Welcome to Playing the Tips!
Each week this will be the one-stop resource to soak in all the picks from our fantasy staffers at Rotoworld.com.
Here is a quick rundown of what sites and formats we will cover each week:
Page 1 will feature all of our selections for GolfChannel.com and Yahoo! Fantasy Golf.
Page 2 will go over One-and-Done as well as Daily Fantasy Golf picks.
Page 3 will come back later in the year when the Fantasy Race to Dubai returns from hibernation.
UPDATE: In a surprise move, the Fantasy Race to Dubai has returned this week, so check out Page 3 for picks.
Before we look ahead, Mo Yoshimoto takes a look at last week's action in his Sony Open Recap.
Now for the picks...
GolfChannel.com Fantasy Golf
Weekly Points: 352.5
Weekly Rank: 8,954 of 14,960
Danny Lee ($27,400)
Jon Rahm ($18,200)
Lucas Glover ($15,600)
Luke List ($15,500)
John Huh ($13,100)
Aaron Wise ($7,400)
ANALYSIS: This is all about the format of the prize pool. With only three places paid out, I wanted to diversify to dive myself a greater chance at climbing the leaderboard if one of them hits. I think Rahm and List will be very popular so that won't be were I diversify. Instead, guys like Danny Lee and John Huh have been practicing at the course as recent as a few weeks ago. I'm hoping that gives them the edge needed to really surprise. Aaron Wise is another wildcard, but I suspect he'll have decent ownership given the ratio of talent to salary here.
Weekly Points: 372.5
Weekly Rank: 7,222 of 14,960
Bill Haas ($31,800)
Brian Gay ($6,900)
Ben Crane ($8,500)
Lucas Glover ($15,600)
Luke List ($15,500)
Jon Rahm ($18,200)
ANALYSIS: Haas and Gay both have steady history here at PGA WEST while Rahm and List will be the chalk plays here that are sort of the "free spaces" if we're equating this to bingo. Crane and Glover will be the wildcards as one of them traditionally struggles with the flat stick (Glover) while the other shines on the putting surface (Crane).
Weekly Points: 279.5
Weekly Rank: 13,482 of 14,960
Jamie Lovemark ($24,900)
Charles Howell III ($23,000)
Luke List ($15,500)
Adam Hadwin ($14,300)
John Huh ($13,100)
Brian Gay ($6,900)
ANALYSIS: If you're looking for what golfers will be popular, look no further than Luke List. Mo uses him to round out the trifecta in terms of Rotoworld staffers. Huh and Gay also make repeat appearances here while Lovemark, Hadwin, and CH3 all have solid tournament experience.
Yahoo! Fantasy Golf
*Make sure you check our Twitter accounts for any updates before the first tee ball flies on Thursday. Change in weather, tee times, etc. can always lead to last-minute changes and we will let you know through our social media channels.
This week's event features three courses. The starting courses are all mentioned next to the golfers below.
(LQ) = La Quinta CC
(SC) = Stadium Course at PGA WEST
(NT) = Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA WEST
“Future of Fantasy”
Last Week Points: 144
Season Points: 335
Season Rank: 11,980
Patrick Reed (LQ): As a part of my strategy this week, I want to make sure I don't get stuck with my starters and bench all playing the same course each day. The primary course I want to avoid is the Stadium Course, and that makes my selection tricky in Group A. Reed and Haas are the two obviously plays here while Steele and Castro would be next in line. The problem is they all open their week on La Quinta CC. I will go with Reed as my pick of the litter and diversify courses with my backup spot.
Smylie Kaufman (SC): Opens on the tougher of the three courses, I will definitely start him on the bench. In fact he will only get into my starting lineup when Reed is playing the Stadium Course this week.
Bill Haas (LQ), Brendan Steele (LQ), Roberto Castro (LQ)
Francesco Molinari (NT): He's not stranger to quick starts, posting up inside the top 10 on 18 separate occasions after round one (in 89 career PGA TOUR starts). With Nicklaus Tournament course as his starting spot, I like his chances to find himself there again this week.
Paul Casey (LQ): Did not impress in his debut with new clubs, but the fact that he added this event to his schedule let's us know he feels close and wants to rebound this week instead of sulking on the missed cut.
Charles Howell III (SC): He gets a step down in terms of tournament history when you compare it to his sparkling record at Waialae. Here in La Quinta he is 9-for-11 with four top 15s.
Kevin Na (SC): Finished T3 here last year, the first year the current course rotation was in place. That's a good sign and he was also seen practicing here at the Stadium Course in early January, so he should be up for the challenge again.
Charley Hoffman (LQ), Jamie Lovemark (LQ), Webb Simpson (SC), Adam Hadwin (NT)
Zach Johnson (LQ): Played very well in Hawaii last week (T6) and he's finished top 10 twice at this event, so we know the format doesn't bother him too much.
Keegan Bradley (NT): Did not impress in his first start since becoming a married man. On the bright side, he shook off the rust last week in Hawaii and should be ready to roll this week on a trio of courses that cater to ball-striking.
Jon Rahm (LQ), Ryan Palmer (LQ)
Ryan O’Sullivan (O)
“The Golf Aficionado”
Last Week Points: 144
Season Points: 349
Season Rank: 7,620
Bill Haas (LQ) and Patrick Reed (LQ)
Charles Howell III (SC), Jamie Lovemark (LQ), Lucas Glover (SC), Kevin Na (SC)
Zach Johnson (LQ) and Emiliano Grillo (NT)
Last Week Points: 107
Season Points: 346
Season Rank: 8,551
Brendan Steele (LQ) and Bill Haas (LQ)
Jamie Lovemark (LQ), Charles Howell III (SC), Francesco Molinari (NT), and Adam Hadwin (NT)
Luke List (NT) and Ryan Palmer (LQ)
Daily Fantasy Sports [DFS]
I will be giving out selections for one team each week.
This week I will enter the following lineup into the $3 Birdie Contest.
This contest has a large number of entries, with guaranteed prize payouts, which means we can't play it safe if we want to see our name at the top!
Patrick Reed ($11,200): One of the best winners on TOUR, I feel good using Captain America as my anchor. It helps that he's also a past champ here at PGA WEST.
Keegan Bradley ($7,400): Shook off the cobwebs last week on his way to a MC, but he showed steady form in the fall. This price is just way too low for someone that can get dialed in and rack up DK points in bunches.
Kevin Na ($8,80): One of his sponsors lives in the area and he visited that sponsor last year before the event to test out the new course rota. That worked wonders last year and he's done the same this year as he made a trip to PGA WEST just a few weeks ago. Love having that course knowledge on my side.
Danny Lee ($6,700): Like I just mentioned with Na, Danny Lee was a part of that trio that visited the venue (Kevin Na and John Huh). His form is certainly lacking as he arrives with five missed cuts over his last seven starts. Perhaps the holiday break was all he needed to rejuvenate the game.
Lucas Glover ($7,700): One of the best ball-strikers on TOUR, but the putter is always the wildcard. I am willing to take a risk on his flat stick this week since we have bermudagrass on the greens.
Webb Simpson ($8,200): Enters with four straight top 40s including a T13 at last week's Sony Open. Regaining form, and much like Glover and Bradley, he's lights out when the putter is half-way decent.
Other Picks to Consider
John Huh ($7,000): I mentioned that Na made the trip here a few weeks ago and Huh was a part of that threesome. Already has two top 30s here in two trips, so why not three-in-a-row?
Anirban Lahiri ($7,000): Still looking for his big breakout on the PGA TOUR. Lahiri positioned himself at T3 here at the midpoint before fading to T28 by week's end. On the bright side, he'll finally have some course knowledge on his side, unlike most of his career starts on the PGA TOUR.
Each week I think aloud to provide you with my One-and-Done selection as well as a few alternatives. Fade or Follow? You decide!
Charles Howell III was my pick last week and he pulled through with a steady T8. A steady stream of top 10s is great but it'd would also be nice to pick off a win or two soon.
First I want to look at tournament history. Given the change in courses at this event, this won't be the main factor, but the ability to play in this region at this time of year on similar par 72 bermuda courses is still relevant.
Ryan Palmer (8-for-12 with five top 10s)
David Lingmerth (T2-T78-24-2)
Jason Dufner (6-for-7 with three top 20s including last year's win)
Bill Haas (11-for-12 with five top 10s; two of them wins)
Charley Hoffman (6-for-10 with six top 20s)
Zach Johnson (4-for-6 with four top 25s)
Webb Simpson (6-for-7 with five top 25s)
Phil Mickelson (11-for-13 with seven top 20s)
Martin Laird (8-for-9 with four top 25s)
Charles Howell III (9-for-11 with four top 15s)
After looking at tournament history, let's have a glance at pure class. Here is the top 10 in the field in terms of adjusted strokes gained per round during the 2016 calendar year: Phil Mickelson, Paul Casey, Jon Rahm, Bill Haas, Patrick Reed, Emiliano Grillo, Ryan Palmer, Jason Dufner, Francesco Molinari, and Charles Howell III.
Last week we had nobody hit the sweetspot of being top 10 in tournament history and pure class. This week we have four: Phil Mickelson, Bill Haas, Jason Dufner, and Charles Howell III.
Mickelson is the easy name to cross off that list since he's trying to comeback from a pair of sports hernia surgeries and may have to pull a mid-week WD if he doesn't feel up to the task.
For my tiebreaker I'm going to look at career podium finishes and then see how many of those came at this event.
Jason Dufner: 11 career podiums, 1 at the CB Challenge
Charles Howell III: 27 career podiums, 1 at the CB Challenge
Bill Haas: 15 career podiums, 3 at the CB Challenge
The best ratio here is clearly Bill Haas who's collected two wins and a runner-up here, a 1-to-5 ratio when compared to his career podium finishes. Bill Haas is my pick.
Top 10s: 5
Top 25s: 7
Missed Cuts: 2
Total Picks: 9
2017 Fantasy Race to Dubai
Dave Tindall is our main man in Europe. In addition to his weekly previews of European Tour events on Mondays, he’ll share his selections and analysis for the Fantasy Race to Dubai at EuropeanTour.com.
Format: Pick 6 golfers. Players accumulate points based on Race to Dubai (R2D) points earned. Captain’s points are doubled. Unlimited team changes can be made each week.
Team Tindall (Team name: YESSIR!)
Never got going last year but that’s often the case after a good rookie campaign. Ready for a big third season.
Thomas Pieters (captain): Giving the skipper’s armband to the young Belgian who has a fourth and a second on his two starts here, showing he both loves the course and is able to hit the ground running after a break. Makes the most of his huge hitting here and loves to putt these immaculate greens.
Rafa Cabrera Bello: Always a reliable pick in desert conditions and he has a residence in Dubai. His lack of wins are frustrating but he can still rack up big prize money. Has practised hard over winter and was last seen finishing runner-up in the Hong Kong Open last month.
Bernd Wiesberger: A top 10 machine; he ended 2016 with six in seven starts. Wiesberger, like RCB, doesn’t win as often as you’d like but a slightly hotter putter and that could all change as he hits so many greens. Hasn’t finished worse than T26 in his last eight starts in the United Arab Emirates.
Tyrrell Hatton: A big-time player now. Finished fourth on last year’s Race to Dubai after two top 10s in majors, a win in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and second place in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship. 10th and 6th in two of his three starts in this event.
Martin Kaymer: Phenomenal record here with three wins, a second, a third and a sixth. It should be four wins but for his hard-to-fathom collapse when leading by 10 in round four two years ago. The German put in the work over winter at his base in Phoenix so is ready to go.
Henrik Stenson: I tried to get clever last season and too often left out the obvious favourite in a bid to be contrary. Not anymore. Stenson has a strange record here but he was third last year when coming in off knee surgery and, of course, he returns this time as a major champion.
Team Cooper (Team name: NormanStanleyFletcher)
Matt Cooper is part of our European team. He contributes to player news, and he’ll share his selections and analysis for the Fantasy Race to Dubai at EuropeanTour.com.
A new year and new opportunity. One subtle change in the format (no vice captain, captain earns double points) and one smart alteration (an end to the random post-cut substitution which skewed the entire purpose of the game).
Henrik Stenson (captain): An absolute curate’s egg of a record on the course (three top threes; four missed cuts in 11 starts), but I’ll side with the good stuff. Can’t see how he won’t be wanting to burst from the blocks, fondly recalling the advances of 2016.
Tyrrell Hatton: Another who will have enjoyed the mince pies whilst looking back over the year, yet also now likely to be excited about getting back to it. Two top tens at the course in three visits and always struck the ball well there.
Thomas Pieters: Putted horribly on debut at the course to miss the weekend, but since then found the secret and gone T4-T2. Probably needed the break and it’s only at this course that I’d have picked him. His record in strong field events is otherwise something he really needs to work on this season.
Jeunghun Wang: First visit to the course but was T2 in the Asian Tour’s Dubai Open and T17 in the DP World Tour Championship after a shocking start. Putted very well on both occasions. Twice gone close in big events since the back-to-back wins.
Joost Luiten: 5-for-5 on the course with three top six finishes on the bounce. Take links golf out the 2016 equation (he’s not a fan) and he was relentless in regular European Tour events.
Byeong Hun An: Outside of the majors & WGC his 2016 European finishes read T5-T4-T33-T3-DQ-T10-T13. He was in contention when signing the wrong card, too. T12 and T5 at the course.