The Cheat Sheet provides fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.
Pat Perez completed his come back from injury with a dominant final round that saw him win by two over Gary Woodland. Perez had played well each week since his comeback, so perhaps the win should have been seen coming by fantasy players. Meanwhile Woodland capped off his year with a nice week, although he again fell short of the win. The bomber continues to exude massive potential but few big wins.
This is a full field event which features upwards of 150 golfers and will have the cut take place after Friday’s round. As the last event in the Fall Series, this will also be the players’ last shot at grabbing a win before the start of the real PGA season in January. Tour vets and multiple winners Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Chris Kirk will all be in attendance and give some teeth to this field. As with most fall series events, however, a lot of recent Web.com Tour grads and fringe players will round out the field. This event also takes place over two courses on Friday and Saturday (due to lack of daylight in the Fall), so checking weather forecasts at each course beforehand would be wise, as the draw can sometimes be a big factor when an extra course is in play.
Seaside Course, (Sea Island, Georgia): Par 70, 7,055 yards
Plantation Course, (Sea Island, Georgia): Par 72, 7,058 yards (Thursday and Friday only)
Just like last year, the tournament will feature two different courses. On Thursday and Friday, players will play both the Seaside (the host course) and the Plantation course once, and then the weekend players will play Saturday and Sunday on the Seaside course only. This is going to play a big factor this weekend as the Plantation course carries four par 5’s (compared to only two for the Seaside course) and is much less wind exposed, meaning it could play up to 2 shots easier than the host course. Knowing which days your players will be on which course will be crucial, and I’d suggest using the weather forecast to help you make decisions. Getting players with less breezy days on the Seaside course will be crucial to success.
The courses themselves are shorter in nature and favour players who rely on accuracy over power. Many players who have had success at this event have also had success at other short seaside courses like Hilton Head and Waialae Country Club, which also feature Bermuda grass and are wind exposed like the courses this week. Looking for specialists on these sorts of tracks isn’t a bad plan, and something I’d recommend considering when making your lineups.
Last 5 winners
- 2015 — Kevin Kisner -22 (over Kevin Chappell -16)
- 2014 — Robert Streb -14 (over Brandon de Jonge and Will MacKenzie – Playoff)
- 2013 — Chris Kirk -14 (over two players at -13)
- 2012 — Tommy Gainey -16 (over David Toms -15)
- 2011 — Ben Crane – 15 (over Webb Simpson – Playoff)
- 5 of the last 6 winners had a T5 or better at either the RBC Heritage (Hilton Head) or the Sony Open (Waialae Country Club) before their win at the RSM.
- 5 of the last 6 winners have ranked 34th or better in par 4 scoring in the year of their victory
Par 4 Scoring
Given both the makeup of the course and past results I think we can conclude that driving accuracy will be a factor this week. The fairways aren’t huge at the Seaside course, and from what I’ve heard, the Plantation course has even narrower landing areas than the regular Seaside course. Placement off the tee is big here and past winners and top fivers at this event have generally done well in this category throughout their careers. Last year’s winner, Kevin Kisner, ranked 33rd for the year in this category.
As mentioned above, Par 4 Scoring has been crucial for past winners and with the main course being a par 70 and having only two par 5’s, I’d continue to rely on that stat this week. This is often a good barometer for success anyways, but with the past trend of winners ranking highly in this category I would emphasize it even more here.
Finally, I would emphasize proximity to the ole on approaches here as well. These courses play short and fairly easy on the stroke index, meaning the players will have chances all week to knock it close. Kevin Kisner ranked second in this category at this event last season (via PGA.com) and took advantage of his looks by cruising to -22 for the week. Others who rank well in this category here will likely have similar chances at success.
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful of putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their odds of winning this week.
|Brian Harman||80-1||$7,100||Ian Poulter $7,200 and 100-1
Ben Martin $7,500 and 110-1
Scott Brown $7,100 and 110-1
|Lucas Glover||33-1||$8,900||Luke List $9,400 and 40-1
Si Woo Kim $9,500 and 40-1
Webb Simpson $9,600 and 35-1
HORSES FOR COURSES
Kevin Chappell has a very solid record at this event and has improved his finishing position every year here since 2012. In his last two starts at the Seaside venue he’s finished 8th and 2nd. While he hasn’t played much lately, I’d expect Chappell to be in the mix somewhat this week.
Russell Henley is a streaky player who has had some of his biggest moments crushing shorter/gettable courses like Seaside. He also has a nice history at this event going 6th and 4th here over his past two visits, making him a player to note this week and a nice fantasy play in my opinion.
Brendon de Jonge has not been in good form lately, but his record at this course makes him somewhat of a dark horse this week. In six trips to this venue he’s never missed the cut and also finished inside the top five twice (including a playoff loss in 2015). He’s a risk/reward type of punt play this week for me.
Webb Simpson has played solidly in the fall although some fantasy players are probably miffed at the lack of big finishes he has. He does have a nice record at this event though, going four for four on made cuts and also landing two finishes in the top ten including a runner-up back in 2011.
This is a big field, and even though most of the elite golfers on the PGA are taking the week off, there’s some big names you can get at pretty good value this week. I’d personally look for players who have had success either at this event or one of the correlation courses I mentioned earlier and try and build some experienced teams based off those results. The wind and tight fairways this week should mean first timers may struggle a bit with the setup, so I’m personally valuing experience a little more than I have in past Fall Series events. A balanced approach seems like the best route to me personally, as the top priced players don’t scream must play to me, and there are plenty of players in good form in the $7-$9k range.
Top Performing Studs from Recent Weeks
- Chris Kirk – $9,600 and 104 ftps
- Charles Howell III – $7,500 and 117 ftps
- Lucas Glover – $8,100 and 114.5 ftps
Top Performing Value Plays from Recent Weeks
- Steve Marino – $6,000 and 88.5 ftps
- J.J. Spaun – $6,300 and 89.5 ftps
- Robert Garrigus – $7,000 and 82 ftps
MY PICK: Lucas Glover ($8,900)
Like last weeks winner Pat Perez, Glover is a player who has been on the comeback trail of late. After losing his game for a couple seasons (and considering retirement), Glover has finally built back his putting stroke to the point where he can now at least compete on a weekly basis. Already with two top fives to his name in the Fall Series this year, Glover should feel comfortable this week on a track where he finished 9th last season, with a much less reliable putter. Glover’s accuracy off the tee and precision approach game should also give him plenty of chances at birdie this week, and if his putter stays even remotely solid he should be in the mix again. At $8,900, I think he’s the best value among the top plays and my pick to finish off 2016 with a win.
MY SLEEPER: Zac Blair ($6,300)
Sleeper Qualification: must be under $7,000 in salary and projected by me to be less than 10% owned
Blair has had a decent wrap-around season, making three of four cuts. While he doesn’t have a high finish in quite some time there’s some reason for optimism this week. Blair is a shorter hitter who has thrived at some of these shorter, more accuracy driven courses over his short career, including Waialae Country Club, where he finished third last season. Blair has also made the cut twice at this event finishing 33rd and 32nd in his two appearances. At only $6,300, I love his chances of at least making the weekend and would also put him at a better than average at closing with his best finish of the fall series here. His price makes him a great sleeper play this week in my opinion.
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