Major weeks are always fun in fantasy golf. The stakes are higher. You get to pick from the best players in the world. Anything can happen.
The latter is especially true this week at Chambers Bay, a course that most of the U.S. Open field had never seen up until a few weeks ago. Unlike the Masters, where you can seek players with good track records at Augusta National, there are very few players who have ever played a competitive round at Chambers Bay, which opened in 2007 and hosted the 2010 U.S. Amateur.
But instead of putting stock in the players who played in that U.S. Am back in 2010 – sorry, Byeong-Hun An – look at players who are currently showcasing good form and have proven the ability to contend at major championships.
You have to start with Rory McIlroy, a four-time major champion and the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer. Sure, he’s expensive on DraftKings at $13,000, but you can’t go wrong with McIlroy this week.
Jordan Spieth ($12,600) and Justin Rose ($11,500) are two more popular picks this week and Spieth’s caddie, Michael Greller, used to loop at Chambers Bay. Expect Dustin Johnson ($11,300), Henrik Stenson ($10,000) and Jason Day ($9,900) to be in a lot of lineups, as well.
As for Tiger Woods ($8,600), he’s a risky option at a U.S. Open, especially considering how he’s been hitting it off the tee lately. Sure, Chambers Bay has some big fairways, but Woods doesn’t look like someone ready to contend at a major right now.
Looking for some cheap options? Consider British Amateur champion Bradley Neil at $5,100 or Florida State sophomore Jack Maguire at $5,400.
Phil Mickelson ($10,200): Current form trending in right direction. Three top 5s in last five starts and looked good last weekend in Memphis.
Henrik Stenson ($10,000): Always a threat and has posted nine top 20s in last 10 starts.
Hideki Matsuyama ($8,900): Scored over 100 points in two of last four starts and seems to be in position each start to make some noise. And at that price, he is a must take.
Francesco Molinari ($7,200): Good price. Three top 5s in last four starts including a third at Memorial.
Danny Willett ($6,800): Finished T-45 at last year’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst. T-6 at recent Irish Open and his game should do well at Chambers Bay.
Alex Noren ($6,600): Value here: Ranked No. 10 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.
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JIM MCCABE (GOLFWEEKMCCABE)
(Last week: 214.5 points; Season total: 6,747.5)
Adam Scott ($10,700): Has made the cut in 15 straight majors, finishing top 15 a dozen times in that stretch.
Phil Mickelson ($10,200): Not only has all the motivation in the world, he has all the shots for Chambers Bay.
Bubba Watson ($9,400): Everything with Bubba is about comfort zone and the feeling is, he’ll be quite content where he can hit it forever and use his creativity.
Chris Kirk ($7,400): Bargain price, me thinks, because his ability to chip the golf ball is superb, he has won four times, and he played well at Pinehurst last summer.
Francesco Molinari ($7,200): Solid ball-striker, has made the cut in each of his last six majors.
Bradley Neil ($5,100): All the cash I have left. Play hard, young man.
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JEFF BABINEAU (GOLFWEEKBABS)
(Last week: 384 points; Season total: 6,853)
Justin Rose ($11,500): Didn’t close the deal at Memorial, but played well, and will be hungry to add his second U.S. Open this week. Plenty long and a good thinker on the course.
Dustin Johnson ($11,300): Long, strong and far too talented not to have a major on his resume. A good week driving the ball and he could separate himself here.
Patrick Reed ($8,500): Great value here, knows the golf course from the 2010 U.S. Amateur and is fearless, which is a nice disposition for this track.
Ben Martin ($6,400): First U.S. Open since 2010, but getting more and more comfortable at the bigger events. Won for the first time on the PGA Tour in 2014-15 and has the game to contend again.
Ryo Ishikawa ($6,200): Counting a little on his worldly experience here, hoping he likes the quirkiness of the week ahead, and believe he’s getting more comfortable with his game this season. Competing in his fourth U.S. Open, so he knows the drill.
Cheng-Tsung Pan ($6,000): He may be just diving into the pro ranks, but he’s a seasoned player with U.S. Open experience – this will be his third Open start, and he made the cut at Merion. He brings a little local knowledge into Chambers Bay, having played collegiately at Washington. Runner-up at the recent NCAAs.
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ADAM SCHUPAK (GOLFWEEKSCHUPAK)
(Last week: 247 points; Season total: 7,094
Justin Rose ($11,500): Great form since Masters. He’s missed having the U.S. Open trophy on his mantle for the past year.
Phil Mickelson ($10,200): Chambers Bay has little rough and requires creativity and imagination. This is the U.S. Open setup made for him to complete the career grand slam.
Bubba Watson ($9,400): Did you see the putt Bubba made during his practice round? He’s having fun, and this course is going to fit his eye.
Brendon Todd ($6,900): Wide fairways will suit his style of play and he’s a world-class scrambler when he needs to be. Got a taste of U.S. Open pressure at Pinehurst too.
George Coetzee ($6,300): The South African has had a stellar year around the globe. Time for him to let the rest of the world know he can play with the best.
Sebastian Capellan ($5,600): The second-year pro is good value here. I like his game and need a bargain pick.
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BRENTLEY ROMINE (BROMINE20)
(Last week: 246 points; Season total: 7,231.5)
Phil Mickelson ($10,200): A runner-up six times in this tournament, Lefty has to win one eventually, right? He played well in Memphis and I have a good feeling about him this week.
Henrik Stenson ($10,000): Stenson has been a major favorite for years, it seems, but has yet to get it done. He was T-4 at Pinehurst last year and I think he’ll be somewhere around that this year.
Bubba Watson ($9,400): Watson has documented his U.S. Open prep on Twitter and although it looks like he’s having a lot of fun out there, I think he’ll be focused come tournament time.
Jim Furyk ($8,700): Furyk is the top-ranked player in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings and he always seems to show up in U.S. Opens.
Cheng-Tsung Pan ($6,000): Was so close to winning the NCAA Championship this season. Now a pro, Pan is very underrated in my opinion. His game is ready for the PGA Tour and he’s playing a home game of sorts this week – although born in Taiwan, he attended the University of Washington and lives in Seattle.
Sam Horsfield ($5,600): OK, so I’ll likely get some emails from my co-workers for this pick. Yes, I’ve covered Sam for years, at U.S. Juniors, at AJGA tournaments, at sectional qualifying last week, but I wouldn’t pick him here unless I thought he had a chance to make the cut. He does and so I’m picking him.
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NICK MASUDA (NICKMASUDA)
(Last week: 315 points; Season total: 6,300)
Rickie Fowler ($10,800): Finished in the top 5 at every major in 2014, won the Players Championship in May and seems determined to shed the fashion-first stereotype, as his wardrobe is toned down so that the focus is on his play.
Bubba Watson ($9,400): Unique course, unique personality. Watson’s game is as quirky as they come, and his distance could aid him this week, especially with the way he is able to move the ball. While the Green Jackets are nice, Watson is more than a one-trick pony.
Brooks Koepka ($7,800): Making this pick based only on his length. If he keeps it straight, he’ll be able to attack pins with short irons, which others won’t be able to do.
Ryan Moore ($7,500): Knows the course better than anyone, and that will mean a lot this week as most guys are learning as they go.
Webb Simpson ($7,500): The 2012 U.S. Open winner, so he has the mettle to hang tough when things don’t go great. Also can smack the ball pretty well off the tee and is one of the best putters out there.
Russell Henley ($6,900): How a multiple winner on Tour is this cheap, I don’t know, but this is a great value pick. Henley is much like Simpson – deceptively long and can be deadly with the putter. Good combo at a U.S. Open.
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ALEX MICELI (GOLFWEEKMICELI)
(Last week: 189 points; Season total: 6,846.5)
Phil Mickelson ($10,200): Perfect course for Phil to win his first U.S. Open.
Bubba Watson ($9,400): Likes the golf course and has played numerous rounds at Chambers.
Jim Furyk ($8,700): Length will not be an issue for Furyk and he plays well in U.S. Opens.
Louis Oosthuizen ($7,600): If he is healthy, Oosthuizen is one of the best links players on the planet.
Kevin Kisner ($7,000): He has the hot hand, which is the best reason to take him.
Michael Putnam ($6,300): No one in the field has played at Chambers more than Putnam.
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Here’s how the scoring works in DraftKings:
Per hole scoring
Double eagle: 20 points
Eagle: 8 points
Birdie: 3 points
Par: 0.5 point
Bogey: -0.5 point
Double bogey or worse: -1 point
Tournament finish scoring
1st: 30 points
2nd: 20 points
3rd: 18 points
4th: 16 points
5th: 14 points
6th: 12 points
7th: 10 points
8th: 9 points
9th: 8 points
10th: 7 points
11th–15th: 6 points
16th–20th: 5 points
21st–25th: 4 points
26th–30th: 3 points
31st–40th: 2 points
41st-50th: 1 point
Streaks and bonuses
Streak of three birdies or better (maximum of one per round): 3 points
Bogey-free round: 3 points
All four rounds of fewer than 70 strokes: 5 points
Hole-in-one: 10 points
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(Players listed in order of Golfweek/Sagarin ranking)