The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and other industry metrics to highlight notable golfers.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational was an exciting tournament that played absurdly hard over a four-day stretch. It ultimately ended with a Tyrell Hatton victory. But enough about the past, it’s time to talk about one of my favorite tournaments of the year.
Let’s dive in.
I did a full breakdown of the course. Check it out.
Key metrics: Birdie or betting scoring, Par-4 and par-5 scoring, Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green.
And as usual, I like Long-Term (LT) and Recent Adjusted Round Scores (Adj Rd Score) as catch-all metrics.
DFS Breakdown for 2020 PLAYERS Championship
Collin Morikawa ($7,900 DraftKings; $10,000 FanDuel) is incredibly cheap in this week’s field. Even with all the talent at this event, Moikawa leads the field in Strokes Gained: Approach over his last 50 rounds and he led last week’s field at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in approach.
Moreover, his 68.7 LT Adj Rd Score is the 12th-best mark in the field over the last 75 weeks. He should be able to fare well on these par 4s as well with his -2.0 average adjusted strokes on them over the same time frame. Morikawa still has yet to miss a cut in his 23 PGA TOUR events. He’d be hard not to consider at his price.
Bryson DeChambeau ($9,100 DraftKings; $11,300 FanDuel) has been absurd of late, gaining over 8.5 strokes on the field tee-to-green and gaining strokes on approach in each of his last three events. Not to mention he hasn’t finished worse than fifth in those tournaments. DeChambeau looks like he’s very close to snagging a win.
At the time of writing this on Monday night, I’m not sure where Dustin Johnson’s ($10,000 DraftKings; $11,800 FanDuel) ownership will land, but if he’s on the lower end of the spectrum by the time Wednesday night rolls out, he may be worth firing up. His recent form has been awful, but he’s one of the best golfers in the field — boasting a 68.4 LT Adj Rd Score.
In the course breakdown, I talked about the importance of par-4 efficiency from 450-500 yards. Who leads the field in par-4 efficiency from that range over his last 50 rounds? None other than Patrick Reed ($8,500 DraftKings; $10,500 FanDuel). Reed is priced as the 16th most expensive golfer, but he ranks fifth in Total Strokes Gained.
Others: Adam Scott, Tommy Fleetwood, Abraham Ancer, Byeong-Hun An
Billy Horschel ($7,500 DraftKings; $9,800 FanDuel) didn’t impress with his 36th-place finish last week, but he’s still been able to gain strokes on approach in his last four events. He still quite at cheap as he’s pried as the No. 33 golfer on DraftKings, but he carries a top-20 LT Adj Rd score.
Scottie Scheffler ($7,500 DraftKings; $8,700 FanDuel) gained an absurd 11.5 strokes tee-to-green, but struggled with his putting, per usual. I’ll still go back to the Scheffler well since he’s one of the best par-4 and par-5 scorers in the field — averaging -2.6 and -6.6 adjusted strokes on par 4s and 5s over the last 75 weeks.
If you’re in need of more salary relief, Joel Dahmen ($6,600 DraftKings; $8,100 FanDuel) has been in great form of late. He owns a solid 68.9 Recent Adj Rd Score and has gained strokes on approach in four of his five tournaments in 2020. His irons were exceptional last week, gaining 7.2 strokes on approach.
Rory McIlroy ($11,700 DraftKings; $12,200 FanDuel) is an obvious fit for the course if you have the salary. He’s averaged 1.0 eagles per tournament over the last 75 weeks, along with 17.3 birdies over the same time frame. Rory should be able to exploit the long par 4s as he ranks third in par-4 efficiency from 450-500 yards and first overall.
Jon Rahm ($11,000 DraftKings; $12,000 FanDuel) ranks second in the field in par-4 efficiency from 450-500 yards, and his average adjusted strokes on par 4s and 5s over the last 75 weeks both rank inside the top three. He also ranks inside the top 20 in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and Strokes Gained: Approach.
Patrick Cantlay ($9,800 DraftKings; $11,400 FanDuel) has the third-best LT Adj Rd Score (68.2) in the field — allowing you to roster an elite golfer without paying $10,000-plus.
Hideki Matsuyama ($8,800 DraftKings; $10,900 FanDuel) got throttled at the API, but so did just about everyone else. He still gained strokes on approach last week, but he lost six strokes with his putter. Overall, Deki’s success on par 4s is appealing as he ranks third in overall par-4 efficiency and fifth from 450-500 yards. I also bet him again at 28-1 because I’m a glutton for punishment.
At this point, it’s hard to overlook how good Marc Leishman ($7,600 DraftKings; $9,700 FanDuel) has been this year. Over his last 24 rounds, he ranks second in Strokes Gained: Approach and seventh in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
Max Homa ($6,600 DraftKings; $8,500 FanDuel) could be another source of salary relief this week. Homa has gained strokes on approach in five-straight tournaments, including 6.3 strokes on approach at last week’s API. He still struggles around the greens and can be sporadic, so he’s just a secondary play for me if you’re looking to take a stars and scrubs approach.
Others: Sungjae Im, Gary Woodland, Lanto Griffin
Note: Strokes Gained and efficiency data via Fantasy National.
Photo credit: Juan Luis Díaz/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
Pictured: Collin Morikawa