Fantasy Insider: FedEx St. Jude Classic
June 09, 2015
By Rob Bolton , PGATOUR.COM
- Graeme McDowell has made six straight cuts. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
In a week like this when many of our usual targets are off and the chalk is even easier to identify, take advantage of the opportunity to invest in one or two guys on whom you've had your eye. Haven't pulled the trigger on Shawn Stefani or Russell Knox yet? Now's the time. Obviously, we don't know what's going to happen, but as veteran gamers understand, when you latch on emotionally, you're educated. You then take what you learn and apply it to your decision-making the next time. Gamers tend to remember when they were on so-and-so during a big win. It's the same dynamic, just on a lesser scale. For example, I'm thoroughly intrigued by what Will Wilcox is doing, so I'm forcing the action with a spot in my AVIS lineup below.
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OTHERS TO CONSIDER (in alphabetical order)
Driving: Harris English; Lucas Glover; Russell Knox; Brooks Koepka
Approach: Jason Bohn; Jon Curran; Lucas Glover; Russell Knox
Short: Jon Curran; Harris English; Jerry Kelly; Bryce Molder
Scoring: Jason Bohn; Jerry Kelly; Brooks Koepka; George McNeill
You'll find my choices for the pick-four game with the other writers and staffers in Expert Picks.
Power Rankings Wild Card
Brooks Koepka ... Freefell to T52 with a Sunday 78 at Muirfield Village. But it was just one round, albeit at the worst time. He had connected eight red numbers on the PGA TOUR prior to it. Will be entering the U.S. Open having played in four consecutive tournaments beginning at the BMW PGA Championship in England. I'd be inclined to lay off as a missed cut wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for his prep, but he shared 19th place in his debut here last year, and then tossed up a T4 at Pinehurst No. 2. He wants to stay warm, so we need to acknowledge that.
Graeme McDowell ... Despite the absence of a top 25 in his last 11 starts worldwide, he's proven to rebound without notice. He's also riding a consecutive cuts made streak of six. In this field and on this course where he tied for 24th last year, give him a look in DFS.
Russell Knox ... Form over history for the Scot, who's 1-for-3 at TPC Southwind with a solo 74th in 2013. He's too good to extend that drought. Arrives with six straight cuts made, four of which for a top 25. No need to repeat the details of his consistency throughout his bag again this week, but it should serve as a platform to rise a bit in this field. I'm bullish in every format.
Charles Howell III ... With another $202, he'll eclipse $1 million for the 15th consecutive season. That underscores his value in the long-term, but he also makes sense this week. He's survived five consecutive cuts at TPC Southwind, including a T3 in 2011. Look at him in AVIS and DFS as a source of scoring chances.
Carl Pettersson ... Why not. With a T8 (2011) and a T3 (2014) in his last two appearances at TPC Southwind, he's worth a flier in DFS and other formats where you can take advantage of his regression. Sits 114th in the FedExCup standings with only one top 25 (T17, McGladrey).
Luke Donald ... He successfully qualified for the U.S. Open at The Bears Club where he's a member, so that was more or less predictable in that field. Meanwhile, he's getting his first look at TPC Southwind and inconsistency has been his headline all year. The only scenario where he makes sense is as a contrarian investment given his cachet and potential to snap out of it at any time, especially on a track where scrambling is relatively easy.
Patrick Rodgers ... The pressure is off now that he's a Special Temporary Member, but he's not eligible for the FedExCup Playoffs unless he wins. With a start this week, he'll become rookie eligible, but only keeper leagues should be on board right now and he's well within the top-125 bubble for both non-member FedExCup points and earnings for fully exempt status in 2015-16. Also sixth on the Web.com Tour money list, so he has his future PGA TOUR card surrounded. As for this week, just remember that a T2 at Quail Hollow is his only top-35 finish in 16 TOUR starts as a pro. There's no need to rush who will be a focal point of ours for years to come.
Boo Weekley ... He's survived the cut in the last five editions but has recently been battling a back injury. The scores are there but so is the concern and absence of putting four rounds together.
Nick Watney ... Still valuable in the long-term but remains too inconsistent despite his overall success. To wit, in his last nine starts, he has two top 25s and no top 40s in the other seven. Also making his debut at TPC Southwind.
Brendon de Jonge ... As reliable as he is most weeks, this is a good spot to look elsewhere. Just 2-for-5 at TPC Southwind with no top 30s. At the same time, he's probably as good as a tiebreaker in DFS that you're going to have in his price range.
Matt Jones ... Since a T5 in his title defense in Houston, he 3-for-6 with no top 30s despite 10 red numbers in 18 rounds. Also hasn't made a cut in three tries at TPC Southwind.
David Toms ... As a two-time champ and all-time earnings leader in this tournament, he deserves a spot in the conversation, but he's 1-for-4 here since 2011 with but a T56 in 2013 and only one round under par during that stretch.
Returning to Competition
Blayne Barber ... Sat out the last three events for the birth of his first child. He also sectional qualified for the U.S. Open on Monday, which also served as a nice way to shed the competitive rust. The rookie is 112th in the FedExCup standings with three top 10s.
Bud Cauley ... Scheduled to compete in the Web.com Tour's Rust-Oleum Championship. It would be his first start since early September. He had surgery for a torn labrum in his left shoulder on Sept. 12. He started the season at the top of the Web.com Tour graduate reshuffle category, so if he needs it, he'll be in line for a medical extension next season. In the meantime, he'll have up to five rehab starts. He could also improve his number at the Web.com Tour Finals with the medical riding shotgun in 2015-16. The moral of the story is that his long-term fantasy value is getting a long-awaited boost.
Paul Casey, D.A. Points, Charl Schwartzel, Robert Streb and Brendon Todd ... All preferring to focus on next week's U.S. Open.
Power Rankings Recap -- Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance
1 Jordan Spieth T3
2 Hideki Matsuyama T5
3 Kevin Na T13
4 Brooks Koepka T52
5 Bill Haas T18
6 Dustin Johnson T13
7 Justin Rose P2
8 Matt Kuchar T26
9 Rickie Fowler MC
10 Chris Kirk T36
11 Ben Martin MC
12 Kevin Kisner T8
13 Russell Henley MC
14 Jim Furyk T5
15 Ryan Moore T18
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
June 9 ... Billy Hurley III (33); S.J. Park (29)
June 10 ... none
June 11 ... Geoff Ogilvy (38)
June 12 ... none
June 13 ... none
June 14 ... Oscar Fraustro (33)
June 15 ... Justin Leonard (43); Spencer Levin (31)