The freshly named Dean & Deluca Invitational tees off Thursday morning from Colonial CC in Forth Worth, TX. Jordan Spieth headlines the field, but coming off his missed cut at TPC Sawgrass and his Sunday 74 last weekend, he might not be the most obvious choice on the board. There are golfers worth considering in every tier of the price range – here are some targets to help you narrow down your choices.
Jordan Spieth ($12,800) – The best thing about the most expensive options is that they have the most upside, but still seem so safe. And maybe just a little bit of that safety is gone right now with Spieth after his last couple of weeks and his lack of victories this year. However, he is still one of a handful of guys on Tour with a legitimate chance to win every time he steps on the course, and if there ever was a place he might decide to break through and finally get his first win in his home state, it would be here: T7, T14 and T2 in his only three appearances.
Adam Scott ($11,300) – Scott is a former winner here (2014), but he has had poor showings here as well. This season, he has yet to miss a cut, and in his last seven starts on the PGA Tour, he has been inside the top twenty six times. In his last four tournaments, he has a T42 at Augusta, but otherwise his finishes have been T12, T17 and T12 again. Even in tournaments where he is not pushing the very top of the leaderboard, he is averaging over 18 holes under par and 83.0 fantasy points.
Matt Kuchar ($11,000) – This might be the most obvious choice on the board, which is saying something when you consider the pedigree of the two guys I just mentioned in front of him. I’ll be quick: he has been inside the top 20 here three times, and he also has three top 10’s in his last four starts this season. All of which is why this is a week where I can see myself wanting at least one of the most expensive plays in almost every single one of my rosters, and two if I can manage it. This is obviously going to mean I have to find value elsewhere to make it work, so I suppose in general I am advocating for a “stars and scrubs” style approach to lineup-building for this one.
Charley Hoffman ($10,400) – Hoffman represents just enough of a savings over the top players to make it a bit easier to build a lineup around him, but you’re still getting a guy with plenty of upside who is as safe as a golfer can be. He has never missed a cut at Colonial, and finished T10 here last year. The hope is that he could improve on that showing this year – and with four top-15s in his last five tournaments- he is playing well enough right now to do just that.
Chris Kirk ($9,700) – Kirk is on this list because he is here defending his title from last season. He’s made six cuts in six tries, and that win last season was his fourth performance inside the top-20. He did it last year mainly with a red-hot putter, and at a place that he clearly has a feel for, there is no reason to think he can’t do that again. It might not be for the W this time, but it should be for plenty of useful fantasy points, even if he “only” manages something like a 5th top-20 showing.
Brandt Snedeker ($8,900) – He’s been hit or miss recently, with three missed cuts in his last four appearances, which certainly is enough to make him something less of a cash game option for me this weekend. You can also thank those missed cuts for pushing his price tag down enough to all of a sudden make him a golfer with a ton of upside. His history here makes him a GPP play worth considering strongly: 5-for-5 on cuts, including a T2 last year that featured four rounds under 70.
Danny Lee ($8,800) – I have been comfortable recommending him every week lately, and he has not disappointed very often at all. He has been inside the top-20 three times since the beginning of April, and he is doing it by carding plenty of birdies – exactly what you’re looking for in a potential fantasy commodity. His opening round of 63 last weekend had him on his way to 92 DKFP despite only ending up T18 at the end of the weekend. It is important to keep in mind that, while there is obviously plenty of correlation, the list of top fantasy performers every week doesn’t match up exactly with the leaderboard – and what you’re looking for, at the end of the day, are fantasy points.
Kevin Kisner ($8,000) – Despite missed cuts in each of his last two, he is still 10/14 on the season and sitting inside the top ten in the All-Around Ranking. And, on a course that is somewhat forgiving off the tee (Chris Kirk was T60 in fairways hit and T62 in GIR % in last year’s win), an ability to take advantage the opportunities you’re given and convert them will go a long way. In other words, hit your putts. Kisner is 13th in Birdie or Better Conversion % on the greens, so he will look to take advantage of a course that should provide plenty of chances and turn around his recent stretch of bad play this weekend.
Ian Poulter ($7,700) – If you start off with $8,333 to spend per golfer in your lineup, Poulter represents the point at which you’re finally drafting guys who will give you the opportunity to roster the big fish. Concentrating on the mid-tier options is perfectly fine, but you need to be prepared to draft an entire lineup of them. Since I said this was a weekend where I wanted stars in my lineup, these are the guys I will have to rely on filling my other spots. Poulter hasn’t finished higher than T49 since the Puerto Rico Open in March, but has done well here many times, most recently with his top-5 finish here last year. And you don’t need top-5 for him to be worth the price.
Jonas Blixt ($7,500) – After being outside the top-twenty for basically three straight months, Blixt came through with a T19 at The PLAYERS. He was hoping to carry that momentum forward to the AT&T Byron Nelson, but bookend rounds of 71 ruined those chances. His 66-67 on Friday-Saturday had him looking like the kind of golfer who could compete anywhere. Currently fourth in Putts Per Round, he should be able to capitalize on his recent improved play at Colonial this weekend.
Bryce Molder ($7,100) – Another player who shows well in the Putts Per Round statistic (currently 7th, up from 9th), Molder has been inside the top-25 in each of his last three tournaments. After a T8 at the Zurich Classic and T12 at The PLAYERS, he was “just” T24 last weekend, but it could have been better. The 72 he shot on Sunday really ruined the start he had given himself by opening 66-65, but those two rounds still propelled him to a very useful 85.5 DKFP on the weekend.
Johnson Wagner ($5,800) – There is inexpensive and then there is cheap. This is for the lineup where you just had to have two of the top 6 or 7 options on the board, and you’re looking for someone who isn’t going to destroy your chances. He has made six straight cuts, averaging just about 13 par breakers and almost 61 DKFP per tournament over that stretch. Without question, that represents value at this price and a player who could help you win any kind of contest.