This article is specifically geared towards GPPs; you should not be using these recommendations in cash games. We’re trying to identify targets that, while risky, could put us over the top in a large field GPP.
In the first half, I’m going to use the Expert Consensus to identify some golfers that might end up being over-owned and give you potentially lower-owned alternatives with similar price and upside. In the second half, I’m going to suggest some $7,000 or lower golfers with reasonable upside that you can use if you’re looking for a little salary cap relief. Let’s get started.
#1. Jordan Spieth ($11,600) over Jason Day ($12,600), Rory McIlroy ($12,100), and Henrik Stenson ($11,400)
What a difference a month can make. Jordan Spieth is actually a contrarian pick this week. He’s generating little to no buzz; rightfully so given his form. He finished T-16 here in 2013 though, so maybe there’s a little hope that he can right the ship? The case for going with Spieth is simple: you’re getting arguably the #1 golfer in the world at the #3 price on DK and an ownership level of around 10%. I certainly prefer Day in a vacuum, but you save $1,000 in salary by going with Spieth, and Spieth should come in at half the ownership of Day. I actually like Spieth more than McIlroy or Stenson regardless of price or ownership, so the fact that he’s cheaper than Rory and will be lower-owned than Henrik is just incing on the cake.
#2. Rickie Fowler ($10,700) and/or Hideki Matsuyama ($8,900) over Jim Furyk ($10,00) and/or Zach Johnson ($9,500)
Furyk and Johnson were far and away the two most popular picks amongst the experts. They’re both solid plays, and I wrote them up in my picks article. But we’re looking to get a leg up on the field, and we can’t do that by rostering players with 25-30% ownership tags. I was pleasantly surprised this morning as I was reading through dozens of articles and seeing almost no mention of Rickie Fowler. Rickie is what I like to refer to as a jack-in-the-box. Sometimes you turn the crank and end up getting punched in the face. Good news, though! No cut this week, so really… how bad can he hurt us? Don’t worry, I was knocking on wood while I was typing that last sentence. I’m multi-talented. Fowler is elite from inside 125 yards, and he’s actually a solid putter. Who knew? I think that combination of skills plus his recent form will equal another excellent week for Señor Flat Bill.
Matsuyama comes in at a substantially lower price than Furyk or Johnson, and he should be much lower-owned. All three are excellent ball strikers, but Hideki is the best birdie maker of the bunch. Remember, we’re playing fantasy golf, and a better finish in the tournament doesn’t always equate to more fantasy points. Much like the case for Fowler, Matsuyama’s fantasy chances for the week should receive a little bump given the absence of a cut. He’ll get four rounds to make birdies, and birdies he will make.
#3. Paul Casey ($7,800) over Danny Lee ($7,700)
In GPPs, this is a no-brainer. Casey withdrew two weeks ago in Boston citing a bad back. It’s a huge red flag any time a golfer says he’s having problems with his back (except when that golfer is Jason Day and the tournament in question is The Barclays, in which case said injury turns the golfer into a super human).
For our purposes, we can just ignore potential injury concerns as we’re focusing on upside. If he’s healthy and plays well, what can we expect? Casey is the #3 ball striker in the field, he’s 10th in strokes gained: tee-to-green, and he’s very good from inside 125 yards. That sounds like someone who could win the tournament.
Despite Casey being the superior choice, Lee will be wildly popular, and Casey’s ownership will be much lower than it should. Lee isn’t a bad play, quite the contrary, but Casey is a better play.
#4. Almost anyone in their price range over Daniel Summerhays ($7,400) and Kevin Na ($7,200)
Kevin Na was one of the five most recommended plays of the week. Think about that. Kevin Na. I have to admit, his price is great, and he does some things well that I like (specifically proximity from 100-125 yards), but he’s just not worth playing if he’s going to be 20%+ owned. In his last five starts, he’s missed the cut twice and finished T-60 at Deutsche Bank. His likelihood of failure far outpaces his ownership and chances of success this week. He might hit, but that’s not the point. The question should be, “Does rostering Kevin Na make me more or less likely to win a GPP?” I think the answer is less, and you would be wise to stay away.
Daniel Summerhays is going to be the chic pick this week. I think a lot of people are overestimating the sneakiness of this play. In his two FedEx Cup Playoff starts this year, he’s finished T-9 at Deutsche Bank and T-6 at The Barclays. He also has two more top-11 finishes in his four starts before that, and he finished T-28 at this event in 2013. If you needed more reason to pick him, he’s #4 in the field in strokes gained: putting (a statistic DFS players are focusing on this week). That’s the case for selecting Summerhays… so why should you fade him? My analysis is very simple: he’s going to be popular, and I don’t think he’s as good of a golfer as other similarly priced options. That’s it.
I didn’t specifically mention any alternatives in the title, because there are so many options. I’ll list a few, and you can choose your favorite.
- J.B. Holmes ($7,500)
- Jimmy Walker ($7,400)
- Russell Knox ($7,400)
- Ryan Moore ($7,400)
- Chris Kirk ($7,300)
- Rory Sabbatini ($7,300)
- Ian Poulter ($7,200)
- Jason Bohn ($7,200)
- Sean O’Hair ($7,200)
I would use anyone from that list before I would use Summerhays or Na in GPPs.
Here are some guys at $7,000 or below that you can take a chance on.
- Brendon Todd ($7,000): Elite putter and great from inside 125 yards.
- William McGirt ($7,000): Plays well at shorter courses; T-12 @ Deutsche Bank.
- Brendon de Jonge ($6,800): Decent ball striker and elite proximity number from 100-125 yards. If he can sink a few putts, watch out. T-18 here in 2013.
- David Hearn ($6,800): Solid putter and good from inside 125 yards. T-28 here in 2013.
- George McNeill ($6,800): Solid putter and good from inside 125 yards.
- James Hahn ($6,700): Elite proximity number from 100-125 yards.
Good luck this week. Hope you all do really well.