Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Fantasy Golf: The Desert Classic Preview

I don't know how you people generate your one and done picks but here is how I generally do it. On Monday I throw a pick into the system just to make sure I don't forget to enter one. The last thing I need is to spend four days watching the tournament while lamenting the fact that I didn't pick one of the twenty guys I thought about picking who happens to be hanging-around the top of the leaderboard. (Forget the fact that the guy I was most likely to pick missed the cut . . . that's just not how my mind works). This initial pick is usually based on a 50/50 combination of casual research and hunch. 

By the middle of Tuesday I've absorbed a shit-ton of data from players' recent form to past performance on the upcoming course(s). Also by this point PGATour.com has released its Power Rankings so I check those out even though they're essentially the top fifteen players in the tournament ranked by their Vegas odds to win. Take this week for example. The top four players in the Desert Classic Power Rankings also have the best odds and the only real flyer on the list is Corey Connors who is going to miss the cut. But I digress. 


Desert golf porn might actually
top Hawaiian island golf porn.
Now it's Tuesday evening and I'm in the office cranking-out the FGR preview fueled by coffee and Cheez-Its while debating whether to go with my original pick or some other player that I now deem to be of equal or greater value. This debate has very little to do with the research I performed other than it produced the top two choices. No this debate is based purely on superstition and whether I think it will be more bad luck to change my original pick or to stay with my original pick. The argument for not changing the pick is easy. Go with your first instinct. I mean that almost always works when you're sober so why deviate from that? 

Here's why. My original pick in the first week of 2019 was Brooks Koepka who finished 24th but in the 11th hour I changed my pick to Xander Schauffele who proceeded to shoot 62 on Sunday and win in somewhat enthralling fashion (at least I found it enthralling). So I figured that set the precedent for the season. Make a pick, research and then change the pick. So last week I picked Marc Leishman on Monday. Then I did my homework and changed my pick to Gary Woodland going so far as to not even rank Leishman in my top ten DraftKings values. Leishman finished T3rd and made $307,200 while Woodland pulled a MDF and made $11,520. Now I have no fucking idea what to do.

Fortunately this week is a total crapshoot with a weak field so the pressure is off a bit. The last eight winners of this event are Jon Rahm, Hudson Swafford, Jason Dufner, Bill Haas, Patrick Reed, Brian Gay, Mark Wilson and Jhonattan Vegas. I defy you to find a common  thread. Part of the problem as you can see from the Arby's Past Performance Chart below (we're actively soliciting sponsors . . . "Arby's, We Have the Meats!"), is that no one who is any good plays this tournament on a regular basis except for maybe Phil Mickelson and he's currently ranked 34th in the world. This is a tournament for young dudes trying to make a name, a handful of established players looking to score a paycheck and a whole slew of journeymen players like Ryan Palmer, Martin Laird and Kevin Streelman who probably enjoy the retirement community feel of the event. 


So who do you pick from that morass? Well I'm just a guy who studies this as a hobby to the point of it being kind of weird but I think the smart money this week is in the middling young guys like Bud Cauley and Richy Werenski. You can load-up on those two along with Peter Uihlein, Brendan Steele, etc. and still have enough left-over to grab a Patrick Cantlay or Justin Rose. I would not, however, waste a one and done pick on those top guys. These birdie bonanzas tend to level the field so you're more likely to see Joaquin Niemann get hot with the putter and shoot -25 than you are to see a Jon Rahm repeat. Don't say I didn't warn you.     


Going for a more thoughtful
artsy fartsy FGR look these days.
One and Done Pick: Bud Cauley

Other Guy I'd Pick: Richy Werenski


Sleeper Pick: Harris English


DraftKings Top Ten Values


Patrick Cantlay
$10,600
Chez Reavie
$9,200
Hudson Swafford
$8,300
Ryan Palmer
$8,200
Peter Uihlein
$7,700
Brandan Steele
$7,600
Richy Werenski
$7,500
Bud Cauley
$7,400
Bill Haas
$7,400
Harris English
$7,200

And here we have the list of everyone I considered picking. Note that this is not exhaustive because I don't want it to be eighty-five rows of guys who've never played the course before and I'm not really interested in Dylan Frittelli at $7,500 (pretty sure I just secured a top ten for Dylan Frittelli . .
. you're welcome mate). 

                           THE ARBY'S PAST PERFORMANCE CHART


DK Price
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
Jon Rahm
$11,600
1st
T34
DNP
DNP
DNP
Justin Rose
$11,000
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Patrick Cantlay
$10,600
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Charles Howell
$10,300
T20
T12
T11
T56
T58
Adam Hadwin
$10,000
T3
2nd
T6
T48
DNP
Andrew Putnam
$9,700
T17
DNP
DNP
MC
DNP
Phil Mickelson
$9,500
MC
T21
T3
T24
DNP
Aaron Wise
$9,400
T17
T34
DNP
DNP
DNP
Abraham Ancer
$9,300
76th
DNP
MC
DNP
DNP
Chez Reavie
$9,200
T36
T12
T17
MC
DNP
Scott Piercy
$9,100
T6
T41
DNP
T30
MC
Luke List
$9,000
MC
T41
T6
DNP
DNP
Kevin Kisner
$8,900
T50
T25
DNP
MC
T48
Brian Harman
$8,800
T20
T3
T11
DNP
T82
Patton Kizzire
$8,700
T42
T50
T42
DNP
DNP
J.J. Spaun
$8,500
MC
T50
DNP
DNP
DNP
C.T. Pan
$8,400
MC
MC
DNP
DNP
DNP
H. Swafford
$8,300
T29
1st
T56
MC
T25
Ryan Palmer
$8,200
T20
MC
T17
T10
2nd
Sungjae Im
$8,100
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Beau Hossler
$8,000
T20
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
C. Schwartzel
$7,900
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Peter Uihlein
$7,700
T17
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
Zach Johnson
$7,700
T20
MC
MC
MC
T3
Brendan Steele
$7,600
T20
T6
T34
T2
MC
C. Hadley
$7,600
T42
DNP
MC
MC
MC
J. Niemann
$7,600
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
R. Werenski
$7,600
T29
T9
DNP
DNP
DNP
C. Hoffman
$7,500
DNP
MC
MC
T2
T9
Si Woo Kim
$7,500
DNP
DNP
T9
DNP
DNP
Bill Haas
$7,400
MC
T17
T9
1st
T6
Bud Cauley
$7,400
T14
T3
T14
DNP
MC
Jason Dufner
$7,400
T36
T25
1st
MC
DNP
Brian Gay
$7,300
T42
MC
MC
DNP
MC
Martin Laird
$7,300
MC
T9
T49
T15
T25
Harris English
$7,200
T11
DNP
DNP
T30
T33
Jason Kokrak
$7,100
T8
DNP
MC
T48
MC
Johnny Vegas
$7,100
T11
T34
MC
MC
84th
Kevin Streelman
$7,000
T29
MC
T11
T41
DNP
James Hahn
$7,000
T36
DNP
DNP
T20
T38
Seb Munoz
$6,500
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP
DNP

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com