Fantasy Insider: Wells Fargo Championship

  •  

     

    With many unknowns about Eagle Point Golf Club, Wesley Bryan fits the mold for a player to consider in fantasy this week at the Wells Fargo Championship. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

    May 02, 2017
    By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM

    As it concerns the six-man roster game, since Dustin Johnson sat out the Masters, we have the flexibility to get as aggressive as we want with him for two reasons. First, for just about all intents and purposes, TPC Sawgrass will win next week’s PLAYERS. We’ll analyze it more at the time, but it’s a terrific week to invest in a certain kind of golfer and not necessarily a household name. The other motivating factor to dangle DJ is that the U.S. Open, which he’ll be defending at Erin Hills, is a scoring-only fantasy contest. Johnson unquestionably will be at or near the top of our choices, but savvy gamers may want to swing around it for more points elsewhere.

    Segment 3 has eight events remaining, but they’re going to go by fast. It makes sense to chart ahead now so that you’re positioned to survive during what’s certain to be a challenging Segment 4.

    PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO

    My roster for the Wells Fargo Championship (in alphabetical order):

    Paul Casey
    Dustin Johnson
    Phil Mickelson
    Jon Rahm
    Adam Scott
    Webb Simpson

    You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.

    Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):

    Scoring: Wesley Bryan; Brian Harman; J.B. Holmes; Shane Lowry; Graeme McDowell; Francesco Molinari; Pat Perez
    Driving: Lucas Glover; Emiliano Grillo; Shane Lowry; William McGirt; Francesco Molinari; Louis Oosthuizen; Hudson Swafford; Harold Varner III
    Approach: Wesley Bryan; Lucas Glover; Kevin Kisner; Shane Lowry; William McGirt; Nick Watney
    Short: Wesley Bryan; Stewart Cink; Brian Harman; Kevin Kisner; Graeme McDowell; Sebastian Muñoz; Pat Perez

    Power Ranking Wild Card

    Kevin Tway … Co-authored a strong week at TPC Louisiana with Kelly Kraft. The duo finished four strokes outside the playoff, but it was still good enough for outright third place. However, on his own ball at TPC San Antonio the week prior, Tway tied for third for what went in the books as his first career top 25 on the PGA TOUR. Everything was clicking for him that week, so he’s sizzling.

    Draws

    Carl Pettersson … Giving the Eagle Point member the benefit of the doubt. While he owns the course record (62), he’s been far from appealing in our world for too long. Just 39 years of age, the Raleigh resident is burning a career earnings exemption this season, but he hasn’t capitalized beyond the certainty of a full schedule. However, as the old saying goes, it takes only one week to make a season and he ranked fourth in strokes gained: putting en route to a T16 at the Valero Texas Open two weeks ago. The anchoring ban didn’t do him any favors, so that’s a more positive sign than what appears at face value. Now he can apply that confidence on greens he knows better than an extremely high percentage of the field.

    Lucas Glover … One of the more polarizing values on the board, but that’s a good thing because he’s been a regular conversation piece. The 37-year-old has set up nicely often since solving some troubles on the greens, but he’s still logged only one top-15 finish in his last 10 starts. This explains the omission from the Power Rankings, but no one is sleeping on him, either. With a new track where crisp ball-striking with a punch of power should be rewarded, you need to make room in every format.

    Pat Perez … Flying under the radar but shouldn’t be. If you can overlook the untimely sore shoulder at TPC Scottsdale, he hasn’t missed a beat since returning to action in October. The 41-year-old is 13-for-14 on the season with four top 10s and another four top 20s. Slots 24th in adjusted scoring and T7 in par-5 scoring. Toss in the fact that he’s ninth in scoring average before the cut and first in second-round scoring, and he’s a cornerstone in DFS.

    J.B. Holmes … The format in New Orleans was apparently just what he and teammate Bubba Watson needed. They tied for fifth. Holmes entered with better form, so he sets up as a hedge at Eagle Point. Currently 23rd in strokes gained: tee-to-green and capable of overpowering the track.

    Emiliano Grillo … He’s only 24 years of age and just a PGA TOUR sophomore, but we can trust that the 2015-16 Rookie of the Year is rumbling. Obviously, we want to latch on ahead of something special. Enough stars are aligned to warrant the risk at Eagle Point. He’s 11-for-12 on the season that was front-loaded with three top 20s but he also placed T7 at Bay Hill in March. Sits 24th in strokes gained: tee-to-green as well.

    Graeme McDowell … Tough to dismiss generally above-average consistency even if we might expect more. Nine top-30 finishes in his last 11 starts worldwide. Baseline accuracy off the tee could carry additional value in the wind this week. Already owns the mettle to withstand that kind of challenge, too.

    Stewart Cink … Along the same lines as G-Mac, the American has been a steady reservoir of support for months with seven top 30s in his last nine starts. Ranks 30th in both strokes gained: tee-to-green and greens hit as well as 19th in adjusted scoring. It’s the empirical evidence underscoring that he’s in a good place in his life, just as he’s said he is in the wake of his wife’s health scare.

    Harold Varner III … Checks two boxes. He’s back in relatively familiar climes as a product of East Carolina University just up the road and east of Interstate 95, and his aggressive game off the tee plays at Eagle Point. Hasn’t made much noise since capturing the Australian PGA Championship five months ago, but he’s 7-for-10 upon arrival with a pair of top 25 sprinkled in.

    Fades

    James Hahn … While he’s poised to defend his second PGA TOUR title with better form than the 0-for-8 skid prior to prevailing at Quail Hollow last year, he hasn’t recorded a top-25 finish in a full-field event in 2017. Stick with full-season investments here.

    Patrick Reed … Cited solving an issue with the specs on a wedge in San Antonio before missing the cut, but perhaps a taste of the hunt last week is what he needed. Partnered with Patrick Cantlay, they tied for 14th at the Zurich Classic after positioning themselves one stroke off the lead at the midpoint. Because of such a strong start to his career, it’s easy to forget that Reed is only 26 years old. We should always expect greatness, but it would be narrow-minded to overlook that there are going to be hiccups along the way. Simply continue to abstain until he reconnects.

    Jim Furyk … I’ve written about it before and it bears repeating. If he’s not distracted by the attention of his role as Ryder Cup captain, it’s not evident in his execution inside the ropes. Zero top-35 finishes in all six stroke-play starts this year. It’s a mild concerning trend developing after he opened his return from wrist surgery in similar form a year ago before a co-runner-up finish at the U.S. Open.

    Zach Johnson … Arrived at Eagle Point with six consecutive rounds over par in stroke-play competition and having missed consecutive cuts for the first time in six years. His recent form is reason enough to look elsewhere, but the 41-year-old hasn’t been his usual self on approach. He’s giving away over two-and-a-half strokes per every four rounds versus his clip last season.

    Luke List … Eagle Point figures to highlight his strengths, but that’s a theme we’ve visited too often in the face of some adversity. Statistically a beast but tilts toward long-term ownership until he finds a comfortable place on the mountain that he’s scaling rapidly. All that said, I’d endorse a strategy to just toss him out there every week and deal with the pitfalls. He’s just so electric.

    Kevin Na … No worries long-term for the 33-year-old, but there’s been an excess of inconsistency of late. When reviewing his record over the last year or so, you wouldn’t know that he became a first-time father in August of 2016 – that’s a good thing for gamers because of his cachet – but he hasn’t played up to the usual expectations in weeks when he’s made sense. For now, he’s best left to the belly of full-season investors who aren’t complaining.

    Chris Kirk … Will turn 32 years old on Monday, May 8, but it would be a surprise party if he found form. At some point, the Georgian will right the ship, but we don’t need to reach. He’s gone eight starts with only three cuts made, none of which for a top 30. Now 100th in the Official World Golf Ranking, he’s at his worst spot in four years.

    Brian Gay … With all due respect to him and his form, I’m endorsing the possibility of him looking ahead to next week’s PLAYERS for which he’s now exempt after the PGA TOUR reviewed and adjusted the value of FedExCup points for golfers on medical extensions. With a pair of T6s in his last two starts, he’s ripe to carry that form into TPC Sawgrass, so we’ll give him another look next week.

    Alex Noren … Time and again, the PGA TOUR has acted as a cooler for international non-members attempting to sustain momentum from success abroad. The Swede is among recent victims save a quarterfinals run at the Match Play. If you’re still curious and hopeful, all of the previous four events in which he’s appeared featured deeper fields than his competition at Eagle Point.

    Returning to Competition

    Dustin Johnson … Just in case you weren’t aware, he’s No. 1 in my Power Rankings. For the paranoid, understand that he risks more by returning too soon from his back injury. Now that four weeks have elapsed, you can invest with confidence. Furthermore, when it happened, he cited that he’d be ready to compete a few days later.

    Notable WDs

    Louis Oosthuizen and Bud Cauley … Both were in my Power Rankings. Only the South African is exempt into THE PLAYERS at this time.

    Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith … Both punched tickets into next week’s PLAYERS when they won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

    Ben Crane, Freddie Jacobson, Kyle Stanley … All expected to compete in THE PLAYERS.

    Kelly Kraft … Taking the week off after a third-place performance (with Kevin Tway) at TPC Louisiana. Kraft is 41st in the FedExCup standings, so he can legitimately exhale and embrace the value of fully exempt status on the PGA TOUR for the foreseeable future. However, a short-range goal is to qualify for the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, site of his U.S. Amateur title in 2011.

    Steve Marino … Fourth early WD of the season. Just five cuts made in 15 starts and sits 193rd in the FedExCup standings. He is not eligible for THE PLAYERS.

    Power Rankings Recap – Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Power Ranking  Golfers  Result

    1  Justin Rose-Henrik Stenson  MC
    2  Jason Day-Rickie Fowler  MC
    3  Branden Grace-Louis Oosthuizen  T24
    4  Daniel Berger-Thomas Pieters  MC
    5  Ryan Palmer-Jordan Spieth  4th
    6  Bud Cauley-Justin Thomas  T5
    7  Hideki Matsuyama-Hideto Tanihara  T32
    8  Patrick Cantlay-Patrick Reed  T14
    9  Keegan Bradley-Brendan Steele  MC
    10  Kevin Chappell-Gary Woodland  MC

    Sleepers Recap – Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Golfers  Result

    Andrew Loupe-John Peterson  T39/MDF
    Lucas Glover-Chez Reavie  T39/MDF
    Dominic Bozzelli-J.T. Poston  T32

    Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR

    May 2 … none
    May 3 … Brooks Koepka (27)
    May 4 … Rory McIlroy (28)
    May 5 … Cameron Percy (43)
    May 6 … none
    May 7 … none
    May 8 … Andres Romero (36); Chris Kirk (32)