Valspar Championship - Power Rankings

March 8, 2016

Here is where one of the best seasons in recent history was established. It was at the 2015 Valspar Championship that Jordan Spieth captured a title which served as a catalyst for a run that saw him win five events, two of which were majors, as well as taking home the FedEx Cup.

 

Spieth seeks to defend his title this week, and is doing so on one of the more challenging tracks on Tour - the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook.

 

Innisbrook describes itself as: A favorite among PGA TOUR professionals, our Copperhead Course is the most recognizable of Innisbrook’s four Tampa, Florida courses. After all, it plays host to the world’s greatest golfers during the PGA TOUR’s annual visit to the resort for the Valspar Championship Presented by BB&T. Tree-lined fairways and rolling terrain define the course – a lengthy challenge for even the longest hitters at more than 7,200 yards. Striking in beauty and challenge, the surrounding lakes and ponds are home to abundant wildlife, including fox squirrels, bald eagles, alligators, blue herons, and many other types of water fowl. With the fairways and greens mostly free of residences, Copperhead provides the opportunity to enjoy golf the way nature intended.

 

Jordan Spieth - Last year’s champion. This course has been good to him over the years, as he had a T7 finish as a teenager in 2013. The event served as his own “hello world” event.

 

Henrik Stenson - His terrific short game will serve him very well on this very difficult track.

 

Patrick Reed - Finished as a runner-up last season, losing to Spieth in a playoff.

 

Branden Grace - I’ve picked Branden the last couple weeks, and he’s struggled, but I’m sticking with him. He is an incredible talent, who has proven in Europe that he can win, and proven in last year’s majors (US Open & PGA Championship) that he can do the same in America.

 

Charl Schwartzel - Having a decent year, having already won in South Africa. The former Masters Champ is looking to get his game in form for another run at Augusta.

 

Justin Thomas - Had cooled off slightly over the last couple of months, but a T3 finish at the Honda Classic two weeks ago showed he’s returning to form.

 

Danny Willett - Last week was a good one for him at Doral. Continues to establish himself as a premier player in the game.

 

K.J. Choi - I’m on the bandwagon! K.J’s been playing great, and it’s been fun to watch. Doesn’t hit it a mile, but has been playing smart and keeping it in play - which will serve him very well on the difficult Copperhead course.

 

Russell Knox - Played some solid golf at Doral last week. While he may not be playing to the level he was back in November where he had a World Golf Championship win, he is still a fantasy pick that can pay big dividends.

 

Danny Lee - A great, young talent, who is looking to develop greater consistency in his game. After his 4th place finish in Phoenix a month ago, did not have any big finishes, but did show signs of improvement last week at Doral.

 

Sleeper Picks

 

Sung Kang - Proved during the California swing that his game is legit. A player to keep an eye on in the coming weeks to see if he can perform consistently.

 

Cameron Smith - Showed in last year’s US Open at Chambers Bay that he can perform well on difficult courses. He owes much of this to solid play on the greens.

 

And now for my DraftKings Picks for the week.

 

I’m going with the same strategy I had last week, for it served me pretty well, and I was able to cash in. I’m taking as many players as I can who are currently riding hot streaks, and then I’m trying to pick players who seem “due”. There is always risk no matter who you choose, but my way of minimizing the risk is taking the players currently playing well. In Team A, I’m taking a little more risk than I would like by drafting both Leonard and Molder, but I really wanted to take Spieth, Moore & Choi. Cameron Smith seems like good value at $6,900. Team B doesn’t pose as much risk, as Lovemark, Wilcox and Taylor have all shown promise this season, while Chris Kirk has established himself as a player who can be a threat on any given week.

 

Starting Lineup:

Jordan Spieth - $12,800

Ryan Moore - $9,300

K.J. Choi - $8,800

Cameron Smith - $6,900

Justin Leonard - $6,100

Bryce Molder - $6,100

 

Alternate Lineup:

Henrik Stenson - $11,500

Danny Willett - $10,800

Jamie Lovemark - $7,100

Will Wilcox - $6,800

Nick Taylor - $6,700

Chris Kirk - $6,500

 

This article was written by Jonathan Carr (@jonathanwcarr) as part of our weekly #FantasyGolf series. Each week we preview the upcoming PGA Tour event and highlight some of the players we'll be keeping an eye on. As a scratch golfer himself, Jonathan has a keen eye for what it takes to be successful on and off the golf course. His passion for golf is surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family.

 

Read some of Jonathan's other articles here.

 

 

 

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