DRAFT PGA Value Watch: U.S. Open
Each week, Justin Van Zuiden will list the players he is overweight (heavier exposure than the field) and underweight (lower exposure than the field) on. Dominate your DRAFT drafts with this cheat sheet from one of the best in daily fantasy sports!
Golfers I Am Overweight On
Rory McIlroy – He won by a landslide last week and looked absolutely locked in over the weekend. For nine players to be ranked in front of him on DRAFT is a steal. Count your lucky stars if you get him toward the back end of the first round of larger field DRAFT games. Rory leads the Tour in a ton of tee-to-green metrics, and while he doesn’t have much history at Pebble Beach, it’s hard to think of him as not being a top three option despite the strong field.
Hideki Matsuyama – Approach play is going to be pivotal at Pebble Beach with the thick rough on tap, and Matsuyama has been dialed in on approach of late. He makes for a fine, safe pick in the second round, and he’s only one good putting week away from contending for a major.
Henrik Stenson – While he hasn’t shown elite form this season, the tee to green game has still been dialed in for Henrik Stenson. He has gained at least four strokes on approach compared to the field in the last six ShotLink tracked events in which he has made the cut, and that ability should serve him well at Pebble Beach. In fact, he now leads the PGA Tour by a fairly wide margin in strokes gained on approach this season. He’s slowly been rounding into form in recent events, and he will be available in the middle rounds of larger field DRAFT games. I’m a happy buyer with Stenson in this spot, and he is more than capable of contending at a major championship.
Brandt Snedeker – I’m putting my chips in the middle here. He is pegged with a fairly low projection on DRAFT, and his 40-to-1 Vegas odds to win are far better than what you will find with most others grouped around him. Snedeker has two career wins at Pebble Beach and strolls in with three straight top 20’s on his resume, including a top five in Canada last week. Everything is trending in the right direction, and he is one of my favorite point per dollar options on the entire board, especially when you add in his comfort level on poa annua greens.
Jimmy Walker – If you want a course-based value, Walker is a fine pick for this U.S. Open. He ALWAYS seems to play better on the West Coast swing with lots of poa annua greens, as he tends to play well in Hawai’i and California. He has six top 12 finishes over the last nine editions of the Pro-Am event, so his comfort factor is clear. His form over the last few years has been a bit rocky as he has battled Lyme Disease, but he has started to show more consistency of late. He has logged three straight top 35 finishes, including a steady closing 68 in last week’s RBC Canadian Open. He doesn’t pop that much statistically, but the recent trends are positive, and the course fit is clearly there. You could consider him a “poor man’s Snedeker” in that realm, and I am fine targeting him in the final round of larger field games.
Golfers I Am Underweight On
Justin Thomas – While I like his upside and general ability, he still didn’t look completely sharp last week in Canada after missing the cut in his first start after his return from a wrist injury. The thick rough here could easily aggravate his wrist if Thomas hits a few wayward drives, and he will likely be drafted within the top three or four picks. His projection is a bit too steep for me, and I’ll pivot to some of the other top options on the board.
Jon Rahm – This is an easy fade for me. Rahm has been underwhelming on approach (72nd in strokes gained) and around the green (110th in strokes gained) this year, and he is in poor current form with back-to-back missed cuts. That includes an ugly one at the PGA Championship where he completely faded on Friday. Rahm tends to melt down quickly when the game goes south, and that’s not a good trait on a difficult course. There’s no chance I will use a first or second round pick on him.
Thomas Pieters – DRAFT has the bomber pegged relatively highly this week, and while I like his general ability, this course with poa greens doesn’t feel like a great fit. I prefer all the others in his immediate vicinity in terms of projections (Scott, Na), so I will be underweight on Pieters without much hesitation.
Alex Noren – I want to make it happen with Noren, but he simply isn’t firing right now. I followed every hole of his first round last week, and he had made four birdies and no bogeys through 17 holes but was still at a negative two strokes gained putting. It could have been a huge round, but instead he finished at -3 and didn’t do anything for the rest of the tournament. His upside has gone missing of late, and while he’s a proven player, it’s not there right now.
Graeme McDowell – He will get some traction this week because of his good performance a week ago combined with his win at the 2010 U.S. Open here. I don’t mind taking him as a final round pick in larger fields, but it feels like he will get over-drafted. His 2019 statistics are still lagging a bit, and the form has been hit or miss. Meh.
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