Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fantasy Golf: The Tour Championship Preview

One more weekend of quality golf before we shut it down for the offseason with the exception of two events that could draw your passive attention in the President's Cup* and the WGC - HSBC Champions event. It's been quite a year with Jordan Spieth dominating the early half and Jason Day the latter. If 2015 gets the ending it deserves, we're going to see those two battling down the stretch along with some combination of Rory, Rickie, Henrik, Bubba and Rose. As long as Day doesn't lap the field again and Daniel Berger and Steven Bowditch stay out of the way, it's going to be more fun than watching Dustin Johnson try to assemble a bookshelf from IKEA. 

So I get one more shot at a prediction this year . . . who's it going to be? Chalk has obviously shifted heavily to Day. Rory played well last week and has a strong track record at East Lake. Spieth appears to have at least pulled his head out of his ass with a tie for 13th at the BMW and he finished 2nd here in 2013. Stenson won it that year and Rickie seems intent on getting his name in the conversation with the new Big Three. Oh it's a veritable potpourri of tends and storylines and that doesn't even include the suddenly intriguing battle for #1 in the world that has never been this close between three golfers this good.  

So with all of that in mind, I'm going with the forgotten man Justin Rose. Remember him? You know, the 2013 U.S. Open champion who quietly had a 2015 that included a T2nd at the Masters, a 4th at the PGA, a T6th at the British and, most recently, a T3rd at the Bridgestone. Not to mention, his last three finishes at the Tour Championship are T4th, 6th and 2nd. Feels like a nice semi-sleeper. Do we honestly think that someone other than Jason Day is going to win it? Of course not but the FGR has always been about flying in the face of convention. Even when it's completely moronic to do so.    

The Tour Championship Odds

In one of the great FGR finds
of all-time, meet Georgia Salpa.
1. Jason Day - 7/2
2. Rory McIlroy - 6/1
3. Jordan Spieth - 8/1
4. Henrik Stenson - 9/1
5. Rickie Fowler - 10/1
6. Justin Rose - 11/1
7. Dustin Johnson - 16/1
8. Bubba Watson - 20/1
9. Zach Johnson - 20/1
10. Jim Furyk - 28/1

The FGR Tour Championship Top Ten

1. Justin Rose
2. Jason Day
3. Rory McIlroy
4. Jordan Spieth
5. Henrik Stenson
6. Rickie Fowler
7. Zach Johnson
8. Dustin Johnson
9. Bill Haas
10. Kevin Kisner
No luck on finding a model
named "East Lake."

The FGR One and Done Pick: Jordan Spieth

The FGR Sleeper Pick: Scott Piercy

One and Done Picks to Date

Hyundai: Kevin Streelman - $70,667
Sony: Chris Kirk - $42,280
Humana: Russell Knox - M/C
Phoenix: Hunter Mahan - $36,729
Farmers: Hideki Matsuyama - M/C

AT&T: Dustin Johnson - $281,067
Northern Trust: Jimmy Walker - $24,120
Honda: Keegan Bradley - M/C
WGC-Cadillac: Bubba Watson - $540,000
Valspar: Jim Furyk - $23,600
Palmer: Brooks Koepka – W/D
Texas Open: Matt Kuchar - $99,200
Houston Open: Louis Oosthuizen - M/C
Masters: Rory McIlroy - $480,000
Heritage: Patrick Reed - M/C
Zurich: Rickie Fowler - M/C
But we'll keep trying.
Match Play: Graeme McDowell - $49,385
Players: Henrik Stenson - $130,857
Wells Fargo: Webb Simpson - $624,800
Colonial: Zach Johnson - $78,780
Byron Nelson: Gary Woodland - $15,407
Memorial: Justin Rose - $669,600
FedEx St. Jude: Billy Horschel - $168,000
U.S. Open: Phil Mickelson - $23,822
Travelers: Brandt Snedeker - $147,200
Greenbrier: Kevin Kisner - $500,267
John Deere: Robert Streb - $84,600
British Open: Sergio Garcia - $305,878
Canadian Open: Charley Hoffman - $174,725
Quicken Loans: Justin Thomas - $242,875
Bridgestone: Adam Scott - $55,000
PGA Championship: Jason Day - $1,800,000
Wyndham: Bill Haas - $174,825
Barclays: Charl Schwartzel - M/C
Deutsche: Kevin Chappell - $138,600
BMW: Paul Casey - $73,425

Season Total: $7,055,709


* Because it is highly unlikely that I'll write anything about the President's Cup when it actually happens, consider this footnote your official FGR President's Cup Preview. Let's be honest, the President's Cup is still closer to the Skins Game than it is to the Ryder Cup in terms of importance. Anyone who tells you differently either has an agenda or has a name that rhymes with Fim Tinchem. How else do you explain putting Phil Mickelson on the team this year unless you're still treating it like an exhibition? (And for the record, I'm glad they picked Phil because now I might watch it). Oh yeah, this year they're playing it in South Korea. You know, the home of golf.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The BMW Championship DraftKings Preview

The second to last event of the season deserves better than the short shrift I'm going to give it here but hey, sometimes the day job and a random Monday golf outing that degenerates into a post-round wine tasting/gulping get in the way. We're coming off a decent week at the Deutsche that could have been better if Henrik Stenson and his caddie would've just bummed a cigarette on the 16th hole to figure out which way the freakin' wind was blowing before Henrik dumped it into the pond. Alas, it was but another runner-up finish for one of the FGR's top picks.   

Are those Xenon headlights?

1. Henrik Stenson - $10,500 (2)
2. Kevin Kisner - $7,300 (T12)
3. Chris Kirk - $7,100 (T29)
4. Robert Streb - $8,000 (T39)
5. Brooks Koepka - $8,700 (M/C)
6. Matt Kuchar - $8,500 (T9)
7. Jason Dufner - $7,600 (T60)
8. Zach Johnson - $9,300 (T22)
9. Jordan Spieth - $11,300 (M/C)
10. Luke Donald - $7,800 (T39)
11. Justin Thomas - $7,900 (T56)
12. Jim Furyk - $9,000 (4)
13. Ian Poulter - $7,100 (T33)
14. Brandt Snedeker - $8,400 (T44)
15. Tony Finau - $7,700 (M/C)

The last time the BMW was played at Conway Farms was in 2013 and, judging by the results, the course favors guys who hit fairways and make putts over guys who bomb it. Zach Johnson won by 2, Jim Furyk shot a 59 but still managed to finish 3rd (they should call that a "Furyk") and Luke Donald got a piece of 4th along with Jason Day, Steve Stricker and Hunter Mahan. (The artist formerly known as Nick Watney finished 2nd so he might be worth a flier in one of your lineups this week). As you will see below, once you get past ZJ, Furyk and Stenson, we're seeing a lot of value in the $7,000 - $8,000 range so most of our lineups will feature four players from that tier along with a couple of the pricier models.

And speaking of the pricier models, Jordan Spieth has to get back on track this week right? (RIGHT?!?). Jason Day didn't make the list because his $12,600 price tag seems outrageous but if your gut tells you he's got another win in him, then you better pony up. We got burned by Rory in Boston so we're staying away until he shows that he's all the way back. Same for Rickie Fowler who often seems to back-up his great showings with dismal ones. Typical Gen X approach . . . YOU DAMN KIDS GET OFF OF MY LAWN!!! 

Hey honey, let's go reenact the Whitesnake video.

1. Zach Johnson - $9,500
2. Kevin Kisner - $8,100
3. Ian Poulter - $7,200
4. Chris Kirk - $7,300
5. Jim Furyk - $10,000
6. Ryan Palmer - $7,300
7. Brandt Snedeker - $7,900
8. Kevin Chappell - $7,500
9. Jordan Spieth - $11,600
10. Robert Streb - $8,000
11. Paul Casey - $7,800
12. Jason Bohn - $7,200
13. Henrik Stenson - $11,400
14. Russell Knox - $7,400
15. Justin Thomas - $7,600

Oh yeah, we're also bailing on the traditional preview this week as that time will be devoted to football but, for the sake of consistency or something, here's our one and done pick . . . 

One and Done Pick: Paul Casey

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The NFL Week 1 DraftKings Preview

In past years, the FGR has brought you everything on the NFL from mock drafts (both real and fantasized), weekly picks and even something called a Preview of an NFL Preview (the picture makes it worth a look). Well now that's all going to change as we enter the instant gratification world of DraftKings, FanDuel and, more importantly, the year when my interest in the NFL began to wane, a fact that became clear to me when I tried to do some preseason power rankings and realized I had no clue what I was talking about (never stopped you before).

My interest may be waning but
I'm not dead inside. Yet.
Despite my complete lack of preparation and enthusiasm, I have still convinced myself that I'm good at fantasy football and, more specifically, the "art" of identifying value players so here comes the inaugural FGR DraftKings NFL Preview where I try to discover the components that will make you the next guy to be standing in a Buffalo Wild Wings, wearing some unaffiliated jersey you bought at Old Navy and acting like a 12 year old girl at a One Direction concert. (Full disclosure: I have no idea what the DraftKings scoring system is yet and I'm writing this under the gun as I'm coming out of one draft last night and heading to play golf before another one tonight so this could be a bumpy start . . . but a really good 24 hours for the FGR).


Sam Bradford - $6,900: One of the keys to fantasy success in the always unpredictable Week 1 is to identify the shootout. The Falcons-Eagles game features two potentially explosive offenses in a dome against one marginal defense (Eagles) and one atrocious defense (Falcons).

Matt Ryan - $7,500: See the Sam Bradford analysis.


Carlos Hyde - $5,300: All of the top running backs seem a bit overpriced so I'm looking for deals amongst the players ranked 12-16. Hyde should get 20+ touches and have room to run behind an offensive line that was able to make holes for Frank Gore and his walking stick.

Chris Ivory - $4,100: The Jets offense is not going to stink this year because (a) Rex "Fuck the Offense" Ryan is gone and (b) Ryan Fitzpatrick is the closest thing they've had to a real starting quarterback since Brett "Did You Get My Junk Text?" Favre in 2008 (who doesn't love a fun nickname now and then?). Also, new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey is not Brian Schottenheimer so they've got that going for them. This is a roundabout way of saying that Chris Ivory is going to be solid as long as he's healthy which could be just this week so ride him while you can.

Lamar Miller - $5,500: Miller is generally regarded as the first guy in either the second or third tier of running backs depending on how multi-tiered your system is (I have six tiers cause I'm fancy). That's probably about right for a guy who had 1,099 yards and 8 touchdowns last year. Here's hoping that the Dolphins' dipshit coaching staff took a look at the stats and figured-out that, when Miller got 15 or more carries, he averaged 95+ yards per game. Playing the Redskins will help.

DeMarco Murray - $6,700: See the Sam Bradford analysis.


Jordan Matthews - $7,200: See the Sam Bradford analysis.

Golden Tate - $6,3000: Wide receiver is such a crapshoot in Week 1 because they've barely gotten any gametime to establish a rhythm with their quarterback. At least with Tate you know he's going to get it thrown his way a bunch by a quarterback who targeted him 142 times last year for 99 receptions and 1,331 yards. (Holy shit. Really? Yup).

There's a lot to like in
Atlanta this week.
John Brown - $4,500: For the 5-7 weeks that Carson Palmer is going to be upright, John Brown is a viable fantasy option. Especially this week against the Saints' sieve defense. 

Andre Johnson - $6,100: Andrew Luck is going to throw it to him about 150 times this year and, unlike his days with the Texans, most of those passes will arrive between his kneecaps and the space four feet above his head.

A.J. Green - $7,800: The top receivers are going for $8,700 to $9,300 so Green, who is as capable as any of them, is the elite value pick at $7,800. 

Charles Johnson - $4,900: I needed another low budget guy and for at least this week I'll buy Matthew Berry's hype that Teddy Bridgewater is the real deal and Johnson will be his go to guy.


Rob Gronkowski - $7,000: Gronk is so far superior to anyone else at this position that he's pretty much a lock for this preview every week. Especially a week when Tom Brady and Bill Belichik want to send a message that you should never rightfully accuse them of cheating.

Owen Daniels - $3,400: Peyton Manning loves tight ends. Gary Kubiak loves tight ends. Let's be honest, who doesn't love tight ends? Throw-in the fact that Daniels will be facing the Ravens which just happens to be the team he played for and the team that Kubiak coached last year. Ugh.


Jets - $2,900: I'll take a defense playing at home against the Browns all year until proven otherwise.

Jaguars - $2,700: They're at home against Cam Newton who has no weapons. For this price, why not?

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Fantasy Golf: The Deutsche Bank Championship Preview

With the cut down to 100 players, we say goodbye this week to, among others, Charl Schwartzel, Lee Westwood and Adam Scott who I shrewdly ranked fifth in my season preview. At least Tiger will be able to fill-out his 8:50 tee time on Saturday morning. Meanwhile, Kyle Reifers, David Cleghorn, Hudson Swafford and Jason Kokrak* live to fight another day (believe it or not, I only made one of those guys up) and this week's players on the 70 man bubble include Ian Poulter (69th), Keegan Bradley (71st) and Charles Howell, III (74th). In light of my deep affection for all things Boston, I certainly hope that Bradley's season doesn't spontaneously combust there this weekend (I'm detecting sarcasm).    

Continuing the theme initiated in yesterday's DraftKings Preview and revisited as recently as the last paragraph, Boston doesn't give us much to like but at least this week it gives us a course that produces solid winners so the rankings are going to be very chalky not unlike the skin of most Red Sox fans before they spend a sunscreen free summer baking-in tank top lines at Fenway and degrading the beaches of Cape Cod. I kid because I love (not really).   

As for the golf, if you want to keep riding the Jason Day train this week, by all means do but know that (a) it will unquestionably briefly derail at some point and (b) Rory has been on the sidelines watching yet another young stud pound chinks in his "Best Golfer in the World" armour for the better part of six weeks and he ain't just going to sit back and take it. It certainly doesn't hurt Rory's case that he won this thing in 2012 and came in 5th last year. 

The other logical choices to bump Day off his stride are Henrik Stenson who came in 2nd last week and won here in 2013 and Jordan Spieth who is Jordan Spieth. If none of those guys are still at your disposal (and they shouldn't be), check-out Robert Streb who finished 9th here last year and Kevin Kisner who showed signs last week of getting back the game that made him one of the best on tour for ten weeks this summer (did I mention that I have a vested interest in Kisner?).   

The Deutsche Bank Odds
It's not easy finding sightly Boston 
related images but here goes.

1. Jason Day - 13/2
2. Rory McIlroy - 15/2
3. Jordan Spieth - 8/1
4. Henrik Stenson - 16/1
5. Dustin Johnson - 16/1
6. Justin Rose - 16/1
7. Bubba Watson - 22/1
8. Brooks Koepka - 28/1
9. Rickie Fowler - 30/1
10. Louis Oosthuizen - 35/1

The FGR Deutsche Bank Picks

1. Rory McIlroy
2. Jordan Spieth
3. Henrik Stenson
4. Justin Rose
5. Jim Furyk
6. Jason Day 
7. Kevin Kisner
8. Zach Johnson
Not bad for an ice hockey theme.
9. Brooks Koepka
10. Robert Streb

The FGR One and Done Pick: Kevin Chappell

The FGR Sleeper Pick: Kevin Kisner

Last Week's Report Card: B

1. Jordan Spieth - M/C
2. Dustin Johnson - T9
3. Jason Day - 1st
4. Justin Rose - T16
5. Brooks Koepka - M/C
6. Jim Furyk - T11
7. Bubba Watson - 3rd
8. Charl Schwartzel - M/C
9. Ryan Moore - M/C
10. David Lingmerth - M/C

One and Done Picks to Date

OK . . . we're getting there.
Hyundai: Kevin Streelman - $70,667
Sony: Chris Kirk - $42,280
Humana: Russell Knox - M/C
Phoenix: Hunter Mahan - $36,729

Farmers: Hideki Matsuyama - M/C
AT&T: Dustin Johnson - $281,067
Northern Trust: Jimmy Walker - $24,120
Honda: Keegan Bradley - M/C
WGC-Cadillac: Bubba Watson - $540,000
Valspar: Jim Furyk - $23,600
Palmer: Brooks Koepka – W/D
Texas Open: Matt Kuchar - $99,200
Houston Open: Louis Oosthuizen - M/C
Masters: Rory McIlroy - $480,000
Heritage: Patrick Reed - M/C
Zurich: Rickie Fowler - M/C
Match Play: Graeme McDowell - $49,385
Players: Henrik Stenson - $130,857
Wells Fargo: Webb Simpson - $624,800
Colonial: Zach Johnson - $78,780
Byron Nelson: Gary Woodland - $15,407
That's what I'm talking about!!!
Memorial: Justin Rose - $669,600
FedEx St. Jude: Billy Horschel - $168,000
U.S. Open: Phil Mickelson - $23,822
Travelers: Brandt Snedeker - $147,200
Greenbrier: Kevin Kisner - $500,267
John Deere: Robert Streb - $84,600
British Open: Sergio Garcia - $305,878
Canadian Open: Charley Hoffman - $174,725
Quicken Loans: Justin Thomas - $242,875
Bridgestone: Adam Scott - $55,000
PGA Championship: Jason Day - $1,800,000
Wyndham: Bill Haas - $174,825
Barclays: Charl Schwartzel - M/C

Season Total: $6,843,684


* Cleghorn is the poser in case you were wondering. Admit it. You thought it was Kokrak didn't you? You're so predictable. (Wife rolls eyes, sighs and leaves the room). 

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The DraftKings Deutsche Bank Preview

Every week we live and we learn and sometimes we learn what we already knew but we forgot because we tend to get distracted by shiny objects like Brooks Koepka. There was just way too much free love flying his way last week and that should've raised red flags. No one gets over on the game of golf. Especially a relative newcomer on an unfamiliar course who suddenly finds himself a few good tournaments away from a monster payday. The fact that our justification for making him the top pick included a reference to a character named "Brooks" who killed himself should've been our first clue. We'll try to keep it a bit more positive this week.

The Barclays Results

1. Brooks Koepka - $9,700 (M/C)
"Stick to the fundamentals. Day, Stenson, Z.J. and
Furyk. That's how good fantasy rosters are built."
(Lou Mannheim? Really? Way to keep it positive).
2. Robert Streb - $7,900 (T39)
3. Dustin Johnson - $10,700 (T9)
4. Charley Hoffman - $7,000 (T62)
5. Russell Henley - $7,500 (T72)
6. Shawn Stefani - $6,200 (T39)
7. Charl Schwartzel - $8,200 (M/C)
8. Tony Finau - $7,300 (T16)
9. Zach Johnson - $8,100 (T4)
10. Jordan Spieth - $12,600 (M/C)
11. Jimmy Walker - $7,600 (T69)
12. Kevin Kisner - $6,900 (T20)
13. Jim Furyk - $8,800 (T11)
14. David Lingmerth - $7,800
15. Ryan Moore - $7,600 (M/C)
16. Ben Martin - $6,800 (T68)
17. Will Wilcox - $7,200 (M/C)
18. Brendan Steele - $7,100 (M/C)
19. Scott Piercy - $6,700 (T62)
20. Paul Casey - $8,700 (T39)

This week we head to a course with some historical data, most of which indicates that one of the favorites is going to take it down. Past winners include Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods (when he was good), Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson two years ago. Runner-ups include Tiger (twice), Vijay, Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen. From a DraftKings standpoint, that tells us that you've got to enter at least four line-ups with one being built around each of Day, McIlroy, Stenson and Jordan Spieth* who is going to be pissed about missing the cut last week which unbelievably but rightfully dropped his Vegas odds to third.** You probably want to throw DJ into a fifth line-up to be safe because you don't want to be left holding the bag if that lunkhead finally gets his head on straight. 

Here's who we like in Beantown (what a jackass nickname for a city which makes it completely appropriate in this case). 


1. Henrik Stenson - $10,500

Henrik's irons appear to be dialed-in again and that means mucho birdies, especially at a turkey shoot course like TPC Boston. He shot 22 under when he won this thing in 2013.

2. Kevin Kisner - $7,300

Kisner appears to have been devalued because he missed the cut at the British Open and the PGA but he's 13th in the FedEx Cup standings and almost all of those points have been accumulated since the first of his three 2nd place finishes in April. During that time, he also has two other top tens and a T12 at the U.S. Open. He will post at least one top five during the playoffs. I stake my worthless reputation on it.   

3. Chris Kirk - $7,100

I normally wouldn't go anywhere near a guy coming-off a broken hand but he says he's healthy, a claim backed-up by his 68 last Friday. You also have to factor-in that (a) he's the defending champ, (b) he won right before he got hurt and (c) you can get him for less than Harris "Wha'Happened" English this week.

4. Robert Streb - $8,000

I'm going to keep riding these next two horses until they pay or go bust. Let's just hope that happens before the freakin' McGladrey Classic.

5. Brooks Koepka - $8,700

Koepka had finished top ten in five of his last seven events before missing the cut last week. He probably should've skipped the Wyndham because now he's on track to play five weeks in a row but let's hope last weekend's mini vacation helped him recharge. If he was worth the #1 pick for $9,700 at the Barclays, then he's certainly worth the #5 for $8,700 at the Deutsche. (Way to use your crappy pick from last week to justify a potentially less crappy pick this week). 

6. Matt Kuchar - $8,500

Kuch has been playing better than you may have noticed with a T2 at the Scottish Open and T7's at the PGA and Canadian Open. The course this week is a perfect set-up for him and he's been alternating good results with bad so we're looking at his T39 last week as a positive.  

7. Jason Dufner - $7,600

The personal life BS has to be messing with his head which would explain him playing two to three good rounds per tournament and then failing to stick the landing. Last week he opened 66-68-69 before the inevitable 75. To me that says he's close and TPC Boston has been good to him unlike a few other people who shall remain nameless.

8. Zach Johnson - $9,300

He putted horribly last week and still finished tied for 4th. It appears we're watching a player hit one of those pre-40's primes as ZJ has five top tens in his last eight starts. His success at the TPC Boston has only been moderate but the way he's playing right now that shouldn't matter.

9. Jordan Spieth - $11,300

Because you have to build at least one line-up per week around him.

10. Luke Donald - $7,800

He's been solid since the Travelers including a T12 at the British Open. Back when he was one of the best players in the world (a/k/a "The Pre-McIlroysic Era"), he had a T2 and a T3 in Boston. (I'm not really buying Donald this high but I wanted to use that "Pre-McIlroysic Era" line so drop him to about 17th and bump Justin Thomas into this spot. Sorry but there's just nothing funny that I'm aware of about Justin Thomas . . . yet).

The Best of the Rest
You've got to hedge against DJ
getting his paws on and then
inevitably crushing the trophy.

Justin Thomas - $7,900

Jim Furyk - $9,000
Ian Poulter - $7,100
Brandt Snedeker - $8,400
Tony Finau - $7,700
Rory McIlroy - $11,200
Paul Casey - $8,300
Russell Henley - $7,800
Dustin Johnson - $10,800
Webb Simpson - $8,100


* With the top players dominating the way they are right now, you almost have to enter a line-up with each of them. Last week I came out ahead by putting the right collection of schlubs around a Jason Day led team. The margin wasn't enough to start popping champagne (or even buy a bottle of champagne) but it was better than a sharp stick in the eye.

** Digest that one for a second and consider how loaded golf is right now when the guy who won two majors and came within a putt of making a playoff for a third can't get a top two spot. That'd be like Kevin Hart showing-up at a comedy club to do fifteen minutes and being told they'd get him on right after Amy Schumer and Anthony Jeselnik. (I've been listening to a lot of Comedy Central Radio lately).

Email the Fantasy Golf Report at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com.