The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and other industry metrics to highlight notable golfers.
We had an exciting finish last week at WGC-Mexico, but now the Tour begins its annual Florida swing with the Honda Classic at PGA National, which is notoriously one of the harder courses these players face each year.
Let’s dive in.
I did a full breakdown of the course. Check it out.
Key metrics: Greens in regulation, bogey avoidance, par-4 and par-5 scoring, Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green, scrambling.
And as usual, I like Long-Term (LT) and Recent Adjusted Round Scores (Adj Rd Score) as catch-all metrics.
DFS Breakdown for 2020 Honda Classic
Byeong-Hun An ($8,800 DraftKings; $10,500 FanDuel) caught a lot of grief after his putting performance last week (well, every week), but he still gained seven strokes tee-to-green in Mexico. I’m willing to trust him this week. Over his last 50 rounds, he ranks 23rd in Strokes Gained: Approach and leads this field in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green. And while he’s always been a sub-par putter, An is better on Bermuda greens compared to the POA greens he’s been seeing of late.
This field isn’t that appealing, which makes me want to pay up for Tommy Fleetwood ($11,600 DraftKings; $11,800 FanDuel) since he’s great off the tee and has a solid approach game. He is tied with Rickie Fowler for the best LT Adj Rd Score in the field, and Fleetwood is great on par 4s and 5s, averaging -1.6 and -5.6 adjusted strokes on them over the last 75 weeks.
I’m usually more of a balanced build person most weeks, but Fleetwood has my interest if I’m going to pay up.
If you decide to pay up for Fleetwood, we’ll need some salary relief. In that case, Bud Cauley ($7,300 DraftKings; $9,300 FanDuel) has my attention. Over his last 50 rounds, he ranks 19th in Strokes Gained: Approach and sixth in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green. He’s an excellent bogey avoider and scrambler, saving par on 65% of his holes over the last 75 weeks. There won’t be many birdies this week, but we need our golfers to grind out pars and Cauley fits that mold.
Overall, there are a lot of uncomfortable plays this week in this sub-par field at an extremely hard course. Get ready to embrace the tilt.
Tom Hoge ($6,900 DraftKings; $8,400 FanDuel) isn’t the best around the greens, but he’s managed a 61.3% scrambling rate over the last 75 weeks. He’s in great form, boasting a 68.9 recent Adj Rd Score and ranks fourth in Strokes Gained: Approach over his last 24 rounds. If his irons continue to show up, he may grind out a made cut at the very least.
Vaughn Taylor ($7,600 DraftKings; $9,000 FanDuel) should at least avoid water hazards off the tee given he has hit 68.2% of fairways over the last 75 weeks. He doesn’t really stand out in any single metric, but he has a top 16 LT Adj Rd Score and is solid around the greens, sporting a 62.6% scrambling rate.
Most of my tournament exposure is coming in this range. Last, but not least is Rory Sabbatini ($7,400 DraftKings; $8,600 FanDuel). His approach game has suffered of late, but he’s adequate around the greens, and he ranks 20th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green over his last 50 rounds.
Brian Harman ($7,300 DraftKings; $8,800 FanDuel) has been in good form over his last 50 rounds, ranking 24th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 17th in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green, and 10th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
Harry Higgs ($7,300 DraftKings; $8,900 FanDuel) has hit 70.6% of GIR over the last 75 weeks, and he’s an excellent scrambler, saving for par 64.8% of the time when his approaches have missed the green.
Cameron Tringale’s ($7,100 DraftKings; $8,300 FanDuel) -1.6 adjusted strokes on par 4s is the fourth-best mark in the field, and he’s likely been better than people give him credit for. Over the same time frame, his 15.2 birdies per tournament are the seventh-best mark in the field, and he’s missed just 16% of cuts. Overall, Tringale has a great balance to his game, ranking 11th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 15th in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green and eighth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green over his last 50 rounds.
If you’re looking to go more balanced, Billy Horschel ($9,200 DraftKings; $10,900 FanDuel) looks like a good starting point. After a shaky start to the season, he’s turned in back-to-back top-10 performances, while gaining strokes in nearly all facets of the game.
Daniel Berger ($8,900 DraftKings; $10,600 FanDuel) has gained strokes on approach three of his four tournaments this year, which is ideal since recent form back-tested so well when I looked at all the metrics heading into this week. Berger’s 68.6 recent Adj Rd is the second-best mark in the field, trailing only Fleetwood. His price works well whether you’re jamming in multiple guys from this price range, or paying up for one of the more expensive players.
Joaquin Niemann ($8,700 DraftKings; $10,100 FanDuel) is one of the better ball-strikers here, ranking sixth in Strokes Gained: Approach over his last 50 rounds. The main concern with Niemann is his ability to recover on his errant approach shots since he ranks 60th in bogey avoidance. But, he’s still a strong play since he excels everywhere else.
Corey Conners ($8,200 DraftKings; $9,900 FanDuel) is dominant tee-to-green as he ranks sixth in the field over his last 50 rounds. We all know he’s elite off the tee and with his irons (73.3% GIR), but his short game and putter holds him back the most. That said, he’s better on Bermuda than the POA greens he’s been seeing, which is a slight boost. Even though his short game isn’t great, if his approach game is on, there isn’t much to worry about in that regard.
Harris English ($7,800 DraftKings; $9,800 FanDuel) ranks second in bogey avoidance over his last 24 rounds and 21st in Strokes Gained: Approach over the same time frame. Overall, he’s in solid recent form, coming off three-straight made cuts.
Russell Knox ($7,600 DraftKings; $9,400 FanDuel) is coming off two missed cuts, but he should be a good fit for this course since he’s relatively accurate off the tee and has hit 71.1% of GIR over the last 75 weeks. There are some long approaches at PGA National, which suits Knox well with his long irons. It also doesn’t hurt that he ranks fifth in Strokes Gained: Approach over his last 50 rounds.
Doc Redman ($7,000 DraftKings; $7,900 FanDuel) might be the lowest I’ll go on DraftKings. He owns excellent long-term form, hitting 71.1% of GIR while hitting 70.5% of fairways. Given his accuracy off the tee, he should hopefully be able to avoid the abundance of water hazards and bunkers off the tee,
Note: Strokes Gained and efficiency data via Fantasy National.
Photo credit: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images
Pictured: Billy Horschel