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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Farmers Insurance Open - Fantasy

As the Farmers Insurance Open draws nearer, it’s time to take our first look at various gaming formats. One thing to note in daily formats is the two-course rotation between Torrey Pines North and South. The North is significantly easier, so I’m a big proponent of spacing out your teams accordingly.


This is obviously the format where matching the right player with the right course is most prevalent, and I’ve spaced my teams out with four players on each course each day. Further, I fully intend to play only North Course players in the first two rounds.
Here’s how the first round will look (flip them for round two barring something goofy.)
  • A-List – Phil Mickelson starting with Tiger Woods on the bench.
  • B-List – Hunter Mahan and Jason Day starting, with Bill Haas and Ian Poulter on the bench. (Poulter is the only guy I felt like I reached on just to have an even split on courses. I would have preferred DeLaet, but he is on the same rota as Mahan and Day.)
  • C-List – Nick Watney starting and Jimmy Walker on the bench.

The only scenario I could envision not starting Woods, Haas, Poulter and Walker in round two would be if Woods had a terrible first round and was in serious danger of not making the cut. Even if the other three post 76s in the first round, it’s still probably worth the burn if even just for round two.

As for the Golf Channel picks, check out the weekly article by Glass at Rotoworld for my picks http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/gol/46064/297/big-game-preserve . As you will see, I sit last of the four staffers and need a nice bounce. While I’m certain to catch a little “homer” flack for my Glover pick, it’s hard to pass on a guy in Group 4 who is in his mid 30s and owns a pair of top-four finishes at a tournament where putting isn’t at a premium.  But yeah, it’s also pulling for the home team a bit.

One-and-done primer

While I’m not ready to peg a one-and-done pick just yet, here’s a little something to serve as a primer. Before the tee times came out, my short list was the top four or five of my power rankings (Woods, Mickelson, Snedeker, Walker and Haas).

My advice would be to deal with the elephant in the room first. That is, do you want to burn your Woods start here, or wait. I could make a strong case for either. Actually, I may as well go ahead and make both.

There are really two reasons I can think not to burn Woods. First, he hasn’t played publically since his tournament back in December, so form is a question to a degree. The second is that this is one of the smaller purses he contends for every year. The reasons to play him are numerous. He has eight wins (7 FIO and 1 US Open) at Torrey Pines. He won here last year after missing the cut at Abu Dhabi, proving that even bad form didn’t slow him down in 2013. The field this week is also weaker than any major or WGC, where the purses are higher.

If you have decided to play Woods, then you can stop reading now and there’s really no point in coming back tomorrow. Best of luck to you, and see you back for the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

When considering Mickelson, his T2 in Abu Dhabi is kind of a good thing. I say kind of because his form rarely matters. He’s won at Torrey coming off a missed cut and he’s won at Torrey coming off a T3. You can almost bank on him winning on the West Coast Swing, whether it be Torrey, WMPO, Pebble or Riviera, but good luck figuring out which one. He could absolutely win this week, but don’t say I didn’t warn you if he finishes 42nd.

Snedeker isn’t in great form relative to his last couple of trips trending into this event, but it’s not red-flag territory either. At best, it’s a pale yellow flag. If you want to burn Sneds this week, I’d be fine with that. If you want to wait and see if he posts a top 10 and then plug him in at the WMPO next week; cool also. The biggest reason not to play Snedeker this week is that he tends to hold onto a trend for a few weeks. Meaning, if he ties for fourth this week, he’s still a good or better play next week. Short of him winning this event, a top-10 finish is a great reason for a WMPO burn.

Here’s the problem with Walker. There are two, actually. The first is how he will respond in his first start after winning Sony. Judging by how he responded to his Frys.com Open win (a T12 at Shriners and a 6th at CIMB), this may not be an issue at all. What is much more pressing, and harder to decipher, is how he will handle being grouped with Tiger Woods the first two rounds. There is a real chance that he will be a bit starry-eyed.  Sort of an “I’ve arrived” moment in the premier Thursday/Friday spot. On the plus side, his form is incredible and his trend at Torrey is perfect. It all comes down to intangibles.

There was a guy in my one-and-done league last year that played Haas at Congressional when he won. I went back and read our commissioners email to the league that week, as the comment stood out to me in regards to Haas and I wanted to re-read it. The player that picked him said, “if not now, when?”  He’s coming in off a top 10 and has been a top-10 machine at Torrey Pines of late. Riviera makes sense. Maybe Quail Hollow. Probably a couple of others when the trends match. But, “if not now, when?”

While I’m not yet sure where I’ll head with my one-and-done pick, I’ll have it figured out by this time tomorrow. Until then, best of luck to all!

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