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FantasyDraft PGA: Safeway Open

Bryce Danielson

Bryce covers the PGA for RotoWire and provides input on the golf cheat sheet. He also contributes to the coverage for NFL, NBA and other sports.

Safeway Open
Napa, CA
Silverado Resort and Spa - North Course - Par 72 - 7,166 yards
Field - 144 Entrants
Purse - $6.2M

The Preview

The 2017-18 PGA Tour season kicks off this week in sunny California where mild winds, tolerably warm temperatures, and essentially no chance of rain are precursors for low scores. Last year, Brendan Steele won in similar conditions with a score of 18-under-par while leading the field in birdies. Once again, birdie-or-better percentage will be a key statistic when determining the winner come Sunday afternoon, which means SG: Tee-to-Green, proximity and GIR percentage will all factor into the equation for success as well. The North Course at Silverado Resort and Spa features a quartet of reachable par-fives, so it will be paramount for the fieldís best ball strikers to take advantage from these lengthier approach distances when they can. Be on the lookout for the emergence of several rookies as the fall stage of the season begins, with a plethora of recent Tour graduates in the field this week.

Past Champions

2016 - Brendan Steele
2015 - Emiliano Grillo
2014 - Sangmoon Bae
2013 - Jimmy Walker
2012 - Jonas Blixt
2011 - Bryce Molder
2010 - Rocco Mediate
2009 - Troy Matheson

FantasyDraft Value Picks - based on $100,000 salary cap

Cream of the Crop

Tony Finau - $17,800

Finau ended his 2016-17 FedExCup Playoffs run on a high note, finishing in seventh place at both the BMW and TOUR Championships. In three consecutive appearances at Silverado for the Safeway Open, Finau has finished no worse than T32 with zero missed cuts. This past season he ranked top-10 on Tour in SG: Off-the-Tee and SG: Tee-to-Green while finishing second in total birdies.

Webb Simpson - $17,500

Simpson failed to record a win over the past three seasons, but he made giant strides with his putter throughout the past few months, and there isnít a gleaming flaw in Simpsonís game any longer. During the 2016-17 campaign, Simpson ranked 21st in SG: Approach, 14th in SG: Around-the-Green, 28th in driving accuracy and 10th in proximity on Tour. A pair of missed cuts at Silverado in his last two appearances at the Safeway Open could help drive down his ownership as well.

Jamie Lovemark - $16,000

Lovemark has been a cut-making machine since the beginning of March, but he posted just two top-10s during that span. It would seem the long-hitting 29-year-old is due for another high finish, having finished his 2016-17 campaign at 35th in SG: Tee-to-Green and 44th in SG: Total. He also ranked top-24 in both par-four and par-five scoring.

Glue Guys

Luke List - $15,100

List, who led the PGA Tour in holes per eagle and ranked 11th in birdie average this past season, has the ability to put up fantasy points in a hurry. He certainly wonít impress anyone with the putter, but he was inside the top 15 in terms of SG: Tee-to-Green, SG: Off-the-Tee and GIR percentage throughout his 2016-17 campaign. List also held his own throughout the FedExCup playoffs, finishing T34-T47-T20 from the Northern Trust through the BMW Championship.

Rob Oppenheim - $14,400

Oppenheim has earned back his PGA Tour card thanks to a stellar run throughout the recent Tour Finals, finishing T5-T2-T17-T11 in his last four starts. This past season he ranked 24th in birdie average, ninth in scrambling and 23rd in putting average on the Tour.

Seamus Power - $13,700

Power has missed just one cut since the beginning of May, and he finished the 2016-17 season ranked 32nd in SG: Around-the-Green, 63rd in SG: Tee-to-Green, 45th in birdie average and 12th in par-five scoring average. He should score well on the reachable par-fives this week, having also finished 30th in terms of proximity from over 200 yards.

Hidden Gems

Brice Garnett - $13,500

Garnett has won twice on the Tour since mid-July, while also posting top-30s in his last three starts. He finished first on the regular season money list, ranking fourth in GIR percentage, fifth in putting average and ninth in birdie average. Garnett also made the cut in his last appearance at Silverado, placing T46 at the 2014 Safeway Open.

Aaron Wise - $13,200

Wise is primed for a breakout rookie campaign after posting his first professional win on the Tour in June. The former NCAA champion already notched a pair of top-20s at the PGA Tour level back in 2016 and ranked ninth in scoring average, 14th in birdie average and fifth in par-five scoring during his 2017 campaign on the Tour.

Cameron Champ - $12,300

The 22-year-old senior from the University of Texas A&M turned heads at the U.S. Open in June, when he finished T32 and led the entire field in SG: Off-the-Tee. Heíll look to take advantage of his sponsorís exemption this week as he tees it up at a professional event for the second time in his career. He currently ranks ninth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

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