2021 U.S. Open - DFS Plays, Bets, and Fades

SI Fantasy analysts Ben Heisler and Mark Farris break down their favorite plays for this week’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
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Previous 2021 PGA Tour Event Winners & DraftKings Salary

  • Palmetto Championship at Congaree: Garrick Higgo ($9,000)
  • The Memorial Tournament Presented by Nationwide: Patrick Cantlay ($9,500)
  • Charles Schwab Challenge: Jason Kokrak ($9,000)
  • PGA Championship: Phil Mickelson ($6,700)
  • AT&T Byron Nelson: Kyoung-Hoon Lee ($6,900)
  • Wells Fargo Championship: Rory McIlroy ($10,000)
  • Valspar Classic: Sam Burns ($7,900)
  • RBC Heritage: Stewart Cink ($6,700)
  • The Masters Tournament: Hideki Matsuyama ($8,300)
  • Valero Texas Open: Jordan Spieth ($10,700)
  • World Golf Championship - Dell Technologies Match Play: Billy Horschel ($7,200)
  • The Honda Classic: Matt Jones ($7,400)
  • The Players Championship: Justin Thomas ($9,900)
  • Arnold Palmer Invitational: Bryson DeChambeau ($11,000)
  • Workday Charity Open: Collin Morikawa ($9,500)
  • The Genesis Invitational: Max Homa ($8,200)
  • AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Daniel Berger ($10,100)
  • Waste Management Phoenix Open: Brooks Koepka ($8,800)
  • Farmers Insurance Open: Patrick Reed ($10,100)
  • The American Express: Si Woo Kim ($8,200)
  • Sony Open: Kevin Na ($7,500)
  • Sentry Tournament of Champions: Harris English ($8,700)

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$9,000+ Range

Ben Heisler: Collin Morikawa

DraftKings Price: $9,500

DraftKings Sportsbook Betting Odds to Win: +2500

Collin Morikawa poses with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 2020 PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park.

Ho-hum. Another week, another opportunity for your guy to put money down on Morikawa at plus-value.

His play continues to be fabulous everywhere but the green; coming in at No. 1 on the tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green, ball striking, and SG: approach. But maybe the layout of the short greens at Torrey Pines is a benefit, and he's also shown that he can get locked in with his putter when he needs to. In his win at the WGC - Mexico, as well as his second-place finish at The Memorial in a playoff, Morikawa gained 9.4 strokes with his putter.

It's important to note that I think Rahm deserves to be the favorite here at +1000 ($11,200 on DK). He was well on his way to lapping the field at the Memorial before testing positive for COVID-19, and has also dominated at Torrey Pines with four top-10 finishes, including a win in 2017. But I also think that will lead to massive ownership numbers even at a very high price point. 

I'll lock Rahm in for cash, and won't necessarily fade him for tournaments, but Morikawa offers the best of everything and is always someone who is always in play to win.

Additional Plays to Consider

  • Jon Rahm ($11,200 | +1000) - Locked in before COVID W/D. Will be chalk but deservedly so.
  • Brooks Koepka ($10,100 | +1800) - Two-time U.S. Open champion who always steps up and contends in Majors. 
  • Justin Thomas ($9,700 | +2200) - Very much a tournament play with his recent inconsistencies, but I'll take advantage of having J.T. at under $10K in a major with very good odds to win).
  • Patrick Reed ($9,000) +2200) - Lapped the field at Torrey Pines earlier this year.

Mark Farris: Jon Rahm & Xander Schauffele

DraftKings Price: Rahm $11,200 | Schauffele $9,300

DraftKings Sportsbook Betting Odds to Win: Rahm +1000 | Schauffele +1400

Jon Rahm records a practice round ace.

As I get older, I tend to repeat myself, but these are the weeks that I love and also the weeks that I hate. There are too many good players and pricing that allows you to enter six players and sit back and say “Damn, that’s a good-looking lineup!” Unfortunately, it usually only pretty until about noon on Thursday!

I’m willing to play just about anyone in this group, but with DFS, you have to take a stand unless you are a Mega-Multi Entry (MME) player. I am not! So, for this week, I’m taking my stand with Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele.

Rahm is the highest-priced guy on the board. However, that’s not without good reason. He was literally dominating the field at the Memorial before being forced to withdraw due to what now appears to be a questionable positive COVID test. He’s also won on this course before and had a T7 earlier this season. In his last five trips here, he has 4 top 10s. Now, granted, the rough will be more menacing this week and the winner will probably need to stay out of it as much as possible. But, Rahm is a big hitter and strong. It’s much easier to come out of rough with a short iron and his wayward shots should be closer to the greens than much of the field.

Xander Schauffele seems to always be a favorite of mine. He has 6 top 10s already this year. He has a T2 at Torrey Pines at the Farmers in January. Yes, I can’t explain the MC at the PGA and The Players, but I also don’t care that much about them. Inside those two missed cuts, he had 3 top-15s, including the Masters and the Memorial. I’m looking for guys that won’t make a lot of mistakes this week and I trust Xander.

Additional Play(s) to Consider

  • Viktor Hovland ($9,200 | +2200)
  • Brooks Koepka ($10,100 | +1800)
  • Rory McIlroy ($9,900 | +2000)

$7,500 - $8,900 Range

Ben Heisler: Tony Finau

DraftKings Price: $8,900

DraftKings Sportsbook Betting Odds to Win: +2000

If there were an opportunity for Finau to win his first Major, as well as capture his first tournament victory since 2016, Torrey Pines would fit the bill.

He's already played terrific at this course this year at the Farmers Insurance Open in January, finishing second to Patrick Reed, and has never missed a cut in seven opportunities. Finau has never finished worse than 24th in every event here and has also shown up so far in Majors this year.

As far as his recent form is concerned, he's T8 in SG: tee-to-green and 3rd in SG: around-the-green. Like Morikawa, he'll have to clean up his putting a little bit, but with his familiarity around the course, I expect him to be just fine. Finau finished in the green last time at the Farmers, gaining 1.1 strokes with his putter, but was surprisingly inconsistent off-the-tee. Now that his driver is back on track, look for everything else to follow.

Additional Play(s) to Consider

  • Will Zalatoris ($8,600 | +4000) - The kid continues to impress and keeps finishing top 10 in big events.
  • Paul Casey ($7,900 | +4000) - Could he be the next 40+-year-old player to win a Major after Phil? Recent form suggests he could!
  • Sam Burns ($7,700 | +10000) - Was cruising with a win at the Valspar and 2nd at the Byron Nelson before withdrawing at the PGA Championship and a T50 at the Memorial. The skillset fits the course and comes at a good value.
  • Shane Lowry ($7,600 | +4000) - Locked in with three top 10s in his last four rounds and is no stranger to thick rough. Will need to improve off-the-tee (49th in SG: OTT).

Mark Farris: Will Zalatoris & Jason Kokrak

DraftKings Price: Zalatoris $8,600 | Kokrak $7,600

DraftKings Sportsbook Betting Odds to Win: Zalatoris +4000 | Kokrak +8000

Folks, with this pricing, we need to differentiate somewhere. I think I will approach that prospect in this mid-range. While I like a lot of names here - and the pricing is great - I’m going with one of the new kids and a guy that’s having a great season which very few people are noticing.

Will Zalatoris? Yes. He didn’t play the Farmers so he doesn’t have history here. However, Majors don’t seem to have adverse effects on him that I’m seeing. A 2nd place finish at the Masters and T8 at the PGA is pretty impressive for the kid. In fact, his game overall is pretty impressive. In his last 10 events, he’s missed one cut and has seven top 25s. Per DraftKings, he has made 33 of his last 35 cuts. Now, that’s various tours but damn, that’s pretty good!

Jason Kokrak has made 15 of 18 cuts. He’s won twice this season - Shadow Creek and Charles Schwab. He has 5 top 10s. He only finished T29 at the Farmers, but if he can pull off a T29 at $7,600 this week, you will love it.

Additional Plays to Consider:

  • Tony Finau ($8,900 | +2000)
  • Webb Simpson ($8,700 | +4500)
  • Louis Oosthuizen ($8,100 | +3300)
  • Justin Rose ($8,000 | +6000)
  • Shane Lowry ($7,600 | +4000)

$7,400 and Under Range

Ben Heisler: Jhonattan Vegas

DraftKings Price: $6,800

DraftKings Sportsbook Betting Odds to Win: +12500

Anyone sensing a theme with my picks so far? If you put together, "Elite ball striker with several inconsistencies with the putter," then you would be correct!

Vegas is coming in hot with a T2 at the Palmetto Championship and a T9 from a few weeks back at the Byron Nelson. He's third in the field in SG: off-the-tee, and while his recent results at Torrey Pines aren't anything impressive, he does have plenty of experience here.

I don't know if I have the stomach to roster him in cash even at great savings. I'd likely lean towards Adam Scott, Charley Hoffman, or Max Homa for $400-$600 more, but I think Vegas has top 10-upside and still may not get the ownership numbers he should.

Additional Plays to Consider:

  • Adam Scott ($7,400 | +6600) - Expect him to contend once again at Torrey Pines after a T10 at the Farmers. Consistent cut maker with plenty of experience.
  • Max Homa ($7,300 | +10000) - For some reason, California courses bring out the best in his game.
  • Charley Hoffman ($7,200 | +20000) - Ranks second in DK points gained via Fantasy National behind Justin Spieth over his last 24 rounds.
  • Kevin Streelman ($7,100 | +10000) - No worse than T26 in his last four tournaments. Straight off-the-tree and very good with his approach game (T18 in SG: approach)
  • LONGSHOT: Chan Kim ($6,100 | +50000) - Amateur over at Arizona State who has put up some jaw-dropping results, including a T23 at the PGA Championship.

Mark Farris: Adam Scott, Brian Harman, and Ian Poulter

DraftKings Price: Scott ($7,400) | Harman ($7,400) | Poulter ($7,000)

DraftKings Sportsbook Betting Odds to Win: Scott +6000 | Harman +10000 | Poulter +10000

Remember when Adam Scott was one of the names mentioned at every Major? Me too! Now, not so much, but he has made 12 of 13 cuts this year. 

Scott didn't perform particularly well at the Masters or the PGA. However, he did finish top 10 at the Farmers. The best thing is that, even at $7,400, people will probably avoid him. I’m going out on a limb and calling a top 25 for Adam this week.

Brian Harman is another guy, like Jason Kokrak, that is playing very well and most people that play PGA DFS probably couldn’t pick him out of a lineup. The lefty has missed one cut in his last 10 events and has 6 top 20s.

Ian Poulter? Now, why would any of you think I like him? He’s playing well, he’s accurate, and he’s the freakin’ Honey Badger! Poulter may never win a Major, however, I will never bet against his ability to contend in them until he shows me he can’t any longer. At $7,000, I will take the chance almost every week, but definitely at least four times per year.

Additional Play(s) to Consider

  • Garrick Higgo ($7,200 | +7000) - I liked him as an “under the radar” call last week. He won’t be that this week and this may be an unfamiliar stage, but I like this youngster.
  • Max Homa ($7,300 | +10000) - He likes the west coast.
  • Ryan Palmer ($7,100 | +15000) - Very close to being included above.
  • LONGSHOT: Wilco Nienaber ($6,900 | +25000) - Like Higgo, he’s another guy I enjoyed watching last week. And, as with Higgo, my question will be can he handle a U.S. Open layout? But, in DFS, no guts, no glory.

Top Fade

Ben Heisler: Jordan Spieth

DraftKings Price: $10,900

DraftKings Sportsbook Betting Odds to Win: +1800

Jordan Spieth Byron Nelson

It's traditionally not a wise decision to fade the golfer who hasn't missed a cut since late January, but interestingly enough, Spieth's last missed cut came at the Farmers Insurance Open which takes place at, wait for it, Torrey Pines.

Spieth's price tag at just under $11K, along with his struggles at Torrey Pines feels like it's a good opportunity to spend elsewhere this week. He'll need to be straight off the tee which he's struggled to do even during this terrific stretch, and while his scrambling remains impressive, I just don't want to rely on it during a Major.

Lastly, there's a major discrepancy between DraftKings' pricing and his odds to win. Spieth enters as the second-most expensive golfer in the field but is only the sixth-highest favorite to win at +1800. 

Additional Fade(s) to Consider

  • Bryson DeChambeau ($10,400 | +1400) - I think this Brooks Koepka stuff is in his head and while he's the defending champ, it's not as if he's coming in with outstanding recent form. 

Mark Farris: Bryson DeChambeau

DraftKings Price: DeChambeau $10,400

DraftKings Sportsbook Betting Odds to Win: +1400

bryson dechambeau

I can’t believe I’m ignoring the defending Champion! But again, sometimes you just need to take a stand. I should be leery of the fade since I’m not seeing hype on the source sites I use for data and information. I know he’s a bomber and can drive over or past most of the trouble. But, I’ve seen some footage of the rough this week and he’s one of the main guys at the top that I don’t trust to stay out of it. It would be fun to watch on the weekend though if he and Brooks somehow got paired together!

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