Firestone CC: Akron, OH Par 70, 7,400 yards
Defending Champion: Hideki Matsuyama (-16) by five over Zach Johnson
Primary Stats- SG: Ball Striking
Secondary Stats- Fairways Gained, Greens in Regulation, DK Points, Par 4 SG
Timeframe: Past 24 Rounds unless specified. May look at last 12 and 100 rounds as well
Roster Lock: 9:20 am EDT (8:20 CST, 7:20 MST, 6:20 PST)
WEDNESDAY UPDATE II
I was away from my computer for most of the afternoon and early evening. In that time, we had a pretty significant field change as Justin Rose had to withdraw due to back spasms. He was going to be around 20% owned, and I think we will see Tiger Woods get even more of an ownership bump, since he's only $100 more. Maybe Jordan Spieth will absorb some of that, but I think people, who don't have that extra $100, would be more likely to bump down to Rickie Fowler. From a pure game theory perspective, I think fading Tiger is worth considering (except on Yahoo). But, when someone wins at a course eight times in twenty years or so, it's a tough ask. I will not have him on DraftKings, but will play him on Yahoo and either FanDuel or FantasyDraft.
WEDNESDAY UPDATE I
Temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s, 5 mph winds, and a slight chance of rain for each of the first two days, according to the National Weather Service. I don't see any tee time advantages for weather purposes.
Looking at Fantasy National and FanShare Sports, here is who is trending towards being the highest owned golfers this week: Tiger Woods, Kevin Chappell, Patrick Cantlay, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson, Xander Schauffele, and Adam Scott.
The first seven names I mentioned are being projected at 20% or above, with Tiger and Chappell possibly over 25%. Based on this, I will be fading Kevin Chappell due to high ownership. I wasn't on Casey this week, so ownership just confirms that fade for me. Henrik Stenson will be a fade for me due to high ownership, a lingering wrist injury, and a history of withdrawing when not fully healthy. I don't think Stenson withdraws, but think there's enough of a chance that I will go the safe route and fade.
Player Information Changes
- Adam Hadwin has withdrawn from the event. I'm surprised he didn't pull a Daniel Berger, and at least hit a tee shot to collect a paycheck, before withdrawing.
- I am playing Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler this week. Fowler was a nice enough price for me on Yahoo (not as nice as Tiger, who should be 100% owned on Yahoo) to get him in.
- Other players not in my final player pool: Brendan Steele (form isn't good enough, especially when he could see double-digit ownership), Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, and Kevin Chappell.
- One-and-Done Pick: Zach Johnson. I'm probably mid-pack in two of my three One-and-Dones and bottom half in my other. So, I have to try to go with someone who probably won't be chosen much there. ZJ was probably used at the John Deere by many, and his tournament history makes him a soild choice (I hope) this week.
I'll close the update with our newest feature here at MyFantasyFix; a podcast! I recorded the first one on Tuesday for the upcoming PGA Championship and what to expect from the course at Bellerive. We will be doing football podcasts there as well, and I may do some golf ones too. We just published it, so it may be a couple of days until it is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, and others. It's already available on Anchor and Pocket Casts. To listen to it, click here. Listen to find out how you can possibly win a 2018 football subscription to MyFantasyFix.
Good luck with your lineups this week for the WGC-Bridgestone!
This will be the final time for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, as this will become the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational next year. Firestone won't leave empty handed, as it becomes the host for the Senior Players' Championship. This is a field of 72 golfers, so there will not be a cut. Everyone will play four rounds, unless they are disqualified or withdraw. The Top 50 players in the world and most winners of golf tournaments on the PGA Tour, Euro Tour, and other tours are here, so we should see some good golf.
Fantistics and My Fantasy Fix Notes
Over on Fantistics, the Football Draft Software is available for a free trial, or for purchase. The In-Season Package is also available, and the writers (including myself) have been writing player notes for a week and a half now. We are looking at ADPs and training camp news. If playing season-long fantasy football, make sure to get there and get your software and in-season package. https://insiderfootball.com/
Here on MyFantasyFix, the DFS Football package will be announced soon. We have some new tools and articles coming your way this year. We are even going to venture into the world of podcasting. The first football podcast is expected to come out next week, taking an early look at Week 1 NFL Pricing on DraftKings. Follow us on Twitter to see when it comes out (@myfantasyfix). Also, listen to find out how to get a chance at a free NFL subscription for this season.
Finally, my article about my experiences at Bellerive is up and ready for you to view, as you get ready for the PGA Championship next week. Pictures and notes included. I will be summarizing the article and some early picks on the first MyFantasyFix podcast, which should be out this week.
Firestone is a tough course. We saw a Par 72 with fewer yards last week in Canada, and now it's a Par 70 at 7,400 yards. Par 4 scoring will be looked at, with 12 of the 18 holes being Par 4s. Winning score is usually around -10: Matsuyama just went crazy with a Sunday 61 last year. But, there are birdies to be had, so I will also look at Birdies or Better. All the stats point at Driving and Approach as being the most important stats this week. Hitting greens are tough, so Ball Striking, Fairways Gained (Accuracy), and GIR are the other stats I'm looking at.
With a loaded field, no-cut, and a major next week, I'm not a big fan of cash games this week; too much variance happens in these events. I don't blame you if you want to play cash games: I just prefer tournaments this week. With there being no cut, I think you can go a little more bold with your picks, and look for upside plays more than usual.
Note: Tournament history file is available to all MyFantasyFix users. Or, click here for access to the file.
Dustin Johnson (11,700)
The last time DJ won a tournament, he was on cruise control the following week, until the USGA let Shinnecock Hills get away from them on that Saturday, potentially costing DJ a second U.S. Open. So, I don't expect a letdown from DJ after winning in Canada last week. He won here in 2016, and was 17th last year. Johnson is #1 in my model, ranking 1st in Ball Striking and DK Points, 2nd in Par 4 Strokes Gained, and 3rd in GIR. There are enough talented golfers in the 7k range that you can easily fit DJ into your lineups this week. (Cash and GPP)
Thoughts in This Tier:
You can play anyone you want in this tier. All have good histories at Firestone CC. I will still play a wait and see game on Jordan Spieth (10,400). Rory McIlroy (11,300) has a 1st and 5th in last two trips here. But, I think I would rather pay the extra 400 for DJ. Justin Rose (10,700) still seems underpriced despite five straight Top 10s this year, and 13 in 18 starts. Top 8 in every stat this week. Rickie Fowler (10,000) has gained 33 strokes here the past five years; second-best in this field. Finally, there's an eight-time champion in Tiger Woods (10,800), who is coming off two straight Top 10s. He's Top 16 in every stat except Fairways Gained (45th).
Cash: Rose, Fowler
My Ranking in this tier, factoring in Price: Johnson, Rose, Woods, Fowler, McIlroy, Spieth. I will be playing DJ and Rose for sure. Other three may come down to ownership. Probably will only play one of Woods, Fowler, and McIlroy.
Francesco Molinari (9,400)
Let's review Molinari's past six events: three wins (including the British Open), two 2nds, and a 25th at the U.S. Open. Why is he the 9th highest priced golfer then? The only reason I can see is that his best finish at Firestone is 24th. But, I don't see him slowing down quite yet. Molinari is third in my stat model, ranking 3rd in Ball Striking and Par 4 SG, 4th in GIR, and 5th in DK Points. I will continue to play him until he cools off. (Cash and GPP)
Thoughts in This Tier:
- Tommy Fleetwood (9,200) was 28th in his debut last year here, and is fourth in my stat model. Ranking 2nd in DK Points, 4th in GIR, and 7th in Par 4 SG. Worst stat is 18th in Ball Striking. 2nd, 6th, and 7th in his last three North American starts.
- Henrik Stenson (9,000) should be using his trusty 3-wood a lot this week. Has gained 31.6 strokes here the last five years, third best, with no finish worse than 19th. First in Fairways Gained and GIR, 2nd in Ball Striking, and 4th in Par 4 SG.
GPP: Fleetwood, Stenson
My Ranking in this tier, factoring in Price: Molinari, Stenson, Fleetwood
Patrick Cantlay (8,200)
There is a big mispricing in this tier, which I'll mention below. But, Cantlay has jumped out at me as a nice value this week. He has three Top 15s in his last four events, including a 12th at the British Open. Cantlay is 11th in my model this week, ranking 10th in GIR, 14th in DK Points, and 15th in Ball Striking. Cantlay has the same Vegas odds as Paul Casey, and is 500 cheaper, I like the discount and course fit for Cantlay this week. (GPP)
Thoughts in This Tier:
- Justin Thomas (8,800) is the underpriced player I alluded to in the Cantlay write-up. Though not in elite form, he's only lost strokes Off-the-Tee and Approach twice all year. Is 10th in Ball Striking. Talent is greater than the price, and worth the play on long-term form.
- Patrick Reed (8,300) doesn't have the best recent history here, but does have a 4th and 15th a few years back. 10th in DK Points and 12th in Par 4 SG, he continues to play well in 2018 and like the price.
- Zach Johnson (8,100) has four straight Top 20s on Tour, and has gained the most strokes here the past five years, with 35.1 strokes gained.
Cash: Thomas, Reed, Johnson
GPP: Thomas, Reed, Johnson Playable
Charley Hoffman (7,500)
Hoffman has four straight Top 20s before finishing 29th last week. That was due to him losing 2.5 strokes around the green. His approach game has been pretty good the past few tournaments. He ranks 23rd in GIR and 25th in Par 4 SG. Hoffman was third at this event a year ago and tends to play better on harder courses, such as Firestone. I mentioned that I am willing to go for more upside plays this week in a no-cut event, and while he only has one Top Ten this year, he's capable of contending. (GPP)
Thoughts in This Tier:
- Xander Schauffele (7,900) has two seconds and a sixth this year. Those occurred at the U.S. Open, British Open, and The Players' Championship. 11th in DK Points and 17th in Par 4 Strokes Gained.
- Matt Kuchar (7,700) burned some decent teams of mine last week with his struggles on the last two par 5's on Friday, to miss the cut on the number. He's missed three of his last four cuts, but the made cut was a 9th at The Open. Two Top 10s and three other Top 25s here the past six years.
- Branden Grace (7,600) has three Top 25s the past four years here, and five Top 10s overall this year. He's coming off a missed cut at The Open, but does play tougher courses well. 20th in DK Points and 30th in GIR, some of his stats don't show up, since he plays some tournaments in Europe.
- Adam Scott (7,500) has four Top 15s in the last five years here. 6th in Ball Striking and 8th in GIR, will contend if he can be just average in putting.
- Sergio Garcia (7,400) is another mispriced player, and while he has missed two cuts in a row, both were on the number. Had an 8th and 12th prior to that. His history here isn't great, but does have a 2nd place finish at Firestone. Ranks 12th in Ball Striking and 16th in Fairways Gained.
- Russell Knox (7,300) was 5th last year at this event, and was in good form before missing the cut on the number at The Open. 5th in Fairways Gained and 13th in GIR.
- Kevin Chappell (7,300) was 6th at The Open, and in two starts at Firestone, has finished 3rd and 13th. Worth a flyer in tournaments in the event The Open got him out of his slump.
- Austin Cook (7,000) has two Top 10s in his last five starts, and was 28th at The Open. Ranks 12th in Fairways Gained, 14th in Par 4 SG, and 19th in GIR
Cash: Knox, Cook, Kuchar playable
Thoughts in This Tier:
I don't really see any plays I'm interested in. If I had to choose one, it would be Brendan Steele (6,900), who was 24th last year here and ranks 7th in Ball Striking and 14th in GIR. However, he hasn't had a Top 20 since the first WGC event in Mexico, back in March.
Similar to a major, lots of good plays and you will have to take a stand against some good players in tournaments this week. Make sure to check out my PGA Championship course preview. In the Wednesday update, I will look at weather, ownership, and if there are any players I have gotten more or less confident in. Good luck with your lineups and feel free to contact me on Twitter (@skeeterrobinson) if you have any questions or suggestions.