With just two tournaments remaining, PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO is simplified into where you want to burn your last start for golfers for whom you have only the one remaining. My Power Rankings, Sleepers and Draws (below) should assist with that, but the format of the FedExCup Playoffs is just as important from a gameplay perspective.
In each of the two editions since the current points structure was introduced in 2015, four golfers who started the BMW Championship inside the top 30 in points failed to advance to the TOUR Championship. In 2015, seeds 25 (Ben Martin), 26 (Daniel Summerhays), 28 (Jason Bohn) and 29 (Russell Knox) were bumped. Last year, Nos. 22 (Rickie Fowler), 24 (Henrik Stenson, who didn't play the BMW), 25 (Sergio Garcia) and 30 (Brooks Koepka) suffered the same fate.
Of the eight, all finished outside the top 40 at the BMW Championship except Koepka, who placed T32.
So, as you focus on rationing your last starts among the top 21, you're empowered to burn the final chances on the likes of Louis Oosthuizen (24), Stenson (26), Jason Day (28), Sergio Garcia (34), Phil Mickelson (36), Tony Finau (39), Patrick Cantlay (41), Ian Poulter (47) and Rory McIlroy (51). If any do advance, it means that they've scored well at Conway Farms and also likely in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO. And that means that you've benefited.
Worst case, none advance but all contributed four rounds since there is no cut.
It's harder to gain ground with all gamers guaranteed points by every golfer in every round, but investing in bubble boys and beyond is the calculated plan to take a bite out of your deficit.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO
My roster for the BMW Championship (in alphabetical order):
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Paul Casey; Jason Day; Rickie Fowler; Brooks Koepka; Marc Leishman; Kevin Na; Charl Schwartzel; Kyle Stanley
Driving: Paul Casey; Rickie Fowler; Hideki Matsuyama; Kyle Stanley; Hudson Swafford; Gary Woodland
Approach: Daniel Berger; Jason Day; Rickie Fowler; Hideki Matsuyama; Justin Rose; Henrik Stenson; Hudson Swafford
Short: Rickie Fowler; Mackenzie Hughes; Marc Leishman; Patrick Reed; Kyle Stanley; Henrik Stenson
Power Rankings Wild Card
Louis Oosthuizen … If you wanted to give special attention to the most surprising individual statistics of the 2016-17 season, included would be the fact that the South African ranks 28th on the PGA TOUR in strokes gained: putting. I've cited his turnaround before, but he's sustained it, so there's no reason to think it's a blip. And because the renown ball-striker hasn't forfeited his default strength, the improvement on the greens has fortified his value in all formats. Lest we overlook that he's also about to complete his second consecutive season without a mid-tournament withdrawal, which is just as surprising.
Kyle Stanley … Essentially straddling the arc with which he entered the Playoffs. After winning the Quicken Loans National, he was the automatic fade until now. On cue, he's logged a pair of T25s to secure a spot at 19th in points. So, with everything to gain, he's even more attractive at Conway Farms. Best of all, the sturdy ball-striker ranks 13th in strokes gained: putting in the Playoffs.
Webb Simpson … A T75 at the Dell Technologies Championship didn't do anything to stain what has been a terrific season for the 32-year-old. That he's headed back to the TOUR Championship for the first time in three years in the era of the anchoring ban and without a victory thus far in 2016-17 speaks to his grit and wisdom on how to adjust. Prior to the quiet week at TPC Boston, he finished third at Sedgefield and T6 at Glen Oaks.
Gary Woodland … On the precipice of cementing the kind of year for the ages that could go unnoticed without a victory. Arrives for his third appearance at Conway Farms slotted 29th in points, but no one hit more greens in regulation at TPC Boston (where he finished T18), so it would be an upset if he doesn't advance based solely on his current confidence. Plum choice in every format, especially this late in the season.
Tony Finau … Although he finished T47 in his debut at Conway Farms in 2015, that was his rookie season, so everything he accomplished in the Playoffs was gravy. The real value lies in how great a fit he is for the course. Consider that seven of the top nine two years ago ranked among the top 11 in driving distance or top 20 in greens in regulation for the week. Six populated both categories. You already know that he holds his own off the tee, but he's also 17th in greens in regulation in this year's Playoffs. Make room.
Phil Mickelson … As compelling and magnetic he is, no matter your interest, gamers need to provide insurance for him at Conway Farms. Here's why. It was in 2014 when he withdrew at the midpoint of the BMW Championship (at Cherry Hills) because he wasn't in contention to make a realistic run of advancing to the TOUR Championship and because he wanted to begin prepping for the Ryder Cup (in which the U.S. was mired in a slump). The lefty started that week ranked 56th in points. He's currently 36th in the FedExCup standings and he's doubly motivated to get back to East Lake and silence critics who've doubted his selection as a Presidents Cup pick by Captain Steve Stricker. However, as Mickelson set the precedent three years ago, he's not afraid to turn the page mid-tournament. It's just that it'd require an awful start to set that stage because he's just outside the bubble. Cooling his projection in the vacuum is that he failed to finish inside the top 30 at Conway Farms in both of his previous appearances.
Sergio Garcia … Still a vital cog for full-season gamers, but he hasn't registered a top 10 on U.S. soil since slipping on the Green Jacket for the first time five months ago. His last top 30 anywhere was a co-runner-up at the BMW International Open in late June. But you know what, he's earned the spoils and opportunity to exhale. What a year, personally and professionally.
Kevin Kisner … In the results-based business of fantasy golf, gamers see only one top-25 finish in his last nine starts, and that was a T7 at the PGA Championship where he cited complete comfort on the Bermuda greens of Quail Hollow. He'll be back on Bermuda at East Lake next week, but you can holster a start at Conway Farms where the surfaces are T-1 bentgrass.
Francesco Molinari … He's been silent during the Playoffs. While he's making his debut, it's still a surprising shift after sharing runner-up honors at the PGA Championship. Now, the Italian has gone against the grain time and again in recent years, both when he wasn't putting well (as is the case right now) and when presumably too banged up to excel, so he's the contrarian in this section if you need to swing for the fences with a stick your opponents will ignore.
Brendan Steele … Placed T13 at Conway Farms in 2013, but he's been a non-factor since June. It was a strange and sudden reversal of form.
Returning to Competition
Ryan Moore … Withdrew from the Dell Technologies Championship after an opening 82. An explanation wasn't released. At 67th in the FedExCup standings, he probably needs a top-three finish to advance. His best value rests with full-season investors who are guaranteed FedExCup points and earnings as long as he completes 72 holes at Conway Farms.
Colt Knost … Committed to the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco. It'll be his first sanctioned competition since January. He underwent surgery on his left wrist due to a tear in a joint capsule. The 32-year-old should have over 20 starts on a Major Medical Extension in 2017-18, but a successful run in the Web.com Tour Finals would buy some insurance for playing time. He is one of the busier golfers on TOUR. At just $13K, he's an automatic for full-season salary gamers, so his rehab now is a welcome bonus.
Charlie Beljan … Completed just 11 holes of the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship. Sat a birdie-free 6-over at the time. Still has four starts on a Major Medical Extension on the PGA TOUR, but could wrangle another 10 or so on Past Champion status if he wanted. Monitor his progress during the Web.com Tour Finals for deep salary leaguers might be interested at just $13K.
Sangmoon Bae … Back in action after sitting out 23 months to fulfill his military obligation in South Korea. He's scheduled to compete in this week's Shinhan Donghae Open. Now 31 years of age, he'll get a full season's worth of starts via the Major Medical Extension category in 2017-18.
Power Rankings Recap – Dell Technologies Championship
Power Ranking Golfer Result 1 Dustin Johnson T18 2 Rickie Fowler T13 3 Paul Casey T4 4 Rory McIlroy MC 5 Jason Day T25 6 Jordan Spieth 2nd 7 Patrick Reed T6 8 Louis Oosthuizen T30 9 Adam Scott MC 10 Justin Thomas Win 11 Matt Kuchar T56 12 Jon Rahm T4 13 Hideki Matsuyama T23 14 Webb Simpson T75 15 Kevin Chappell T35 16 Charley Hoffman T47 17 Brooks Koepka T18 18 Jhonattan Vegas T65 19 Patrick Cantlay T13 20 Justin Rose T10 Wild Card Chez Reavie T61
Sleepers Recap – Dell Technologies Championship
Golfer Result Rafa Cabrera Bello
T18 Chad Campbell
MC Graham DeLaet
T75 Jason Kokrak T53 Harold Varner III
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
September 12 … Ángel Cabrera (48)
September 13 … none
September 14 … Tony Finau (28); Emiliano Grillo (25)
September 15 … Kevin Na (34)
September 16 … Bryson DeChambeau (24)
September 17 … Byeong-Hun An (26); Ryo Ishikawa (26)
September 18 … none