Daily Fantasy Golf Tournament Primer: U.S. Open
Golf can be one of the most exciting DFS sports to follow, as tournaments span four days and allow ample time to prepare each week, but the volatility -- top-tier golfers can miss the cut, and longshots can win outright -- makes it a unique daily fantasy sport.
Ownership won't always matter, and favorites will win and thrive some weeks, but when the chalk struggles and the pivots hit big, you can put yourself in a great position to succeed when playing large tournaments on FanDuel.
Whether you're brand new to the PGA or daily fantasy sports in general, we have you covered -- and we have daily fantasy golf projections and lineup building tools, too.
Let's take a look at some golfers to target this week in GPP tournaments on FanDuel.
|Key Stats for the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Strokes Gained: Around the Green|
|Strokes Gained: Ball Striking|
The U.S. Open returns to the heralded Pebble Beach Golf Links for the third time since the turn of the century (2000 and 2010), and will play much different than the course played in February for the annual pro-am, as the USGA will sink their teeth into the course. With the rough, per usual at the U.S. Open, being extremely thick, golfers will need to keep their drive in the fairway which will likely lead to most golfers selecting less than driver off the tee box as they look to battle the think fairways while putting on poa will also be important.
With some of the smallest greens on tour, strokes gained: approach as well as strokes gained: around the green and scrambling will likely play an important role in deciding the winner. Brooks Koepka has won back-to-back U.S. Opens and as Mike Rodden mentions in our course primer, the cream of the crop tend to rise to challenge at U.S Opens.
Stats cited below come from FantasyNational and include the past 50 rounds on the PGA Tour unless noted. Ranks are among the field.
High-Priced Tier ($12,300 - $10,000)
Target: Rory McIlroy (FanDuel Salary $11,800) - Despite missing three-straight cuts at the U.S. Open, McIlroy will likely come in as one of the highest-owned golfers on the slate after easily winning last week's RBC Canadian Open and finishing inside the top-10 in three of his last four tournaments -- missing the cut at the Memorial. Over the last 50 rounds, McIlroy is first in the field in opportunities gained and strokes gained: ball striking while coming in at sixth in strokes gained: approach. McIlroy sits 54th in the field in fairways gained but has gained strokes off the tee in all but one event (Memorial) since last year's PGA Championship in August, and he has gained strokes putting in four-straight tournaments with poa greens. Dustin Johnson is my second choice at the very top-end but McIlroy should offer a slight reduction in ownership and his salary is seemingly a bit low as salaries were released before McIlroy's win on Sunday.
Target: Hideki Matsuyama ($10,400) - Matsuyama has not missed a cut since last year's Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club, and he has finished inside the top-20 in two straight tournaments including a sixth place finish at Memorial. Matsuyama is top-10 in the field in opportunities gained, scrambling, strokes gained: approach and strokes gained: ball striking while sitting 14th in strokes gained: around the green. Diving into the last 12 rounds, Matsuyama's numbers in some key stat categories have dipped, although he still sits inside the top-25 in most categories, and he still sits second in opportunities gained while he moves up to 28th in fairways gained, up from 63rd over the last 50 rounds.
Avoid: Phil Mickelson ($10,300) - After winning the AT&T Pro-Am in February, Mickelson has finished inside the top-20 in just one tournament (The Masters) while missing four cuts and finishing 71st at the PGA Championship. With hitting fairways being more important at the U.S. Open than they were at the Pro-Am, Mickelson could struggle to make the cut as he is often wild in that category (81st in the field in strokes gained: off the tee) and sits 132nd in fairways gained over the last 50 rounds. Fairways gained is not Mickelson's only area of struggle over the last 50 rounds, as he comes in outside the top-40 in all key stats, and is outside the top-75 in scrambling, strokes gained: approach and strokes gained: ball striking.
Mid-Priced Tier ($9,900 - $8,000)
Target: Rory Sabbatini ($8,900) - Sabbatini has made the cut, including breaking the top-40, in 10 straight tournaments, collecting three top-10s over that span, and could come in with a very low ownership percentage this week. Over the last 36 rounds, Sabbatini is inside the top-50 in the field in all the key stats except strokes gained: approach. While strokes gained: approach is likely the most important category, as it is most weeks, the small greens may somewhat neutralize the impact of that stat while Sabbatini sits second in scrambling and third in strokes gained: around the green over the last 36 rounds. That should boost his success if he does struggle on approach. Putting is an issue for Sabbatini, as he sits 100th over the last 50 rounds on poa, but he has putted decent over his last 10 tournaments, gaining strokes in nine of those tournaments, including five straight.
Avoid: Graeme McDowell ($8,800) - After finishing eighth at the RBC Canadian Open, and qualifying for the Open Championship at Royal Portrush, in McDowell's hometown, a letdown in a tough environment could follow. Over the last 50 rounds, McDowell sits outside of the top-45 in all of the key stats except scrambling (13th in the field), and he has not gained strokes off the tee since the Valero Texas Open in early April. McDowell is a good putter, especially on poa, and he sits 13th in the field in strokes gained: putting (poa) over the last 50 rounds.
Low-Priced Tier ($7,900 and below)
Target: Brian Stuard ($7,800) - Projected as one of the top-owned golfers in this tier, Stuard has made the cut in five straight tournaments but has not finished inside the top-30 over his last three appearances. Over the last 24 rounds, Stuard is inside the top-30 in the field in strokes gained: ball striking, strokes gained: approach, fairways gained and opportunities gained while cracking the top-55 in the field in all the other key stats. There's not much in this tier but Stuard may offer the safest and highest upside of the bunch if DFS players find themselves needing a target this cheap.
Avoid: Nate Lashley ($7,900) - Lashley, like Stuard, is projected as one of the top-owned golfers in this tier, and he has made three straight cuts, finishing outside the top-25 in all three tournaments, before missing the cut at the RBC Canadian Open. Over the last 24 rounds, Lashley is outside of the top-40 in all the key stats except strokes gained: approach (17th in the field), and he has lost strokes gained: off the tee and strokes gained: tee to green in three straight tournaments while losing strokes putting in six of his last eight tournaments with strokes gained data.
Ben Fisher is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ben Fisher also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Gvsubrickwall. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.