Fantasy Insider: Sanderson Farms Championship
September 17, 2019
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
Sanderson Farms preview
So, what did you think of your first experience of the latest iteration of PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf?
If you played in both of the last two seasons, you can appreciate the value of the bonus points that returned for 2019-20. Bonus points equal one-tenth of the FedExCup points earned by your starters in the final round. They were included in the 2017-18 season, but they were omitted from last year's scoring which was overhauled. In short, totals points scored is much lower.
Using an apples-to-apples comparison to lay a foundation of expectations moving forward, I reached into the archives to see how the overall winner of A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier in 2018 performed against last week's overall champ.
In 2018, "Slasher" totaled a whopping 1,728 fantasy points. His/Her final-round lineup consisted of champion Kevin Na, Kelly Kraft (solo second), Joaquin Niemann (T5) and Bubba Watson (T13).
Back then, if a golfer scored 85 points in any round (excluding bonus points), it was a good day. Well, consider that of Slasher's 16 contributing scores during the tournament (including Kevin Streelman in R1), 13 went for 90 points or more. Nine were higher than 100, and five of those were greater than 110! Niemann's opening-round value of 133 points was ridiculous.
Today, if any gamer totals 85 points in a round without bonus points, it'd be the stuff of legend.
Last week, "DA GRIFF" paced gamers with 958 points. That's just 55.4 percent of Slasher's benchmark in the last edition of the tournament. DA GRIFF didn't make any roster moves throughout the tournament because he didn't have to. He rode Niemann (Win), Harris English (T3), Nate Lashley (T3) and Viktor Hovland (T10) to victory. His bench wasn't shabby at all, either, with Brian Harman (T3) and Scott Piercy (T19) at the ready.
Of the 16 rounds contributing to DA GRIFF's total and excluding bonus points, Lashley (R3) and Hovland (R4) tied with the most with 72 points. Niemann's 68 in R2, 65 in R4 and 61 in R1 round out the top five.
Despite the variance in total points scored, the obvious parallel between the last two scoring systems that included bonus points is that actual finish in the tournament proper mattered. However, because fantasy scoring is lower overall now, the bonus points are more impactful, so actual finish is even more valuable.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for the Sanderson Farms Championship (in alphabetical order):
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Harry Higgs; Sungjae Im; Denny McCarthy; J.T. Poston; Adam Schenk; Robby Shelton; Cameron Smith; Aaron Wise
Driving: Joseph Bramlett; Bronson Burgoon; Corey Conners; Emiliano Grillo; Sungjae Im; Doc Redman; Robby Shelton; Aaron Wise
Power Rankings Wild Card
Kyle Stanley … In the 2014 and 2015 editions of the tournament – the first two contested at Country Club of Jackson – he submitted scores of 70 and 74 in the first two rounds, respectively, and missed both cuts. The timing of each was nearer the nadir of his still-young career on the PGA TOUR, so I'm dismissing the results in favor of how great of a fit he is tee-to-green. He's also 7-for-7 with three top 25s since the U.S. Open this summer.
Ryan Armour … Since prevailing for the first time on the PGA TOUR here two years ago, he's maintained status nicely. In fact, he's a terrific example of how a win sets the stage for consistency over time when you're not scratching and clawing to join the club. For a talent of a certain age – he's 43 – the appreciation of the achievement tends to marry with the wisdom gained to ensure that the accomplishment isn't wasted. As it pertains to this week, slot him as insurance in DFS given his affinity for and positive experience at CC of Jackson. (He finished T54 in his title defense, which comes with a grain of salt because it also was a first-time experience.) He's also 6-for-8 in the last three months.
Cameron Smith … Because of his position on the world stage, the Aussie almost is a part of the class-is-permanent crowd, but his inconsistency is evidence of the learning curve for all. He placed T11 in his last trip to Mississippi in 2016 and he held together for a T24 last week for third top 25 during an active 5-for-6 stretch, but he's popped for only one top-15 finish in almost seven months, thus his omission from the Power Rankings.
Tom Hoge … Because of his analytics, the 30-year-old often is attractive, but it's only lately that his results are living up to the expectation on paper. Fresh off a career-best, and more importantly, a season-setting solo second at Greenbrier – his third top 10 in five starts across two tours – he's in a supremely confident position to extinguish the 0-for-3 skid at CC of Jackson since 2016.
Richy Werenski … He's on a heater, so hop on his back. It's that simple.
Jason Dufner … Getting his first look of CC of Jackson. He should connect quickly with the premium on hitting fairways and greens to score, but DFSers will need a hot putter to do any damage.
Cameron Champ … Sometimes, the year that elapses in between a victory and the opportunity to defend flies by. In other instances, it seems like it's been so much longer. He's in the latter bucket. What a difference only one year makes. After breaking through as a PGA TOUR rookie here last year and entering the holiday break as the clubhouse leader for the Arnold Palmer Award, there was some doubt if he'd even be on the ballot for the honor given what others achieved in the interim. A T21 at THE NORTHERN TRUST is his only top 25 since a T11 at the limited-field Sentry TOC that opened 2019. It's also the lone top 45 and one of only six cuts made in his last 16 starts. He's nursed a sore back and now he's experiencing his first week full of obligations as a defending champion. Let him go it alone.
Kevin Streelman … Profiles best as a horse for a course, and he's 2-for-4 with a T18 (2016) and a T10 (2017) at CC of Jackson, but he missed three straight cuts for the first time in three years. All this is to say that he remains best as a complement in full-season formats in which he never lets us down.
Charley Hoffman … This is his first visit since CC of Jackson debuted in 2014, but he doesn't enter with good form, anyway. He ended last season by going 2-for-7 without a top 50.
Patrick Rodgers … He's posted a pair of top 20s in as many starts at CC of Jackson, but he's still in pursuit of form since sitting out four months with hand and wrist injuries. Therefore, he's a trap for course-history buffs and worthy of observation only.
Luke List … Co-runner-up in his last appearance in 2016 but he's concluded the 2018-19 season by going 1-for-7 with a T77 at Liberty National.
Shawn Stefani … Hardcore gamers probably wonder why he'd demand attention in the first place, but he's recorded two of his career 12 top 10s (in 172 PGA TOUR starts) at CC of Jackson, each of which in the last two editions. (He also placed T25 in the inaugural edition in 2014.) However, he arrived with some semblance of form for each. This time, he's 0-for-3 on two tours since the second leg of the KFT Finals. At best, he's a flier and fractionally at that in DFS.
Kevin Stadler … The 39-year-old was granted an additional season on his Major Medical Extension that dates back to time first missed during the 2014-15 season. Most recently, he missed the cut in a KFT event in late May, and then withdrew during the KFT Championship three weeks ago. Arguably usable only the deepest of full-season salary games as he's exempt for 23 starts on the medical.
Si Woo Kim
Returning to Competition
Peter Malnati … Despite a sore back that forced him to walk off The Old White TPC during his third round last week, you knew that he wouldn't miss the opportunity to return to Mississippi. He broke through in his debut at CC of Jackson in 2015 and hasn't missed a return trip since. However, he's beaten 70 only once in 10 rounds since connecting four sub-70s en route to victory. With his latest malady, ahem, piggybacking uninspiring form of late, abstain.
Chez Reavie … His break since finishing eighth in the FedExCup will extend another week. He hasn't appeared in Mississippi since 2013.
Beau Hossler … He would've turned our heads this week what with a T10 despite a closing 73 here two years ago. Opened this season with a last-place finish (67th) of those who made the cut at Greenbrier.
Kristoffer Ventura … The intriguing rookie missed the cut at Greenbrier by 10 strokes. Hang in there.
Power Rankings Recap – A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Jason Kokrak MC
2 Tom Lewis MC
3 Scottie Scheffler T7
4 Viktor Hovland T10
5 Sungjae Im T19
6 Joaquin Niemann Win
7 Marc Leishman WD
8 Kevin Na T14
9 Bryson DeChambeau MC
10 Robert Streb 66th
11 Brandon Hagy MC
12 Bubba Watson T47
13 Harold Varner III T19
14 Russell Henley T57
15 Kramer Hickok MC
Wild Card Scott Piercy T19
Sleepers Recap – A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier
Lanto Griffin 13th
Harry Higgs T19
Denny McCarthy T31
Sebastián Muñoz T7
Brendon Todd MC
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
September 17 … Byeong Hun An (28)
September 18 … Viktor Hovland (22)
September 19 … Ryan Palmer (43); Michael Gligic (30)
September 20 … Chad Collins (41); Cody Gribble (29)
September 21 … none
September 22 … none
September 23 … Rod Pampling (50)