An interesting week in golf ended in the best way possible for the PGA TOUR as Rory McIlroy outdueled Tony Finau and Justin Thomas on his way to his second win of the season. He shot an incredible 62 in the final round to capture back-to-back Canadian Open titles and position himself as the favorite, at most books, coming into the third major of 2022.
Rory and JT are particularly of interest this week as they both appear to be in top form, and players like Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, and Jordan Spieth aren’t far behind in their play. It seems like very long ago that Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, and Patrick Cantlay were dominating the TOUR, but now they are nearly forgotten entities at the top of the board.
This all sets up for a great U.S. Open this week from The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, and a lot of potential directions to go in DFS for this week’s Millionaire Maker.
DraftKings is rolling out the contest at two different levels with a $15 and $100 entry-level. The smaller entry will be the focus of this article, but the principles can be used for both contests. This article will focus on taking down that $1,000,000 top prize, and it, along with all of the other content here at Fantasy Labs and Action Network, should give you a base for having a successful week.
If you missed it, we added two new metrics in our models — Perfect% and SimLeverage. You can find an explainer on those metrics here.
The cliff notes version is that you can use SimLeverage to quickly find leverage plays in tournaments, while Perfect% is great for finding the best price-considered plays for cash games.
And don’t forget about the tools that FantasyLabs has to offer, like our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups, or use our Lineup Builder if you like to hand-build your lineups.
High-Priced PGA DFS Picks
Collin Morikawa ($10,000 DraftKings)
The balance build has been a popular way to win Millionaire Makers in golf, and we have one of the elite players in these majors set right on the five-digit number. Morikawa won two major championships in essentially his first loop at these events, and now he comes into the U.S. Open looking for his first national title.
Morikawa hasn’t been the same player from a results standpoint this season, as the putter has had many more lows than highs this year. He has still been quite good with his irons, even if that is lacking a touch, too, as he has gained strokes in approach in each of his last five measured rounds with peaks of 5.6 at the Charles Schwab and 7.1 at the RBC Heritage.
If we can get that type of week from him with his irons, alongside a game off the tee that has him as one of the top total drivers on TOUR this season, he will be in the mix. We certainly need the putter to be on the high end for a victory, but with the talent of a balanced build, he doesn’t have to be your winner at this price.
Patrick Cantlay ($9,200 DraftKings)
My favorite contrarian play this week is with Patrick Cantlay. Many DFS players are going to put their attention toward “major specialist” Will Zalatoris at just $100 more expensive. He’s a great player and makes a ton of sense this week as well, but it makes for a natural pivot to a guy that has proven himself capable of winning big tournaments.
It seems as though this has been an off-year so far for Cantlay, but he still has six top-10 finishes, including five in the top four. Most recently, he finished third at the Memorial, and that is the result that has me excited for him to build upon that at the U.S. Open.
He came out of the gates poorly, losing more than a shot to the field on approach as he put himself in a tough position to even see the weekend. However, over the next 54 holes, he gained 4.3 shots on approach, including 2.6 in his Sunday round, to climb to that top three result.
I’ll look for him to build on that this week and be in the mix to win his first major at The Country Club, and his ownership hovering around 10% makes him a really strong play even for large-field GPPs.
Mid-Tier PGA DFS Picks
Matt Fitzpatrick ($8,500 DraftKings)
It’s hard for me in weeks like last week to get onto Matt Fitzpatrick at a $9,900 price tag because I just don’t give him that winning upside. His limited ceiling at that price makes him easier for me to fade when he is chalk, but now we get a $1,400 discount into the mid-tier for the Englishman who continues to play quite well.
He had a brief lead on Friday at the RBC Canadian Open and was still in it going to the weekend, but he had some big mistakes that ultimately knocked him out of contention. Fitz would still top 10 and post a fourth straight tournament with more than five strokes gained on the field tee to green.
He will garner quite a bit of ownership this week, likely into the upper teens, but again at this price, we can eat that chalk and get him to pay it off with another top-10 finish.
Daniel Berger ($8,400 DraftKings)
One of my favorite bets heading into this week is Daniel Berger, he is starting to trend in the right direction, and if he can once again pair his hot iron game alongside a good putter, he could get into contention. Berger posted a T5 at the Memorial as he gained more than five shots on approach and six more on the greens.
It was the first time he had gained in both categories since his T4 finish at the Honda Classic. He has been alternating success in those metrics in other weeks, but I am hopeful he has something to build on this time around as he has a complete game that can be successful at U.S. Opens.
Berger has made the cut in each of his last four appearances in this major, with two of those resulting in top seven finishes.
He sets up for a solid and low-owned play this week as he is surrounded by quite a bit of chalk from Fitz, Finau, and Homa.
Value PGA DFS Picks
Aaron Wise ($7,800 DraftKings)
Before I get into Wise, I want to address the most mispriced player in this field, Sungjae Im. I’m going to project him to be the most owned player of the entire slate, and he is too good of a player to be priced where he is. I’ll just say to be aware of how you build when you roster him this week, and remember, this is golf; no one is a lock to even play all four rounds, so don’t fall too deeply in love with one play.
Now, on to Aaron Wise, who is one of my favorite plays in this range and just happens to fit as a slightly lower-owned pivot from Corey Conners and Mito Pereira above him.
Wise has been great lately, averaging 6.5 shots gained tee to green over his past four tournaments, including 8.7 most recently in his runner-up finish at the Memorial. He has also gained better than 4.5 strokes on the greens in his last two events, which is a great sign to see him handling the putter well.
He’s a younger player that has always had the talent to compete at this level, but he seems to be finally putting it together.
I really all three of the options in this range and give them all relatively similar upside, but it’s Wise for me based on where ownership should fall.
Jason Kokrak ($7,200 DraftKings)
One of my favorite value plays this week will come near the bottom of this range with Jason Kokrak. When he was at his best and won multiple times on TOUR in 2021, it started with his driver as he ranked near the top of the TOUR in Total Driving, which is a combination of distance and accuracy off the tee. I would put Total Driving up near the top of the stat board for importance at U.S. Opens as each aspect of that is vital to success.
Kokrak comes in having gained better than two shots on the field off the tee in each of his last four tournaments. He just hasn’t quite been able to pair it alongside the rest of his game to produce the results.
I think his upside is immense at this tournament this week, and if he can put that driver in play alongside his irons and putter, a top 20 would be his likely floor result.
Sleeper PGA DFS Picks
Matthew NeSmith ($6,900 DraftKings)
I am back to the well with Matthew NeSmith this week. I was riding high as he cruised into the final round at the Memorial before an utter collapse on Sunday left him barely inside the top 40. We can’t let that cloud his overall play though, as he has been sharp with his game for an extended period of time.
He showed that again when he turned right around to qualify that Monday for the U.S. Open, and he is still the sharpest player in this bottom tier.
Kurt Kitayama ($6,700 DraftKings)
Another player that has put together some results intermittently this year is Kurt Kitayama. He’s been up and down, as we would expect for a player in this range, but his best has put him in contention in some of the weaker field tournaments. He did show his ability to play in tough conditions and on a tough course at the Honda Classic back in February, where he finished T3.
He has also gained shots off the tee in five straight tournaments, which is another key contributor to success at this event.
If he can continue that play and bring the other half of his ball-striking with him this week, we can certainly see him into the weekend, and again he has shown a ceiling that could help win us a big GPP.