Boy, this Fantasy Golf is as fun, strange, difficult, and addicting as every other form of Fantasy game.
My first real foray was last week with the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where I based my picks largely upon the ability to make the tournament cut.
Things were indeed moving forward to at least finish in the money as I had James Hahn, Phil Mickelson, Billy Horschel, and Charles Howe III. They all did indeed play the final weekend, and Hahn was atop the leaderboard overnight, but come Sunday, they all faded and my team dropped from around 12,000 to 38,000 and that was that.
The learning so far is that for sure, this is a game about counting stats first, thus the hunch to get players who make the cut is certainly correct. Players cannot earn points without playing, and the truth is those players who do wind up with weekend tee times did so by keeping their score sub-par, and again, that means point generation.
However, to really make a mark and finish among the top, finding the winner/top finishers is the key, and that might prove a bit more daunting to identify as I stumble through this trial and error.
The ATT Pro-Am is up this week, the Tourney that used to be the Crosby, and was originally played at the lovely Old Brockway Course in Kings Beach (where I have played a couple of times).
Before I reveal my choices, remember we have a great deal with our pals at DraftKings. If you do not play DFS, do hit the link below for details.
So, once again, I am looking at cut makers as I become more familiar with the players on the tour, and their skill set. Obviously, there are other factors to review--skill on the course, recent play, history on the tour--but I am trying to start simple, milking the cut theory and easing in gently to see what I can see as a result.
As for picks, and logic:
Bubba Watson ($10,900): What can I say, I just like Bubba. He can crush the ball, and I am not so sure that is an advantage in Monterey, where the courses might be a bit more subtle, but I shall find out. In the mean time, it is fun to root for a guy I like, and Watson did finish seven under in Phoenix and has made the cut every time this year.
Phil Mickelson ($10,300): I liked Phil last week, and he made me worry Thursday before picking it up, playing a red-hot Saturday round. I am hoping he is on a roll. No question, the guy can play.
K.C. Choi ($7900): I tried to work on the Fantasy Baseball premise of gambling more towards the middle, rather than scrubs and stars, so Choi as my next pick fits right in. K.C. finished five under in Phoenix and is four-for-four making cuts this season.
Si Woo Kim ($7300): Another pretty consistent guy, Kim struggled at the end at Torrey Pines, and was off last week. Still, he has made the cut seven of nine times and is generally good for around 68 points. If all my guys can deliver that, well, woo hoo.
Jason Gore ($7100): Seven-for-seven in making the cut this season. Good enough for me at this point.
Brent Stegmaier ($6400): Again, seven-for-nine in finishes this year. I confess, I am sort of picking Stegmaier like I would be taking Alex Gordon as a third outfielder in a fantasy draft. We shall see where it goes.
So, as we do, please let me know your thoughts/suggestions/ideas/commiserations @lawrmichaels.
Some crazy games took place on Tuesday night, with the Celtics coming back from 18 and tying the game on a silly foul, only to repay the favor moments later. The Spurs continued to dominate, as did John Wall, the ultimate one man team this season. However, it is now time to look ahead to this evening, the last big slate before the All-Star Game.
Damian Lillard ($9200): A favorite of mine recently, and why not? Lillard has scored over 38 fantasy points in every game since January 23. With the Blazers taking on the Rockets on a back-to-back after playing Golden State, I love the matchup and would start Lillard without any questions.
Rajon Rondo ($8100): Doubling up on PGs here, as Rondo provides points without needing to score. I love that and I love the matchup against the defensively challenged 76ers. Rondo is a great play who has been on fire recently.
Gordon Hayward ($7300): Hayward has become an established star for the Jazz this season, taking over the scoring duties as well as providing assists and rebounds. Against New Orleans, Hayward will find plenty of room and should easily hit the 35 fantasy point mark.
LaMarcus Aldridge ($7100): This is an All-Star bonus here. Since Aldridge shut down the Twitter fingers, the Spurs and most importantly the former Blazer are on fire. I don’t see the Magic standing in their way and that will lead to another big night for the big man.
Gerald Henderson ($4300): Henderson is getting the minutes with over 20 minutes played in his last eight games, and has hit the 20 fantasy point mark the past four games. A lovely matchup against a defensively weak James Harden ($10400) should spell success.
Paul Pierce ($3600): The Truth goes up against the team that made him a star. The Celtics love Pierce, but the forward still has that drive to win. Pierce should see 20 minutes and I expect solid numbers for the price point.
Jeff Green ($5700): Green has been very good as of late and the injury to Marc Gasol should only mean more court time for the former Celtic. At just under $6000, Green has a lot of upside and I expect good return on investment.
Rodney Hood ($6000): Hood has to step up with the myriad of injuries to the Jazz backcourt. Against New Orleans, Hood will have every opportunity to step up and score in bunches. Expecting Hood to reach the 30-35 fantasy point mark is not a stretch.
Enjoy the last big evening for the NBA before the much needed break and happy balling!
After a soft slate of games on a TNT Thursday, Friday brings up 10 games with some tasty matchups. There are some potential playoff matchups and certainly some tasty DFS plays to be had on a busy Friday.
Rajon Rondo ($8200) After being a game time decision on Wednesday, Rondo came out and put up a dud fantasy wise. I don’t see that being an issue on Friday night against the Nets who are just awful defensing the PG position.
Paul George ($8400) This is one of the potential playoff matchups, and George certainly has a good matchup at the SF position against the Hawks. George got off to a very hot start at the beginning of the season but has come back down to earth recently. This is a matchup that I expect to produce points and can see George hitting that hallowed 50 fantasy point mark.
Pau Gasol ($8700) Gasol has continued to produce this season for the Bulls and is a player that doesn’t put up too many duds. With a nice matchup against the Nuggets I see Gasol going off for one of those big games of his hitting the 50 point mark with relative ease.
Danny Green ($4600) Green is a player whose value is predicated on the three ball. In recent games Green has picked up his shooting and a hot shooter is always a good option. With a game against the Mavs promising to produce points I am certainly trusting Green on Friday.
Marco Belinelli ($4500) A former Spurs sharp shooter joins Green on my High Risk plays for Friday. Belinelli is a player that thrives when given the opportunity to take plenty of shots. That should be exactly what happens against Brooklyn and I think that Marco will thrive.
Zach Randolph ($5900) Going up against a former team Z-Bo has a great matchup against Kristaps Porzingis ($6700). Randolph should absolutely body the young Knick forward and dominate the glass and rack up points.
Bradley Beal ($6100) Beal has hit a price point that I love after struggling with injuries. John Wall ($9700) has got to be tired of trying to carry this Wizards team, and will be happy to pass the ball off to Beal in this cushy matchup with the 76ers.
Tristan Thompson ($5200) I am going back with Thompson again after a miserable performance against Charlotte. Boston is soft on the interior so I am riding the double T again on Friday night.
Enjoy the fun matchups and happy balling.
With the transfer window closed and players locked into their clubs (new or old) for the rest of the season, February becomes the month where most questions are answered. Tuesday was a perfect example of this as Liverpool continued to struggle whilst Leicester and Jamie Vardy continued their cocky strut to the top of the table. It will be an interesting month, and DraftKings has a very fun $12000 striker tournament to spice up the action just a little bit more.
Harry Kane ($8200): I hate repeating players on a regular basis, but the England international is way too good to pass up on now. With an easy matchup against Watford I expect SuperKane to get on the scoresheet once again.
Steven Naismith ($4000): So far Naismith has flourished for Norwich and that should continue on Saturday against a very shaky Villa backline. The former Everton man puts 100% into every match and can provide crosses, assists, goals and interceptions and really rack up the points.
Christian Eriksen ($7400): I love choosing players that get to take free kicks (or in Eriksen’s case can score them with ease) and corners. These dead ball specialists allow for plenty of points off of crosses and shots. I love the matchup for the Dane and it should produce plenty of points.
Wilfired Zaha ($5000): The former Man United youth player has played well all season long. I have been waiting for a breakout matchup from the twinkle toed winger but thus far have been left wanting more. However a matchup against a less than stellar Swansea team should allow Crystal Palace to get free on the wings and provide plenty of chances for Zaha.
James Ward-Prowse ($4000): Read what I just wrote about Christian Eriksen, Ward-Prowse will get plenty of action on free kicks and the match verse West Ham should be wide open and feature goals.
Leandro Bacuna ($3600): Bacuna is yet another player that gets to stand over free kicks. With rampaging runs down the wings and free kick duties as well as an easier matchup against Norwich, Bacuna should produce points at a nice price point.
Nathaniel Clyne ($3500): Clyne hasn’t really benefited from much of Liverpool’s build up play as that has been focused down the left hand side with Alberto Moreno ($4500). However, being a Liverpool fan, I have watched most of their matches this season, and Clyne has more quality in build up play. With a matchup against Sunderland, I expect LFC to come out attacking and Clyne to be heavily involved.
Jack Butland ($3600): Butland is the future of England, and has been great so far this season, in a contest that should be a wide open affair, there should be plenty of shots that need stopping. I don’t expect a clean sheet, but a bunch of saves is definitely in the cards.
So here we are winding our way down the All Star break with the Cavs suddenly looking dangerous, the Warriors still on top of the world, and suddenly the Spurs looking vulnerable. I hope that Tim Duncan can get healthy shortly and the race for the best team in the West can get back on track.
Games to Target
Detroit vs. Boston (o/u 207.5)
Orlando vs. OKC (o/u 212)
Chicago vs. Sacramento (o/u 212)
Russell Westbrook ($11000): I don’t really have enough accolades for Russ at this point. With easily the highest floor of any NBA player and the highest ceiling as well Westbrook has been a monster in DFS all season. In order to get to that valued 6 times return on investment the Thunder guard will have to score 66 fantasy points tonight, against a Magic defense that ranks 26th against opposing point guards I can see Russ hitting that mark tonight.
Chris Bosh ($7700): Bosh has had a couple of down games recently (25.8 and 30.3 fantasy points), but against a Dallas team that is very bad against opposing Power Forwards I look for him to get up towards 40 fantasy points tonight. Dirk ($6100) is not mobile enough to keep up with Bosh on the boards or on defense which will lead to a big game tonight.
Monta Ellis ($6900): Monta was never a name I expected to write in this area of my column but after a very strong January I am definitely buying in. Ellis is the Pacers leading scorer and faces a Nets team that is definitely lacking defensively. This should lead to a big game and hopefully Brooklyn keeps it close enough for an even bigger game.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ($4500): The matchup against the Cavs is pretty bad for MKG, however the price point is what sells me. I will continue buying into Gilchrist until the forward moves up in the price range, after 2 games MKG is averaging 32.4 fantasy points. If he can break 20 tonight I’ll be pleased.
Kelly Olynyk ($4800): Olynyk is known to go off in games with the ability to score 40+ fantasy points and even sniff 50. Tonight’s matchup with Detroit isn’t the easiest of matchups, but with the spacing Kelly provides and ability to drive to the basket I love Olynyk tonight.
Derrick Rose ($6000): Rose clearly is no longer at MVP levels, nor is the former Wildcat even the Bulls first choice, however, Sacramento is not a good team defensively. The Bulls will feel a little hard done by after their OT loss to the Jazz and Rose will have a point to prove after a premature celebration.
Tristan Thompson ($5400): Talk about a weird season. Thompson has been on and off the bench for the Cavs and seems to have finally found a groove. Playing against Charlotte tonight who are genuinely lacking for big bodies, Thompson should feast on boards, especially the offensive ones.
Enjoy a big slate of games tonight, and happy balling.