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Power Rankings - FedEx St. Jude Classic

Wise men once noted that the winds on the seas of change are insurmountable. Try as one might to avoid it, the only constant is change. And e. Oh, and that these will inevitably contain a joke that only I find funny. I've been adrift on ocean of personal progress, knocking out milestones and finding new work, and yet, I couldn't wait to get back to writing with the fine folks here at We Talk Fantasy Sports. How quaint.

So here's the 10-4 on what's in store this week. I dramatically underestimated how long it would take to bring my stat sheet current, so you'll only be getting the Power Rankings this week. Shame, really, because I've got enough puns, awkward truisms, and weak one-liners saved up to clear out a comedy club during free beer night.

The FedEx St. Jude has seen its stock as a tournament rising as more players attempt to cram in one final stop before the U.S. Open. While there's no course in rotation quite like Chambers Bay, St. Jude's TPC Southwind still offers ample opportunity to sharpen swords on a Sunday afternoon. At 7,239 yards, Southwind isn't especially long or short for Tour pros but don't expect a shootout. Ben Crane's 10-under captured the win at last year's edition which places him about middle of the score pack of winning scores. As is typical of any TOUR stop this year, rain is in the forecast this weekend, with chances for thunderstorms on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

For those of you not familiar with my Power Rankings, I'll be listing the Top-15 with their Total Aggregate (TA), a number that combines recent performance with course history and some select other metrics, and the change (CHG) from the last tournament they participated in. Total Aggregate is out of 100, with a lower number indicating a better ranking. 

Power Rankings

1. Dustin Johnson - TA: 23, CHG: (-1.4) - As safe a choice as lifting a jet-ski. Johnson is a former winner here and hasn't missed the cut since dropping the ball at the hurricane that was The Honda Classic. He's been somewhat spotty in his last handful of starts if you're banking on Top-5s or wins from him. Reliable, and in a somewhat shallow field, he's a must start.
2. Chesson Hadley - TA: 23.125, CHG: (+10.2) - Didn't take long for me to jump off the deep end, did it? You should join me, the water's warm and there's cookies. Of course, they're wet, but what's a chlorinated Oreo between friends? Hadley should have been on everyone's radar, having posted four straight Top 25s including a Top 10 since missing the cut at the RBC Heritage. The sophomore has already made more cuts that he did for all of last year and appears to be finding some level of consistency.
3. Billy Horschel - TA: 28.5, CHG: (+17.8) - A notorious and self-identified streaker, Horschel prefers to get really hot for short periods of time. While there's definitely some serious phrasing issues in that sentence, there's also serious evidence that he's on a warming trend, having posted three straight Top 20s. Only Horschel knows if that's as good as he'll get on this peak, but given a T10 and T6 in his last two starts here, my vote is on converging trends.
4. George McNeill - TA: 30.125, CHG: (+6.2) - Started the year slowly, locking in precisely zero Top 25s in his first eight starts. Since then, he's grabbed six, including a Top 10 and two Top 15s. His record here isn't stellar, having gone 3-for-his-last-5 cuts, but it could be worse, which is like saying that mob boss isn't bad to bank with since he only occasionally kills you.
5. Paul Casey - TA: 31.67, CHG: (-1) - Well, the Brit has five top-10s this season, including second and third place finishes, but, in the most egregious case of sink or swim I've seen from a player this season, all of his other finishes are T30 or worse. He has just one attempt on record at TPC Southwind, a T24. In a weak field, sometimes a three-legged stallion is the best bet.
6. Jerry Kelly - TA: 31.25, CHG: (+14) - Jerry Kelly is extremely self-aware. He's fully aware he has the game to win but has been on record several times stating that he lacks the mental game to make it happen. Here's what you need to know right now though - the man has five straight finishes of 30th or better. If he's going to bungle his way into a win, its going to be during a stretch like this were he feels comfortable near the top of the leaderboard.
7. Phil Mickelson - TA: 32.5, CHG: (-7) - As volatile as ever. I shouldn't need to tell you (but I will) that he's more than earned the nickname "Phil the Thrill". Playing him is like flipping a coin but that coin is a landmine and tails triggers the whole darn thing. While he's found more consistency this year versus last, he's still far from the almost-Tiger days of yesteryear.
8. Robert Streb - TA: 36.57, CHG: (+5.2) - Fatherhood set him on a downward spiral but he appears to have righted the ship, to horribly mix a few metaphors. After picking up his first win and continuing successfully through a T10 at the Waste Management Open, Streb missed five of his next eight cuts with zero Top 40s. After a T30 at The Players, he's been terrific, logging a Top 5 and two Top 20s.
9. Webb Simpson - TA: 37, CHG: (+8.2) - For as rough as last year was by his standards, this year has been much better. Simpson has missed just one cut on the year and is coming off a second place finish at the Wells Fargo Championship. Factor in a T3 at last year's FedEx St. Jude, and there's a solid converging trend. All he needs is a win this year to validate that he can truly compete without the long putter.
10. Shawn Stefani - TA: 37.57, CHG: (-2.8) - I might have to come up with a rule to exclude him from the Power Rankings if he doesn't manage to win something at some point. Seriously, this guy is almost always hovering around on here when he's in the field and almost always posts a solid finish but he never crosses the threshold into the winner's circle. That said, he's almost always a solid value in DFS formats, so don't ignore him because he'll probably pick up that win when you do.
11. Jamie Donaldson - TA: 40.75, CHG: (+16.4) - In his first full season on the PGA Tour, Donaldson is faring much better than his Euro Tour counterparts typically do. His last 3 starts worldwide have netted him two Top 20s and a Top 10, and while he's yet to record a Top 5 or better this year with the PGA, there should be little doubt that its a matter of when, not if.
12. Ryan Palmer - TA: 41.75, CHG: (-0.8) - Palmer got a little shaky post-Master but recovered at with a T10 at the AT&T Byron Nelson after back-to-back missed cuts. I wouldn't quite call him a horse for the course, but with two Top 5s in his last three starts here, he's definitely comfortable. Maybe not La-Z-Boy comfortable, but at least quality office chair comfortable.
13. Retief Goosen - TA: 43.38, CHG: (+5.4) - The Goose is home to nest this week at TPC Southwind. He's got a decent comfort level here, finishing no worse than 32nd and as high as third in his last four starts at the St. Jude Classic. His recent results have been mixed, so look for great value in DFS formats. With a weaker field, his experience alone should carry him through the weekend.
14. Graeme McDowell - TA: 44.25, CHG: (+4.4) - Richard, what's happening?! Seriously, I might need David Spade to retire to the nerdery to crunch the numbers to make sense of McDowell's precipitous decline this season. He's got a solid course history here, so if he's going to shake off a fall from 15th to 43rd in the world rankings, this would be the place to do it. He's been making cuts since the Masters, but barely registering on the seismograph on the weekends.
15. Brooks Koepka - TA: 46, CHG: (-3.8) - Koepka's been inconsistent since dislocating a rib prior to the Masters, and that's really what places him down here. With a T19 in his only start at Southwind and a world-beating game, he certainly deserves to be higher, but until he demonstrates he's found consistent form since recovering, he'll be lingering on the backburner.

Thanks for reading!
Kyle Donovan
Fantasy Golf FedEx St. Jude Classic