Fantasy golf expert picks: 2018 John Deere Classic

John Deere Classic - First Round Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy golf expert picks: 2018 John Deere Classic

Fantasy

Fantasy golf expert picks: 2018 John Deere Classic

Need help with your fantasy golf lineups for this week’s John Deere Classic? 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:

Brentley Romine

Projected champion: Bryson DeChambeau. Last year’s winner enters the week with a victory, a runner-up, a tie for third, a fourth and a tie for ninth all in his last nine starts. He comes in riding high at a venue where he’s certainly comfortable. Signs point to a repeat.

Also like: Ryan Moore and Francesco Molinari. Moore has a strong record here and won the event in 2016. He’s been a bit up and down of late, but the highs have been four T-16s or better in his last seven starts. Molinari has never played here, but why back off a guy who dominated the Quicken Loans National field his last time out?

Sleeper: Joaquin Niemann. The 19-year-old is only ranked No. 171 in the Official World Golf Ranking, but he is rising rapidly. The wunderkind was No. 1527 prior to his pro debut three months ago. Since then, he’s posted four top-10 finishes and earned his PGA Tour card for 2018-19. He arrives this week off a T-5 at Greenbrier, too.

DraftKings bargain: Dylan Meyer ($7,000). Since recently turning pro, Meyer has only finished top 20 at the U.S. Open and added another at the Quicken Loans National. Clearly, the former Illini star is getting on just fine. This is probably a good time to get him cheap, as he won’t be for much longer if he keeps this up.

Fade: Wes Bryan. Just a feeling that this won’t be his week. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago where he went months making just one cut.

Kevin Casey

Projected champion: Zach Johnson. I usually don’t like to go chalk because, well, it doesn’t add much insight. But Johnson is a John Deere master with a win, three runners-up and two thirds in the last nine years here. And he’s on form, with top 20s in his last two starts. He’s well overdue for his second win at this event. This week, it’s time.

Also like: Wes Bryan and Chris Kirk. I’ll avoid another obvious here in Steve Stricker (I do like him this week, but what analysis does it add considering he’s the all-time earnings leader at this event?). Instead, I’ll point out that Bryan has been playing a lot better since missing seven of eight cuts earlier this year. His last four showings have all been weekend performances, with a high of T-12. He placed T-26 at Greenbrier. Oh, and he’s gone T3-T8 in his two career John Deere starts. Kirk has three top 30s in five career John Deere starts which is nothing remarkable but solid. However, he’s playing quite well. He has finished T-11 or better in three of his last five starts. He’s well rested, too, since his last start: A T-6 in Memphis.

Sleeper: Zac Blair. He hasn’t missed a cut since April and Blair’s last two finishes don’t tell the whole story. His solid T-27 at Quicken Loans was an event where he actually sat two off the lead (and T-3) through 54 holes. A T-65 at Greenbrier was sabotaged by a tough weekend after a 65-68 start had him in line for a high finish. Blair’s finishes are fine, but he’s showing a lot more potential than the final results. His John Deere record is meh (two MCs and T-56), but with the way he’s playing and what he’s holding back, I still see a lot to like this week.

DraftKings bargain: Nick Hardy ($6,900). Hardy is an infant pro a year after making the cut as an amateur at this event. Hardy is an Illinois native, so this is a home game for him. And don’t underestimate his talent, he was a standout at Illinois and often underappreciated from the outside there (he twice qualified for the U.S. Open as an amateur). As last month’s U.S. Open was a bit of a coming out party for Meyer (his former teammate), this week could serve the same for Hardy.

Fade: Joaquin Niemann. I picked him to fade in Memphis after he earned special temporary status, and I was right (he missed the cut). Can I be correct twice here? Probably not (Brentley’s reasoning above is very valid), but I’ll try. It was another high finish for the star 19-year-old at Greenbrier with a T-5 – and he locked up his PGA Tour card for next season with it. But I’ll reiterate that the week after something like that happens, it’s easy to relax a bit. I’ll also be clear to state: Niemann’s long-term potential is enormous. I’m only staying away this week, and he could fully prove me wrong.

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