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.
This is the first leg of the PGA wrap-around season, a short 6-week swing which sees players compete for some early season FedEx points. The field in these events are generally pretty weak, but this year the field in the Safeway Open (the first event—formally known as the Frys.com Open) is extremely intriguing. Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar and Paul Casey are all in attendance, but the big news is (was) the return of Tiger Woods to competitive play, Tiger has now withdrawn from the tournament, however, so you’ll have to wait until later in the year to use him in DFS lineups. There’s a 150+ golfers in the field this week, and the cut, like most PGA Tour events, will take place after the second round where the top 70 + ties will get to play the weekend. All in all this is actually decent field and many of the top players will likely be looking for a win to get their new season off to a great start.
Silverado CC (North) • Napa, CA
7,100-7,200 yards, Par 72
This will only be the second year in a row that the players will be teeing it up at the Silverado CC, so looking at results from past tournaments (other than last year) might not help you much.
The Silverado North course isn’t extremely long, but there are challenging features about it that will once again likely keep the scores down inside the mid-teens. Many holes have doglegs that require some accuracy off the tee but can also be challenged by longer hitters. The greens are smaller and tricky. Johnny Miller—who helped with the redesign here in 2011—described them as “Augusta-like” in speed and slope, and as the most challenging part of the course.
With four shorter Par 5’s the course sets up well for those with length as the field averaged well under five shots for those holes in 2014. Additionally, there are three par 4’s which measure in under 400 yards in length and only two which measure in at over 450 yards. Players will often be asked to either attempt to blast driver down more narrow fairways or layup and try and tackle the tight greens with irons. As we saw last year the leaderboard was a nice blend of power hitters and finesse players, and I won’t be shocked if we see the same thing happen again.
All in all, Silverado’s a nice design that should challenge the players in certain ways but also allow for some low scores to be had. Expect the winning score to once again be in the mid-teens.
Last 5 winners
2015— Emiliano Grillo -15 (over Kevin Na, playoff)
2014— Sang Moon Bae -15 (over Steven Bowditch -13)
2013— Jimmy Walker -17 (over Vijay Singh -15)
2012— Jonas Blixt -16 (over Jason Kokrak -15)
2011— Bryce Molder -17 (over Briny Baird playoff)
- The last 6 winners have all had a finish of T20 or better in one of their past three tournaments
- The Frys.com Open was the first PGA Tour win for 4 of the last 5 winners
- Greens in Regulation
- Strokes Gained: Around the Green
- Par 5 Scoring
- Driving Distance
As mentioned previously, Silverado is quite a short course, but does have some greens that can be tricky to hit. The past two years have seen winners rank very highly in the week for scrambling with the winners averaging an 81% success rate at getting up and down, while also hitting over 74% of greens. Both Strokes Gained: Around the Green and Greens in Regulation thus seem important this week. Players will have to be adept at finding as many putting surfaces as possible and getting up and down for birdie on the short Par 4’s to keep pace with the leaders.
With that last point in mind, I’d also venture to emphasize Driving Distance and Par 5 Scoring this week as well. The top 20 players from the first two years this event was played at Silverado included several big drivers of the golf ball and players who rank highly in Par 5 Scoring. While Silverado isn’t necessarily a bomber’s course, it does seem to favour big hitters off the tee slightly, and with four shorter Par 5’s will require players who are adept at scoring on these holes. As a result, distance off the tee and Par 5 Scoring are both places I’d venture to look at stat wise this week.
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.
|Webb Simpson||80-1||$7,500||Bryson DeChambeau $8,500 and 80-1
David Lingmerth $7,700 and 80-1
Daniel Summerhays $7,600 and 90-1
|Jamie Lovemark||70-1||$7,300||Cheng-Tsung Pan $7,400 and 125-1
Kyle Reifers $7,400 and 100-1
Lucas Glover $7,400 and 100-1
HORSES FOR COURSES
- This event has only been played at its current venue for two seasons, so our sample size this week is extremely small
Hudson Swafford has played here each of the past two seasons and with results of 17th and 8th he has taken to the venue right away. Swafford can go low on a shorter course like this with the best of them so I won’t be shocked if he remains a consistent fantasy play at this course past this season.
Tony Finau has played here twice and put up two very solid results, finishing 32nd here last season and 12th here in 2014. As one of the biggest hitters on Tour the short par 72 looks like a nice track for continued success.
Smylie Kaufman has only played this venue once, but again the success of some big hitters at this venue made me want to point out that the second year player played very well in his debut here last season. He has the length to crush these par 5’s and I won’t be shocked if he has another good week.
Patrick Rodgers has played this event twice and admittedly missed the cut in 2014, but he did finish T6 here last season. He’s another bomber who by default will have an advantage on a shorter course and someone who should prosper here long term.
It’s going to be hard to discern which of the top players will be in good form after the long season and the Ryder Cup, so looking for slightly cheaper players who had good form to end last season or are coming off of a good tournament overseas might be a good plan. This tournament has seen quite a few first time winners as well, and I won’t be shocked if it does again, so don’t be afraid to roster a young or up-and-coming player. That being said, for me the best idea this week is to go balanced with your lineups, as there’s a ton of good quality players (Harris English, Jamie Lovemark etc.) who are priced between $7,000-$9,000 and look remarkably cheap for this type of field. Overall, make sure you familiarize yourself with all of the new additions to the Tour this season as some of the best value this week and in future weeks might be at the lowest tiers.
MY PICK: John Rahm ($10,200)
All due respect to the rest of the players in the field, but to me the class of this field looks to be John Rahm. Rahm has yet to cross the finish line and get his first PGA Tour win, but the young golfer, who just turned pro last season, has only played in eight Tour events and already has two top five finishes to his name. A nice blend of power off the tee and some great touch around the greens means that Rahm could easily take advantage of this shorter setup with its faster greens. At only $10,200 this week, he is only the sixth most expensive golfer in the field and that seems like a pretty decent price for him considering the lack of talent in the field. In eight attempts last season, Rahm put up DK scores of 100 or more for a week three times. I think he’s in a great spot here to have a huge week for fantasy purposes once again.
MY SLEEPER: Cameron Smith ($6,800)
Sleeper Qualification: Must be under $7,000 in salary and projected by me to be less than 10% owned
Smith is a nice young player who unfortunately had to head to the Web.com finals to retain a Tour Card for this season. He passed the test though by finishing second in the Nationwide Hospital event a couple weeks ago and will be back out on Tour a lot this season. The Aussie has flashed some serious ability in the past, including a surprise T4 at the U.S. Open in 2015, and with the newfound confidence should come here in good spirits. This is more of a “momentum” play than anything, but with some other talented youngsters putting up some decent results at this event the past couple years, and Smith coming off his best performance in over a year, I like him as a very under-the-radar tournament play for the week.
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