The Silverado CC (North) in Napa, CA plays host to the first official PGA event of the 2015-2016 season, the Frys.com Open. It feels a little like the 2014-2015 season just ended, which is because it’s true – the season did just end. The only real break in the action of the year doesn’t come until December, so performances near the end of that “year” should be able to help you make some decisions for your roster here. Here are some names for you to consider at every price range in this week’ contests. Good luck!
Rory McIlroy ($12,800) – Last year was the first year here for the event, and the winner led the pack in par-5 scoring, an area in which Rory excels, but one year is a small sample size. But this is a course that offers a fair test, where you need to make shots to score under par, but can do it in a lot of different ways – off the tee, approaching the green, with stellar putting – and McIlroy should be able to find a way to get it done.
Hideki Matsuyama ($10,800) – Matsuyama has been playing some really consistent golf lately, finishing in the top-25 in each of the four playoff events, and he was up over 70 fantasy points way more often than not all season long. But he didn’t hit the top of his game until just last weekend, when he came through huge for the International team at the Presidents Cup, with a 2-1-1 performance.
Brooks Koepka ($10,600) – Koepka seems like the kind of golfer who could succeed on this course, capitalizing on his power to conquer the par 5’s. He also has a solid enough short game to leave himself makable putts elsewhere, avoiding any big blowup holes that could slow his build-up of fantasy points over the course of the weekend.
Kevin Na ($9,000) – Kevin Na is one of those players who you know can compete with absolutely anyone – the McIlroys and Roses of the world included – when he is playing well. He isn’t quite as consistent as some of the top ranked players in the world, but he is talented enough that it is never surprising when you see him atop the leaderboard. Too bad it’s only then that you think “man, I wish I had started him this week.” With finishes inside the top-20 at The Barclays, as well as the BMW and Tour Championships to close out the season, he not only was piling up good performances for himself, but for your fantasy team as well (you have to love a T10 at the BMW Championship on the back of 19 birdies).
Daniel Berger ($8,900) – He missed the cut here last year, starting off the year 75-72, not quite ready to compete in his first PGA Tour event. The eventual Rookie of the Year clearly turned it around later on, though, finishing inside the top-25 at 13 events, including six in the top ten. He closed out the year with a T12-solo 2nd-T12 at the Deutsche Bank, the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship, a nice finish to a great first campaign, and he is going to look to build on that success as he moves on to year 2.
Emiliano Grillo ($8,800) – A rookie to watch this season, Grillo is starting off the season on a course where rookie Tony Finau finished T12 last year to kick off a very successful first year on Tour. The young Argentinian just won the Web.com Tour Championship with a 66-64-67-69, playing good enough golf to compete in a field like this right away. We’ll see how well he can maintain that level of play over the next several months.
Chris Kirk ($8,100) – Kirk came through in a the most tense spot of the entire weekend to help secure the win for the Americans with a huge putt drained on the 18th green on Sunday. It was the kind of putt that, to me, gives you a tangible confidence boost the next few times you step on the course. I now officially expect Kirk to start this season off with a string of good performances. It was that big of a putt.
Bryce Molder ($7,500) – He holed 23 birdies on this course last year en route to a T3, and he had played well in this tournament in years past, before it moved to it’s current location. You could say it is something about the time of year, but right now, it is more than that. We’ve seen him compete with an elite field as recently as a T7 at The Barclays that translated to 75 fantasy points (he had 60+ in five of his last seven events of the season).
Will Wilcox ($7,500) – Wilcox withdrew from the Deutsche Bank Championship and then didn’t play in the rest of the playoffs because of a knee injury, but he is in the field this weekend. Prior to that withdrawal in Boston, he had been playing really solid golf basically all summer long. He only played in 18 events, but had 8 top-25 finishes (including three in the top ten).
Ryo Ishikawa ($7,500) – He finished inside the top-20 here last year, and in the tournament-play he has gotten in since the playoffs, he has performed very well. His T6 last weekend at the Top Cup Tokai Classic in Japan just shows that his game, already proved to be competitive with the best of the best, is also in good form right now.Nick Taylor ($5,500) – Sometimes, you want a McIlroy or a Rose on your team, and you don’t want to pass up on those mid-priced guys you love. So, someone like Taylor is the answer. Or, well, he could be. Far from a sure thing, he has at least shown an ability to avoid the huge mistakes that make it impossible to have a good fantasy showing. He doesn’t have to win the tournament to be a good value at this price, as the 50+ fantasy points he has in four of his last five tournaments demonstrate nicely.
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