After an exciting PGA Championship in upstate New York, the PGA TOUR is headed back to the Lone Star State for this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge. Just before Brooks Koepka crashed the party with a win last week, Jason Day won the AT&T Byron Nelson, and Wyndham Clark claimed the Wells Fargo Championship. None of those three golfers will be teeing it up this week for the final event of the month.
The Charles Schwab Challenge is not an elevated event, but it still draws a pretty strong field. New world No. 1 and Texas-native Scottie Scheffler leads the way, and he will be looking to claim his third win of the season. He finished runner-up last week at the PGA Championship and also finished runner-up last year at this event, losing to Sam Burns in a playoff. Burns is back to defend his title, although historically, only Ben Hogan has ever been able to achieve that at this event. Hogan won four of the first seven tournaments on this historic track, earning the course its nickname of “Hogan’s Alley.”
This tournament is the longest-running non-major PGA TOUR event to be held at the same venue, and every year it’s held at the beautiful and challenging Colonial Country Club. For more on the course and its long history, check out Matt Vincenzi’s stats preview.
As you can see in Matt’s preview, Jordan Spieth is a great fit for this track and has excelled here in the past, and there are several other big names in play this week, including Tony Finau, Max Homa, Collin Morikawa, and Sungjae Im. After challenging Koepka almost all the way to the wire last week, Viktor Hovland is back in action this week as well. Kurt Kitayama, Cameron Davis, Sepp Straka, and Justin Rose will also be in action, looking to build on their top 10 from last week.
Min Woo Lee will also be in action after earning Special Temporary Membership with his strong finish last week, joining Akshay Bhatia with that status at this week’s event. Last week’s Cinderella story, PGA pro Michael Block is also playing this week on a sponsor’s exemption.
In this weekly post, we focus on players with lower ownership projections than their potential performance. Finding these high-leverage plays with low ownership is critical for GPP lineups. I’ll try to highlight ways to go against the grain and take advantage of golfers who many fantasy players may overlook or pass by due to risk factors.
Since these are GPP picks, we also can accept a little more risk if it raises the ceiling of the lineup. High-risk, high-reward options with low ownerships create the “boom-or-bust” style lineups that usually lead to large-field success.
This weekly post focuses on players who are strong plays in GPP contests. These contests usually have large numbers of entries and pay out big prizes to the top few percent. This week the largest GPP on DraftKings is the $800K Pitch + Putt that awards $200K to the top finisher. 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 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 what type of format you prefer, 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 rely on 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 300 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.
Editors note: SimLeverage and Perfect% numbers may change after this piece is published. Be sure to check the PGA Models for any updates to the sims.
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High-Priced PGA DFS Picks
Tony Finau $10,700
At the very top of the salary structure, Scheffler stands alone at over $11K, but with his impressive results at this event in the past, his strong current form, and his elite overall game, he’s projected to be a very popular option. He has a 32% ownership projection, which is more than 10% clear of the rest of the field. For GPPs, you can definitely include Scottie, but you’ll want to build in some differentiators at other spots in your lineup to try and keep it as unique as possible.
Finau is a strong alternative to Scheffler and comes with much lower ownership. As the second-highest-priced golfer in the field, he brings only the seventh-highest ownership projection at 17%. Finau was in a similar spot a few weeks ago as part of the field at the Mexico Open at Vidanta when Jon Rahm was the lone megastar in the field. Finau beat out Rahm, though, and claimed his fourth win in the past 12 months.
In this field, Finau has the third-best odds to win the tournament and the second-best odds to finish in the top 10. He also matches eight Pro Trends, more than anyone in the field aside from Scheffler.
Finau leads the entire field in Perfect%, showing up in 28% of Optimal Lineups in our sims. That number also helps him vastly outpace his ownership to lead this field in SimLeverage as well.
After his win in Mexico, Finau has made the cut at the Wells Fargo and the PGA Championship, although he faded badly last Sunday with a final round 77. That fade may be why people are looking past him at this event, but his potential to win is too high to overlook.
In long-term form, Finau ranks second in SG: Tee-To-Green and second in SG: Total in this field. He is also second in SG: Tee-To-Green in recent form. He hasn’t missed a cut since November, with four top 10s and 11 top 25s in his 15 tournaments.
Finau also has shown he can contend at Colonial. He is 7-for-7 making the cut at this venue with a top 25 in each of his last four trips, highlighted by a runner-up finish behind Kevin Na in 2019 and a T4 last year when he surged with a pair of 67s on the weekend.
With such relatively low ownership projections and plenty of potential upside, Finau is a great way to get some leverage for your GPP lineup this week.
Jordan Spieth $9,700
Spieth and Finau serve as bookends to a strong group of six players priced between $10.7K and $9.7K. Spieth offers the third-highest SimLeverage in the field since he only has a 16% ownership projection and has the third-highest Perfect% behind just Finau and Scheffler.
It’s basically a home game for Spieth, who always gets lots of crowd support when playing in the Dallas area. He has an extremely strong history at this course and enters the week as the all-time earnings leader at the event. He has made the cut in all 10 of his career appearances at Colonial with nine top 25s, eight top 10s, and a victory in 2016.
Spieth has been dealing with a wrist injury, which may be why the public is hesitant to go all-in on him this week, but his upside is extremely high since he has the second-best odds to win the tournament and the third-best odds at a top 10. He didn’t seem to be too hampered by the injury last week at the PGA Championship, where he offered nice leverage at just a 4% ownership and finished T29. Prior to that finish, Spieth has an impressive spring run of four top fives in six events before missing the cut at Quail Hollow, possibly due to his wrist issue. He had to withdraw from the Byron Nelson just before the PGA Championship, but he looked healthy enough to contend at Colonial during his time at Oak Hill.
His history and comfort at this event are too good to overlook, and his salary under $10K and low projection ownership make him a very strong GPP play this week, either in tandem with Tony or Scheffler or as a centerpiece of a more balanced lineup of players under $10K.
Mid-Priced PGA DFS Picks
Russell Henley $8,800
There are 11 players priced between $8K and $9K who come with a wide spread of ownership projections. Cameron Davis and Rickie Fowler are both strong plays this week but come in with very high ownership projections, 20%, and 16%, respectively. I like both those picks and players a lot, but you’ll have to differentiate your roster in other spots since they will be so chalky.
On the other hand, there are some players with significantly lower ownership projections who offer better lineup differentiation, led by Henley, who has the second-highest Perfect% of the players in this group, finishing just barely behind Davis and well ahead of Fowler. He’s only projected to have an 11% ownership, though, which makes him a better leverage play.
Henley missed the cut by one shot at last week’s PGA Championship, but prior to that, he was on a nice roll. He posted top-20 finishes at THE PLAYERS, the WGC-Match Play, the Masters, and the RBC Heritage against elite strong fields.
He has the exact type of game that should translate to Colonia with his accuracy off the tee and excellent approach game. He typically does well on tight tracks like this, with wins and top 10s at similar layouts at Harbour Town, Sea Island, and the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Henley doesn’t have a ton of history at Colonial but did make the cut in his only appearance at this event, which was back in 2018.
With a win already this season back at the World Wide Technology Championship, Henley is quietly putting together a strong season and is just outside the top 30 in the FedExCup race. He’s an excellent pivot play in this tier and comes loaded with upside due to his great fit for the course.
Taylor Moore $8,000
This has been one of my go-to options in this post all season, and I’m back for Moore this week at Colonial.
He got his PGA TOUR breakthrough win at the Valspar earlier this spring on a track that demands accuracy and course management in a similar way. That victory was part of his run of 11 made cuts in his past 12 events, which also includes a top-five finish at the Zurich Classic and top-25 finishes at Pebble Beach, TPC Scottsdale, and Harbour Town. He exceeded salary-based expectations in 10 of his previous 11 tournaments before last week’s PGA Championship, where he made the cut but faded to T72 with a tough final round.
Moore’s accuracy and strong approach game should be a good fit for Colonial, although he did miss the cut in his debut at this event last year. He comes in with much better form this year, with positive SG: Off-The Tee in six of his past seven events and positive SG: Putting in nine straight tournaments and ranks 15th on the PGA TOUR in SG: Putting on the season.
The native Texan is projected for just under 10% ownership, so he’s a solid option in this price range where everyone is a little chalky. Brian Harman and Min Woo Lee are a little more off the radar in this price range but also come with much more risk.
Value PGA DFS Picks
Ryan Fox $7,500
It has been a while month for Fox, who had to withdraw from the RBC Heritage due to illness, which turned out to be pneumonia. He hadn’t played again until last week at the PGA Championship, where he finished T23 and earned Special Temporary Membership on the PGA TOUR. During that layoff, his wife gave birth to their second child, and his home city of Auckland in New Zealand flooded. Fox was able to shake all that off, though, and come out with a 68 in the opening round at Oak Hill.
Fox isn’t exactly a young player on the rise, but the 36-year-old from New Zealand is breaking through onto the biggest stage. He has won 16 times around the world in his professional career, including two wins on the DP World Tour in the past 18 months.
The sims are a big fan of Fox at this price this week. In fact, he has the third-highest SimLeverage on the entire slate, just behind Finau and just ahead of Spieth. He is in 18% of Optimal Lineups in our sims but is only projected for 8% ownership.
Fox also brings the highest ceiling projection and the highest median projection of any player under $9K and the most projected Points per Salary in the entire field.
While he will be making his tournament debut, he brings enough upside to be worth a look as a standout in this price range.
Beau Hossler $7,300
If you’re looking for a player with more course history, Hossler is a strong option from this salary range. He has made the cut at Colonial in three of the past four years at this event and co-led last year after each of the first two rounds before fading to T21.
Hossler is also riding a bit of a surge with six straight made cuts dating back to the Texas Open, including a third-place finish at the Zurich Classic alongside teammate Wyndham Clark. Clark got his big win at the Wells Fargo Championship, and Hossler will look to match this week.
His recent success and course history keep him from being totally off the radar, with a 7% projected ownership. Still, that’s much lower than many other players in this price range. In fact, there are 13 players priced under $8K with higher ownership projections, including Eric Cole and Hayden Buckley, who have ownership projections over 9% with salaries right near Hossler’s.
While he isn’t a full contrarian play, I’m willing to eat a little chalk and even wear a visor to be in on Hossler this week.
Sleeper PGA DFS Picks
Akshay Bhatia $6,700
For GPP lineups, we’re looking for ceiling and upside in exchange for risk, and that’s exactly what Bhatia has to offer. The lanky lefty has the highest ceiling projection of all players under $7K in this event and is in the top five in ceiling projection of all players under $8K.
Bhatia earned Special Temporary Membership on the PGA TOUR earlier this season and has put together several strong showings. He has exceeded salary-based expectations in six of his past eight events, highlighted by top-five finishes at the Mexico Open and the Puerto Rico Open. He did miss the cut at Harbour Town and Innisbrook, where the layouts are more similar to this one, but I’m willing to take the risk in exchange for his ceiling.
He’ll be making his debut at this event, but his ball-striking performance this season has been off the charts, so I love him as a flier from under $7K this week.
Carson Young $6,300
If you’re looking for an even cheaper option loaded with upside, check out Young, who barely checks in over the minimum salary but comes in showcasing some impressive form.
On Monday, Young participated in a 36-hole qualifier for the U.S. Open and crushed the field with 19 birdies and three bogeys. He finished his morning round with six straight birdies and started his afternoon round with six more in his first eight holes on his way to a course record. Those rounds weren’t played on this course, but they were nearby in Dallas, and Young will hope his momentum carries over.
The PGA TOUR rookie has also been posting strong results in recent events. He finished in the top 20 at the Byron Nelson Championship two weeks ago, the Mexico Open, and the RBC Heritage. In each of those three events, he had a Plus/Minus of over 39 DraftKings points.
Young brings the fifth-highest Perfect% of all players under $7K and the second-highest of players priced below Bhatia.
Some other cheap plays that I like this week are Ben Griffin ($6,800), Kevin Streelman ($6,500) and David Lingmerth ($6,200).