As the Tour gears up for the U.S. Open in a few weeks, the stop this weekend is in Fort Worth, TX for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. Here is a short look at a few of the things to consider as you build your fantasy golf lineups for Thursday morning.
This tournament always attracts enough competition to make for an interesting weekend, but there is a definite drop-off in the depth of the field. Spieth is an obvious favorite, but it’s as much because there are no other names that jump out at you as it is about how good he’s been. But when you find yourself paying $9,000 for Chris Kirk, you know you’re not at The Players anymore.
As I’ve mentioned before, when the field looks weaker, you might be even more tempted than usual to try to target the highest-priced players. But you have to remember that no matter what, you are best off if all your guys make the cut, and a diminished field ends up looking the worst on the back end. In order to save enough money to get those $10K salaries into your roster, you have to rely on some pretty shaky options.
One other thing to consider about Fort Worth, TX: the weather. As is often the case, it seems like, there is a chance of thunder-storms and gusty winds basically all weekend. And in golf, unlike most sports, weather doesn’t affect everyone the same. Some guys will deal with swirling winds, mist in the face, and delays or postponements, and some guys will just play a round of golf. That’s not something you can predict in advance, but you might want to look for players who you think can deal with some adverse conditions – because there is definitely a chance it comes up.
With tight fairways and narrow approaches, this is a course that favors accuracy… or scrambling. The course was about smack dab in the middle of the road in terms of GIR % last season, but the challenges is does place in the way of the golfers are in the form of tough doglegs and well-placed bunkers, not sheer distance. For example, even errant tee shots can get you the distance you need to get an angle at the green is you can recover effectively. Meanwhile, perfect tee shots will often still leave you more than wedge at the hole because you were forced into a particular landing zone – that kind of thing. And with the challenges coming in these forms, you probably don’t want to go with all the upside you’ve seen from this year’s rookies, as sad as that might make you. And, when you’re sifting through your veterans, if you’re looking for a single stat to concentrate on when building your lineup this weekend, I would go with GIR, and especially if his GIR is moving in one direction or the other. This tells a pretty complete story of which way a players game is trending right now (except, you know, for the putting – don’t draft guys who can’t putt).