The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the Fantasy Labs Tools and metrics to highlight notable golfers.
We have an unknown course on our hands this week with the Rocket Mortgage Classic being played at Detroit Golf Club. This week features a rather weak field, especially once we get into the lower end of the price ranges, so let’s get right to it.
You can read my full breakdown of Detroit Golf Club here.
Key metrics: Birdie or better scoring, par-4 and par-5 scoring, Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, Strokes Gained: Ball Striking.
And as usual, I like Long-Term (LT) and Recent Adjusted Round Score (Adj Rd Score) as catch-all metrics.
Best DFS Plays for the 2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic
$10,000 and Above (DraftKings Pricing)
With how weak this field on the lower end of the price ranges, it’s unlikely that anyone in this price range cracks my cash game rosters. If somebody does, it’ll be Hideki Matsuyama ($10,200 DraftKings; $11,300 FanDuel) who is the cheapest golfer in this tier.
His 68.4 LT Adj Rd Score and 15.1 birdies per tournament are both top-three marks in the field, and he’s been striking it as well as anyone this season. Over his past 50 rounds, he ranks second in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and Strokes Gained: Ball Striking, trailing only Dustin Johnson ($12,000 DraftKings; $12,500 FanDuel). Deki has been incredibly consistent, boasting a 10% missed-cut rate over the past 75 weeks, and he hasn’t missed a cut in the 2019 season.
DJ, Rickie Fowler ($11,200 DraftKings; $11,700 FanDuel) and Gary Woodland ($10,900 DraftKings; $11,200 FanDuel) are all viable, though if you think you can construct a roster with that doesn’t significantly handicap the rest of your team.
People never like to play a guy off a win, but in this weak field, Chez Reavie ($9,700 DraftKings; $10,900 FanDuel) is worth consideration since he ranks 10th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and eighth in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking. Reavie’s biggest concern is his meager -3.0 adjusted strokes on par 5s. However, his -0.6 adjusted strokes on par 4s is the fourth-best mark in the field.
Ryan Moore’s ($9,500 DraftKings; $10,200 FanDuel) 69.1 LT Adj Rd Score is the sixth-best mark in the field, and he’s been solid tee-to-green over his past 50 rounds, ranking 13th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and 13th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking.
Billy Horschel ($9,000 DraftKings; $10,400 FanDuel) has been solid this year, with his only missed cut coming at the Texas Open in early April. None of his metrics jump off the page, but he carries a 69.1 LT Adj Rd Score and over the past month, he’s averaging a +8.43 DraftKings Plus/Minus with a 100% Consistency Rating.
The fact that Joaquin Niemann ($8,900 DraftKings; $9,800 FanDuel) is this expensive, just goes to show how soft this field is. While he’s a bit overpriced, he’s been trending in the right direction. His -0.4 adjusted strokes on par 4s is the seventh-best mark in the field. And over his past 50 rounds, he ranks 11th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and 17th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking.
A lot of Sung-jae Im’s ($8,800 DraftKings; $10,300 FanDuel) success over his last three events has been due to his putter, but he’s still someone I’m considering with his 14.6 birdies per tournament, -0.3 adjusted strokes on par 4s and his excellent -5.6 adjusted strokes on par 5s over the past 75 weeks.
Kevin Streelman ($8,600 DraftKings; $9,500 FanDuel) continues to run hot, boasting a 67.8 recent Adj Rd Score. At some point, this will run out, but over his 24 rounds, he ranks second in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and third in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking. Even if you extend it to his past 50 rounds, he ranks seventh in both metrics. I’ll keep riding the current form until it shows signs of slowing down.
We have a small sample to work off of, but Viktor Hovland ($8,400 DraftKings; $10,000 FanDuel) should fit well into balanced builds. There is only data from his past 20 rounds, but over that time frame, he ranks 16th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and 11th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking.
Aaron Wise ($8,200 DraftKings; $9,400 FanDuel) is priced as the No. 18 golfer on DraftKings, but he has the 11th-best LT Adj Rd Score and ranks 23rd and 24th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and Strokes Gained: Ball Striking over his past 50 rounds.
Byeong-Hun An ($7,900 DraftKings; $9,900 FanDuel) missed the cut last week after he lost 5.4 strokes putting. His recent form has struggled of late after going, MC, 16th, 17th, 68th, MC, MC since the RBC Heritage, but at his price tag, he still ranks 11th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green over that time frame. His putting is always going to hold him back, but this week there will be an abundance of plays with question marks that we’ll need to consider in this weak field.
Charles Howell III ($7,800 DraftKings; $9,800 FanDuel) is an intriguing tournament play. He’s another golfer in this range with a 69.1 LT Adj Rd Score. He’s really struggled of late, finishing 41st or worse, along with two missed cuts and a withdrawal with an injury since May. I’d expect his poor form to keep his ownership down, but if he could progress back to his long-term form, he should do well in this field.
Sung Kang ($7,600 DraftKings; $8,800 FanDuel) has followed up his first and seventh-place finish at the Byron Nelson and PGA Championship with an MC and 78th at the Travelers after he got the ole’ MDF last week, but those poor outings were mostly due to his putter. He hit 74.1% of greens in regulation (GIR) and gained 2.2 strokes on approach last week, but lost nearly three strokes around the green and with his putter. This could be a bounce-back spot for him considering he still ranks 15th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and 18th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking over his past 50 rounds.
Luke List ($7,700 Draftings; $9,300) doesn’t stand out in any single metric, which seems to be a common theme this week… But, his 69.3 LT Adj Rd Score is the 11th-best mark in the field, and he’s priced all the way down as the No. 29 golfer. He should at least be able to take advantage of the par 5s on this course as he’s averaged -4.7 adjusted strokes on them over the past 75 weeks.
$6,900 and Below
With how bad this field is, I’d mostly just look for upside in this range, because there is nobody who is safe. Cameron Champ ($6,800 DraftKings; $8,100 FanDuel) has missed four of his last six cuts, but he probably has the most upside in this price range with his -5.1 adjusted strokes on par 5s and 0.6 eagles per tournament over the past 75 weeks. He can at least gain strokes off the tee, and he ranks 19th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking over his past 50 rounds.
Sepp Straka ($6,900 DraftKings; $8,300 FanDuel) has averaged 0.5 eagles per tournament over the past 75 weeks, and he’s hit 70.2% of GIR in that time frame. He wasn’t bad last week, hitting 80.6% of GIR and gaining 5.9 strokes tee-to-green, but the flat stick let him down in a big way as he lost 5.9 strokes putting. Overall, Straka ranks 13th in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking over his past 50 rounds.
With a lot of uncertainty this week, taking a shot with someone as cheap as Straka, who is actually striking the ball well might not be a horrible idea in order to get some of the top-priced guys.
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.
Photo credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Pictured: Hideki Matsuyama