DraftKings U.S. Open Preview

This week’s DraftKings U.S. Open preview explains why you need to stop spending on the top players week-week, mixes in a mildly unforced Gladiator reference, reviews general DK approaches with Masters results, Instagram and much more! We’ll start off with sleepers–when I say sleepers I’m referring to players priced in the low 7k, or below range that have under told stories/aren’t obvious names in the golf world. I consider making a cut with these selections a victory. Last week in Memphis, I went two for three with A.J. McInerney and Derek Fathauer staying for the weekend. Here’s a look at my results going back to last season:

  2017 RESULTS   
(Photo: Photosport)

(Photo: Photosport)

Ryan Fox $6,500

The New Zealander is coming off his second best performance of 2018 with a T-8 finish in the Italian Open two weeks ago. Before the PGA Championship last season, I wrote about his potential upside, and royalty-esk athletic bloodline working in his favor where he went on to make the weekend finishing T-54 in just his third career major appearance. Starting in just his fourth career major, and this being his USO debut makes a Fox selection a little scary. But, considering he made the cut in his respective Open/PGA Championship debuts, and the palpable excitement I can feel through his IG account as he tours NYC and goes through practice rounds at the USO, Foxy seems much more like the type who is comfortable no matter where is and just plays golf. I like him as a sneaky GPP play at Shinnecock Hills this week.

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(Photo: Golfdigest.com)

(Photo: Golfdigest.com)

Andrew “BEEEEEEEEEEF” Johnston $6,900

Also one not to shy away from big stages, Johnston’s profile soared in the golf world after contending for the Open Championship in just his third career major appearance two years ago at Royal Troon. As an instant crowd favorite, the ramped up endorsements, and marketing campaigns came fast, and Johnston admittedly, let some of it distract him from what really got him the attention in the first place–being likable AND being really good at golf. After a relatively disappointing 2017 season, the Englishman posted his best finish since 2016 with a solo runner up back in March at the Hero Indian Open on the European Tour where he detailed his restaurant order in this post round two interview. Johnston has kept weekend hotel reservations in both of his USO appearances, and his act at Royal Troon proved he’s capable of much more in majors once he gets past Friday. Just like Maximus fighting in the Coliseum, Beef is sure to give the uppity waspish Southampton locals something they’ve never seen before if he’s around all weekend…

(Photo Golf News Net/No Laying Up)

(Photo: Golf News Net/No Laying Up)

Steve Stricker $6,900

Much more likely to fit in profiling as the mild mannered clean cut old rich white guy, Stricker’s made three consecutive cuts coming into Shinnecock and is 6/7 overall this season with all finishes T-32 or higher. As for majors, it may be insulting at this point to refer to this old bag of bones as a sleeper with the best active streak of 26 consecutive cuts made in major championships on tour. USO resume you ask?…

  • 18/20 in cuts made
  • 12 top 25s, including his last five straight appearances since 2011 so no–they all weren’t from 20 years ago
  • Best recent finish was T-8 in 2013 at Merion where his +6 was only five shots back Justin Rose’s winning score of +1. How cute of the USGA…

Expect the 51 year-old, and his savage demeanor to make it 27 straight at Shinnecock Hills where he missed the cut in 2004.

Core Players

Before the Valspar Championship, I started including my core players to build around in all my lineups. I try to identify targets before prices are released to stay focused, and avoid editing my lineup 2,000 times ten minutes before lock. Last week, it back fired with Chappie and Aphibarnrat flying home Friday. These selections are players that I believe have top 25 floors with top 10 upside, and a reasonable case to win. Here’s the results so far this season:

  2018 CORE PLAYERS   

As I’ve stated over the last few weeks, and, as the results continue to prove out, you don’t need to spend on guys 10k and above to win in DK contests. Especially, in big events when DK’s pricing is extremely soft. Let’s look back at the Masters finishes inside the top 25 for reference:

Masters Results DK $
1 Patrick Reed -15  $    7,700
2 Rickie Fowler -14  $    9,000
Jordan Spieth
-13  $  10,400
4 Jon Rahm
 $    9,300
T5 Cameron Smith -9  $    6,900
Bubba Watson
-9  $    8,700
T5 Henrik Stenson -9  $    7,800
T5 Rory McIlroy -9  $    9,900
9 Marc Leishman -8  $    8,200
T10 Tony Finau -7  $    7,400
T10 Dustin Johnson -7  $  11,400
T12 Charley Hoffman -6  $    7,100
Louis Oosthuizen
-6  $    7,900
T12 Justin Rose -6  $    9,200
T15 Paul Casey -5  $    8,800
Russell Henley
-5  $    7,100
T17 Justin Thomas -4  $  10,800
T17 Tommy Fleetwood -4  $    8,500
19 Hideki Matsuyama -3  $    8,400
T20 Webb Simpson -2  $    7,300
Francesco Molinari
-2  $    7,000
T20 Jimmy Walker -2  $    6,800
T20 Jason Day -2  $    9,800
T24 Branden Grace -1  $    7,400
Adam Hadwin
-1  $    7,200
T24 Si Woo Kim -1  $    6,700
  • Top 10 average price: $8,791
  • Could have easily selected a top lineup without anyone over $9,000

Applying a similar approach for Shinnecock, I leave my fate in the hands of the following five brave men…

(Photo: golf-monthly.co.uk)

(Photo: golf-monthly.co.uk)

1. Brooks Koepka $9,000

Last season’s U.S. Open champ hasn’t missed a weekend since March of 2017! In majors alone, Brooksy is as dependable as LeBron getting to the finals and losing having made 14 straight cuts including 12 top 25s, and six top 10s. Besides, I really just want him in contention on Sunday for more Jena Sims face time on the Fox broadcast, and to hear Joe Buck make bad jokes referencing his gaffe from last year. I discussed him flying slightly under the radar having missed time earlier this year due to a hand injury before the PLAYERS Championship where he finished T-11, and followed that up with a sole runner up finish behind Justin Rose at Fort Worth. I’ll gladly bypass the more household name studs for the much more budget friendly Koepka who offers arguably an identical floor/upside combo compared to any top priced DK player in the field this week.

(Photo: Christer Höglund/TT)

(Photo: Christer Höglund/TT)

2. Henrik Stenson $8,800

The Swede’s form has returned to the rock solid results he’s been accustomed to since being fully recovered from last year’s nagging rib injury. After a little hiccup at the Valspar in March, Stenson’s play has been machine like making six consecutive cuts with all finishes T-26 or higher including his T-5 at the Masters. To put it in even more impressive terms, 21 of his last 24 rounds have been shot under par to a collective 59 under par over the last six (excludes Zurich team event) tournaments overall. His proven track record and experience in majors reeks of the security you want in DFS formats:

  • Only 12 missed weekends (includes one W/D) in 47 career major starts.
  • In 22 major starts since 2012 when he’s been in the prime of his career, Stenny’s compiled 15 top 25s, and seven top 10s including his first major win at the Open Championship in classic fashion over Lefty just two years ago in 2016. And, just two MCs over that same time period…
  • In USOs specifically, he’s 7/11 in made cuts with his best finish being T-4 in 2014 at Pinehurst during the Martin Kaymer boat race.

Having missed his last two weekends in USOs, Stenson and his famous 3-wood appear to be primed to turn that trend around and contend during a stretch of some of the most consistent high level golf of his career.

(Photo: Andrew Redington)

(Photo: Andrew Redington)

3. Lefty $8,600

Speaking of LeBron, Lefty is literally the LBJ of the U.S. Open compiling a ridiculous SIX runner up finishes in USOs including one here at Shinnecock Hills in 2004. Going back to last season’s BMW Championship, I haven’t shut up about my love for the big fella, and I’m not about to stop now in a tournament where he’s missed just three weekends in 26 career appearances. Although success in this year’s biggest events has eluded Phil during his mini renaissance, I think he rises to the challenge and contends for the one major missing from the career Grand Slam in his already illustrious Hall of Fame resume this weekend when he’ll turn 48 years young.

(Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)

(Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)

4. Tommy Fleetwood $8,100

The fourth piece to my million dollar DK puzzle is everyone’s favorite long-haired, bright-eyed Englishman Tom Fleetwood. After a breakout 2017 where he ascended from barely inside the top 100 in world rankings all the way to 17th to finish the year, Fleetwood, and his flowing mane, are quickly becoming one of golf’s most recognizable stars as he’s turned his focus toward playing in more events state side on the PGA Tour during his 2018 season. 2017 also included his best finish T-4 in a major championship at last year’s USO in Wisconsin which gave him the confidence boost necessary for contending in large events which he’s modestly built on this season with a T-7 finish at the PLAYERS, and being on the first page of the leader board through three rounds at Augusta before faltering with a final round of 74. Similar to Rickie, Tommy is on the short list of “best players to not win a major” who will undoubtedly win one, if not multiple, major championships in his career in the many years to come, and unapologetically still rocks the “ee” sound on the end of his name in adult life. Unlike Rickie, he doesn’t blow up your DK budget this week at a much more friendly price. Don’t be surprised if Tommy contends, or even wins at Shinnecock Hills this week.

(Photo: Andy Lyons)

(Photo: Andy Lyons)

5. Marc Leishman $7,800

Last season during the FedEx playoffs, I wrote about how overcoming adversity off the course had brought Leishman a new perspective, and propelled him also to the best season of his professional career by far catapulting him all the way up from 56th to the 12th ranked player in the world. In 2018, he’s done nothing but sustain his newly found high level play with six top 10s already including a solo 9th place finish at the Masters. His career play in USOs has been an inconsistent 3/6 in weekends made without any high place finishes, but he’s a different player coming into this one with a much safer floor. With the lethal combination of an effortless looking swing and pear shaped physique, this could potentially be Australia’s right handed version of Mickelson for years to come as he makes his bid to be just the third of his countrymen to take home America’s National Championship…


Projected Lineup

With those five locked and loaded, that leaves me in very manageable cap position with anyone $7,700 and under available to complete my millionaire lineup, and get me one step closer to retiring to my lake house on DFS winnings where it’s possible I never speak to anyone again. Here is a list of targets in that range I’m considering for the final spot in order of most expensive first:

Name Salary
Patrick Cantlay  $          7,700
Francesco Molinari  $          7,600
Matt Kuchar  $          7,600
Tony Finau  $          7,500
Xander Schauffele  $          7,500
Ian Poulter  $          7,300
Kyle Stanley  $          7,200
Rafael Cabrera-Bello  $          7,200
Brian Harman  $          7,200
Kiradech Aphibarnrat  $          7,200
Luke List  $          7,200
Tyrrell Hatton  $          7,100
Peter Uihlein  $          7,100
Zach Johnson  $          7,100
Adam Hadwin  $          7,000
Si Woo Kim  $          7,000
Chesson Hadley  $          7,000
Andrew Johnston  $          6,900
Steve Stricker  $          6,900
Gary Woodland  $          6,800
Alexander Levy  $          6,800
Doug Ghim (A)  $          6,600
Ryan Fox  $          6,500
Dylan Meyer  $          6,500
Sam Burns  $          6,400

I wrote about Cantlay’s unbelievable story off the course last year, and basically take full credit for his career resurgence this season so I think he owes me a strong performance this week. Molinari and Finau will also be top choices from this group.

Brooks Koepka$9,000
Henrik Stenson$8,800
Phil Mickelson$8,600
Tommy Fleetwood$8,100
Marc Leishman$7,800
Patrick Cantlay/Francesco Molinari$7,700/7,600

Favorite to win: Rickie 18/1

Dark horse to win: Patrick Cantlay 60/1

Reasonable long-shot to win: Adam Hadwin 175/1

Unreasonable long-shot to win: Foxy 350/1

Good luck in Long Island! Follow me on twitter @realBobbyAdcock and be nice when insulting me!


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