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Playing the Tips

Expert Picks: Safeway Open

by Josh Culp
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Welcome to Playing the Tips! 

Each week this will be the one-stop resource to soak in all the picks from our fantasy staffers at Rotoworld.com. 

Yahoo and Golf Channel golf should both return in January, but for now, we will provide some Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) suggestions and then head overseas for the Fantasy Race to Dubai on Page 2.

Daily Fantasy Sports [DFS]

I will be giving out selections for one team for each DFS site, per week. 

These lineups will be entered into a large-entry Guaranteed Prize Pool. That means we need to take a risk or two, in order to separate ourselves from the field. 

I would also advise you to change a roster spot or two if you are trying to enter this lineup yourself. Duplicate entries are no fun. 

FanDuel Picks:

Keith Mitchell
Posted five top 15s in his last seven starts on the Web.com Tour.  That kind of form might not hold on with the transition to the PGA TOUR but he doesn't need a top 15 to pay off this salary.

Aaron Wise ($4,500): 
This will likely be the lowest we ever see the young phenom priced. He was a standout at the University of Oregon and he won on the Web.com Tour to play his way into PGA TOUR status.  On the PGA TOUR he's found two top 20s so far, both came on bentgrass greens. Playing on the West Coast should only help this California resident who played his college golf in the Northwest. 

Kevin Na ($7,800): 
Now that we've saved some salary, we can afford Na who has posted two top 10s in two tries at Silverado.

Brendan Steele ($8,600):
 The defending champ here was also the 54-hole leader the year prior. He clearly loves the course, so let's fire him up again.

Emiliano Grillo ($6,900): The Argentine is very comfortable on poa annua greens. He is also a past champ here, so let's add our second Silverado winner.

Bill Haas ($9,200):  Three of his six career wins have come in California. Hard to pass up that winning upside, especially against a weaker field like this.

With $18,500 remaining in salary, we have the pick of the litter with our final two spots. 

DraftKings Picks:

Sung Kang ($6,900) Opening up with some salary savings, Kang provides that with a sub-$7K tag. He is coming off a breakout season where he posted career-highs in top 10s and top 25s. 

Brendan Steele ($9,000):
Has posted six sub-70 rounds in 12 attempts at Silverado. That has resulted in three top 25s, including last year's win. 

Keith Mitchell ($7,600): Has too good of form to turn away now. Also finished T11 in his lone PGA TOUR start (2017 Valspar). 

Keegan Bradley ($9,300):
 Cuts made in 10 straight starts, including a trio of top 15s. Has a runner-up at Riviera CC, showing that he can perform on poa annua greens.

J.J. Spaun ($7,000):Had a brilliant rookie season and he'll look to avoid a sophomore slump in his home state. Luckily, two of his three top 10s have come in the West/Southwest (2017 Farmers and 2017 Phoenix Open).  

Kevin Na ($9,400): Already have a good mix of risk, upside, and safety. Na adds a bit more in the latter two categories. He has the upside to post a top 5, perhaps even pick up his second career win, but he's also a steady cut-maker.



Each week I will think out loud about my process in determining my One-and-Done selection. If you are new to the One-and-Done format, it is like an NFL survivor league. You pick one golfer per week, but you can't use them again all year. 

To open the season up, I want to point out my errors from last year. Overall, my picks fared well, but by the end of the season, I was running out of elite options. This year I'm not going to be so quick to pull the trigger on the "best available" golfer during the early-season events. 

With that being said, I felt good about my overall process so let's kick that off again with some course horses:


Kevin Na (7th-2nd)
Brendan Steele (WIN-T17-T21)
Emiliano Grillo (T26-WIN)
Martin Laird (T8-T64-T3)
Sangmoon Bae (WIN)
Tony Finau (T26-T31-T12)
Derek Fathauer (T15-MC-T12)
Patton Kizzire (Runner-Up)
Johnson Wagner (T3-T48)
Jon Curran (T26-MC-T8)

After that, let's look at a (weighted) baseline performance metric since the start of 2014. 


Keith Mitchell
Phil Mickelson
Cameron Champ
Bill Haas
Zach Johnson
Webb Simpson
Kevin Na
Tony Finau
Brendan Steele
Ryan Moore

Okay, okay. We can ring the small-sample bell here. Keith Mitchell and Cameron Champ both have just one PGA TOUR event under their belt. If you want to ignore them, the next two in line are Keegan Bradley and Emiliano Grillo.

Looking at both lists, the overlapping names to consider are: Kevin Na, Brendan Steele, and Tony Finau. Emiliano Grillo also fits the mold if we exclude the two small samples in baseline performance. 

There will be a few more chances to pick these golfers throughout the year, but I don't think I'll be kicking myself too hard if I don't have them down the road. With that being said, I will go with Kevin Na who has top 10s in both trips to Silverado Resort and Spa. 

Fantasy Race to Dubai

Dave Tindall is our main man in Europe. In addition to his weekly previews of European Tour events on Mondays, he’ll share his selections and analysis for the Fantasy Race to Dubai at EuropeanTour.com.


Format: Pick 6 golfers. Players accumulate points based on Race to Dubai (R2D) points earned. Captain’s points are doubled. Unlimited team changes can be made each week.


Team Tindall (Team name: YESSIR!)


Last week: Left Rory out and paid for it. Drop of 246 spots. 

Pos: 2587
Rory McIlroy: Well, I won't be making last week's mistake. Rory's back on the team and deservedly so after the low final 36 holes at British Masters and superb record here.
Shane Lowry: Did a good job as skipper last week when T7 and this is one of his favorite events. Not outside top 20 in last four appearances here and that includes T3 and T6.
Tyrrell Hatton: Defending champion is back to form and always has to be considered on links tracks. Another big show expected.
Martin Kaymer: The winner here in 2010 has been in a slump but top 20 last week suggests he can ride that momentum to another strong week in Scotland.
Richie Ramsay: Local man is a former runner-up in this home event and looks in fine form ahead of his annual crack. Runner-up on the links at July's Irish Open and top 10 last week.
Chris Wood: I'll get another tournament specialist on board. Wood made his links reputation in Open Championships and has enhanced it at this event with top 10s the last three years. T9 and T26 last two weeks.


Matt Cooper is part of our European team. He contributes to player news, and he’ll share his selections and analysis for the Fantasy Race to Dubai at EuropeanTour.com. He was the winner of the Ladies European Tour’s Fantasy League in 2011.
Team Cooper (Team name: NormanStanleyFletcher)

Last week: Faith in Rory was repaid and I'm back in the top 1000. Seven events to go and in six of them there are big points available. Much to play for.
Position: 897th
Rory McIlroy (captain): Keeping the tokens on the big gun. Loves the event and there was a real change to the look in his eye after last Saturday's round; the competitive juices were flowing. They just need another four days of that, please.
Tommy Fleetwood: Another who loves the tournament. Five out of six starts have reaped top 15 finishes. Can the nappy factor earn the win?
Shane Lowry: His devastation after departing the 2015 Open early was all down to his fondness for The Old Course challenge. Nice finish in the British Masters, will want some of what Paul Dunne had.
Tyrrell Hatton: Got himself into a great position last week and then griped his way through the weekend. Will have no reason to grumble about greens this week and is superb at links golf (and, indeed, defending champion).
Paul Dunne: Led the Open after 54 holes in St Andrews and celebrated turning pro three months later by leading this event after 18 holes. Might be tough to go back-to-back, but no reason not to think he'll play well after his maiden win.
Matthew Southgate: Didn't get going last year in this event, but plenty of reasons to think he should have a good crack at it. Member at Carnoustie, a winner on the Old Course as an amateur, superb at links golf.



Josh Culp
Josh Culp joined Rotoworld in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.