It took a few weeks, but I’m back in the saddle with a few words of advice:
- First, if you are an alleged fantasy sports writer, don’t go on vacation during your season.
- Second, if you do go on vacation, don’t go someplace where the internet doesn’t work well, or at all.
- Third, if you must do those two things, enjoy your time with your family and don’t worry about your fantasy world.
The only downside to my two weeks away was that my Yahoo! team got smoked… Torched… Blown to pieces… almost to the point that I’m embarrassed to post my numbers. Almost.
That said, I’m in front of the computer and energized for the last few months of the Yahoo! season. It’s going to be a wild ride for the final ten weeks, and I’m playing from behind now, so buckle up!
2017 Quicken Loans National and Greenbrier Classic recap
Yahoo! Segment Points/Ranking – 385/29,546th; Yahoo! Season Points/Ranking – 3,885/729th Overall
As you can see, my totals took a severe hit over the past few weeks. I made some bad last-minute picks and wasn’t able to change my lineups as often as I would have liked. Now that I have left the poor internet connection in rural Michigan, the time has come to destroy all opposition.
The PGA Tour makes a stop in my home state of Illinois this week at a tournament where the winning score has been frighteningly consistent; in the 17 tournaments held at TPC Deere Run, the winner has finished between 16-under and 22-under in all but one year, and that was 2010 when three-time Champion Steve Stricker set the tournament record with -26/258. Keep that fact in mind when looking at your daily starting lineup.
Read carefully if you are looking for an angle this week: The winner of the John Deere Classic has finished that season ranked 14th or higher in Par Four Scoring in eight of the last 11 years, and in the top 10 in seven of those eight years. Proceed.
2017 John Deere Classic Yahoo fantasy golf picks
There are only six ‘A’ players this week, and I haven’t used a single start from any of them this season, so picking two who will see the weekend is paramount.
- Roberto Castro (10) – Castro is 2-3 here with nothing better than T44, and his recent form isn’t great, although he has seen the weekend in three of his last six starts after MC in eight of his previous nine tournaments. His 65-68-68 last weekend after an opening 73 was impressive. He sits 24th on Tour in Driving Accuracy, so there’s that.
- Alex Cejka (10) – There’s no chance that I can trust Alex Cejka, can I? He did finished third here in 2006 and he did shoot 64 last Sunday to finish T9 at The Greenbrier… nope. Still can’t do it.
- Smylie Kaufman (10) – He just hasn’t found a way to harness his talent yet, and this probably isn’t the week for him to fully figure it out. Oddly enough, every cut that he has made this year has gone for T37; the bad news is that he’s only 6-15 since the calendar turned. Good news is that all six have come in the last 12 weeks. Good enough to use him in his first trip to Silvis? Maybe.
- Kyle Reifers (10) – He’ll lure you in because he hits a ton of fairways, but that makes little difference this week. He hasn’t made the cut here in three tries, and he probably won’t this weekend, either. Pass.
- Kevin Streelman (10) – The Illinois native hasn’t played well in Silvis lately; he shows up this week on the heels of MC-MC-DNP in the last three years here. He did hit the top-10 in 2009 and 2012, so there is some history. Streels has been rock solid recently, posting finishes of 18-13-8-17-29 in his last five starts. His stat set is average across the board, and he’s pretty solid tee-to-green, so I’ll run with my fellow Chicagoan. He won’t win, but T18 feels about right.
- Vaughn Taylor (10) – Here’s another ‘A’ player I can’t fully trust. He has made 13 of 17 cuts this year, but hasn’t cracked the top-10 yet. I don’t care, as long as he plays four rounds. VT has played the Deere many times and finished T6 in 2010. Not sure what that means. A-side is Streelman. B-side is up to you.
- Chad Campbell (10) – Three top-13 finishes in his last five starts. Plays here every year and sees the weekend every year. Honestly. Like the ‘A’ group, I’m just looking for four guys to make the cut, and Campbell, believe it or not, seems as likely as any. Plays from the fairway, solid par four player, 33rd on Tour in SG:Approach. I’ve had worse gambles as my fourth ‘B’ player…
- Lucas Glover (10) – I want to pick him, I really do. I just can’t. Glover has two top-15 finishes in the middle of an otherwise miserable resume here. He sits 15th on the Tour in Par Four Scoring and 11th in SG:Tee. I just can’t click his name. Form is bad recently, but those stats… Flip a coin and hold your breath.
- Charley Hoffman (7) – He’s the class of the field, and his form is the best of his career. He ranks 22nd on Tour in SG:Tee and comes in with eight straight cashes, including three top-10 finishes. Hoff sits 31st in Par Four Scoring, so he fits the mold. I would be shocked if he doesn’t make the cut and contend, despite his mediocre history here; two top-15 finishes at the turn of the decade are his only successes. Lock and load!
- Charles Howell III (5) – He does have one top-5 here in seven tries, and he did finish runner-up at the Quicken Loans National, so the trends are good. Sits fifth on Tour in Par Four Scoring and 14th in Par Three Scoring, so the stats are good. Ranks 42nd in SG:Putting and 49th in SG:Approach, so the secondary stats are good. It all looks good. Will he win? Nope… but a weekend trip is in the cards.
- Kevin Kisner (3) – Which Kisner will arrive in Illinois? The one who posted a win and two other top-six finished in a span of five weeks? The one who missed the cut last week and who flakes out too often? Not sure… he’s 2-4 here with results of 20-35, so nothing special. Statistically, he lines up beautifully, but he does everywhere else, too. This will be a last-minute call; with three starts left, I’m not sure I want to burn one here.
- Danny Lee (8) – The numbers look good – four top-10 finishes in his last seven starts – but he doesn’t feel that hot. Lee is just 2-4 here, but finished T3 two years ago with a third-round 62. He seems to have one low round every week but can’t win the gold medal this year. Most of the numbers are beautiful, but he ranks 70th in Par Four Scoring, and that’s a red flag. The field is extremely weak, so he has earned a roster spot. I’m just not that excited about it.
- Jamie Lovemark (9) – This seems like a tournament Lovemark should excel at, but his results have been mixed. He’s 4-4 at Deere Run, but with no finish better than last year’s T34. He has posted low rounds on this track, shooting 66 in 2008 and posting three rounds in the 60s last year. Why might I gamble? He ranks fifth on Tour in Par Four Scoring and he makes tons of birdies. That might be enough to get some Love in group ‘B’. See what I did there? (exit stage left)
- Ryan Moore (7) – The defending champion hasn’t played in six weeks and looked miserable in his last four starts. He wasn’t exactly lighting the world on fire when he won last year, and the Deere jumpstarted his epic season, which culminated in the victory-clinching putt at the Ryder Cup. Fact is, he’s 8-8 here with two other top-10s besides the win, and he plays well at places where he plays well. Get it? Good. Fire away.
- Kevin Na (10) – T13-T8 in his last two trips here have my attention. Dig deeper: 10th in SG:Approach and 20th in SG:Around The Green. Even deeper: He’s -0.290 SG:Tee, but that doesn’t much matter this week, and it makes the approach numbers even more impressive. The reason I don’t trust him is that in 386 career starts, he has hit the podium just 21 times. I simply don’t think he can win. If you want to play the stats and nothing else, go for it. My gut says fade.
- Chez Reavie (10) – It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Reavie get back on top for the first time in nine years. Form is solid, with T4 at the St. Jude and T16 at the U.S. Open. Stats are fantastic; Chez is always in the fairway and ranks in the top 0 on Tour in Par Three Scoring, Par Four Scoring, SG:Approach and SG:Putting. It’s all there, but can he put it together?
- Steve Stricker (10) – He’s a golf hero after qualifying for the U.S. Open on his own and then posting a T16 at Erin Hills. Strick won this tournament three straight years (2009-11) and hit the top-11 in the three years after. He’s been a cut-making machine on the PGA Tour lately, and so I’m signing on. He leads the Tour in Driving Accuracy and sits 31st in Par Four Scoring. Midwesterner with great form and great history? Let’s go!
- Daniel Summerhays (10) – He’s hard to ignore; Summerhays is just 3-6 here, but the three weekends went for 4-13-8. Recent form is sketchy, as he arrives with cuts made in six of his last eight starts, but only two in the top-40. He just hasn’t shown me enough this season to take a spot away from another more solid ‘B’ player.
- Bubba Watson (10) – I tried rostering Bubba once already at a course where he had fantastic history, and he MC. Here, he has no history, and his form isn’t good. If you want to preach to his class and take a chance, it’s on you. I won’t be there with you.
- Daniel Berger (8) – He hasn’t played here, and that’s the only thing I’m not wild on. MC at the U.S. Open was no big deal, as he sandwiched that with a win and a runner-up. Stats across the board are brilliant, and he doesn’t seem to mind playing at a course for the first time. Berger is the real deal, and with this feeble field, he has a chance to lift more hardware.
- Wesley Bryan (10) – Reverse analysis shows me that Bryan might contend this week. He’s horrid off the tee, but that might not matter much, as Deere Run typically yields high percentages in the fairways hit category. Approach game and putter have been excellent, but he hasn’t posted anything in the top-45 in 10 weeks. Bryan’s T8 in his debut here last year is exciting, but not enough for me to Yahoo! him.
- Bud Cauley (10) – His T8 here last year was impressive, but Cauley has hit a rough patch since tearing up the Tour about three months ago. No reason to gamble.
- Brian Harman (10) – The 2014 Champion has made the cut in two of his four other tries, with both going for top-25 finishes. He’s playing phenomenally well lately, and his runner-up at the U.S. Open shows he can compete with any field on the right course. This is the right course, as Harman can show off his rankings of eighth in SG:Putting and 15th in Par Four Scoring. The ‘C’ group will be a tough run this week, as five or six guys could make a case to be rostered… Harman is near the top of the list.
- David Hearn (10) – Hearn has hit the top-15 in three of his last four starts, and his runner-up finish here in 2013 saw him open 66-66-64. He hits plenty of fairways and he’s nifty around the green, but if the irons and putter don’t make the trip to Illinois, he won’t have a chance. I’ll fade.
- Zach Johnson (7) – Yikes. Midwestern boy. Crazy good course history. Loves the tournament. He just hasn’t done a thing lately. Nothing. Two top-10s in his last 24 starts. Is the two-time major winner permanently fading? This week will be a good test. Check out this tournament history since 2009: 2-21-3-WIN-2-2-3-34. If he can’t put together a top-15 this week, it will be extremely telling.
- Matt Jones (10) – Jones is 4-7 here with three top-10 results, and he has made a whole bunch of cuts lately with no real success. He’s just mediocre in most statistical categories, so there is no real reason why he plays well here. There are other solid options in ‘C’, so Jones would be a deep gamble.
- Kelly Kraft (10) – He was T5 here last year, and T5 last week. Nothing else to really write home about. When he sees the weekend, he finishes well, but I don’t need to take the risk of an MC this week with a completely uncertain ‘A’ group already making me nervous.
- Ben Martin (10) – Martin finished two shots behind Ryan Moore last year to claim the silver medal, and his form is solid of late, with an average finish of 34.7 in his last eight starts, in which he has made all cuts. T35 isn’t good enough for me, and that’s about where I think he’ll finish. Pass.
- Trey Mullinax (10) – He’s a rookie here and this will be his sixth consecutive week on the road. He’s 31st on Tour in Par Four Scoring, and that’s probably the only reason he made the preview. Four rounds? Probably. Victory? No.
- Kyle Stanley (8) – FINALLY broke through for a win two weeks ago by using his elite ball-striking and making a few putts. That recipe can play well in Silvis, too… KS is 6-7 with a runner-up finish in 2011 and three other top-25s. You already know the numbers look great; he’s the statistical favorite in most of the key categories. It will be hard to officially choose two from this list, but Stanley has to be considered.
2017 John Deere Classic Yahoo fantasy golf roster
denotes First Round Starter
- A – Kevin Streelman* and Smylie Kaufman
- B – Charles Howell III*, Danny Lee*, Charley Hoffman and Kevin Kisner
- C – Kyle Stanley* and Daniel Berger
I defaulted to all AM tee times, but I might change that as the day goes on and the forecast becomes more clear. Watch my Twitter account @commishjoe for changes.
I have no idea who will emerge from this garbage pile with the trophy, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Stanley triumph again. Berger and Kisner have just as good of a chance.
If you have two guys in ‘A’ and in ‘C’ who make the cut, you’ll be in good shape. With only six choices in ‘A’, everyone will be on Streelman. Kaufman is a huge gamble, but he has the talent to win.
Leaving Harman, Reavie, Moore and Stricker off the squad hurts – they were the last cut from my slump-busting group.
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 just blew that on some junk on Amazon Prime Day! Yikes! Good luck!