WATCH: IMPACT PLAYER – MATT KUCHAR
This season’s third major tees off at 1:35 am EST on Thursday morning, so get your lineups in early. Royal Birkdale is hosting The Open Championship again, for the first time since Padraig Harrington took home the Claret Jug in 2008. Here are a few names to consider from every price range as you build your DraftKings fantasy golf teams for this weekend.
Dustin Johnson ($12,000) – Royal Birkdale played to an average of over 74 back in 2008, the highest average score per round at the time, or since. There will be some rain in the days leading up to the tourney, which might normally soften a course and make it a bit more playable, but strong winds should present enough of a challenge while also drying the course out in a hurry. Even the best players in the world can fall victim to a challenge like that, so the stat I am looking at while thinking about DJ isn’t all his impressive numbers for scoring and length, but rather his 6th place ranking in Bogey Avoidance.
Jordan Spieth ($11,600) – The entire field is going to be contending with the wind, as I mentioned, and that might give Spieth an edge he normally doesn’t have outside of Texas. Another top option who doesn’t just drain birdies, but is actually a spot higher than DJ in the Bogey Avoidance rankings at fifth, he is the kind of top option with all the upside in the world but who also feels very safe, making him someone you can plug into a big tournament lineup or use to build around for your cash game rosters.
Jon Rahm ($11,400) – It’s never easy to trust someone without a lot of experience on these big stages, but Rahm has been making himself almost impossible to overlook ever since he stepped on the PGA Tour. He is coming off a truly dominating win at the Irish Open two weekends ago in which he shot 65-67-67-65. He ended up winning by six strokes, setting himself up to be a likely popular play fantasy golf pick this weekend.
Tommy Fleetwood ($9,800) – Fleetwood is probably the hottest player on the European Tour, and it’s difficult to even make a case for anyone else. As such, he is sitting first in the Race to Dubai and has finished 4th, T6, 1st and T10 in his last four events, beginning with the U.S. Open. He has averaged more than 18 birdies a tournament over that span, good for more than enough fantasy points to go along with his impressive real-life showings. Second on the Euro Tour in Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR %), his iron play is strong enough to not only survive but thrive in difficult conditions this weekend that could wreak havoc on other players.
Hideki Matsuyama ($9,500) – Like Spieth and DJ, he sits high up on the list of players in terms of Bogey Avoidance, making him something of a safer play for cash lineups this weekend, in my opinion. But that safety doesn’t have to come at a price, as he also has plenty of upside potential. He has shown plenty in his last two appearances, following up a T2 at the U.S. Open with a T14 at the Irish Open two weeks ago in the lead-up to this weekend, and I like that trend of success to continue here with another strong showing.
Brooks Koepka ($9,000) – He broke through in a big way at the U.S. Open, capturing his first major, and showing that his combination of skills – when he puts it all together – is enough to compete with the best players in the world. We haven’t seen him since, which might be depressing his price, so take advantage. He is a golfer with plenty of experience in Europe and the confidence of a new major winner. Another top-10 would be plenty to validate his recent success and solidify his spot as one of the top players in the world.
Paul Casey ($8,100) – Another player who excels at avoiding mistakes, he should at the very least be able to get through into the weekend, which makes him a great cash game option for me. He has been in the top-25, with only one finish worse than 26th out of his last nine appearances. He is priced low enough that you don’t need him to do a lot better than that for him to be a useful fantasy option in any format.
Alexander Noren ($7,800) – In his last six appearances, he has missed two cuts and been inside the top-10 in each of the other four. He started that run with a 10th place finish at THE PLAYERS, another tournament with a field full of talent, followed that up with a win at the BMW PGA Championship, and built from there. He missed the cut last weekend, but was 10th at the Open de France just three weeks ago, and has the ability to score in droves, making him a very worthwhile tournament target for me this weekend.
Bernd Wiesberger ($7,600) – He hasn’t missed a single cut this season, has four top-10 finishes including a win, and finished up at T16 at the last major of the season, at Erin Hills. The consistency with which he has been striking the ball all year long makes him a good cash game option, as someone who can make it to the weekend and make some useful shots for you along the way.
Padraig Harrington ($7,200) – The last winner here, back in 2008, he obviously has some upside, and the question is just how much of that he can expect to reach this upcoming weekend. He has struggled with some nagging injuries over the years, and he just returned to competitive golf about a month ago at the BMW PGA Championship. He missed that first cut, but he has made four straight since then, including two top-20s and a T4 last weekend at the Scottish Open.
Matt Kuchar ($7,200) – He is someone who just seems like a value to me – as I scroll through these names, his price jumped out at me as lower than expected. He is someone with experience on the big stage, having played in and made the cut in each of the last five Open Championships. He hasn’t finished worse than T12 in his last five events and is coming off a T9 at the Scottish Open (an event played in by each of the last six Open Championship winners).
Tony Finau ($6,800) – Length doesn’t matter quite as much in these links style courses, but Finau’s overall game seems to get less respect than it deserves simply because he is so good off the tee. He also is sitting just 11th in Bogey Avoidance and is 19th in total Strokes Gained for the year. At this price, you don’t need him to win, and he is someone who has the potential to repeat his top-20 showing from last year’s Open Championship just by navigating the course well and draining a few putts.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theasquad) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.