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US Open: DraftKings DFS Preview

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

After one of the best three-person battles Sunday for the RBC Canadian Open, Rory McIlroy was able to outlast Tony Finau and Justin Thomas to be crowned the champion. We focus on this week’s tournament, the 122nd U.S. Open. This year’s U.S. Open is played at the historic Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. TCC was previously home to U.S. Amateurs, the Ryder Cup, and U.S. Opens. The last time TCC hosted the U.S. Open was in 1988, when the golf world was treated to an 18-hole playoff where Curtis Strange defeated Sir Nick Faldo.

Like other Open courses, TCC will be a continuous test of will and guile. The rough will be thick and continue to thicken throughout the week, missing fairways will not only hurt the golfer’s chances of hitting the green in regulation, but it puts big scores in play. The greens here are small and are the second smallest, only larger than the greens at Pebble Beach.

Scottie Scheffler has the honors of being this week’s highest-priced golfer, and for a good reason. The Masters champion continues to play great golf; even when his name is not at the top of the leaderboard come Sunday evening, he is in the mix.

Here are the key metrics I used for the core of my models:

  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Around the Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Driving Accuracy
  • Driving Distance
  • Sand Saves


Rory McIlroy ($10,500): Despite the chalk, the answer is McIlroy. Despite the win last week, the answer is McIlroy. If you can get past the potential ungodly ownership, McIlroy is a name that should be in the bulk of your lines this week. McIlroy is my top course fit and will be rostered in most of my action. When building my primary model, he’s third behind Scheffler and Justin Thomas.

The key for McIlroy this week is to get off to a hot start. However, from a daily fantasy perspective, even if he starts slow as he did at the Masters, he will be well worth the price if he finishes strong. This season he already has five top-10 finishes, including wins at the CJ Cup and the Canadian Open.

McIlroy is accurate off the tee and a great ball striker. He shouldn’t be fazed by the thick rough, and small greens. He’s my top pick to win this week.

Optimal Lineup (Via NBC EDGE+ Tools):

Justin Thomas ($10,900)

Shane Lowry ($9,000)

Tony Finau ($8,200)

Corey Conners ($7,900)

Harris English ($7,400)

Andrew Novak ($6,600)

Sam Burns (8,300): It’s almost scary that I can play Burns at $8,300 when playing a guy like Dustin Johnson costs $9,400. Burns has had a great start to the season with three wins and excellent play. He’s coming off back-to-back top-5 performances with a win at the Charles Schwab. He’s sneaky good at this price range.

Where I sometimes get lost backing Burns is when he’s having a tough time off the tee, and his approach play is suffering. Leading up to the U.S. Open, neither of those seem to be a worry. Over his last five events, his numbers were just off the page, gaining strokes everywhere. SG: OTT +0.7, SG: APP +4.5, SG: ARG +0.9 and SG: P +3.7. At his price, it’s too low to pass up.

Matt Fitzpatrick ($8,500): Since favorites generally dominate the U.S. Open, I will give my three top favorites and one sleeper. Fitzpatrick’s ownership will be interesting this week. Many people were ready to run to the window and bet the 2013 U.S. Amateur winner. After his blazing start at the Canadian Open, it was a forgone conclusion that he would yield the highest ownership. However, after three straight average rounds, many people cooled on Fitzpatrick. DFS has this weird habit of not rostering a guy because they think everyone else will be rostering them. I hope that’s what we get with Fitzpatrick.

Despite his projected ownership, Fitzpatrick has done nothing but play exceptionally. He consistently finishes inside the top-10 and rarely lets one round ruin his entire tournament. It helps that Fitzpatrick is a good ball striker, excellent off the tee, and has a mean bunker game.

Editor’s Note: Tune in to live U.S. Open coverage all week long across NBC, USA Network and Peacock. Click here for more details and a breakdown of daily coverage windows showcasing the action from The Country Club.

Tread Lightly

Dustin Johnson ($9,400): Despite joining LIV, it’s not like we are getting a new Johnson this week. Before his departure, I wasn’t particularly high on him. He often found himself in the “tread lightly” category. Outside of his 9th and 12th place finishes at the Players and the Masters, he hasn’t played that well. Johnson has been awful putting, and it’s not like we saw significant improvements in his LIV start. Playing in a major always motivates, but I’m not sure Johnson is who I want to roster at that price when Jordan Speith is just $100 more expensive.


Luke List ($7,000): I remember looking through the pricing on DraftKings and seeing List was at $7,000, telling myself that I was ready for pain. List is a guy who often finds themselves high in models because the things he does well, he does exceptionally. His flat stick often keeps him from being a consistent top-20 guy and a guy who is constantly battling for cuts. List is a great ball striker and has no problem finding greens in regulation. Poor putters often find themselves getting a bit of an added boost in the putting category on smaller greens. He could surprise some this week, and it’s a party I want to be a part of.