I trust that I'm greeting you in good stead. A funny thing happens at this time of year. As the PGA TOUR prepares to crown the FedExCup champion, fantasy interest abates. This is usually due to apathy when partial- and full-season titles are out of reach. So it goes. Fantasy is still a primary draw for months leading up to the Playoffs.
Since you're still interested in contending for whatever you prize happens to be, it's time to plan in reverse. If your format restricts starts, rely on the guarantee that all golfers at the 70-man BMW Championship and 30-man TOUR Championship will play four rounds. Only THE NORTHERN TRUST and Dell Technologies Championship feature 36-hole cuts.
If you play PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO, it's mathematically impossible that you won't be able to roster six golfers at East Lake no matter how busy you've been in Segment 4. Assuming all 30 golfers compete, you would have had to burn an aggregate 75 starts (equal to the maximum of three for 25 golfers) to fall short of a full deck for the Playoffs finale. However, since there are only 11 events in advance, that's a maximum of 66 starts (one per each of six golfers in each event).
So, if you're the most aggressive among your opponents through the BMW, you won't be able to build the strongest team pound for pound, but you'll have a puncher's chance.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO
My roster for THE NORTHERN TRUST (in alphabetical order):
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Daniel Berger; Jason Day; Tony Finau; Rickie Fowler; Brian Harman; Charley Hoffman; J.B. Holmes; Dustin Johnson; David Lingmerth; Jon Rahm; Patrick Reed
Driving: Kevin Chappell; Jason Dufner; Rickie Fowler; Francesco Molinari; Jon Rahm; Kyle Stanley; Richy Werenski; Gary Woodland
Approach: Jason Dufner; Dustin Johnson; Rory Sabbatini; Webb Simpson; Kyle Stanley; Richy Werenski
Short: Daniel Berger; Rickie Fowler; Brian Harman; Louis Oosthuizen; Patrick Reed; Steve Stricker
Power Rankings Wild Card
Ian Poulter … He might be the most decorated of the qualifiers for the FedExCup Playoffs who has never competed in a TOUR Championship. Certainly, that's enough motivation to shed the label, but he enters with as much momentum as ever. Since his critically important T2 at THE PLAYERS, he's 10-for-10 worldwide with three top 15s and a T22 (PGA Championship) in his last four starts. Ranks 13th on TOUR in strokes gained: tee-to-green and leads in scrambling. At 48th in the FedExCup standings, he's poised to spoil.
Webb Simpson … The usual point about poor putters getting to hide on unfamiliar greens would normally apply, but it hasn't mattered of late to him. For a guy who was always a bit of a tease even before the anchoring ban, he's entirely the real deal right now. Since a T16 at THE PLAYERS, he's 9-for-9 with five top 20s. That includes a solo third at Sedgefield where he was expected to perform well.
Daniel Berger … Adhering to my philosophy of dismissing failure in the majors – his last two missed cuts occurred at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship – he sets up as a threat to take it all the way to the house. Already in his third Playoffs, he's logged five top 15s in eight events during the series. The 24-year-old has also shed whatever thread you still applied to his value strictly on Bermuda greens.
Marc Leishman … Just keeps on keepin' on. What a season and even when the wind isn't howling. Ranks 17th in strokes gained: tee-to-green and fifth in adjusted scoring. Six top 20s baked into his current 9-for-9 run include a T6 at The Open Championship and a T13 at the PGA Championship. At 14th in the FedExCup standings, he's on the precipice of returning to East Lake for the first time since claiming Rookie of the Year honors in 2009.
Zach Johnson … Gamers are advised to continue to ride his putter while it's hot, which it is again. It's the finisher for one of the TOUR's most accurate tee balls.
Gary Woodland … As anticipated, he's back in business. En route to a T22 at the PGA Championship, he led the field in total driving and ranked T10 in greens hit. No stranger to opening the Playoffs strong with four top 15s in five appearances at the migratory opener.
Kyle Stanley … It's not a stretch to state that he's the last winner on a course unfamiliar to just about everyone in the field. Royal Birkdale is in The Open Championship rota, but TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm was making its debut as a PGA TOUR host site. That's where the 29-year-old prevailed for the Quicken Loans National, a limited-field invitational. It's also not a stretch to attach to the theory that he's bided his time since, as a lackluster 2-for-5 slate in the interim suggests. Currently second on TOUR in total driving, first in greens in regulation and third in proximity to the hole, he presents strongly once again at Glen Oaks, which is also brand new to this limited field.
Tony Finau … He's the gift that keeps on giving and projects to take us all the way to East Lake for the first time. Epitomizes what it means to adapt to a course. His length is his calling card, but it's just a component to his success. Ranks T10 in scoring opportunities and 19th in converting those chances into par breakers.
J.B. Holmes … He's probably frustrated and benefited you all summer, but he hasn't missed a cut. Combine that consistency with a strong tee-to-green game and he presents as a mild contrarian investment. Opens 82nd in points and in pursuit of his third straight trip to East Lake.
Patrick Cantlay … Remains a DFS special because of his potential and the fact that he doesn't miss cuts. Entirely underdiscussed is that he could still crash the conversation for Rookie of the Year.
Kevin Kisner … Disappointing T42 at Sedgefield and on Bermuda greens no less. Back on Poa this week and seeking to end a slump of six straight starts in the Playoffs without a top 25. It's an odd trend but one worth monitoring.
Phil Mickelson … Always enthused and beloved when he returns to this neck of the woods, and no doubt motivated to return as a competitor in the Presidents Cup in a month, but he fizzled down the stretch. While it's a small sample size, it's still poignant that his drought of three starts without a top-35 finish is his first in three years. It'll end at some point, of course, but there's no reason to bet on it now in this field.
Ollie Schniederjans … This is relative as much as his runner-up finish at Sedgefield was surprising. It was his first top 25 in four months, but that kind of dry spell is to be expected from a rookie. He's authored an impressive season, co-leading his class with five top 10s. At 39th in FedExCup points, he's higher than two of the five rookies who have won tournaments. The 24-year-old has performed as advertised.
Charles Howell III … Cooled in his last two starts – both majors -- and hasn't recorded a top 20 in any of the first three Playoffs events since the 2011 NORTHERN TRUST (at Plainfield CC).
Rafa Cabrera Bello … Debuts at 74th in points thanks to a fine foray with PGA TOUR member, but the Spaniard has been too inconsistent in which to rely in any format other than full-season.
Returning to Competition
Si Woo Kim … Elected not to defend his title at the Wyndham Championship due to his lingering back injury. The 22-year-old has six mid-tournament withdrawals this season. Opens 41st in points, so he'll need to find magic again to book a return to East Lake. Gamers need to continue to let him go it alone.
Martin Laird … Withdrew from last week's Wyndham Championship for personal reasons prior to the second round. He had missed the cut in his previous three starts, but projected nicely at Sedgefield where he owned a 6-for-6 record. Seeded 57th, it's been five years since he's advanced as far as the BMW Championship.
Derek Fathauer … Walked off Sedgefield with four holes to go in his second round, but an explanation wasn't released. The 31-year-old sustained his season-opening T15-T3 last fall to qualify for the Playoffs for a second consecutive year. He's 111th in points.
Sergio Garcia … Third consecutive year that he's sat out the first event of the Playoffs. He's 22nd in points.
Brandt Snedeker … Announced on Aug. 16 that he would not compete in the Playoffs due to ongoing discomfort in his sternum joint. He's the 64-seed, so he'll officially bow out after the Dell Technologies Championship. Assuming he's healthy sooner than later, full-season salary gamers should pencil him in at just $1.625 million in 2017-18.
Adam Scott … He announced months ago that his wife was scheduled to deliver the couple's second child right around now. The 66-seed will advance to the Dell Technologies Championship where he placed fourth last year.
Scott Piercy … Has not played since the Travelers Championship. No explanation for his time away has surfaced. As the 85-seed, he might advance, anyway. Last year, Chad Campbell opened in the same slot, missed the cut in the first event, and assumed the last spot in the field at TPC Boston. When the current points structure was introduced in 2015, 86-seed Jason Kokrak opened with a missed cut and hung on at No. 100 as well.
Dominic Bozzelli … Also withdrew early from the Barracuda Championship and Wyndham Championship with an unspecified injury. Because he starts the Playoffs slotted 115th in points, he cannot advance, but like everyone who qualified, the rookie is fully exempt for next season.
Power Rankings Recap – Wyndham Championship
Power Ranking, Golfer, Result
1 Kevin Kisner T42
2 Webb Simpson 3rd
3 Bill Haas T75/MDF
4 Bud Cauley T42
5 Ryan Moore T24
6 James Hahn MC
7 Chez Reavie T37
8 Chris Stroud MC
9 Jason Dufner T14
10 Henrik Stenson Win
11 Sam Saunders T37
12 Byeong Hun An MC
13 Scott Brown MC
14 Ben Martin DQ
15 Rory Sabbatini T4
Wild Card Keegan Bradley T42
Sleepers Recap – Wyndham Championship
Brandon Hagy MC
John Huh T60
Martin Laird WD
Robert Streb T72
Kevin Streelman T72
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
August 22 … none
August 23 … none
August 24 … Rich Beem (47); Cameron Tringale (30)
August 25 … none
August 26 … Ben Martin (30)
August 27 … none
August 28 … none