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Cadence Bank Houston Open Top PGA DFS Picks, Values and Sleepers for Large-Field GPPs on DraftKings

There are just two more full-field events in the Fall Series on the PGA TOUR, and this week the pros are back in the United States after stopping in Bermuda and Mexico the past two weeks. The PGA TOUR heads to Houston for this week’s Cadence Bank Houston Open before The RSM Classic next week closes out the full-field competitions for 2022.

While the name is a new one due to a third straight year with a new title sponsor, the event is still put on by the Astros Golf Foundation, so don’t be surprised if the World Series trophy makes an appearance. A new name doesn’t mean a new course, in this case, since this will be the third straight year the event has been held at Memorial Park Golf Course.

The course is a tight par-70 municipal course with a parkland-style setup near downtown Houston. Before entering the regular rotation, the course was updated and overhauled by renowned course designer Tom Doak, with help from Brooks Koepka as an advisor. The course is defended by dramatic short-grass runoffs and strategic bunkering. After the re-design, it can stretch to one of the longest par 70 venues on the PGA TOUR, so short hitters will be at a disadvantage.

On this track, don’t expect a birdie fest like we’ve had the last few weeks since last year this track played nearly a shot over par. 2021 Winner Jason Kokrak (not in the field) took advantage of his length off the tee, and fabulous iron play en route to victory with strong showings in GIR and Strokes Gained: Approach. The winner in 2020 was Carlos Ortiz (not in the field), who followed a different path to victory gaining +6.1 strokes Around the Green.

There are multiple ways to find success at the course, but it does typically play tough. Target players who do well on courses that play near or even over par. Copperhead at the Innisbrook Golf Resort stands out as a nice comparable course that is set up similarly. It makes sense to look at the track record of players there in addition to looking at course history at this event the past two seasons.

It’s a solid field this week, with nine of the top 50 in the World Ranking expected to tee it up. The top-ranked player in the field is World No. 2 Scottie Scheffler ($11,500), who has a chance to regain his No. 1 ranking with a strong showing here. It’s not a surprise that he’s the most expensive player in the field. Sam Burns ($10,700), Tony Finau ($10,400), Hideki Matsuyama ($10,300), and last week’s winner Russell Henley ($10,000) round out the players with five-figure salaries. The field also includes many Korn Ferry Tour graduates and emerging new faces on the PGA TOUR as well, so it should be another fun week of fantasy golf action.

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In this weekly post, the focus is players who are strong plays in GPP contests. These contests usually have lots of entries and pay out big prizes to the top few percent. One example is the DraftKings $300 K Pitch + Putt, which pays out $100K to first place. In large contests like this one, it is critical to try and target players who have a chance to outperform salary expectations and come with low projected ownership.

The players highlighted will be good options if they deliver in all formats, but they come with risk factors that usually keep them from being the safest plays. Safety and reliability should be the focus of lineups in cash and double-up contests, where finishing in the very top spot isn’t quite as important. On the other hand, GPPs call for high-risk, high-reward options with high ceilings and low projected ownership. To find specific guidance for all the different kinds of contests, check out our full Daily Fantasy Golf coverage each week.

No matter how you prefer to play, be sure to use the FantasyLabs PGA Models to help you make the best choices. These models use stats and simulations to highlight different players’ strengths and weaknesses. A couple of key new stats to specifically use for GPP play are Perfect% and SimLeverage, which are further explained here.

Usually, I prefer the Stroked Gained Model, which is very predictive of results. I also tend to lean into players that gain shots on approach since week-to-week putting performance can be extremely volatile, even for the best players on the PGA TOUR.

As you dig into the numbers, you can enjoy the many tools that FantasyLabs offers, including the Lineup Optimizer, which effortlessly creates up to 150 lineups. Alternatively, you can use the Lineup Builder if you prefer a more hands-on approach.

Check out my top picks in each price range listed below.

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High-Priced PGA DFS Picks

Tony Finau $10,400

Finau presents a great opportunity to go against public sentiment and differentiate your lineup. He’s the third-most expensive golfer in the field, but he is only projected to have an 11.52% ownership compared to a hefty 33.69% projected ownership for Scottie Scheffler ($11,500) and a 25.62% ownership for Aaron Wise ($9,900). In fact, there are 12 golfers projected for higher ownership than Finau, but he has a much better chance of elite results than that ownership indicates.

Finau has the second-highest ceiling projection and the second-highest median projection of any golfer available, behind only Scheffler. As a result of his low projected ownership, he brings a field-best 11.72% SimLeverage, which is more than double any other player’s mark in that category.

Part of the reason people are fading Finau may be his recent form, but it isn’t as bad as it initially appears. Yes, he missed the cut last week, but he missed it on the number after starting the week with a triple-bogey on his second hole. He was still +3 through his first six holes but then shot a -6 over his next 30 holes, which included eight birdies and an eagle (30% par-breakers). It was Finau’s first event since the TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP at the end of August, so his slow start was likely just a case of him knocking the rust off and finding his rhythm. It cost him last week, to be sure, but it isn’t enough of a concern this week to pass on the leverage presented by his low ownership.

Finau proved last year he has what it takes to win on the PGA TOUR with back-to-back wins at the 3M Open and the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He has also played this course each of the past two seasons, with a T24 two years ago and then a missed cut last year. While that definitely is still within the range of possibilities, his upside definitely makes him a great leverage play at the top of the salary structure.

He offers the most Leverage of any player over $8,500.


Sahith Theegala $9,300

The third-highest SimLeverage in the tournament this week comes from Theegala, who barely has a 5% projected ownership but has a 10.12% chance of being in the perfect lineup, according to our simulations.

Like Finau, Theegala’s ownership is feeling the impact of recency bias after a rough outing his last time out. He finished a disappointing T67 at THE CJ CUP before taking two weeks off. Before that, though, he did post two top 10s this season with a T6 at the Fortinet Championship and a solid T5 in Japan at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. That result in Japan may have impacted his struggle at THE CJ CUP since after making the trip back from Japan, Theegala opened with a 79 before rounds of 70, 73, and 69 to finish the week.

Looking at the places where Theegala has had his best results, there are several comparable courses to the Memorial Park Golf Course, including Innisbrook, as mentioned in the intro. He has seven career top 10s on the PGA TOUR, with tougher courses like Muirfield Village and TPC Scottsdale among the tracks where he has posted those good results.

Theegala has only played one tournament on this course in his career, making the cut but only finishing T61. The good news from that trip is that he posted 4.5 SG: Approach, so he has the potential to go low if his putter cooperates. He comes in with solid putting form, gaining strokes in five of his last seven events where that metric was able to measure, and even at THE CJ CUP, he gained over a stroke with his flat stick.

Mid-Priced PGA DFS Picks

Taylor Pendrith $8,500

Pendrith joins Scheffler and Burns as the only three players in the entire field that match eight Pro Trends. He has the eighth-highest Perfect% and the ninth-highest ceiling projection even though he has the 18th-highest salary.

According to his Vegas odds, He has the highest Implied percent chance to finish in the top 10 of any player priced under $9K and the second-highest Implied chance to win the tournament of players in that price range.

So far this season, Pendrith has only teed it up two times, posting forgettable results at the Fortinet Championship and the Shriners Children’s Open, although he did make the cut in both tournaments. He missed the cut in his only previous trip here, too, so he comes in flying under the radar.

Looking back a little further, though, Pendrith’s form starts to shine. From March through August of this year, the 31-year-old Canadian posted six top-15 results in seven events. His best result during that time was a T2 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, behind only Finau.

A lot of his love in our models comes from that excellent long-term form. He is third in the field in GIR% over the past 75 weeks and also ranks in the top 10 in birdies per round. He has the most SG: Off-The-Tee in the field over that span as well.


Keith Mitchell $8,100

Mitchell is also another boom-or-bust play to consider with shaky recent form but a high ceiling if he puts his game together. Despite missing the cut last week in Mayakoba, Mitchell has the third-highest ceiling projection of the players under $9K and also brings this third-highest Perfect% of the players in that range. Since he only has a 7% projected ownership, he has the third-highest SimLeverage of all players under $10K.

Mitchell’s missed cut last week was just his second in his past 13 tournaments, highlighted by back-to-back top-10 finishes last summer at the RBC Canadian Open and the Travelers Championship. Over the past 50 rounds, Mitchell ranks in the top 25 of the players in this field in Shots Gained: Total, Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green, and Strokes Gained: Shotmaking while leading all players in the field in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee.

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Value PGA DFS Picks

Dean Burmester $7,600

He’s not as much of an “against-the-grain” pick as the players above, but Burmester brings a lot of potential for a play under $8K. The 33-year-old South African has made the cut in all three events he has played on the PGA TOUR in the Fall Series after posting a pair of top-five finishes on the Korn Ferry Tour at the Albertsons Boise Open and the Korn Ferry Tour Championship to graduate to the PGA TOUR.

Although he’s new to the PGA TOUR, he comes in with plenty of past success with 10 international victories. Most of those wins are from the Sunshine Tour in South Africa, but he won twice on the DP World Tour in 2021, with wins at the Tenerife Open in Spain and the South African PGA Championship.

Burmester has the highest ceiling projection and the highest median projection of all the players under $8K. As a result, he also has the highest Perfect% by over 5 percentage points of the players in that price range.

Over the past 75 weeks, Burmester has posted the second-most SG: Tee-To-Green of all players under $8K and the third-most SG: Total. He is one of only two players under $8K that matches six Pro Trends, along with Justin Lower.


Cameron Champ $7,200

Whenever the course demands length, Champ is worth a look since he’s one of the biggest hitters on the PGA TOUR. While he missed the cut last week at Mayakoba, he did post a season-best T8 in his previous event at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP.

Since he tends to be a boom-or-bust play, Champ has a 7.56% Perfect%, which is the second-highest mark of any player under $7.5K and is also in the top 10 in SimLeverage in that group of players since his ownership is projected to be under 5%. He doesn’t bring a lot of consistency, but there’s no arguing his upside, making him a good differentiator in this salary range. In GPP formats, he can be a nice “swing-for-the-fences” option.

He posted a T23 in his only previous appearance at this event back in 2019, but that was on a different course than he’ll play this week.

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Sleeper PGA DFS Picks

Charley Hoffman $6,800

Hoffman is a player who seems to always pop on specific courses, and his track record at the Houston Open is impressive. Dating back to before the event was held at this course, he has gone a perfect 12-for-12 with a T29 in 2020 in his only appearance at Memorial Park.

The veteran comes to the event this year with some good form as well, performing above expectations in five of his seven most recent events. He has the fourth-highest SG: Around-The-Green over the past six weeks of the bargain plays under $7K and has posted a GIR% over 70% during that span.

Hoffman brings the third-highest ceiling projection and third-highest median projection of all players under $7K. He also has the fourth-highest Points/Salary of the golfers in that range.


Garrick Higgo $6,700

Higgo brings the highest SimLeverage and the third-highest Perfect% of all the players under $7K. He’s similar to Champ in that his results can be boom or bust. He has alternated missed cuts around a solo third-place finish at the Sanderson and a T29 in Bermuda and is set for a strong finish if the pattern continues after missing the cut last week.

The 23-year-old has the second-highest Adjusted Round Score over the past six weeks of the group under $7K and the fourth-highest field-adjusted birdies per tournament.

Higgo’s good performances have been enough to make him match two Pro Trends, and he’s an interesting flier with a ceiling I like a lot from the cheap end of the salary structure.

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There are just two more full-field events in the Fall Series on the PGA TOUR, and this week the pros are back in the United States after stopping in Bermuda and Mexico the past two weeks. The PGA TOUR heads to Houston for this week’s Cadence Bank Houston Open before The RSM Classic next week closes out the full-field competitions for 2022.

While the name is a new one due to a third straight year with a new title sponsor, the event is still put on by the Astros Golf Foundation, so don’t be surprised if the World Series trophy makes an appearance. A new name doesn’t mean a new course, in this case, since this will be the third straight year the event has been held at Memorial Park Golf Course.

The course is a tight par-70 municipal course with a parkland-style setup near downtown Houston. Before entering the regular rotation, the course was updated and overhauled by renowned course designer Tom Doak, with help from Brooks Koepka as an advisor. The course is defended by dramatic short-grass runoffs and strategic bunkering. After the re-design, it can stretch to one of the longest par 70 venues on the PGA TOUR, so short hitters will be at a disadvantage.

On this track, don’t expect a birdie fest like we’ve had the last few weeks since last year this track played nearly a shot over par. 2021 Winner Jason Kokrak (not in the field) took advantage of his length off the tee, and fabulous iron play en route to victory with strong showings in GIR and Strokes Gained: Approach. The winner in 2020 was Carlos Ortiz (not in the field), who followed a different path to victory gaining +6.1 strokes Around the Green.

There are multiple ways to find success at the course, but it does typically play tough. Target players who do well on courses that play near or even over par. Copperhead at the Innisbrook Golf Resort stands out as a nice comparable course that is set up similarly. It makes sense to look at the track record of players there in addition to looking at course history at this event the past two seasons.

It’s a solid field this week, with nine of the top 50 in the World Ranking expected to tee it up. The top-ranked player in the field is World No. 2 Scottie Scheffler ($11,500), who has a chance to regain his No. 1 ranking with a strong showing here. It’s not a surprise that he’s the most expensive player in the field. Sam Burns ($10,700), Tony Finau ($10,400), Hideki Matsuyama ($10,300), and last week’s winner Russell Henley ($10,000) round out the players with five-figure salaries. The field also includes many Korn Ferry Tour graduates and emerging new faces on the PGA TOUR as well, so it should be another fun week of fantasy golf action.

Start Your PRO Trial Today

Lineup builder and optimizer

Real-time DFS models & projections

Data-driven analysis & tutorials

 

In this weekly post, the focus is players who are strong plays in GPP contests. These contests usually have lots of entries and pay out big prizes to the top few percent. One example is the DraftKings $300 K Pitch + Putt, which pays out $100K to first place. In large contests like this one, it is critical to try and target players who have a chance to outperform salary expectations and come with low projected ownership.

The players highlighted will be good options if they deliver in all formats, but they come with risk factors that usually keep them from being the safest plays. Safety and reliability should be the focus of lineups in cash and double-up contests, where finishing in the very top spot isn’t quite as important. On the other hand, GPPs call for high-risk, high-reward options with high ceilings and low projected ownership. To find specific guidance for all the different kinds of contests, check out our full Daily Fantasy Golf coverage each week.

No matter how you prefer to play, be sure to use the FantasyLabs PGA Models to help you make the best choices. These models use stats and simulations to highlight different players’ strengths and weaknesses. A couple of key new stats to specifically use for GPP play are Perfect% and SimLeverage, which are further explained here.

Usually, I prefer the Stroked Gained Model, which is very predictive of results. I also tend to lean into players that gain shots on approach since week-to-week putting performance can be extremely volatile, even for the best players on the PGA TOUR.

As you dig into the numbers, you can enjoy the many tools that FantasyLabs offers, including the Lineup Optimizer, which effortlessly creates up to 150 lineups. Alternatively, you can use the Lineup Builder if you prefer a more hands-on approach.

Check out my top picks in each price range listed below.

Get Your First Deposit Matched Up to $100!

Sign up and deposit up to $100

Your deposit will be fully matched

New users only

High-Priced PGA DFS Picks

Tony Finau $10,400

Finau presents a great opportunity to go against public sentiment and differentiate your lineup. He’s the third-most expensive golfer in the field, but he is only projected to have an 11.52% ownership compared to a hefty 33.69% projected ownership for Scottie Scheffler ($11,500) and a 25.62% ownership for Aaron Wise ($9,900). In fact, there are 12 golfers projected for higher ownership than Finau, but he has a much better chance of elite results than that ownership indicates.

Finau has the second-highest ceiling projection and the second-highest median projection of any golfer available, behind only Scheffler. As a result of his low projected ownership, he brings a field-best 11.72% SimLeverage, which is more than double any other player’s mark in that category.

Part of the reason people are fading Finau may be his recent form, but it isn’t as bad as it initially appears. Yes, he missed the cut last week, but he missed it on the number after starting the week with a triple-bogey on his second hole. He was still +3 through his first six holes but then shot a -6 over his next 30 holes, which included eight birdies and an eagle (30% par-breakers). It was Finau’s first event since the TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP at the end of August, so his slow start was likely just a case of him knocking the rust off and finding his rhythm. It cost him last week, to be sure, but it isn’t enough of a concern this week to pass on the leverage presented by his low ownership.

Finau proved last year he has what it takes to win on the PGA TOUR with back-to-back wins at the 3M Open and the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He has also played this course each of the past two seasons, with a T24 two years ago and then a missed cut last year. While that definitely is still within the range of possibilities, his upside definitely makes him a great leverage play at the top of the salary structure.

He offers the most Leverage of any player over $8,500.


Sahith Theegala $9,300

The third-highest SimLeverage in the tournament this week comes from Theegala, who barely has a 5% projected ownership but has a 10.12% chance of being in the perfect lineup, according to our simulations.

Like Finau, Theegala’s ownership is feeling the impact of recency bias after a rough outing his last time out. He finished a disappointing T67 at THE CJ CUP before taking two weeks off. Before that, though, he did post two top 10s this season with a T6 at the Fortinet Championship and a solid T5 in Japan at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. That result in Japan may have impacted his struggle at THE CJ CUP since after making the trip back from Japan, Theegala opened with a 79 before rounds of 70, 73, and 69 to finish the week.

Looking at the places where Theegala has had his best results, there are several comparable courses to the Memorial Park Golf Course, including Innisbrook, as mentioned in the intro. He has seven career top 10s on the PGA TOUR, with tougher courses like Muirfield Village and TPC Scottsdale among the tracks where he has posted those good results.

Theegala has only played one tournament on this course in his career, making the cut but only finishing T61. The good news from that trip is that he posted 4.5 SG: Approach, so he has the potential to go low if his putter cooperates. He comes in with solid putting form, gaining strokes in five of his last seven events where that metric was able to measure, and even at THE CJ CUP, he gained over a stroke with his flat stick.

Mid-Priced PGA DFS Picks

Taylor Pendrith $8,500

Pendrith joins Scheffler and Burns as the only three players in the entire field that match eight Pro Trends. He has the eighth-highest Perfect% and the ninth-highest ceiling projection even though he has the 18th-highest salary.

According to his Vegas odds, He has the highest Implied percent chance to finish in the top 10 of any player priced under $9K and the second-highest Implied chance to win the tournament of players in that price range.

So far this season, Pendrith has only teed it up two times, posting forgettable results at the Fortinet Championship and the Shriners Children’s Open, although he did make the cut in both tournaments. He missed the cut in his only previous trip here, too, so he comes in flying under the radar.

Looking back a little further, though, Pendrith’s form starts to shine. From March through August of this year, the 31-year-old Canadian posted six top-15 results in seven events. His best result during that time was a T2 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, behind only Finau.

A lot of his love in our models comes from that excellent long-term form. He is third in the field in GIR% over the past 75 weeks and also ranks in the top 10 in birdies per round. He has the most SG: Off-The-Tee in the field over that span as well.


Keith Mitchell $8,100

Mitchell is also another boom-or-bust play to consider with shaky recent form but a high ceiling if he puts his game together. Despite missing the cut last week in Mayakoba, Mitchell has the third-highest ceiling projection of the players under $9K and also brings this third-highest Perfect% of the players in that range. Since he only has a 7% projected ownership, he has the third-highest SimLeverage of all players under $10K.

Mitchell’s missed cut last week was just his second in his past 13 tournaments, highlighted by back-to-back top-10 finishes last summer at the RBC Canadian Open and the Travelers Championship. Over the past 50 rounds, Mitchell ranks in the top 25 of the players in this field in Shots Gained: Total, Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green, and Strokes Gained: Shotmaking while leading all players in the field in Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee.

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Value PGA DFS Picks

Dean Burmester $7,600

He’s not as much of an “against-the-grain” pick as the players above, but Burmester brings a lot of potential for a play under $8K. The 33-year-old South African has made the cut in all three events he has played on the PGA TOUR in the Fall Series after posting a pair of top-five finishes on the Korn Ferry Tour at the Albertsons Boise Open and the Korn Ferry Tour Championship to graduate to the PGA TOUR.

Although he’s new to the PGA TOUR, he comes in with plenty of past success with 10 international victories. Most of those wins are from the Sunshine Tour in South Africa, but he won twice on the DP World Tour in 2021, with wins at the Tenerife Open in Spain and the South African PGA Championship.

Burmester has the highest ceiling projection and the highest median projection of all the players under $8K. As a result, he also has the highest Perfect% by over 5 percentage points of the players in that price range.

Over the past 75 weeks, Burmester has posted the second-most SG: Tee-To-Green of all players under $8K and the third-most SG: Total. He is one of only two players under $8K that matches six Pro Trends, along with Justin Lower.


Cameron Champ $7,200

Whenever the course demands length, Champ is worth a look since he’s one of the biggest hitters on the PGA TOUR. While he missed the cut last week at Mayakoba, he did post a season-best T8 in his previous event at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP.

Since he tends to be a boom-or-bust play, Champ has a 7.56% Perfect%, which is the second-highest mark of any player under $7.5K and is also in the top 10 in SimLeverage in that group of players since his ownership is projected to be under 5%. He doesn’t bring a lot of consistency, but there’s no arguing his upside, making him a good differentiator in this salary range. In GPP formats, he can be a nice “swing-for-the-fences” option.

He posted a T23 in his only previous appearance at this event back in 2019, but that was on a different course than he’ll play this week.

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Sleeper PGA DFS Picks

Charley Hoffman $6,800

Hoffman is a player who seems to always pop on specific courses, and his track record at the Houston Open is impressive. Dating back to before the event was held at this course, he has gone a perfect 12-for-12 with a T29 in 2020 in his only appearance at Memorial Park.

The veteran comes to the event this year with some good form as well, performing above expectations in five of his seven most recent events. He has the fourth-highest SG: Around-The-Green over the past six weeks of the bargain plays under $7K and has posted a GIR% over 70% during that span.

Hoffman brings the third-highest ceiling projection and third-highest median projection of all players under $7K. He also has the fourth-highest Points/Salary of the golfers in that range.


Garrick Higgo $6,700

Higgo brings the highest SimLeverage and the third-highest Perfect% of all the players under $7K. He’s similar to Champ in that his results can be boom or bust. He has alternated missed cuts around a solo third-place finish at the Sanderson and a T29 in Bermuda and is set for a strong finish if the pattern continues after missing the cut last week.

The 23-year-old has the second-highest Adjusted Round Score over the past six weeks of the group under $7K and the fourth-highest field-adjusted birdies per tournament.

Higgo’s good performances have been enough to make him match two Pro Trends, and he’s an interesting flier with a ceiling I like a lot from the cheap end of the salary structure.

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