The Daily Spin – Valspar Championship

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte February 27, 2015 02:55

What an exciting week here at The Daily Spin. We enjoyed an incredible sweat on Sunday afternoon as yours truly, myzteriouzly, made a valiant charge towards the top of the standings in the Draft Kings $300 buy in for the WGC Cadillac Championship, ending with a 4th place finish and a $10,000 prize. In addition to that, I also managed to take 10th place for an additional $1666. With entries in the $20 and $2 GPPs, total winnings for the week came in at over $13,000. A lot of sites promise great research and/or results. Our screen names are readily observable in the big GPP buy in tournaments so what you see here is what we play each week. We want to win and we want you to win as well.

In even better news, Choron, one of our annual subscribers, came away victorious for the $300 GPP, taking home a cool $100,000 first prize. He managed to cash in 10 of the 11 lineups he entered for a phenomenal weekend of fantasy golf success. We are especially proud here at the Daily Spin as the winning lineup included our top two blue chip picks, our top two sleeper picks and our favorite value play of the week. He further took heed of our advice to be cautious on Jamie Donaldson and instead used Lee Westwood to fill out his lineup. Unfortunately, for myself, that was the lineup where I used Donaldson, who proceeded to blow his small lead over Westwood in the last two days of the tournament, thus costing The Daily Spin its first championship. Fortunately, Choron took the title down and has had nothing but great things to say about us on Twitter so we are absolutely thrilled for him and his success.

In wrapping up last weekend, we had our best weekend in terms of our picks for the week. We loved hearing from all of you folks out there that heeded our advice and were able to win some money over the weekend. Our blue chip picks finally played as advertised with Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson leading the way. Dustin Johnson proved once again that the best statistic to pay attention to is strokes gained tee to green. If Johnson had been able to putt the ball a little better, he would have won by 6 or 7 strokes. Matt Kuchar proved to be serviceable for his price although slightly underwhelming. However, Adam Scott shined brilliantly in his return to the tour with a 4th place finish. We were the only ones who gave him the nod last week and it showed up in that he was owned by just 6% of the field. Jordan Spieth struggled to get on track and underperformed his salary, but did not play horribly.

In the value section, JB Holmes had a great weekend and narrowly missed out on winning the tournament after struggling on Sunday. Jamie Donaldson, owned by 38% of the field struggled in his last two rounds and slightly underperformed for the weekend, but was not a lineup breaker. The other value picks were a mixed bag as Charl Scwartzel played well early before struggling late, Jason Dufner had a terrible 1st Round before playing well the last three days. Hunter Mahan…well, he was just terrible and it hurt the 25% of the field who owned him.

Our sleepers were good for what we paid. Shane Lowry played exactly as we thought. We mentioned he was the better value over Donaldson and ended up finishing 4 shots ahead of him for the weekend. John Senden did not play great golf, but a couple of eagles helped to jack up his point total for the weekend and with just 3% ownership he was a key contributor given his low salary. Joost Luiten fought off a rough first day to pick up some much needed points towards the end of the tournament to hold his value. Unfortunately, Stephen Gallacher played atrocious golf and was a non-factor, a surprise given his strong performance at Doral the previous year. All in all, it was a great week for The Daily Spin.

In recent weeks, we have heard a lot of wild assertions that the strokes gained statistics are overblown, particularly strokes gained tee to green. If you hear this from someone, it should set off a warning alarm in your head that the individual has not educated themselves very well with regards to the statistic. We have heard two different ‘experts’ declare that it is too new a statistic to be trusted and another went so far as to say it was simply a creation of the PGA to gain publicity. Apparently, these individuals have no clue as to where this statistic originates. This statistic was a decade long project of Columbia professor, Mark Brodie and chronicled in his 2014 book, Every Shot Counts. Ignore this stat at your own peril because it is revolutionizing the game and particularly so from a fantasy perspective.

And on we go to Copperhead this weekend and the Valspar Championship. It is one of the toughest courses on the tour each year. Given the fact that the WGC contained one of the best fields of the year, a lot of pros will be skipping out on Copperhead to get a week of rest before preparing to dig in to tune up for The Masters in a month. Mostly, these players simply do not want to have their egos crushed by the final three holes of the course, known as The Snake Pit. The course measures in at 7340 yards and is a par 71. There are lots of twists and turns on the course and trees all around. A few strategically placed water hazards make this a very entertaining course to watch, but an excruciating course to play. Expect many similar scores to what we witnessed last weekend.

We are going to focus more than normal this week on accuracy as players will be unable to get away with simply ripping the ball as far as possible with no regard to the hazards around each hole. Approach play and scrambling will get more attention than normal, with specific importance on greens in regulation. As always, we will be looking for players who excel in the strokes gained, tee to green category. Now, sit back and enjoy this week’s picks in our weekly preview of the Valspar Championship.

This week’s field is not nearly as exciting as the WGC last weekend. However, there is still enormous opportunity this week as the thinner fields mean you can dig a little deeper and find players that others are going to overlook. This week, there is one player at the top that we think is so good that this may be the rare instance where you use him in all of your lineups. The pricing this week is pretty reasonable with only a couple of players at the higher end of the price range for the tournament. We think that a value approach is the way to go this week while building your lineups. We are back to having a cut after the second round of the tournament so getting six through to Saturday is our ultimate goal. With a course this challenging, getting six through the cut will place you in a small minority of owners.


Jim Furyk – As we said earlier, there is a player this week that should have a strong position in most of your lineups this week and that player is Jim Furyk. Furyk has been in the Top 20 here each of the last five years and three times he has been in the Top 10. Furyk is currently the top ranked player in strokes gained, tee to green and 10th in driving accuracy and 18th greens in regulation. He is slick with his irons and scrambles well when needed. He is never going to dominate Par 5 scoring, but will be solid on Par 4s where others lose ground. Furyk has also played great golf this year with three consecutive Top 15 finishes. We are hoping that we do not need to count on a clutch performance on Sunday as that is usually something that eludes Furyk, but we feel like a Top 15 finish is a virtual lock this week. Furyk will be owned by a huge percentage of the field, probably in the 25-30% range. In most weeks, we would look to fade that to some degree, but this week, we will make the defensive play and make sure that we do not get hurt by not owning him.

Luke Donald – It is an obvious selection, but one that we have to discuss this week. Donald has enjoyed an incredible run of success at Copperhead with 4 straight finishes in the Top 6, including a win in 2012. Donald has not been near the player that he was back in 2011, but his success here is undeniable. He is typically one of the best short game players on tour, but has had his struggles this year. While some experts may look at Donald as a pure fade based on his price, we are going to own him on two of our tournament rosters this weekend. Donald played well at The Honda Open two weeks ago with a 7th place finish before a bit of a struggle last weekend at a course that played too long for Donald’s game. We expect that with his tournament history, Donald will be owned by close to 20% of the field.

Lee Westwood – Westwood has been a model of consistency to start the season and currently ranks as our top player in our momentum rankings through his last 11 tournaments. He has yet to miss the cut with only one finish outside of the Top 25 and four Top 10 finishes. Westwood currently ranks 15th in strokes gained tee to green and 8th overall in total strokes gained. He does not have any history at Copperhead, but he is locked in right now and playing some of the best golf of his career. We anticipate 10-15% ownership levels for Westwood this week.

Matt Kuchar – Kuchar is a cut maker with upside potential. He is usually one of the best tee to green players on tour each year and typically ranks among the top players in total strokes gained. Kuchar was a slight disappointment last week with a 23rd place finish, but is fairly predictable in that he finds his way into the Top 20 nearly every week. His tournament history here is solid with a couple of Top 10 finishes and several more Top 20 finishes. When other fantasy owners are struggling to get six players through the cut, you should not have to worry much about Kuchar being around for moving day so we will own Kuchar on several rosters this week. We would suspect Kuchar will be owned by close to 15% of owners this week.

Honorable Mention – Here we finally mention Adam Scott. We really wanted to put Scott up in our main list this week, but every time we tried to put him with the top picks, we took another look at his price and his tournament history. Scott seemingly has the perfect game for this course. He is a superb tee to green player, one of the best in greens in regulation, and he ranks high each year in Par 5 scoring. However, he has NEVER finished in the Top 10 in 5 starts here. For his price, he is one we will have limited interest in this week and he will probably only find his way onto one tournament roster.


Daniel Berger – Rookie 21 year-old, Daniel Berger has been the best new player on tour this season, nearly posting his first victory two weeks ago before losing in a playoff to Padraig Harrington. Berger has been in the Top 10 in three of his last four events. Berger has a strong tee to green play where he ranks 24th this season and he is both strong in terms of driving distance and greens in regulation. Although he does not have any course history here, he grew up in Florida and played at Florida State so he knows these courses well and we do not expect him to be rattled in his first appearance here. He will be a popular player at his price and should have ownership levels in the 15-20% range.

Russell Knox – Our favorite value play this week is Russell Knox. He finished in 25th place last year, but his game has been steadily improving over the last year. After a strong 3rd place finish at the Honda Classic two weeks ago, Knox will be poised to make another strong showing this week. He is accurate off the tee, near the top in greens in regulation and last season ranked as one of the better players in strokes gained tee to green. He will be owned by approximately 15% of the field this week.

Francesco Molinari – This marks another great opportunity to exercise some Warren Buffet-esque wisdom and allows us to buy low…too low. Molinari has looked a little rough the last couple of weeks and his price makes him compelling this weekend. Molinari is ranked first in accuracy and his steady play allows him to be one of the better players in total strokes gained this year. Although he is not long off the tee, Molinari ranks 11th in Par 4 scoring and 22nd in Par 5 scoring. He had two bad weeks and now people do not trust him. Pick him up at this price and you will be able to stock the top of your lineup with top talent. At his price, we would expect 10-15% levels of ownership.

Sang-Moon Bae – Bae is a very good iron player and has had success at Copperhead in his career. He has made the cut in each of his three starts, including a 14th and a 2nd place finish. He plays a balanced game and scrambles well allowing him to be slightly above average in total strokes gained. He has four Top 10 finishes this season, but this is more of a course history play than anything else. We would expect him to be owned by roughly 10% of the field this week.

Shawn Stefani – Our final value pick of the week is Shawn Stefani who placed 7th in his lone appearance at Copperhead in 2013. He is 8 of 10 in making the cut this season with four Top 25 finishes and ranks 20th in greens in regulation. He’s a decent tee to green player and ranks well in Par 5 scoring. He played poorly at the Honda Classic which will take a few people away from owning him this week. We predict around 10% ownership for the week, but his price makes him a great value.


John Peterson – Outside of The Northern Trust, which played very tough for a lot of players, Peterson has made the cut in every other tournament he has played in this season, making 9 of 10 cuts so far. He has yet to crack the Top 10, but this helps us a bit this week as his price has not risen as much as it should have. He is accurate, and has been a very good tee to green player this season. His putting has been below average, but one of these weeks it will come together and he will get that Top 10 finish. Until then, he will remain a sleeper pick at a bargain price. We anticipate 6-8% ownership levels for Peterson this week.

Scott Langley – We cannot find one statistic justifying Langley as a strong player this week. With that said, he has finished 3rd and 30th in two starts here. He is 7 of 10 making the cut this season and is worth a spot in one stars and scrubs roster.

Emiliano Grillo – If you are looking for under the radar this week, take a look at Argentinian, Emiliano Grillo. Grillo is coming off of a 2nd place finish in Puerto Rico and has been very good on the European Tour. He currently ranks 13th on our momentum tracker and has not missed a cut in 10 starts this year which includes six Top 25 finishes. He will be playing Copperhead for the first time, but is an accurate driver and ranks well on the European Tour in greens in regulation. Nobody will own him this week. He will be in that 1-2% ownership range so if you’re looking to set your lineup apart, Grillo could be a great sleeper play.

Jonathan Byrd – Our final sleeper play of the week is a player who has a lot of experience at Copperhead. Byrd has played here 11 times and has three Top 10 finishes. He ranks 21st in accuracy this season and 41st in greens in regulation. He has not been a great tee to green player, but does putt slightly better than average. Course history and a low price make him a compelling sleeper pick for the week.

Best of luck this week to you all! Let’s crown another winner this weekend and keep the momentum going!


Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte February 27, 2015 02:55

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