The 2021 U.S. Open has arrived.
There are plenty of angles and ways to go about piecing together your DFS lineups, so let’s take a look at the best players to target in guaranteed prize-pool tournaments (GPPs) as we head to Torrey Pines.
This week’s DFS GPP breakdown will be organized into discrete tiers based on players’ DraftKings salaries:
- Top Tier: $10,000 and above
- High-End Pivots: $9,000 to $9,900
- Fair-Value Plays: $8,000 to $8,900
- Underrated: $7,000 to $7,900
- Sleeper Picks: $6,000 to $6,900
2021 U.S Open DFS GPP Breakdown
The following players have DraftKings salaries of $10,000 or higher.
Jon Rahm ($11,200 DraftKings)
I am starting my DFS lineups with the most expensive golfer on the board this week: Jon Rahm.
The Spaniard comes to Torrey Pines extremely motivated and playing immaculate golf. Rahm ranks second in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee in his past 24 rounds — and that doesn’t include the driving clinic he put on at Muirfield Village before being forced to withdraw.
Another important factor this week will be putting on the west-coast POA greens. Rahm also excels in that area, ranking 14th in the field. Each of his most recent wins (Memorial and BMW) have come in difficult scoring conditions, and the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines (also a golf course where he has previously won) should be extremely difficult.
All signs point to “Rahm-bo” getting himself into contention this week with his eyes set on his first major championship.
Brooks Koepka ($10,100 DraftKings)
This one is pretty simple: Play Brooks Koepka at major championships.
Yes, he missed the cut last week at Congaree. But missed cuts haven’t meant much in terms of predicting success for Koepka in the past. His second-place finish at last month’s PGA Championship followed two consecutive missed cuts. His win at TPC Scottsdale in February was more of the same.
Throw the stats out the window. Koepka knows the recipe to winning U.S. Open Championships: He will keep the ball in the fairway, hit greens in regulation, and there is a strong chance he will be in the mix one way or another on Sunday.
The following players have DraftKings salaries ranging from $9,000 to $9,900.
Rory McIlroy ($9,900 DraftKings)
This is a good spot to buy relatively low on Rory McIlroy.
DraftKings has priced McIlroy below $10,000 as the sixth-highest priced golfer in the field, which strikes me as good value this week. McIlroy has been dialed in with his approach game in his past three starts, gaining more than four strokes on the field in each of them.
Surprisingly, he has been slightly above field-average in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, which is usually the strength of his game. If McIlroy can regain his driving prowess and match it with stellar approach play: Watch out!
Viktor Hovland ($9,200 DraftKings)
In his most recent start at Torrey Pines, Viktor Hovland finished tied for second place — although he was well behind the winner, Patrick Reed.
The Norwegian has the ideal skillset to contend at the course: Hitting it long and straight off of the tee. His penchant to post big numbers certainly worries me; but if he can limit the damage and avoid the huge mistake, then I think he can win his first major championship this week.
The following players have DraftKings salaries ranging from $8,000 to $8,900.
Louis Oosthuizen ($8,100 DraftKings)
Louis Oosthuizen is a solid and dependable play in the lower $8k-range. In his two previous major championship appearances this year, he finished 26th at The Masters and second at the PGA Championship. Oosthuizen may not be long off the tee, but he has the type of game that can avoid the thick Kikuyu rough and hit greens in regulation.
Justin Rose ($8,000 DraftKings)
Justin Rose is a boom-or-bust play this week, which is something you can’t shy away from in big GPP tournaments.
As evidenced by his top-10 finishes in each of the two majors this year, the Englishman knows how to bring it when a lot is on the line. Admittedly, his stats aren’t great. But if he puts it together again this week, then you can gain some leverage on the field as I expect him to garner low GPP ownership.
The following players have DraftKings salaries ranging from $7,000 to $7,900.
Paul Casey ($7,900 DraftKings)
Paul Casey almost feels like a free square at this price. He will likely be heavily owned but there are plenty of other spots to differentiate your lineups. The 43-year old is incredibly consistent in big events, especially this season:
- Fifth-place finish at The PLAYERS;
- 26th-place finish at The Masters;
- Fourth-place finish at the PGA Championship.
Casey may not win very often, but he is rarely a lineup-killer.
Adam Scott ($7,400 DraftKings)
Adam Scott hasn’t been playing his best golf of late, but his DraftKings salary is fair considering his ceiling.
Torrey Pines will certainly play very differently this week for the U.S. Open, but Scott nonetheless boasts excellent course history. He finish 10th at the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open and boasts a second-place finish here in 2019.
At this stage of his career, the Aussie probably isn’t winning any birdie-fests but he can still grind as well as anyone when he is on his game. Scott also putts much better on POA greens, and his putter has been a bright spot lately — gaining strokes on the field in six of his past seven events.
If Scott can get his historically excellent tee-to-green game going, then he can bolster your lineup at Torrey Pines.
The following players have DraftKings salaries ranging from $6,000 to $6,900.
Wyndham Clark ($6,900 DraftKings)
Wyndham Clark has the type of game that I am looking to take a chance on this week. He bombs it off of the tee and is a great putter. Additionally, he has excellent success on the west coast with a 32nd place finish at Torrey Pines (Farmers Insurance Open) and an eighth-place finish at Riviera (Genesis).
Martin Laird ($6,800 DraftKings)
Martin Laird is another golfer who has found success putting on west-coast POA, ranking ninth in the field in that category. Laird finished 23rd at the PGA Championship last month, which demonstrates his capability to hang around on a long golf course.
Pictured above: Jon Rahm.
Credit: Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images.