This week is the second PGA Tour FedEx Cup Playoffs event, the Deutsche Bank Championship from TPC Boston. The event boasts a Friday-Monday schedule. Only the top 70 in FedEx Cup points will move onto the BMW Championship next week at Cherry Hills outside of Denver. Here's our stats preview:
Who is NOT Here:
Before we get to anything else, it's important to remind you who is NOT here, including some fantasy favorites. Six players have chosen, for various reasons, to not play this week. First of all, Dustin Johnson is still on his leave of absence. Jason Dufner is missing due to his ongoing neck issues. Graeme McDowell's wife had a baby Monday and Paul Casey's wife is expecting to give birth next Monday, so they are not participating. Justin Rose's kid is starting school this week, so he's taking the week off, and Sergio Garcia has just chosen to flat out skip the event, with no reason given other than that he was always planning to take a week off to rest in this busy stretch leading up to the Ryder Cup. So the field is at 94 players.
The defending champion is Henrik Stenson, who won by two over Steve Stricker. In 2012, Rory McIlroy won this event by one over Louis Oosthuizen, and in 2011, Webb Simpson beat Chez Reavie in a playoff.
Stricker, Reavie and Oosthuizen are all not in this week's field. Besides McIlroy, who we'd pick for the obvious reasons, our pick is Simpson. He desperately needs a strong performance this week to impress Tom Watson and get a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup. (Those picks are announced on Tuesday.) He won last fall in Las Vegas, but hasn't gotten into the winner's circle in 2014 proper. His stats are fairly strong, though, as he's 24th in scoring average and specifically seventh in final round scoring average, showing he knows how to turn it on when he has to - a good quality for the Ryder Cup.
Others to Watch
Besides Hunter Mahan, who won last week, and Jim Furyk, Jason Day and Ernie Els, who all contended last week, another strong pick for this week is Brandt Snedeker. Similar to Simpson, he also needs a good finish to impress Watson for a captain's pick. Snedeker has three top-10 and 10 top-25 finishes in the 2013-14 season, including a T5 a couple weeks ago at the Wyndham Championship. His biggest issue has been his inability to contend every week. The stats bear that out, as he's 121st in ball striking this season while 17th in strokes gained-putting. We recommend him this week however, as the added pressure of trying to make the Ryder Cup should give him added impetus to make a run at the title. An added plus: 71st in the FedEx Cup standings, he knows he needs to push it to qualify for next week's BMW Championship, which takes the top-70 golfers.
A recommendation for someone on the bubble to get to Cherry Hills: Morgan Hoffmann. His T9 finish at The Barclays last week moved him from 124th to 72nd on the points list, and after a week where he ranked seventh in strokes gained-putting, he's a strong sleeper pick this week.