Howdy folks! It is one of the 4 best weekends of the golf season as the year’s next major has descended upon us. This week, the most talented players in the world are playing Erin Hills Golf Course in Erin, Wisconsin. This is the first year that the US Open (or any tour event) is being held at this venue and it looks like a real bear. The course measures about 7,700 yards, is a par 72, and is a links style course. That means that it is heavily protected with bunkers and there is tall fescue grass all around. This will be a real challenge for the players.
Before moving on to this week’s analysis, I should mention that it was a very successful week for me at the FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis last week. In this space, I recommended some really great plays who were not heavily owned: Matt Jones, Chad Campbell, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Charl Schwartzel and Harris English. I hope you all took advantage.
Moving on to this week’s tournament, with the course being so long, and there being a big penalty for missing the fairway, I am focusing on total driving as one of my stats of the week. The length of the course will also lead to many long distance second shots, so a second stat that I am looking at is Greens in Regulation from 175-200 yards. Other stats of note are scrambling, par 5 scoring (there are 4 par 5s on the course) and bogey avoidance.
I am really excited to get things going this week, so I won’t waste any more time in the intro. Let’s see who we like this week.
If you have any questions – don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter at @AssemblyNeil.
Rickie Fowler ($10,500 DraftKings/$9,200 FanDuel) – I swung and missed with Fowler last week, but one of the keys to being a successful DFS player is to have a short memory. Fowler is a superstar in all of my stats of the week, ranking 1st in the field in total driving, 15th in GIR 175-200, 11th in scrambling, 4th in par 5 scoring and 11th in bogey avoidance. Vegas loves Rickie as he has been installed as the 6th favorite of this tournament. I will have plenty of exposure on both sites, but Fowler is only the 10th most expensive player on FanDuel. He will be in 50% on my lineups over there.
Jon Rahm ($10,300 DraftKings/$10,400 FanDuel) – I have heard some rumblings from some people that they will be staying off of Rahm this week. He is too mentally soft for a course like this, he has had a couple of blow up rounds in the last few weeks, and so on. I am hoping this means that I can get Rahm at slightly less ownership, because I am all in. Rahm is another great performer in my stat categories as he is 17th in total driving, 4th in GIR 175-200, and 9th in scrambling, par 5 scoring and bogey avoidance. The young Spaniard is a budding superstar and it is only a matter of time before he wins his first major. It would not surprise me to see him holding the trophy at the end of the weekend.
Upper Middle Class
Hideki Matsuyama ($9,600 DraftKings/$9,600 FanDuel) – Matsuyama does not garner enough respect for being the #4 player in the world – ahead of guys like Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler. He is another guy who is checking boxes in all of my favorite categories this week, as Hideki is in the top 12 in all 5 stats. Most impressively, Matsuyama is 1st in the field in par 5 scoring and 3rd in GIR 175-200 yards. As “only” the 10th favorite on the board according to Las Vegas, I have a feeling that Matsuyama will be less owned than a lot of the other higher priced guys. I hope to take advantage of potentially lower ownership as I really like Matsuyama this week.
Paul Casey ($8,400 DraftKings/$8,800 FanDuel) – This course looks like a Scottish course, and it looks like the perfect course for an elite ball striker. And one of the first names that come to mind when I think of elite ball strikers is Paul Casey. Casey is another guy who ranks in the upper tier in all of my favorite stat categories, and is especially impressive in bogey avoidance and scrambling as he is 2nd in the field in both categories. While I will put Casey in a few FanDuel lineups, he is especially enticing on DraftKings where his $8,400 price tag, makes him an easy fit into many lineups.
Kevin Kisner ($7,500 DraftKings/$8,100 FanDuel) – Kisner comes in white-hot, with a win and a runner-up finish in the last 6 weeks. Las Vegas recognizes Kisner’s hot game as they have made him their 16th highest favorite to win this event. In terms of my stats of the week, Kisner ranks highly in many of them, including ranking 15th in the field in scrambling and 22nd in the field in total driving. I like Kisner for another nice finish.
Alex Noren ($7,500 DraftKings/$7,800 FanDuel) – Would you believe it if I told you that Alex Noren is the 9th ranked golfer in the world, ahead of guys like Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Adam Scott? While Noren is not a household name in the US, he has won 5 tournaments worldwide in the last calendar year, including conquering a great field to win the BMW championship in England only 2 weeks ago. Noren has proven that he can beat world-class fields and is priced quite reasonably on both sites. He should be a staple in your cash game lineups, and despite anticipated high ownership, don’t be shy to put him in your tournament lineups as well.
Bang for your Buck
Brendan Steele ($7,100 DraftKings/$7,200 FanDuel) – Steele has been excellent this season, making 11 consecutive cuts, including an impressive tie for 6th at the Players championship a few weeks back. On top of that, the Californian ranks very well in my stats of the week, placing in the top 22 in the field in all 5 categories. Most impressively, Steele is the best player in the field in scrambling and is 4th in bogey avoidance. This type of course seems right up Steele’s alley and with this affordable price, Steele will be one of my go to guys.
Russell Henley ($7,200 DraftKings/$6,600 FanDuel) – After a really hot stretch in March and early April, Henley has hit a bit of a dry spell with consecutive missed cuts. I am not overly concerned, as I think his game matches up well for this course. Henley ranks 8th in the field in both total driving and GIR 175-200 and is also in the top 15 in the field in par 5 scoring and bogey avoidance. Also interestingly, Henley is one of the few players in the field who have played competitive rounds at Erin Hills as he competed in the 2011 US Amateur which took place on this course. I think Henley’s ownership will be low, but I will have my fair share, especially on FanDuel where he is far too cheap.
Marc Leishman ($6,700 DraftKings/$6,900 FanDuel) – I am finally ready to forgive Marc Leishman after he bogeyed 4 straight holes to miss the cut at the Players and sink my best lineup. That, however, is the only cut that Leishman has missed in his last 8 events, and he has a win and two other top 15 finishes in that time. Leishman is also quite solid in all of my stats of the week, ranking in the top 31 in each stat category. Leishman is the 31st favorite according to Las Vegas, and yet is priced only a few hundred dollars more than the cheapest golfers on DraftKings. Take advantage!
Pat Perez ($6,600 DraftKings/$6,700 FanDuel) – I don’t understand Perez’s price this week. This is a guy who is ranked 7th in the FedEx Cup Standings, has won already this year, and has finished in the top 25 in 3 of his last 4 events, including a 2nd at the Memorial earlier this month. Perez also is excellent in the stats that I am looking for this week, sitting in 7th in par 5 scoring and 14th in bogey avoidance. I like Perez to continue his good form this week and will have plenty of exposure in my lineups.
OTHERS OF NOTE:
I will throw out a few others that I will be playing this week:
Francesco Molinari ($7,000 DraftKings/$7,800 FanDuel) is priced way too cheaply on DraftKings. He is a top 20 player in the world and is 9th in the field in total driving.
Louis Oosthuizen ($7,400 DraftKings/$8,400 FanDuel) is another world-class guy priced too low on DraftKings. He is 8th in scrambling and should be able to score well on this course.
Lucas Glover ($6,800 DraftKings/$5,600 FanDuel) is 3rd in the field in total driving and 5th in bogey avoidance. The 2009 US Open Champion always struggles on bentgrass greens, but his price is so low, especially on FanDuel, that I will take my chances.
Steve Stricker ($7,200 DraftKings/$7,400 FanDuel) is playing in his home state of Wisconsin and seems especially motivated. His form has been good the last little while with 4 straight made cuts including two top 20s.
Whee Kim ($6,600 DraftKings/$5,800 FanDuel) – is going to be a dart throw play for me. He looked good in Memphis last week where he tied for 2nd. And he surprisingly ranks well in my stat categories, including being top 20 in the field in par 5 scoring and scrambling.
Maverick McNealy ($6,500 DraftKings/$5,400 FanDuel) is a guy I will throw into 1-2 lineups to differentiate myself. He is the world’s #1 ranked amateur golfer and could be in for a nice surprise finish.
Stephan Jaeger ($6,300 DraftKings/$4,600 FanDuel) is another dart throw guy. He comes in hot having won 2 of his last 3 events on the web.com tour.
Good luck to all of you this week!
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