Golf is hard. Fantasy golf is harder.
Just when I think I have this game mostly figured out, along comes the last two weeks, where the unpredictable reigned supreme.
Billy Horschel, who was recently playing as poorly as he ever has, defeated Jason Day on the first playoff hole to win the AT&T Byron Nelson. James Hahn finished one shot out of the sudden death, and Jason Kokrak was another shot behind. Horschel hadn’t won since the Tour Championship clinched the FedEx Cup for him in 2014. This is the second straight week where a struggling pro rose to the top and made life interesting for the chalk-riding fantasy owners. It also didn’t help that Day missed a four-footer on the playoff hole.
So how did my fake little team do? Welcome to the Land of Missed Opportunities!
2017 AT&T Byron Nelson recap
Yahoo! Tournament Points – 152; Yahoo! Segment Points/Ranking – 1,077/2,579th; Yahoo! Season Points/Ranking – 2,940/140th Overall
I picked up 45 spots in the overall ranking and about 1,500 positions in the segment, but I was left dreaming of what could have been. If you follow me on Twitter @commishjoe (and if you don’t, you’re a fool) you would know that I engaged in Snap Hook Saturday, which is my term for starting the exact wrong lineup. My four starters combined for a score of three under par, while my pine-riders came together for a minus 22, costing me 38 points. That isn’t to infer that I would have thrown the perfect lineup game that day, but even a switch of two golfers would have led to happiness. I also foolishly rode Brooks Koepka like a fading racehorse, and left Tony Finau to rot on my bench; Koepka played the last three rounds three over par, and Finau was 14 shots better. 14. Yikes.
Fairway – Rolling with Day was a good move, although his third-round 63 was on my bench. I enjoyed a solid weekend from Lee, who while finishing fifth, never cracked my starting lineup. (How did I gain spots this week?) All eight Yahoo! players made the cut, and with five top-13 finishes, the week wasn’t a complete bust.
Rough – I continue to be wooed by Koepka’s ball-striking ability and continually forget that his putter is a mess. Straight rubbish. If my ShotTracker skills are decent, Koepka missed 19 putts from inside 11 feet. Honestly. Graham DeLaet and Russell Henley both missed the cut, which surprised me.
Time to go shopping in Fort Worth at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational!
2017 Dean & DeLuca Invitational at Colonial Yahoo fantasy golf picks
- Bill Haas (7) – I’m not thrilled to even be considering a player who hasn’t made a cut since his T36 at The Masters (Remember The Masters? It was a long time ago…) but the last two weeks have shown that recent form doesn’t matter if someone gets hot. Haas has made the weekend in his last five tries at Colonial, and posted finishes of 13-8-55-21-47, so there is some history, and history plays here.
- James Hahn (10) – Great story last week, but he’s 0-3 here and he was mostly a mess before the surprising podium finish. No reason to gamble.
- Marc Leishman (10) – Leishman lived up to his boom-or-bust reputation last week by finishing T13, his sixth result at least that high at the Byron Nelson without a win. This week, he’s the class of a horrid ‘A’ group. The Aussie is 6-6 here and trending the right way with finishes of 21-27-13 the last three years. His thorn has been driving accuracy, ranking 130th on Tour. If the wind is blowing as projected, it won’t matter. I’ll run with Leish this week, but I’m not tickled by it.
- Graeme McDowell (10) – Wildcard. He has never played this event, but GMac has been a top-30 machine lately, save for THE PLAYERS. Ranks 6th on Tour in driving accuracy, and doesn’t mind a little wind, so he’s a viable option if you don’t like Haas.
- Kyle Reifers (10) – He seems to like Colonial, as evidenced by his 13-54-MDF-5 record, and he has made four of his last five cuts, but Reifers will be playing for the seventh consecutive week, and 11th time in the last 12 tournaments. Nobody wins after playing that much golf. Plus, I can’t trust him. Pass.
- Vaughn Taylor (10) – I hate to say it, but the stats are knocking… 22nd in driving accuracy, 28th in par four scoring. I don’t think he’ll win, but a top-25 wouldn’t be surprising.
- Paul Casey (6) – Love me some Paul Casey… just not sure how much this week. He loves par fours and he’s brilliant around the green, but he has to get there first. Short irons have been a problem. His 5-13 finishes were in 2009-10, and he only has posts of MC-43 since then. I’ll fade, but I’m expecting a top-40.
- Adam Hadwin (8) – Why isn’t Hadwin getting more love? Seven of his eight rounds have been at par or better, and he’s 11-11 on Tour this year. He’s a great statistical match given his approach game and par four destruction. Yes, he has cooled since winning the Valspar, but what better place to get back in the medal conversation than Colonial? Paint me impressed… I think he has a legitimate chance to win this week.
- Sung Kang (9) – He has posted 2-11-6-30-20 in his last five starts on his own ball. He missed the cut in his debut here last year, but his form is much better now. He sits 28th on Tour in par four scoring, and despite the rest of the course stats not lining up, he’s certainly in the hunt for a roster spot.
- Kevin Kisner (7) – More than almost any other stop on Tour, course history counts. Not too many better recently than Kisner, who arrives with MC-5-10 at Colonial. Excellent driver of the golf ball, blitzes par fours, fantastic form until a few weeks back. This is the tournament where he turns the car back to the right direction. I like history and I like names… and he has both. Roll on!
- Matt Kuchar (6) – Kooch didn’t disappoint last week, posting a T9 following a disappointing MDF at the PLAYERS. Colonial suits his eye, as three top-nine finishes in the past nine years proves. He hasn’t won in more than three years, and I’m honestly not convinced he will ever win again, but Kuchar should stay solid on Tour for many more years. I’ll take the chance he hits the medal stand this weekend.
- Danny Lee (10) – T5 last week? Solid. 38-10-22 history at Colonial? Solid. Texas boy? Solid. He isn’t going to be on my roster this weekend, but I absolutely love his chance at another top-10 finish.
- Phil Mickelson (9) – You simply can’t ignore him. Lefty has made all 10 cuts this year, but while he’s the 2008 champion here, he hasn’t played the tournament since 2010. That’s a bit alarming… his form is solid, but fairways are his kryptonite, as he sits 185th on Tour in driving accuracy. Phil is Phil, but I don’t see it this week.
- Ryan Moore (7) – Strong player with poor history here. He’s very straight off the tee, but still a mess around the greens. I’ll fade him this week.
- Webb Simpson (9) – Why not? One of the best in the world playing par fours, Simpson also excels around the green, ranking 25th in strokes gained. Webb finished third here last year with all four rounds at 68 or better. He’s hit or miss lately – last six tournaments have produced 41-MC-MC-11-MC-16. I don’t trust him in Yahoo! but he looks like a great DFS value.
- Brandt Snedeker (6) – I was leery last week, and my premonition paid off. This week, I’m full go. Sneds wouldn’t be playing if his wrist tendon hadn’t healed well enough. He’s 6-6 at Colonial with three top-20 finishes, including runner-up two years back. He’s a wonderful statistical match, which explains his success. Go for it!
- Jordan Spieth (5) – Now what? Jordan has MC in three of his last four, but nothing seems to matter much when he arrives at Colonial. The defending champ went 7-14-2 before winning last year, and he plays par fours better than anyone. If you missed last week’s article, I laid out my Spieth plan for the rest of the season, and one of my five remaining starts will be burned this week. If he doesn’t finish top-10, it would be an upset. Light it up!
- Bud Cauley (10) – Straight fire. Posts of 9-10-5-5 in his last four are interesting alone. Throw in a 2-3 record with MC-14-21 on the resume and choosing him becomes a possibility. As usual, there are a ton of solid ‘C’ options, and I have two I like better than Bud, but that doesn’t mean you do.
- Jason Dufner (9) – Everything lines up… his last five trips to Colonial have yielded 2-46-2-43-6. Based on that pattern, he’ll finish in the 35-42 range. I don’t buy it. Duf is 10-11 on Tour this year, and he’s been dancing around the front page without breaking through. He sits fifth in par four scoring and 32nd in driving accuracy. Full speed ahead!
- Tony Finau (8) – Colonial doesn’t appear to fit his game, but his two trips have resulted in 19th and 34th. He rebounded nicely from a Thursday 75 last week to finish T13, so there are no form worries. Finau is a good gamble, but he’s not for me in Yahoo! this weekend.
- Sergio Garcia (6) – The Masters champion hasn’t played here since 2012, but posted 16-13 in 2011-12 and is in the best form of his career. Everything fits here, and even though it’s his third straight week on the course, Sergio has a strong chance to win. I know he won here in 2001, but that doesn’t have much meaning at this point. Fantastic choice if you go that way.
- Billy Horschel (9) – He has never played this event and he was a total mess before last week. We all know Billy Ho can get hot and win in consecutive weeks. He just won’t this week.
- Zach Johnson (7) – Hard to believe I’ve started ZJ three times this season. The course history is excellent; the two-time winner seems to be in the mix every year. His current form is what keeps me from using him, as he has just one top-10 finish this year and doesn’t look like the ZJ of old. That said, he’s always in the fairway, and if you want to gamble that he’ll get to the green with ease, go for it.
- Chris Kirk (10) – The 2015 winner has four other top-20s at Colonial. Kirk finished T12 at THE PLAYERS, but has been a complete mess the rest of the season. The stats line up, but I don’t need him this week.
- Ryan Palmer (9) – He’s in solid form lately, and the Texan shows up here every year to play hard. 5-14-5-MC-3 in the last five years is crazy good. There are simply too many ‘C’ options who I trust more than Palmer. Seems like a great GPP gamble in the DFS world.
- Pat Perez (9) – As much as I want to use Perez this week, I won’t. Why, you ask? Not quite sure. He shows up with four top-10s in his last eight trips to Colonial, but the other four tours were ugly; 62-63-WD-MC. He’s in beautiful form with top-22 finishes in five of his last six starts. I might change my mind, but there’s a trust factor here, and I’m not there with PP yet.
- Jon Rahm (6) – His ugly MDF at THE PLAYERS isn’t a big deal – he was due to blow up at some point. Rahm ranks second on Tour in par four scoring, and his length off the tee mostly negates the lack of accuracy. Course history has been important here, and this is obviously his maiden voyage, so I’ll sit Rahm this week and save the start.
- Kevin Tway (10) – As I mentioned last week, I was surprised to see Tway finish T20 last week, as his game didn’t seem to jibe with the course. Same thing this week. He can’t find the fairway off the tee with a map, and that will hurt him at Colonial. Pass.
2017 Dean & DeLuca Invitational at Colonial Yahoo! Roster
*denotes First Round Starter
- A – Marc Leishman* and Bill Haas
- B – Jordan Spieth*, Matt Kuchar*, Brandt Snedeker, and Kevin Kisner
- C – Jason Dufner* and Sergio Garcia
The likelihood that I change a few players here is high. I’m not sold on Sergio, and I think Hadwin belongs on my team… just not sure who to bump. Plus, I can almost guarantee I’ll switch my starters.
Dufner grabs the win, Spieth is in the hunt, and someone who has missed the cut for the last 35 weeks hits the podium. I’m not convinced of any of those things.
Hit me up at @commishjoe on Twitter with questions, comments or emotional outbursts. Follow along for last-minute changes. If you aren’t a GNN Plus member, sign up today! $10 for the year! You spent that on a new grip for your 60-degree wedge that you can’t hit anyway! Good luck!