Fantasy Insider: THE PLAYERS Championship
March 12, 2019
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
Fantasy Outlook: THE PLAYERS Championship
My Power Rankings includes the entire field, so this week's Fantasy Insider column is abridged. It doesn't mean that you can stop reading – there's considerable intel awaiting below. It means only that you won't have to read for as long.
If host courses could be rostered in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, then TPC Sawgrass would be pushed in 100 percent of the lineups submitted for THE PLAYERS Championship.
Let's face it, no one ever solves TPC Sawgrass, the winner survives it. Toss out your conventional approach for a sixsome heavy in international talent that doesn't play enough to force you into rationing starts. While the fantasy game rewards cuts made, THE PLAYERS is the first of 11 tournaments of Segment 3, so you'll want your usual targets at too many sites to spread the three starts per golfer that you get.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for THE PLAYERS Championship (in alphabetical order):
Rafa Cabrera Bello
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Bryson DeChambeau; Tony Finau; Rickie Fowler; Tyrrell Hatton; Si Woo Kim; Matt Kuchar; Marc Leishman; Rory McIlroy; Justin Rose; Xander Schauffele; Gary Woodland
Driving: Keegan Bradley; Paul Casey; Bryson DeChambeau; Tommy Fleetwood; Lucas Glover; Emiliano Grillo; Charles Howell III; Jason Kokrak; Matt Kuchar; Louis Oosthuizen; Justin Rose; Gary Woodland
Returning to Competition
Jason Day and Tiger Woods … The annular tear in the L4-L5 disc of Day's back is the reason he slotted way down at No. 20 in my Power Rankings. In fact, he and Woods (neck strain) could have shared the Wild Card badge this week.
Peter Uihlein … He's withdrawn during two of his last four starts, the latter at PGA National as a result of a sore back. The 29-year-old has battled a myriad of injuries for years, so since he's a first-timer at TPC Sawgrass, you have even more reason to let him go it alone.
Troy Merritt … This qualifies as a surprise, and a pleasant one at that. He's back a month before he anticipated. On Jan. 16, he had surgery to remove a rib on his left side to alleviate complications caused by Thoracic outlet syndrome, not the least of which was the potential for another blood clot. (He had one removed last August.) At 92nd in the FedExCup, for his owners who waited it out, he's like a midseason pickup that didn't cost anything.
Talor Gooch … As noted below, he was one of my Sleepers at Bay Hill, but he exited before his first round with a sore thumb. The 27-year-old is making his PLAYERS debut, so expectations are low this time around.
Pat Perez … Shared on Instagram on Monday that he injured his left Achilles. He didn't go into detail. This is already his second injury of 2019. A sore thumb forced him out of the Desert Classic during the third round. Currently 86th in FedExCup points but the 43-year-old might be facing extended time off. Hang onto him until more is known about his condition.
Kevin Chappell … The 32-year-old remains on a long-term mend after having a microdiscectomy in late November. He started chipping a couple of weeks ago and he hasn't established a timeline for a return, at least publicly. Even if he does in coming weeks, gamers have to expect him to out for many more months. Others both younger and older who have undergone the same procedure have missed considerable playing time. If he's not a free agent in your league, he should be even though he's 146th in the FedExCup standings after a sporty 3-for-3 start in the fall.
William McGirt … He's sat out all season after having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip and femoroacetabular impingement. He hasn't set a timeline to resume live action, but he must be doing OK given he was excited to share on March 4 that he recorded his first-ever albatross (in the Seminole Member-Pro).
Jamie Lovemark … Revealed a partial tear in the labrum in his left shoulder. Had targeted Bay Hill to return, but his time off will eclipse two months next week. Sits 172nd in FedExCup points.
Sean O'Hair … Hasn't competed since withdrawing during the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am for an undisclosed reason. Had finished T9 at the Desert Classic just three weeks prior. He's 157th in the FedExCup standings.
James Hahn … He was a late scratch at the Genesis Open due to an elbow injury. Currently 169th in FedExCup points and without a top 25 in 13 months.
Whee Kim … No explanation has been released for his decision, but he's just 1-for-9 since The RSM Classic with a T71 in Puerto Rico. His mid-tournament WD at Riviera was a result of him choosing not to finish his second round on Saturday morning after it was suspended on Friday because he wasn't going to make the cut. He's proven to be a threat to pop without notice, but he's unownable in full-season formats.
Power Rankings Recap – Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Rory McIlroy T6
2 Justin Rose T63
3 Rickie Fowler T40
4 Jason Day WD
5 Brooks Koepka MC
6 Marc Leishman T23
7 Bryson DeChambeau T46
8 Ian Poulter T23
9 Lucas Glover T10
10 Hideki Matsuyama T33
11 Francesco Molinari Win
12 Patrick Reed T50
13 Charles Howell III T15
14 Tommy Fleetwood T3
15 Michael Thompson MC
Wild Card Billy Horschel T50
Sleepers Recap – Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard
Brian Gay MC
Talor Gooch DNP
Nate Lashley MC
Luke List T10
J.T. Poston T66
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
March 12 … none
March 13 … Austin Cook (28)
March 14 … none
March 15 … none
March 16 … Bud Cauley (29); Beau Hossler (24)
March 17 … Aaron Baddeley (38); Patrick Cantlay (27)
March 18 … none