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Well, good luck to all the golfers trying to chase down Brooks Koepka. What an unreal start for him, shooting 63 and 65 to lead by 7. And for the weekend slates, his 10,800 price is not too prohibitive. While there is a game theory reason to fade him, the fact that he is up seven strokes and isn't happy with his swing (went right to range after Round 2), he's not going to let up. I am not fading him. Below, I'll mention a few of the players who I'm considering, based on price vs talent, or the Ball Striking numbers being great, but the putting being netural or negative. As I've mentioned before, putting tends to be highly variant, so I like targeting the elite ball strikers in a tournament, and hope the putting normalizes on the weekend.
- Off-the-Tee: Kokrak (3.5), Burns/Koepka (3.4), Homa/DJ (3.1), Conners/Woodland (2.9)
- Approach: Koepka (8.9), Van Rooyen (5.8), Stenson (4.9), Berger (4.3), Molinari (4.2), Lee/Kuchar (4)
- Around the Green: Woodland/Scott (3.2), Berger (3), Lorenzo-Vera (2.9), List (2.5), Burgoon (2.1)
- Putting: Spieth (7.3), Wallace (5.5), Jertson (4.8), Lee (4.6), HV3 (4.5), Burgoon (4.4)
- Ball Striking (OTT + APP): Koepka (12), Van Rooyen (8.1), Homa (7), Kokrak (6.9), DJ (6.4), Rose (6.1)
Oh, and Koepka is +3.8 strokes putting. Only 0.8 around the green (but he doesn't need much around the green with those approach numbers.)
Players that I'll be considering for my Weekend Team
- Koepka (Duh!)
- DJ (If anyone is going to catch Brooks, it's probably DJ. Positive in all of the SG categories)
- Cantlay (+6 Ball Striking, 0 putting)
- Rose (8,900 is cheap, said in post-round interview he's as comfortable now with his game as he has been all year. Positive in all SG categories)
- Casey (+3.6 Ball Striking, -0.9 Putting)
- Kokrak (-5 Putting, look at Ball Striking numbers)
- Molinari (+5 Ball Striking, +0.7 Putting. 7,600 feels way too low on him)
- Van Rooyen (-1.4 Putting, look at Ball Striking numbers)
- Homa (-4.3 Putting, not that bad of a putter usually)
- Conners (+4.5 Ball Striking, -3.2 Putting)
- Walker (+5.4 Ball Striking, -1.3 Putting)
Favorite Plays by Tier
Roster Lock: 6:45 am EST (5:45 CST, 4:45 MST, 3:45 PST)
If you are reading this on Wednesay Night, it is James' birthday. Send him some birthday wishes on Twitter if you get a minute.
It doesn't look like rain will be a major factor during the tournament, according to the National Weather Service and WindFinder. There may be some minor rain on Friday that would be nothing more than a nuisance on Friday, but shouldn't delay or impact the play. As far as the winds, there will be some. Thursday looks to have 10 mph winds, with gusts from 15-20 mph. Friday has higher winds, with 10-15 mph, and gusts up to 20. The heaviest winds look to be around lunchtime and early afternoon. This is when the morning wave would be finishing and the afternoon wave starting, so I really don't think there is a tee time advantage to be had. Possible, the Thursday PM/Friday AM wave could see a slight advantage, but it's not even close enough for me to make lineup changes based on it. As usual though, if you are playing 10+ lineups, it never hurts to play at least one lineup with each tee time wave, in case an advantage does develop during the first two days.
There is some disagreement between Fantasy National and FanShare Sports, but that's to be expected a little bit during a major week. Surprising to me is the thought that Tiger Woods could be the lowest owned golfer above 10k. Part of the problem here is that it's hard for these ownership projection sites to factor in the casual player. I expect Tiger to be in the 15% range for ownership, but wouldn't be surprised if he gets to 20 or even potentially is closer to 10. As far as everyone else, here is who could end up seeing 20% ownership or so, in no certain order. Doesn't mean they will, but those who are likely trending to this number:
Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele, and Jon Rahm.
You see that a lot of these golfers are in the 9k range. Surprising to me is that Justin Rose isn't a part of this list, which creates a nice spot for a Top 5 golfer in the world, at a very friendly price. It also suggests that if you pair up two of the golfers in the 10k+ range, and build the rest of the lineup in the low 7ks and 6k, you will be unique. The balanced lineup approach will be popular so if going this route, make sure to leave at least $200 or more of salary on the table to make yourself unique. Also, there seems to be a bit of a dead range from 7000-7500. Outside of Lucas Glover, Keegan Bradley, and Johnny Vegas, no one else is looking to hit 10% possibly. And the only one in the 6k range who may see this is Scott Piercy. So, if you can play one or two players from this range, you may give yourself a unique lineup.
- I think this is the first time that BOTH James and I have changed one of our favorite plays after the podcast. James is changing his favorite play in the 10k+ range to DJ. I am changing my favorite play in the 9k range and primary One and Done pick to Rickie Fowler. Xander is still going to my 2nd pick in the league where I pick 2 golfers, but Rickie has grown on me throughout the week. The more I looked at tougher courses, courses playing over 7400 yards, and all around stats, Fowler was showing up in all of those stat models. I just couldn't ignore it anymore. Now, if we factor in ownership, Justin Rose sitting in the low teens at 9900 is my favorite ownership leverage play in that tier. But, with salaries, I'm taking Fowler with the discount over Rose.
- Full Disclosure: I'm not playing anyone in the 8k tier. I liked too many in the 9k and high 7k tier to want to go here. Cantlay is still the best play for me, but I would follow that up with Casey and Hideki. Bryson is an intriguing low-owned tournament play if you wanted to go there.
- A couple of players that I am not using that I was seriously thinking about using during the podcast: Jhonattan Vegas, Joost Luiten, and Matt Wallace. Wallace was my last player out, but since I'm only playing 4 lineups, I didn't use him. Vegas didn't show up in the stats when I factored in longer, difficult courses. I think form is fine if you want to use him and so is the price. But, the longer and difficult course, combined with decent ownership, has me not playing him. As far as Luiten, I only needed one player in the 6k range, and that is Ryan Fox for me. Luiten's history in North America isn't superb, though he did play well at WGC-Mexico this year. In the end, I didn't want to take a risk on him.
- The one player that I am playing that I don't think I talked up on Monday night is Lucas Glover. I know he's coming in around 10-12% ownership potentially, but he has played well on longer and difficult courses. He's also been in really good form in 2019 and has won at Bethpage Black. The 7300 price is a nice price, and when I combined all of those factors, made him a better play than Vegas for me.
That is all for now. I may add weekend anaylsis on Friday night, but no promises. Good luck at the second major of the year.
The second major of the year is now the PGA Championship, in it's new time slot in May. It's going to cause a lot of questions for us as we try to figure out how this will play out at Bethpage Black. Will Bethpage play more like the U.S. Opens of the past or the FedEx Cup Playoffs? It will play as a Par 70, like it did for the U.S. Opens, but it should be setup easier than it did for those U.S. Opens. The PGA tends to be a little less "evil" than the USGA. Also, we've seen this course played in June and August; how will it play in middle-May, especially after what has been a wet season in the northeast?
Expect players that have played here multiple times to be popular, especially Sergio Garcia at 7,900, who has been playing pretty well in 2019 and has a great history here. I'm intrigued to see where ownership falls on Tiger Woods, who is the highest priced golfer coming off of his win at The Masters, and Brooks Koepka, who is always in contention in majors and is the defending PGA Champion, after holding off Tiger at Bellerive last August. Finally, as you build your lineups, don't be afraid to take a shot on some of the Euro Tour guys in the 6k and low 7k range. I will be digging into them throughout the week to see if someone pops and can be played here.