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: $1,888,804
2015 Rank: 5,080
HO HO HO HO! Winner, winner chicken dinner! The reason I’m clowning here is because it’s not easy to pick one out of 156 golfers ANY week let alone a defending champion. Did you know that Moore (CIMB) and Walker (Sony) are the most repeat champs since 2010? #FACHTS. That’s why I’m pleased as punch. PLUS, I know, probably starting this week, that I’ll have plenty of WTF weeks where I’ll be kicking myself. Walker’s brilliance made me forget my disappointment with CH3 and his T26. Henley rallied for T17 and Overton was T37 so I had one from each 10-spot! I’ll take that each week!
Pick a winner? Celebrate
Pick a terrible team? CRAWL IN YER HOLE AND DIE!!!!
Group 1: Patrick Reed
Group 2: Ryan Palmer
Group 3: Jason Kokrak
Group 4: Jeff Overton
I’m not sure how Reed can’t be the selection if nothing else as to play defense. How many times have we had a chance to pick the defending champ off a victory? Yeah, I’m not letting it pass me by! Palmer is on fire in the desert as well and knocked off the rust last week. Kokrak has been solid and his return from sports hernia surgery has been very consistent. I’m rolling the dice this week again with Overton over the young’uns ‘cause Bolton made fun of my pick last week during our chat. #Bastard
2015 Earnings: $1,632,286
2015 Rank: 8,226
Group 1: Patrick Reed
Group 2: Keegan Bradley
Group 3: Jason Kokrak
Group 4: Hudson Swafford
More proof there is more than one way to skin a cat, The Oracle of fantasy didn’t fire with Walker but Piercy from Group 3 took home solo second so all was not lost. Plus he put his Groups 1, 2 and 3 in Abu Dhabi all in the top 10 and that is quite nice. We match Groups 1 and 3 and he knocks the dust of fall favorite Swafford for another run out.
Ryan O’ Sullivan
2015 Earnings: $2,507,527
2015 Rank: 1,174
Group 1: Patrick Reed
Group 2: Bill Haas
Group 3: Rory Sabbatini
Group 4: Max Homa
ANALYSIS: O is two-for-two as he’s picked Reed and Walker the last two weeks so we all must bow down. This week, we match Group 1 only so it will come down to the final three groups to find separation. Haas is a pro and was my second choice in Group 2. Sabbatini tends to play well in bunches and Homa is coming off a TOUR-best T6. Homa also got a seriously look from me in Group 4.
2015 Earnings: $1,839,138
2015 Rank: 5,704
Group 1: Patrick Reed
Group 2: Bill Haas
Group 3: Charles Howell III
Group 4: Jeff Overton
ANALYSIS: After mirroring each other last week we only match Groups 1 and 4. Looks like Ned is sticking with Overton as well! Ned matches O in Groups 1 through 3.
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.
Sony Points: 174
WINTER Segment Points: 422
WINTER Segment Rank: 2,598
Ryan Palmer: Only seven players in Group A this week, but I probably would be going with Palmer even if there were more in the group. He has been playing well since his T5 at the PGA Championship, with top 17s in six of his last seven events. His recent record at the Humana is very good with top 6s in three of his last four starts (fourth in '11, T6 in '13 and second last year.)
Bill Haas: This is his first start of the new calendar year and like Palmer his recent record at the Humana is solid with a win in '10, T2 in '11 and T6 last year.
Matt Kuchar: He disappointed at the TOC with a T17, but then rebounded last week with a nice T3 at the Sony. His recent record at the Humana is solid with a T2 in '10 and a T7 in '11.
Zach Johnson: He disappointed last week with a T64 at the Sony Open. Normally, that might move me to another player, but his recent record here is pretty good with a T8 in '12 and a T3 last year.
Phil Mickelson: Mickelson is coming off a poor year in '14 with his only decent showing being a second place at the PGA Championship. I can see where guys will want to wait a week and see how he does, but he has a different schedule this year and has listed only three stops on the West Coast Swing.
Brandt Snedeker: I'm taking a bit of a shot in here with Brandt Snedeker. In recent years, he always seems to be fighting some injury to start the year, but this use to be a stop that he played well in with a T10 in '10 and a T8 in '12.
Patrick Reed: This is another tournament where there are tons of Group C players to pick from, but the hottest of them all is Patrick Reed. He took is T3 finish at the Hero Challenge and continued to play well at the TOC, where he beat Jimmy Walker in a playoff. After enjoying an extra week in Hawaii, he is back at the Humana, where he won last year.
Keegan Bradley: This is Bradley's first start of the year, but like Reed he played well in the off-season with a T3 finish at the Hero Challenge. He has played at the Humana twice with a T7 in '11 and a T17 last year.
Ryan O’Sullivan (O)
“The Golf Aficionado”
Sony Points: 178
WINTER Segment Points: 373
WINTER Segment Rank: 10,641
Sony Points: 170
WINTER Segment Points: 373
WINTER Segment Rank: 10,430
Sony Points: 184
WINTER Segment Points: 371
WINTER Segment Rank: 11,337
Walker was great but I had him on my bench for his two biggest rounds, Saturday and Sunday. I NEVER guess properly and that’s why 184 pts is decent, but nothing spectacular for the week. Whatever. Another week, another roll of the fantasy dice! I won the week in our foursome but am I still last because of Kirk-Day in round four last week and omitting Walker on the weekend this week. GUESS BETTER!
Donald is the only dawg in Group A for me this week because he’s never played here. When it takes 25-under to win spread over three courses to learn, I’m leaving that guy out.
I gave both Kuchar and Johnson the week off last week and they both went the opposite way of what they did at Kapalua. Got that? Kuchar went T17/T3 and Johnson solo sixth/T64. This is a dumpster fire foursome as Kirk and Johnson (first start) didn’t exactly figure anything out last week. A hot start from Sneds would go a long way! There are more fades than plays in Group B for me!
This reminds me of Kapalua where everyone was taking Reed and Moore. Wash, rinse, repeat and hope for the best. Moore could get a look here and I like Kokrak as a sleeper and James Hahn for a walk-off, two-strikes-grand-slam home run.
Daily Fantasy Sports [DFS]
Josh Culp is our resident DFS guru. Every week, he’ll publish his lineup and alternatives for DraftKings.com.
Josh provides his DFS picks for this week's Humana Challenge. He will enter this team below into the $2 guaranteed prize pool contest that rewards the winner with $1,500. Click here to take him on this week at DraftKings!
Matt Kuchar ($13,800) ... Don't mess with a good thing. He continues to prove his consistency week after week. The third-place finish was nice last week, and I'm willing to go back to the well again for the near-guaranteed top 10.
Jason Dufner ($9,900) ... The new slimmer-fitting Jason Dufner has four top 30s internationally since his return from injury. Now he heads to a site that has netted him a 5-for-5 record with a pair of top 20s. That sounds appealing.
Jerry Kelly ($7,400) ... This is all about safety. Just like a good stock portfolio, you have to take some risks while also holding onto some risk-averse options. Kelly is the latter, particularly on short courses.
Matt Jones ($6,100) ... The Aussie gets the title of the most surprising course horse this week. In five trips, he hasn't finished outside the top 30. His form has looked suspect since securing his maiden win, but this is the perfect venue to get back on the podium or at least contend.
Bryce Molder ($6,200) ... Three top 40s in four Humana starts. He found himself in a slump last year after his Valero WD, but the third-place finish at this season's opener is a great sign that he's ready to return to form.
Robert Garrigus ($6,300) ... He finished runner-up in 2012, even with an opening-round 73 on his scorecard. In addition, he owns three other top 20s at the Humana. His length off the tee gives him plenty of flexibility on these short venues. After a slow start during the fall, we can snag this course horse when many gamers will turn away in fear.
Other Picks to Consider
Alternate for Molder: Brian Stuard ($6,600) ... This may be my downfall, continuing to chase Stuard, but this is another perfect venue for his play style. He likes to slap it around on short venues and all three of the courses this week fit that bill.
Alternate for Dufner: Zach Johnson ($10,800) ... He is 4-for-4 at the Humana with all 17 rounds ending with red numbers on the scorecard. He tends to succeed on the same courses annually, and his four top 25s are a good sign of what's to come this week.
Alternate for Kuchar: Bill Haas ($11,400) ... Third in all-time earnings at the Humana thanks to a win, a runner-up, and four other top 25s. His average score at this event is 68.20 with 46 career rounds under his belt.
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.
Did I really not pick Kaymer? Didn’t matter too much in the end and star man Rory banked over half a million with his second-placed finish earnings doubled. All-in-all, a nice start with Tyrrell Hatton (T6), Jamie Donaldson (T9) and Justin Rose (T12) doing the business.
Current position: 9,226
(Team name: YESSIR!)
Star Player: Charl Schwartzel
The South African is flying high at the moment. He even claimed he should have broken 60 in the third round last week. Good record here so let’s ride him towards a big finish.
• Sergio Garcia: A no-brainer. Finished WIN-second last two years and was just pipped by Schwartzel as the star player.
• Ernie Els: The former Qatar champ arrives on T12 in Abu Dhabi and has made last 15 cuts worldwide
• Thongchai Jaidee: 11-for-12 here and hasn’t missed a cut outside the U.S. since late 2013
• Tyrrell Hatton: Stays on the team after justifying last week’s selection with a T6
• Mikko Ilonen: 2nd last year, 9th in 2013 and boosted by recent Masters invitation
• Thorbjorn Olesen: Give him another chance. He will shine at some point on the Gulf Swing
• Foolish to omit Rose and Stenson? Both have poor recent course form, Stenson MC last week
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.
2014-15 Glass OAD
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.
SEASON TOTAL: $846,922; 9 events
Top 10s: 3
Top 25s: 5
Thermometer: More proof that there are no guarantees in life! For the record, I do NOT take defending champions so I had no chance this week anyhow.
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a live chat Wednesday at NOON ET. We will be breaking down the field at the Sony Open and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter.