Monday, April 7, 2014

Fantasy Golf: The Pre-Masters Redraft Part 2

I feel ya Steve.
Let us continue with 11-30* (click here for Part 1 and note that I feel like my head is in vice** which makes it very hard to have a sense of humor about anything so bear with me):

11. Justin Rose (8): We know two things, (1) Rose is capable of winning any of the majors and (2) if he's still available in this spot, you're taking him.

12. Graham DeLaet (18): DeLaet hits a lot of greens (currently 4th in GIR) and he's an above-average putter. Other than the fact that he probably had the Canadian flag stitched to his backpack when he travelled through Europe,*** there are not many flaws and he is probably the best player in the world without a tour PGA Tour win.

13. Henrik Stenson (4): Stenson has not looked sharp at all so far this season and that was before his lackluster performance in Houston where he finished tied for 54th. His incredible ball-striking has always covered-up his weak putting and that was the case last year when he was absurdly 1st in greens in regulation and 7th in driving accuracy. You could putt using an oblong apparatus with a name that rhymes with "wildo"**** and win golf tournaments if you hit the ball like that.

14. Bubba Watson (NR): Not only did we not have Bubba in our top 30 at the start of the season, we went so far as to include him on our bust potential list with Billy Horschel and Hideki Matsuyama. Oops. Bubba seems to have finally absorbed his Masters win and is back to being a threat every time he tees it up.

Bubba's not the only Watson
we've been underrating.
15. Harris English (21): I almost overlooked English because he skipped the Texas tournaments to presumably get ready for his first Masters (which is what you're supposed to do if you're on the verge of a breakout season). The fact that he's only played in three career majors (two PGA's and one British) has me a little nervous but he may be the best overall ball-striker right now ranking 2nd in GIR and 20th in driving distance. Unfortunately, he's another lousy putter. (Why can't any of these guys putt?)

16. Graeme McDowell (23): Time to insert a player who is currently in the top ten in strokes gained putting. It came down to McDowell, Webb Simpson and Jimmy Walker. Simpson is showing all of the signs of a player who's wife is about to have a baby (erratic play and his last one was almost two years ago which means he's in range) so I'm avoiding him and we'll get to Jimmy Walker in a couple spots.

17. Jordan Spieth (19): He probably won't last this long because someone in your draft is going think Spieth can win a major this year. I don't but if you do, bump him up ten spots and go for it.

18. Jimmy Walker (30): This feels about right for the guy who is displaying quite the all-around game this season. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's remember that Walker has only played in four majors since 2002 and the only time he cashed a check was a tie for 21st at the 2012 PGA Championship. The road to bad fantasy golf teams is littered with players who made their reputations by one great stretch between October and February. 

19. Keegan Bradley (16): Bradley is a bit of a poor man's Rory McIlroy in that he has the ability to ignite at any time but his ceiling is not quite as high. This is a pick based on potential and the fact that Bradley tends to be a big game player. His game is ideal for Augusta and one of these years he's going to figure it out and make a run at the green jacket.

20. Bill Haas (13): We had a three way battle for the last spot in the top 20 among Haas, Brandt Snedeker and Webb Simpson a/k/a the guys who've kind of overslept this year. The most concerning is Snedeker because he usually shines during the California and Arizona tournaments (in the last two seasons he has wins at Pebble and the Farmers along with 2nd place finishes at the Farmers and Waste Management) but the best he could muster this year was a tie for 58th at the Humana. That leaves Haas and Simpson and Haas feels more reliable right now.

21. Webb Simpson (9): If he's available here, you're taking him so let's move on.

22. Patrick Reed (NR): I know HE thinks he's one of the top five players in the world but those spots are usually reserved for players who have at least competed in a major. I honestly don't know if he's a steal at this spot or a reach but this is about where I would start looking at him.

23. Charl Schwartzel (20): I might not be the best person to ask about Charl because I got burned when I took him in the second round of my 2013 season long draft. (I took Bubba in the first round - it was not my finest hour). Everyone keeps telling us what a solid all-around player he is but, other than his Masters win in 2011, all of that skill has not translated to jack squat in the States over the last two years so this is a bit of a gamble with a lot of upside.

24. Rickie Fowler (24): He hasn't done anything this year that would encourage us to move him up or down so here he is right where we had him in January.

25. Jim Furyk (NR): Furyk has been the forgotten man since he won the 2010 FedEx Cup but he's still ranked 23rd in the world and he almost won the PGA Championship last year proving that he could still sneak another major title onto his resume.

26. Steve Stricker (17): I really just included Stricker because he's from Wisconsin and I wanted an opportunity to ask this question again - how do you let the guy who appears to be the second coming of Reggie Miller touch the ball much less get a shot off under those circumstances? With the game on the line, shooters like Aaron Harrison honestly believe that they will make anything from inside half-court and he's proven his mettle enough times during the tournament that you have to make someone else beat you. I lost sleep over this.

27. Ian Poulter (NR): Remember, we're giving extra love to guys who are threats in the majors and Poulter has four top tens in the last two years. He's also a fun guy to have for those random hours of coverage when he goes on his inevitable birdie binges.

28. Chris Kirk (27): Another guy we think we had pegged correctly in January.

29. Lee Westwood (26): A few weeks ago I dropped Westwood from my season-long squad. I have been the kiss of death this year with the latest being the gag job by Matt Kuchar in Houston (my first round pick). Put it all together and you're probably looking at Westwood's first major title.

30. Gary Woodland (NR): Woodland has not missed a cut this year and he's currently qualified for all of the majors except for the PGA Championship (and he almost definitely will be for that one too when the time comes).

Notable omissions: Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker and Louis Oostuizen. Injuries are nothing to be trifled with in fantasy golf and we either know those guys are dealing with them (Woods and Oostuizen) or we suspect they are (Snedeker). Someone in your draft is going to jump too early on these three. Don't be that guy.

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* The only requirement for every player in this top 30 is that they must be currently entered in the Masters. If you're drafting a team at this stage of the season and you pick a player this early who is not going to Augusta, then I can't help you.

** About five weeks ago I started eating better, working-out six days a week and I cut my drinking back to a level that can barely even be called drinking anymore. During that time, I've been smacked with the flu twice. What's your take on that Bishop Pickering?

"There is no God." 
*** Young Canadians traveling through Europe go to great lengths to make it clear that they are not Americans because of our well-earned reputation of being crass tourists. You'd think after all of these years of being mocked for it, we'd stop raising our voice so that people who don't speak English would understand us better. Nope.

**** You have no idea how badly I wanted to use the real word there but the FGR is not ready to cross that line . . . yet.

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