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, my weekly selection for One-and-Done players plus DFS love from Josh Culp and European Tour insight from Dave Tindall.
GolfChannel.com Fantasy Golf
2015 Earnings: $8,807,859
2015 Rank: 5,960
I log in this morning and find out that I had NOBODY in Group 1 last week. NOBODY. How does this happen? How does the Golf Channel let you submit a team that is MISSING a player? How is that possible? They won’t let you submit a team without picking a tiebreaker but missing a player? What f#cking ever. Instead of $580,800 for Spieth in Group 1, I get $0.
Group 1: Rory McIlroy
Group 2: Jimmy Walker
Group 3: Lee Westwood
Group 4: Tiger Woods
ANALYSIS: The career grand slam is looming for McIlroy and the pressure will be fueling him not causing him to shy away. There’s not one player in Group 1 that I would argue to play against this week with the exception of Stenson who is coming off flu and has nothing better here than T14. That’s being quite picky. There’s just as many fades as follows in Group 2 but I’m going with the piping hot Texan. It was difficult to leave Casey out of Group 3 but I’m going with the more Augusta tested and proven Englishman in Westwood. Woods is the easiest Group 4 pick ever. Ever. Hoffmann is my dark horse, not 55-year old Couples.
2015 Earnings: $12,034,211
2015 Rank: 159
Group 1: Bubba Watson
Group 2: Dustin Johnson
Group 3: Brandt Snedeker
Group 4: Luke Donald
ANALYSIS: Bolton is gobbling up spots on his way to the top like Pac-Man on ecstasy. His P2-1-MC-T11 lit up the scoreboard last week and he’s bringing a balance of lumber and putting this week. Watson and Johnson will overpower and Sneds and Donald should excel around the greens. Gamers that are looking for balance aren’t going to find much better.
Ryan O’ Sullivan
2015 Earnings: $15,251,416
2015 Rank: FIFTH; 25.4 ounces
Group 1: Jason Day
Group 2: Jimmy Walker
Group 3: Ian Poulter
Group 4: Tiger Woods
ANALYSIS: Hang in there, O. You had P2-WIN-T25-T11 last week and didn’t move up. I guess you’ll need a 1-2-3-4 finish this week to take the lead. He’s gone with a line-up of non-major champs and Tiger Woods. If O continues this streak this week I hope it’s with Walker or Woods as we match those two.
2015 Earnings: $11,178,541
2015 Rank: 340
Group 1: Bubba Watson
Group 2: Jimmy Walker
Group 3: Brandt Snedeker
Group 4: Tiger Woods
ANALYSIS: Ned and Rob will have to punch-counter-punch with O to gain ground. This week, Ned matches Rob in Groups 1 and 3 and O in 2 and 4. Ned is banking on the red, white and blue to move him up the standings again this week!
Yahoo! Fantasy Golf
Ned Brown is a long-time contributor for Rotoworld Golf. He’s had documented success in Yahoo!’s game for years. Even if you’re confident in your selections for that game, give his insight a read. He’ll lead us off each week in the Yahoo! game.
Points – Houston: 150
Points – SPRING Segment: 150
Rank – SPRING Segment: 1,217
Points – SEASON: 2,254
Rank – SEASON: 1,523
Bubba Watson (6): He has played a light schedule this year yet played well with T10 to open at the HTOC, T2 WMPO, T14 NTO and solo third at Doral. I am a little concerned about going with him in the rain that is forecast but it's hard to ignore his championships here in '12 and last year.
Rory McIlroy (9) He’s won the last two major championships entering the week but he isn't playing at the level that he was at the end of last year. His recent results show T9 at WGC-Cadillac and T11 at API.
Jimmy Walker (8): He was in a mini-slump coming into the VTO and snapped out of it in a big way with a title. This made him the first multiple winner on this year's TOUR. He played in his first Masters last year and came away with a very nice T8.
Jordan Spieth (2): He has played well all season and as a result I'm down to two starts on him. He is coming into the event with a pair of second place finishes in Texas, after his championship at the Valspar. Throw in that he’s returning to an event that he finished T2 last year and tell me how I can sit him.
Jason Day (6): He was red-hot on the West Coast Swing, which included a championship at the FIO, but he has cooled off a bit. He returns to Augusta where he finished T2 in '11 and third place in '13.
Dustin Johnson (6): He doesn't have quite the course history at Augusta that some of the other players that could be plugged into this spot. He could have been coming into the Masters with back-to-back championships if it wasn't for that bad first round weather at the VTO. He did close with the two lowest rounds of the weekend (68-68) so he’s on fire.
Patrick Reed (4): He won the HTOC and after a mini-slump has been playing well with T7 at Honda, P2 at Valspar and T17 last week at the SHO. The Augusta State grad missed the cut in his only Masters start so he is all about playing the current hot hand.
Russell Henley (9): I didn't have real strong feeling about anyone in this spot, so I decided to go with a University of Georgia grad. He looked great last week at SHO, solo fourth, which was his third, top 4 result in 11 starts this season. This is his third trip to the Masters so I'm looking for him to improve on last year's T31.
Ryan O’Sullivan (O)
“The Golf Aficionado”
Points – Houston: 210
Points – SPRING Segment: 210
Rank – SPRING Segment: 373
Points – SEASON: 2,403
Rank – SEASON: 28
Henrik Stenson (8)
Bubba Watson (6)
Jordan Spieth (5)
Jimmy Walker (6)
Jason Day (7)
Dustin Johnson (7)
Ryan Moore (9)
Louis Oosthuizen (10)
Points – Houston: 164
Points – SPRING Segment: 164
Rank – SPRING Segment: 13,884
Points – SEASON: 2,212
Rank – SEASON: 2,858
Rory McIlroy (8)
Bubba Watson (6)
Jason Day (6)
Brandt Snedeker (7)
Jimmy Walker (4)
Jordan Spieth (4)
Ryan Moore (9)
Patrick Reed (5)
Points – Houston: 156
Points – SPRING Segment: 156
Rank – SPRING Segment: 18,760
Points – SEASON: 2,214
Rank – SEASON: 2,772
I couldn’t keep the momentum going off my big finish (244 pts) in the Winter finale. More proof that I’m a shitty guesser, I guess. Here’s what I left on the bench in Houston: 65 on Thursday; 66-67 on Friday; 67-67 on Saturday.
Rory McIlroy (9)
Adam Scott (10)
If the weather forecast trends in a better direction I’ll switch Bubba for Scott but right now that’s not the case. Stenson’s illness from last week has slowed him down so I’d take a long look if that is an angle gamers are exploring. Ryan Palmer is the dark horse play here.
Jordan Spieth (4)
Jimmy Walker (5)
Jason Day (7)
Dustin Johnson (6)
If the course plays wet and long, I have that more than covered. If the course needs to be putted, I have the covered. I thought about sneaking Mickelson in for DJ but I’m going with the better ball-striker of the two. Casey and Snedeker just missed out as well.
Patrick Reed (5)
Russell Henley (10)
It’s really old or really young in Group C so I’ll put my faith in the youth. I’ll be watching for Reed and issues with his knee up until the deadline and I absolutely love Henley this week. Fade at your pleasure!
Daily Fantasy Sports [DFS]
Josh Culp is our resident DFS guru. Every week, he’ll publish his lineup and alternatives for DraftKings.com.
Josh has pieced together this lineup to throw into this week's free contest being held at DraftKings.
This is the largest fantasy golf contest ever held as you can turn $20 into $1 Million if you finish on top.
Draft your entry now: http://partners.draftkings.com/aff_c?offer_id=948&aff_id=26
Rory McIlroy ($14,900) ... Call it a "square" play or tell me he'll never reach value, it doesn't matter. You need the winner if you want to take home a million dollars this week. I think he's overpriced, but I'm willing to pay up in some of my GPPs in order to reap the potential winner's benefits.
Paul Casey ($7,300) ... Four top 20s in his first five trips to AGNC before falling off in his last three. Luckily, his 2014-15 form suggest another top 20 is more likely this week.
Gary Woodland ($7,300) ... Has been very mercurial at Augusta National in three trips. Has four rounds of 70 or better in 11 tries. If he pieces together four of those rounds, or even three, then he will easily exceed this price tag.
J.B. Holmes ($7,200) ... Will likely be one of the highest owned golfers this week on DraftKings, but it's well deserved. He enters off a win at the Shell Houston Open and has the perfect statistical profile to contend at Augusta National.
Webb Simpson ($6,700) ... He's not often in the conversation when it comes to talking about bombers but he's currently in the top 70 in driving distance and top 10 in strokes gained: tee-to-green. Those kinds of improvements are huge and his putter will return at some point.
Ryan Palmer ($6,600) ... Has the length and shot shape to conquer Augusta National. He's never entered with this kind of form, which may mean a repeat of his 2011 10th place could be matched this week. At least that's the idea.
Other Picks to Consider
Alternate for Simpson: Fred Couples ($6,400) ... When the Masters comes around each year, it means Boom-Boom is in play in daily fantasy circles. With five straight top 20s here, just continue to ride him until the wheels fall off!
Alternate for Holmes: Billy Horschell ($7,300) ... We know what happens when he gets locked in, he piles on good finish after good finish. Posted a solo third in his last start, so it's time to jump on for the good times. Posted a T37 here last year in his debut without posting a single red number.
Alternate for Woodland: Lee Westwood ($8,200) ... If Woodland is too risky for your palate, try a little Westwood instead. He's gained the most total strokes at AGNC since 2010, and it priced very reasonably.
2015 Fantasy Race to Dubai
Dave Tindall is our newest contributor, but he’s been a fixture 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.
Pick 10 golfers. Players accumulate points based on Race to Dubai (R2D) points earned. Star player’s points are doubled. Unlimited team changes and unlimited star player changes are available each week.
No tournament, so extra time to focus on getting it right for one of the key weeks of the year and charging back up that leaderboard!
Current position: 4,804
(Team name: YESSIR!)
Star Player: Justin Rose
Seven top 25s in last eight Masters. Set to peak again after decent warm-up in Houston.
• Angel Cabrera: Course horse. A stallion in fact. 2009 winner, 2013 runner-up and 4 other top 10s
• Victor Dubuisson: Unpredictable but huge upside if he’s in the mood. Closing 66 in Houston
• Rory McIlroy: Not convinced he’ll win but simply can’t be left out
• Louis Oosthuizen: Always a gamble given his fitness concerns but a potential winner if healthy
• Ian Poulter: Solid option for this format given his consistent Masters record. In decent form too
• Patrick Reed: Yes, he’s a European Tour member! Don’t waste this rare chance to pick him
• Vijay Singh: 2000 winner is this year’s surprise veteran if PGA TOUR form holds up
• Henrik Stenson: Gets in on hot current form even though he doesn’t own a Masters top 10
• Lee Westwood: Augusta National stud. Has bettered Rory’s finish in each of the last 5 Masters
It's my column and I'll change the title AFTER A VICTORY, BABY!
Each week I painfully writhe and wretch trying to figure out the proper strategy to find a player that will hit the top 10. Wins are great but aren’t likely so I’m satisfied with having a CHANCE to hit the big money. Missed cuts are absolutely the death in this game but even the surest of things don’t always happen in the reality world of fantasy golf. Remember, fade or follow, it’s up to you! I’m going to leave my 2013-14 results up for a few weeks so if you have any questions “mapping” your season, you can learn from my plays from last year.
Those who don’t recall history are condemned to repeat it.
Frys.com: Brooks Koepka. Let’s get this started off on the right foot. Koepka, playing without any status last year, led on Sunday by three shots at the turn. He finished T3 and learned a valuable lesson. His recent form has been scintillating as he has four top 15s in his last four worldwide starts, including the PGA at Valhalla (T15). He was T9 last week at the Dunhill. Koepka, T8, did what was expected and racked up a top 10 for $168,000.
Shriners Open: It came down to Moore, Watney and Piercy for the OAD place this week. Laird was also in the conversation but I’m going with the best putter of the group mentioned above and there’s not a place that Moore HAS TO BE USED later. Sure, he beat Gary Woodland in a playoff last year at CIMB but I don’t use defending champions. #WeakSauce. He shares the tournament record has three top 10s in his last four. More Moore please! ANY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE THREE OTHER THAN MOORE would have been just fine. Moore has wiped me twice in eight events. The good news is I don’t even have to CONSIDER his presence again until October of 2015.
McGladrey Classic: This is the CLASSIC HEDGE MOVE for gamers. I’m going with Kuchar above but Simpson down here to cover my ASSet. Look, save Simpson for Greenbrier, Sedgefield or TPC Boston, but I’m going with a guy who is hot NOW and will find someone else later. HOW COULD THIS GO WRONG, RYAN MOORE??? Nothing like a T41 to back up a MC; $19,600.
CIMB Classic: I’m loading up on Charl Schwartzel since I can’t play him on the Sunshine TOUR at the Dunhill or Joburg. His course form is overwhelming and in a limited field with limited views of this track, his experience and successes here are huge. He’ll probably WD. He couldn’t catch up after his opening round 74; T19, $94,500.
WGC-HSBC Champions: I’ll go with the guy who holds the course record, the 2011 title plus two other top eight finishes in four starts, Martin Kaymer. Did I mention he made 29 birdies here last year? Ok, good. If I was a casual golf fan and just picked up the newspaper on Monday morning to see that Kaymer finished T6 I would have been thrilled…$216,337
Sanderson Farms: It came down to Tony Finau or Hudson Swafford and I went with the Georgia ‘Dawg. Both are hot so I’ll go with the local-er of the two and the better ball-striker. I should be required to take the “Silly Season” off. BOTH missed the cut. I’m ready for 2015…
OHL Classic: Can I just pass? Since I couldn’t pull the trigger on Jason Bohn in the Golf Channel game, I’ll hedge him here with Stroud and Sabbatini right behind him. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? I need a vacation. I was gun-shy but the hedge paid off with T7 and $196,275
HTOC: This is a good news/bad news event. The good news is that there are only 34 players and this is a track that requires previous experience. The bad news is if the guy you pick doesn’t finish in the top five it’s a complete waste of time. For the conservative/saver this is THE ONLY WEEK TO PICK Ogilvy since he’s won here twice. For the throw-caution-to-the-wind player, Kuchar, Day or Watson should lead the line. I’ll find myself right in the middle with Chris Kirk. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? Kirk needed to tie the course record on Monday to hit six figures. Yeah, that’s all I needed to pocket $110,000, 11 birdies and 62. Day pulled the same trick but he finished T3.
Sony Open: I’m going with the man who has eight top 10s in 13 career starts, Charles Howell III. He’s hit the top five in five of the last six years and I’m not going to find that anywhere else on TOUR. #EasyChoice. Make it top five in five of the last SEVEN years. T26 paid $42,280.
Humana Challenge: Ryan Palmer gets the nod this week as he’s shown form on these tracks and has no problem getting low, yo! He’s a member at Colonial, FYI. The pain. The suffering. The life of a fantasy gamer. If reading from top to bottom it’s easy to see why my pain is prevalent. Shut up. T10 isn’t great but isn’t terrible, $136,000.
WMPO: This week, Hunter Mahan takes the wheel. With his wife due shortly, he knows his time, for the moment, is limited and it’s time to make hay. It doesn’t hurt that his game sets up for most layouts and it doesn’t hurt he won here in 2010 and was T4 last year. I’m not confident pulling the trigger on Watson, Spieth, Fowler or Mickelson just yet. THERE’S NOTHING WORSE than playing defense but these gentlemen are more valuable in majors/WGC than here in the desert. Brendan Steele was the backup plan. Mahan = T30 $36,729 but cashed more $$$ than Phil or Rickie! NOBODY CARES!!!
FIO: I’ve ridden Fowler here the last two years and he responded with T6 and MC so let’s hold off on the ticker tape parade. I’m throwing caution to the wind this week and sending the No. 1 player in the FedExCup to do work. With T2 and WIN in his last two Jimmy Walker is the play this week. I can’t use him next week at Pebble Beach where he is the defending champion (and I had him in OAD!) and his record at Riviera isn’t as strong as it is here. DO WORK, SON! One shot out of the lead entering Sunday resulted in a, for him (and me) a disappointing T7 and $189,787. Yep, that’s how high the bar is now set with him on the California coast.]
Pebble Beach: Day is tempting but if he keeps playing like this he’ll have chances in bigger paydays so he’s out. I’m saving Johnson for his redemption song next week at Riviera so he’s out. Walker was played last week plus he’s the defending champ so that leaves Patrick Reed. Hit it a mile. Find it. Make everything. Win. Kevin Na, Aaron Baddeley or would be a nice fill for a TOAD. Imagine if Reed didn’t close with 67 to finish T29 and pocket $44,200? Wait, it could have been WORSE? Blimey…
NTO: I’m a romantic so Dustin Johnson gets the call this week. His six months on the sideline were spent playing and practicing in his adopted home town and his form at Riviera is better than most. He lost in a playoff to James Hahn. That sums up my career in OAD. P2 $589,600. I liked when he was solo second last year when I had him…#MOARMONEY
Honda: I’m going to keep the big hitter motif going this week as I sent Keegan Bradley to bat. I’m looking to grab a guy who’s hot and has course form and he checks both boxes. Dead-beat MC. Wow. #NaeDollars
WGC-CC: There’s no point for me to start “saving” anybody for anything as this season is slowly slipping away. Plus, this is a WGC and the prize pool is only bigger in a couple events (PLAYERS/Open Championship). Bubba Watson is being sent out to stop the bleeding. Go on son! Bring the General Lee if necessary! HELP ME BUBBA! Other considerations would include Day (any event) or McIlroy (any event) and for TOADYS, I’m not sure how I’d talk anyone out of Jamie Donaldson. Watson finished solo third for $540,000. WHO TOLD HIM ON THE BACK NINE THAT I HAD HIM IN OAD?
PRO: I’ll give Overton a chance to keep up the heat on a track where he’s had success in the recent past. T27; $18,736.
Valspar: Time to strike while the iron is hot with Luke Donald. His four trips around here have been quite tight. He’ll be happy to be inland this week and he’ll also be happy to see a yardage book with familiar marks on it. I’m not sure he has a better course history anywhere else and that’s been his calling card the last two years: course form. Well that streak of course form is over; T53, $13,468.
API: Orlando residents Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell or Henrik Stenson work this week. Kevin Na is also a tasty angle if he’s still available. Since Match Play is all jacked up different this year, this will be the spot I burn Poults. Hopefully he bought another Ferrari this week and feels he needs to pay for it immediately…Poulter opened with 67 and got worse from there with 70-71-72 to close and watch the field lap him on the weekend. T21 for $59,141. The only way I’ll accept this is Stenson winning when I finally pull the trigger on him.
Valero: Laird gets the call this week as I’ll gladly save the heavy hitters for down the road. The list of winners here is odd so it’s not the week to burn a big name. The winner last week wasn’t odd but he wasn’t available for me anyhow. Laird has finally burned out as his T50 for $14,838 feels just like a MC.
SHO: I’m not one of those weirdos who selects the defending champ once a year so I’m playing J.B. Holmes this week instead of saving him for Quail Hollow. I don’t love that he’s coming off a MC his last time out but his numbers at GCH are very nice. I hope the course is soaking wet and long as it can play. BINGO. BANGO. BONGO. First oversized check of the year!
Masters: Mickelson was a tempting choice this week as was the blazing hot Spieth but I’m going to load up on Jason Day for the second consecutive year. Except this year he’s not hurt. I’ve played Watson, DJ, Walker already on courses where they have excelled in the past and have had decent success. Day fits that bill this week.
SEASON TOTAL: $3,088,021; 21 events
Wins: Holmes, SHO
Seconds: Johnson, P2, NTO
Thirds: Watson, solo, WGC-CC
Top 10s: 8
Top 25s: 11
T53: 1, Donald on a course where he’s never finished worse than 6th.
MC: 3, Moore (Shriners), Swafford (SFC) & Bradley (Honda)
Thermometer: Nothing like a WIN heading into a major to build momentum.
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a live chat Wednesday at 12 ET. We will be breaking down the field at the Masters and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter.