Fantasy Golf Tournament Preview- U.S Open

Pari (HitTheHighDraw)
By Pari (HitTheHighDraw) June 9, 2016 20:29

OVERVIEW
Oakmont is a links style course with no trees and very little water, but unlike last year at Chambers Bay, we won’t see brown fairways and greens. Johnny Miller holds the course record with a 63, and I highly doubt any one will come close to tying the record this week. Justin Thomas played a practice round with his buddies Rickie Fowler & Smylie Kaufman back in May and after the practice round he did an interview with the No Laying Up crew. During the interview he said that he doesn’t believe the USGA will set the course up for the winning score to be under par and thinks the winner of this event will be someone who keeps the ball in the *correct fairway and can scramble their butt off – so keep Total Driving & Scrambling stats in the back of your mind when you’re building your lineups this week. This may be a bit hypocritical, but looking back at the stats from the 2007 US Open, players that hit over 60% of the fairways on average didn’t place very high (with the exception of Jim Furyk -2nd and Scott Verplank – 7th). Instead I’d take a hard look at the greens in regulation stat this week. Fifteen players hit over 60% of the greens in regulation that week and nine of them finished in the Top 15 (Tiger, Toms, Cabrera, Jerry Kelly, Hunter Mahan, Scott Verplank, Justin Rose, Steve Stricker and Bubba Watson).

TOURNAMENT BACKGROUND

o The Course
• Oakmont Country Club
• Par: 70
• Yardage: 7,230
• Greens: Bentgrass
o Location: Plum/Oakmont, Pennsylvania
o Expected scoring: Several players & media members are on record stating they don’t think under par will be the winning score this year. Making par will be a key this week and will feel like birdies to the players. Everyone knows the bogeys are coming, so it’s a matter of who will make the least amount of them. Be prepared to see some low DK scores this week folks.
o Past Champions (dating back to 1983):
• 2007 – Angel Cabrera +5 over Tiger Woods & Jim Furyk (both finished at +6)
• 1994 – Ernie Els -5 won in playoff over Colin Montgomerie & Loren Roberts
• 1983 – Larry Nelson -4 over Tom Watson (-3)

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KEY STATS TO TARGET

o Strong Emphasis – Greens In Regulation, Proximity from rough, Par Breakers, Scrambling, Bogey Avoidance
o Important – SG:Putting, SG:ARG, Driving Accuracy, Sand Saves %, Total Driving

The Picks:

STARS:

Jason Day (DK $12,100)
• US Open History: 9th – 4th – 2nd – 59th – 2nd
• Form: T27 (Memorial), Win (PLAYERS), T5 (Zurich – 54 holes), T23 (RBC Heritage – led thru 36), T10 (Masters)
• Stats: 1st – SG:Putting, 20th – DD, 42nd – GIR, 5th – Birdie Avg, 2nd – Sand Saves, 23rd – SG:T2G, 71st – Total Driving, 40th – Scrambling, 4th – Par Breakers, 3rd – Birdie or Better Conversion %, 25th – Bogey Avoidance
• Other – What’s there to say about Jason Day that hasn’t already been said? Yes he let down some people at The Memorial, but he was close for 75% of the tournament and he had a little dip in his play before winning his at THE PLAYERS. Regardless of all the narrative surrounding him, he’s by far the best statistical fit for this course and will no doubt be a popular play for those looking to choose from the Big 3.

Dustin Johnson (DK $11,000)
• US Open History: 2nd – 4th – 55th – MC – 23rd
• Form:  – 3rd (Memorial) – T12 (AT&T Byron Nelson), T28 (PLAYERS), T4 (Masters), 3rd (Shell)
• Stats: 3rd – SG:OTT, 5th – SG:T2G, 3rd – DD, 51st – GIR, 2nd Birdie Avg, 62nd – Total Driving, 15th – Prox, 169th – Sand Save, 103rd – Scrambling, 47th – SG:Putting, 2nd – Birdie or better, 31st – Bogey Avoidance
• Other – DJ keeps churning out Top 10 after Top 10 (7 total Top 10’s as of writing this), and some may say he’s peaking for this week. He needs to finish in the Top 4-ish to pay off his salary, but if he can take advantage of some of the shorter par 4’s on the course and throw an eagle or two in there, he’ll pay off his price with anything inside the Top 10. I don’t think you can go wrong playing him unless you honestly believe he’ll get in his own way before the 18th on Sunday.

Rory McIlroy (DK $12,000)
• US Open History: 9th – 23rd – 41st – MC – WIN
• Form: 4th (Memorial) – T12 (PLAYERS) – T4 (WF) – T10 (Masters) – T27 (API) – T3 (WGC Cadillac)
• Stats: 1st – SG:OTT, 3rd – SG:T2G, 65th – SG:Putting, 4th – Birdie Avg, 100th – Sand Save, 9th – DD, 83rd – DA, 7th – Total Driving, 26th – GIR, 90th – Prox, 66th – Scrambling, 4th – Birdie or Better, 3rd – Par Breakers, 47th – Bogey Avoidance
• Other – I listed him here because the firmness/softness of the golf course can play a big role in his success this week, and for the price I think DJ is a better value stud than Rory which may seem ludicrous since Rory has actually won a tournament in the last 12 months. Both possess the high Top 10 % rate, but the $900 in savings you get by going with DJ makes roster construction a bit more palatable.

ALSO CONSIDER – Jordan Spieth (DK $11,900) – Spieth is slowly rounding back into the 2015 version of himself and we know he buckles down at majors. For how badly he struggled for the first half of the season, his statistics would indicate he’s still a threat to win this week. Jordan’s key to success this week will be to hit more greens in regulation (he’s still hitting 64% of GIR, but ranks 124th on Tour) and let his putter do the rest.

Rickie Fowler (DK $10,700) – As mentioned above, Rickie played a practice round with his new best buds a month back and even though he’s struggled since #SB2K16 I could definitely see him disappointing everyone who fades him because of how lousy he’s been playing recently. That being said, I think he’s a GPP play who should see about 10-12% ownership this week.

Adam Scott (DK $10,100) – Like Judge Smails from Caddyshack, Scott is no slouch at the game of golf and in this field he may be overlooked. Possessing a strong tee to green game, on a course that may play to his weak putting skills might be the best thing for those looking to roster Scott this week.

 

VALUE PLAYS

Hideki Matsuyama (DK $9,800)
• US Open History: 18th – 35th – 10th
• Form: MC (Memorial) – T7 (PLAYERS), T11 (Wells Fargo), T7 (Masters), T6 (API), T35 (WGC-Cadillac)
• Stats: 9th – SG:OTT, 3rd – SG:APP, 6th – SG:T2G, 64th – DD, 14th – GIR, 3rd – Birdie Avg, 175th – Sand Saves, 49th – Total Driving, 33rd – Prox, 76th – Scrambling, 5th – Birdie or Better, 5th – Par Breakers, 33rd – Bogey Avoidance
• Other – Get over the fact that you were probably burned by Mats at Memorial. If we all knew he had a wedding to attend it may have been enough narrative to avoid the MC, but I digress. Mats is still a statistical marvel and his history at majors in the states supports how well he plays in strong fields. I’m hoping that HidekiBot got the software upgrade after the wedding and helps our teams this week.

Matt Kuchar (DK $8,500)
• US Open History: 12th – 12th – 28th – 27th – 14th
• Form: T4 (Memorial) – T6 (D&D) – 3rd (Byron Nelson) – T3 (PLAYERS) – T42 (Valero) – T9 (Heritage)
• Stats: 30th SG:OTT, 45th – SG:APP, 35th – SG:ARG, 15th – SG:T2G, 19th – SG: Putting, 153rd – DD, 29th – DA, 49th – GIR, 12th – Birdie Avg, 65th – Sand Saves, 72nd – Total Driving, 33rd – Prox, 25th – Scrambling, 14th – Birdie or Better, 15th – Par Breakers, 12th – Bogey Avoidance
• Other – I think it’s safe to say Kuchar is currently in the zone. After disappointing a lot of people in the weak field at Mayakoba Kuchar has rattled off eleven Top 25’s including seven Top 10’s, four of which have come in his last four events and it’s no surprise when you look at how well he’s doing everything. At $8,500 he’s an extreme value and possesses the type of game that should excel at Oakmont. Kuchar should be a core play this week in all formats based on how well he’s trending and his history at US Opens.

Charl Schwartzel (DK $7,500)
• US Open History: 7th – MC – 14th – 38th – 9th
• Form: T11 (Memorial) – 25th (D&D) – 58th (Byron Nelson) – MC (Masters) – T13 (Shell) – WIN (Valspar)
• Stats: 64th – SG:OTT, 6th – SG:APP, 33rd – SG:ARG, 9th – SG:T2G, 86th – SG:Putting, 59th – DD, 18th – GIR, 17th – Birdie Avg, 126th – Total Driving, 40th – Prox, 39th – Birdie or Better, 23rd – Par Breakers, 18th – Bogey Avoidance
• Other – Charl was pretty chalky at Memorial where he was $8,000 before the event started. This week he sees a drop in price and has a fresh T11 next to his name for his last tournament played. If he’s not 30% owned this week I’ll be shocked. All that being said, his game seems extremely suited for this course, he’s won a major before and is playing some really solid golf this year so fading him might not be a wise decision this week in both cash games and GPP’s.

ALSO CONSIDER –

Bubba Watson (DK $9,500) – Bubba finished 5th here in 2007 as a relative unknown averaging 302 yards off the tee, hitting 61% of greens in regulation (a stat he’s 6th in this year at 70.79%) and averaging 29.5 putts per round. We all know Bubba is quirky and some may say that quirkiness is what makes him a fade this week, but he’s playing really well this year (10/10 cuts made, four Top 25’s, three Top 10’s including a win) and shouldn’t be ignored.

Sergio Garcia (DK $8,900) – Sergio’s missed cut in 2007 and his win in his last event at the Dean & Deluca may result in an ownership reduction for a strong links player. Statistically he does a lot of the right things very well (9/10 cuts made, 1st in GIR, 11th T2G, 12th in Par Breakers) he just needs to have some confidence in his putter.

Patrick Reed (DK $8,400) – Whether you like him as a person or not, Reed deserves a look this week. 15/17 cuts made including ten Top 25’s, nine of which are Top 10’s (that’s just crazy upside you can’t ignore). The thing about Reed is he’s playing well on courses where you’d think he wouldn’t and that’s directly related to his SG:ARG where he ranks 1st overall. Being able to gain strokes on the field around the green is an extremely under-rated stat (since bombing and putting get all the credit) that should be taken into account on a course where scrambling is important. He’s also 4th in Bogey Avoidance which helps bolster my confidence in Reed this week.

Brandt Snedeker (DK $8,000) – Snedeker has been very inconsistent this year, which means he’s a GPP recommendation only this week. Sneds is 12/17 cuts made, eight Top 25’s including five Top 10’s and a win, but the majority of those finishes came before the Masters (where he also finished T10). This might be the perfect spot to roll out a few Sneds lineups since he’s not getting as much buzz in the industry as he usually would prior to the US Open.

 

DEEP DIVERS

Webb Simpson (DK $7,000)
• US Open History: 46th – 45th – 32nd – WIN – 14th
• Form: T11 (Memorial) – T3 (D&D) – MC (WF) – T66 (RBC Heritage) – T29 (Masters) – T68 (API)
• Stats: 88th – SG:OTT, 20th – SG:APP, 21st – SG: ARG, 21st – SG:T2G, 37th – Birdie Avg, 37th – Sand Saves, 84th – Total Driving, 19th – Prox, 53rd – Scrambling, 32nd – Birdie or Better, 28th – Par Breakers, 94th – Bogey Avoidance
• Other – Don’t look now, but Webb Simpson has some really good form coming into the US Open (a major he’s won before). Since switching his putting grip he’s finished T11 & T3, one was a strong field, the other wasn’t and his weakness of SG:Putting has improved dramatically as he was .936 SG:P at the Dean & Deluca where he was -9 on the Par 4’s and -4 on the Par 5’s. Webb’s strength has always been his tee to green game, and now that the putter is coming along, I think it really makes him a solid play this week.

Charley Hoffman (DK $6,700)
• US Open History: MC – 45th – 45th
• Form: T42 (D&D) – T12 (Byron) – MC (PLAYERS) – T11 (Zurich) – WIN (Valero) – T14 (Heritage)
• Stats: 30th – SG:OTT, 59th – SG:APP, 35th – SG:T2G, 61st – SG:Putting, 90th – Birdie Avg, 39th – DD, 128th – Total Driving, 14th – Rough Prox, 59th – Scrambling, 66th – Birdie or Better, 78th – Par Breakers, 106th – Bogey Avoidance
• Other – You may be scratching your head at this pick, but hear me out. Charley is an above average tee to green player (think Older/Poor Man’s Russell Knox) who plays well in windy conditions (specifically Texas). His bogey avoidance may scare some players off, but his rough proximity and scrambling numbers are what’s really drawing my attention. I think last year’s US Open at Chambers Bay played more like the British Open (where Hoffman hasn’t had any success) and this year should play more like traditional Opens (where he’s primarily made cuts) and he’s playing much better this year than he has in a while.

Lucas Glover (DK $6,200)
• Course History: MC – MC – MC – MC – 42nd
• Form: T33 (Memorial) – MC (D&D) – MC (Byron) – 8th (WF) – T31 (Zurich) – T33 (Heritage) – T57 (Shell)
• Stats: 17th – SG:OTT, 36th – SG:APP, 24th – SG:T2G, 2nd – GIR, 64th – Birdie Avg, 34th – DD, 3rd Total Driving, 25th – Prox, 19th – Rough Prox, 71st – Scrambling, 116th – Birdie or Better, 65th – Par Breakers
• Other – We’re diving down deep if Lucas Glover shows up in this column. He’s mentioned here mainly because of his tee to green game, and being a former US Open champion. If you don’t feel comfortable running him out due to his poor statistical fit I wouldn’t blame you at all, but just know all he needs is a warm putter to make a run for a couple days and boost your GPP lineups.

ALSO CONSIDER –

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (DK $6,500) – Barnrat’s a sneaky ball striker who played well at the Masters and has played pretty well in strong fields this year. Coming off of two missed cuts doesn’t really concern me, but this suggestion is more of a “one off” GPP suggestion as I think most DFS players will opt for guys like Kevin Na ($6,600) or Chris Kirk ($6,600) if they’re looking for relief around this price range. Retief Goosen ($6,300) – Goosen’s a seasoned vet on Tour and a multiple major winner who knows how to not let things get out of control in a hurry. I see him as a cut maker who has some legitimate Top 25 upside this week. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s been extremely consistent this year at making cuts and comes in at a huge discount this week.

Andrew Johnston ($6,100) – BEEF is a winner on the European Tour (currently sits 16th in the Race to Dubai) this year who’s fresh off two consecutive Top 12’s at the BMW PGA & Nordea Masters. His form is pretty solid this year as he’s gone through a few stretches of consecutive made cuts on some pretty difficult courses. Statistically he’s a pretty strong candidate for being a sleeper this week as he hits 73% of greens in regulation and hits fairways at 65% a clip. This is a great opportunity to grab a good/cheap player who’s fairly unknown in DFS circles.

 

GPP PLAYS

Branden Grace (DK $8,700)
• Course History: 4th – MC – 51st
• Form: 57th (PLAYERS) – T9 (Valero) – WIN (Heritage) – MC (Masters) – T37 (Valspar) – T23 (WGC Cadillac)
• Stats: 26th – SG:OTT, 47th – SG:APP, 61st – SG: ARG, 19th – SG:T2G, 61st – DD, 36th – GIR, 70th – Birdie Avg, 17th – Sand Saves, 12th – Rough Prox, 42nd – Scrambling, 84th – Birdie or Better, 66th – Par Breakers, 28th – Bogey Avoidance
• Other – Grace’s stats are a bit skewed since he only has 22 measured rounds, but he’s a better links player than people think. Prior to his win at the RBC Heritage, I had him penciled in as someone to keep an eye on for Oakmont; his finish at Valero solidified my stance and the fact that he’s not getting much buzz yet makes me feel even better about this selection.

Russell Knox (DK $7,600)
• Course History: 45th (2013)
• Form: 64th (Memorial) – T19 (PLAYERS) – T2 (Heritage) – MC (Masters) – T56 (Valspar) – 27th (WGC Cadillac)
• Stats: 70th – SG:OTT, 53rd – SG: APP, 64th – SG:ARG, 47th – SG:T2G, 10th DA, 4th – GIR, 38th – Birdie Avg, 35th – Total Driving, 11th – Prox, 73rd – Rough Prox, 21st – Scrambling, 111th – Birdie or Better, 48th – Par Breakers, 2nd – Bogey Avoidance
• Other – Knox only has 37 measured rounds, but I think that’s enough of a sample size to put some stock into his stats this week. He’s been really good tee to green on both the PGA & European Tour this year, and his total and proximity from the rough ranking is really catching my eye which shouldn’t be a big surprise considering he’s considered a really good ball striker. Putting comes and goes, so lets hope he brings a good putter to Pennsylvania this week and not the one that’s got him ranked outside the Top 100 in Birdie or Better.

ALSO CONSIDER – Danny Willett ($9,600) – The more I think about it, the more I like Danny for GPP’s. Given where he’s priced and the thought that most people will think “he can’t win the first two majors of the year” makes me think this is a very good opportunity to take advantage of a highly skilled player at a reasonable price. Danny’s played well on both tours this year and is considered a ball striker who doesn’t make big numbers, which is a definite plus this week.

JB Holmes (DK $7,400) – Had a solid finish at The Memorial which indicates things may be clicking again for JB, he also has some history on this course where he was a stroke play medalist at the US Amateur.

Marc Leishman (DK $7,300) – Leishman is very sound statistically and continues to give players who roster him cut sweats on Fridays. At this price I’m more than willing to give him another shot at glory. Leishman’s putting and scrambling are his strengths (historically) and he has to be able to put it all together for four rounds, right?

 

Thanks for reading and good luck this week from the FGI team!

– Pari, (@hitthehighdraw)

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Pari (HitTheHighDraw)
By Pari (HitTheHighDraw) June 9, 2016 20:29

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