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Deutsche Bank Championship Preview: FedExCup Round 2

Greg Vara

Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the 2013 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year. In addition to producing the weekly preview and the bulk of the draft kit content, Vara participates in Yahoo!'s "Experts Picks" where he routinely dominates. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.

Week one of the FedExCup is in the books and as predicted there was plenty of drama and excitement until the very end. In fact, the first event of the four-week race had everything you could ask for. Drama late on Sunday - check. Drama on Wednesday - check. A young American player in the mix - check (more important with the Ryder Cup on the horizon). An old American player oversleeping - check. Tiger Woods drama - check. A leaderboard full of big names - check. A leaderboard full of superstars - che ... OK, so maybe we didn't have it all last week, but I'd still classify the Barclays as a success.

Looking ahead, there are plenty of intriguing story lines to watch for. Can Tiger stay alive for another week? Last week his goal was to finish in the top-50. This week he'll have a more aggressive goal as he sits near the bubble once again. Hey, it's not quite as exciting as watching him hunt down the Bear, but it's entertaining nonetheless. Will Phil find his game in time to win his first playoff title? It sure doesn't look good, but keep in mind, any player who wins the final two events, wins the FedExCup. Finally, will one of the young guns ascend to the next level with a championship in three weeks? Matt Kuchar took the first step, but again, a lot of golf is left to be played and the likes of Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Nick Watney and Bubba Watson are still in the hunt.

What the Barclays means:

Matt Kuchar: Kuchar's 2010 season was a success before his win last Sunday, but with that win, he's taken his game to the next level. He's certainly capable of winning the FedExCup, and one more win at the Tour Championship and he'll likely do just that.

Steve Stricker: Stricker again lived up to his reputation as a playoff beast. Although he was trailing all week, he found a way to post a low number and put a little pressure on the final groups. Stricker is on the short list of potential winners this fall.

Tiger Woods: By all accounts, his game is improving, but as we learned after round two last week, this is going to be a slow process. We know the talent is still there, as well as the fire, but the focus is still lacking.

This week: Deutsche Bank Championship

Last Year: Steve Stricker shot a final-round 67 on his way to a one-stroke victory over Jason Dufner and Scott Verplank.

Players to Consider:

  1. Steve Stricker

    He's the defending champ, he loves this time of year and he nearly won last week. What's not to like?

  2. Dustin Johnson

    Johnson continued his fine 2010 with another top-10 last week, and he returns to the site of his top-5 finish last year at the TPC of Boston.

  3. Jason Day

    Day earned his first victory earlier this year, but he hasn't let complacency set in at all. His game appears to be in top form heading into the final months as well. Day played well at the PGA Championship a few weeks ago and backed that up with a top-10 last week.

  4. Adam Scott

    It looks like Adam Scott is indeed back. I didn't feel comfortable saying that after his win earlier this year, but his sustained success since that win is what has convinced me.

  5. Kevin Streelman

    Streelman has a knack for going on runs that span several weeks. Last week he posted a top-10, which could be the start of one of those runs.

Players to Avoid:

  1. Phil Mickelson

    Mickelson has a knack for playing well when you least suspect it, but so be it. If he burns me here, then that's the way it goes. But I've seen nothing in his game over the last month that leads me to believe he'll be a factor this week.

  2. Vijay Singh

    This is tough. Both Singh and Mickelson have won this event, Singh has won here twice, but just like Mickelson, Singh's game is way off.

  3. Brandt Snedeker

    Heading into last week, I thought Snedeker was about to go on a late-season run like he did as a rookie a few years ago, but after missing the cut last week, I think the momentum is gone.

  4. Justin Rose

    The sample size is too small, but prior to his exclusion from the Ryder Cup team last weekend, Rose was on quite a roll. He posted a 69 followed by a 65 and appeared to be in great position to win last week. After the word came out on Sunday, he fell flat and posted a 72. It could have been any number of factors that lead to that score, but I certainly wouldn't blame Rose if he were a little out of sorts after being left off the team. That's something that could carry over to this week as well.

  5. Geoff Ogilvy

    Phil Mickelson on the Avoid List is a huge risk. Vijay Singh is a slight risk. Geoff Ogilvy is no risk at all. He usually fades as the season plays out, but he's setting the bar extremely low this season.

Yahoo! Fantasy Golf:

This week: Deutsche Bank Championship

Group A

  1. Steve Stricker
  2. Tiger Woods

Stricker remains on the squad this week and if all goes to plan, he'll be there for the remainder of the playoffs. Woods is on the roster just in case. Can you believe that? Tiger Woods, on the roster, just in case he happens to play well. Very strange.

Group B

  1. Adam Scott
  2. Kevin Streelman
  3. Dustin Johnson
  4. Rory McIlroy

I felt really confident in my players from Group B last week, but as a whole, they underperformed. I thought about keeping the group intact, but I soon realized that two of my top-5 this week would be left off the team, so I added Scott and Streelman. I decided to keep Johnson for obvious reasons and McIlroy for the same reason I have Tiger in Group A, just in case. As I mentioned above, this race is a long way from being over and the players are well aware of that, so you can almost toss the results from last week as any number of players can take the lead this week with a win.

Group C

  1. Paul Casey
  2. Matt Kuchar

Yes, I realize that Paul Casey is in a similar boat to Justin Rose, yet I am avoiding Rose this week. The difference, and I grant you I may be stretching here, is that I envision Casey as the type of person that would want to send a message to Monty by playing really well over the next three weeks. If I'm wrong, I've got Kuchar ready to throw in there, so there's really no risk at all.

Starters Round One

  1. Steve Stricker
  2. Adam Scott
  3. Kevin Streelman
  4. Matt Kuchar

Stricker is the best of all worlds this week. He's got high upside and is extremely reliable. There's really no reason to think about sitting him on Thursday. Johnson and Scott will get the opening round starts in Group B. Scott is playing really well lately, and Johnson has shown a knack for going low early. Kuchar gets the nod in Group C. I am hoping that he can carry some momentum in from last week, but at the same time, I am a little worried about the hangover.

Round Two and Going Forward:

Stricker will be a solid option during every round this week, but as he often does, Tiger will control this group come Friday. If Tiger plays like he did early last week, I'll be tempted to start him Friday. The problem, however, is that he laid an egg after a great start last week. I guess I'll have to go with my instinct after round one. It's too early to tell which way I'll go. Group B will be wide open after the first round. Every player, with the possible exception of Streelman, is capable of winning this week. Group C is a little tricky this week as Casey could go any number of ways because we don't know his mindset. On the flip side, Kuchar is coming off a huge win, so we can't be sure of his mindset either. The plan is to stick with the hot hand. Bouncebacks might not be in play with these two players this week.
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