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.
If you want a primer for the course and tournament in general before you see our picks, check out Ryan O's WM Phoenix Open Preview first. Sometimes its best to look at the past before projecting the future, Mo Yoshimoto's Farmers Insurance Open recap is going to be great for that.
GolfChannel.com Fantasy Golf
2016 Earnings: $3,793,746
2016 Rank: 3,954 of 31,389
Group 1: Bubba Watson
Group 2: J.B. Holmes
Group 3: Webb Simpson
Group 4: Kyle Stanley
ANALYSIS: The theme of O's squad this week is distance (and spotty putting). Bubba owns consecutive runner-up finishes here, so that's an easy pick. Holmes is a two-time winner at TPC Scottsdale, but he will be overshadowed by the likes of Phil Mickelson, Kevin Na, Jason Dufner, and perhaps even Justin Thomas. This is a spot for O to make a move up the leaderboard if Holmes comes through for him. Simpson, as you'll notice throughout this article, is a great mix of form and history. Stanley is more on the history side of things as a past winner (2012). Hasn't found a way into the top 70 in three return visits.
2016 Earnings: $3,346,617
2016 Rank: 6,608 of 31,389
Group 1: Bubba Watson
Group 2: Phil Mickelson
Group 3: Brendan Steele
Group 4: Martin Laird
ANALYSIS: Going with a full stable of course horses here. Phil has won this event three times and Watson has come close on multiple occasions. Laird has a house just minutes from the course, so his local knowledge parlayed with last week's contention was enough to get me on board with a Group 4 selection.
2016 Earnings: $2,692,362
2016 Rank: 11,729 of 31,389
Group 1: Brandt Snedeker
Group 2: Robert Streb
Group 3: Tony Finau
Group 4: Martin Laird
ANALYSIS: Mo is going with a four-pack of golfers that all faced the tough Sunday conditions at Torrey Pines. It could be like using a weighted warmup bat in the on-deck circle while playing baseball. They've faced the tougher conditions, so now the calm Scottsdale weather will be a breeze. The opposite could also come true where the nasty weather put a dent in their confidence and they struggle to find a groove. Mo is hoping it's the former.
Yahoo! Fantasy Golf
*Make sure you check our Twitter accounts for any updates before the first tee ball flies on Thursday. Tee time pairings and/or weather scenarios can always lead us to change our lineups prior to lock.
“Future of Fantasy”
Last week's points: 673
Phil Mickelson: Alot of good options here but Lefty's round one from just three years ago seals the deal for me. He was on 59-watch and "settled" for an 11-under 60. He went on to torch the course for 28-under by week's end, cruising to victory. It helps that his attitude and focus is back in the right frame of mind. Could be the spot he gets back in the winner's circle.
Webb Simpson: A great mix of current form and course history. Last three starts at TPC Scottsdale are top 10s. Last two starts entering the week are top 20s. Trends converging, time to shine.
Brooks Koepka: The defending champ here in Phoenix and a T3 in his last start (Hyundai Tournament of Champions).
Hideki Matsuyama: The question mark is always the putter but with top 5s in his first two WMPO starts, I think its safe to say these greens don't give him fits.
Brandt Snedeker: Hard to follow up last week's amazing Sunday effort. Could be some potential letdown as he gets hounded by media about the round of the year. Still a great pick since he's playing fantastic and also has four top 10s in nine tries here.
Brendan Steele: He's teed it up at TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course five times. He's walked away with three finishes of T6 or better! More recently, he's found himself in contention but one or two bad rounds per week are holding him back. This is a great venue for Steele to get back into the winner's circle for the first time since 2011, his rookie year.
Kevin Na: Enters with some top-heavy finishes at TPC Scottsdale, including four top 5s (in 10 tries). Checks the box with current play as well, arriving in Arizona with four podium finishes in six 2015-16 starts.
Ryan O’Sullivan (O)
“The Golf Aficionado”
Winter Segment points: 680
Winter Segment Points: 697
Season Ranking: 3,294
Daily Fantasy Sports [DFS]
I will be giving out these selections for one team each week, entered into the $3 Drive the Green 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!
Webb Simpson ($9,200): Like we mentioned in the Yahoo! section, he's arriving with good form but also sports great course history. Bingo!
Brendan Steele ($8,800): Has put himself into contention here a few times. The course really sets up well for him to attack as he's long off the tee but also very accurate for someone with his distance.
Scott Piercy ($7,700): Five top 15s in seven tries here solidfies him as a course horse. Easy pick for this salary.
Martin Laird ($7,700): Going with the local connection angle here as the Scot has a home just miles from TPC Scottsdale. Will definitely be in his comfort zone this week.
Graham DeLaet ($7,700): Just like Laird, DeLaet owns property in the area and has made great use of his local knowledge (T7/2015; T2/2014).
Hunter Mahan ($7,600): This might be the point where you enter the lineup and say "What did I mess up? Why is there $1,300 leftover in salary?" Fear not, this is just a strategy we are using to keep our odds of having a unique lineup much higher. Mahan's course history here, six top 30s, adds another course horse to our roster. That apepars to be the theme of the week, stick to course history!
Other Picks to Consider
Ryan Moore ($8,500): Another great GPP-selection due to the long layoff since he's last teed it up on TOUR. That should keep his ownership down, but his winning upside remains. Can't rule out some rust, of course.
Smylie Kaufman ($7,500): This is a play that will keep you even with the herd, so to speak. Kaufman continues to perform, but his salary has his a plateau. Don't be afraid to throw him into a few lineups and try to diversify elsewhere.
Phil Mickelson ($10,600): IF you want a little more household-name firepower, I don't blame you. That's where Lefty comes in. We know he loves this venue, evidenced by a trio of victories.
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!
While last week was easy to narrow down our list (I ended up choosing wrong in the coin flip), this week is a little more open. First I tried to narrow down our list of golfers that have played well at TPC Scottsdale recently. That led me to Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka, Webb Simpson, Scott Piercy, Phil Mickelson, and Brendan Steele. Then I realized I also used Piercy, so he was out. Next was Nike Koepka and I elminated him as well as he makes his first attempt at a title defense. I think seven times out of 10 its a non-issue, but there is still that small chance that the added media duties gets him out of his routine and he completely flops.
While Steele is intriguing, I couldn't ignore his play during the weekends this year, sadly pass. Simpson was next to evaluate, but I could easily think of two places to use him down the road (Wells Fargo & Wyndham) so I will let him go as well. That leaves me with two lefties that can hit it a long way. While it's easy to find place I will want to use Bubba (Masters and Travelers pop to mind), I could say the same about Phil, as well. So, I am going to stick with my gut, and the chalk, selecting Bubba Watson as my OAD pick.
Farmers: This week is a relatively easy one. The Farmers has plenty of course history, unlike last week. The two names that stick out above the rest are Brandt Snedeker and Charles Howell III. Can we cross out either due to poor form? Nope. Both are playing excellent golf currently. Will we miss either of them down the road at future tournaments? Yes. Snedeker has many stops on TOUR that he enjoys. That includes Pebble Beach in just a couple weeks. So, let's save Snedeker and go with Charles Howell III this week at the 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 CH3 is not too disappointing though.
CareerBuilder: Sticking to my plan, I want as much chalk as possible. I've already used Matt Kuchar and Bill Haas. Zach Johnson is better left for the Crowne Plaza or John Deere Classic. I'm not high on Reed due to his poor track record on Pete Dye courses, so scratch him off, as well. That leaves me with Kevin Na for my pick this week! Given the pace of play with all the amateurs on the course this week, Na should fit right in and pick up his fourth podium finish of the season (hopefully)!... Na pulled through with that podium finish we asked for. Successful week.
Sony Open: My strategy is to stick to the chalk as much as possible, and try not to overthink myself out of the easy picks. This week that narrows it down to Matt Kuchar or Jimmy Walker. The latter has more pressure on him as the two-time defending champ entering the week. Therefore, I will go with Matt Kuchar this week... He teased us but fought his way back to a T13, which is acceptable.
Hyundai TOC: "Right up the gut, and this week that gut tells me Dustin Johnson is the safest route. In 19 rounds at the Hyundai, he's never posted an over-par round. In 11 of those 19 rounds, he signed for sub-70. He hoisted the trophy in 2013 and his worst finish in five tries is a T16." ... Finished T10, not killer but I really wanted a little more out of my DJ usage.