The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the Fantasy Labs Tools and metrics to highlight notable golfers.
With the PGA Championship a week away, we’ve got a weak field on hand for the Byron Nelson Championship this week. But, on the bright side, it should be a straight up birdie-fest as this played as one the easiest courses on tour last year.
As always, I backtested various metrics in our PGA Models to find out those that have been the most valuable at Trinity Forest. Per our Trends tool, here’s how the top 20% of golfers in various metrics have done at this course (in Plus/Minus valuation).
Historically, this course has yielded averages of 56.19 DraftKings points and a +6.09 Plus/Minus with a 49% Consistency Rating to the field.
I’m listing only those metrics that tested positively relative to the baseline:
- Long-Term Eagles: +15.55
- Long-Term Birdies: +10.55
- Recent Birdies: +10.45
- Recent Driving Distance: +7.50
- Recent Par-5 Scoring: +7.03
- Recent Scrambling: +6.53
- Long-Term Adjusted Round Score: +6.52
- Long-Term Par-4 Scoring: +5.87
- Long-Term Driving Distance: +5.73
- Long-Term Par-5 Scoring: +5.63
- Recent Adjusted Round Score: +4.90
- Recent Eagles: +3.95
- Long-Term Missed Cuts: +2.86
- Long-Term Par-3 Scoring: +2.69
- Long-Term Driving Accuracy: +2.69
- Recent Par-3 Scoring: +2.67
- Recent Greens in Regulation: +2.48
- Long-Term Tournament Count: +2.42
- Long-Term Greens In Regulation: +1.98
- Long-Term Scrambling: +1.22
- Recent Par-4 Scoring: +1.17
- Recent Bogeys: +0.40
We only have one year of data for Trinity Forest, so the sample size for this data is small. That said, it played incredibly easy last year with Aaron Wise winning at -23 and the cut line was -4. Per Fantasy National, six holes had birdies rates above 25% in 2018, and three of those six holes were the par 5s, so seeing par-5 scoring backtest favorably is unsurprising.
This course also features a driveable 315-yard par 4 that had an eagle rate of 1.5% and birdie rate of 44.1%. Given the high birdie rates, it’s no shock that birdie-or-better scoring backtested favorably in Year 1 on this course.
Overall, this week seems pretty straightforward.
Key metrics to focus on: Birdie-or-better scoring, par-4 and par-5 scoring, Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
And as usual, I like Long-Term (LT) and Recent Adjusted Round Score (Adj Rd Score) as catch-all metrics.
Best DFS Plays for Byron Nelson Championship
$10,000 and Above (DraftKings Pricing)
Looking at the top end this week, Brooks Koepka ($11,400 DraftKings; $12,600 FanDuel) and Hideki Matsuyama ($11,000 DraftKings; $11,500 FanDuel) make the most sense to me. Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, and Marc Leishman are too expensive to consider for cash games, but they’ll likely go lower owned in tournaments.
Koepka is tied with Hideki for a field-best 68.5 LT Adj Rd Score, and Brooks also stands out with his 0.6 eagles and 16.0 birdies per tournament over the past 75 weeks. He’s an obvious fit for the course, averaging -5.5 adjusted strokes on par 5s and -0.5 adjusted strokes on par 4s, both marks rank inside the top 10 in the field. There are also six par 4s between 400-450 yards on this course, and Koepka ranks 11th in par-4 efficiency from those ranges (Fantasy National).
Despite some slow starts this year, Deki has yet to miss a cut this season. Over his past 50 rounds, he ranks first in the following metrics: Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, Strokes Gained: Ball Striking and Strokes Gained: Approach in this field. Even with his high price tag, Deki is a solid value for this course.
The only tricky part with roster Deki or Brooks is it forces you into the mid-to-high $7,000 range to fill out your roster.
Sungjae Im ($9,600 DraftKings; $10,600 FanDuel) has been solid over the past 75 weeks, ranking inside the top six in adjusted strokes on par 4s and par 5s, along with birdies per tournament. And over his past 50 rounds, Im ranks second in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and 10th in Strokes Gained: Approach. Overall, he’s only lost strokes tee-to-green in just two tournaments this season. The only times Im has missed the cut this year came when his putter ran cold.
Aaron Wise ($9,400 DraftKings; $10,900 FanDuel) is intriguing as he’s priced as the No. 8 golfer, but presently has the fourth-best odds to win. Some of his metrics don’t jump off the page, but over his past 50 rounds, he ranks seventh in birdies or better gained, 15th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, fourth in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, and ninth in par-4 efficiency from 400-450 yards.
Keith Mitchell ($9,100 DraftKings; $10,200 FanDuel) is a solid fit for this course with his -5.1 adjusted strokes on par 5s and 14.9 birdies per tournament. Additionally, over Mitchell’s past 50 rounds, he ranks second in eagles gained and 10th in birdies gained.
Ryan Moore ($8,800 DraftKings; $10,300 FanDuel) is never a sexy pick, but he’s been rather consistent over his past 50 rounds, ranking eighth or better in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking, Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and Strokes Gained: Approach. At the very least, Moore should at least be a safe bet to make the cut in this weak field.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello ($8,600 DraftKings; $10,500 FanDuel) is a solid value, as he’s priced as the No. 15 golfer, but he has the eighth-best LT Adj Rd Score in the field. Rafa is a solid cut-maker, missing just 18% of cuts over the past 75 weeks. Moreover, he ranks third in birdies or better gained and seventh in par-4 efficiency from 400-450 yards.
Charles Howell III ($8,500 DraftKings; $10,400 FanDuel) is also a good value, priced as the No. 16 golfer with the sixth-best LT Adj Rd Score in the field. He’s normally an excellent cut-maker, missing just 14% of cuts over the past 75 weeks, but he’s missed his last two cuts (Wells Fargo Championship and RBC Heritage). However, this is a much easier course that should set up well for Howell. He doesn’t stand out in any single metric, but he ranks second in total strokes gained over his past 50 rounds.
Thorbjorn Olesen ($8,100 DraftKings; $9,900 FanDuel) is averaging an exceptional 14.5 birdies per tournament and -5.0 adjusted strokes on par 5s over the past 75 weeks. These Euro guys don’t have much to look at for Strokes Gained data, but he rates out well in my model.
Russell Knox ($8,000 DraftKings; $9,200 FanDuel) doesn’t jump off the page, but he’s relatively consistent, averaging a +12.32 DraftKings Plus/Minus with a 70% Consistency Rating over his past 10 tournaments. He’s missed just one cut this year, and that came at RBC Heritage a few weeks ago. His price isn’t too steep for someone who ranks 14th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green over his past 50 rounds.
This price range is underwhelming with no real standouts, but we’ll manage!
Most of Scottie Scheffler’s ($7,900 Draftkings; $9,600 FanDuel) metrics in our database are from Web.com, but he’s been tearing it up in that regard. He’s averaged an absurd -6.4 adjusted strokes on par 5s, and he’s been decent on par 4s with his -0.6 adjusted strokes. Scheffler has been on fire of late, posting three top-sevens in his past three Web events, along with a 20th-place finish at the Texas Open in April.
Justin Harding ($7,800 DraftKings; $9,400 FanDuel) has the sixth-best T-10 odds in this price range. He carries just a 19% missed-cut rate over the past 75 weeks, which is the best mark in this pricing tier. Furthermore, Harding has been great from a birdie-or-better perspective, averaging 14.1 birdies and 0.5 eagles per tournament. I wouldn’t expect him to be too highly owned in tournaments, given he’s appeared in just three PGA events this season, and he missed the cut in two of them.
Trey Mullinax ($7,600 DraftKings; $9,200 FanDuel) has missed just two cuts this season. He’s been decent over his past six tournaments, sporting a 69.7 recent Adj Rd Score and averaging 15.5 birdies per tournament with -5.8 adjusted strokes on par 5s. His par-5 numbers aren’t too surprising, considering he ranks fourth in par-5 efficiency over his past 50 rounds. In the same time frame, Mullinax also ranks 12th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and sixth in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking.
Abraham Ancer ($7,600 DraftKings; $9,600 FanDuel) has the third-best LT Adj Rd Score and adjusted strokes on par 4s in this price range. His Strokes Gained data also stands out as he ranks seventh in both Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and Strokes Gained: Ball Striking.
Dylan Frittelli ($7,500 DraftKings; $8,800 FanDuel) has made four-straight cuts after he missed the cut in March at the Honda Classic. His 13.4 birdies per tournament and -5.1 adjusted strokes on par 5s is exceptional for this price range. In fact, his 0.5 eagles per tournament and adjusted strokes on par 5s both rank inside the top 11 of the entire field. Not to mention, ranking in the top 10 in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and Strokes Gained: Ball Striking over his past 50 rounds. And 28th in Strokes Gained: Approach, respectively.
Adam Schenk ($7,000 DraftKings; $8,500 FanDuel) is mildly intriguing in tournament lineups. He’s incredibly cheap, but rates well in various Strokes Gained data, ranking 13th in total strokes gained, including 15th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking and sixth in Strokes Gained: Approach. However, I wouldn’t trust him in cash games with his 38% missed-cut rate.
$6,900 and Below
I’m not too interested in any golfers in this range as of writing.
Good luck, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more golf coverage!
Note: Strokes Gained and efficiency data via Fantasy National.
Pictured above: Hideki Matsuyama
Photo credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports