Like any fantasy sport, golf has its own fantasy sleepers and value picks. Below, you will find eight golfers who fall under the category of “sleeper” or “value pick” for the 2018 season (in no particular order).
Current OWGR: 78th
PGA.com Fantasy Ranking: 53rd
Fall Series Stats: 1 of 2 cuts made, 2nd in SG: Off The Tee, 73.294 scoring average
PGA Tour Exempt Status: Through 2016-17
Big things were expected of Holmes in 2017, but he failed to live up to the hype. This year, he comes in at a good value pick. His value has fallen around 20 picks from a year ago. Coming off his worst season since 2013, Holmes did make 19 of 23 cuts with two top-10s, but he never had a finish within the top four and placed 95th in FedEx Cup points.
What owners will look for from Holmes in 2018 is his stretch from 2015-2016, when he posted these numbers:
Cuts: 20 of 25
Top 25s: 10
Top 10s: Seven
Notable Finishes: Two 2nd place finishes (Farmers Insurance Open and WGC-Cadillac), and a victory at the Shell Houston Open
FedEx and Money Finishes: 14th in FedEx Cup Points, and earned $4,037.430
Cuts: 17 of 22
Top 25s: 10
Top 10s: Six
Notable Finishes: 3rd place finish at the British Open
FedEx and Money Finishes: 30th in FedEx Cup Points, and earned $2,969,908
A 2018 similar to what he had in either 2015 or 2016 is definitely possible again, as this is a guy who can easily reach another $4 million based off of his talent alone. He will look to have a bounce-back 2018 after he posted a notable 14th in Driving Distance. He also has a knack for making cuts.
Current OWGR: 51st
PGA.com Fantasy Ranking: 60th
Fall Series Stats: 1 of 1 cuts made, 69.454 scoring average
PGA Tour Exempt Status: Through 2017-18
An injury-riddled 2017 has Snedeker as a great value pick in 2018. Easily a top-20 fantasy asset, Snedeker comes into 2018 as a must-own in salary leagues and will be an absolute steal in draft leagues.
Health has been an issue over the last few seasons for Snedeker, but since 2007 he has made at minimum 22 events. Injuries caused him to play in just 15 events in 2017, but in 2016 he posted figures of 21 of 27 cuts made, 14 top-25s, seven top-10s, two 3rd place finishes, a runner-up finish, and a win at the Farmers Insurance Open. Perhaps a limited number events last season will result in some healthier play for 2018.
Snedeker is a pure winner and will be a great addition to fantasy lineups if healthy for 2018. Not to mention the fact that he will slip in drafts. Since 2011, Snedeker has seven wins on the PGA Tour.
Some notable money finishes over the last six seasons:
The 37-year-old Snedeker may be getting up there in age, but he’s certainly not a terrible option in fantasy leagues this season.
Billy Hurley III
Current OWGR: 222nd
PGA.com Fantasy Ranking: 140th
Fall Series Stats: 1 of 5 cuts made, one top-25 finish, a 72.478 scoring average
PGA Tour Exempt Status: Through 2017-18
A 2016 win at the Quicken Loans National had a lot of people trying to get Hurley on their fantasy radars, but a 135th FedEx Cup points finish in 2017 will turn a lot of people away.
However, Hurley is a great guy to aim for near the end of your drafts simply because he needs to perform well this year to earn his TOUR card for next season.
It seems as though Hurley is either being cut from tournaments or finishing easily inside the top 25. As evident by his stats since 2014: 59 of 99 cuts made, with 17 top-25s, eight top-10s, and one victory. His best earnings finish is 55th in the 2016 season thanks to his win at the aforementioned Quicken Loans National, but he could easily reach that mark again in 2018 with his great putting and iron game. After all, five of his 10 cuts from last year came off a two-round finish of one-under, one-over, five-over, two-over, even, and two-under. He is definitely a guy you can throw in from time to time in salary leagues. Just be wary of his history at certain courses and events.
Current OWGR: 668th
PGA.com Fantasy Ranking: 218th
Fall Series Stats: T9 at the Hero World Challenge with a 70.00 scoring average
PGA Tour Exempt Status: Through 2017-18
Where in the world do you begin on Tiger Woods? He’s pain-free, swinging hard, and the masses believe “he’s back.”
Although he hasn’t eclipsed 18 events since 2012, Tiger is definitely worth whatever flyer you can get on him in 2018 drafts. He’s also a great option in salary leagues. That’s until he starts actually completing tournaments with regularity. Then he will become a more expensive option in salary leagues if he starts to perform like we all know he can, obviously.
Until then, however, if you’re in a deep enough league in terms of roster spots, throwing Tiger out there absolutely can’t hurt. For now, he should be good to go for the Farmers Insurance Open starting January 25.
In 2012 and 2013 combined, Tiger had a whopping seven victories. He is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of the sport, and we all know he has what it takes to compete. It’s just a matter of if and when he finally breaks through again.
Byeong Hun An
Current OWGR: 96th
PGA.com Fantasy Ranking: 63rd
Fall Series Stats: 2 of 4 cuts made, one top-25 finish at the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges, a 70.889 scoring average
PGA Tour Exempt Status: 102nd in 2016-17 FedEx Cup Points
Going by the English name of “Ben,” Byeong Hun An needs to show a little more commitment to the PGA Tour, but the events that he has played over here in North America have gone extremely well.
A former U.S. Amateur Champion and European Tour Rookie of the Year, the 26-year-old will once again get to showcase his stuff at the WGCs and the Major Championships. His events played numbers over the last three years have increased from just five, to 14, to 22, where he’s made 29 cuts in that span.
He has no wins yet on Tour, but you can feel it coming from the three top-10s he posted in 2017 to go along with an additional four top-25s. You can snag him from rounds 5-7 in your drafts, and he will be a great salary play at times if it’s ever publicized that he can possibly reach around 25 events.
Current OWGR: 83rd
PGA.com Fantasy Ranking: 71st
Notable Fall Series Stats: 2 of 2 cuts made, 70.927 scoring average, 8th in Driving Distance
PGA Tour Exempt Status: 2012 Masters Winner – Exempt through 2020-21
Watson had one of the most random down years in recent memory on the PGA TOUR. With his past success at majors and overall on TOUR, he was mentioned in the same breath of the PGA powerhouses like Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and Justin Thomas. However, he failed to live up to any of these top expectations with just 14 out of 22 cuts made, four top-10s, not a single victory, and a 94th finish in earnings. This was a down year after he posted these stats in the three seasons prior:
2016: 18 of 19 cuts made, one win, four top-10s, 18th in earnings
2015: 17 of 19 cuts made, two wins, 10 top-10s, 3rd in earnings
2014: 18 of 21 cuts made, two wins, eight top-10s, 2nd in earnings
You can assume that the one thing Bubba lacks is the passion and drive to compete with the aforementioned guys like Johnson, Spieth, or Thomas. He could easily be playing in 25 events per year, but for whatever reason, he doesn’t. He’s hovered around 20 events in the last three seasons.
Something that he doesn’t lack, of course, is the raw talent and skill he possesses. If there were ever a guy to grab later in drafts as he falls out of the spotlight of the big guys, Bubba is the golfer. He will be a great addition in salary leagues in the events he enters as a salary bargain, and he should drop significantly in draft leagues after he was a late 2nd-rounder last season. He is still made for the spotlight.
Current OWGR: 71st
PGA.com Fantasy Ranking: 85th
Notable Fall Series Stats: 4 of 4 cuts made, one top-10, 8th in both SG: Off the Tee and Putting
PGA TOUR Exempt Status: Through 2017-18
Nearly everyone was all over Grillo coming into 2017, and he flopped big time. Grillo was ranked in the top 25 on PGA.com’s fantasy rankings last year after he had a great first full season in 2016 which saw him post 22 of 25 cuts made, one win, three top-10s, and a 22nd finish in earnings. However, he would go on to record just two top-10s and a 73rd finish in earnings in 2017. His 20 for 25 cuts made is solid, but you would like a consensus top-25 pick to get in the top-10 a lot more, which in turn would increase that earnings ranking back into the top 25.
Whether he set the bar too high for himself, or it’s your classic sophomore slump situation in terms of regression, it ultimately felt like Grillo underachieved in 2017. With just two full seasons played, it’s not easy to determine what sort of value Grillo comes into this season with, but we do know that he will be a great value pick for salary leagues and will slip a bit in drafts. Not to mention the fact that Grillo will need to perform if he wants to stay on TOUR next season.
The 25-year-old Argentinian kept up with the likes of Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger, Xander Schauffele and Ollie Schneiderjans during their amateur golf days, most notably in 2011, so we know he has what it takes to compete with some of the TOUR’s best youngest players.
Current OWGR: 73rd
PGA.com Fantasy Ranking: 43rd
Fall Series Stats: N/A
PGA Tour Exempt Status: Through 2018-19
In what little time Kaymer spends on the PGA TOUR, the 32-year-old German keeps on producing. Over the last two seasons, Kaymer has made 19 of 20 cuts (10 events in both 2016 and 2017), but his career high in appearances still sits in 2014 when he played in 19 events. In these 20 events, Kaymer has seven top-25s and two top-10s. Kaymer also currently has 17 consecutive PGA cuts made under his belt (ranked 2nd in 2017).
His 2014 campaign was easily his best season on TOUR, winning THE PLAYERS Championship and the U.S. Open. Although he hasn’t won since, he remains a good fantasy asset in terms of production, even if he isn’t fully committed to North American events.
Kaymer will once again be a salary bargain this season simply because his events played totals remain low. He should be one of the first “part-time” players off the board, as you will definitely want to roll him out whenever he makes an appearance.