After a week off from competition, the final 70 remaining players in FedExCup points head to Chicago and Conway Farms for the BMW Championship — the penultimate round of the FedExCup Playoffs and the final chance to qualify for the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
Most of the games biggest and brightest spent last week recharging their batteries, vacationing and otherwise preparing for the final two legs of the playoffs — but now it’s time to get back to business.
The BMW Championship requires the best a player has to offer — with just 30 players moving on from here to East Lake, for many, a top-10 won’t get the job done. Many below that magic number are looking at “win and you’re in” scenarios as their only hope of vying for the $10,000,000 top prize next week.
With that in mind, there are still plenty of options when it comes to filling out your fantasy roster. Here’s a look at those with their eye on their prize — and those who will be gazing up the leader board on Sunday:
Justin Thomas — No player comes into Conway Farms playing better golf than Justin Thomas. Fresh off his fifth win of the season at the Dell Technologies Championship, Thomas is rolling — and if we’ve learned anything from former FedExCup Champions, momentum is arguably the single most important factor in deciding who eventually hoists the trophy in Atlanta. While Thomas isn’t the only one coming in hot, he’s still the most recent winner and (probably) the PGA Tour Player of the Year — so I’m not ready to write him off until someone can take him down.
Jordan Spieth — After collecting back-to-back runner-up finishes to begin the FedExCup Playoffs, you’ve got to figure he’s going to pick up a victory during the post season sooner rather than later. A win this week wouldn’t preclude him from getting the job done in Atlanta, either. In 2014, Billy Horschel won the BMW and chased it with a win at East Lake and his name on the $10 million check. If he can do it, there’s no doubt Spieth can be the next to turn the trick.
Paul Casey — Once you get past the obvious favorites, the waters might seem a little murky — but believe me, there are plenty of great fantasy options. Perhaps there are none better than Paul Casey. He may not put up the flashy numbers or make the highlight reels, but there isn’t anyone more consistent than Casey. Eventually, this guy is going to win — and it may very well be this week. Don’t sleep on the king of all sleepers this week.
Patrick Cantlay — I’ve done it before on a whim, but this week I’m picking Patrick Cantlay on merrit. Cantlay was the biggest surprise of the early season, playing on medical exemptions and earning his way into the FedExCup Playoffs. In the playoffs, he’s been excellent — collecting at T-10 at the Northern Trust and a T-13 finish last time out at the Dell Technologies Championship. A win will happen sooner rather than later, so make sure you’re on the right side of history.
Louis Oosthuizen — Much of the 2017 season has been a struggle for Louis Oosthuizen, but the South African has turned things around in the last month or so of the season and has methodically progressed up the FedExCup point standings and into serious sleeper contention. While last week’s finish at the Dell Technologies Championship was somewhat disappointing, it was still good enough to get him into the top-30 in points. A good week will get him to Atlanta, but he probably needs a win if wants to control his own destiny at the Tour Championship.
Rory McIlroy — Once again, I hate to put him here, but I have no choice. Rory McIlroy won’t win this week in Chicago and probably won’t make it to East Lake in two weeks. It’s easily the poorest form he’s shown since early in 2014 when the golf world seemed to think he was finished. I wouldn’t go that far. McIlroy still has plenty in the tank and will win much, much more in the future, but as I’ve already stated, the FedExCup Playoffs are all about what you’ve done for me lately — and lately, McIlroy has done nothing.
Jason Day — Speaking of doing nothing lately, you can include Jason Day in that conversation — and on your bench. The former World No. 1 has had a tough 2017 season both on and off the course, so it’s no surprise he’s found himself hoping on and off the struggle bus since late March. He hasn’t won yet this season and I don’t see that changing this week, despite a great track record in this event. The 2015 winner will have to settle for something less this week.
Phil Mickelson — Lefty had a great week in Boston, but it’s not going to be enough to sway me in my decision to keep him on the pine until further notice. Sure, he collected a top-5 finish and was named to the Presidents Cup team, but he’s still in the midst of the worst season of his career. Just because he had a good week doesn’t mean he’s “back.”