I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I’m listening to “Hooked on a Feeling” while I write this or if it’s because the U.S. Open is just one full week away — but I’m just giddy.
After Masters week and just ahead of Open Championship week, U.S. Open week is my favorite of the year. Then again, I’m a full-fledged golf nerd with nothing better to do than hunker down and plow through bag after bag of Funyuns on my couch and watch the world’s best have it handed to them.
That being said, I’m getting ahead of myself. There’s still the FedEx St. Jude Classic standing in the way of me and couch potato/golf-nerd bliss. And if there’s golf to be played then there’s money to be made. So let’s take a look at those worth their fantasy weight in diamonds — and those who are just cubic zirconia:
Phil Mickelson — It’s hard to believe, but Phil Mickelson has never won the FedEx St. Jude Classic. That shocked me. When I think of the St. Jude Classic, I think of Lefty. Then I figured out why that is — Mickelson all but owns the deed to TPC Southwind. Since 2013 alone, Mickelson has bagged two runner-up finishes, a T-3 and a T-11 in four tries. No sense in passing on him — especially with him skipping the U.S. Open next week.
Brooks Koepka — I’ve got to be honest — with the game he has, I’m plum-dumbfounded that Brooks Koepka hasn’t won on Tour more than once. This week, he has a legitimate shot at doing just that and building some serious momentum for the U.S. Open at Erin Hills. Koepka hasn’t been on Tour too long, but he’s already made three starts at TPC Southwind and has yet to miss a cut. His last two finishes have been a T-3 and a T-2. Regardless of whether he wins of not, fantasy owners should expect big returns on Koepka this week.
Adam Scott — For a guy with as much success on Tour and the devastating good looks he possesses, Adam Scott has had a solid year — very quietly. Scott has posted top-10’s in the Masters and the PLAYERS and has collected seven top-15 finishes in 10 starts this season. He’s making his first return to the FedEx St. Jude Classic since blowing a lead on Sunday in 2007. Couple that taste for revenge and consistent run as of late and you’ve got a solid fantasy start in Scott this week.
Bob Estes — If you started watching golf any time after 2010, you get a pass for not knowing Bob Estes. That said, he might just be worth a look this week at the FedEx St. Jude. Sure, he’s 51 and won’t likely be in contention for a win on Sunday, but in 24 appearances in this event his only missed three cuts. That’s a heckuva track record for a guy that will come dirt cheap in most DFS formats.
Peter Uihlein — If you’re not overly familiar with the name, it’s probably because you don’t get up at the butt-crack of dawn on Sunday mornings to watch the European Tour the way I do. Uihlein came up around the same time as Spieth and Cantlay but has done far more globe trotting than the other two since turning professional. That being said, he’s good at it — and hasn’t finished worse than T-25 in his three starts in the U.S. in 2017. Looking for a hot hand that won’t cost too much? Uihlein is your guy.
Billy Horschel — Despite a recent win and three straight top-10 finishes at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, I just can’t pull the trigger on Horschel this week. If you want to, I can’t argue with it — he fits the “horses for courses” refrain I come back to on here — but I think I’ll sleep better watching him win from my bench then miss the cut in my starting lineup.
Daniel Berger — Coming into a tournament as the defending champion for the first time in his career, you’d think Berger would be on the positive side of this ledger. However, he’s less than warm as he touches down in Memphis this week. That, coupled with the stress and new sights and sounds and responsibilities of a defending champ will be enough to keep Berger out of serious contention.
Rickie Fowler — I know a lot of people will think I’m just crapping on Rickie Fowler here, but I’m not — I’m just worried that Rickie is already looking ahead to Erin Hills next week. Following a T-2 last week at the Memorial, it’s hard to have more momentum than the orange one already has. It wouldn’t surprise me either way if Fowler wins this week or finishes in a tie for 45th. I’m just leaning toward the latter. Fowler knows he’s probably the best on Tour without a major title on his resume, so his focus is probably in Wisconsin.
Ian Poulter — Despite his runner-up finish at the PLAYERS and his well-publicized battle with the PGA Tour over whether or not he actually had status coming out in his favor, I just don’t forsee anything great from Poults this week. I predict mid-pack at best and possibly a missed cut. No sense in making him a starter or wasting DFS dollars on him when there are much more consistent choices available in his price range.