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Finding Fantasy Golf Values: Eight Basic Rules

David Ferris

Ferris covers the PGA Tour for RotoWire. He is an award-winning sports writer and a veteran fantasy columnist. He also is a scratch golfer.

Finding Fantasy Golf Values (and players to avoid)
by David Ferris, RotoWire Writer

There's a lot of personal voodoo that I put into my own fantasy golf rankings. Not all of it is scientific. A lot of it can't be quantified. Sometimes it's based on something I saw with my own eyes, sometimes it's based on something I heard, something I read, something I think I remember. A lot of it is gut feel, too.

But then again, you gotta have some rules and some principles in this exercise, and I made a list of mine, below. These are factors I consider every year as I bone up on the new fantasy golf season and try to figure out who I want to purchase and who I don't:

Rule 1 - Contending (and not winning) is Underrated

I like to chase any player that was in the hunt regularly last year but didn't win; the victories will eventually take care of themselves, but the key is being there and giving yourself a chance. Too many opponents in your league might overstate last year's money list, when playing consistently well is what really matters.

Checking the 2010 results, here are the players that had the most Top-10 finishes without a victory: Retief Goosen (10), Bo Van Pelt (8), Nick Watney (8), Paul Casey (7), D.J. Trahan (7), Luke Donald (7), Brendon de Jonge (7), Charles Howell (6), Bryce Molder (6), Ricky Barnes (6), Jeff Overton (6), Ryan Moore (6), Vaughn Taylor (6).

Rule 2 - Working for a Living

Commissioner Tim Finchem has said that he wants everyone on the PGA Tour to play more events in 2011. But we know that some players accept heavier schedules than others, and for the second half of your roster, it's smart to have some worker-bees who sign up for a heavy schedule.

Here's everyone that made 30 starts or more last year: de Jonge, Brian Davis, Tim Petrovic, Matt Bettancourt, Joe Ogilvie, Stuart Appleby, Spencer Levin, Josh Teater, Webb Simpson, John Merrick, Brian Gay, John Senden, Kris Blanks, James Nitties, Ted Purdy.

Rule 3 - Plexiglass Principle

Here we're looking for established players who had major cash drops in the previous season. Betting on a partial or full recovery (at a discounted price) can often be a path to victory.

Here's everyone that fell off by at least $1.5 million, comparing 2010 against 2009: Tiger Woods (obviously), Kenny Perry, Sean O'Hair, Y.E. Yang, Lucas Glover, Steve Stricker, Mike Weir, Zach Johnson, Brian Gay, Phil Mickelson. Just missing the 1.5 cutoff were Geoff Ogilvy, David Toms and Jerry Kelly.

Rule 4 - Reverse Plexiglass Principle

What goes up will likely come back down, in theory. Here are some of the biggest cash gainers to be skeptical of: Ryan Palmer, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Ernie Els, Overton, Ben Curtis, Bubba Watson, Adam Scott, Jason Day, de Jonge, Brad Faxon. Just missing: Dustin Johnson.

Rule 5 - The Iron Bowl

One of my tiebreakers is simple - when in doubt, go with the best iron players.

Here are the Top 15 players in Greens in Regulation from last year: John Senden, Kevin Sutherland, Troy Matteson, D.J. Trahan, Davis Love III, Jonathan Byrd, Bill Haas, Rickie Fowler, Matt Goggin, Watney, Adam Scott, Brett Quigley, Kuchar, Van Pelt, Perry.

Rule 6 - Short People Got No Reason to Live

I'd like to see more tight, tricky courses on the circuit, and less places where you have to blast the ball. Alas, the short hitter has less of a chance to contend on the circuit today. Here are some of the guys who will always be giving up real estate off the tee: Corey Pavin, Gay, Dean Wilson, Jeff Quinney, Donald, Paul Goydos, Nick O'Hern, Brandt Snedeker, Weir, Joe Durant, Curtis.

Rule 7 - Scrambled Eggs

I mentioned iron play as one of my favorite tie breakers, and that's followed closely by the scrambling stats. Some guys know how to score even when they're hitting the ball all over creation; you want them on your team. Here are some names that fit the suit: Donald, Chris Riley, Kuchar, Goosen, Stricker, Jim Furyk, Woods, Justin Rose, Tim Clark, Heath Slocum, Kevin Na.

Rule 8 - Trust Your Gut

Okay, that's a lot to digest, and some of the information here (and name listings) may seem contradictory. I'm okay with that. At the end of the day, you probably just want to know who I want this year, who I trust in my gut, guys I'd recommend if you had my ear for 30 seconds (and some I wouldn't recommend). Here's that list:

Guys I'm Recommending for 2011 (in no specific order)

Tiger Woods (I know, a real limb)
Kenny Perry
Lucas Glover
Geoff Ogilvy
Jeff Overton
Bill Haas
Luke Donald
Justin Rose
Kevin Na
Nick Watney
D.J. Trahan
Chris Kirk
Brian Gay
Ben Curtis
Charl Schwartzel
Daniel Summerhays
Ricky Barnes

Guys I'm Avoiding for 2011

Matt Kuchar (love the talent, but breakout will be costly)
Bubba Watson
Brandt Snedeker
Paul Goydos (nothing personal, I'll always root for you)
Phil Mickelson (total gut call)
Stewart Cink
Justin Leonard
Steve Marino
Woody Austin (see Goydos)
J.B. Holmes
Charley Hoffman

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