WEDNESDAY UPDATE 2
I missed the news that Chris Kirk withdrew from the Pro-Am today with a back injury. Who knows what this means, but a back issue is never a good thing. With very little information out there about this, I'm probably going to avoid Kirk. I hate doing that because he was my One and Done pick and was someone I had targeted as a potential low-owned guy with winning upside. Brian Harman (Thurs AM), Tony Finau (Thurs PM), or Ryan Palmer (Thurs PM) would be my pivots. I could also live with Ollie Schneiderjans (Thurs AM) if wanting to go lower priced off of Kirk.
No golfer has withdrawn since salaries came out
Ownership (Most Popular): Jason Dufner, Jon Rahm, Pat Perez, Kevin Kisner, Adam Hadwin
This is the big thing to factor this week (It's in Red, so I must think it's a big deal). It looks like Thursday morning will be the best wind conditions, by far. I look at the National Weather Service (weather.gov) and Windfinder.com to look at winds, along with Kevin Roth, a meterologist from Dallas, who does put a fantasy sports spin on weather. Windfinder has it much more favorable for Thursday morning: the NWS has is still favorable for Thursday AM. 10-20 mph winds at that time. At about noon on Thursday and continuing for the rest of the afternoon, we see 20-25 mph winds with gusts up to 40 mph. Friday has consistent 20 mph winds all day, with 30 mph gusts. Windfinder has a slight decrease in gusts on Friday afternoon. There is no threat of rain so that's one less thing to think about.
Is this enough to impact tee time waves? I think so. With the best winds being Thursday morning and the worst winds being Thursday afternoon, and no real difference between tee times on Friday, I think the Thursday AM/Friday PM wave is the way to go (Link to tee times at the bottom of the Update Section). What is interesting is a lot of the popular picks (Spieth, Dufner, Palmer, Taylor, Casey, Finau, Perez) are in the Thursday afternoon wave. How many people will adjust for weather? Not as many as you may think. I have a Thursday AM/Friday PM team on both DraftKings and FantasyDraft this week. It's enough of a concern for me to go this route. I also tend to think this may be a good cash game approach; or, if you don't want to stack the wave, go with a majority. Of course, there is a game theory angle in GPPs that the Thursday Afternoon golfers will be lower owned, and is not a bad idea to play a some of them. I have a team with 3 golfers from each wave in tournaments, for that reason.
Other Players to Consider
Moving some teams to Thursday AM/Friday PM made me expand some possible golfers to look at. The only golfer that I have on a team, that I didn't write about on Monday (though he nearly got included) is Billy Hurley III. Hurley has made five cuts in a row with a Top 10 and Top 25 in that span. He ranks 21st in SG: Putting and 31st in SG: Approach. I like his 12,800 price on Fantasy Draft better, but 6,600 on FanDuel isn't bad either. He also gets to start his tournament on Thursday morning, so a viable cheap play if looking to stack that wave.
Should be an interesting week with all of the wind. Good luck and please let me know if you are in contention after Saturday. Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone!
Tee Times for this week
Colonial CC, Fort Worth, TX Par 70, 7,209 yards
Defending Champion: Jordan Spieth (-17) by 3 over Harris English
Roster Lock Time: 7:00am CST (8:00 EST, 6:00 MST, 5:00 PST)
The last event in the south for a while, the Tour stays in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the Dean and Deluca Invitational at Colonial CC. The word Invitational will change our focus this week, as this means there are only 120 golfers playing. The same cut rules still apply: Top 70 and ties, and a secondary cut if 78 or more golfers make the cut. This means 6 of 6 is vital on DraftKings, and 7 of 7 is much more beneficial on Fantasy Draft. I'll get to the recap of the Byron Nelson shortly. However, we have another change with fantasy golf this year:
No FanDuel Golf This Week
We have seen one site go under (Fantasy Aces), another experiment with pricing (DraftKings), a third change formats (FantasyDraft), and a site try a golf product for a few months and then change. This would be FanDuel. I know nothing about what changes they are making; however, at the top of their website, it says there are no contests this week due to changes coming to the golf game. Personally, I'm glad they are changing things up. The Round 1-2 and 3-4 format made knowing how to attack the slate tough. It also made lineups pretty simple: Risky players in 1-2 and Safer players in 3-4. I'm looking forward to the changes that are coming.
Byron Nelson Recap
We almost had a subscriber take down some tournaments. He was Top 30 in a couple contests on Saturday. Unfortunately, Sunday was not kind to his golfers, and while he still made a decent profit, it wasn't what it could have been. Billy Horschel came out of the pack to defeat Jason Day in a playoff. I was happy I mentioned him in last week's article; however, I didn't end up using him, so I couldn't profit off of that pick.
Ryan Moore and Russell Henley were my big misses, as they hurt my lineups (and many others). Tony Finau had a good Sunday to end up Top 15. For the second week in a row, we saw Jordan Spieth miss the cut. I'll have more on him later in this article.
Dean & Deluca Invitational
We get another Par 70 course for the second week in a row. There are only two Par 5s again and 12 Par 4s, meaning Par 4 Scoring will be important. Greens in Regulation was an important factor in the top scores the past few years, so that along with Strokes Gained Approach will be looked at.. I see driving distance and accuracy, as well as putting show up as being important, but not a consistent factor. Those stats, along with Par 3 Scoring, will be secondary things to look at this week. With only 120 golfers, I'm going to limit my picks to five in each section. This is still ⅙ of the field, so plenty of choices will be had.
Jordan Spieth (12,000)
Spieth has not been himself recently, missing three of his past four cuts. Last week, it was hitting two tee shots out of bounds late in round two to seal his fate. What are the chances that he misses three cuts in a row? I say slim, especially at Colonial. Spieth has played here four times: A win, two other Top 10s, and a 14th. Despite his struggles recently, Spieth is still 2nd in SG: Approach, and Top Ten in Par 3 and Par 4 Scoring. We saw Jason Day put everything together last week at a course he had a lot of success at: why not Spieth here? (GPP)
Matt Kuchar (10,100)
I may not play a whole lot of cash games this week due to a smaller field. If I do decide to play them though, Kuchar is a very logical start. He's only missed one cut at Colonial in nine starts, with three Top 10s, including a 6th place finish last year. He quietly has four Top 10s this season, and bounced back from a couple of rough weeks with a 9th last week at the Byron Nelson. One of the most consistent players on tour, Kuchar is positive in all of the Strokes Gained categories, and is Top 60 in both Par 3 and Par 4 Scoring. Good form and good history, Kuchar is a cash game play for me this week. (Cash)
- Jon Rahm (11,800) will deal with a little bit of adversity for the first time this season, after shooting an 82 at the Players, going from 10th to missing the secondary cut. 2nd in SG: Tee-to-Green, 3rd in SG: Off-the-Tee and Total Strokes Gained, and 9th in SG: Approach: A worthwhile alternative to Spieth.
- Zach Johnson (9,800) has not had the 2017 so far to justify this price. However, with two wins and no missed cuts in 11 starts at Colonial, he has merit for being this price. I do prefer him at 16,200 on FantasyDraft.
- Kevin Kisner (9,700) has back to back Top 10s at Colonial. 8th in Total Strokes Gained, 15th in SG: Tee-to-Green, and 22nd in SG: Approach, I won't be surprised to see another Top 10 from Kisner here.
Cash: Rahm, Kisner
GPP: Rahm, Johnson, Kisner
Jason Dufner (9,000)
Dufner has been a model of consistency: Eight Top 25s in 11 starts, but no Top 10s. He's trying his best to be like Matt Kuchar the past year or two. The past five years at Colonial, he has three Top 10s and hasn't missed a cut. He has great stats to fit here as well: 5th in Par 4 Scoring, 3rd in Par 4 Birdie or Better %, and 25th in both Total Strokes Gained and Total Driving. Dufner is 11th in DK pricing, while 4th on FantasyDraft. Though he doesn't have a Top 10 this year, this looks like a good spot for his first one. (Cash, GPP Playable)
Chris Kirk (8,200)
Kirk was on fire to start this season, back in the fall. He hit some struggles in March and April, but may be coming out of it, especially with a 12th two weeks ago at The Players. What has me on Kirk is his outstanding course history: 7 for 7 in made cuts with a win, and no finish worse than 35th in his past six years. He also has some stats that fit well here: 13th in Par 4 Scoring, 27th in Par 3 Scoring, 35th in Greens in Regulation, and 47th in SG: Putting. I love his upside on this course, and will be one of the players I am most curious to see a projected ownership on. (GPP)
- Marc Leishman (9,300) feels a bit overpriced to me. Top 70 in all Strokes Gained Categories, 11th in Par 3 Scoring, and 21st in Par 4 Scoring, stats fit well here. He's also six for six in making cuts here. Everything makes sense for him to do well, but I think I would rather play Dufner than him though at 300 less.
- Tony Finau (8,700) would have won last week if he could have made a putt. That is a concern here where putting has shown to be somewhat important. Four Top 10s in 12 starts this year. 4th in SG: Tee-to-Green and Off-the-Tee, he'll be in contention if he is even average with the putter.
- Si Woo Kim (8,000) is making his first start coming off of his impressive win at The Players. He was 22nd at the Valero Texas Open prior to the Players. His stats are bad due to a rough start. A GPP flyer if he has returned to 2016 form.
Cash: Finau, Leishman
GPP: Leishman, Finau, Kim
Ryan Palmer (7,900)
If the Tour is in Texas, than Ryan Palmer is in play. He's put his early season slump away, making three of his past four cuts, including a 6th at the Valero Texas Open and a 27th last week at the Byron Nelson. As you may expect, the native Texan has had success here, with four Top 15 finishes the past five years. Like Finau, if he can be average with the putter, he may win the event. Palmer is 10th in SG: Tee-to-Green, 15th in SG: Off-the-Tee, and 13th in SG: Approach. I like his history at Colonial and being in decent form, I can take a chance on Palmer, especially on DraftKings. (GPP)
Pat Perez (7,600)
Perez has been a staple of my articles this year, and I don't see any reason to change. He has played here 11 times, with eight made cuts and four Top 10s. His only missed cut in 2017 was a withdrawal in Phoenix, and has three Top 10s. Perez has been solid, having positive strokes gained in all categories except off-the-tee (and even then, he's still Top 100 in both Distance and Accuracy). Perez is 28th in both Par 4 Scoring and Total Strokes Gained, along with being 32nd in SG: Putting. I don't really know why the 5th ranked golfer in the FedEx Cup is this cheap, but he's playable in all game formats (Cash and GPP)
Nick Taylor (7,300)
Taylor is enjoying April and May, as he has four straight Top 25 finishes, including 2 consecutive Top 10s. His price is not increasing fast enough, meaning we should continue playing him on both sites. Taylor has played Colonial twice, making the cut both times. He has positive strokes gained in all categories except putting (which is a slight concern here); However, with him shooting under par in seven of his past eight rounds on tour the past two weeks, I'm not ready to fade him yet. (Cash and GPP)
- Sung Kang (7,400) continues to play well, finishing 20th at the Byron Nelson; his 5th straight Top 30 finish. 28th in Par 4 Scoring and Positive Strokes Gained except Around the Green, keep playing him while he's playing well.
- John Huh (7,100) has played Colonial five times: Two missed cuts and Three Top 20s. He's only missed four cuts in 13 starts. 21st in Par 4 Scoring and 33rd in Par 3 Scoring
Bill Haas (6,900)
The 43rd ranked golfer in the world is the 54th highest priced golfer this week? Yes, I know Haas has missed three consecutive cuts, but he's too good of a player to continue this form. He was over 9k in two of those three events. Haas has only missed one cut at Colonial in seven starts, with one Top 10. Haas is 13th in Greens in Regulation, 27th in Par 3 Scoring, and 28th in Par 4 Scoring. If he makes putts, he will be fine. This is a course that should suit Haas well and is way too cheap on DraftKings this week. (Cash)
Martin Laird (6,600)
Laird has made 9 of 11 cuts this season with three Top 10s: And he's 300 above minimum on DraftKings? I don't get it. This is the cheapest price this for Laird this year, which is saying something, considering he has been mispriced in prior tournaments. He has made five of six cuts at Colonial with two Top 10s. Laird is positive in all the strokes gained categories, is 28th in Par 4 Scoring, and 33rd in Par 3 Scoring. Like Haas, a big misprice in this range, making Laird playable in all game formats. (Cash and GPP)
- Chris Stroud (6,900) has only made one of six cuts in 2017; an 8th in Puerto Rico. However, he has four Top 15 finishes in the past five years at Colonial. At 12k on FantasyDraft, he provides salary relief and upside for you there.
- Stewart Cink (6,700) has been a Top 30 machine this season; however, he has missed two of his past three cuts, burning players along the way. He's only missed two cuts at Colonial: his last two starts. I say a blip on the radar: Great Cash Game play if you need the salary relief.
- David Hearn (6,600) played well the first two days at the Players: then had a horrible weekend when the winds picked up. He's only missed one cut in six starts at Colonial, with three Top 25s. A viable punt play.
GPP: Hearn, Stroud
For a limited field, there are some good golfers in the mid-tier. If I end up getting on any of them, I will let you know on Wednesday. Also, preliminary weather forecasts show another week of high winds. We will see what happens as we get closer to roster lock. I know I'm ready for a tournament with no rain and minimal wind concerns. With only 120 players to choose from, this is espeically a good week to leave salary on the table in tournaments. I will update Wednesday with any late withdrawals from the tournament, weather updates, and where ownership may be heading. Good luck with your lineups and feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@skeeterrobinson) if you have any questions or if you just want to discuss this week's tournament.