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PGA Fantasy Breakdown: Tips, Strategies for the 2019 Tournament of Champions

Dustin-Johnson

The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the Fantasy Labs Tools and metrics to highlight notable golfers.

The PGA Tour is back! So, let’s not waste any time and dive right into this no-cut, 34-player event.

The Course

As always, I backtested various metrics in our PGA Models to find out which ones have been the most valuable at Plantation. Per the Trends tool, here’s how the top 20% of golfers in various metrics have done at this course (in Plus/Minus valuation). Historically, the tournament has yielded averages of 91.11 DraftKings points and a +19.32 Plus/Minus with an 86.3% Consistency Rating to the field.

I’m listing only those metrics that tested positively above the baseline:

  • Long-Term Putts Per Round: +4.83
  • Long-Term Tournament Count: +4.53
  • Long-Term Scrambling: +4.41
  • Long-Term Bogeys: +2.90
  • Long-Term Par-4 Scoring: +1.67
  • Long-Term Birdies: +1.24
  • Long-Term Par-3 Scoring: +1.20
  • Long-Term Driving Distance: +0.06
  • Long-Term Adjusted Round Score: +0.01

Given there’s an extended period of time off, I left recent performance off because the samples were small and mostly negative in regards to Plus/Minus. Since this tournament is loaded with champions from the 2018 season, it won’t be difficult to construct a team to feel good about. And since there’s no cut, it’s possible to be more risk-averse in lineup construction if needed.

The Plantation course is the only par 73 on Tour and checks in at around 7,400 yards. It doesn’t appear distance is crucial this week since the top 20% in driving distance have averaged just a +0.06 Plus/Minus. There is a 663-yard par 5, but most of the par 4s are rather short, and because that’s the case, I’ll also be looking at proximity to the hole, which isn’t in our Models but can be found on the PGA Tour site.

Long-Term Putts Per Round (PPR) back-tested the best among our metrics, but since putting can be a steaky stat, I’ll likely just be using that as tiebreaker, while mostly focusing on par-4 scoring, Long-Term Birdies and bogey avoidance.

High-Salary Stars

Dustin Johnson ($11,000 DraftKings; $12,000 FanDuel) will anchor my cash teams this week since it’s easy to fit him in with the talent in the low price ranges. Unsurprisingly, DJ has a top-two mark in LT Birdies and adjusted strokes on par 4s over the past 75 weeks.

He also finished second on Tour in proximity to the hole last PGA season. Historically, he’s dominated at this course, winning this event last season. DJ hasn’t finished outside of the top 10 in his past seven appearances.

Brookes Koepka ($10,200 DraftKings; $11,600 FanDuel) and Justin Thomas ($10,500 DraftKings; $11,200 FanDuel) are obviously both strong plays. Their 17.1 LT Birdies per tournament trails only DJ and Thomas’ -2.4 adjusted strokes on par 4s leads the entire field.

All of the top-priced golfers projected to be heavily owned at 26-30% Projected Ownership in large-field tournaments, but if forced to take a stance, I’ll side with DJ since he leads all of them in nearly every statistic that I am looking at.


Value Plays

One way to find value is to leverage our LT Adj Rd Score metric. If you sort the field by LT Adj Rd Score, you’re looking at players who have been the best golfers over the past 75 weeks. Among these golfers, those who have low salaries make great value plays.

Paul Casey’s ($7,900 DraftKings; $9,700 FanDuel) 68.3 LT Adj Rd Score is the fifth-best mark in the field, but he’s priced outside the top 11 on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Marc Leishman ($7,700 DraftKings; $9,300 FanDuel) tends to be priced relatively low in strong fields, despite owning a solid 68.6 LT Adj Rd Score. Leishman can be hit or miss since his 15.4 LT Birdies per tournament is the sixth-best mark in the field, but his 9.6 LT Bogeys is the fourth-worst mark.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of Leishman’s game is he’s an excellent player in the wind, and this tournament looks especially windy on Thursday and Friday.

Keegan Bradley ($7,300 DraftKings; $8,300 FanDuel) doesn’t jump off the page in some of the key Labs metrics, but his 68.9 LT Adj Rd Score ranks in the top half of the field and he ranked 15th in proximity to the hole last season.

While Billy Horschel ($7,000 DraftKings; $8,100 FanDuel) is mediocre in most long-term metrics, his 70% of GIR over the past 75 weeks is the fourth-best rate in the field. I’m mostly on Horschel because I’m a fan of his price tag on DraftKings. It’s the cheapest he’s been since his $6,600 tag at The Masters last year.


Quick Hits

Bryson DeChambeau ($8,700 DraftKings; $10,900 FanDuel): His price tag on DraftKings seems cheap considering he’s ranked No. 5 in the Official World Golf Rankings, and he was priced substantially more expensive toward the end of last golf season, eclipsing $9,900 twice in his past three tournaments to close out the year.

Gary Woodland ($8,000 DraftKings; $9,400 FanDuel): His price tag fits perfectly into builds that start with DJ and a few of the golfers in the value section. Woodland’s 14.9 LT Birdies is tied with Cameron Champ ($8,100 DraftKings; $9,100 FanDuel) for the 10th-best mark in the field. Not only does Champ’s LT Birdies rate well, but his 7.8 LT Bogeys per tournament is tied for the second-best mark.

Webb Simpson ($8,500 DraftKings;  $10,000 FanDuel): Simpson ranks inside the top five in LT Adj Rd Score, LT PPR, LT Bogeys and adjusted strokes on par 4s.


Good luck, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more golf coverage!

Pictured above: Dustin Johnson
Photo credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the Fantasy Labs Tools and metrics to highlight notable golfers.

The PGA Tour is back! So, let’s not waste any time and dive right into this no-cut, 34-player event.

The Course

As always, I backtested various metrics in our PGA Models to find out which ones have been the most valuable at Plantation. Per the Trends tool, here’s how the top 20% of golfers in various metrics have done at this course (in Plus/Minus valuation). Historically, the tournament has yielded averages of 91.11 DraftKings points and a +19.32 Plus/Minus with an 86.3% Consistency Rating to the field.

I’m listing only those metrics that tested positively above the baseline:

  • Long-Term Putts Per Round: +4.83
  • Long-Term Tournament Count: +4.53
  • Long-Term Scrambling: +4.41
  • Long-Term Bogeys: +2.90
  • Long-Term Par-4 Scoring: +1.67
  • Long-Term Birdies: +1.24
  • Long-Term Par-3 Scoring: +1.20
  • Long-Term Driving Distance: +0.06
  • Long-Term Adjusted Round Score: +0.01

Given there’s an extended period of time off, I left recent performance off because the samples were small and mostly negative in regards to Plus/Minus. Since this tournament is loaded with champions from the 2018 season, it won’t be difficult to construct a team to feel good about. And since there’s no cut, it’s possible to be more risk-averse in lineup construction if needed.

The Plantation course is the only par 73 on Tour and checks in at around 7,400 yards. It doesn’t appear distance is crucial this week since the top 20% in driving distance have averaged just a +0.06 Plus/Minus. There is a 663-yard par 5, but most of the par 4s are rather short, and because that’s the case, I’ll also be looking at proximity to the hole, which isn’t in our Models but can be found on the PGA Tour site.

Long-Term Putts Per Round (PPR) back-tested the best among our metrics, but since putting can be a steaky stat, I’ll likely just be using that as tiebreaker, while mostly focusing on par-4 scoring, Long-Term Birdies and bogey avoidance.

High-Salary Stars

Dustin Johnson ($11,000 DraftKings; $12,000 FanDuel) will anchor my cash teams this week since it’s easy to fit him in with the talent in the low price ranges. Unsurprisingly, DJ has a top-two mark in LT Birdies and adjusted strokes on par 4s over the past 75 weeks.

He also finished second on Tour in proximity to the hole last PGA season. Historically, he’s dominated at this course, winning this event last season. DJ hasn’t finished outside of the top 10 in his past seven appearances.

Brookes Koepka ($10,200 DraftKings; $11,600 FanDuel) and Justin Thomas ($10,500 DraftKings; $11,200 FanDuel) are obviously both strong plays. Their 17.1 LT Birdies per tournament trails only DJ and Thomas’ -2.4 adjusted strokes on par 4s leads the entire field.

All of the top-priced golfers projected to be heavily owned at 26-30% Projected Ownership in large-field tournaments, but if forced to take a stance, I’ll side with DJ since he leads all of them in nearly every statistic that I am looking at.


Value Plays

One way to find value is to leverage our LT Adj Rd Score metric. If you sort the field by LT Adj Rd Score, you’re looking at players who have been the best golfers over the past 75 weeks. Among these golfers, those who have low salaries make great value plays.

Paul Casey’s ($7,900 DraftKings; $9,700 FanDuel) 68.3 LT Adj Rd Score is the fifth-best mark in the field, but he’s priced outside the top 11 on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

Marc Leishman ($7,700 DraftKings; $9,300 FanDuel) tends to be priced relatively low in strong fields, despite owning a solid 68.6 LT Adj Rd Score. Leishman can be hit or miss since his 15.4 LT Birdies per tournament is the sixth-best mark in the field, but his 9.6 LT Bogeys is the fourth-worst mark.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of Leishman’s game is he’s an excellent player in the wind, and this tournament looks especially windy on Thursday and Friday.

Keegan Bradley ($7,300 DraftKings; $8,300 FanDuel) doesn’t jump off the page in some of the key Labs metrics, but his 68.9 LT Adj Rd Score ranks in the top half of the field and he ranked 15th in proximity to the hole last season.

While Billy Horschel ($7,000 DraftKings; $8,100 FanDuel) is mediocre in most long-term metrics, his 70% of GIR over the past 75 weeks is the fourth-best rate in the field. I’m mostly on Horschel because I’m a fan of his price tag on DraftKings. It’s the cheapest he’s been since his $6,600 tag at The Masters last year.


Quick Hits

Bryson DeChambeau ($8,700 DraftKings; $10,900 FanDuel): His price tag on DraftKings seems cheap considering he’s ranked No. 5 in the Official World Golf Rankings, and he was priced substantially more expensive toward the end of last golf season, eclipsing $9,900 twice in his past three tournaments to close out the year.

Gary Woodland ($8,000 DraftKings; $9,400 FanDuel): His price tag fits perfectly into builds that start with DJ and a few of the golfers in the value section. Woodland’s 14.9 LT Birdies is tied with Cameron Champ ($8,100 DraftKings; $9,100 FanDuel) for the 10th-best mark in the field. Not only does Champ’s LT Birdies rate well, but his 7.8 LT Bogeys per tournament is tied for the second-best mark.

Webb Simpson ($8,500 DraftKings;  $10,000 FanDuel): Simpson ranks inside the top five in LT Adj Rd Score, LT PPR, LT Bogeys and adjusted strokes on par 4s.


Good luck, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more golf coverage!

Pictured above: Dustin Johnson
Photo credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports