The Fantasy Golf Insider Crystal Ball: 2016 Edition

Jeff Bergerson
By Jeff Bergerson May 7, 2016 14:12

The Fantasy Golf Insider Crystal Ball: 2016 Edition

                                                                           Top 20 players to roster in DFS Golf in 2016

 

For those of you who read “The Fantasy Golf Insider Crystal Ball 2015 Edition” and implemented the players that we discussed throughout the year, you were very pleased and probably anxious for the 2016 edition to come out.  If we do a fraction as well on this year’s edition as we did on last years, we will be very happy. Of the fifteen guys we recommended in last years preview, they produced 14 worldwide wins and 87 Top 10s in 2015. You will also know that we did not just mention the Top 15 players in the world as we mixed in mid-level and sleeper options as well to help you fill out your DFS rosters.  Jordan Spieth was the clear highlight, which as you remember was not that obvious after his 2014 season, in which he did not win any significant events.  Robert Streb, Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau were all a part of the preview article and all burst onto the scene and fueled our cash game and GPP teams in 2015.  How about Rickie Fowler winning three events, including two big ones, The Deutsche Bank and The Players.  Graeme Mcdowell made us look bad early on in 2015, but boy did he turn it on late in the year.  Better late than never, I guess.  This year we have some new names for you, some you will know, but we believe they will take their game to the next level like Spieth and Fowler did last year.  Others, not many people will have heard of and you will have the edge by knowing who they are first. Some players make a home on the PGA Tour and others mostly play overseas, but you will certainly see in majors and WGC events and be able to capitalize.  Last year was an amazing year for Fantasy Golf Insider and one that we could have never imagined would have been so successful.  We are not however satisfied and we will not rest. We will continue to grind away in order to give FGI members the absolute best fantasy golf information available anywhere.  Good luck in 2016, let’s make it as profitable as 2015!!!

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Rory McIlroy- Last year was Jordan and Jason’s year, this year will belong to Rory.  Last year he started out the year like a house on fire with six Top 10s in eight events and two wins.  Then, came his injury playing soccer of all things. Rory has an ego and the fact that Day and Spieth stole the spotlight while he was on the sidelines, ate at his soul.  The fall season he seemed to knock the final bit of rust off with a T6 at Turkish Airlines, T11 at WGC HSBC, and a win at DP World Tour Championship.  We would not consider ourselves correct about this pick unless Rory won at least two events this season and added a bunch of Top 10s. Possibly a major or two will be added to his resume as well.  Watch out for him at The Masters, just feel like it is his time there.

 

Patrick Reed- For those of you who did not pay real close attention to golf in the fall, especially worldwide golf, let us tell you that Patrick Reed is RED Hot.  In his last five events he has a T3 at the UBS Hong Kong Open, T10 at CIMB Classic, T7 at WGC HSBC, 2nd at BMW Masters, T10 at DP World Tour Championship.  Reed continued on his torrid run with a runner-up finish in The Hero World Challenge in December, which had 17 other world class players. His outstanding current form combined with the fact that historically Reed plays well early in the season, makes him an excellent guy to capitalize on early.  He won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions last year and Humana and WGC Cadillac two years ago all in the first three months of the year.  When his game is on, he is one of the best players in the world.  The best part is his price-tag will not be high early on in the season and he is usually under-owned because typically people do not like him personally.  Frankly, I don’t care if he is the cockiest guy ever, if he wins me cash, he is alright in my book.

 

Branden Grace- Almost always under-priced and under-owned, Grace was the key cog in many humongous winning GPP lineups last year including the PGA Championship Millionaire Maker team.  He has not missed a cut since The Travelers in June and in that time has recorded nine Top 25s in eleven events played including a 3rd at the PGA Championship, T5 at the WGC HSBC, T4 at the Nedbank Challenge, and 3rd at the DP World Tour Championship.  Grace generally plays a scattered amount on the PGA Tour, but we expect to see him at the Arnold Palmer, Valero, RBC Heritage, The Players, and Travelers.  Obviously he will be playing in the majors and WGC events.  Anytime you get Grace on a links style course, load up and do not look back as he absolutely crushes them.  The US Open (T4), The Open (T20), and PGA Championship (3rd) were all played on links style courses in 2015 and he dominated.  Grace is only 27 years old and becoming an elite player in the world.  Take advantage of him while he continues to be a big-time value in DFS.

 

Emiliano Grillo- We featured Grillo in our Top 10 Sleepers to Watch for the PGA DFS Fall Season” and he proceeded to win the Frys.com Open a couple weeks later.  He then had the predictable letdown the week after and missed the cut at Shriners, but then had a T35 at WGC HSBC, T24 at BMW Masters, T11 at Nedbank Challenge and T4 at DP World Tour Championship.  He is another 23 year old who is ultra-talented and he will show that this season on the PGA Tour.  Last season on the PGA Tour in his limited appearances, Grillo posted four made cuts in five events played with three Top 25s, including a runner-up in Puerto Rico.  Grillo also won the Web.com Tour Championship and finished with four other worldwide Top 10s.  In his three fall events his ownership in the Draftkings $3 GPP was 11%, 15%, and 7% respectively so people are not exactly loading up on Grillo.  His price went up after his initial win which obviously scared people off.  When the big names return to the events, I would assume Grillo’s price-tag lingers in the $9k range to start the season, which makes him a very nice option for GPPs and Cash Games.

 

Danny Willett- Very few PGA events for Willett, but he will be available in the WGC events and major tournaments and we recommend you roster him. In most every event in 2015, Willett was priced in the $7k-$8k range on Draftkings  making his T12 at WGC Cadillac, T6 at The Open, and T17 at WGC Bridgestone pay off very nicely.  Even this fall at the WGC HSBC he was only the 27th highest priced player at $8,000, which was a supreme value as he delivered a T3.  The crazy part is he was only owned by 6% of the field in the $3 Draftkings GPP, which says that not too many people even know who he is.  He comes into 2016 on a bit of a roll with a T11 at the Turkish Airlines, T3 at WGC HSBC, T28 at BMW Masters, T4 at Nedbank Challenge, and T4 at DP World Championship. Fantasy Golf Insider knows who he is and will be choosing him in the WGC and major tournaments often in 2016.

 

Matthew Fitzpatrick– You may remember him from the WGC-HSBC when we shouted from the roof tops in our previews to our members how great this kid was.  Well he did not disappoint when he delivered a T7 in that tournament.  Not bad considering he was priced as the 21st highest priced golfer on Draftkings.  In 2016 we recommend that you chose him in whatever events he plays and especially early because he is not going to be a secret for long.  You may counter and say that he is not a secret right now, but when he played in the WGC HSBC his ownership was only 7% of the field in the $3 event and 10% in the $300 event on Draftkings.  That is an indication that not everybody is wise to this young phenoms talents yet.  Toward the later part of 2015 he Fitzpatrick started to shine with a T8 at the Irish Open, T3 at Lyoness Open, 2nd at Omega European Masters, 3rd at Real Czech Masters, T3 at Open D’Italia, win at the British Masters, T3 at UBS Hong Kong, T7 at WGC HSBC, T4 at DP World Tour Championship, and T16 at Nedbank Challenge.  A very impressive run for the 21 year old.  He is currently ranked #49 in the world, but it will not be long before he climbs up those ranks and becomes a household name.  We will remind you about him throughout the year, but be sure to keep a mental note about him.

 

Hideki Matsuyama- A winless 2015 for Matsuyama, however he did have 19 Top 25s and 9 Top 10s worldwide.  Being in contention that many times means it is only a matter of time before Matsuyama gets to the winners circle, and often.  We predict that happens in 2016 as he is far too talented of a player not to win.  Matsuyama is an elite tee-to-green player ranking 5th in strokes gained tee-to-green on the PGA Tour, but his big deficiency is his putting where he ranked 164th.  At times, he has shown glimpses that his putting issues are solved, but not on a consistent basis.  We have seen truly awful putters win PGA Tour events (see: Russell Knox and Webb Simpson), so we believe he can overcome the issues with the flat stick.  The great part about Matsuyama is his consistency as he made 23 cuts in 25 events played last year making him an outstanding cash game play in DFS.  In addition, he is rarely priced among the elite players in the field each week, which gives us some outstanding value.  He tends to play very well at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, The Memorial, and Frys.com, so especially watch for him in those events.

 

Patrick Rodgers- We saw glimpses of how great this young player is during individual rounds in the 2015 season.  Then he began to string great rounds together and deliver great tournament finishes during the fall season.  He was five for five in made cuts with a T6 at Frys.com, T13 at Shriners, T20 at Sanderson Farms, T10 at OHL Mayakoba, and T44 at RSM Classic.  During those five events Rodgers ranked 7th in strokes gained tee-to-green, 58th in Par 4 scoring, 8th in Par 5 scoring, and 46th in Birdie or Better %.  He played 7 events on the PGA Tour in 2014 and 17 in 2015, so this will be his third year on tour, which we have found to be a significant landmark.  He is only 23 years old however so we expect to see some rapid improvement in the next couple of years.  His price and ownership in DFS crept up toward the tail end of the fall season, but both numbers will drop once the big names return to the tour.  Our prediction is Rodgers has a handful of Top 10s in 2016, and if his putting can improve a bit, a win.  He is personally my favorite play for 2016.

 

Russell Henley- This will be Henley’s fourth season on the PGA Tour and last year he took a positive step forward with his consistency.  In 2013 he was 17 of 24 making cuts and in 2014 17 of 29.  Last year however he was 20 of 24.  He also increased his Top 25 performances from 5 to 11.  He did not have a win last year like he had in each of his first two seasons (2013-Sony Open, 2014- Honda Classic).  Henley also played well in three of the four majors with a 21st at The Masters, T20 at The Open, and T12 at the PGA Championship. He is an outstanding putter and plays well early in the season and in Hawaii so be ready. This year we expect another step forward for Henley, which will include a bunch of Top 10s and a win.

 

Chris Kirk- It seems like he has been around forever, but 2016 will only mark his sixth full season on the PGA Tour.  Up until last year when a broken hand derailed his season, every other season he had shown noticeable improvement.  In 2014 he was as automatic as you get making cuts as he made 26 of 28.  He also added two wins that season and three other Top 10s and twelve Top 25s.  It was a really amazing season and we expected even bigger things from him in 2015.  He started the season a bit erratically, but then seemed to round back into form with eight straight cuts made including four Top 20s, with one of those being a win at the Crowne Plaza Invitational.  After returning from his injury he looked a bit rusty although took T29 at the Deutsche Bank.  He made every cut this past fall although only one performance that would be considered good at the RSM Classic where he took T18.  He also looked impressive through the first three rounds at The Hero Challenge before playing flat in the final round and finishing T10.  In the fall Kirk’s salary on Draftkings was between $6,900-$8,500 in all the events he played.  That is why I like him so much, especially to start the season.  He is a way better player than his salary right now because of his play since his injury.  I believe Kirk when healthy is a Top 20 player in the world and he will have a really good season.  His salary won’t be that affordable for long, because he is going to be putting up Top 10s.  Let other people overlook him, but do not make that mistake yourself.

 

Daniel Berger- For you Fantasy Golf Insider members who have been with us a while, you know about our running joke about Berger and his girlfriend.  For those of you who are new, Daniel Berger was playing extremely well early in the season, then during the summer he seemed to have lost his ability to play golf and missed 7 cuts in 8 events.  That time period just so happened to correspond to the time when his girlfriend was on summer break from school and was traveling with him.  Toward the end of summer, Berger’s game magically reappeared and made every cut and racked up a T12 at Deutsche Bank, 2nd at BMW, and T12 at the Tour Championship.  This coincidentally corresponded with his girlfriend going back to school.  Now we cannot confirm with 100% certainty that this was the reason Berger was a virtual rollercoaster, but it is scarily coincidental.  At any rate, Berger is an extremely talented young player and we recommend getting on the Berger train in 2016, at least until summer break hits. J  During the Fall season, Berger had a T17 at Frys.com, T64 at CIMB Classic, and T11 at WGC HSBC.  In 2015 if you subtract out the stretch where Berger’s girlfriend was nagging the crap out of him (again just an assumption), he only missed 7 cuts in 23 events with six Top 10s. and two runner-ups.  He is an outstanding GPP option in DFS because of his outstanding upside.

 

Will Wilcox- This will be Wilcox’s third full season on the PGA Tour and that is very important to us as we have seen a positive correlation with players in their third year.  Last year Wilcox was a bit inconsistent, but did post five Top 25s and two Top 10s in 16 events played.  He did however miss six cuts as well and was slowed in the summer time by a leg injury when he “slammed his leg in a car door”.  I don’t even know what to say about that other than you cannot make this stuff up.  During the Fall season he continued that erratic play with a T10 at Frys.com, MC at Shriners, W/D at Sanderson Farms (mostly due to the numerous weather delays as he was playing fine and four strokes under par), and T17 at OHL Classic at Mayakoba.  Not too many players on tour dominate the stat sheet like Will the Thrill as he finished 4th in greens in regulation, 20th in strokes gained tee-to-green, 9th in total strokes gained, 2nd in total driving, 2nd in sand saves, 8th in scoring average, 2nd in Par 3 scoring, 3rd in Par 4 scoring, and 17th in birdie or better percentage last season. You may ask, “How did this guy not contend for a handful of victories?”  I do not have a good answer for that, but I believe he will this year.  In the three events that he played in and Draftkings offered contests for his salaries were $7,500 at Frys.com, $8,200 at Shriners, and $9,400 at OHL Mayakoba (which only happened because the field was so weak). Typically his $8k salary gives us a tremendous amount of upside.  We predict a more consistent season from Wilcox and to see him competing late Sunday afternoons several times.

 

Jason Bohn- Can Bohn actually close the deal and get a win this season?  One of the more consistent players on The PGA Tour, Bohn made 21 cuts in 27 events last season with eleven Top 25s and six Top 10s, including two runner-ups (but no wins).  In the fall he added four more made cuts with a T3 at Frys.com and two more runner-ups at OHL Classic and Shriners.com.  He is a great DFS player as he scores a lot and ranked 6th in Par 4 scoring and 20th in Birdie or Better % in 2015.  Bohn has found something in his game that has gave him his best success in his career at the age of 42.  Whether or not Bohn will get that elusive win, I can’t say, but he offers a consistent cut-maker with upside who in high-quality fields will be very affordable.  A handful of Top 10s this year is what we are predicting.

 

Victor Dubuisson- 2016 is going to mark a vast improvement over 2015 for the Frenchman.  Frankly he was pretty brutal for DFS last year with missed cuts at the Honda Classic, Masters, U.S Open, and the Open.  He also added lousy WGC appearances with a T62 at WGC Cadillac, T52 WGC Match Play, and T50 at WGC Bridgestone.  Since the PGA Championship where he placed a solid T18, Dubuisson has seemed to find his game.  His last four events played have resulted in four Top 20s with a win at the Turkish Airlines Open.  He burned a ton of people last year, so I assume his ownership will be low, especially early on in the season.  I really like him in the majors, although he has not had a tremendous amount of success in them this far in his career.

 

Jon Rahm- His nickname is Rahmbo, need I say more?  He is the best amateur golfer in the nation for the Arizona Sun Devils and won’t make many appearances on the PGA Tour this season, but when he does, you will want to own him.  This definitely means take him in his backyard at the Waste Management Phoenix Open where he took T5 last year.  In his other appearances last year he had a MC in his fist event at OHL Classic (2014) and T64 at The Travelers.  This past fall at the OHL Classic he took T10. For the $3 GPP on Draftkings he was only owned by 2% of the field. He is a real great player and nobody knows who he is. You won’t see much of him this year, but when you do (especially in Phoenix) you will be part of the very low percentage of people that will get a guy that out produces his price.

 

Soren Kjeldsen– In the WGC HSBC this past fall, we thought his price-tag of $7,200 was a bit on the low-side, yet only 5% of the field owned him in the $3 Draftkings GPP and 9% in the $300 GPP.  This says that nobody knows who in the world he is. He didn’t really blow us away with his performance in that event with a T46, but we think he will do more this season. He is not a young guy at 40 years old, but he has been playing some really great golf over the past 9 months.  He actually had nine worldwide Top 10s in 2015 including a win at the Irish Open (Euro Tour) and runner-ups at the Nordea Masters and British Masters.    You will only see him in WGC and major events but be sure to get some exposure.

 

Byeong-Hun An- There was quite a bit of buzz about him early last year, but it disappeared after dud performances at The US Open (MC), The Open (MC), WGC Bridgestone (T57), and PGA Championship (MC).  Since then however he has played much better, overseas at least.  A win on the Korean Tour, 4th at Turkish Airlines Open, T19 at WGC HSBC, T3 at BMW Masters, T4 at DP World Tour Championship, and 8th at Nedbank Challenge He ended up becoming the first Asian to win the Rookie of the Year on the European Tour.  I believe people jumped on his bandwagon a bit prematurely last year.  An is only 24 years old and I predict he will have much more of an impact this year in events that are meaningful to us fantasy golf players.

 

Patton Kizzire and Smylie Kaufman- Both are rookies on Tour and both made their presence felt in the fall PGA season.  Kaufman made the cut in every event that he played (5 for 5) and had two Top 10s with a win at the Shriners. Kizzire made three out of four cuts with highlights of T4 at Sanderson Farms and T2 at Shriners.  Both players are young and hungry so they will be battling to make every cut, which is so crucial for us DFS players.  Last year on the Web.com Tour Kizzire had two runner up finishes as well as two wins, so he is capable of big finishes.  I believe they will still be under most people’s radar’s this season and a great opportunity to roster a couple consistent cut-makers who also present some upside.

 

Chris Wood- He will most likely only be available in WGC and major events, but he will offer some great value and upside for somebody that the masses have not heard of.  Wood has five Top 10 finishes in his last eight event played, including three Top 5s. Keep an eye on Wood in the early part of the year overseas, my guess is that he will continue playing really well.  Be sure to nab him on some of your GPP rosters in the WGCs and majors.

 

 

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Jeff Bergerson is a co-founder of Fantasy Golf Insider.com, fantasy golf expert and has been studying and writing about fantasy golf for over five years. He is a member of multiple season long fantasy golf leagues as well as a recognized name in the daily fantasy golf industry (screenname: jtbergerson).  He has helped thousands of people become more educated and profitable playing fantasy golf.  He is a member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) and Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA).  Jeff is a regular guest on the Pat Mayo Hour on The Fantasy Sports Network, Scout Fantasy Radio with Dr. Roto on Sirius/XM Radio Fantasy Sports, and writes featured fantasy golf columns for ESPN.com.  One of the most successful players in fantasy golf today, yet he is always willing to share his expertise with others. You can reach Jeff through fantasygolfinsider.com, where you can become a member –or- via email jeff@fantasygolfinsider.com.

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Jeff Bergerson
By Jeff Bergerson May 7, 2016 14:12

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