Welcome to Playing the Tips!
Each week this will be the one-stop resource to soak in all the picks from our group of fantasy staffers from Rotoworld.com. We’ll have all of our selections from the GolfChannel.com, Yahoo! Fantasy Golf, as well as One-and-Done & DFS recommendations.
Ryan O'Sullivan previewed the course and set out some rankings, check out his Valspar Championship Preview.
Stay in touch with what's happening overseas as Dave Tindall breaks down this week's European Tour event in his True Thailand Classic Preview.
To check out what you may have missed last week, Mo Yoshimoto has you covered in his WGC-Cadillac recap.
Now for the picks...
GolfChannel.com Fantasy Golf
2016 Earnings: $6,226,820
2016 Rank: 4,091 of 33,903
Group 1: Jordan Spieth
Group 2: Webb Simpson
Group 3: K.J. Choi
Group 4: Steve Stricker
ANALYSIS: A real horse-for-the-course buffet here. Spieth and Choi have both won here (Choi x2). Stricker and Webb have both racked up top 20s at an extremely high rate when they visit Copperhead.
2016 Earnings: $4,999,909
2016 Rank: 10,619 of 33,903
Group 1: Jordan Spieth
Group 2: Luke Donald
Group 3: Will Wilcox
Group 4: Steve Stricker
ANALYSIS: You'll notice a much different feel of these teams when you compare them to last week where bombers ruled at Doral. Distance is not a prerequisite at Copperhead and that makes great iron-players like Donald and Stricker rise to the top.
2016 Earnings: $4,837,485
2016 Rank: 11,753 of 33,903
Group 1: Jordan Spieth
Group 2: Justin Thomas
Group 3: Sung Kang
Group 4: Steve Stricker
ANALYSIS: Mo is going with the Bash Brothers at the top, which is always a high-upside duo. Kang is getting a huge boost with Fluff Cowan on the bag for him. Stricker has played well here in the past, and should have not troubles finding another top 30 this week.
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.
“Future of Fantasy”
Winter Segment points: 1,468
Gary Woodland (9): The first piece of my Team Under Armour duo, Woodland is a past champion at Copperhead (2011). Growing up in Kansas, he's not afraid of a little wind, either.
Jordan Spieth (8): I rarely pick defending champions, but Spieth is not a typical defending champion. He received the media coverage of defending champions every week he tees it up. This week will be no different and I expect a top 10 out of him.
Henrik Stenson (9): Has been living in nearby Orlando since he came over to America, but couldn't commit to the Valspar timeslot until last year. It was love at first site (solo 4th place) and we should expect a very similar result this week.
Luke Donald (9): There is some course history you can't ignore, and this is one of those cases. The Englishman sports top 10s in four of his past five Valspar starts, including a 2012 victory. His season form is middle-of-the-road, but he's still 6-for-7 on the season. He's close, and this is a great venue for him to recharge.
Harris English (9): A pair of top 10s here in four tries. Add in his recent top 10s and you have a great course history-recent form cocktail.
Jason Dufner (10): He's playing his sixth week in a row, so I plan on keeping him on the bench to begin with (just in case there is a fatigue explosion). The fact that he remains commited to this event tells us everything, though, as it's a perfect course fit and seven straight top 30s is good evidence of that.
Graeme McDowell (8): Making his course debut, but we saw how well Stenson took to the course his first time around, last year. Class is permanent, and this course sets up well for G-Mac.
Matt Kuchar (7): He's a safe bet any time he tees it up, but on a course that rewards great iron-play over great distance, he rises to the top.
Ryan O’Sullivan (O)
“The Golf Aficionado”
Winter Segment points: 1,387
Winter Segment Points: 1,299
Segment Ranking: 15,781
Daily Fantasy Sports [DFS]
I will be giving out these selections for one team each week, entered 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!
Give DFS golf a whirl and draft your team today!
Patrick Reed ($10,400): The two stars at the top (Spieth and Stenson) can't be ignored, but to win a large-field GPP, I'm going to pivot off them and grab a lesser-owned Reed. He enters off a couple poor showings, but his ability to contend, and actually pull through with a victory, cannot go unnoticed.
Graeme McDowell ($9,200): He will be off the scent of any gamers that go by course history, as he makes his debut this week. As an Orlando resident, he should feel rather comfy this week, not too far from home. I'm looking for a big performance in his first battle with the Snake Pit.
Luke Donald ($8,300): I can't pick a Valspar team without the Englishman on it. Many gamers rely heavily on course history while others rely more on form. If you mix and match good course history golfers with golfers in good form, then it only increases the likihood that you will have a unique lineup.
Graham DeLaet ($7,500): There aren't many venues where the Canadian has good course history. So when those courses pop up, we need to take notice. He sports a pair of top 20s in three tries at Copperhead. He will also go under-the-radar due to poort recent form.
Cameron Smith ($6,900): Aussies have a reputation for handling the wind, so will Smith live up to the stereotype? It's too early to tell, but I'm willing to take a stab at it this week. The up-and-comer is still developing power off the tee, so I really want to target him on a course like Copperhead that doesn't require distance.
Will Wilcox ($6,800): He gave us the go-ahead to back him via Twitter. You have to like the confidence as he was already high on my radar for this price tag. Finished T33 in his Valspar debut last year.
Other Picks to Consider
Gary Woodland ($8,400): The 2011 Valspar champ also arrives with top 35s in five of his seven starts to kickoff the season.
Steve Stricker ($7,200): He's really loading up his schedule this year as he tries to play his way back into form. Hasn't played here since 2010, but it's like riding a bike, and he'll quickly rediscover his love for Copperhead.
Harris English ($9,600): The Georgia Bulldog is fighting in a new weight class this week as he's generally in the low-to-mid $8K's. That will lead to lower ownership, but his course history (top 10s in two of last three) and recent form (top 10s in two of last three) make him a great selection.
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!
Let's start with the Copperhead course horses and narrow down our search. That leaves us with Luke Donald, Kevin Streelman, Webb Simpson, Jason Dufner, Gary Woodland, and Jordan Spieth. Webb is returning from a pre-tournament WD, so I'll pass there. Dufner is playing his sixth week in a row, so we can't rule out fatigue. If I had him still available, I would use Donald, but I used him a few weeks ago at the Honda where he underperformed for me, with a T61. That leaves Spieth or Streelman. Spieth is not his usual self lately. That could change very quickly, but I don't want to stake my OAD pick on that. Streelman is not in a class of golfers that I want to rely on in a One-and-Done format, unless the strength of field requires it. This week does not.
With resurfaced greens this year, we won't know how they'll react to the first tournament action. Which leads me to my next option. Avoiding course history for the most part, and going with pure class. Henrik Stenson fits this mold perfectly, since most events he'll attend for the remainder of the season will be fully loaded with elite best-in-the-world caliber of golfers. Stenson is my pick this week, as I fully expect him to back up his solo fourth-place debut with another strong finish.
WGC-Cadillac: A T3 for Rory McIlroy as he recorded just one birdie in the final round. Slightly disappointing.
Honda Classic: T61 for Donald as he performed the worst of the three I had narrowed down. Our worst showing yet, but at least he made the cut!
Northern Trust: I didn't get a win, but I chose the second-best option of the five I was considering. Holmes and his T11 will suffice.
AT&T Pro-Am: A third-round 63 saved the week for Jimmy Walker as he finished T11. Not terrible, but Phil obviously would have been the best pick of the three I had it narrowed down to.
WMPO: Bubba Watson backdoored a T14 after slipping on Saturday with a 2-over 73. Not the podium finish we hoped for, but it will suffice.
Farmers: My decision to save Sneds looked good on Friday as he snuck into the weekend. A big pile of WELP was served though as Snedeker came from behind to grab a victory. A T17 from Charles Howell III is not too disappointing though.
CareerBuilder: Kevin Na pulled through with that podium finish we asked for. Successful week.
Sony Open: Matt Kuchar teased us but fought his way back to a T13, which is acceptable.
Hyundai TOC: Dustin Johnson finished T10, not killer but I really wanted a little more out of my DJ usage.