Silverado CC (North): Napa, CA Par 72, 7,203 yards
Defending Champion: Brendan Steele (-18) by one shot over Patton Kizzire
Primary Stats- Greens in Regulation (GIR), Par 4 Scoring (400-450 yards), Par 5 Scoring (550-600 yards)
Secondary Stats- SG: Approach, Par 4 Scoring (350-400 yards), Birdies
Timeframe: Past 24 Rounds unless specified. With limited data on the new web.com Tour graduates, season-long stats from 2017 will be used for them
Lineup Lock: 7:10 am PST (10:10 EST, 9:10 CST, 8:10 MST)
Well, technology did me in and my two files (Tournament History and Site Pricing Breakdown) didn't load as planned. I'm sharing them through links here. The links are available to view until the end of round one: Click on each one to see the information:
Welcome to a new season on the PGA Tour as the first event takes place in Napa Valley with the Safeway Open. Did you enjoy your offseason? Oh wait, there was an offseason? 10 days between seasons has to be the shortest of any professional sport, maybe worldwide? We are back to our normal type of event: Top 70 and ties after Round 2 make the cut. We are also back to somewhat of a normal field of 144 golfers, though the sites have some oddities as far as what players are included and which aren't (DraftKings is missing a few, not a great week by them). This is coming out on Tuesday due to the web.com Tour finals not ending until Monday.
Unless something happens that requires it, there will not be a Wednesday update this week.
No rain, and temperatures should be in the mid-80s for both Friday and Saturday. Winds are below 10mph on Thursday, but looks like could be 10-15 mph for most of the day on Friday. The ever so slightest advantage to the Thursday PM/Friday AM wave since they will miss the highest of the winds. However, I wouldn't make any lineup decisions this week based on weather.
The Fantasy National Pregame Show
If you are on Facebook, click here and give this a like. Myself, Michael Waldo, Lou Blasi, Chris Cichon, Phil Backert, and Walter Kuberski will post videos to help with your season-long and DFS games. I will do a golf video this week, but will probably do an NFL one on Friday. There may be other sports as well that show up on there besides baseball, football, and golf. Stay tuned.
Safeway Open Strategy
Though the offseason was 10 days, there are still some significant changes. First, we have new golfers who graduated from the web.com Tour. How will they react is going to take a few weeks to know. However, we can look at their successes on the web.com Tour to see who may be in a prime spot to win right away. Second, this field is not very strong. Tony Finau, who was a popular play that was rarely priced as a Top 10 option, is the top priced option on two of the three sites.
There are a couple of changes from our end for this tournament. First, this is part of the free series of articles and files. Make sure you are logged into MyFantasyFix (or create an account if you don't have one) to access the files. This is all free until the Sony Open in mid-January. At that point, this will go premium. Second, the Tournament History file only has three years. Silverado CC has only been the host for this event for three years, and I don't think the data from the previous years not held at Silverado would be useful.
Third, I did have some requests to use different sites for the article write-ups. I used DraftKings from February on last season, after the collapse and closing of FantasyAces. So, for article one, let's change it up and use FanDuel pricing and Tiers. Brief review on FanDuel: You get to pick eight golfers and all eight scores count. 8 of 8 means you should have a good week, but getting six or seven golfers through should also give you a chance.Since making the cut is more important than the other two sites, and finishing position isn't as important as DraftKings, I will focus slightly more on cut makers. Finally, with this being a short week and my schedule being a bit hectic, I'm only going to give two picks per tier, and two picks from the web.com Tour players that are now members. In future weeks, I will include more picks per tier. Onto the picks:
Tony Finau (9,500)
FanDuel is usually flexible enough that you can fit a couple higher priced golfers into your lineups. With the casual player going to gravitate towards Phil Mickelson, I'll take my chances on Tony Finau. Finau did make the Tour Championship, finishing 7th in that event. He also finished 7th at the BMW Championship, to get him into the Tour Championship. When you look at his course history, you don't see anything spectacular, but three made cuts and no finish worse than 32nd is not too bad. He's sixth in this field in Strokes Gained at Silverado (15 strokes gained over the past three years). The reason I like him a lot is his Par 5 performance, ranking 4th in this field in that category, and 10th in birdies. I don't think you need him this week, but he should be one of the highest scorers with his ability to score and score on Par 5s. (Cash and GPP)
Brendan Steele (8,600)
Some people don't like taking the defending champion at an event. However, I think we saw 4 players defend their title a year ago and for Steele, this was the site of his first Tour win, and he has always played well here: 1st, 17th, and 21st. He has also gained 14 strokes on the field over this time. Steele struggled at the end of the season, but maybe a familiar place will help. Despite some struggles, he still ranks 4th in GIR and 17th in Par 5 SG: 550-600 during the past 24 rounds. I like his course history here and a with a couple of key stats being in his favor, I don't see why Steele can't contend this week. (Cash and GPP)
Kevin Na (7,800)
Welcome to the chalk play of the week. Na has played here the past two years, finishing 2nd and 7th. He has gained nearly 21 strokes over those two years, best among anyone in this field. He ended last season well, with two Top 10s in his last four events. He also ranks third in my model statistically: 1st in SG: Approach, 3rd in Birdies, and 4th in Par 4 SG: 350-400. He also is 17th in Par 5 SG: 550-600. There is something about this course that Na likes, and until he proves otherwise, I think you just keep playing him. (Cash and GPP)
Martin Laird (7,400)
Laird can be a bit challenging to figure out on a tournament by tournament basis. However, he has enjoyed playing in Napa two of the past three years. His finishes at the Safeway Open are 3rd, 8th, and 64th, ranking third in strokes gained here the past three years. He did make 18/25 cuts last season, with five Top 10s. However, only one of those Top 10s was in his final 11 made cuts of the season. He doesn't jump out statistically in this field, except for being 7th in Par 4 SG: 400-450. He does rank decently in GIR and Par 5 SG: 550-600. Laird is my first GPP only play, but with two top 10s here the past three years, I can take the chance on him. (GPP)
Emiliano Grillo (6,900)
Grillo had a bit of a disappointing 2016-2017 season, getting only two Top 10s and six other Top 25s, after emerging as a rookie in 2015-2016. Yet, he only did miss five cuts and was still good enough to play for the Internationals in last week's Presidents Cup. Grillo did win here in 2015, and finished 26th last year. His stats aren't great, with is best one being 8th in GIR. As a past winner here and making a lot of cuts, I think he has some potential to do well this week. (GPP, Cash Game Playable)
Seamus Power (6,000)
For a rookie a year ago, Power is a rare consistent cut maker with upside. Cut makers usually get one or two Top 25s a year, and make their living by just making a lot of cuts. Power only missed five cuts last season (Including this event), but also had five Top 25s. A long hitter, Power ranks #1 in this field in Par 4 SG: 400-450, 13th in Birdies, 16th in Par 5 SG: 550-600, and 17th in SG: Approach. A Top 25 would be sufficient here, but it's his scoring ability that will make him valuable in lineups. (GPP, Cash Game Playable)
Luke List (5,400)
There may not have been a more maddening golfer that I played last season than Luke List. He played really well in the Fall Swing a year ago (Two Top 10s, two other Top 15s). However, he only had one other Top 10 the rest of the season. He did do decent in the Playoffs, finishing 20th, 34th, and 47th. What makes him frustrating is that he statistically grades out so well every week: 1st in GIR and Par 5 SG: 550-600, 9th in SG: Approach, and 14th in Birdies. No way can you play him in cash games, as he did miss 11 of 30 cuts last season. However, his ceiling is pretty high, making him a great boom/bust tournament play. (GPP)
Robert Garrigus (4,900)
Garrigus is a bargain on FanDuel, compared to the other two sites, and is one who played pretty well at the end of the season. Yes, he missed his cut in his lone playoff event. Prior to that: Two Top 10s, and may have had a Top 25 at the John Deere but got DQed for signing an incorrect scorecard. He was 26th here last year and fits statistically: 3rd in SG: Approach, 9th in Birdies, and 17th in GIR. I don't think you need a ton of value this week, but it's hard to argue with his form and scoring ability at this price. Fire him up in all formats (Cash and GPP)
Web.Com Tour Graduates
Corey Connors (4,900): Connors wouldn't be the first name you look at here: not winning and having three Top 10s last season. However, he did have seven Top 25 finishes (also seven missed cuts) in 23 events. He ranked #1 in GIR and 2nd in Total Ball Striking (Total Driving [Distance + Accuracy] + GIR). Maybe a cut maker to start, but if you're looking for a cheap pivot off of Garrigus or Hadley, that is low owned, Connors does fit the statistical profile of someone who could do well on this course.
Chesson Hadley (4,800): This may be cheating. Hadley has been a PGA Tour member before, but was the leading money earner on the web.com Tour last season, winning twice. He even had a Top 25 on the PGA Tour once in seven starts last year. Last year's leading money winner on the web.com Tour, Grayson Murray, won after doing this. Hadley is too cheap and for an experienced player, makes for a fine option.
It will take a few weeks to get a feel on the rookie class and who is motivated enough to play these Fall Swing events. There should be some NFL money chasing PGA so hopefully, these games are a little soft. Good luck with your lineups and feel free to contact me on Twitter (@skeeterrobinson) if you have any questions or suggestions.