Ridgewood CC: Paramus, NJ Par 71, 7,385 Yards
Defending Champion: Dustin Johnson (-13) in Playoff over Jordan Spieth
Primary Stats- SG: Tee-to-Green, Birdies or Better, Good Drives, SG: Approach, SG: Putting
Secondary Stats- Scrambling, Bogey Avoidance
Roster Lock: 7:10 am EST (6:10 CST, 5:10 MST, 4:10 PST)
Comfortable temperature in the high 70s and low 80s for the first two days. No rain scheduled, according to the National Weather Service. Thursday has 8-10 mph winds, with the 10 mph being in the afternoon. Friday has 5 mph winds or less, with the 5 mph winds in the afternoon. I don't see an advantage, though I guess a slight one could be had by Thursday AM/Friday PM, since they would avoid the 10 mph winds. But, I think it's a very small advantage and not worth changing lineups for.
It's a bit of a weird week, as no one is being projected above 25%, and very few around 20%. Using Fantasy National and FanShare Sports, here are the most likely players to be the highest owned (in no particular order): Justin Rose, Patrick Cantlay, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Tiger Woods, Gary Woodland, Joel Dahmen, Chris Kirk, Jordan Spieth.
I threw Dahmen and Kirk in, since they may approach 15% under 7k, which is high for that range. They aren't necessarily going to be as high as the others, but for the price, they could be. There are some other names floating around 15%, like a Tony Finau or Ryan Moore. I would expect that we are in store for some surprises on Thursday morning. Jason Day is going to be a strategic fade for me, as I just like Brooks at half the ownership and $200 cheaper.
Players that may be underowned more than I thought: Brooks Kopeka, Alex Noren (maybe under 5%?), Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, and Emiliano Grillo. Emiliano Grillo (7,000) has been chalk all summer around this price range, but I guess a MC at The Open, and 66th at WGC-Bridgestone override a solid 31st at the PGA. 1st in Putting and 15th in Good Drives, only reason I see a fault is he nearly lost 8 strokes on Approach at Bridgestone, which was an outlier for him, as he usually gains in Approach. He seems to fit, especially at 5-8% ownership.
Plays by DK Pricing Tier (Doesn't mean I'm playing them on DK: but I may have them in a lineup on FantasyDraft and/or FanDuel).
- 10k+: DJ, Koepka
- 9k: Rose and Molinari (Spieth is my One and Done Pick as I've already used Rose and Molinari. I don't mind Spieth: just like these two better and Spieth could be back close to 20% ownership).
- 8k: Reed
- 7k: Noren, Poulter, DeChambeau, Grillo, Bradley
- 6k: Putnam, Hossler, Ryder, Cook, Kirk
Sam Ryder (6,600 on DK, I'm playing him at 10,900 on FantasyDraft) was my 7th gofer on FantasyDraft. I nearly wrote him up on Monday. He had a nice rally to make the cut last week at the Wyndham and is Top 35 in every stat except Putting (101st). More of a recent form, decent stats, punt play. The other player I didn't write about on Monday was Austin Cook (6,800 on DK, I'm playing him at 7,800 on FanDuel). Cook is my #6 golfer there, but is 7th in Bogey Avoidance, and is about average in almost all the other stat categories. Won in the Fall Swing, and has made 17 of 22 cuts. At these bargain prices, he's a nice potential Top 25 punt play.
Timeframe: Past 24 Rounds unless specified. May look at last 12 and 100 rounds as well
It's Playoff time on tour, as the Top 125 move onto the Northern Trust, where the Top 100 after this week move on. Though it's the Top 125, we already have 5 withdrawals: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Bud Cauley, and Patrick Rodgers. This leaves 120 players vying for the title; or basically an invitational field. There are no alternates in the playoffs, and it's still Top 70 and ties to play the weekend. After a rough week for me personally last week, where it was a no cash weekend for me, and that's despite a 6/7 on FantasyDraft, I'm ready to move onto The Northern Trust.
They played at this course in 2008, 2010, and 2014. So we have some limited information, though it's been five years since they last played there. I'm really not considering tournament history, and may look at 2010 and 2014 a little, but not valuing it as much as I do with other tournaments. The rough is long, so that is why I'm looking at Tee-to-Green and Good Drives. Approach is usually a key stat so I'm including it here. This seems like a course where short-game is going to be key, so I've including scrambling. Most surprising, putting seems to be more important here than usual, so I've included strokes gained putting. Finally, it's a tournament where birdies and bogies will happen in droves, so I decided to look at both.
My initial lineup builds have been taking an extreme stars and scrubs approach. There are golfers, who we are used to seeing in the 7k range, end up in the mid 6k range. Yes, they are risky, but in a 120 man field, where 70-75 make the cut, I'm thinking this is the approach to take. There are values if I and/or you decide to get away from this and go more balanced. This is what I would do if I do play cash games. Recent history has shown that those who are in the top of the world golf rankings tend to win these playoff events. So if I can take 2-3 of these golfers and maximize my chance, that is the way I think I'm going to go.
Brooks Koepka (10,500)
I was thinking about the pricing of this tournament on Sunday night. I thought that it would be a mistake if Kopeka wasn't in the Top 2 of pricing. He's #4 on DK this week, which means I'm in. He's #2 in the world and has won three of the last six majors played (and he's only played in five of them). Brooks ranks 3rd in Birdies or Better, 6th in Tee-to-Green, and 17th in Putting. Good Drives and Scrambling is his weakness both short-term and long-term. I know it's not a major, but if I think this is equivalent to a WGC or Players' Championship, he's a play. He was 11th at The Players and 6th at WGC-Bridgestone. Great form in big events and underpriced, Koepka is a favorite play of mine this week. (Cash and GPP)
Thoughts in This Tier:
- Dustin Johnson (11,500) had a 1st and 3rd before "struggling" to a 27th at the PGA. Still ranks 1st in Tee-to-Green and Birdies or Better and 5th in Approach. But, I think I prefer the 1k discount to Koepka. Can't argue if you want to play DJ though.
- Jason Day (10,700) feels like he's close to putting it all together, with four straight Top 20s recently. Day has two Top 5s here at Ridgewood and is probably why he's priced this high. 5th in Putting, 16th in Scrambling, and 26th Tee-to-Green.
- Tiger Woods (10,100) is in the same spot he was two weeks back: the fifth highest priced golfer. I still have concerns with the driver and if he can repeat the final round at Bellerive where he still hit a lot of greens from the rough. Outside of that though, he's Top 15 in every stat except Putting (33rd) and Good Drives (70th). My early thought it that I won't use him here, but if I do, it's at the expense of DJ or Day.
Cash: Day, DJ Playable if you find the values
GPP: DJ, Woods
Justin Rose (9,900)
At this point, what can you really say that's negative against Rose. Maybe you can knock him a little for finishing 30th here in 2014? But he hasn't missed a cut all year in 19 starts, with 3 wins and 10 other Top 10s. He's 5th Tee-to-Green and in Birdies or Better, and is Top 25 in every stat except Scrambling (46th). Rose is a Top 10 machine with upside to win every time he plays. At 9,900, he's affordable and is someone I will just keep playing until he's priced higher. (Cash and GPP)
Thoughts in This Tier:
- Jordan Spieth (9,600) is starting to show some form, with a 9th and 12th in the last two majors. The 60th at WGC-Bridgestone is a bit concerning. Nothing great over 24 rounds, but in last 12, is 1st in Bogey Avoidance, 2nd in Putting, and 6th in Scrambling. Ball Striking is huge negative though, but I get the play at this price.
- Francesco Molinari (9,500) is the one I feel like could go forgotten here. After being on fire through the Open Championship win, he struggled to a 39th at Bridgestone, before somewhat quietly finishing 6th at the PGA. Is 1st in Bogey Avoidance and Good Drives, 2nd in Tee-to-Green, 3rd in Approach, and 4th in Birdies or Better. He may be playing the best golf in his life but I'll keep playing him until he cools off.
GPP: Spieth, Molinari
I'm not in love with anyone in this tier. I would rather pay up for a couple of players or play some players who are just as good in the 7k range. But if this is an underowned tier, here is who I would be interested in.
Thoughts in This Tier:
- Zach Johnson (8,700) gets a big price bump, as we are used to seeing him in the 7k range. 2nd in Scrambling, 15th in Bogey Avoidance, and 20th in Putting. Weakness is Good Drives, but I think that's due to his lack of distance.
- Patrick Reed (8,400) has two 28ths and two missed cuts in his last four starts. The missed cuts weren't too far away from making the cut. Nothing stands out in the stats, which may be reason for lackluster recent form. But, for a major champion with 8 Top 10s this year, it's a good price.
GPP: Johnson, Reed
Ian Poulter (7,600)
Poulter continues to be a fair value in these deeper field events. Even though he only has five Top 10s this season, he has only missed four cuts in 24 starts. In his last 10 starts, he has one missed cut and no finish worse than 24th. He's one of the most consistent statistical performers in this field, with his worst stat being 54th in Good Drives. Poulter is 9th in Putting, 14th in Scrambling, and 19th Tee-to-Green. He shows similar ranks across 12 and 100 rounds, with some of the categories changing. I think he could be in the 8k range and be a good play, so 7,600 is more than fair to me. (Cash, GPP Playable)
Thoughts in This Tier:
- Alex Noren (7,900) had been Top 31 or better in 7 straight events, before just missing the cut at the PGA. This included a win at a deep field at the French Open. 4th in Scrambling and 6th in Putting, the Ball Striking stats are the concern.
- Gary Woodland (7,700) has gained at least 7 strokes Tee-to-Green in his last three events. The around-the-green and putting have been negative, but putting was positive at the PGA. Three straight Top 25s, he was 13th at Ridgewood in 2014.
- Stewart Cink (7,500) has three Top 5s and three Top 40s in his last six events on Tour, and was 15th here in 2014. Ranks 5th in Good Drives, 6th Tee-to-Green, 10th in Approach, and 14th in Birdies or Better.
- Bryson DeChambeau (7,400) just missed the cut at the PGA, and really had only two bad rounds in his two prior tournaments that cost him a win in Europe and better finish at WGC-Bridgestone. 17th Tee-to-Green and 22nd in Bogey Avoidance and Birdies or Better.
- I need to look into the following golfers more: Ryan Moore (7,500), Brian Gay (7,100), C.T. Pan (7,100), and Keegan Bradley (7,000). Bradley and Pan fit my early Stars and Scrubs build. Moore is good Tee-to-Green, but putter scares me (similar to Keegan). Gay is elite putter, which is why he's in consideration.
Cash: Cink, DeChambeau. Noren, Moore, Gay, and Woodland Playable
Thoughts in This Tier:
- Harold Varner III (6,900) has made 19+ birdies in each of last four events. A few too many bogies last week, but every round was under 70. 12th in Birdies or Better and 18th in Bogey Avoidance, doesn't go below 60th (Scrambling) in any stat.
- Joel Dahmen (6,800) has five straight Top 25s, though the fields haven't been strong. 1st in Approach, 3rd Tee-to-Green, and 7th in Birdies or Better, his 82nd in Putting is concern along with how he will do in stronger field event.
- Chris Kirk (6,800) is an interesting case. He ranks 7th in Approach, 27th in Putting, and 83rd in Scrambling over the past 24 rounds. Over 100 rounds, he's 14th in Approach, 26th in Scrambling, and 72nd in Putting. Did make cut here in 2014 and hasn't missed a cut this season since late March.
- Beau Hossler (6,600) doesn't come in with great form; a 75th and MC at the last two majors. But, before those majors, he had a 2nd and 6th. Ranks 2nd in Putting over past 24 rounds, but Approach is huge concern.
- Ryan Armour (6,500) has Top 10 upside, with 2 Top 10s, a 21st, and three missed cuts in his last six starts. 19th in Approach his best stat; 58th in Birdies or Better his worst. Stats fall a little bit over 100 rounds, but 6th in Good Drives in that time.
Cash: Varner III, Dahmen, Kirk
A lot of plays up top and at the bottom, I feel pretty good about my stars/scrubs approach this week. I may try to balance it out a little bit in the 7k range in a lineup or two. But I think you have to be willing to pay up for a couple of the 9k+ golfers this week to have a chance. I will update later this week with any other field changes, ownership trends, and weather forecasts. Good luck with your lineups and feel free to contact me on Twitter (@skeeterrobinson) if you have any questions or suggestions.