The Cheat Sheet provides fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.

Intro

The last round of the US Open had equal parts drama and controversy but ended the way it probably should have with one of the best players on tour picking up a well deserved first major. Whether you like Dustin Johnson or not, he’s now won on tour 10 times over the past eight years and has proven himself to be perhaps the prolific driver of the ball in today’s game. Johnson isn’t in the field this week, but the good news is the course this week is very U.S. Open-esque, so if last week didn’t go your way this is a good time for some DFS redemption.


The Field

The Quicken Loans is one of only a few regular Tour stops which has Invitational status, meaning the rewards for winning are a little bigger and the field itself is a little smaller. Only about 120-125 golfers will be teeing it up this week, but the cut rules will still revert back to top 70 and ties. That makes things a little easier for us for DFS purposes, especially in terms of our chances of getting our full team through to the weekend. Many of the top players are taking the week off after the second major, but Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed and Jim Furyk (who finished T2 last week) are all in the field and will be hot for some redemption — especially Fowler and Reed. The field itself doesn’t have a ton of elite players, but it’s fairly deep, so taking advantage of cheaper salaries on quality golfers like Chris Kirk, Jamie Lovemark and Francesco Molinari could be key for strategy purposes.


The Course:

Congressional CC (Blue Course)—Bethesda, Maryland
Par 71, 7,500-7,600 yards

The first thing to note about Congressional Country Club is that it hasn’t always been the host of this event. It’s rotated with other courses but did host from 2012-2014 and 2007-2009. It also hosted the U.S. Open back in 2011, so looking at those results won’t hurt this week either. The second thing to note about Congressional is that it underwent significant changes before the 2011 U.S. Open which lengthened the course quite a bit, so it now plays quite long for a par 71 (nearly 7,600 yards). As a result, the most useful stats to look at will come from the three tournaments between 2012 and 2014 and the 2011 US Open this week.

As it stands today, Congressional is really all about length. Of the 13 par 4’s on the course, seven of them will play over 450 yards in length and the finishing 18th, which comes in at 523 yards, will play as one of the toughest and longest par 4’s the players face all year. While there are three par 5’s on the course, one plays monstrously long at over 620, and the other two aren’t exactly “gimme” birdie holes either as they measure in at well over 550 yards each as well. Length therefore will be important this week, but players who miss the fairway will be punished as strategically placed bunkers, heavy rough and trees will all punish inaccuracy. Overall this course is very likely to play quite similarly to what the players saw last week, so strong play off the tee and the ability to get up and down (a lot) will be key.

Expect players who can drive the ball with the similar accuracy and power of Dustin Johnson last week to land the best finishes.


Last 5 winners

** 2015 and 2011 were not played at Congressional
** The 2011 US Open was played at the same course as this week

2015 – Troy Merritt – 18 (over Rickie Fowler -15)
2014 – Justin Rose -4 (over Shawn Stefani in playoff)
2013 – Bill Haas -12 (over Roberto Castro -9)
2012 – Tiger Woods -8 (over Bo Van Pelt -6)
2011 – Nick Watney -13 (over K.J. Choi -11)


Winning Trends

  • The last three winners of this event, when played at Congressional, were ranked 33rd or better in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and 12th or better in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green.
  • The last three winners of this event, when played at Congressional, had a finish of 23rd or better on this course in a prior year.


Statistics:

Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
Par 4 Scoring
Out of Rough — Proximity
Greens in Regulation

As mentioned above in the winning trends section, good play off the tee is pretty essential on a course like Congressional. Players need to get off the tee well and avoid the major trouble spots, which are lurking every where on a course like Congressional. As a result, players ranked highly in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee seems like a good place to start your lineups. Additionally, Congressional has some of the toughest par 4’s on Tour and some of the longest as well. Good par 4 scorers are generally going to be better at handling these tougher types of holes, so I like putting emphasis on this stat (Par 4 Scoring) this week as well.

Much like last week one of the best ways to maintain a decent score and avoid bogies will be to simply hit a ton of greens in regulation. One way golfers will be able to do that of course will be to hit it well out of the rough. Looking at Greens in Regulation, a stat Dustin Johnson led the field in last week, and Out of the Rough-Proximity is a way to possibly identify golfers who are well suited for a decent week on this U.S. Open style course. I’d consider both these stats this week when creating any statistical model or looking for specific types of players to use on this course.


Finding Values

Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful of putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their odds of winning this week.

PlayerOddsDK PriceComparables
Chris Kirk  55-1  $7,800Robert Garrigus $8,000 and 66-1
Seung-Yul Noh $8,400 and 66-1
D. Summerhayes $8,100 and 55-1
Lucas Glover  100-1  $6,500Tom Hoge $6,500 and 125-1
Chris Stroud $6,600 and 125-1
Patton Kizzire $6,700 and 100-1

HORSES FOR COURSES

** 2015 and 2011 were not played at Congressional
** The 2011 US Open was played at the same course as this week

  • Robert Garrigus has been playing well of late, and his strong off the tee game has really helped him over the years at the long Congressional. He’s made 4 of 4 cuts at Congressional, including finishing T3 at the 2011 U.S. Open on this same course, a true horse for this week.
  • Seung-Yul Noh also has been in decent form of late and also has some nice finishes at Congressional. In four visits here he’s finished 30th twice and 4th once as well. He’s been trending well and could be in for another nice week here.
  • Kevin Chappell also finished T3 at Congressional in the 2011 U.S. Open and is 4 for 4 in terms of made cuts at Congressional. His tee to green game is as strong as anyone’s in this field, and a good week driving the ball could easily lead to his first PGA Tour victory.
  • Brendan Steele has improved his finishing position every time he’s tee’d it up at Congressional, and he’s now landed consecutive finishes of 16th and 5th the last two times the event was played here. The sample size is small, but Steele definitely looks like he’s taken to this course and will be a factor this week.


DFS STRATEGY

With the lack of top options this week and the smaller field, building balanced lineups seems tougher than usual and the $7-$9k salary regions aren’t quite as chock full of quality players as they were last week. This week, centering on those top players who did make the field and using those true bargain guys under $6k seems like a great strategy for GPPs, especially with only 120 players in the tournament. I’d stuff in the studs and try and finish off your lineups with some true salary savers as a result. On a tough course, huge fantasy scores will be in high demand so taking a shot with as many big names as possible seems like a decent idea.

Top Performing Studs from Recent Weeks

  • Jim Furyk
  • Brendan Steele
  • Marc Leishman

Top Performing Value Plays from Recent Weeks

  • Adam Hadwin
  • Hudson Swafford
  • John Huh


MY PICK: Byeong-Hun An ($9,600)

This field is definitely uninspiring. The top two players (Reed and Fowler) are coming off bad missed cuts, while the rest of the field is either searching for their first big win or somewhat out of form as well. There is one player that really looks like a great play to me though this week, and that’s Byeong Hun-An. An is the former U.S. Amateur champion and a player who won one of the biggest events on the Euro Tour last season by an incredible 6 shots (BMW PGA Championship). He heads into this event coming off a T11 at the Memorial and a very solid 23rd last week at Oakmont. An doesn’t lack for distance and generally has a great tee to green game. Lately though his putting has been improved and if he putts decently this week his ball striking could easily lead him to a big finish on another tough course. I love the way he’s handled himself the past two weeks, and as a guy who really needs Fed Ex Cup points right now I think he’ll be one of the most motivated players in this field. An’s my pick to win this one, and I think he can do just that in a pretty flat field.


MY SLEEPER: John Huh ($6,300)

Sleeper Qualification: must be under $7,000 in salary and projected by me to be less than 10% owned

Huh started out the season hot but really went into the tank sometime after the Florida stretch. He pulled himself out of the poor run recently though with a nice week at the Memorial, just in time to play a course and tournament this week where he’s 3/3 in made cuts with two top twenties. Congressional may seem like a long hitter’s paradise, but the greens are tough, so a good short game and accuracy really helps. When Huh’s game is on there are few in the game more accurate with their approaches than him, and his play around the greens is usually pretty tidy as well. At only $6,300, and in a depressed field, I love the cheap price you’re getting on Huh this week and view him as one of the most reliable plays under $7k. He’s my sleeper pick and has top 20 potential this week.