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FantasyDraft PGA: Valspar Championship

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.

Valspar Championship
Palm Harbor, Florida
Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead) - Par 71 - 7,340 yards
Field - 144 entrants
Purse - $6.5M

The Preview

The drought has finally concluded for “Lefty” as Phil Mickelson claimed his first victory in nearly five years at last week’s WGC-Mexico Championship, which culminated in a playoff win over world No. 2 Justin Thomas. The PGA Tour returns to its Florida swing this week as the Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead course will host 144 entrants, including two of the Official World Golf Ranking’s top-10 and seven of the top-25. The Copperhead’s tree-lined, yet lengthy par-71 layout has been one of the more difficult venues on Tour, while the course includes five par-threes and the standard four par-fives. The extra par-three obviously places a bit more emphasis on par-three scoring as a key stat this week, while P5: birdie or better percentage could prove to be just as important. These fairways and greens can be difficult to hit, so SG: Around-the-Green and scrambling will be the difference makers when it comes to bogey avoidance. As for the weather, expect partly cloudy skies and mild temperatures before a warm front moves in Sunday bringing the possibility of storms. Wind should be a factor throughout the entirety of the tournament as well, especially during the final round.

Past Champions

2017- Adam Hadwin
2016 - Charl Schwartzel
2015 - Jordan Spieth
2014 - John Senden
2013 - Kevin Streelman
2012 - Luke Donald
2011 - Gary Woodland
2010 - Jim Furyk

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

Cream of the Crop

Jordan Spieth - $17,800

Leading off at the top of the board in this week’s field in terms of price and positioning in the OWGR, Spieth has bounced back with a trio of top-20s since his missed cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open despite continued struggles with the flat stick. The 2015 Valspar Championship medalist has also never finished outside of the top-20 in four appearances at the event. He’s sixth on Tour in SG: Tee-to-Green and second in scrambling, which makes his putting issue that much more frustrating as he hasn’t found the winner’s circle since the 2017 Open Championship.

Sergio Garcia - $16,700

The 11th-ranked player in the world has eased his way into 2018 with only four starts since the turn of the calendar, while his finishes have included no result worse than a T33, a win at the SMBC Singapore Open and a T7 at last week’s WGC-Mexico Championship. Garcia hasn’t teed it up at Innisbrook since 2013, though he’s made the cut in all five appearances at the Valspar including one top-10.

Justin Rose - $16,300

Having finished top-10 on Tour in SG: Tee-to-Green during his 2016-17 campaign, Rose will look to pick up where he left off and serve as one of the favorites to lead this field in birdies, especially after carding seven tweeters in his final round at the WGC-Mexico Championship. The Englishman has missed just one cut in nine trips to Innisbrook, while also posting top-10s in both 2014 and 2011.

Glue Guys

Ryan Moore - $14,700

Moore has been a fan of Innisbrook throughout the past three seasons, posting results of T18-3-5 at the Valspar since 2015. He’s currently top-35 in both SG: Around-the-Green and SG: Putting, managing to finish top-10 in two of his six starts this season despite a below-average birdie rate overall. Improvements with his ball striking to go along with an already well-above-average short game would create a perfect storm for Moore to find success once again in Palm Harbor.

Kevin Na - $14,600

Na’s impressive short game was on display in his last start at the Genesis Open where he tied for second behind champion Bubba Watson, while also leading the field in SG: Around-the-Green and bogey avoidance. Na owns an intriguing track record at Innisbrook, finishing T22-T10-2 in his three appearances prior to last year’s missed cut at the event. The 40th-ranked player in the FedExCup standings is seventh on Tour in scrambling, 12th in one-putt percentage and 29th in par-five scoring average.

Cameron Smith - $14,200

Currently ranked 52nd in the OWGR, Smith remains motivated to secure a spot in the top-50 by Mar. 26 in order to qualify for this year’s Masters during what has essentially been a breakout campaign up to this point. Sure, he was part of the team that won last season’s Zurich Classic, but Smith has been impressive on his own throughout the past few months while notching 10 consecutive starts without a missed cut to go along with a quintet of top-six finishes worldwide during this span, including a win at the Australian PGA Championship. He’s also two for two in terms of cuts made at the Valspar Championship.

Bargain Bin

Jason Dufner - $13,900

Dufner had a tough final round at the WGC-Mexico Championship as an eight-over 79 caused him to fall into a tie for 55th, but the 40-year-old still hasn’t missed a cut on Tour since last year’s U.S. Open. He’s also finished T28 or better at the Valspar Championship for NINE consecutive years, most recently placing T11 in 2017. He’ll look to consistently keep the ball in play off the tee at Innisbrook as he ranks ninth on Tour in average distance from the edge of the fairway on his drives.

Dominic Bozzelli - $12,600

Bozzelli heads to the Innisbrook Resort with some much-needed momentum on his side after posting results of T13-T26 at the Honda Classic and Genesis Open, which followed a stretch of five missed cuts in his previous six events. He also finished a career-best T3 in his debut at the Valspar Championship last year, carding three rounds of 68 or better in the process. It should also be noted that he ranks 26th on Tour in SG: Putting and third in one-putt percentage.

Corey Conners - $10,800

The 26-year-old Canadian is quietly turning in a solid effort as a rookie on Tour this season, making the cut in all but one of his 10 starts. His short game has been average at best, but Conners ranks 33rd in GIR percentage, 26th in proximity and 25th in SG: Off-the-Tee. He’s also top-50 in terms of par-three scoring.

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