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Justin Thomas
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GOLF Fantasy Roundup

DraftKings Preview: PGA Championship picks

by Will Gray
Updated On: August 5, 2020, 7:57 am ET

The year's first major is finally upon us.

Postponed from May to August because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PGA Championship is set to take center stage this week as TPC Harding Park hosts a major championship for the first time. The course previously hosted the 2009 Presidents Cup, but it hasn't held a PGA Tour event since Rory McIlroy beat Gary Woodland to win the WGC Match Play title in 2015.

Two-time defending champ Brooks Koepka returns with an eye on history, as he looks to become the first player in more than 60 years to win the same major three years in a row, and the first to do it at the PGA since Walter Hagen won four in a row in the 1920s. Justin Thomas makes his first start since returning to world No. 1 with his win in Memphis, while Tiger Woods returns to action for just the second time since mid-February.

With chilly weather, damp conditions and thick rough, the par-70 layout is expected to play longer than what the scorecard might indicate.

Here's a look at some of the top players to consider when crafting a DFS lineup for the first men's major championship in 13 months:

Favorites

Justin Thomas ($11,300 on DraftKings): The highest salary on the board, and deservedly so. Thomas was destined to be one of the tournament favorites before he won last week in Memphis to return to world No. 1, but that victory over Brooks Koepka and others simply sealed his status as a deserved top seed. Thomas won this event three years ago and has been on a tear for more than a year, with more victories (4) than finishes outside the top 20 (3). While Thomas initially reached No. 1 in 2018, he's arguably playing better now: the only three-time winner on Tour this season, he leads the circuit in strokes gained: approach, SG: tee-to-green and total strokes gained. After missing this event last year because of a lingering wrist injury, he's now poised to challenge for his second major title.

Xander Schauffele ($10,000): Schauffele is overdue for a win, and it could certainly come this week. His stout record in majors includes runner-up finishes at the 2018 Open and 2019 Masters, and he has racked up four runner-up finishes in the 18 months since his last victory. Schauffele is one of the best ball-strikers on Tour, ranking sixth in SG: tee-to-green, and he finished T-6 last week in Memphis despite an uncharacteristically poor week with the irons where he finished near the bottom of the field in SG: approach. Five of his six starts since the return have resulted in top-20 finishes, including four in a row.


Value plays

Matthew Fitzpatrick ($8,100): If conditions get tough over the weekend, keep an eye on the Englishman. Fitzpatrick won the 2013 U.S. Amateur at a future U.S. Open site (The Country Club) and has often spoken about how he prefers it when par becomes a coveted score. This year at Bay Hill and the Memorial, there was only one sub-70 score in each final round - and Fitzpatrick had both of them en route to top-10 finishes. He enters off a pair of top-6 results and has finished T-32 or better in five of his six starts since the break. He also compiled three top-25 finishes while making the cut in all four majors last year.

Chez Reavie ($7,400): Thomas led the field in Memphis in SG: tee-to-green, and Koepka was third. The man in the middle? That would be Reavie, whose strong ball-striking helped him to a T-6 finish at TPC Southwind. That's one of three straight top-25 finishes for the veteran, who boasts a surprisingly solid record in this event of late: three straight top-25s highlighted by a T-12 finish two years ago at Bellerive. Reavie also finished T-3 at last year's U.S. Open and qualified for the Tour Championship in August to speak to his big game bona fides.


Sleepers

Ryan Palmer ($6,900): Palmer has been a bit feast-or-famine in recent weeks, but the high points have been especially noteworthy. A runner-up last month at the Memorial, Palmer also cracked the top 10 at Harbour Town and finished T-15 last week in Memphis when he ranked fourth among a strong field in strokes gained: tee-to-green. Palmer's best career finish in a major came in the PGA, a T-5 result at Valhalla in 2014, and he ranks 20th on Tour this season in SG: off-the-tee to indicate that he should be able to keep it in play with the driver on Harding Park's narrow fairways.

Steve Stricker ($6,100): You can do worse to fill out a lineup than the current U.S. Ryder Cup captain. Yes, Stricker will be one of the oldest players in the field at age 53, but he has a penchant for more than holding his own on the major stage. Stricker's missed cut last year at Bethpage ended a Tour-best streak of 27 straight made cuts in the majors, and his consistent game helped him to a T-18 finish a couple weeks ago against an equally strong field at the Memorial. Stricker has made each of his last three cuts on Tour and could help ensure a coveted 6-for-6 lineup.

Will Gray

Will Gray joined Golf Channel in 2007 and currently serves as a staff writer for GolfChannel.com. Gray has been covering fantasy golf since 2012 and is a regular contributor to the Golf Central blog and covers several PGA Tour events each year. He's also a regular contributor to several digital properties on GolfChannel.com, including Stat Man, On the Clock, Fantasy Central, Grill Room and the Monday Scramble podcast.