WATCH: SLEEPER PLAY – CHARLEY HOFFMAN
Following up a great weekend of golf at Erin Hills, a number of the top players in the world are coming together again starting Thursday. The Travelers Championship tees off from TPC River Highlands in Connecticut, so here are a few names to consider from every price point.
Jordan Spieth ($11,400) – Obviously Spieth, McIlroy and Day – the three top options on the board – have the upside of carrying you to a fantasy title, but each has enough variance in their game to make them more of a tournament play right now. All three should probably find their way into a lineup or two, but of them, Spieth is my favorite right now. He showed the most last weekend with his Sunday 69 to edge his way up the leaderboard somewhat. Still #1 in Strokes Gained (SG): Approach-the-Green and still in possession of a deadly putter, that skill set could translate into plenty of birdies on this course.
Justin Thomas ($10,200) – He finished T3 here last year after closing out his weekend with a 62 on Sunday. He is someone who can consistently come through with low rounds, and in terms of fantasy value, there is nothing better than birdies in bunches. His T9 at Erin Hills was his second top-10 finish in a row and this weekend he is going to look to make it three.
Paul Casey ($9,700) – The first time he played River Highlands was two years ago, and he came away second after losing in a playoff. He’s made every cut of 2017 and is consistently finishing inside the top-30 or so. With his lack of top-five showings, even at this price, he is becoming harder to trust in a DraftKings tournament, but he can be a great anchor in a cash game, coming by his 67 point fantasy scoring average honestly, without a single showing under 63 all year long.
Marc Leishman ($9,300) – A former winner here, he has never missed a cut and finished inside the top-10 as recently as last year. He also is on a run of four straight made cuts right now, including top-15 showings at the DEAN & DELUCA and the Memorial over that span. Currently 10th in total strokes gained, he does most of his damage off the tee and on the greens, a recipe that can work on pretty much any course.
Brian Harman ($8,900) – After leading the U.S. Open after two days, he ultimately finished second, but that is more a testament to Koepka than an indictment of anything Harman did. He has had plenty of success at River Highlands as well, including a third place performance two years ago, and that kind of convergence of course history and recent performance is always enticing, especially coming off a major. That performance at Erin Hills was his fourth top-10 performance in his last six outings, making him the choice with as much upside as anyone on the board if you’re starting a DraftKings tournament lineup.
Zach Johnson ($8,300) – With 13 birdies last weekend, he showed an ability to hit enough shots to make himself a valuable fantasy commodity, especially in a slightly less star-studded field. After last weekend, he said his game was in great shape which was evidenced by his round of 68 on Saturday at the tournament. He has been very solid in his short game all season, exactly the kind of thing that can translate onto a course that is going to require some creativity around the greens.
Kevin Tway ($8,200) – Missing the cut at the Memorial broke his streak of five straight top-20 performances, but he bounced back with a respectable T31 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, opening with three straight rounds in the sixties. His SG: Putting ranking climbed almost 50 spots on his recent run of success, and that kind of hot streak on the greens can carry a player to success anywhere.
Xander Schauffele ($7,600) – The 23-year-old didn’t just finish fifth last weekend in his major tournament debut, he did it while demonstrating a complete, all-around game that should make him competitive in these tournaments for a long time to come. The opening round 66 was eye-opening. He drove the ball well – both long and accurate, and he was capitalizing, making greens in regulation all weekend and draining putts when he got there. He still shows some inconsistency in his game, but he’s had more good finishes than bad of late, making him a good value at this price in any format contest.
Bud Cauley ($7,400) – He came into Erin Hills on a run of four top-25 finishes in his last five appearances, and I am not going to hold the MC at the U.S. Open against him. His T25 at the Memorial would have been higher if it weren’t for some struggles on the green, and with fast greens expected again this weekend, the same factor could limit his upside here as well. But he is hitting the ball so well with his irons right now (8th in SG: Approach-the-Green), he puts himself in a position to score so often that he could still be a very useful cash game option.
Graham DeLaet ($7,100) – He didn’t play here last season, but was in the top five here each of the two years prior, and will look to a course where he has felt comfortable in the past to build on the momentum of his T10 at the Memorial. Over the course of that weekend, he consistently struck the ball well, ending up 16th overall in SG: Tee-to-Green. While his great putting that weekend might not be completely repeatable, his ball striking should be, making him a nice cash option, in particular, this weekend.
Webb Simpson ($6,900) – He has made four straight cuts, including top-20 weekends at THE PLAYERS and the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational. He is just not putting well, coming in at 24th in SG: Tee-to-Green and 160th in SG: Putting. It’s hard to trust a player with those kinds of struggles on the green but you don’t have to trust him to get him in a tournament lineup. You just have to look for the putts to start dropping because with players who find themselves in positions to score, but just don’t always capitalize, that one change can mean huge upside.
Nick Taylor ($6,800) – With seven straight made cuts, including four in the top-25, it’s getting harder to justify his low price tag, but I am not complaining. A price at this level makes him a great piece to fill in the end of your roster, whether you’re just looking for another made cut in a cash game or more in a DraftKings tournament – he has upside potential enough to be very intriguing. He has made 12 of 15 cuts, showing the consistency you need for a cash game, but also has upside like his T9 at the AT&T Byron Nelson he earned after closing the weekend 66-65.
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.