WATCH: PIVOT PLAY – RICKIE FOWLER
The U.S. Open is being played at a new venue this year, Erin Hills in Erin, Wisconsin. Here are a few players to consider from every price range.
Jordan Spieth ($11,500) – A big part of the talk leading up to this year’s U.S. Open is the absolutely pristine condition of the greens at Erin Hills. They are already relatively straightforward greens to read, and while in some cases that levels the playing field a bit between the elite putters and the rest, it can also serve as the setting for an absolutely blistering round or two of putting to put someone like Spieth over the top.
Jason Day ($10,800) – Day has the kind of length and short game that could allow him to really thrive on this course, as he demonstrated his ability to turn those traits into birdies in bunches when he went on his epic run from the end of 2015 season through the middle of last season. He’s had some health concerns since then and has taken some time off, but he is coming off a solo-2nd at the Byron Nelson and a T15 at the Memorial in which he overcame an opening round 75 to finish with 17 birdies and an eagle.
Rickie Fowler ($10,500) – Seven of his last eight finishes have been T16 or better, including four times inside the top-5. He is racking up massive birdie – and fantasy point – totals, and is first in total Strokes Gained – not at all surprising when you see he is top-10 in each Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, Appoach-the-Green and Putting. He is doing everything well right now, and I would be surprised to see him do anything other than compete well and finish somewhere inside top-10, with at least a chance come Sunday at competing for the title.
Brooks Koepka ($9,000) – On a course with no history for a lot of these players, it’s a lot of conjecture about who’s skill-set fits the layout best, etc, but the fact is, if you’re playing well, you can very likely compete. But Koepka’s game certainly fits on a course where we should see players hit plenty of driver this weekend. He finished only T31 at the Memorial despite leading the field in Driving Distance and coming in second in Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%), but if he can carry those two parts of his game forward another week, he should find himself much higher on the leaderboard this time around.
Paul Casey ($8,400) – On a course with wide open fairways and manageable greens, it stands to reason the driver and the putter end up being the focus of much attention, but it also stands to reason that an ability to continually strike accurate approach shots could be a differentiator. This actually adds to the case for Spieth (#1 in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green), but Casey is currently third on the PGA Tour in the same category and coming off four straight top-25 showings. I like him to outperform his price tag in any format contest this weekend.
Tyrrell Hatton ($7,500) – First on tour in Strokes Gained: Putting, Hatton should be able to make plenty of noise on the greens this weekend. He has slipped up a bit recently, but a player who had a run of six straight top-15 finishes just a couple of months ago could capitalize on a course that caters to his strongest skillset and come through with a huge performance here. I like him in every format contest this weekend at this price.
Alexander Noren ($7,500) – He might be the only player on the Euro Tour right now hotter than Stenson, having finished off a win at the BMW PGA Championship two weeks ago, and following that up with a T15 at the Nordea Masters. He shot an amazing 62 on Sunday at the BMW to secure the win, showcasing an ability to score on any kind of hole. He will look to carry that momentum back to the States for the second time in a month, to hopefully improve on the 10th place performance he had at THE PLAYERS.
Kevin Kisner ($7,500) – I really just love the $7,500 players this weekend, so much so I had to include all of them. Kisner is hard to ignore at this price with a win and a T6 in the last two weeks. Even though he finished T6, he was the only player to play all four rounds last weekend under par, ending up with 15 birdies and an eagle against just nine bogeys. 10th on Tour in both Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and Approach-the-Green, he should find himself in a position to make birdie as often as anyone else this weekend.
WATCH: VALUE PLAY – BRANDEN GRACE
Steve Stricker ($7,200) – A Wisconsin native, he qualified only Monday for the tournament this weekend. He’s now 50 years old, but cheap enough that you don’t need him to hold a lead for the entire weekend to make him a useful option. He came through with a T16 at the Masters and a T7 just two weeks ago at the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational, so he still has the chops to compete with the best of the best when he’s on his game. Coming off a win at sectionals and playing near home, there is every reason to think he should come in feeling good.
Bryson deChambeau ($6,800) – He’s missed five straight cuts, so there is plenty of reason for concern. But on a course that has never hosted a professional tournament, deChambeau actually has played and had success here in the past. He finished second here in the U.S. Amateur three years ago, clearly feeling comfortable with the layout.
Marc Leishman ($6,700) – Leishman is coming off a T15 performance at Muirfield Village in which he was second in the field in terms of Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. He’s going to need to convert those drives into birdie chances, but he is working on a stretch of three straight solid performances, with an average of 16 birdies per tournament over that stretch, giving me confidence that he can take advantage of the wide-open layout and perform as a useful fantasy option this weekend.
Stewart Hagestad ($6,100) – A low-priced name to consider if you’re filling out the bottom of a DraftKings tournament lineup, Hagestad qualified for the tournament this past weekend in California, with rounds of 67 and 68. He was the low amateur at the Masters earlier this year, ending up T36 at +6. Coming in off a high in the sectionals, all he would need to do is make the cut to give you a helpful and inexpensive boost.
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.