Jason Day ($12,600) – To me, if you are going to spend up on one of the very top options, Day is the choice. He is just so locked in right now, finishing no worse than T12 in any of his last seven starts, with the three huge wins mixed in (he was also 4th here in 2013). Worst case scenario, it seems, you have someone who will push to be in the top ten, and do it while scoring plenty of fantasy points. When he’s not playing well, it is because he is getting more bogeys – the ability to drain birdies never goes away for this guy, and that’s music to a fantasy owner’s ears (especially on a weekend with no cut).
Jim Furyk ($10,000) – He shot a 59 here in 2013. The course has changed some, but clearly something about the place suits him well. He also has finished inside the top four golfers at four of his last five tournaments. And while he is expensive, the $2,600 between him and Jason Day is not insignificant. You can build Furyk into a normal lineup, without having to make too many accommodations. That’s worth something, because it means you’re much more comfortable with “just” a top ten finish than you are with a player like Day, who you are really hoping wins to justify the price.
Matt Kuchar ($9,200) – When he played here in 2013, he literally played the best round of his life. A 61 here really is the lowest round he has ever shot, and when you combine that course history with the fact that he has maybe been playing the best golf of his career over the last couple of months, there is basically unlimited upside. He has finished in the top ten four times in the last seven and if you want to talk consistency, he has not missed a single cut all season. (I know, no cut this weekend, but still. That’s impressive).Mid-Priced
Sergio Garcia ($8,600) – Garcia, now, is the grizzled old veteran around. It doesn’t seem that long ago that he was the young and hungry one, but now he seems to be surrounded by talented young golfers gaining their own experience by the day. These young rising stars certainly aren’t making the quest to win tournaments any easier, but this will be Sergio’s eighth BMW Championship and he has finished inside the top-25 in each of his first seven tries. Experience counts for something.
Kevin Kisner ($8,100) – Kisner has finished T20 and T12 in the first two legs of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, showing that he can compete in these stacked fields. He went through a pretty sustained stretch of success earlier in the season, so it is completely possible that he keeps up this stellar play all the way through a very nice payday at the Tour Championship.
Matt Jones ($7,900) – He finished T8 here in 2013, and he finished T4 on Labor Day at TPC Boston. He is also currently sitting at 33rd in total points, and another big showing could propel him one round deeper into these playoffs and get him a shot at the Championship.
Tony Finau ($7,600) – In my PGA Insights article for this week, I mentioned that a stat I thought might be important this weekend is Birdie or Better %. On a course that has surrendered some low scores, on a weekend with no cut, a player who drains a lot of birdies is valuable, even if there are plenty of off-setting bogeys that limit where the player actually finishes on the leaderboard. At the end of the day, we are competing based on fantasy points, after all. Finau is that kind of player, where the birdies don’t go away even when he’s playing poorly (it’s just that more bogeys show up), which helps to raise his floor in this format.
Justin Thomas ($7,600) – If Henrik Stenson ends this tournament at T25, and Thomas at T35, I would wager Thomas has more fantasy points. Stenson will have gotten there with fewer birdies and fewer bogeys, slow and steady, a great mindset for golf. Thomas would get there very differently, with more birdies AND more bogeys, and we all know birdie-bogey scores more points than par-par. No matter how high you think his upper limit on the final leaderboard is, his fantasy potential is as least slightly higher than that.
Russell Henley ($7,500) – Henley has only missed four cuts all season long, even if one of them was last weekend. As recently as the beginning of August, he was playing excellent golf, finishing inside the top-20 for four straight weeks, including the PGA Championship and the Open Championship (sandwiched between the Greenbrier Classic and the WGC-Bridgestone). With the consistency he has shown all year, and the ability to bounce back from off-weekends, there is no reason to expect him to falter again this weekend just because the Deutsche Bank Championship didn’t go as he wanted. The last time he missed a cut was at the US Open and he came out of that the next weekend and shot a 63 on Sunday at Greenbrier to propel himself to a solo 5th.
Russell Knox ($7,400) – He is one of only a handful of golfers to finish inside the top-20 in each of the first two events of the playoffs, and in both events he shot himself in the foot with one crappy round, or he could have finished even higher.
Daniel Summerhays ($7,400) – If you thought Knox’ top-20 finishes in each of the first two events of the playoffs was impressive, check out Mr. Summerhays. With top TEN performances in each of the first two rounds of the playoffs, he has played his way into a spot in the field next weekend, and he is going to be on his game, trying to ensure he doesn’t lose that ticket to East Lake GC.
Brendon de Jonge ($6,800) – He opened with a 65-68 last weekend, and held on for a T22 performance that kept him locked into advancing through these playoffs with shots at greater and greater amounts of cash prizes. And, he is inexpensive enough to give you access to one of those top ten-priced players, which means you should be able to survive even if his performance is only good and not necessarily great – just so long as your other choices are spot-on.