Fantasy Insider: AT&T Byron Nelson
May 16, 2017
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
- Jason Day earned the first of his 10 TOUR titles at the 2010 AT&T Byron Nelson. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
With THE PLAYERS in the rearview mirror, full-season gamers will now be bird-dogging the qualifiers for the U.S. Open and Open Championship. Each will be added to its field pretty much every week until they begin.
The top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking at the conclusion of this weekend will get into the field at Erin Hills. The top 50 from the following week's OWGR will qualify for the field at Royal Birkdale. And so on. If you haven't already, bookmark the page where I maintain all qualifiers weekly.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO
My roster for the AT&T Byron Nelson (in alphabetical order):
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Bud Cauley; Jason Day; Jason Dufner; Russell Henley; Charley Hoffman; J.B. Holmes; Sung Kang; Danny Lee; Marc Leishman; Patrick Reed; Charl Schwartzel; Brandt Snedeker
Driving: Jason Dufner; Russell Henley; Sung Kang; Gary Woodland
Approach: Chad Campbell; Jason Dufner; Robert Garrigus; Russell Henley
Short: Jason Dufner; Russell Henley; J.B. Holmes; Sung Kang; Marc Leishman; Seung-Yul Noh; Patrick Reed; Brandt Snedeker
Power Ranking Wild Card
Jason Day … Spots in the Power Rankings must be earned and he hasn't cracked a top 20 in over three months. You know the backstory, so his omission shouldn't surprise you despite him owning one of the strongest records at TPC Four Seasons. Broke through for his first victory here in 2010, and then answered with a solo fifth in 2011, a T9 in 2012 and a T27 in 2013. His scoring average in those 16 rounds is 68.88. From our perspective, if you're going to invest in when he'll turn it around, now is the time. So, sneak him into your lineup in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO. Assuming he converts on something special, he'll be poised for a mammoth summer.
J.B. Holmes … The 54-hole co-leader of THE PLAYERS closed with 84 and finished T41 on Sunday, but savvy gamers can overlook even one horrible round at the worst of times by a proven talent. This is his first trip to TPC Four Seasons since 2010, but his confidence off the tee should separate him. The silver lining in last week's experience if that he led the field in conversion percentage while standing over par-breaker opportunities. While he's probably too expensive in DFS to lead with him, find value in the fact that he's missed only one cut in 12 starts this season.
Gary Woodland … The last couple of months have been everything but ordinary for him. Since the tragic news of an unborn twin, which occurred during the Match Play, he's 1-for-3 with missed cuts at a major (Masters) and a team event (New Orleans). Last week's T75/MDF occurred during the annual crapshoot at TPC Sawgrass. So, it stands to reason that the AT&T Byron Nelson might be his first genuine "normal" week in a while. As a result, gamers should pounce. He's been a fixture here since 2009 and has survived the last seven cuts. His record includes a T7 in 2014 and a T12 last year.
Russell Henley … There isn't a track on the schedule at which he wouldn't check most boxes statistically, so now that he's free from the vagaries of the team competition in New Orleans, where he missed the cut, and THE PLAYERS, where he placed T35, it's time to get him back in every lineup. Seven of his 12 cuts made this season are top 20s, including the win in Houston. He's 1-for-2 at TPC Four Seasons with a T22 in his debut in 2015 and a scoring average of 68.17.
Charl Schwartzel … As long as I've been in this chair, I've espoused ignoring failure in the majors because of the variables. Everything is heightened, so success is the bonus. The same can be said of the Match Play and THE PLAYERS. The South African missed the cut last week, but anything he would have contributed would have been acceptable. Don't let it shadow a solo third in his previous start at Augusta National. This is his fifth consecutive start at TPC Four Seasons. He hasn't missed a cut, placed third in his debut in 2013 and owns a scoring average of 68.53 on the par 70.
Chad Campbell … The burly Texan is in his 16th consecutive appearance. He's missed the cut only four times while registering four top 25s. Last year's T12 featured four red numbers for the first time in his history here. Still among the more reliable ball-strikers and scramblers on TOUR. Just good, sound value across the board this week.
Sung Kang … Here's hoping that you were on board for his April heater, but go into any investment this week with breath held. The 29-year-old has yet to exhibit long-term consistency, but he's a statistical fit for TPC Four Seasons. Sits 35th in strokes gained: tee-to-green and 27th in adjusted scoring. Also T19 in par-5 scoring. Tied for 34th in his third appearance last year.
Robby Shelton … Continues to bide his time until the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada commences in June. He's done all right in a couple of starts in the big leagues since medaling at Canada's qualifying school in April. Chased it with a T16 at TPC San Antonio and a T52 at Eagle Point. Continue to invest with confidence before the expectations rise and the sale ends.
Ian Poulter … Post-PLAYERS drama aside, his two-way T2 opened up several doors, so in that context, it was mission accomplished. The optimist will aver that he makes this week's start on house money and riding the euphoria of last week's success, but we need to guard against the letdown. What's more, he's missed the cut in his last two trips to TPC Four Seasons, which were seven years apart to boot.
Keegan Bradley … This is relative to the expectation, not necessarily an outright dismissal. The 2011 champ also placed second in 2013 and has missed only one cut in six trips. That's the good. The not-so-good is his recent regression after opening eyes in the fall before getting married during the holiday break. He's 8-for-13 since with only three top 30s. Given what he's had to do to adjust to the anchoring ban and what we can see now has been a blast of form, we don't need to force it despite his success here before the ban went into effect.
Ryan Moore ... With a solid run of form upon arrival, he'd projected to cash for just the second time in five starts here (P2, 2008), but he hasn't appeared often. This is his first since 2014 and just his second in the last eight editions.
Jhonattan Vegas … Perfect in four trips but his only top-65 finish was but a T49 last year. Obviously, there's a level of comfort, but he's cooled after a year's worth of noise. At best, use him to complete maybe one roster in DFS.
Billy Horschel … Weighted down by his first 0-for-4 bender since his rookie season of 2011, he's also aiming to turn around his fate at TPC Four Seasons where he's 0-for-2 and hasn't appeared in five years.
Scott Piercy … Thanks to a blistering fall, he entered the holiday break slotted eighth in the FedExCup standings. Today, he's 66th having collected just 55 points in 2017. He's also gone eight consecutive rounds without breaking par and has just one red number in his last 14.
Returning to Competition
Brandt Snedeker … Sat out THE PLAYERS to nurse a sore left hand injured during the Masters. Gamers needn't worry about it, though, as there's no rush to return to competition. As long as he's committed, consider him 100-percent available. You're also encouraged to make room in places given consistently strong form. Also placed T6 here in 2015.
Rory Sabbatini … Walked off Eagle Point during his second round with a sore elbow. Hasn't cashed in four of his last five starts, but presents as a decent DFS throw-in at TPC Four Seasons where he prevailed in 2009. His string of 17 straight appearances ended last year due to recovery from neck surgery, but he made the cut in his last three.
Si Woo Kim … THE PLAYERS champion is resting his back. It's his second early WD (Sony) of 2017 to go with four mid-tournament withdrawals this season.
Jimmy Walker … While it's rare for him to withdraw after any commitment deadline, gamers need to anticipate the possibility as he battles Lyme Disease. Given that fact, it's impressive that he's riding a consecutive cuts made streak of nine with five top 25s. The downside is that he's 82nd in the FedExCup standings with just one top 10.
Derek Fathauer … Still comfortably inside the top bubble at 95th in FedExCup points thanks to bursting out of the gates in the fall, but he's connected for only one top 30 in his last 15 starts. That stretch has included three separate 0-for-3 skids.
Power Rankings Recap – THE PLAYERS
Power Ranking Golfer Result 1 Rory McIlroy T35 2 Sergio Garcia T30 3 Justin Rose T65 4 Rickie Fowler T60 5 Martin Kaymer T69 6 Jordan Spieth MC 7 Justin Thomas T75/MDF 8 Hideki Matsuyama T22 9 Jason Day T60 10 Dustin Johnson T12 11 Adam Scott T6 12 Matt Kuchar 82nd/MDF 13 Brooks Koepka T16 14 Kevin Kisner T56 15 Jon Rahm T72/MDF 16 Francesco Molinari T6 17 Paul Casey T22 18 Kevin Chappell T35 19 Graeme McDowell T69 20 Lee Westwood T65
Sleepers Recap – THE PLAYERS
Golfer Result Graham DeLaet MC Jason Dufner T60 David Hearn T69 Kevin Na WD Kyle Stanley T4
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
May 16 … Bo Van Pelt (42); Andres Gonzales (34); Derek Ernst (27)
May 17 … Jason Gore (43); Søren Kjeldsen (42); Hunter Mahan (35)
May 18 … none
May 19 … K.J. Choi (47)
May 20 … Branden Grace (29)
May 21 … Stewart Cink (44); Gary Woodland (33); John Huh (27)
May 22 … Scott Brown (34); Jason Kokrak (32); Dominic Bozzelli (26)