Dustin did it again. Not only did he erase a five-shot lead on Sunday, but he chased down Jordan Spieth, finished the 72nd hole tied, and played one of the most masterful playoff holes in golf history... all to secure his 16th win on the PGA Tour and vault him back to the top of the FedEx Cup Standings. After all, his middle name is Hunter...
Spieth was the runner-up, and moves to the second spot in the FedEx Cup Standings, which means nothing at this point. These two stars are on a collision course toward East Lake, and if they both play all four weeks, the action will be simply incredible!
Jon Rahm and Jhonattan Vegas finished T3, four shots behind the leaders, and Paul Casey picked up a solo fifth, seven shots off the winning score.
How did my fake team do? Not awful.
2017 The Northern Trust recap
Yahoo! Tournament Points – 180; Yahoo! Segment Points/Ranking – 1,496/17,305th; Yahoo! Season Points/Ranking – 4,996/1,071st
Without Spieth or Rahm to grab bonus points, I'm not dissatisfied with my finish. My overall ranking didn't move much, and I picked up about 2,000 spots in the segment rank, probably passing players who gave up at this point.
Obviously, using DJ last week was a smooth move, and my only critical mistake was not rostering Rahm. I'm out of Spieth starts, and Hideki Matsuyama tossed a MC onto my team, but I had the winner and four others in the top-10 on my squad, so I'll keep smiling.
Heading east for some chowdah? The Dell Technologies Championship is here!
2017 Dell Technologies Championship Yahoo fantasy golf picks
This tournament was known as the Deutsche Bank Championship until this year, so you might see references to the old name. TPC Boston has some of the thinnest rough on Tour, and even though the par-71 track plays just more than 7,300 yards, big hitters can gain an advantage because of the huge landing areas.
Par Five Scoring and Tee-To-Green Stats will be important this week. Naturally, the cream rises in the playoffs, but only two winners here in the last 10 years (Fowler, Kirk) have finished the season outside the top-four in Par Five Scoring. Think about that.
One other point to keep in mind when looking at daily starters – the winning score here in each of the last three years has been -15, and -14 is the worst winning score here in 14 years. -20 or better has been achieved five times in tournament history, so going low is the name of the game!
Let's get it on!
- Jason Day (6) – The converging trends are scary. T9-T6 in his last two starts merge with his incredible course history at TPC Boston, where his last eight starts have gone 19-2-3-51-13-7-12-15. There are no wins in there, but this could be the year to change that. Day sits 22nd in Par Five Scoring, 23rd in Driving Distance, and 33rd in SG T2G. No second thoughts here... only decision is who to roster with Day.
- Rickie Fowler (1) – Rickie was the winner here two years ago, but that's his only top-20 here in seven starts. He never fired last week and played the weekend 74-70 en route to a T20. Statistically (and aesthetically) he's gorgeous, ranking seventh in Par Five Scoring and 12th in SG T2G, and coupled with his phenomenal putting game (2nd on Tour) he should be in the hunt. I won't use him next week, and I had my eye on Rickie for the Tour Championship going into last week. He didn't do anything to force me to play him here, so I'll wait.
- Dustin Johnson (1) – This dude is just sick. Just when Jordan Spieth has people thinking that he'll run through the playoffs, here comes The Hunter. Five shots back? No problem. Giant lake between him and an all-time great tee ball? Fly it. I hope everyone appreciates what DJ is doing right now, and how his career has evolved. Still only 33, he ranks 52nd all-time in PGA Tour wins. Simply fantastic. As for Yahoo!, it's going to be hard to bench him. His stats are obviously elite, and he looks like he's all the way back from his early-season injury. He's 7-7 here with three top-10s, but nothing on the podium and his four non-top-10s are 57-42-27-44. My problem is that he hasn't missed the top-10 at the Tour Championship since 2011. If you have multiple starts, burn one. If not, the choice will be tough. I'm waiting for East Lake.
- Rory McIlroy (4) – Bookend 73-72 surrounded middle rounds of 68-69 last week, none of which is inspiring. There is no telling how his injuries are hampering him at this point. The defending champion here, Rory also held the trophy in 2012 and finished T5 in 2014. His other three trips are 37-47-29. He doesn't look right, and that means he'll probably win this week. There are three solid options to ride shotgun next to Day, and Rory is near the top of the list. Stay tuned...
- Louis Oosthuizen (10) – Louis is, too. Three trips here have yielded 2-12-8, and he chased his runner-up finish at the PGA with a T10 last week. He's only 72nd on Tour in Driving Distance, but his excellent overall tee-to-green game and solid putting stroke helps him to ninth in SG Total. Oosty is 26th in the FedEx Cup Standings, so a solid finish here would all but guarantee a trip to East Lake in a few weeks. It's hard to believe I haven't used him once this year... I feel like I owe him one.
- Patrick Reed (8) – This one comes down to whether you trust Reed. The surprise runner-up finisher at the PGA Championship has hit the top-20 in seven of the last eight weekends he has played. He looked excellent last week until a final round 75 sunk his chances. Reed has posted T4-T5 here the last two years and he's running out of time to grab a victory this year; Reed hasn't had a winless season since 2012 when he only played 13 events. He sits ninth in SG Putting, and his inaccuracy off the tee won't kill him this weekend. Reed has a legitimate shot to win, but I just can't trust him.
- Adam Scott (6) – #NappyFactor is back after his wife delivered their second child, and his return is a bit of a surprise. That said, his form at TPC Boston is excellent, with four top-10 finishes in his last six trips. Nobody has any idea how his body will respond to a new baby, but I know how mine did. That said, he's a professional athlete and I'm writing this preview from my couch. Tee-to-green, he's fantastic, and if he can roll in a few putts, Scottie could contend. If you are short on starts from the stars, Scott is the top of the next tier.
- Gary Woodland (8) – He's 5-5 here with T12-T15 the last two years, but Woodland posted 73-73 last week to MC by four shots. The bomber checks all the boxes from tee to green, but his putting has been abysmal. Like several others in this group, he will need to jar a few solid putts to get close to the lead. He has just one top-10 since February, and that was at the Canadian Open. I'll fade.
- Paul Casey (3) – Ho hum... just another top-five finish last week, his third in his last five starts. Casey shot an uninspiring 71 last Sunday to finish solo fifth, but he would have had to shoot 64 to get in the playoff. No big deal. He opened last year's tournament with 66-66-66 before exploding to a 73 and finishing runner-up to Rory McIlroy, who shot 65 on Sunday and was six shots behind Casey going into Sunday. Ranks third in SG Approach and seventh in SG T2G. As I said last week, he never wins, but another top-10 finish is in order. Note: if you are short on starts, Casey's wife is due with their first child in three weeks. He has finished T5-T4 in the last two years at the Tour Championship, but he might not be there.
- Kevin Chappell (9) – Nothing popped out at me last week, so he went and finished T6 after starting 67-64 and fading badly on the weekend. He arrives with 8-13-33-6 in his last four starts, and T12-T8 in his last two trips to TPC Boston. Huge distance off the tee, solid approach game, 21st in SG T2G. What's not to like? He seems like the perfect complement to the superstars in this group.
- Charley Hoffman (5) – Here's another guy who could run with the horses this week. Mixed history here includes a 7-11 record with a win in 2010 and a solo third two years ago; that tournament went 67-63-76-67 for Hoff and he finished four shots behind Rickie Fowler. Then, he came back last year with 76-75 to finish DFL. He's playing the best golf of his career, but didn't look the part last week; only a 65 on Sunday backdoored a top-20 for Charley. 10th in Par Five Scoring, 28th in SG T2G. I'm overanalyzing this to help make my decision, and it isn't helping. That usually means fade, but you can make the call.
- Matt Kuchar (2) – Kooch went anti-Kooch last week, firing a 73 on Sunday to drop him to T10. His 64 on Friday was masterful, but he couldn't parlay that into a podium finish. I don't need to remind you that he has finished in the top-10 of every tournament ever, and never wins anything. 4-29-9-46 in his last four trips here, so this year will be a T8. His stats don't look good, but they never do and he plays well every week. Kooch posted 74-73-61-73 (not a typo) at Conway Farms in 2013 and 67-67-70-75 in 2015, so I have no clue what to think for the BMW Championship, and he has finished between 10th and 26th in all seven trips to the Tour Championship. That's so Kuchar. I don't want to type any more on him. Up to you.
- Hideki Matsuyama (1) – Hideki missing the cut last week was the upset of the year for me. Only had two starts left, now down to one, and I'm really tempted to burn it here. 57-25-15 is a positive trend here, but the dilemma is that his trend is 22-12-5 at the Tour Championship and he finished seventh at the 2015 BMW at Conway Farms with a second round 63. He leads the Tour in Par Five Scoring and sits fourth in SG T2G. The MC last week worries me a bit, primarily because of his birdie-free opening 74 and that he bogeyed two of the last three holes to MC on the number. That isn't the killer instinct I need for my final start. If you have two or more starts left, I'd use one here anyway, because the course sets up nicely for him. I'll save mine for East Lake.
- Phil Mickelson (8) – Since his win here in 2007, Phil has two top-10s, two other top-25s, and a bunch of garbage years, including last season's MC. He doesn't look like the Phil of three or four months ago, and the whole Presidents Cup saga hanging over his head can't be helping. Spraying it off the tee isn't a huge deal here, but he has fallen to 89th in Driving Distance. The Thrill is still sixth in Par Five Scoring and 10th in SG Approach, but with MC-39-MC-54 in his last four starts, the lack of elite course history swings me to the fade side.
- Ryan Moore (7) – Talk about a bipolar history here... Moore has played each of the last 11 years here, with results of 12-41-78-MC-67-10-10-75-73-MC-8. In other words, I have no idea. Recent form, you ask? 28-13-24-49 in his last four. This will be five straight weeks golfing for Moore, and that seems to be risky coming off a shoulder injury. He must feel good... will his performance catch up? Not this week.
- Chez Reavie (10) – It's really tempting, but I can't do it. Reavie MC here last year, which was his first appearance at TPC Boston since finishing runner-up in 2011. He's 40th in FedEx Cup Points, so he could use a solid finish to help his case for East Lake. Nice story, but I don't need him in Yahoo!
- Justin Rose (2) – If he had a better course history, I'd gamble. Rose looked solid last week on the way to T10, and if he had made a few putts, he could have made some real noise. Since finishing T4 here in 2006, Rose has posted MC-54-MC-68-MC-16-MC-57. That means he MC this week, right? I doubt it, as he sits 14th in SG T2G and 28th in Par Five Scoring. Rose is just 24th in FedEx Cup Points, so he will be motivated to not have his Tour Championship life resting on the BMW in Chicago, where he has finished T33-T13. Sees the weekend? Yep. Threatens the leaders? Nope.
- Webb Simpson (7) – Webb was somewhat of an easy call last week, as the course history and the form lined up. Less so this week, but he did win here in 2011 and posted a T9 three years ago. In his other six trips to TPC Boston, he has seen just three weekends with no top-15 finish. Oddly enough, he plays long Par Fours exceptionally well, but ranks just 115th in Par Five Scoring. Hasn't missed the cut in a long time, and he won't this weekend, but I don't see him posting another top-10.
- Jordan Spieth (0) – If I told you that Jordan had a five-shot lead heading to Sunday and played the back nine in -2, would you think he won? He still shot 69 Sunday, but DJ was not to be denied. That said, Jordan is shipping up to Boston, where his T4 in 2013 is his only solid finish; 29-MC-21 in the other three trips isn't inspiring. I said last week that if you were down to one start, you should wait until East Lake to use it, and I stand by that. Driving Distance is his only deficiency this week, and in a twisted way, it was his lack of distance that might have cost him the playoff last week. If you have two starts left, he went T16-T13 in two trips to Conway Farms, with inconsistent rounds in both tournaments.
- Justin Thomas (3) – JT was JT-like last week, firing 68-69-69-69, but he never got close enough to stare the leaders down. In two trips here, Thomas has posted 56-MC, but he's a different animal now. Elite distance, fantastic approach game, leads the Tour in Birdie or Better Percentage and sits 11th in SG T2G. No reason to hold back now... Thomas can smell the FedEx Cup Trophy and Player of the Year awards, and he looks hungry. I mean, he's 145 pounds soaking wet. He really looks hungry.
- Daniel Berger (7) – Two trips here have yielded 12-41, which is a solid start. Hasn't missed the cut in a non-major since the Valspar in March. Ranks sixth in SG Approach, 21st in SG Putting and 32nd in SG T2G. 72-72 last weekend isn't good, but he's been known to fade after solid starts. I'll have to get through the rest of this group to see who I'm going to pair with Rahm.
- Patrick Cantlay (10) – Man... this guy could be special. 10-10 on the season with five top-25s and nothing worse than a T48. He sits 50th in FedEx Cup Points with just 10 events played. Sick. If he qualified, Cantlay would rank eighth in SG Total and 14th in SG T2G. His T10 last week was impressive, if unspectacular. Cantlay has never played at TPC Boston, but I don't care. Unless I find someone else who offers more upside, he might be the Robin to Rahm's Batman this week. Read on...
- Jason Dufner (8) – Duf has had a solid season, winning The Memorial and arriving here with five straight made cuts. He's 7-7 at TPC Boston with a runner-up finish in 2009 and a T9 in 2013. His other five trips were largely uneventful. Faded to a 72 on Sunday to fall to T20 last week, but his tee-to-green game was pretty solid, as usual. He doesn't make the cut for my squad, but he will in Boston, and makes for a good DFS play if he's cheap.
- Tony Finau (4) – Finau just passes the eye test. He's mega-talented, so if you look only at numbers, you might not roster him. MC-24 in two trips here. 44-54 in his last two starts, but he was playing tremendously well before that. He ranks exactly eighth on Tour in Driving Distance, SG T2G, and Par Five Scoring. Stop me if you've heard this before: he needs to make a few putts to win. 151st in SG Putting isn't good. Is he the guy to move Cantlay out of the passenger seat?
- Russell Henley (7) – Four trips here have given us 62-2-MC-MC from Henley. Form is herky-jerky. No reason to gamble.
- Zach Johnson (7) – I love Zach, but the MC last week and the complete lack of success here drives me away. He has made nine straight cuts at TPC Boston but never finished in the top-15. That's enough.
- Brooks Koepka (5) – Koepka was disappointing last week, finishing T49 with three rounds over par. That doesn't bode well for this week, and it could partially explain his MC-57 record here in two trips. The stats tell a different story: second in Par Five scoring, fifth in Birdie or Better Percentage, seventh in Driving Distance. He doesn't play long par fours well, and his approach game still isn't pure, but he's a major champion now and that counts for something. I'm sure he'll gauge his way toward the top this weekend, but I'll take my chances elsewhere.
- Jon Rahm (4) – What kind of an "expert" sets it up to have four Rahm starts left for the playoffs and then leaves him off the roster at The Northern Trust? Me. Horrid. You already know he's the best player in this group, so it comes down to starts. He has no experience anywhere, so history means nothing. He seems to be back in form, and this course suits his game well. He ranks fifth in SG T2G, and top-20 in just about every findable category. For all his success, Rahm played the majors in miserable fashion, so the only question whatsoever is how he will react when the pressure dial is turned up. If I was down to one start, I'd burn it here. I'm not, and I'll likely ride him all the way out.
- Xander Schauffele (10) – 17th in Driving Distance, plus 116th in SG Approach equals 100th in Par Five Scoring. Makes sense, right? Like everywhere else, he's a rookie here, and though his length should play well here, I don't see a top-10 finish. Schauffele ranks 27th in FedEx Cup Points, so a solid performance here and at Conway Farms could earn him a trip to East Lake. Motivation.
- Ollie Schneiderjans (9) – Golf is hard, but fantasy golf is harder. It all made sense last week, so naturally, Ollie posts 71-77 and misses the cut gloriously. Well, guess what? It all lines up here, too. Beautiful stats across the board, highlighted by a rank of 41st in SG T2G. His complete inability to hit a fairway won't matter much in the thin rough, so advantage Ollie. Coming off the MC and at a favorable course, Ollie could be uber-cheap in DFS games. That's the only spot I'd use him.
- Charl Schwartzel (10) – Five trips here without a top-20, an apathetic T29 last week, and a mediocre form over the last three months isn't what I need. I'm back to writing him off early every week, and it hasn't bit me yet, so I'll try again. Fade.
- Kyle Stanley (7) – The ball-striker extraordinaire came back to life last week, firing a 66 on Sunday to move up to T25. He hasn't played here since 2013, and has posted 10-42-MC in his three trips. Since winning, his starts have gone 55-MC-41-MC-MC-25. Not exactly backing up the win, but he should do damage on a course like TPC Boston. Seventh in SG Approach, ninth in SG T2G, 10th in Par Five Scoring, 160th in SG Putting. You can see what needs to happen here. I like Stanley, and he'd be my third or fourth 'C' option, but I can only take two.
2017 Dell Technologies Championship Yahoo! Roster
- A – Jason Day and Rory McIlroy
- B – Justin Thomas, Paul Casey, Matt Kuchar, and Kevin Chappell
- C – Jon Rahm and Tony Finau
I still might sub out Finau for Cantlay, or Chappell for Charley Hoffman, but I probably won't.
My team had a decent start to the playoffs, and with only one start left for DJ, Rickie and Matsuyama, I'm a bit hamstrung for the next three weeks. The idea is to save all three of those stars for the Tour Championship.
I called (sort of) Dustin to win in this space last week, so I'll take Jason Day this week and hope for the best. It wouldn't surprise me to see Rory win, or to watch Finau join the ranks of the big boys.
I will Tweet out my starters on Thursday night – there are several factors to look through. Make sure to hit me up @commishjoe with questions, comments, or emotional outbursts. If you still aren't a GNN Plus Member, what are you waiting for? Click here to sign up for $10 for the year. $10 for the whole year! If you play Pebble Beach, and shoot 100, that's the equivalent of two shots! This is much better! Good Luck!