Fantasy Insider: The Greenbrier Classic
July 02, 2014
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
- Marc Leishman ranks 17th on TOUR this season in consecutive cuts made with six. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
If you've ever wondered how the golfers included below are chosen, they are the leftovers after 15 (or 20) are featured in the Power Rankings (Mondays), five are labeled as Sleepers (Tuesdays) and usually five more are highlighted in Global Glance (also Tuesdays). From the remaining pool, I'll circle the most relevant and slot accordingly.
Because my preview material is spread over three days and you often submit your inquiries below the other features shortly after they publish, I try to make sure to include the subjects of your questions in this feature. For example, reader Nicholas Rosenthal asked specifically about Ben Curtis, who didn't crack my original short list. A fella that goes only by Jon wondered about Chris Stroud (who is one of my Sleepers).
In a perfect world, time and space would allow for analysis of every golfer in every tournament for every fantasy format, broad strokes are required in reality. Still, it's incumbent on me to respond to specific requests. After all, it's the least I can do after you've taken the time to read what I've researched and written for you.
Twitter has evolved into the most efficient tool to connect, but you can always submit your questions below or email me at FantasyInsider@charter.net.
Power Rankings Wild Card
Keegan Bradley ... Obviously equipped to crash the short list for every Power Rankings, but the inconsistency lingers. Missed the cut by five at Congressional after a quiet week in Connecticut. It's a little tough to put a finger on why he's not racking up top 10s because the stats are supportive, even in the short-term. One constant has been failure to avoid big numbers. Sixteen of his last 39 rounds have gone for a 73 or higher; 10 are 75s or worse. Cachet lands him as the Wild Card, but I'd slot him as a Fade otherwise.
Billy Hurley III ... If you connect with the blue-collar roots of fantasy sports, then you gotta love that after a T8 worth six figures at Congressional on Sunday, he cut his grass that same evening. Even tweeted a photo of the mower. The windfall extended his career-high consecutive cuts made streak to six. Wields a sporty short game that projects for another weekend largely devoid of yard work.
Brian Harman ... The data couldn't support my affinity for the lefty this week, so he was destined for attention here. At the risk of drawing anecdotal parallels, his game seems to get smothered on the iconic tracks while shining almost everywhere else. Greenbrier has given him fits, but he's still 2-for-2 (albeit with no better than a T65 last year). Ranks third in proximity and 33rd in both scrambling and adjusted scoring.
George McNeill ... Threatening often enough to warrant Sleeper status pretty much every time out. Tied for 17th here last year and has put up nine top 30s in his last 12 starts. Strong candidate for both DFS and the back half of a two-man one-and-done.
Carl Pettersson ... Took it on the chin on the weekend at Congressional en route to a T55, but posted top 10s in his previous two starts on easier courses. He's 4-for-4 at Greenbrier with a pair of top 20s.
Ted Potter, Jr. ... Ultimate horse for a course as long as you believe lightning striking thrice. The 2012 champ has picked off his top-two finishes on the PGA TOUR at Greenbrier (T6 in his title defense). Under par in all eight rounds with an actual scoring average of 66.875. Only cut made in his last five starts entering this week is a T13 at TPC Southwind. He's posted two other top 20s since March, so consider him as a calculated flier.
K.J. Choi ... Firing more than not these days, so he's a safety for DFSers. Take what you can get and find firepower elsewhere.
Charles Howell III ... See K.J. Choi.
Ben Curtis ... Probably a popular complement for course history buffs among DFSers that see lots of red in his 4-for-4 slate at Greenbrier with a personal-best T17 last year. Comes in with a modest consecutive cuts made streak of three. The bad news is that he hasn't connected at least four since he bridged 2012 and 2013 with five in a row.
Ricky Barnes ... The 36-hole co-leader at Congressional settled for a share off 11th place. It'll probably serve as the turning point of his season if he qualifies for the Playoffs (he's 106th in FedExCup points now), but it was his only top 25 in 11 starts. Hasn't connected top 25s since January of 2013.
J.B. Holmes ... His white-hot putting that led to victory at Quail Hollow has all but returned to room temperature. Ranked 64th in strokes gained at the conclusion of his win, but has since regressed to 133rd.
Will MacKenzie ... Missed the cut at Congressional by three to extend his drought to seven straight MCs.
Y.E. Yang ... First appearance at Greenbrier. Arrives having missed his last six cuts. The 2009 PGA champ is on pace for the Web.com Tour Finals as he's 159th in the FedExCup standings.
Thorbjørn Olesen ... Since a surprising share of eighth place at the Memorial, he's missed three cuts, including by five strokes in Germany last week. First-timer at Greenbrier.
Keep an Eye On
Gary Woodland ... Like Keegan Bradley, Woodland possesses breakout potential at any time. He's survived 16 consecutive cuts, but has gone three straight without a top 45. Also 2-for-4 at Greenbrier with a T4 in 2011, but a T62 last year when he closed with a 77. Certainly tapped out in value, but his recent form isn't matching.
Hudson Swafford ... Rookies with his pedigree tend to figure it out sooner than later, so that he arrives with low-rookie top 25s from the last two weeks could be a harbinger. His value is arguably most useful to complete a game that uses the Official World Golf Ranking to sort groups. The object is to lean on an up-and-comer with the last pick just to survive the cut. Anything after that is a bonus.
Nick Watney ... Seasoned gamers aren't afraid to buy stock in proven performers over the long haul. Investing ahead of the uptick often separates league champions from the also-rans. He's probably useful only in DFS games if you can squeeze him in. A T23 in his debut at Greenbrier last year doesn't hurt, but his recent form is our guide.
Rory Sabbatini ... Finished alone in last of 75 that played 72 holes at Congressional last week. At least it ended an 0-for-2 slide. Value continues to remain strongest in full-season formats, but his experience and a T9 at Greenbrier last year may be worth the investment if properly priced in DFS formats.
Patrick Rodgers ... If the regular season had ended at the conclusion of the Quicken Loans National, he'd be just 27 non-member FedExCup points shy of qualifying for the Web.com Tour Finals. So, with sponsor exemptions lined up all summer, go ahead and take a long look in a keeper league if you don't mind rolling the dice. For most intents and purposes in our world, he's at the top of the class as it concerns recent collegians making inroads.
Returning to Competition
Troy Kelly ... First start on the PGA TOUR in nearly 14 months. Had surgery on his right knee and sat out until this March. Went 2-for-5 in rehab starts on the Web.com Tour, including a T35 at the United Leasing Championship on Sunday. His playoff loss at the 2012 Greenbrier Classic is his only top 35 in 52 starts on the PGA TOUR.
Neal Lancaster ... Withdrew early from the Travelers Championship two weeks ago in what would have been his first PGA TOUR start since last year's Wyndham. Back in play this week, however. Still has nine starts on a Major Medical Extension. Hasn't logged a top 50 since August of 2009.
Richard Sterne ... In the field at the Open de France on the European Tour. It would be his first start anywhere since having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip in March. He had originally planned on having the surgery in December. Thanks to a T4 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in his last start, the South African has been able to maintain in the Official World Golf Ranking. In fact, he climbed one spot to 58th in the latest update.
Jason Day ... Reportedly suffered a setback with his left thumb. Missed the cut on the number at Congressional where he was paired with Tiger Woods (also missed the cut) and Jordan Spieth (T11). Day's consecutive cuts made streak ended at 32.
Jeff Overton ... Hard not to forget his disappointing runner-up finish in the inaugural edition of the tournament. Had played every year since, too, but he's been dogged by a wrist injury all year. This is his sixth early withdrawal of 2014.
Jerry Kelly ... Riding the perks of three top 10s and another pair of top 20s this season. Currently 73rd in the FedExCup standings.
Geoff Ogilvy ... Was scheduled to make his debut at Greenbrier. Ranks 151st in the FedExCup standings, but he's fully exempt through next season via a multiple-win exemption.
It was so refreshing to end my slump with Brendon Todd at Congressional. I had gone 12 consecutive starts without a top 15. And since a top 10 is the goal and I've connected on fewer than one in every four events on average, 2013-14 isn't destined for my fantasy highlight reel. Nevertheless, we forge ahead.
Jimmy Walker is as automatic a choice as any at The Greenbrier Classic, but I felt the same way at Riviera where he collected a T20. If he's available to you, now's the time to pull the trigger. Otherwise, Todd isn't showing any signs of letting up, so invest with confidence if he's still on your board.
Bubba Watson screams perfect fit, but we tend to prefer more than just a T30 (2013) in one previous appearance. Still, despite a tremendous season overall, we may not be looking at him in earnest again until the PGA Championship or the FedExCup Playoffs where his course history will remind you a bit of this week's decision. So, I'm endorsing burning him at Greenbrier.
The highest-ranked guy in my Power Rankings that I could start is Marc Leishman at No. 5. Brendan Steele (No. 6) and Patrick Reed (No. 7) are also available. I'm tempted particularly with Reed as well as Brendon de Jonge (No. 10) and Daniel Summerhays (No. 12), but I'll stick with the chalk on the board and ride Leishman. The only argument is that I wouldn't miss him down the stretch unless he performed well (again) this week, so I might as well jump in now.
I referenced George McNeill as a potentially shrewd 1b for two-man games, but de Jonge is the no-brainer. Summerhays is safe, too. Ben Martin is a wild card.
Quicken Loans National: Brendon Todd; T5; $237,250.00; 100.000 FedExCup points
Overall Record: 27-for-33
FedExCup points: 1,292.069
Top 5s: 3
Top 10s: 8
Top 25s: 14
Missed Cuts: 6