Fantasy Golf Tournament Preview- Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial

Fantasy Golf Insider Staff
By Fantasy Golf Insider Staff May 18, 2015 19:34

Last week Quail Hollow proved to be a showcase for world #1 Rory McIlroy as he steamrolled the field, ending up winning by seven strokes. We are proud to say that we at Fantasy Golf Insider did some steamrolling of our own. We have heard from tons of you who had amazing weeks in your season long leagues and also in DFS. A special shout out goes to John Grady a.k.a @jgrady1936 and Daniel Wirth a.k.a. @sandman84DFS who cleaned up in their contests last week.  Congrats to all of you that were successful and keep working hard with your research. Rory was our top pick, which wasn’t really that bold, but we also recommended other gems like Webb Simpson who finished runner-up, sleeper Geoff Ogilvy who finished T7, John Peterson T20, George Mcneill T28, Morgan Hoffman T28, and Daniel Berger T28. Guys who we missed on and proved to hurt us were J.B Holmes, Jason Kokrak, and Brendon De Jonge. If you read our preview, everything made sense about those three guys last week, and there really is not any explanation for their faltering. J.B Holmes is a highly volatile player which is why we said that he was a GPP only.  He blew up on day 2 and missed the cut by a stroke.  If he makes the cut we make even more money than we did. We did also mention a few other guys briefly that outperformed their expectations including Kevin Streelman T9, Scott Brown T13, and Brandon Steele T9.  Overall a terrific week, and we always strive to improve and give our members the best advice anywhere.

The next stop on the PGA Tour is Fort Worth, Texas and Colonial Country Club for the Crowne Plaza Invitational. This tournament, although under different sponsor names, is the longest running non-major PGA event held at the same course. Colonial features really tight fairways, doglegs, and water hazards, including the Trinity River. Like last week’s “Green Mile,”Colonial features another cleverly named three hole stretch called the “Horrible Horeshoe” (Holes #3-5). Colonial is a Par 70 and measures 7,204 yards long, which ranks it as an average length course on tour.

The field will not include a lot of the top ranked players in the world, including Rory McIlroy as they will be playing in the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour in England. The field will include world #2 Jordan Spieth, defending champion Adam Scott, and eight other players from the Top 35 in the world rankings. Spieth has played well in Texas thus far this year with runner-up finishes in San Antonio and Houston, but he has yet to win in his home state.

Last year, Scott bested Jason Dufner in a comeback victory just days after ascending to world No.1. Scott started the final round two shots off the lead and trailed by three at the turn, but turned it on over the back nine to finish with a 4-under-par 66. Scott and Dufner matched pars on the first playoff hole and birdies on the second before Scott hit a 7-foot birdie on the 18th green to win. It was Scott’s 11th PGA Tour victory.

We at Fantasy Golf Insider like to not only provide our members with simply picks each week, but the tools for them to do their own research and formulate their own opinion, which is really what makes Fantasy Golf so much fun. What fun would it be to write down six player’s names that we like and have everybody have the same lineups each week, like some websites do. Along with our tools, we also like to always provide education to our members to help make them more successful and more profitable players. We feel it is our obligation to also follow all the happenings throughout the fantasy golf industry and help make sure that our members are the most educated players out there and profit off of the followers of some of the other sites. That being said, we would like to comment on something that we heard from another industry “person” that is complete lunacy this past week. This person, who we will not name, but some of you may have noticed on Twitter, stated that there is not a difference between a good cash game play and a good GPP play in DFS. This is one of the most asinine things we have heard. For those of you who are new to daily fantasy golf (DFS) lets just give you a little educational overview of what we are talking about. Those with experience can move past this explanation.  A cash game is a contest in which you are attempting to beat either one other person (head to head) or half the field in a 50/50. In the 50/50s you just need to defeat roughly half the field and you double your investment. It does not matter if you come in first or if you come in the last payout spot, you get paid the same. With these contests, it is critical that you get the most guys through the cut as possible, so they can continue to accumulate points. A GPP however is usually a larger tournament that only pays out between 10-20% of the field. Generally it is the Top 3 spots that command the majority of the prize pool. In these contests, you obviously need to perform a lot better than just half the field. Having guys simply make it through the cut is not good enough, you need Top 10 performances from several of them as well. For a more in depth discussion on this topic please see our page: How to win playing Daily. We like to refer to players as having a floor and a ceiling. A high floor basically means the player is consistent and has less of a chance of playing really poorly and thus missing the cut (as opposed to a low floor, which means there is a bigger possibility that they perform really poorly and miss the cut). A high ceiling refers to the players ability to place really high in a tournament (as opposed to a low ceiling, which means the player has not shown that he can often place really high in a tournament). These are very important distinctions and critical in determining who is a better player for a cash game and GPP. Sometimes there are players who make good plays for both contests and we refer to them as high floor/high ceiling type players. Let us give you a couple of players and their results thus far this year and you tell us whether you would like them in your cash game lineup or GPP lineup.

Player #1 is Louis Oosthuizen and here are his results this year:

WGC HSBC- 14th, WGC Cadillac 6th, Valspar missed cut, Arnold Palmer 9th, Shell Houston Open missed cut, The Masters 19th, The Players 69th, Wells Fargo missed cut.

Now let’s take a look at Player #2 John Peterson and here are his results: 39th, Shriners 75th, McGladrey 22nd, Sanderson Farms 43rd, OHL 16th, Sony 37th, Humana 20th, Farmers 27th, Northern Trust missed cut, Honda 31st, Valspar 63rd, Arnold Palmer 35th, Valero 11th, RBC 18th, Zurich 48th, Wells Fargo 20th.

Which of these players would you want to consistently bank on to make the cut for you and continue to accumulate points for your team throughout all four days? Now, which one of these players would you like to take a shot with to make a Top 10 and separate you from possibly thousands of other entrants?  We believe a person who has never played DFS before and simply read our explanation above could identify which player would be a better option for either a cash game or a GPP. We are not saying that we would never use Peterson in a GPP or Oosthuizen in a cash game (although we most likely wouldn’t) because you have to factor in pricing as well. What we are saying is there is monumental difference between an optimal cash game play and a GPP play. Here is another example: J.B Holmes, who is a guy who can easily win a tournament, and equally easy enough miss the cut (low floor/high ceiling player) a great GPP play but not a good cash game player.  We do not mind what some other website is telling their members, because we can use it to our advantage and our members can profit off of them. What we do not want is any of our members to hear it and think that it might be remotely accurate. We will continue to monitor the fantasy golf landscape and make sure our members have the most prudent information anywhere and that we are taking advantage of other misguided folks.  If you ever have questions about who is a good GPP or cash game player, hit us up on Twitter or shoot us an email, we are outstanding about responding to our members questions.

Unlike last week at Quail Hollow, driving distance will not be a very important factor this week. The length of Colonial is significantly less, plus there is much more of a penalty for inaccurate drives. The narrow fairways at Colonial need to be navigated carefully, thus driving accuracy is much more important. In addition to driving accuracy, we are going to be favoring greens in regulation. Course history has shown that those who have had success hitting fairways and greens have had the most success overall. Last year, champion Adam Scott ranked 8th in fairways hit and 10th in greens in regulation. As always, we analyze, the statistic Strokes Gained, especially tee-to-green, as it is the most predictive of success of any statistic available. See our articles: Do Statistics Really matter in Fantasy Golf.

Anytime an event is held in Texas, weather and specifically winds are a factor that we need to consider as we saw earlier this season. The problem with accounting for weather is that it is obviously unpredictable. The only times we let the weather completely dictate our fantasy golfers is if there are unbelievable winds, say over 20 miles an hour. It is too early in the week to even look, but come Wednesday if they are predicting those types of conditions, a back-up plan is called for. By that we mean that you should have a couple of rosters built just with Thursday morning/Friday afternoon tee times and vice versa. This way you could plug them in last minute if the conditions dictate. Now if the winds are expected all day, nobody will have an advantage, so you should just go with your optimum lineups. But if they are predicting huge winds picking up in the afternoon on Thursday, you might want to hedge your rosters.  We will be following it and keep you updated if something like this happens.

One of the most important factors that needs to be analyzed this week at Colonial is tournament history. Players tend to have success at this tournament more consistently than they have in a lot of other tournaments. For a complete tournament history for every player at The Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, check out our tournament history page.

Also, be sure to check out our sportsbook odds vs. daily pricing tool, as it helps identify some mis-priced players that present great value on the daily sites.

*Please note that next week’s tournament preview will be posted on Tuesday, so that we can observe the very special Memorial Day holiday.


For access to our Top picks, value picks, sleepers, and more, become a premium member.

Top Stud Picks-


Jordan Spieth- The world #2 and the guy who we have probably recommended the most in our previews deserves the top stud honor this week. The Texas boy already has two runner up finishes in his home state this season at the Valero Texas Open and Shell Houston Open. Most recently he inexplicitly missed the cut at The Players Championship, which shocked everybody. Every once and a while Spieth does that and it does not seem to affect his ability to bounce back from it, think Farmers where he missed the cut and bounced back with a T7 at Pebble Beach the following week. In his two appearances at Colonial Spieth has produced a 14th in 2013 and 7th last year. He ranks 101st in driving accuracy, 96th in greens in regulation, 9th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 6th in Strokes Gained Putting, and 2nd in Total Strokes Gained. Spieth works great in 1 and done formats because the field is so thin this week. For you DFS players, Spieth is probably too expensive to roster in your cash games, because he depletes your salary cap too much and forces you to take unnecessary risks with low priced guys. (Mostly GPP)

Zach Johnson- Easily the best tournament history of anybody, Johnson has owned Colonial over the past decade. In nine career appearances, he has five Top 10s including a 3rd place finish in 2013 and championships in 2012 and 2010. Last year Johnson did not perform up to his expectations as he placed 73rd. Early this season, Johnson was really struggling with his putter, but he seems to have regained at least a semblance of his ability with the flat stick over the past month. Johnson is not long off tee ranking 163rd in driving distance. He does however have good accuracy, which is key at Colonial. Johnson ranks 27th in driving accuracy, 83rd in greens in regulation, and 20th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green. The poor putting is reflected in his Strokes Gained Putting, where he ranks 158th on tour, but as we mentioned that has been improving lately. This can also be seen in his results as lately he is playing much better than he did earlier this year. Over his last six events, Johnson has five Top 20s, including T13 at The Players, T17 at WGC Match Play, mc at Heritage, T9 at The Masters, T20 at Valero, and T9 at Arnold Palmer. A combination of his tournament history at Colonial and his recent strong play are enough for us to give him the nod this week.  (Mostly GPP because of price)

Jimmy Walker-The Texas boy can get the job done in Texas as he showed once again by winning the Valero Texas Open. In his last appearance he shocked everybody and missed the cut at The Players, his only missed cut of the season. He has five Top 10s including two wins (Valero and Sony). Walker ranks 16th in driving distance, 40th in greens in regulation, 17th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 1st in Strokes Gained Putting, and 4th in Total Strokes Gained. The only statistic that concerns us at Colonial is driving accuracy, where he ranks 186th. Last year at this tournament Walker was able to rank a respectable 71st in fairways hit, on his way to a 10th place finish. His only other appearance at Colonial was a 56th in 2011. Look for Walker to be in contention on Sunday and battling Jordan Spieth. (GPP)

Kevin Na- Playing some of the best golf on the PGA Tour right now, we are hoping most other people forgot about how dominate he has been since he pulled out of last week’s Wells Fargo. Here are his results from his last six stroke-play tournaments played-T6 at The Players, T12 at The Masters, T20 at Valero, T6 at Arnold Palmer, T10 at Valspar, T9 at WGC Cadillac. For you DFS players, Na is a player who right now is what we refer to as a high floor/ high ceiling playerNa has consistently made cuts and also placed in the Top 10 often, making him a high floor and high ceiling player, and exactly what we are looking for in cash games and GPPs alike. Na missed the cut at Colonial last year, but prior to that he had some solid appearances including a 13th in 2012, 40th in 2011, 22nd in 2010, and 9th in 2009. Na currently ranks 26th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 62nd in Strokes Gained Putting, and 22nd in Total Strokes Gained. He has not been all that great in driving accuracy, ranking 115th or greens in regulation, ranking 141st. It is Na’s ability to scramble and score that is fueling his tremendous run lately. We are hoping the week off served him well and think that he will continue his solid play this week. (GPP and Cash Games)

Ryan Palmer- We believe course familiarity is going to lead to success for Palmer this week, as it did for Webb Simpson last week at Quail Hollow. Palmer is a member at Colonial and could play the course in his sleep. In this tournament he has competed eleven times with four Top 15s in the past seven years, including a 5th last year, 14th in 2013, and a 5th in 2012. This season Palmer started out red-hot with six Top 25s in his first seven tournaments. His last few appearances however, he has cooled off a bit, with a missed cut at The Players, a disappointing performance at The WGC match Play going 0-3, and a T33 at The Masters. The statistics that we like for Palmer include 39th in greens in regulation, 12th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, and 7th in Total Strokes Gained. The statistic that we do not like for Palmer is 157th in driving accuracy this season. Over the past three seasons however at Colonial, Palmer has been able to deliver a bit above average driving accuracy ranking 42nd last year, 53rd in 2013, and 46th in 2012. We look for Palmer to have another solid showing at his home course this week. (GPP and Cash Games)


Top Value Picks-


Russell Knox- We recommended Knox last week for the Wells Fargo and he was looking great through the first two rounds shooting a pair of 69s, bit then blew up on Saturday with a 77 and put him out of contention. He ended up finishing T58. Before that Knox had a T17 at The Players, T43 at Zurich, T18 at RBC, mc at Valero, T29 at Arnold Palmer, T33 at Valspar, and T3 at Honda. Those are really consistent performances considering he is usually under most people’s radars. In most DFS contests on Draftkings last week, Knox’s ownership was well under 10%. His only appearance at Colonial was last year, when he too 21st. Knox is not long off the tee ranking 142nd in driving distance, but ranks 21st in driving accuracy, 9th in greens in regulation, 34th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 76th in Strokes Gained Putting, and 31st in Total Strokes Gained. Those are exactly the stats we want to see, which is why he is one of our favorite plays this week. (GPP and Cash Games)

Sean O’Hair- Last week at Quail Hollow O’Hair got back on track with a T20 after missing the cut at The Players. That missed cut was not unexpected as it was played on a long course and O’Hair is more suited for shorter tracks. As we mentioned before, Colonial is a shorter course, which surprised us when we looked back and saw that O’Hair’s tournament history is that great. He had a 63rd last year, missed cut in 2013, 16th in 2011, missed cut in 2010, 18th in 2009, and 26th in 2008. You have to consider that he was playing very poor golf over the last several years however. This year he has shown a revival and has 13 made cuts out of 16 events played including two Top 10s (runner-up at Valspar). Statistically, O’Hair does not offer much to talk about, 118th in driving accuracy, 147th in greens in regulation, and 93rd in strokes Gained Tee-To-Green. He is a Texas guy and has been playing well lately, so look for a Top 25 this week. (GPP and Cash Games)

John Senden- Last year was such a great year for Senden, with 22 made cuts in 27 events played, including 9 Top 25s that we are a bit surprised he has not played better this season. So far this year, Senden has missed five cuts already this calendar year including four in the past two months. In his last two events however he has shown signs of returning to the success of last season with a nice showing at the WGC Match Play and a T8 at The Players two week ago. We know this is not long stretch of success but sometimes you need to get on board a player getting hot before everybody else does, especially in GPPs. Statistically Senden does not drive it long, but as we stated before that is not necessary at Colonial. What is important is control and he ranks 63rd in driving accuracy and 65th in greens in regulation. He also ranks 79th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green. He has played at Colonial a bunch (12 times to be exact), which we believe is important. He has also had some really good success with three Top 10s, including a 5th here last year. We are definitely not going all in on Senden this week, but we think we will take a shot that he is going to be headed on an upward trend. (Mostly GPP)

Daniel Berger- The youth movement has been extremely apparent this year and Berger has been a big part of it. He already has nine Top 25s and four Top 10s in 19 events played. Most recently he had a T28 last week at Wells Fargo, missed the cut at The Players, T6 at Zurich, T72 at RBC Heritage, and T25 at Shell. Berger ranks 12th in driving distance, 115th in driving accuracy, 17th in greens in regulation, 24th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, and 29th in Total Strokes Gained.(GPP and Cash Games)

Shawn Stefani- Another Texas guy who lives in Houston and went to Lamar University. He has been playing well lately and shook off a missed cut at The Players with a T9 at Wells Fargo last week. Before then he was rock solid with Top 30s in all four of the events before that. 30th in driving distance, 105th in driving accuracy, 35th in greens in regulation, 53rd in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 52nd in Strokes Gained Putting, and 35th in Total Strokes Gained round out Stefani’s important stats. He only has one appearance at Colonial which was two years ago and he took 42nd. He is a good choice this week to give you a Top 30. (GPP and Cash Games)


Top Sleeper Picks-


John Peterson- Did you really have a doubt that we would not feature our main man John Peterson in our preview this week? We have recommended him most every week this season and it has paid off huge. Peterson has made 15 cuts in 16 tournaments, including six Top 25s. Last week we recommended him as a sleeper and produced a T20. Before that he had a T48 at Zurich, T18 at RBC Heritage, T11 at Valero, and T35 at Arnold Palmer. Peterson also checks out in the statistical categories that we have deemed most important this week which include 22nd in driving accuracy, 45th in greens in regulation, 28th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, and 48th in Total Strokes Gained. The only thing that our boy doesn’t bring to the table is putting, where he actually loses strokes to the field ranking 143rd. He has played in this event one time before in 2013 and he took 26th. The Fort Worth native heads back home this week and we expect him to continue to produce for us as he has all season. Since we wrote this write-up for Peterson, the Draftkings pricing came out for you GPP players. Peterson is grossly mis-priced and is blatantly standing out as a great value. You might say, wow that is great, we get a good price for a guy Fantasy Golf Insider is recommending. The problem is that his price is so low that everybody else is going to want to own him as well. A strategy that we utilize and one we have shared with our members before is fading the highest owned players in the field for specifically GPPs and it has really paid off.  There is no doubt in our minds that Peterson will be one of the highest owned players in the field this week. The reason we do that is if lets say 50% of the field owns him, and he happens to do really poorly, or even miss the cut, you have an extreme advantage over the field. Think about how well this strategy would have worked last week with Brendon De Jonge and Jason Kokrak. If you faded them, you would have had an unbelievable edge on the field. This might be a strategy you consider this week with Peterson. This only applies to GPPs, for cash games, value is king. (Mostly cash games)

Chris Stroud- Not a guy that you find mentioned in our recommendations very often, but we think Stroud might be a decent guy to take a look at this week. First he is a Texas guy, who lives in Houston and played college golf for Lamar University (in Beaumont, Texas). He obviously feels comfortable at Colonial because three of his four appearances have produced Top 15s, including 14th last year, 7th in 2013, and 13th in 2012. Stroud has made the cut in his last four appearances on tour including a T42 at The Players, T22 at Zurich, T69 at RBC Heritage, and T17 at Shell. He has not shown the ability to surge up the leaderboard as he has zero Top 10s this year, but last year he had four Top 10s including a 4th and two 3rds, so he does have the ability to surprise. He will most likely be under the majority of people’s radars, which is great for GPP action. Stroud ranks 66th in driving accuracy, 126in greens in regulation, and 110th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green. (GPP only)

Martin Laird- Here is guy that will most likely make the cut for you and he also presents some upside (highfloor/high ceiling) as we talked about earlier. In four events played at Colonial Laird has made the cut each time and has two Top 10s. The other two he had a 30th last year and 54th in 2013. This season Laird has underperformed, but has not played poorly. Since the start of February, he has only missed one cut and placed in the Top 10 twice in eight events played. His driving accuracy is sub par ranking 131st, but his greens in regulation is good ranking 37th. Laird also ranks 23rd in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, and 32nd in Total Strokes Gained. (Good cash game play, but also can be used in GPPS)

Bo Van Pelt- In eleven appearances at Colonial, Van Pelt has three Top 10s, including seven straight made cuts. Last year he finished 14th, in 2013 31st, 2012 19th, 2011 3rd, and 2010 10th. His driving accuracy is average, ranking 124th, greens in regulation is good tough ranking 60th. He is a very solid putter ranking 50th in Strokes Gained Putting. His recent form has been very spotty, which worries us a bit, including a T30 at The Players, mc at Zurich, T9 at RBC, T57 at Shell, and missed cuts at Valero and Valspar. He is worth a shot just base upon his tournament history alone. (GPP only)

Jim Herman- We bet you wouldn’t have guessed who the number one ranked player on the PGA Tour in greens in regulation is, but it is Jim Herman. In addition, he also ranks 55th in driving distance, 43rd in driving accuracy, 62nd in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, and 93rd in Total Strokes Gained. Herman has made 10 cuts in 16 events this year with five Top 25s and his last three tournaments have yielded a T13 last week at the Wells Fargo, T4 at Zurich, and T57 at Shell. He does not have any tournament history here. Herman is simply an under the radar type player for you this week to maybe take a shot with.(GPP only)

Also take a peak at Jerry Kelly as a low priced option in DFS.


As always the best of luck to all of you and keep up the great work!

-Fantasy Golf Insider

Fantasy Golf Insider Staff
By Fantasy Golf Insider Staff May 18, 2015 19:34

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