The PGA tour has it figured out. Cold out? Go to Hawaii. Long flight? Stay for a few weeks. Following on the heels of the Tournament of Champions played last weekend at Kapalua, we’ve got the Sony Open kicking off on Thursday in Honolulu, at the Waialae Country Club. This one might not have quite the cache, but all the top guys who flew in last weekend basically stayed, and a bunch more options showed up as well, leaving you with lots of viable options for your fantasy lineup.
The field this weekend is significantly deeper than it was at Kapalua last time out, which changes the prices and relative values of players all over the board, and therefore certainly should affect your approach to lineup construction. With more mid-range talent available, the top-end guys become more of a strain on your budget if you want to be able to take advantage of their skills. Jason Day was $13,900 last week, and he’s $16,000 this week. Chris Kirk was $9,800 last week, and he’s $12,000 this week, etc.
The thing about last weekend is that, sure, you had to be right to win, all the guys you were drafting felt good. They were all top guys, so it felt like you couldn’t go wrong. Of course, you could go wrong, and many did, but it still seemed less confusing than a week like this one where the field has expanded so much. As with every other daily fantasy game, all of a sudden you have to decide whether to spend on the top guys and then settle for some reaches, or go with a bunch of mid-range guys who should be steady and might have some upside. And the type of tournament you’re in comes into play, blah, blah, blah. Strategery.
So aside from the expanded field, the biggest difference between this weekend and last weekend is that there is a cut. So you have to be careful. The stars and scrubs approach is significantly more effective when you know that can’t happen.
Let’s take a look at a few guys who can play through to Sunday and maybe even push the top of the leaderboard, at every price level, so that we can get your covered no matter which strategy you want to pursue…
Matt Kuchar ($12,600) – A $3,400 price drop from Day seems steep. I know Day performed better last weekend, but Kuchar got to be a top option going into that because he has been consistent, which is exactly what you are looking for on a weekend like this one – “consistent, with upside,” the best fantasy scouting report you can ever hear.
Chris Kirk ($12,000) – He has finished in the top 5 here twice in a row, including a 2nd place finish last year. He broke the course record at Kapalua on Monday (um, yesterday) with a 62, so apparently he’s feeling good right now. And I doubt a week in Hawaii is going to change that. Apparently the islands agree with him. Can’t imagine why.
Zach Johnson ($11,000) – Taking Johnson feels good. You’re taking a top guy, and doing it at a significant savings over Day and Kuchar, or even Kirk. But his putting was on point last weekend, and we know he can strike the ball – he has two top ten finishes in this tourney in the past, including a win in 2009.
Kevin Na ($8,800) – He hasn’t played a PGA event in a couple of months, but he ended the 2014 season well. If he picks up where he left off, he’s one of those mid-priced players who is a risk to miss the cut, but if he is playing well, he will not only MAKE the cut, but could easily be top-15.
Brian Stuard ($6,800) – Not someone I will be recommending often, but he has played here three times, and he has a 5th, T6 and a 25th. He can thrive, apparently, in a setting where the course is not long, and full of par-4s, so he is not consistently falling behind as longer players make gains on the Par 5s.