Wednesday, October 19, 2016

See You in January

The Fantasy Golf Report is going on golf pick hiatus until the Tournament of Champions. We need to spend some time getting back in touch with our inner Pete Axthelm. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Fantasy Golf: The Safeway Open Preview

The Fantasy Golf Report is going into partial hibernation until January but, for any weeks where DraftKings offers us a chance to turn $3 into $20,000, we're going to take a shot and post our favorites. We're also not done with the Ryder Cup yet because frankly, we're having a hard time letting go of what had to be one of the coolest televised golf events in the history of televised golf events. So look for a random late entry on that sometime in the not so far distant future. In the meantime, we've got a solid field this week even if Tiger did freak-out at the prospect of getting the shanks or the yips (or both) and bail on us. Here is where we'd put our dough:

Has any story in sports ever ended badly for this long?

Paul Casey:
Emiliano Grillo:
Jon Rahm:
Kevin Na:
Jason Kokrak:
Brian Harman:
Charles Howell, III:
Patrick Rodgers:
Harris English:
Robert Garrigus:
Billy Hurley, III:    
T. Van Aswegen:

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Ryder Cup Perspective

Let's start with the good and man there was a lot of it. Most obviously the fact that this is the first time in the history of the Fantasy Golf Report that we didn't have to call this The Ryder Cup Post Mortem. For whatever reason, the Americans just had better stuff than the Europeans this time. Better chemistry. Better mojo. And most importantly, better putting.* If you ask Phil Mickelson why, he'll give you that smug fucking "I told you so" look he wore for the post-match interviews and talk about how they followed the plan they use to win the President's Cup almost every year. However, I think there might be a more accurate and straightforward answer. The Americans were a demonstrably better team. (Prove it). Ok. Consider these points:

1. Since the last Ryder Cup was played, here is the scoreboard between American Ryder Cuppers and their European counterparts of wins in tournaments that feature world class fields:
  • Majors: Americans - 5 . . . Europeans - 2
  • WGC: Americans - 2 . . . Europeans - 1**
  • Players: Americans - 1 . . . Europeans - 0

Even the uniforms were cooler this year.
That's a big game score of 8-3. And, if you include the Americans 5-2 edge in runner-ups at majors which you could argue are more valuable than WGC wins and are certainly more valuable than a Players win, that takes the score up to 13-4. Also, six American players contributed to that score (Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler). Compare that current depth to the fallow years since the last U.S. Ryder Cup win in 2008 when their best big game players were an erratic Mickelson, an enigmatic Bubba Watson and the artist formerly known as Tiger Woods. Any chemistry involving those three is going to end-up going BOOM which is great if you're trying to counter-intimidate a drug dealer but not so great if you're trying to win a team golf event.

2. The average World Golf Ranking for the American team was 16.3. The average ranking for the Europeans was 27.7. That might not seem like such a big deal until you start pairing players off in match-ups. You want to play your #3 against our #3? Ok. How do you like your odds with Danny Willett against Patrick Reed? You want to go #9 v. #9? Cool. We get Brandt Snedeker and you've got Matthew Fitzpatrick. How about #11 v. #11? Fine. Zach Johnson v. Martin Kaymer will be a good match but we like our chances. Of course the Europeans could've balanced this out a bit by fielding Paul Casey (#12 in the world) but they have a rule that made Casey ineligible because, despite the fact that he was born and lives in England, he's not an official European Tour member (I'm sure Brexit had something to do with it). And again, Clarke could have picked Knox (#19 in the world) over Westwood but Knox's booze game is as yet unproven and Clarke needed to make sure he had someone to get back-slapping drunk with after Ian Poulter and Sam Torrance passed-out every night.  

3. The Americans got better by "promoting" certain guys from player to vice-captain. When they lost the Cup in 2012 by simulating a person who has a large bone stuck in his throat while stumbling around an Outback Steakhouse begging people for help, Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker combined to play in 11 matches and produced a whopping total of 1.5 points.*** Bubba Watson played ok in 2012 but his career Ryder Cup record is 8 matches played and 3 points won. And you can interpret this analogy however you like but the most difficult conditions under which to play golf are either (a) gusty unpredictable winds or (b) when you can't stand your partner. I'll just leave that there.    

So you see? Sometimes it's just as simple as the better team wins. This makes the job of the 2018 "task force" fairly straightforward: (1) Hope you have better players to choose from leading-up to the Cup . . . (2) choose those players . . . and (3) avoid chokers and dickheads. 

For about five seconds on Sunday, Patrick Reed
did the impossible and made me stop hating him.
And then that feeling passed.
And now for the bad. Come on people. You can heckle the Euros as they walk down the fairways and between holes but don't bark on their backswings and cheer missed shots. And American players. You're not much better. Here is the proper sequence to follow when dropping a dagger putt to win your singles match (I'm looking at you Patrick Reed):

1. Make the putt.

2. Remove your hat.

3. Calmly shake the hands of your opponent and his caddie.

4. Turn to the crowd and go completely apeshit. 

Aside from this being the respectful way to do it, it's also the cooler way to do it because during those brief moments when you're honoring your opponent, the crowd intensity is quietly building just waiting for you to turn around and light the fuse. When you start jumping around and double-fist pumping right away, you waste the opportunity to send the crowd into a full extended frenzy because watching you awkwardly shake hands after you just rubbed it in the guy's face is a buzz kill.   

And while we're here, can we all agree that cupping your hand to your ear as a way of telling the crowd "I can't hear you" is a dorky gesture that every sport besides golf has left behind. If you're not convinced, then just know that no matter who you are, you look just as annoying as David Duval in 1999 when you do it. Enough said on that.   

"It's a one foot putt Lee.
I'd say go right at it."
Before we conclude and potentially go dark until January (and beyond if I actually follow-through on my annual threat to stop writing this crap), we would be remiss if we didn't at least make mention of the passing of a great American golf hero who has impacted countless major championships and whose disembodied spirit helped inspire last weekend's victory. Even though we have almost surely seen the last of it in Ryder Cup competition, Lee Westwood's putter will always have a place in our hearts even as it sinks to the bottom of lake with a name like Windemere, Ullswater, Bassanthwaite or some crazy shit like that. Godspeed Lee Westwood's putter. Godspeed.    


* Please don't check me on that from a statistical standpoint because I have no idea if it's true but it sure seemed that way. Then again, it rained all weekend around here so alcohol got involved early and often meaning I may have been watching highlights of the same putts over and over and not known it.   

** The Europeans could have had another WGC winner if Darren Clarke had picked Russell Knox instead of one of the world's most notoriously bad clutch putters in Lee Westwood. But hey, how often do Ryder Cup matches ever come down to putting anyway? ("So I was gonna wear a condom but then I thought hey, when am I ever going to get back to Haiti?"). More on Westwood's putter later in the show.

If this gesture had a name, it
would be "not our finest hour."
*** And we're not even going to get into what they did playing in three of the last five matches on Sunday with the Cup on the line because if you're reading something called the Fantasy Golf Report, you probably already know what they did so no need to ruin the joy of 2016 by reliving it here . . . though I just got a chill remembering Furyk's putt on 18 . . . and not the good kind of chill like when someone says "drinks on me" . . . more like the "did I forget to close that browser on my home computer when I had the whole house to myself?" kind of chill. Speaking of which, is "did I forget to close that browser?" the new "did I leave the oven on?" Don't ovens eventually turn themselves off these days? If so, can someone please invent the self-closing browser? Come on Bill Gates. Stop trying to cure everything and help a brother out.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Fantasy Golf: The Tour Championship Preview

Hey everybody . . . golf's back! Did you miss it? Finally something to break-up the monotony of the first two weeks of NFL action and one ridiculously spectacular college football game after another. (We kid because we love). I've actually missed this game that I love from both a playing and viewing standpoint over the past couple of weeks and now we get treated to a double-dip of the Tour Championship followed by the Ryder Cup and this guy gets a little 45 hole two-man competition to closeout golf season in the Mid-Atlantic (someone please shoot me with a six month tranquilizer dart on October 2nd). 

So what can we expect at East Lake? Well, Henrik Stenson loves this course as evidenced by his win in 2013 and his T2nd last year highlighted by an opening 63. But he's not playing. So what else you got? Well we've got Justin Rose who also finished T2nd last year to go along with a T4th in 2014, a 6th in 2013 and a 2nd in 2012 . . . except that he's not playing either because he predictably had one of the worst years of his career after being drafted by the coolers in my fantasy golf league. (These guys are such a reliable jinx that I almost feel compelled to write a letter to their top pick each January and pre-comfort him about the otherwise inexplicably terrible season he's about to have).

Stop fucking around and make some picks!

Ok, here's the problem. Every legitimate contender this week has had some success at East Lake led by Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson who have all won there so we've got ourselves a bit of a crapshoot. D.J., McIlroy, Day and the recently hot Paul Casey all have at least one top five so it wouldn't be a surprise if any of those guys won it. And don't rule-out Bubba rediscovering his game for four days and getting it done. We'd love to pick all of them but we can't so here comes some good old fashioned frontier analysis.

Jordan Spieth is going to win because in the space of a little over five months, he's gone from Cobra Kai to first hour of the movie Danny LaRusso and he's going to turn that around with one seriously awkward looking crane kick in Atlanta. He's been showing signs of life in the playoffs and I think he really wants to avoid ending 2016 as an afterthought. He's also got to be getting jacked for the Ryder Cup where I expect he and Patrick Reed to dominate together (more on that next week). 

After Spieth, we're going with the fairly stock picks of D.J. who refocused at the BMW Championship and Jason Day he keeps being more overdue every week. That leaves Scott, McIlroy and Mickelson on the outside but seating is limited. If gambling is legal in your state and you're building rosters, I'd balance those high dollars guys with some big hitters in Gary Woodland and J.B. Holmes along with a few bargain buys in Emiliano Grillo, Ryan Moore and Jason Dufner. Don't be the least bit surprised when Grillo is in contention on Sunday and how could you be now that I've warned you. As always I'm here to help.      

That transition from golf to football
is always a little awkward . . . 
The Tour Championship Odds

1. Dustin Johnson - 9/2

2. Rory McIlroy - 5/1
3. Jason Day - 9/1
4. Jordan Spieth - 9/1
5. Adam Scott - 9/1
6. Paul Casey - 16/1
7. Patrick Reed - 18/1
8. Bubba Watson - 25/1
9. Phil Mickelson - 25/1
10. Hideki Matsuyama - 28/1
11. Matt Kuchar - 28/1
12. Brandt Snedeker - 30/1
13. Russell Knox - 35/1
14. J.B. Holmes - 35/1
15. Gary Woodland - 40/1

The One and Done Pick: Jordan Spieth

The Sleeper Pick: Emiliano Grillo
 . . . but we'll figure it out.

Ten Guys We Like in DraftKings

Dustin Johnson - $11,700
Jordan Spieth - $10,600
Jason Day - $10,300
Paul Casey - $9,500
Gary Woodland - $7,800
J.B. Holmes - $7,400
Kevin Chappell - $7,200
Daniel Berger - $7,000
Emiliano Grillo - $6,900
Ryan Moore - $6,800
Jason Dufner - $6,400

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fantasy Golf: The BMW Championship Preview

We have two weeks left in the season and, now that Rory appears to be putting better than a blind cave fish (it's on the internet so I know it's a real thing), it looks like we could finally be on the verge of that multi car pile-up of great players that we've been denied all season. To qualify, I think we need a minimum of three out of the fifteen players on the odds list below (excluding anyone who hasn't won a major) within two shots of each other when they hit the 14th hole on Sunday. And there can be no more than one player not on that list gumming-up the works so stay the hell out of my Sunday afternoon dream sequence David Lingmerth and Jim Herman!

As for the predictions, who knows? I mean trying to pick between Rory, Jason Day, D.J., Adam Scott and Patrick Reed (blech . . . just writing his name gives me a post-puke taste in my mouth) is like trying to pick the hottest cast member from Melrose Place (hey I was young and no one had figured-out how to make shows like The Sopranos and The Wire yet). Anyway, my advice is to build a bunch of really top heavy teams and then roll the dice on some quality scrubs like Ryan Palmer and Daniel Summerhays (no offense). For example, you can fit those guys in with Day, Scott and Hideki Matsuyama if you can also stomach a roster that includes Jon Curran (again, no offense).     

The BMW Championship Odds
Well, maybe the second hottest cast
member because there is a consensus #1.

1. Rory McIlroy - 6/1
2. Jason Day - 15/2
3. Dustin Johnson - 9/1
4. Jordan Spieth - 14/1
5. Adam Scott - 18/1
6. Justin Rose - 20/1
7. Patrick Reed - 22/1
8. Sergio Garcia - 28/1
9. Rickie Fowler - 30/1
10. Louis Oosthuizen - 33/1
11. Hideki Matsuyama - 35/1
12. Brooks Koepka - 35/1
13. Bubba Watson - 35/1
14. Paul Casey - 40/1
15. Phil Mickelson - 40/1

One and Done Pick: Russell Knox

Sleeper Pick: Jason Kokrak
Lisa Rinna at #2? Who else you got?

Ten Guys We Like in DraftKings

Rory McIlroy - $11,900
Jason Day - $11,600
Dustin Johnson - $11,300
Adam Scott - $10,200
Patrick Reed - $9,700
Sergio Garcia - $9,500
Emiliano Grillo - $8,500
Ryan Palmer - $6,800
Harris English - $6,700
Daniel Summerhays - $6,200

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Fantasy Golf: The Deutsche Bank Preview

Here's who is not going to win this weekend. Rickie Fowler. The combination of sketchy play under pressure and a deep desire to make the Ryder Cup team on points is not a winning one. Besides, he's going to make the team anyway so he should really just chill the fuck out and more importantly, shave the moustache, ditch the goofy pants and stop trying so hard to be original. He's a good guy who wears flashy clothes. Just go with that and let the golf do the rest of the talking.

So who is going to win? Almost definitely Jason Day. He is way overdue to notch another title with the way he's been playing and the rest of the Big Five appear to be in B+ mode. Jordan Spieth looks ready to pop and is trending toward a $10M payday but that's going to happen when he wins at East Lake in a few weeks.

Your next best bets are Sergio Garcia who has a win, two T5's and a T8 in his last five starts, Emiliano Grillo who has been on a roll lately and finished top 20 at every major except the U.S. Open without anyone noticing and Charley Hoffman who won here in 2010 and always thrives on these cheesy overdone TPC courses. If you want some real value plays, check-out Steve Stricker who won here in 2009 and was runner-up in 2013, William McGirt who keeps showing-up on leaderboards and finished 12th last year and Webb Simpson who has been playing respectable golf since late May (two top 10's and four top 20's) and who won this thing in 2009.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to start doing some research for my fantasy football draft tomorrow beginning with an attempt to figure-out who in the hell still plays running back in the NFL and why people who are supposed to know about these things are telling me it would be wise to take Mark Ingram in the middle of the second round. Seriously, the last time a Saints running back was projected that high was Chuck Muncie* in 1980 back when "fantasy football" meant you fantasized about actually being able to watch all of those other one o'clock games instead of the dogshit match-up between the 3-7 Redskins and the 4-6 Bears (and yes, I looked that up and yes, I probably watched that dogshit game).

Who doesn't love the
change of seasons?
The Deutsche Bank Odds

1. Jason Day - 13/2
2. Dustin Johnson - 9/1
3. Jordan Spieth - 11/1
4. Rory McIlroy - 11/1
5. Henrik Stenson - 16/1
6. Adam Scott - 20/1
7. Rickie Fowler - 22/1
8. Justin Rose - 25/1
9. Patrick Reed - 25/1
10. Phil Mickelson - 33/1
11. Hideki Matsuyama - 33/1
12. Sergio Garcia - 33/1
13. Matt Kuchar - 40/1
14. Brooks Koepka - 40/1
15. Jim Furyk - 40/1

One and Done Pick: Gary Woodland

Sleeper Pick: Steve Stricker

Such a beautiful time of
year in the northeast.

Fifteen Guys We Like in DraftKings

Jason Day - $12,500
Dustin Johnson - $12,100
Henrik Stenson - $10,700
Sergio Garcia - $9,500
Emiliano Grillo - $9,000
Jim Furyk - $8,800
Billy Horschel - $8,500
Zach Johnson - $8,000
Sean O'Hair - $7,800
Gary Woodland - $7,700
Charley Hoffman - $7,300
Kevin Chappell - $7,100
Steve Stricker - $7,000
William McGirt - $6,800
Webb Simpson - $6,100


* We know it was really Deuce McAllister but the already lame joke would be lamer with him as the reference.  

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fantasy Golf: The Barclays Preview

The FGR typically does a somewhat extensive FedEx Cup playoffs preview where we unsuccessfully try to predict the thirty players who will advance to the Tour Championship. Well we're going to mix it up this year because (a) variety is the spice of life, (b) it's 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday night and we're up against our informal casual deadline of "sometime on Tuesday" and (c) the U13 soccer team I coach just got their asses kicked in a season opening scrimmage with a performance that fell somewhere between the Washington Generals and fat Elvis. Suffice it to say, I'm not feeling whimsical.   

But when the going gets tough . . . oh shut the fuck up and pick some golfers. Fine. Here's how we see this week from a wagering perspective. Favorites and underdogs. Boom. Build your squads around Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson. Then throw in some high quality underdogs like David Lingmerth, Billy Horschel and Kevin Kisner, sit back, pour a large glass of grain alcohol and watch the cash roll-in. In fact, I like Kisner so much this week and think he's so overdue to cash a big check that he's both the FGR's one and done pick AND our sleeper. And with that we drop the mic, exit the stage and leave you with these tributes to Olympic athletes (at least Google says they're Olympians and who are we to argue?).

The Barclays Odds

1. Jason Day - 15/2
2. Dustin Johnson - 9/1
3. Rory McIlroy - 10/1
4. Henrik Stenson - 12/1
5. Jordan Spieth - 14/1
6. Justin Rose - 20/1
7. Phil Mickelson - 28/1
8. Hideki Matsuyama - 28/1
9. Brooks Koepka - 28/1
10. Adam Scott - 30/1

The One and Done Pick: Justin Thomas*

The Sleeper Pick: Kevin Kisner

Fifteen Guys We Like in DraftKings

Jason Day - $12,400
Dustin Johnson - $11,900
Henrik Stenson - $11,700
Matt Kuchar - $9,200
Brandt Snedeker - $8,900
Branden Grace - $8,700
Jim Furyk - $8,600
Emiliano Grillo - $8,300
Russell Knox - $7,300
Bill Haas - $7,100
Daniel Berger - $6,900
David Lingmerth - $6,800
Billy Horschel - $6,700
Scott Piercy - $6,500
Kevin Kisner - $6,400


* Upon subsequent review, we've already used Kisner this year so we're switching to Justin Thomas. That gaff may have solidified this post's position as the worst in FGR history. 

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