Fantasy golf expert picks: 2018 U.S. Open

FORT WORTH, TX - MAY 26: Justin Rose of England looks over a putt on the 16th green during round three of the Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial Country Club on May 26, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Fantasy golf expert picks: 2018 U.S. Open

PGA Tour

Fantasy golf expert picks: 2018 U.S. Open

Need help with your fantasy-golf lineups for this week’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills? 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:

Geoff Shackelford

  • Projected champion: Justin Rose. On paper, the stars align for Rose. The only weakness in his 2018 game—approach play—has been ironed out with his recent run of strong play. The putting has been stellar all year.
  • Also like: Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson. Two former winners of this event and one six-time runner-up will use their combinations of length, touch and experience to separate themselves at Shinnecock Hills. Yes each has minor flaws that could be exposed, but the Golf Gods seem poised to present us with a leaderboard for the ages.
  • Sleeper: Sam Burns. Star in the making dominated Sectional Qualifying, will follow in fellow LSU alum John Peterson’s footsteps by having his breakout moment at the U.S. Open.
  • DraftKings bargain: Sam Burns ($6,400). Now that’s a bargain.
  • Fade: Jon Rahm. Yes he posted a T-5 in his last start at Colonial and he’s a huge all-around talent, but iron play has been dreadful this year by his standards and Shinnecock will expose poor work from the fairways.
  • Low amateur: Stewart Hagestad. The low amateur in the 2017 Masters can handle Shinnecock and has no shortage of experience here thanks to lots of friendly rounds over the course.

Brentley Romine

  • Projected champion: Justin Rose. Ranks in the top 20 in both strokes gained: tee-to-green and strokes gained: putting. Already has one of these U.S. Open trophies. Good chance he adds another this week.
  • Also like: Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Tommy Fleetwood. DJ has not only proven he can win a U.S. Open, but he’s proven he can string multiple wins together. He’s coming off a win in Memphis. JT just slipped back to No. 2 in the world after DJ’s victory and should be motivated to get back to No. 1. Fleetwood’s strengths are off the tee and around the green, which suits Shinnecock well.
  • Sleeper: Emiliano Grillo. Drives it straight, hits greens and can make putts. Perfect formula for a nice U.S. Open finish.
  • DraftKings bargain: Chesson Hadley ($7,000). I’d pay more than $8,000 to roster Hadley, who has had a nice season and is well rounded statistically. Also like Gary Woodland at $6,800.
  • Fade: Matt Kuchar. Has now gone seven starts without a top-10 and hasn’t driven it well this season.
  • Low amateur: Theo Humphrey. From the Northeast and loves hard golf courses.
  • Where will Tiger Woods finish? If his putter shows up, he can contend. I think he finishes top 15.

Kevin Casey

  • Projected champion: Phil Mickelson. Maybe I just want this to happen because it would be so poetic. Nah, this isn’t just sentimental. Lefty loves Shinnecock as he finished T-4 here in 1995 and runner-up in 2004 (where he led on the 71st tee). Yes, Mickelson has struggled massively with driving accuracy this season (ranked 201st) and the fairways at Shinnecock were narrowed last year. OK, but the fairways are still significantly wider here than in ’04, and the proliferation of shaved areas around the greens should only aid a short-game magician like Mickelson. I honestly think this is a better course now for Lefty than it ever has been, and he almost won here in the previous iteration! His form is promising, too, with three top 13s in his last four starts. It all adds up to this may very well be the week Mickelson completes the Career Grand Slam.
  • Also like: Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama. Rory is my 1B pick to win. He’s somehow under the radar playing extremely well (look at his last two starts), and if he’s confident in the driver this week, he could pick apart this long layout that requires some accuracy. Koepka has been in such good form since returning from injury. The defending champion has a runner-up and T-11 to show for it recently. Matsuyama has seemed to figure out his game after some struggles earlier in 2018. He comes to a track that should bode well for his precision.
  • Sleeper: Aaron Wise. Yes, he’s missed his last two cuts. But barely, and that makes a difference: You can barely miss cuts and still be playing well or not be far off. So I think his game is in a lot better shape than those results suggest, and Wise won right before that. Where did he win? Trinity Forest, a layout with few trees and that evokes links. Where is the U.S. Open? A course with few trees that is also known as linksy. That should produce some positive mental images around Shinnecock.
  • DraftKings bargain: Charles Howell III ($6,700). His form has been fantastic, as he’s finished T-26 or better in four of his last five starts and hasn’t missed a cut since Honda. Included in his recent run was a top 20 at the Players. And when you think Shinnecock, doesn’t Howell’s game immediately strike as a good fit there? A lot to like at this price.
  • Fade: Rickie Fowler. Congrats to Rickie on his engagement and he is playing well. Just a gut feeling something will go wrong this week.
  • Low amateur: Braden Thornberry. The 2017 Haskins winner has flourished in his pro starts. He’s made four of five cuts and owns a T-4 (2017 FedEx St. Jude Classic). He’s coming off another top 30 in Memphis, too. Tons of talent of course as well.
  • Where will Tiger Woods finish? I think Tiger misses the cut. He’s been flirting with the cutline of late (Players, Wells Fargo) and getting away with it. Memorial was a nice reprieve, but I think he fights the cut again and this time loses. Shinnecock hasn’t seemed to mesh with his game in the past either.

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