Fantasy Golf Insider: 9 players to target at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

The second-to-last tune-up for The Players Championship takes place at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana. Rickie Fowler and Smylie Kaufman return from the best trip ever for their first tournament since the Masters, while Jason Day and defending champion Justin Rose are also part of a more top-heavy, but generally weaker field.

Here’s a look at the past three leaderboards (*denotes a playoff):

2013 2014 2015
1 Billy Horschel Seung-yul Noh Justin Rose
2 D.A. Points Robert Streb* Cameron Tringale
3 Kyle Stanley Andrew Svoboda* Boo Weekley

Per FantasyInsiders, the key stats for TPC Louisiana are Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SGT2G), Park 5 Scoring Average (P5S), Proximity to Hole from 200-plus Yards (P200). These stats have been strengths of previous winners and need to be used in combination with recent form and course history when building lineups.

Top Tier, Top Dollar, Top Results

Smylie Kaufman

While his first career Masters Sunday didn’t go well, Kaufman will make his first appearance since in a more comfortable situation. Other than the Masters collapse, he had made 13 of 15 cuts and already won on tour in his rookie season. He ranks 24th in SGT2G, 11th in P5S and 22nd in P200.

He played college golf at the nearby Louisiana State University and was part of the final pairing on Sunday at the Masters. He has his highest salary of the season, likely keeping ownership in check as one of the top – but least experienced – options in the field.

Daniel Berger

Berger is rounding into form, after a slow start to his sophomore season following a PGA Tour Rookie of the Year winning performance in 2015. He came 10th at the Masters, after finishing fifth at the Shell Houston Open and 11th at the Valspar Championship. He has four top 20s and two top 10s in his 10 made cuts.

His statistic strengths are ranking 40th in SGT2G and 20th in P200. He came sixth at this event in 2015, posting a final score of 18 under. This is a strange price range for him to be in, but it may be the final opportunity to get in on him before a breakout win raises his salary.

Justin Rose

The defending champion has played extremely well at this event and on this course for his career. Prior last year’s victory, he finished eighth, 15th and 10th in his three previous tries. He finished 10th at the Masters and ninth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He has seven top 20s and four top 10s in his seven made cuts this season, making him the top choice in all cash games.

Best Value With a Chance

Gary Woodland

Woodland has made the cut in nine of 10 events this season, but he has just two top 20s and none since the Farmers Insurance Open. He’s played here just twice before, with the top finish coming as a 64th in 2013.

It’s surprising that he hasn’t participated in this event more often and that he hasn’t had more success here. He ranks fifth on tour in P5S and 21st in SGT2G. He ranks just 82nd in P200, but the course sets up for length off the tee and his approach. He’s a risk at a higher than normal salary but like those above him it should help temper ownership.

Ricky Barnes

Barnes’ priced has soared into the upper portion of the middle tier on the heels of consecutive top-10 finishes. The lofty price makes him a huge risk, but there’s no avoiding the strength of his recent form. The statistics don’t suit him well, as he’s a shorter hitter, but he hasn’t stood out in recent weeks from a look at the stats.

He has played here five times, placing in 2013 and 2014. Charley Hoffman won last week as the exclamation point on a miraculous run, and Barnes looks to take over at the top of the leaderboard in Louisiana.

Luke List

List is a darling of the key stats, ranking 43rd in P200 and 27th in SGT2G and P5S. He came 31st in his lone appearance here in 2013. He has made the cut in four consecutive events, with only one round over 73 in that time. He’s the cheapest of these mid-tier options, and will likely see the lowest ownership.

If Everything Goes Right

Michael Thompson

Like Kaufman, Thompson has collegiate ties to Louisiana. He began at Tulane University, before transferring to the University of Alabama. He won the 2013 Honda Classic for his first and only tour victory. He has made nine of 12 cuts but missed the weekend at last week’s Valero Texas Open. He ranks 27th ‚Äčin P5S, his best ranking in the three key stats.

Ben Crane

Crane is the cheapest and riskiest of this week’s picks. He has little chance of winning, but he’s made two consecutive cuts and six of his past eight. It’s likely all he needs to do in order to return value with a low ownership. There’s no surprise his best finishes have come in these weaker-field events, and this is the weakest of the season, according to the world rankings of the field.

Spencer Levin

Levin doesn’t rank inside the top 50 on tour in any of the key stats this week, but he ranks inside the top 100 in each of them. He has a very well-rounded game, and he’s coming off his second-best finish of the 2016 calendar year. He has played in 17 events this season, and is aiming to make three consecutive cuts for the third time.

Top Fades

Cameron Tringale

Tringale is overpriced, based solely on last year’s second-place finish. He has made three consecutive cuts, but his finishes have gotten worse each week, concluding with last week’s 60th. He missed four of five cuts before that and has just two top 20s and one top 10 on the year.

Andrew Loupe

Loupe will be a common low-cost flier as he’s a LSU graduate and is known as a long hitter. There’s just too little to be seen in his recent form, as he has missed three of four cuts with only a 46th at the Shell Houston Open. He has had just two rounds in the 60s, and ranks 110th in SGT2G.

Marc Leishman

Leishman is among the highest priced golfers of the week, without the pedigree of his closest peers. He has made eight of 11 cuts, but he hasn’t had a top-10 finish since the Northern Trust Open. He does rank 19th in SGT2G, but he ranks just 105th in P200. He came 28th in this event last year, but he’ll need to top that performance in order to return value at his inflated price.

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