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RotoBaller PGA: 2019 U.S. Open DFS Bible


Hello RotoBallers and PGA DFS fans! It's hard to believe that we are already talking about the third major championship of 2019, but here we are. The USGA is taking it old school and heading to Pebble Beach, one of the most well-known golf courses in the world. It will be the sixth U.S. Open to be contested at Pebble Beach and first since 2010 when Graeme McDowell won the title with a final score of Even par. We see Pebble Beach annually thanks to the AT&T Pro-Am, but we can expect to see a very different setup this week courtesy of the friendly folks at the USGA.

Before we dive into the players, let me take a second to say thanks for all of your support throughout the PGA DFS season! This wouldn't be possible without you guys, so let me urge you to spread the word on the great golf content available here at RotoBaller each and every week. Follow us on Twitter: @JoeNicely - @RotoBaller - @RotoBallerPGA - @TeeOffSports, and make sure to like and share both this article and our weekly content!

I also want to give a big shoutout of thanks to our friends over at Fantasy National, who are amazing partners and the best in the business at providing comprehensive PGA DFS stats, both to the public and our RB staff, on a weekly basis. All stats used in this article are courtesy of Fantasy National, unless otherwise noted, and my favorite metric of measurement is a player's last 24 rounds.

Editor's Note: Our friends at Fantasy National have built some incredible DFS Golf lineup tools including a Lineup Optimizer, Stat Engine, Ownership Projections and Course Breakdowns. They are by far the best daily fantasy Golf tools in the industry. Seriously. You can read all about them here and see screenshots.  Sign Up Now!

 

Overview

If you've been able to check out any of my previous 'Bibles', then you know the deal here. I will be jamming in as much DFS info as I can, on as many players as I can. For the Masters I'm able to cover every player in the field, but that's not really conducive to my sanity for the U.S. Open. Instead, you will see write-ups for all the players you know and love from the top of the salary scale down to $7k, with selected players highlighted and discussed under the $7k price point.

The golfers are listed in descending order of their DraftKings price, just like you would see on DK when building a lineup and any DFS strategies discussed were written with the DraftKings Millionaire Maker tournament in mind. An interesting note about the 'Milly Maker', after running this event with a $20 entry fee for both the Masters and PGA Championship, DK has bumped the entry to $100 for the U.S. Open. With the price increase comes a drastic reduction in the size of the field. Adjust your strategy accordingly.

Some players are discussed more in-depth than others. I try to mix in stats, DFS info and strategy, as well as my own personal thoughts on each player that's reviewed. You can use this preview as a quick reference to get some thoughts on a specific golfer or you can spend some time with it and become familiar with the field. However you choose to use it, I hope that every reader will find at least one thing they feel is helpful or interesting.

My goal always remains the same...to create a piece that will be helpful to those of you that might be making your first PGA DFS Golf lineup, while also being interesting to you grinders that are slightly obsessed with this wonderful game! Ok, enough with all the formalities, let's get to the golfers for the 2019 U.S. Open Championship!

 

DraftKings DFS Player Preview for the 2019 U.S. Open

Brooks Koepka – $11,600

Brooks Koepka is a guy that likes to play with a chip on his shoulder. The recently-crowned 2019 PGA Champion will have to look somewhere other than DraftKings pricing for motivation, because DK has finally paid him the ultimate respect and put him atop the salary scale for the U.S. Open.

What can I say about Koepka? He's won half of the last eight majors (two U.S. Opens & two PGAs) and there's no signs that he plans on slowing down anytime soon. His game has no weaknesses in its current form...he's crazy long off the tee (308.8 yds avg driving distance) and finds fairways (15th in 'Good Drives Gained'). Pebble Beach isn't a bomber's track you say? He's got everything else covered too. Koepka stands seventh in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach & third in SG: Ball Striking. He's also second in Bogeys Avoided and 15th in Scrambling Gained.

On top of all his exceptional physical tools, Koepka has shown that he can handle the psychological rigors of U.S. Opens and withstand the pressures of major championships. There aren't many chinks in this armor. If you want to nitpick, you could say that he doesn't have much Pebble Beach experience, but the same could be said about the Bethpage Black course that he recently destroyed. I can understand if you want to take a more balanced approach to roster construction than Koepka's salary will allow or take a stand and make a game-theory fade, but it's a scary one.

*UPDATE: Koepka logged a ho-hum outing in Canada. No big surprise, as the RBC was nothing more than a tune-up start for Brooks.

 

Dustin Johnson – $11,300

We could easily be talking about Dustin Johnson as the most dominant player in the world if not for the aforementioned Brooks Koepka. DJ has twice been a bridesmaid in this year's major championships, and was the only player within shouting distance of Koepka at Bethpage.

He's a statistical sicko, and ranks first or second in the field every major Strokes Gained category other than SG: Approach (fifth) & Around the Green (46th). DJ heads to a Pebble Beach layout that he's thrived on throughout his career. He's a two-time winner of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and had the 2010 U.S. Open in his grasp until a gut-wrenching final-round 82 collapse sent him tumbling into a tie for eighth.

Am I bumfuzzled by the fact the DJ only has one major? Yep. Am I concerned about his inability to close tournaments out this season? Slightly. Do I love his talent and fit at Pebble? Absolutely.

*UPDATE: DJ bounced back from a slow start in the Canadian Open to log three sub-70 rounds over his last 54 holes and a T20. His long game looked very solid at Hamilton, but he struggled both on and around the greens.

 

Tiger Woods – $10,700

We drop below $11k to the man, the myth, the legend...Tiger Woods. Woods was the highest-priced DFS player for the PGA Championship, but we all know how that played out. Hey...you can't blame the guy for showing up at Bethpage with a Green-Jacket hangover and a little bit of rust. I think we will see a much-improved Tiger at Pebble this week. He showed some spark at Muirfield Village recently with a vintage final-round 67 that could have been much lower.

If you follow golf history at all, then you know that Tiger has a fairy-tale type of record at Pebble Beach. His U.S. Open win in 2000 still stands as perhaps the most impressive display of greatness in major championship history. We can expect him to use his extensive knowledge of the layout to his advantage this week and it is very possible that the 43-year-old still has some 'major magic' left this year.

We saw folks lay off of Tiger's huge price tag at the PGA Championship, but DK has made things tempting by pricing him at $10.7. Look for his ownership to be up a bit from the PGA, but still reasonable. His experience at PB and his sharp-looking form at the Memorial make him an elite DFS option.

 

Rory McIlroy – $10,500

Rory spent the early part of 2019 looking like the best player in the world and a guy that was on a mission to re-establish his dominance on the PGA Tour. McIlory racked up five top-five finishes in his first six starts of the year before winning The Players Championship in March. He headed to Augusta National as the prohibitive favorite, but was never a factor at the Masters. It was a similar result at the PGA Championship, where Rory had to go on a birdie binge just to make the cut and eventually backdoored the backdoor-iest of top-10's.

He recently missed his first cut of the season at the Memorial and lost strokes off the tee for the first time this year. Despite his bad outing at Muirfield Village he still leads this field in SG: T2G, Ball Striking, & OTT. Rory won't have anywhere near the pressure on him this week that he did at the Masters, which might put him in a great comfort zone at Pebble.

While his $10.5k price tag is still pretty stiff, he does offer at least a noticeable discount from Brooks & DJ. There's a good chance that Rory will also be the lowest-owned of the three even though he's the cheapest option. We know the type of upside he possesses, but he hasn't shown us much in major championship settings this year.

*UPDATE: Rory romped in Canada with a final-round 61 to run away with the RBC Canadian Open. He looked confident and comfortable on Sunday and was on 58 watch down the stretch. He led the field in SG: T2G for the tournament with every aspect of his game looking sharp. His play Sunday will probably put more eyes on Rory than I originally anticipated, and it is tempting to 'ride the wave', but we've seen McIlroy play well in tournaments ahead of majors and then disappear on the big stage.

 

Jordan Spieth - $10,300

Is Jordan Spieth back? If we are strictly looking at recent results, then the answer would have to be yes, as he's logged a top-five at the PGA Championship and top-10's at the Charles Schwab and the Memorial in his last three starts.

Even when Spieth was winning majors at a rapid pace he wasn't your prototypical "dominant" golfer. He did it with otherworldly putting, a great short game, and solid iron play. The putting has definitely returned in a big way...he's first in this field in SG: Putting and has averaged an absurd 6.2 SG: Putting over his last five tournaments. I never like to rely solely on a player's putting when rostering them, but if anyone is an exception to that rule it might be Spieth.

We've seen him work his magic in major championships before, but his iron play (just 89th in the field in SG: Approach) must be sharper if he is to make a run at Pebble. It wasn't long ago that we routinely saw Spieth priced in the mid-$8k range, so I have to think most folks will be reluctant at this huge $10.3k price tag, which makes him an intriguing GPP option.

 

Patrick Cantlay – $10,000

The jig is up for all you Patrick Cantlay truthers out there. Your secret is out and DK has finally moved the young star up to an elite-level price after he came in way too cheap at both the Masters ($7.7k) and PGA ($8.2K). Cantlay notched a top-10 and a top-five in those tournaments and heads to the year's third major fresh off a breakthrough win at the Memorial.

Though he's just 27-year-old, Cantlay plays with the polished tee-to-green game of a veteran. He stands fourth in the U.S. Open field in SG: T2G & second in SG: Total. The Long Beach native should be comfortable with the conditions at Pebble Beach and heads into this week with a truckload of confidence. We haven't seen a bad outing from Cantlay since a missed cut at the Players in March and it wouldn't be surprising to find him in contention again this week.

His new five-figure price tag will make us think about things a little bit, but you have to love the current state of Cantlay's game. I'm an admitted Cantlay fan, so I'm probably a little biased here, but he'll find his way into several of my lineups.

 

Justin Rose – $9,700

We drop below the $10k price range with Justin Rose at $9.7k. Rose hasn't played bad in 2019, but we haven't seen the set-your-watch-by-him-2018-version either. A lot has been made of the Englishman's equipment change this year (including by me), but a look at the numbers suggest that his iron play has actually been good to great for the most part this year. Where Rose's game has surprisingly faltered recently is around the greens, which will be of the utmost importance this week. He's lost strokes ATG in each of his last three starts and has averaged -0.5 strokes ATG over his last five combined tournaments.

Rose is not the type of player that I like to dismiss, as he can win any tournament at anytime, but I do wish he brought a little more consistent form to Pebble. At this price point Rose is a fine play, but there are players both above and below him on the salary scale that I personally prefer. One additional note, Rose has been forced to part ways with his longtime caddie Mark Fulcher due to his lingering health issues. Gareth Lord, who was with Rose when he won at Torrey Pines earlier this year, will be on his bag at the U.S. Open.

 

Rickie Fowler – $9,500

Here we go again with Rickie Fowler. Will this be the one? He's played some solid golf in 2019 and logged a win at the Waste Management earlier in the year, but it's fair to say that Rickie heads to Pebble Beach somewhat under the radar, at least as under the radar as one of the most popular golfers in the world can be.

Fowler isn't a player that blows you away from a statistical standpoint, but he's solid in every facet of the game (14th in the field in SG: Total). And while Rickie has yet to win a major, he has traditionally played very well in golf's biggest events and hasn't missed a cut in a major since the 2016 U.S. Open. Like many pros, Rickie has avoided the 7-hour rounds of the AT&T Pro-Am like the plague in recent years, so we don't have a ton of recent history at Pebble to evaluate. That said, his solid tee-to-green game and fabulous putting should profile as a nice fit this week, but Fowler has often struggled on Poa Annua and doesn't seem to be crazy about this course.

 

Justin Thomas – $9,300

It appeared that JT was in line for a big season in 2019, but the Kentucky-born player hasn't been right since he suffered a wrist injury at the Honda at the end of February. Thomas even took the precaution of withdrawing from the PGA Championship, but didn't look good in a knock-the-rust-off start at the Memorial. He added the RBC Canadian Open as a last minute tune-up for Pebble, but he heads to the California coast with a lot of question marks.

We know the talent is there and this is a great price for JT, but it will be tough for me to pull the trigger on him in a $100 buy-in tourney. You can make a contrarian game-theory argument for rostering him, but you are hoping for a much-improved (and healthier) JT than we've seen over the past several months.

*UPDATE: It was an impromptu start for JT in Canada in an attempt to get his game in shape for Pebble Beach. He did look much sharper than he did at Muirfield Village. He struggled on the (Poa) greens, but ranked second in the field in SG: T2G. Those that were already considering JT as a contrarian option will probably be emboldened a bit by his play in Canada.

 

Jon Rahm – $9,200

Another player that got off to a quick start to begin the year, Jon Rahm has cooled down considerably over the past month. The Spaniard has logged missed cuts in his last two starts at the PGA and Charles Schwab. Even if Rahm were firing on all cylinders Pebble Beach doesn't seem like a great fit for his bomb-it-out-there style (though he has played well in a couple of previous Pebble appearances). His loose iron play (55th in SG: Approach) and questionable short game (85th in SG: Around the Green) definitely take him out of 'must play' territory for me, but his immense talent keeps him on the DFS radar.

His current form, seemingly ill fit on this layout, and infamous temper should make him less popular than we normally see, so there is some leverage to be gained this week if you like Rahm.

 

Jason Day – $9,100

If we put Jason Day's 2019 results next to 90% of the players on the PGA Tour we would say they've had a really good season to this point. Unfortunately, when you are Jason Day, a little bit more is expected. The Aussie logged a top-five in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this year, so he'll be comfortable on this layout. His ability to grind out pars always puts him in consideration on tough golf courses, but after a string of three-straight U.S. Open top 10's from 2014-16, he's missed the cut in the last two. He's obviously a phenomenal putter (fifth in SG: Putting), but his erratic iron play (78th in SG: Approach) will put tons of pressure on his short game this week.

Day went overlooked by the DFS community at the Masters (8-10% owned), but his popularity exploded at the PGA Championship where he was over 20% owned. I'd look for something in between those this week, as he fits nicely in balanced-type builds.

 

Francesco Molinari – $9,000

I'm a little worried about Moli. There's a strong possibility that Tiger Woods hijacked his soul at the Masters. We haven't seen the same Molinari since his Augusta National collapse...he's went M/C-T48-T53 in his three starts since the Masters. Not exactly confidence inspiring. If the Italian were in form, I would say that this Pebble layout is perhaps the best chance for him to win a major on U.S. soil. However, it appears the hot putter that led him to a victory at the Arnold Palmer, a deep run at the WGC Match Play, and a 54-hole lead at the Masters has cooled down significantly, as he's lost strokes putting in his last three starts. Couple the cold putting with perhaps shaky confidence and the outlook isn't bright.

 

Tommy Fleetwood – $8,900

Tommy Fleetwood sits atop what appears to be a very fertile $8k-$9k range. Fleetwood at the U.S. Open has become a thing over the past couple of years. A brilliant final-round 63 earned him a solo second last year at Shinnecock and he notched a top-five finish at Erin Hills in 2017. Fleetwood's strong play in U.S. Opens can be attributed to his uncanny ability to hit his driver straight as a string. The Englishman has lived up to his 'Fairway Jesus' nickname this season and stands fifth in the field in SG: OTT. He logged a ho-hum T45 in a Pebble Beach tune-up start at the AT&T Pro-Am earlier this year, but this layout should be a great fit for what Fleetwood does: hit fairways and greens. He'll be a really popular DFS option, but it's hard not to expect big things from Tommy this week.

 

Hideki Matsuyama – $8,800

Like Rickie Fowler, it seems to be a matter of when, not if the mega-talented Hideki Matsuyama grabs a major championship. Unlike Fowler, Matsuyama is not a good putter...and that's saying it kindly. He ranks 66th in the field in SG: Putting, but that's actually an improvement when compared to where he's graded out for most of the season. He's surprisingly gained strokes putting in three straight starts and is definitely a player that's heading to Pebble Beach with his arrow pointing up. His ball striking is superb (eighth in SG: Approach & fifth in SG: T2G) and if he can figure out Pebble's tricky Poa greens he should be squarely in the mix this week. He'll be a popular DFS play at this price.

 

Xander Schauffele – $8,700

Dear DraftKings,

Please continue to disrespect Mr. Xander Schauffele in major championships by pricing him at these ridiculously-affordable levels.

Sincerely-
The Entire DFS Community

 

Adam Scott – $8,600

I was one of the few that jumped on the Adam Scott Express back at the Masters, but I expect the train to be overflowing this week, as Scott has looked extremely sharp as of late. The Aussie recorded a T8 at Bethpage and an impressive runner-up finish at the Memorial in his most recent start. Scott's putting has always been something of a running joke around the DFS industry, but he's somehow gained strokes putting in every one of his 2019 starts (the Masters isn't included). When we pair those acceptable putting numbers with his exceptional ball-striking ability (sixth in SG: T2G), Scott is a formidable option at Pebble this week.

 

Matt Kuchar – $8,500

Since making his Anakin Skywalker-like turn to the dark side, Kuchar has unleashed his Darth Vader-level powers on the PGA Tour. Love him or hate him, Kuch is playing the best golf of his career this season and hasn't missed a beat with the exception of a setback at the Memorial a couple of weeks ago. He logged a T6 at the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble and his boringly-good-fairways-and-greens style should once again be effective here. He profiles as a rock-solid DFS option.

UPDATE: It was an impressive bounce-back performance by Darth Kuchar in Canada. He stalled out on Sunday (as he often does), but played very well en route to a top-five. There should be no surprises at Pebble Beach.

 

Tony Finau – $8,400

I don't know if it's fair to term Tony Finau's 2019 season as disappointing, but he's certainly not been the top-10 machine that we came to know and love last year. There have been moments - a top-five at the Masters and a recent runner-up finish at Colonial - but also puzzling lapses - a horrendous Memorial appearance and a T64 at Bethpage. Finau's biggest asset is his distance and this week's Pebble layout doesn't really jump out as a great fit. After massively improving his short game last year, Finau has went backwards in 2019 and stands a miserable 117th in SG: Around the Green. I worry that this layout will put pressure on the weakest parts of Finau's game.

 

Paul Casey – $8,300

I've been on the Paul Casey roller coaster ride this year. The excitement continued recently when the Englishman popped up with the flu at Colonial and was forced to withdraw. Casey has also pulled some gut-wrenching disappearing acts on his DFS backers at both the Players and the Masters this season. The odd stuff aside, you have to like Casey's ball striking ability this week. He's third in the field in SG: T2G, fourth in SG: OTT, & 13th in SG: Approach. We're always concerned about his putting, but Casey handled Pebble's Poa Annua pretty well when he logged a second-place finish at the AT&T Pro-Am earlier this year. Very tempting price and course fit.

 

Phil Mickelson – $8,200

Phil Mickelson continues to defy father time (he's even awesome at Twitter now), but this has to be his "Now or Never, Last Good Chance" U.S. Open moment right? It's painful to talk about Mickelson's history in U.S. Opens, so I'm not going to, but Phil's 48-years-old and his chances to win the major that's always eluded him are dwindling. Pebble Beach offers him a ray of hope...he won the AT&T Pro-Am earlier this year and has played well in both the previous Opens held here. Lefty's range of outcomes this week go anywhere from winning the tournament to finishing last. He's a classic 'Boom or Bust' GPP option.

 

Bryson DeChambeau – $8,100

Bryson DeChambeau's tumble down the salary scale in majors continues this week. He's all the way down to $8,100 due to his game being out of sorts for the past several months. I'm gonna let you in on a little secret...THIS IS WHO BRYSON IS. He's already shown us over the course of his young career that he runs extremely hot or ice cold. There have been some rumblings of off the course issues, but I have no knowledge of that stuff. I think it boils down to Bryson's scientific approach to the game and his swing...if one thing is a little bit off, everything gets thrown into limbo. His talent and ability to have things "click" at any moment make him an intriguing contrarian play with upside, but rostering him will require a leap of faith.

 

Gary Woodland – $8,000

A perpetual underachiever, but his talent makes him almost impossible to ignore. Woodland has produced uneven results this season despite sharp ball striking. He seems to be continually fighting demons with the putter and has lost an average of 2.3 strokes on the greens over his last five tournaments. Woodland ranks just 110th in the field in SG: Putting, a stark contrast to his standing of 13th in SG: Ball Striking. Woodland reminds me a lot of Tony Finau, and while there are big spots that I don't mind relying on either, I don't know that Pebble is the right fit, though he has played well in limited rounds at PB.

 

Louis Oosthuizen – $7,900

I had a little exposure to Louis at the Masters, but I've been walking softly with him since. I'm not sure if his perpetually nagging neck injury is impacting his play or what, but we haven't seen any semblance of consistency out of Shrek. He's always a threat to pop in major championships, especially on tough courses, but he's just not for me this week.

 

Patrick Reed – $7,900

It's been a tough year for Patrick Reed. His game fell off a cliff in mid March, and while the 2018 Masters champion seems to have avoided complete disaster, he hasn't logged a top-10 this year. Reed has never been a player that jumps off the page statistically, even when he's playing well, but his ball striking numbers are particularly brutal as of late (82nd in the field SG: Ball Striking). He's a gritty type of player and U.S. Opens are normally right down his alley (fourth in '18 & T13 in '17), so it's possible that Reed surprises this week, but there's no form to indicate a strong performance is looming. If you have faith that 'Captain America' will show up, you can nab him at next-to-nothing ownership.

 

Marc Leishman – $7,800

After a blistering start to the season, Leishman has been in a downward spiral. His top-five at the recent Memorial was his best outing in roughly six months. The Aussie goes as far as his putter takes him, but the flat stick has been ice cold lately. There were some major signs of life at Muirfield Village, where he gained 3.7 strokes on the greens for his first plus putting week since March. The recently-warm putter puts Leishman on the radar as a guy you can roster at very low ownership.

 

Sergio Garcia - $7,800

I was one of the people that thought Sergio's breakthrough at the Masters might open the floodgates for him in major championships. Instead, it seems to have had the opposite effect, as the Spaniard heads to Pebble riding a streak of seven consecutive missed cuts in majors. It has to be mental right? All the physical tools are there...he's third in the field in SG: Approach and fifth in SG: Ball Striking, but it all goes by the wayside on the big stage. A lot of folks bit on Sergio at the PGA Championship and I think most will be reluctant to sign back up...I know I am.

*UPDATE: Missed the cut in Canada with another uninspiring performance. He doesn't seem to be fully engaged at the moment.

 

Webb Simpson – $7,700

Here's a player I have some interest in. Webb Simpson's game isn't built for some of the massively-long major venues that we regularly see (84th in the field in Driving Distance), but when fairways and greens are the order of the day he deserves to be in the conversation. Simpson is fifth in the field in Fairways Gained and his ability around the greens will be a huge asset this week. He's no stranger to big wins (2012 U.S. Open & 2018 Players) and he's performed extremely well in majors over the last couple of years, even when being at a disadvantage due to his length. I'll be giving Simpson serious consideration this week.

*UPDATE: Webb looked very impressive in Canada. He logged a T2, was on fire with the putter, and scrambled like a beast...a nice recipe for Pebble Beach this week.

 

Kevin Na – $7,700

Man...2019 has been a weird year. Matt Kuchar has become hated and Kevin Na has become cool. Welcome to the 'Golf Twilight Zone'. Na grabbed a victory at Colonial recently after being plagued with injuries for the early part of the season. He promptly did what Kevin Na does and withdrew from the Memorial. All that stuff aside, he's actually intriguing on this course. He's played well in previous trips to Pebble Beach, and like the aforementioned Webb Simpson, his lack of distance won't put him at a huge disadvantage this week. His irons are coming along nicely (10th in SG: Approach) and he's got a gritty short game. A solid salary saver option.

 

Rory Sabbatini – $7,700

Will the real Rory please stand up? Sabbatini might not be on McIlroy's level, but he's had a damn-nice season. Crazy right? Last seen around 2000 wearing a straw cowboy hat that wasn't even cool then, Sabbatini has made 15 of 18 cuts this season with three (!) top-10s since April. He's not doing it with smoke and mirrors, and has actually played some damn-solid golf. He's ninth in this uber-talented field in SG: T2G and he's been solid in all facets of the game. Pebble should be a good fit, but Sabbatini has missed the cut in both of the recent U.S. Opens held here.

 

Henrik Stenson – $7,600

The Iceman continues to be perhaps the best iron player in the world, but is that enough? He's first in the field in SG: Approach, but stands an embarrassing 109th in SG: Putting. His work around the greens is almost as bad (75th in SG: ATG) and his short game has severely limited his upside this year, with his best 2019 finish being a T17 at the Arnold Palmer. I'd like to see better results on the game log, but man...his ball striking is hard to ignore. He's not an 'all-in' play for me, but is definitely someone that I want some exposure to at this price.

*UPDATE: He ranked first in the field in driving accuracy and fourth in SG: Approach at Hamilton. No surprise that he struggled to scramble and lost over two strokes around the green, which is a huge concern as he heads to PB. He did putt well on Hamilton's poa annua, which was unexpected.

 

Bubba Watson – $7,600

I've had mixed results with Bubba this year. He played well at the Masters, but destroyed my lineups at Bethpage. I feel that I can safely get off the merry-go-round this week. Pebble isn't one of his 'safe places' and he's been pretty terrible in U.S. Opens throughout his career. Lots of talent, but this doesn't seem like a great spot for Bubs.

 

Matt Wallace – $7,600

"Scrappy", "gritty", "bulldog"...these are some of the terms that are usually thrown around when discussing Matt Wallace. The Englishman has shown plenty of moxie (there's another one) in his appearances on U.S. soil this year. He logged an extremely impressive T3 at the PGA Championship recently on the strength of a red hot putter (he gained 6.9 strokes putting at Bethpage). It is tough to count on a repeat performance of that caliber at Pebble.

 

Ian Poulter – $7,500

Ian Poulter was kinda Matt Wallace before Matt Wallace. I'm not sure how the original Matt Wallace is priced below the new Matt Wallace, but here we are with Poulter coming in at $7.5k. The English veteran has had a tremendous season since a Ryder Cup year emergence in 2018. Poulter struggled on a massive Bethpage layout at the PGA, but he should find things much more manageable at Pebble. He'll rely on his superb short game (10th in SG: Putting) this week and is a legitimate dark horse contender for a top-10ish type of outing.

 

Shane Lowry – $7,500

The Irishman appears to be rounding into form at the perfect time. After a blistering start to the season that included a win in Abu Dhabi, Lowry cooled down on U.S. soil. However, he's regained his form recently and logged a T3 at Hilton Head and a top-10 in the PGA Championship (Lowry is heavily in the mix at the Canadian Open as I write this). We've seen him have strong performances in U.S. Opens over the past few years with a T9 in 2015 and a T2 in '16. Known as a great 'bad weather' player, Lowry should adapt well to the conditions at Pebble.

*UPDATE: Looked very good en route to a runner-up finish in Canada. Lowry was top-notch both on and around the greens and solid tee to green. This outing will only increase interest in him at Pebble Beach.

 

Brandt Snedeker – $7,500

Sneds is a true horse for the course this week. He has two career wins at Pebble Beach (AT&T Pro-Am) and recorded a top-10 in the '10 U.S. Open. The Nashville native heads to California with his arrow pointing up. Snedeker fired a second-round 60 in Canada and his otherworldy short game (first in SG: Around & 23rd in SG: Putting) should keep him in the mix. His course history will garner plenty of discussion in the DFS industry this week, but you can't argue with his Pebble Beach resume.

*UPDATE: Like the aforementioned Lowry, Sneds significantly raised his profile with his performance in Canada. A second-round 60 will draw tons of attention. This outing combined with his course history at Pebble should make him a really popular value option.

 

Martin Kaymer – $7,400

Zeeee German! Kaymer has a habit of being the best player in the world for a couple of big events about once every 4 to 5 years and if his recent performance at the Memorial is any indication, his time is once again near. It's easy to forget that Kaymer has won two major championships, but his game has that type of upside when things are clicking. Logged a top-10 here in the 2010 U.S. Open and heads to Pebble with his confidence perhaps the highest it's been in years.

 

Matthew Fitzpatrick – $7,400

The young Englishman reminded everyone that he can play with a runner-up finish at the Arnold Palmer earlier this year, but Fitzpatrick has failed to capitalize on any momentum he might have picked up with that outing. He's been making cuts and not much else, as his last top-25 was a T21 at the Masters. The conditions at Pebble should work in his favor and there's some merit to rostering him this week.

 

Kevin Kisner – $7,400

The Kiz is another mid-$7k 'grinder'. A super-solid run of play earlier this year culminated with a win at the WGC Match Play. It was no surprise that he struggled on a massively-long Bethpage layout, but he somewhat-alarmingly hasn't played well on a couple of his go-to tracks like Harbour Town and Colonial in recent starts. Pebble is a better fit for him than most of the other stretched-out major championship venues, but his recent iron play (he's lost over five strokes on approach in two of his last three starts) is a huge concern.

 

Graeme McDowell – $7,300

It's kind of fitting that G-Mac has started playing at a high level again this year. The man from Northern Ireland won the last U.S. Open held at Pebble Beach in 2010 and heads back to Cali with his game trending in the right direction. McDowell won the opposite-field Corales event back in the spring and appears to be a man on a mission with this year's Open Championship being played on his home course of Royal Portrush. Logged a top-20 in the AT&T Pro-Am earlier this year and is another solid value option in this price range.

*UPDATE: Congrats to G-Mac, who qualified for the Open at his beloved Portrush with T8 finish in Canada. How will that impact his mindset this week?

 

Rafa Cabrera Bello – $7,300

Rafa continues the collection of solid players in this price range. Kicked off 2019 in strong fashion before peaking with a T3 at the API in March. The Spaniard has been in lackluster form as of late, but does bring the feel of quality to the table at this price. He finished inside the top-25 in this year's AT&T Pro-Am and just outside of it last year, so he should find some level of comfort at Pebble this week.

 

JB Holmes – $7,300

JB seems content to have went back into hibernation following his surprise win at the Genesis earlier this year. The Kentucky native has drawn the ire of golf viewers for his snail-like pace of play and he hasn't made many friends in the DFS community with his pitiful play since conquering Riviera.

 

Cameron Smith – $7,300

Another player in this price range that started the season in hot form, but has totally fizzled out lately. Smith recorded a win at the Australian PGA Championship and three top-10s earlier this season, but hasn't cracked a top-50 finish since February. The Aussie struggles horribly off the tee and this USGA setup isn't going to be kind to those that routinely miss fairways.

 

Hao Tong Li – $7,200

Hao Tong Li is a name that I continue to put an asterisk beside of during the research process...with a note about his immense talent and bright future. We've seen his potential pop in some major championships, but it feels like he's not quite there yet. I don't believe that Pebble is the best venue for him.

 

Jimmy Furyk – $7,200

Last year it was Ian Poulter that experienced a career renaissance and this year it's Jim Furyk. After putting his playing career on the back burner to focus on his ill-fated Ryder Cup captaincy, the veteran has put together a genuinely impressive 2019 that included a solo second at the Players. He's a former U.S. Open champion that thrives on tough courses...Furyk is third in the field in Fairways Gained and fourth in GIRs Gained.

*UPDATE: Displayed his dependably-solid form in Canada by logging a T27. Ranked first in the RBC field in GIRs, but surprisingly wasn't great on or around the greens.

 

Tyrell Hatton – $7,200

I feel like Tyrell Hatton has PGA Tour-level skill with a weekend golfer's mentality...or maybe it's the other way around. I'm not sure, but I do know that I can't quite put my finger on Hatton's game. He played well in last year's U.S. Open and Pebble is a decent fit for him on paper, but his game just feels too bipolar to put a ton of faith in.

 

Billy Horschel – $7,200

Horschel is a notoriously streaky player that heads to Pebble in the midst of a heater. He's logged two top-25's (PGA & Charles Schwab) and a top-10 (Memorial) in his last three starts and gained a ridiculous 6.1 strokes on approach at Muirfield Village. I'm trying to temper my expectations because Poa Annua has traditionally been Horschel's worst putting surface (-0.13 strokes on Poa), but he did roll it well during the West Coast Swing earlier this year. He's an intriguing GPP option that will probably garner some buzz in the lead up to the tournament.

 

Branden Grace – $7,200

I don't want to gloss over Grace on a setup that should be a good fit, but man, he's been struggling lately...so I'm gonna gloss over him.

 

Luke List – $7,100

Luke List probably isn't very well known to most casual golf fans, but if you are a follower of Pay Mayo, then he's a legend! List rewarded Mr. Mayo's faith with a strong outing at Bethpage Black, but struggled mightily in his follow-up start at the Memorial. He's always statistically intriguing, but he gained 7.2 strokes putting in the PGA Championship, which was his best recorded putting week since the 2013 Wells Fargo! We are very unlikely to get a repeat performance at Pebble this week.

 

Keith Mitchell – $7,100

I love Killa Keith and I was happy to see him log a breakout win at the Honda earlier this year. That said, Rule #1 when considering Keith Mitchell is do not roster him when he's playing on Poa Annua greens.

 

Daniel Berger – $7,100

Berger is an interesting name to see down here. He's flashed some high-level ability during his time on the PGA Tour, but I just don't know that he's fully recovered from a wrist injury that he fought for the majority of 2018. We've seen him trying to get back this year, but I haven't seen enough yet to think his game is in a place that warrants serious consideration this week.

 

Alex Noren – $7,100

The man from Sweden has spent most of 2019 lost in the golf wilderness. There's been some small rays of hope recently, as he at least appears to be improving things a bit. If Noren was simply having struggles with the putter I'd be super interested - as Pebble should theoretically be a good fit for him - but he's lost strokes on approach in six of his last seven starts, which makes it tough to pull the trigger at this course.

*UPDATE: Made the cut in Canada, but looked lost with his irons & putter.

Si Woo Kim - $7,100

Will there be ass shaking going on this week? That is the question with Si Woo. We know there's a ton of talent here, but good luck trying to predict when it will show up. Kim logged a top-five finish in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this year, but it was a particularly hot putting week in which he gained over four strokes on the greens. His iron play has been especially bad in his last two starts, so he would need something to click there in order to have a chance on this Pebble layout, but we've seen him massively improve an area of his game in a week's time before.

 

CT Pan – $7,100

CT Pan picked up his first PGA Tour win at the RBC Heritage earlier this year. The victory seems to have ignited his irons, as he's played well ever since, including a T3 outing last month at Colonial where he gained a MASSIVE 6.3 strokes on approach for the week. The 27-year-old has limited major-championship experience, but I'm somewhat intrigued with him in this spot. Pebble's lack of length should give him a chance to compete here. He's fifth in the field in Scrambling Gained and the courses that he's played well over his career are similar...short, fairways & greens required, ability to scramble needed.

 

Jimmy Walker – $7,000

Rivals Brandt Snedeker for 'Course Horse' status. Walker has a win and multiple top-10s on his Pebble Beach resume. He's also trending in the right direction, as he's logged top-25s at the PGA Championship & Charles Schwab Challenge in his last two starts on the strength of some solid iron play. It's hard to mention Walker without bringing up a Lyme Disease diagnosis that has derailed his career in a big way...this is a guy with six wins on the PGA Tour, including a major championship. His course history and trending form make him an interesting option.

 

Zach Johnson – $7,000

There was a time when I would've been all over Zach Johnson in a spot like this, but ZJ just isn't the same player this year. He's logged one top-25 finish in 2019 and the bread-and-butter aspect of his game is failing him. Johnson has surprisingly struggled with his short game...he ranks just 99th in the field in SG: Putting and 40th in SG: Around the Green. We normally think of ZJ as a solid, fairways & greens, great putter type of player, but that isn't currently the case.

 

Lucas Glover – $7,000

Lucas Glover has only missed three cuts in 2019 and I had him in my DFS lineups on each occasion, so I'm probably not the best judge of Glover's prospects this week. He's a former U.S. Open champion and logged a top-10 at Pebble Beach earlier this year in the AT&T. He's solid statistically and has greatly improved his short game, so he's probably worth a look this week. I just always get him wrong!

 

Thomas Pieters – $7,000

Pieters has an explosive game and an explosive temper. Videos of him losing it on the course are what life is all about! He's kept things under control in his last couple of U.S. starts, logging top-25 outings at both the AT&T Byron Nelson and the PGA Championship (after an epically-bad start to his first round). I love Pieters on courses that allow him to take advantage of his length (and offer a level of forgiveness) off the tee and explosive scoring ability. I don't know that Pebble is a great fit for his game and I don't know that the USGA's setup is a great fit for his temper.

 

Eddie Pepperell – $7,000

It's hard not to like Eddie Pepperell the person, he's obviously a cool, good-natured guy. However, Eddie Pepperell the golfer isn't always a great fit, especially on some of the stretched-out courses that host major championships. This week, we can feel pretty good about considering our favorite Twitter buddy. Pepperell gets a course in Pebble that should be a decent fit for his style and he'll lean on his solid iron play and strong putting ability heavily. He logged a T16 in the 2017 U.S. Open and a T6 in last year's Open Championship, so he can compete in the right conditions.

 

Keegan Bradley – $7,000

Most of you know the deal with Keegan...Tarzan with his irons (second in SG: Approach) and Jane with the putter (112th in SG: Putting *LOL*). My ability to stomach Keegs fluctuates throughout the year and I'm currently in a "Just can't do it" frame of mind with him. Throw a FRL bet on him if you want to get a little exposure.

*UPDATE: Keegan was so Keegan that it hurt in Canada. Fired a first-round 63 to lead after 18, but, as if on cue, he didn't break 70 the rest of the tournament.

 

Best Of The Rest

Byeong Hun An – $6,900:

A statistical stud that ranks ranks 19th in SG: Approach and 12th in SG: Around the Green, but is often undone by his ugly putting (119th in SG: Putting). An has suffered with a neck injury for a portion of the summer, but he looked great in his most recent start at Memorial. An intriguing dart throw if you're entering multiple lineups.

Justin Hardy – $6,900:

Put himself on the map with five international wins over the last 18 months. Opened some eyes with a T12 in his Masters debut. The South African has also logged a top-10 at the Byron Nelson and a made cut at the PGA recently. His iron play is a huge concern (118th SG: Approach), but he does have a slick short game (ninth SG: Putting).

Jason Dufner – $6,900:

You could never tell from his outward appearance, but I bet 'Duff Daddy' is pretty excited as he heads to Pebble Beach this week. The 2013 PGA Champion is finding his groove again and goes to California fresh off a ball-striking clinic at the Memorial, where he gained 6.8 strokes on approach. He's a dangerous player when his irons heat up and he's gained over four strokes on approach in three of his last five starts.

Erik Van Rooyen – $6,900:

The cult of 'EVR' continues to grow! Van Rooyen is a ball-striking prodigy who has played well on the Euro Tour this season and has opened some eyes with his play at the PGA and Canadian Open. He'll be a trendy value play this week, and I get it, but his chunky short game (111th in SG: Around the Green) isn't ideal for this U.S. Open layout. All in all, a fine option at this price.

*UPDATE: Did nothing to discourage his backers in Canada. EVR was fourth in driving accuracy and T23 in GIRs at Hamilton.

Lucas Bjerregaard - $6,800:

Is he 'Brooks Koepka Lite'? Bjerregaard has shown up strong in this year's majors (and the WGC Match Play), but has been pretty lackluster in 'regular' events. I don't know that I love the fit here, as I prefer him on long layouts. Ranks just 113th in SG: Short Game.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat – $6,800:

The 'Barn Rat' holds a soft spot in the hearts of many DFS players. He'll go as far as his putter takes him. Gained an UNBELIEVABLE 14 strokes putting en route to a top-five at the Byron Nelson earlier this year, and I think that might be the most strokes gained putting in a tournament that I've ever seen!

Scottie Scheffler – $6,700:

Earns a mention here due to his fire play on the Web.com Tour, where he recently won. Has played well in a couple of PGA Tour starts this season and stands 16th in the field in SG: Approach. The 22-year-old has played in the last two U.S. Opens and logged a T27 at Shinnecock last year.

Collin Morikawa – $6,700:

A top-flight collegiate player out of Cal that just turned pro last week. Beat a lot of the big boys in the Ohio qualifier to make it into this tournament. A talented player that you will be hearing more from soon.

*UPDATE: Impressive professional debut in Canada. Logged a T14 on the back of some good putting. Ranked 29th in the RBC field in SG: T2G & T18 in driving accuracy.

Viktor Hovland (a) – $6,700:

The best amateur in the field. Hovland logged a T32 at the Masters and has been an absolute stud at Oklahoma State. Won the 2018 U.S. Amateur, he will embark on his professional career very soon and has big-time star potential.

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