Fantasy golf expert picks: 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy golf expert picks: 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills

PGA Tour

Fantasy golf expert picks: 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills

Need help with your fantasy-golf lineups for this week’s U.S. Open? Our fantasy-golf experts are here to help.

From picks to win to DraftKings bargains to players to avoid, here are some options for you to consider:

• • •

Jeff Babineau

  • Projected champion: Dustin Johnson. Man doesn’t have a pulse, has gone 1-1 in the last two U.S. Opens – was actually a 12-foot eagle putt from going 2-0 – and is playing better than most people realize right now (Players-Nelson-Memorial). He’s the man.
  • Also like: Jordan Spieth. The U.S. Open is all about grit, and he has plenty. And Louis Oosthuizen. Has had a steady year, played very well at The Players, and seems to show up big at the big events.
  • Sleeper: Shane Lowry. Don’t forget, the Irishman was right there all the way at Oakmont a year ago, and this is the time of year he shines. Played nicely at BMW and Memorial.
  • DraftKings bargain: Webb Simpson. He knows what it takes to win an Open (having done it five years ago) and has only missed the cut once, that being last year at a soaked Oakmont course.
  • Fade: Si Woo Kim. Huge win at Players has been followed by a lot of spotty play. It’s clear he’s not fully healthy.

• • •

Geoff Shackelford

  • Projected champion: Jordan Spieth. Fine play at 2011 U.S. Amateur here with a 69 in qualifying and three match-play wins. That combined with signs of consistency returning and putting him on the pure greens at Erin Hills make him too dangerous.
  • Also like: Jason Day seems to be finally back and sitting on a big week, while Rickie Fowler has been steady for all but two weeks, and can handle the winds and length here.
  • Sleeper: Bryson DeChambeau sounds very confident after sectional qualifying, and at a course where he made match play in the 2011 U.S. Amateur.
  • DraftKings bargain: Billy Horschel ($6,700) is a steal given his resurgent form. Decent U.S. Open track record.
  • Fade: Rory McIlroy. He’ll be rusty and he’s not usually a fan of windy, links-style courses.

• • •

Brentley Romine

  • Projected champion: Dustin Johnson. Drives it long, hits greens and make putts – the perfect formula for a U.S. Open champion. Can’t pick against the best player in the world.
  • Also like: Paul Casey, Kevin Kisner and Alex Noren. I like the usual suspects, guys such as Jordan Spieth and Jason Day, but these are three guys that are playing good golf and have the all-around games to win a U.S. Open.
  • Sleeper: Ben An. Four straight top 25s entering this week. Lots of talent.
  • DraftKings bargain: Marc Leishman ($6,700). Solid all-around player who has started playing good golf again after a down stretch following his win at Bay Hill.
  • Fade: Bubba Watson. His down year doesn’t give me any confidence in him at Erin Hills.

• • •

Kevin Casey

  • Projected champion: Rickie Fowler. Think Erin Hills really fits his game – this course deals a lot in positioning, and precision on approach play is paramount. Fowler is a lot more of a precision player than he gets credit for and his approach play has maybe moved to elite level in 2017. Fowler’s missed two of his last four cuts, but his past nine events include a win, two other top-3s and six total finishes of T-16 or better. He had a chance at the Masters, it’s about time Fowler comes through in contention at a major.
  • Also like: Adam Scott, Jason Dufner and Thomas Pieters. Scott has been playing sneaky good golf and should eat this course up with his game (and he’s also a good wind player, a key at an often breezy Erin Hills layout). Dufner recently won and Erin Hills will be a boon for his unbelievable precision. Pieters is more wild but boasts enough control and a lot of firepower. His play has already been inspiring in 2017.
  • Sleeper: Steve Stricker. Why not? His play at sectionals was fantastic and not an aberration – Stricker was T-16 at Augusta and T-7 at Colonial. Knows Erin Hills maybe better than anyone in the field and will have massive crowd support.
  • DraftKings bargain: Martin Kaymer ($7,000). The German has cooled off lately (T-69, MC in last two starts) but has mostly boasted a strong year. Kaymer can pop up without warning, too, and just love the way Erin Hills could fit his unimpeachable tee-to-green game. Also helps that many shots around the green will be from short grass, by far where Kaymer has performed best on short game shots in 2017.
  • Fade: Jason Day. His game has found form but think Erin Hills plays away from a lot of his strengths. The Aussie has performed at majors with bad course fits for him before (Merion, Oak Hill) but don’t see it happening this time.

• • •

David Dusek

  • Projected champion: Jon Rahm. The only thing holding Rahm back from winning majors at this point is a lack of experience on the championship courses. But almost no one has experience at Erin Hills, so that won’t matter at this U.S. Open. Rahm drives it great, putts it well and has tons of confidence.
  • Also like: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Alex Noren. The No. 1 player in the world is the game’s best driver and an elite iron player. He has also finished T-4, T-2 and 1st in his last three U.S. Opens. Meanwhile, Spieth, the 2015 U.S. Open winner, has regained his form from the fairway and should make a ton of putts on the smooth bent grass greens at Erin Hills. Finally, while Noren is not a household name in the United States (yet), he is up to No. 8 in the OWGR, has a big-time game and just won the European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship.
  • Sleeper: Brendan Steele. After a win at the Safeway Open last October, Steele tied for sixth at The Players. He is 20th in strokes gained-tee to green, so if he catches a hot putting week, he could contend.
  • DraftKings bargain: Lucas Glover ($6,700). The 2009 U.S. Open champ has been coming out of his slump over the last year and is once again one of the PGA Tour’s elite ballstrikers (19th in strokes gained-tee to green). His putting is much improved, too, and his superior iron game will give him plenty of birdie chances.
  • Fade: Bubba Watson. That T-6 at Memorial was solid, but the two-time Masters champ is still ranks 175th in greens in regulation and 168th in strokes gained-putting. At a U.S. Open, that’s not how you get it done.

• • •

Gerry Ahern

  • Projected champion: Dustin Johnson. The defending U.S. Open champ has cooled off considerably of late, missing cuts at The Players and Memorial. But wide-open Erin Hills will reinvigorate Johnson to put on a display of power that will allow him to separate from the field.
  • Also like: Rickie Fowler. Fowler is due for a major breakthrough and has shown flashes of late with a T-2 at the Memorial, a course not really suited to his game. The weather conditions in Wisconsin should be to his liking. He’s a wind beater.
  • Sleeper: William McGirt. McGirt was the first-round leader at Augusta and has multiple top-10 finishes in 2017. Confidence growing for the workman-like player.
  • DraftKings bargain: Martin Kaymer. The 2014 U.S. Open champion has what it takes to contend. His best finish in 2017 has been T-4 at the Honda Classic. He was T-16 this year at the Masters.
  • Fade: Jon Rahm. A puzzling 82 in the third round of The Players is confounding. So much talent still simmering.

• • •

Dan Kilbridge

  • Projected champion: Matt Kuchar. We know he’s not the obvious choice on a monster track playing nearly 7,700. But keeping it in play and taking smart risks served him well at lengthy Chambers Bay, where he finished T-12 in 2015. His game is currently on point and, in case you haven’t noticed, veterans looking for their first major victory have fared quite well over the last 12 months.
  • Also like: Jordan Spieth. Seems like the Spieth buzz has been quiet of late. Almost too quiet. His game is right where he wants it to be after strong showings at the Dean & DeLuca and at the Memorial. We’ll take a pinch of Jason Dufner as well. He’s been trending up all year and can keep it in play on a course where a ton of guys will drive themselves out of contention.
  • Sleeper: Shane Lowry. He’s long enough off the tee and one of the more accurate drivers in the game, which should bode very well here. Decent putter. Two straight top-10 finishes at the U.S. Open. Loving Lowry this week.
  • DraftKings bargain: Lee Westwood at $6,800. I’ll take my chances on a veteran with four career top-5 finishes at the U.S. Open over an unproven bomber with a few hot starts under his belt.
  • Fade: Jon Rahm. Maybe our favorite guy on Tour to watch in person, but this just doesn’t seem like the best course for a young gun who can get a little wild off the tee and plays with so much emotion.  He’s talented enough to prove us wrong and win the whole thing, of course, but it’s too pricey a gamble.

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