2014 John Deere Classic Fantasy Sleeper Picks


With the British Open next week, this week’s PGA Tour event at The John Deere Classic is not the best field on paper. It’d be a bit of a stretch to say it’s a weak field. Most of the star power is in Europe playing the Scottish Open in Europe this week. While the field isn’t the strongest, these are the type of tournaments that golf fans and experienced fantasy golfer players can take advantage of.

This week I have some different strategies for my under-the-radar, sleeper picks. You have the “steady Eddie” golfers who should be consistent all week long, make the cut and continue to rack up points during the weekend, but probably won’t win the tournament. And then you have the “high risk-high reward” type golfers. The type of golfers who are just really talented, but haven’t been consistent or don’t have a history here at the John Deere Classic.

So, with that said, here are my 2014 John Deere Classic fantasy sleeper picks this week.

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Patrick Cantlay: We are leading off with Patrick Cantlay. Cantlay would fall into the high risk-high reward category. Cantlay doesn’t have a history here at the John Deere Classic, but Cantlay is a very talented, young golfer. Think someone like Jordan Spieth…and we know what Spieth has done so far in his young career and what he did last year at the John Deere Classic.

Obviously, the risk is Cantlay doesn’t have experience here at The John Deere Classic and he may miss the cut. In four events this year, Cantlay has made the cut twice and missed the cut twice. However, Cantlay is coming off a season best T-23 at the Greenbrier last week.

All in all, I’m expecting similar results from last week. The TPC Deere Run isn’t a tough course, the field is weak, and Cantlay has a lot of game. In a tournament like this I’m not too worried about past history with someone as talented as Cantlay and remember he is a very cheap pick and I think is a very valuable pick up. Especially, if you are going to take Spieth, Steve Stricker, and/or Zach Johnson on your team.

Davis Love III: Now, with Davis Love III, you pretty much know what you’re getting. A steady-as-he-goes pick up. Love has been in solid form all season long only missing the cut in four events this year and only missing one cut in his last eleven events.

Love III has been in solid form all season long and has been solid here at the John Deere as well. Love, last year, finished solo 71st, in 2011: T-12, 2010: T-65, and 2009: T-55.

Scott Brown: Scott Brown isn’t a very long golfer off the tee, but he is very accurate. The TPC Deere Run is more of a precision hitters golfer course. The recent winners (Spieth, Johnson, Stricker) aren’t long hitters and in Brown’s two tournaments here at the John Deere Classic, Brown has taken advantage.

Last year, Brown finished T-22, and in 2012 a solo 7th place finish. Also, take a look at some of Brown’s best finishes: T-3 Frys.com Open and T-4 at the McGladrey Classic. These were fields very similar to this week’s field. A T-5 at the RBC Heritage, which plays more toward the accurate golfer. Plus, let’s throw in a T-13 at The Memorial which, obviously, featured a very strong field.

Brown has talent, and is a fantastic ball striker. Given how he has played this year and his history at the John Deere Classic, Brown looks like a great pick up and a fantastic value pick.

Jerry Kelly: Since a missed cut in 2011, Kelly has played here at the John Deere Classic twice and has found success. Last year, Kelly finished T-4, and in 2012 a T-36. Not only that, but Kelly has found success in weaker fields. This year, at the CIMB Classic, Kelly finished T-19, at the Sony Open 3rd, Humana Challenge: T-13, and at the Puerto Rico Open: T-9. Plus, throw in a T-6 at the Texas Open which wasn’t a weak field, but shows that Kelly doesn’t need weak fields in order to succeed.

Kelly has made the cut in his last three tournaments and has had good finishes. A T-38 at the Crowne Plaza, and in his last tournament at the Travelers Championship featured a T-31 finish.

John Merrick: John Merrick has quietly put together a solid season. Merrick hasn’t competed for a win this season, but he has consistently made the cut. In 21 events, Merrick has only missed the cut in four tournaments.

Mar 21, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; John Merrick drives off the 16th tee during the second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Merrick’s five best finishes the year have been: T-19 (Phoenix Open), T-23 (Wells Fargo), T-26 (Travelers Championship), T-32 (Valspar Classic), and T-43 (Arnold Palmer Invitational). Now, these aren’t great finishes, but this is just pointing out that Merrick is a solid performer. He’s just been solid and consistent this year making the cut without having great finishes.

Since 2010, in three tournaments at the John Deere Classic, Merrick has made the cut all three times and Merrick finished T-54 in 2012, 2011: 59th, and 2010: T-39. Again, that just fits Merrick’s MO of being consistent. Nothing too spectacular, but just solid.

Daniel Summerhays: Daniel Summerhays was a big disappointment last week. And while he isn’t a lock for being on my team, he basically sticks with the theme this week. Summerhays is a boom or bust pick.

Last year, Summerhays finished T-4, but in the previous two years he missed the cut. That pretty much says it all right there.