Have a (Poke) Ball at The Open

Pokémon Go has hit the ground running with momentum unparalleled by any app since Candy Crush. Watching people walk around aimlessly staring at their phones has become as American as apple pie, but this game is taking phone distractions to new heights. If you happen to be not looking down at your phone, it’s your responsibility to deter others around you from walking into trees and prevent them from walking into oncoming traffic while searching for the nearby “Squirtle.”

Considering you have successfully opened this article, you’ve either taken a break from playing, are multi-tasking while playing, or are one of the fortunate ones who have yet to become addicted. Since we like to keep up with the times here at FantasyDraft, I thought I’d speak to the Poke-crowd, while dropping some golf picks for the upcoming Open Championship.

Here is how to apply concepts from the nation’s most popular mobile game to this week’s upcoming golf tournament:

Jim Furyk is like downloading the app because…

…he’s frustrating to deal with but struggling through it will result in a good time in the end. While Furyk has only made 5 of 8 cuts this year, he’s one of the best in terms of the Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green statistic. To sum up the stat in layman’s terms, it takes into account a player’s score compared to the field’s average at making it from the tee onto the green. For instance, if a player shoots 68 and the field average is 70, his Total is +2.0. That number, in turn, will equal the combination of Strokes Gained: Putting and Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. So if the player is +1.2 in Strokes Gained: Putting, his Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green number is +0.8 (source: pgatour.com). For this tour, the statistic will certainly factor into the final outcome, and Furyk is priced at a reasonable $14,900. Assuming you are committed to winning and can overcome the initial disgust (of rostering him), the end result will be positive you should be having fun in no time.

Rory McIlroy is Charmander because…

…he’s a recognizable name and one of the first players you encounter when playing the game/setting a lineup. Like Charmander, McIlroy’s game can evolve, and this is the week he should fare more like Charizard than his less desirable form. If you need a translator after the last sentence, this course translates nicely to McIlroy’s game, so we should see the best he has to offer this week. Even novices (including myself) are familiar with the name and those unfamiliar with Pokémon can likely recognize a Charmander. Not only has Rory produced one of the best Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green tallies but he ranks second in the “birdie or better” category and in the top 15 of par four scoring (both statistics via RotoCurve). Just because he is one of the original, identifiable names of daily fantasy golf does not mean he is worth overlooking. Choose him early in your quest and move on.

Matt Kuchar is Mew because…

…he is the cream of the crop. Mew was the last Pokémon users were required to find in the original Game Boy game, and while I cannot confirm it is true for the iPhone app, I believe it to be true. Therefore, he is the pick of the litter among the Pokémon community, and Kuchar is the same amongst golfers in the field this week. 24 players cost more than Kuchar this week but none possess better value. Literally, he ranks in the top 35 of all important categories for the upcoming tournament, including the top 17 in four of the top six categories (Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, Strokes Gained: Putting, birdie or better and par four scoring) RotoCurve has outlined as crucial for this week. If you could choose just one Pokémon to catch with your Poké ball, it would no doubt be Mew. If you could choose just one golfer to roster this week at his respective price, it would be Kuchar.

Daniel Berger and Brooks Koepka are when your phone dies…

…because rostering them is game over. Both have withdrawn from the tournament already.

William McGirt is Pikachu because…

…even though he is easy to find/roster, the upside is immense. No Pokémon game would be complete without an inevitable encounter with a Pikachu, yet no one complains about it. The same should be true with rostering McGirt this week because he can be easily inserted into any lineup at his cap-friendly price tag ($11,900). Just because he’s easy to fit/find doesn’t mean he should be overlooked because McGirt hits fairways at a respectable rate, rates favorable in par four scoring and ranks in the top 40 of both Strokes Gained categories at a bottom of the barrel price tag. According to the RotoCurve Twitter account, he’s been “Mr. Consistent” all season. Locking him into your lineup opens up space to roster multiple studs and that feels like the correct strategy especially for cash games.

Joost Luiten is Snorlax because…

…people are literally sleeping on him while he should be a hot commodity. Luiten has played mainly on the Euro Tour so he may fly under the radar but he has 11 top 20 finishes in 15 events this year. According to owgr.com, Luiten ranks as the number 65 golfer in the world, but the world is snoozing on him (as he’ll inevitably go under-owned). Just because the public is fast asleep (like a Snorlax) doesn’t mean you shouldn’t catch him (aka draft him).

J.B. Holmes is the equivalent of accidentally walking onto a busy freeway while playing because…

…rostering him will result in your fantasy team’s demise. Holmes  is one of the easiest fades of the week because of his terrible marks in the GIR and fairways hit categories. Both are necessary skills for succeeding at Royal Troon this week and Holmes just doesn’t have what it takes. Do not take the head first plunge into Holmes this week because the results will be devastating.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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