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 PGA Tour heads to TPC Scottsdale in Arizona for one of my favorite tournaments of the year in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. It’s a pretty strong field and should make for some fun roster construction this week.
Let’s dive in.
I did a full breakdown of the course. Check it out.
Key metrics: Birdie or better scoring, par-4 and par-5 scoring, Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, Strokes Gained: Approach.
And as usual, I like Long-Term (LT) and Recent Adjusted Round Scores (Adj Rd Score) as catch-all metrics.
DFS Breakdown for 2020 Waste Management Phoenix Open
It’s hard for me to pass up Viktor Hovland ($8,400 DraftKings; $10,500). He’s hit 71.6% of greens in regulation (GIR) and 71.1% of fairways over the last 75 weeks while averaging just over 300 yards off the tee. Furthermore, he’s averaged -1.4 and -5.5 adjusted strokes on par 4s and 5s over the same time frame. His Strokes Gained metrics look just as good, ranking fist in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and fifth in Strokes Gained: Approach over his last 50 rounds.
This seems like the perfect time to target Xander Schauffele ($9,900 DraftKings; $11,400 FanDuel) after he just barely missed the cut last week. Coming off a missed cut and with Hideki Matsuyama just $200 more expensive than him, you may catch Xander with decently low ownership by his standards.
This course sets up well for him as he’s averaging -1.2 and -5.6 adjusted strokes on par 4s and 5s over the last 75 weeks. And over his last 50 rounds, he ranks ninth in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and sixth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. You’re getting an elite talent (68.4 LT Adj Rd Score) who is capable of nuking any course, and at just under $10,000 on DraftKings.
Sungjae Im ($8,800 DraftKings; $10,500 FanDuel) is essentially a top-25 machine, sporting six top-25 finishes over his last nine events. He’s solid on par 4s and 5s, averaging -1.1 and -5.6 adjusted strokes on them over the last 75 weeks, along with 0.5 eagles and 15.2 birdies per tournament.
While he doesn’t stand out in any one metric, he’s incredibly consistent and ranks seventh in Total Strokes Gained over his last 50 rounds.
After an abysmal start to the season, Billy Horschel has dropped to $7,400 on DraftKings. There isn’t a single thing to like about his recent form, but he’s a solid tournament target considering he’s a strong golfer in the long term. Overall, Horschel has the 10th-best LT Adj Rd Score in this field, but he’s priced as the No. 37 golfer. It’s an intriguing buy-low spot for him.
One of the concerns with Corey Conners ($7,900 DraftKings; $9,600 FanDuel) is that he hasn’t played this course. However, he excels in the two things I want this week: strong off-the-tee play and excellent irons. Over his last 50 rounds, Conners ranks second in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and 14th in Strokes Gained: Approach. He’s typically plagued by his poor putting and short game, but if his irons are dialed in, his short game shouldn’t be much of an issue.
Adam Hadwin ($7,200 DraftKings; $8,600 FanDuel) fits the same profile as Horschel. Hadwin’s 69.2 LT Adj Rd Score is the 13th-best mark in the field, but he’s priced outside the top 40 on DraftKings. This will be Hadwin’s first event this year, so he’ll either be well-rested or incredibly tired after they just had a baby.
Byeong-Hun An ($7,600 DraftKings; $9,600 FanDuel) wasn’t outstanding last week, but he managed to make the cut. More importantly, An gained 3.4 strokes with his irons. Once again, his putting was his downfall, losing 7.2 strokes on the greens. An’s been solid at this venue, finishing 23rd or better in all three starts.
Jon Rahm ($11,400 DraftKings; $12,100 FanDuel) is the most expensive golfer on the slate, but he’s probably worth it if you can make it work with roster construction. He ranks fifth in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee over his last 50 rounds, and he’s one of three golfers in the field who have better than -2.0 and -6.0 average adjusted strokes on par 4s and 5s. He’s also never finished worse than 16th at this event.
You can make a case for anyone above $10,000 on DraftKings, but I think Rahm and Hideki will catch the most ownership, and rightfully so. Justin Thomas makes for a solid tournament pivot over Rahm at only $200 less. The same goes for Webb Simpson at $200 more than Hideki. Simpson has all the tools for the course with the exception of off-the-tee play.
It’s absurd how well Collin Morikawa ($9,200 DraftKings; $10,700 FanDuel) has been in his short PGA career. He has yet to miss a cut and comes into this tournament in pretty good form. Over his last 50 rounds, he ranks first in Strokes Gained: Approach, and he leads the field with his -3.4 adjusted strokes on par 4s over the last 75 weeks. Additionally, Morikawa boasts the seventh-best LT Adj Rd Score in this field.
Bryson Dechambeau ($9,100 DraftKings; $11,000 FanDuel) has gained strokes off the tee over his last five events that have Shotlink data and is coming off an eighth-place finish at Dubai last week. I wouldn’t expect his ownership to get too out of hand this week, but he’s an excellent fit for this course, averaging -1.0 and -5.5 adjusted strokes on par 4s and 5s, along with 16.2 birdies per tournament.
On a course that tends to favor longer hitters, Scottie Scheffler ($8,500 DraftKings; $9,900 FanDuel) deserves consideration. Overall, Scheffler’s adjusted strokes on par 4s and 5s both rank top-two in the field.
Speaking of long hitters, Matthew Wolff ($8,000 DraftKings; $9,800 FanDuel) is one of the longer hitters in the field. Wolff boasts top-12 marks in birdies per tournament and adjusted strokes on par 4s and 5s over the last 75 weeks.
Russell Knox ($7,700 DraftKings; $9,400 FanDuel) isn’t long off the tee, but his irons have been excellent over his last 50 rounds, ranking 11th in Strokes Gained: Approach. Knox showed last week at Farmers that he has the ability to compete on longer courses.
Note: Strokes Gained and efficiency data via Fantasy National.
Photo credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
Pictured: Xander Schauffele