A look at value plays, deep sleepers, and optimal lineups as the fantasy season begins
February 22, 2017 by Alex Colucci and Steve Hill in Fantasy with 0 comments
Come join our fantasy disc golf league at Skipace.com and play against Ricky Wysocki and Paul Ulibarri! Need to sign up? Click here for more details.
Welcome to our first Fantasy Focus article of the 2017 season. We’ll use this space to highlight some strategies for building your fantasy lineups each week, as well as to point out some value plays and optimal rosters that we like best.
A quick note on scoring: Each player in the Open division is awarded one point for every person they beat, so the player who finishes in first can earn 188 points. For Open Women, points are multipled by four, so you can’t just punt on the lower registration numbers and stack your men’s roster.
Pro tip: Double check the PDGA registration list for the Gentlemen’s Club Challenge to make sure the players you picked are signed up for the event. As of now, Skipace has a full list of the top pros, but they aren’t filtered by event. It’d be a shame to have K.J. Nybo in your lineup, for example, when he isn’t showing up to the States until the Memorial Championship. You’ve got until midnight to set your lineup, so get on it.
For our purposes, we’ll be working with a 6,000 ratings point salary cap, so all of our advice will be built off of that system unless otherwise noted. We will give a couple lineups we like for the standard 6,025 point leagues over at Skipace, too.
Gentlemen’s Club Challenge Outlook
This week, we don’t need to tell you to play Ricky Wysocki or Paul McBeth. At this point, their ratings are two points apart, and you’re going to have a stud in your lineup no matter which one you choose. Similarly, we know there are going to be some popular plays in the 1020-range – Eagle McMahon, Jeremy Koling, and Nikko Locastro, for example – who will build the backbone of many lineups.
With that in mind, our goal here is to highlight some players who fall into a similarly-priced range, but can perhaps provide a little more value and differentiation in your lineup. Because, let’s face it: If everyone picks McBeth and McMahon, and they both finish well, you’ve essentially canceled out everyone else with those picks. It’s going to be the rest of your lineup that will make the difference, and we’re here to help.
Lineup Building Strategies
There are a few ways we’ve been playing with to construct an optimal lineup for the Gentlemen’s Club Challenge. All of these offer strong plays, with some being a bit more unconventional than others.
1) Ladies First
With Open Women only comprising two slots, it’s often been easier to start by filling their roster spots, then working up toward the men.
Similar to the Open division, you’ve got an elite top pair – Catrina Allen (966) and Paige Pierce (958) – and then a handful of other strong contenders. Picking one of the top two, and then pairing with one of the following players, should yield strong value:
Eveliina Salonen (929) – The Finnish national champion is making her U.S. debut at the GCC. And while that might cause for some nerves, her potential is tremendous: In 26 tournament rounds in 2016, she shot above her rating in 16 of them – almost 62 percent – with a high round of 996 at the Tali Open.
Madison Walker (918) – Walker is a good bet to play above her rating. She came on strong in 2016, showing she can compete in larger events, and she’s started out 2017 by playing well above her rating in each event she’s participated in, including the season-opening Major in Australia.
2) Start Your Stud, Avoid The Chalk
As we talked about above, you’re going to have either McBeth or Wysocki in your lineup. From there, you’ll want to take a balanced approach that also takes into account the fact that everyone – more than likely – will have McMahon in their second spot.
If you want to gain maximum points, though, you’ll need to eschew the chalk pick – McMahon — in favor of a couple players in a similar price range – that 1029-1019 sweet spot – who may not be as highly-started. For example:
Matt Orum (1027) – The sneakiest 1027 player around? We may not see him in the headlines as much, but Orum has gobs of experience in big events – he had four top 10 finishes in NTs and Majors last year – and excels on golf-style layouts (see: sixth place at the Glass Blown Open, ninth place at Pro Worlds). Finally, he is one of a handful of players who has tackled these GCC courses already, coming in third at last year’s event. He’s a must-start.
JohnE McCray (1020) – He’s Masters eligible, but McCray is playing Open at the GCC, and at 1020 is a great pick. He starts seasons strong – his 2015 and 2016 PDGA finishes from January and February are only top 5 performances – and he, like Orum, can deftly navigate a golf layout.
3) Dynamic Duos
Just have to have Wysocki and McBeth in your lineup? It’s actually not as treacherous as you think. In fact, it makes a pretty tasty composition – if you’re willing to take on some risk in the women’s division:
McBeth/Wysocki Stack Player Rating
Paul McBeth 1051
Ricky Wysocki 1049
Nikko Locastro 1029
Eagle McMahon 1024
Eveliina Salonen 929
Madison Walker 918
Additionally, you can stack Allen and Pierce together in the women’s division. You’re almost guaranteed to have the top two players there, and you can still compile a strong men’s roster. For example:
Allen/Pierce Stack Player Rating
Ricky Wysocki 1049
Eagle McMahon 1024
Austin Turner 1009
A.J. Risley 989
Catrina Allen 966
Paige Pierce 958
Who is our staff putting in their lineups?
Steve's Picks Alex's Picks Player Rating Player Rating Paul McBeth 1051 Ricky Wysocki 1049 Matt Orum 1027 Matt Orum 1027 Eagle McMahon 1024 Eagle McMahon 1024 Austin Turner 1009 Jeremy Koling 1023 Paige Pierce 958 Paige Pierce 958 Eveliina Salonen 929 Madison Walker 918 Total 5,998 Total 5,999
Looks like we were both big on the Orum/Eagle pairing, with another push on Pierce. As per usual, it’ll come down to McBeth versus Wysocki.
Steve's Picks Alex's Picks Player Rating Player Rating Paul McBeth 1051 Paul McBeth 1051 Matt Orum 1027 Ricky Wysocki 1049 Eagle McMahon 1024 Eagle McMahon 1024 Jeremy Koling 1023 Austin Turner 1009 Catrina Allen 966 Paige Pierce 958 Eveliina Salonen 929 Eveliina Salonen 929 Total 6,020 Total 6,020
A trifecta of McBeth, Wysocki, and McMahon shouldn’t be legal. We’ll take it while it is, though.
Players with plenty of game-breaking potential at a lower cost
Austin Turner (1009) – The North Carolina pro jumps out right away as someone to consider here. He’s young, has a lot of potential, and is jumping into touring full time now. Plus, he even likes playing on ball golf courses.
Alex Russell (1007) — The talented, but young pro from the Pacific Northwest got some experience traveling to NTs last year and might be ready to turn that into higher finishes in 2017.
Zackeriath Johnson (999) – Johnson put himself on the map last season when he ended up tied for third at the 2016 GCC. The only thing that kept him from closing on Philo Brathwaite last year was some touchy putting, and he has good potential to throw at least three out of the four rounds above his rating.
Melodie Bailey (918) – Bailey has plenty of experience and many years of quality NT finishes on her record. She finished second in last year’s GCC, albeit in a much more shallow women’s field.
Feeling bold? Stack the high end of your roster and take a risk with these players
A.J. Risley (989) – The Southern California product is hitting the road full time this season and is coming off a solid finish at last weekend’s Wintertime Open. He’s on the ascent and is a strong play to outperform is rating.
Eric Oakley (984) – Another bargain at 984, Oakley has big event experience aplenty and won an A-Tier in 2016.
Nate Wegryn (983) – Another veteran of golf layouts and big stages, Wegryn made the lead card for the final round of 2016’s Glass Blown Open.
Jessica Hill (895) – Traveling in from Florida, Hill finished ninth in her first NT last year, the Glass Blown Open, against a similar sized field. She just notched a victory at last weekend’s Smithsonian Open.
Rebecca Cox (874) – Cox is back to compete in her first NT after playing locally in Cincinnati last year. She took 2014 and 2015 off completely from PDGA sanctioned play, but in 2013 she was rated in the low 900s with a high of 908. Plus, she was mentioned by Wysocki as a player to watch for this season, and she aced during a practice round at the Innova course the other day. Be bold and plug her into your lineup, and pretty much go huge for the rest of your roster.
Shy Away From
A couple players to keep out of your lineups this week
Simon Lizotte (1028) – Coming off an ACL injury, competing for the first time in almost a year, we think it’s safe to take a fantasy pass for this first go around. Who knows — he might tear it up — but there are other solid players around a 1028 rating to choose from who aren’t coming off a serious knee injury (Locastro, 1029; Leiviska, 1027; Orum, 1027).
Zach Melton (1010) – Who doesn’t like that fantastic beard, and those dabs? But he’s still learning new discs after changing up sponsors during the offseason, and to top it off he hasn’t exactly been lighting it up to start 2017. Keep it cool on Melton for the time being, and maybe choose Austin Turner for one less ratings point. For the record, we’d be happy to see Melton prove us wrong.
Sarah Hokom (952) – Generally a lock for a top 4 placement in the women’s division, this is one event that doesn’t play to Hokom’s strengths. Here game is more about angles and navigating the woods, and there aren’t a lot of woods here to be navigated. Jennifer Allen (924) is a stronger play here, with one caveat: Hokom has been training in Vegas recently.
Yes, it’s tempting to have all of the studs in there, but you’ve got to take some risk to differentiate your lineup. In a deep field, it’s easy to snag a lesser known player, since that player will likely be used by fewer people, thus resulting in a greater payoff if they play well.
Good luck, and pick well!