Yahoo DFS Golf: U.S. Open Picks and Strategy

Yahoo DFS Golf: U.S. Open Picks and Strategy

This article is part of our Yahoo PGA DFS Picks series.

U.S. Open

Brookline, Massachusetts
The Country Club - Par 70 - 7,264 yards
Field - 156 entrants
Purse - $12.5M

The Preview

It's wild to realize the FedExCup Playoffs arrive just two short summer months from now, as the latter half of the 2021-22 season's major rotation begins this week with the U.S. Open. Hosted by the USGA and their sometimes infamous imagination for implementing the toughest test possible, The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. should provide quite a canvas as the difficult par-70 layout presents stressors in all facets of the game. 

The greatest challenges will arise on and around the greens as viral-worthy thick rough surrounds these tiny putting surfaces, which are already extremely quick, sloping and elevated on their own. As GIR percentages deflate, wedge play around the dance floors becomes key in an effort to scramble for valuable pars, while adequate approach proximity reduces short-side instances in addition to stacking rare scoring opportunities. I think we'll find that landing areas off the tee are a little more forgiving than expected, but driving ability is still going to play a huge factor as well, especially given eight par-4s measure between 450-510 yards. 

As for the weather, wind gusts will definitely serve as another defense, with the AM/PM wave possibly having a slight advantage in Rounds 1 and 2. I'll spare you the LIV talk, let's jump right into why we're all here, trying to identify which of these 156 entrants are destined for glory at our nation's championship. 

Recent Champions 

2021 - Jon Rahm (Torrey Pines)
2020 - Bryson DeChambeau (Winged Foot)
2019 - Gary Woodland (Pebble Beach)
2018 - Brooks Koepka (Shinnecock Hills)
2017 - Brooks Koepka (Erin Hills)
2016 - Dustin Johnson (Oakmont)
2015 - Jordan Spieth (Chambers Bay)
2014 - Martin Kaymer (Pinehurst)
2013 - Justin Rose (Merion)
2012 - Webb Simpson (Olympic Club)

Key Stats to Victory

SG: Off-the-Tee
SG: Around-the-Green
Bogey avoidance

Yahoo Value Picks 

Based on $200 salary cap

Cream of the Crop

Scottie Scheffler - $47

Scheffler's dominance en route to the No. 1 spot in both the Official World Golf Ranking and the FedExCup standings has been one of the more fascinating storylines of the year, but he burned plenty of backers with a missed cut at the PGA Championship, which could help reduce his exposure in lineups by a few percentage points just shy of a month later at the ensuing major on the calendar. He rebounded immediately after the poor weather draw and consequent MC at Southern Hills, finishing solo second at the Charles Schwab Challenge where he paced the field in SG: Tee-to-Green, scrambling and GIR percentage before losing to Sam Burns in a playoff. The scary thing is there's even more room for improvement, given Scheffler hasn't putted all that well since the start of May. You'll hear people mention the concerning state of Jon Rahm's short game or Justin Thomas's occasionally erratic driver, while Scheffler has the least amount of red flags, if any at all.

Xander Schauffele - $44

When projecting DFS values around player trends for any given upcoming event at this point in the year, it's oftentimes fairly useless to consider statistics from tournaments that might be as far back as the PGA Tour's fall series or even the January/February months in the same season. However, Schauffele is fourth behind only the super-elite tier of JT/Rory/Rahm in my 100-round custom model that incorporates 13 different metrics, designed and weighted specifically for this week's action at The Country Club. The reason for this massive sample examination of Schauffele isn't to manipulate the data for touting sake, but rather to hopefully show a correlation between his overall long-term game and his extended success at U.S. Open setups in general, having placed T7-5-T3-T6-T5 in five career starts since 2017 at this major championship. Now if we crop the picture to his last 12 rounds for a more current viewpoint, Schauffele is first in proximity from over 200 yards, fourth in SG: Approach, sixth in SG: T2G and seventh in P4: 450-500 efficiency.

Jordan Spieth - $43

There's ONE player in the entire field who's top-15 in each of SG: Off-the-Tee, SG: Approach and SG: Around-the-Green over their last 24 rounds, and that's Spieth, which brings him to No. 1 in SG: T2G within this sample size. During this recent 24-round stretch that includes a win at the RBC Heritage and runner-up honors at the AT&T Byron Nelson, he's also third in scrambling, ninth in sand saves and 11th in P4: 450-500 efficiency. The two main concerns with Spieth are his 58.32 driving accuracy percentage along with the putting issues that plagued him earlier this year, but he's on the positive side of Good Drives Gained in five of his past seven starts, which is a Fantasy National stat that counts drives where the player either hits the fairway off the tee, or misses the fairway but still manages to hit the green/fringe in regulation. Additionally, he gained five strokes with the putter in his most recent outing at Muirfield Village, which is obviously a promising development in that department. 

Glue Guys

Sungjae Im - $36

Over his last 12 rounds, Im ranks second in bogey avoidance, fourth in SG: T2G, fourth in scrambling, sixth in P4: 450-500 efficiency and 10th in driving accuracy on the way to results of T21-T15-T10 from the RBC Heritage through the Memorial Tournament. That's quite a tasty U.S. Open cocktail, foreshadowing remarkable course fit as the 24-year-old already owns two top-10s and five top-35 finishes over his past seven major championship appearances. From a season-long perspective, he's second in par-4 scoring, fifth in SG: Around-the-Green, eighth in GIR percentage and 11th in total driving.

Shane Lowry - $35

Lowry might be having the best 2022 campaign among those who remain without a win, and that'll combine with an undoubtedly propitious outlook at The Country Club to make the Irishman an auto click for many gamers at just $35. He's collected a trio of top-10 finishes across his past five starts, most recently tying for 10th at the RBC Canadian Open where he ranked third in SG: T2G and T7 in GIR percentage. Lowry is No. 4 in my 24-round custom model, sitting second in bogey avoidance, fourth in scrambling, seventh in sand saves, seventh in SG: APP and ninth in P4: 450-500 efficiency in this span. 

Cameron Young - $32

Young's valiant streak of three consecutive top-3s from the RBC Heritage through the PGA Championship ended with a T60 at the Memorial Tournament in his most recent showing, but the Wake Forest product is now likely the favorite in what is becoming a three-man race for Rookie of the Year honors between himself, Davis Riley and Mito Pereira. Young is second to only Rahm in SG: Off-the-Tee this season, but the former also ranks fifth in scrambling, fifth in SG: ATG and eighth in P4: 450-500 efficiency over his last 24 measured rounds. It's rare to find someone with such elite driving ability also capable of maneuvering his way around the greens at such a high level as of late, especially as a first-timer on Tour.

Bargain Bin

Keegan Bradley - $28

The diehard Boston sports fan will have the lively home crowd in his corner at The Country Club, but he's a solid selection regardless of the New England narrative. Bradley has posted four finishes of T11 or better in seven stroke play events dating back to the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a stretch that includes very intriguing, near-ceiling outcomes like a T2 at the Wells Fargo Championship and a top-5 at THE PLAYERS Championship. Across his last 24 rounds, Bradley is 10th in bogey avoidance, 13th in SG: Off-the-Tee and 16th in sand saves, and he's also had two encouraging spike weeks with the putter since the beginning of May. 

Sebastian Munoz - $22

Munoz has advanced to the weekend in 10 straight starts since the Farmers Insurance Open, but he might be more than just a serial cut-maker, finishing outside the top 40 just twice throughout this run of consistent production. That can go a long way at a discounted $22 price tag, as the reduced salary simply reflects his lousy track record at major championships before he was playing so well. Nonetheless, he's 26th or better in a handful of categories over his past 36 rounds, including SG: APP, SG: OTT, scrambling, bogey avoidance, P4: 450-500 efficiency and proximity from both 175-200 and 200-plus yards. 

Davis Riley - $21

I would've priced Riley right around the $29-$30 mark on this board for a bit more competitive balance, and I think many others would agree with this sentiment as his rostership likely skyrockets with such a potential discrepancy in expected fantasy points per dollar down here. This makes for a difficult fade decision, and it's just really tough to completely leave him on the bench after placing T13 or better in five consecutive starts from the Mexico Open through the Memorial Tournament, so it's okay to ride with the chalk in this spot as the $21 salary allows for more freedom near the top end. This is especially viable on Yahoo, where even the largest GPP contest sizes permit less than 2.5K total entries, so it should be entirely feasible to get different elsewhere in your lineup if you do choose to include a couple highly-rostered players like Riley and the aforementioned Lowry. Back to Riley, he's No. 1 in SG: Approach over his last 12 rounds, and he's also picked up an average of 3.4 strokes with the flat stick per event throughout his past five starts.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Bryce Danielson plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: brycedanielson99, FanDuel: brycedanielson99, Yahoo: RotoBOOM.
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Bryce Danielson
Bryce covers the PGA for RotoWire and provides input on the golf cheat sheet. He also contributes to the coverage for NFL, NBA and other sports.
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