2017-2018 Safeway Open – Thursday, October 5th through Sunday, October 8th

After the shortest offseason in any sport that I know we are ready to kick off a new season of golf on the PGA tour. It was only a few weeks ago where we were breaking down the tour championship and now we get a new crop of players ready to battle it out for the 2017/2018 season. Since we are starting the season off we are back to the traditional sized fields and have cuts to deal with.

For everyone who was with FV last year I hope you are as excited as me to keep the hot fire going and for all the newcomers welcome aboard. The first tourney for us to breakdown this year is the Safeway Open out in California.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As a special feature for our readers, we now offer the Form Guide and infamous “stat sheets” from Timothy Frank aka @FantasyGolfMan – this is something that became a must read for many gamers while it was hosted at FantasyInsiders and we are now proud to offer it to the #FamVice:

Form Guide: click here

Trends: click here

Stat Guide: click here

Strokes Gained: click here

True Ball Striking: click here

The Course

This week players will be teeing it up right in Hotmajik’s backyard in Napa California at Silverado Resort and Spa’s North Course. The course features a par 72 measuring out around 7,200 yards which is on the shorter side for what they will face during the year. Par 72 means 4 par 5s for these guys which makes eagles something that will play a role this week.

Looking over the course history you are going to need to be deep into double digit under par to contend with the past winners coming in around -15 to -18. Placement off the tee is important, as is hitting as many greens as possible so pencil some good ball strikers as the skillset we want. Distance will always help on a course with 4 par 5s so I do not mind plugging in some bombers in hopes they score well. Still, this course has shown that it is not a necessity to be long off the tee and making sure you are in correct position is the priority. Greens are poa annua which usually is not the greatest surface and makes me want to target those great tee to green players as putting is going to be more unpredictable than usual.

The Field

It is a new season so we have a mix of tour regulars and then some new faces who just graduated from the web.com tour. This is a time of year when newcomers are looking to make a splash and possibly get a win so they can relax and not have to worry about maintaining their status. Last year we saw some early winners be relatively unknowns so this may be a spot where a dark horse can contend.

** The web.com tournament had delays and was forced to finish on Monday. This caused a delay in getting the field finalized and the prices have still not been released. I am going to keep the article more general than usual and return to the normal format next week **

Make sure to check out the podcast later today when we will hopefully have pricing and can get into more specifics.

Recap

Since golf has been somewhat in its offseason there is not much to report on the recap front. Last PGA tourney was the 30 man and I was in the finals of the Fantasy Golf World Championship. Unfortunately I did not cap off the season in perfect fashion coming in 21st out of the 30 remaining people mostly due to Rickie Fowlers ice cold week. Not ideal, but still a fun tourney that I look forward to trying to get back in this year.

Euro last week was a giant dumpster fire and then to add insult to injury Rory came back from the dead right after I finally admitted it was time to spot wasting money playing him. He is in the field again this week over in Europe and I have no idea what to even think about him at this point. Glad we have PGA to focus on instead of trying to figure out that craziness.

Targets

Top Priced

Even though this is a new year we have some talent in the field. Guys like Phil, Finau, and defending champ Brendan Steele all will be here looking to start the new year off with a win. Even my guilty pleasure Bill Haas is here and if he can hit enough greens he will be able to contend at a setup like this. Even though I am excited to target some new players I will still start my lineups with guys who have experience on the tour and are motivated to get a win under their belt early in the season. I expect Finau and Phil to be at or near the top and consider them the favorites just looking over the field.

Without pricing leans – Finau, Phil, Haas

Mid-Range

With prices still TBD it is hard to project who will fall squarely in that mid-range. I expect most of the names to be tour regulars, or some of the elite talents who had not yet secured their full-time card (Uihlein, Wise). We will absolutely break down the midrange in depth on the show today.

Without pricing leans – Grillo, Ollie, List

Lower Priced

This is the spot where will be able to take some flyers on people we do not know as much about. Some of the young guns and first-time tour players will be in this range and with a hot week they might not be this cheap for long. I would refer everyone to Carlmark’s article (click here) about the Web.com graduates to get a sense of who might be most prepared to take on this course and hit the ground running. Overall, I still think it is best to lean to the known players rather than taking some unnecessary risks down in this range, but if the price is right I may take a flyer or two on a newcomer at low ownership.

Without pricing leans mostly if they are in the sub 7.5k range– Hagy, Grayson, Varner

Notes/Fades

Cannot recommend any fades at this point since we have no pricing, but just a few notes about the upcoming year. The swing season offers a clean slate for players, and for many a chance to get started on the right foot after an ugly 2016/17. Make sure to dig into recent form to make sure it is still somewhat recent as players who got knocked out of the Fed Ex cup early have been off for a while. Also try to see if players have been in form over at the web.com finals as that momentum can carry over into the beginning of the year on tour.

Good luck everyone let’s have a great year!

If you have any questions find me in the FanVice Premium slack chat or on Twitter @JazzrazDFS