the reason he has had some solid success at Silverado. Piercy earned a T3 here back in 2016 and a T17 in 2017. He is a week removed from a top-20 showing at the Greenbrier where he posted an average strokes gained approach figure north of 2.0.
Strategy Tips for this week (based on a 60k standard salary cap)
The field this week is very top heavy, so make sure to take advantage of it. I recommend selecting three players from a salary of $10,500 and up. There are 11 players that fit that category and any of them make solid choices, but I'd avoid Bryson DeChambeau and Francesco Molinari because both have struggled with their ball striking for some time now. Since we are going heavy up top, that's means we will be targeting players under $9,000 to fill out the remaining three spots of our roster. Along with those players in that range listed above, some other targets down here might include Nick Taylor, Luke List, Andrew Landry, Danny Lee, and Chesson Hadley. All of these are players have posted top-10's at Silverado within the last three years.