The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the Fantasy Labs Tools and other industry metrics to highlight notable golfers.
Next on tap for the tour is a 64-player event with most of the best golfers in the world attending. With just 64 players, there is no cut, so you can typically go more risk/reward in roster construction in such events.
Let’s get right into it.
I did a full breakdown of the course. Check it out.
Key metrics: Birdie or better scoring, par-4 and par-5 scoring, scrambling, Strokes Gained: Approach
And as usual, I like Long-Term (LT) and Recent Adjusted Round Score (Adj Rd Score) as catch-all metrics.
DFS Breakdown for 2019 WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational
Webb Simpson ($8,200 DraftKings; $9,500 FanDuel) is one of the best values on the slate again. His price is on the lower end in the stacked field. His 68.2 LT Adj Rd Score is the sixth-best mark in the field, but he’s priced as the No. 19 golfer.
Simpson has the short game to recover from errant approach shots since he leads the field with his 64.6% scrambling rate. Despite being a shorter hitter, his 0.6 eagles per tournament rates fourth in the field. He’s also no slouch when it comes to par-4 scoring, evidenced by his -1.2 adjusted strokes on them over the past 75 weeks. His par-4 scoring in that span trails only Matthew Wolff (small sample), Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose.
Hideki Matsuyama ($8,900 DraftKings; $10,500 FanDuel) punched an early ticket home after missing the cut at the British Open, but I like him to bounce back this week. His 62.5% scrambling rate is the fourth-best mark in the field, and he’s one of the best birdie-scorers in the field, averaging 15.5 birdies per tournament over the last 75 weeks.
Additionally, Deki ranks eighth in Strokes Gained: Approach over his last 24 rounds. Anytime Deki is priced below $9,000, he has my attention — just kidding, he always has my attention.
Since most of this field participated in the British Open last week, I’m semi-intrigued by guys who left early. One of those guys is Bryson DeChambeau ($8,800 DraftKings; $10,400 FanDuel). Prior to his missed cut last week, DeChambeau had gained strokes on approach in three-straight tournaments, and over his past 24 rounds, he still ranks 14th in Strokes Gained: Approach.
If he can progress back to his long-term form, he should be set up well at this course. He carries a solid 68.2 LT Adj Rd Score, along with a 61.1% scrambling rate and 16.0 birdies per tournament. The par 5s shouldn’t give him any trouble as his -5.5 adjusted strokes on them is the fourth-best mark in the field. He can still contend on the par 4s as well, averaging -0.8 adjusted strokes on them over the same time frame, which is a top-10 mark in the field.
Brandt Snedeker’s ($7,400 DraftKings; $8,700 FanDuel) approach game is too volatile for me to target in cash games, but he has an excellent putter and short game, ranking in the top three in both Strokes Gained: Short Game and Around-the-Green over his last 24 rounds. Rostering Sneds just comes down to hoping his irons show up. In a no-cut event, it could be worth a shot.
Matthew Wolff ($7,500 DraftKings; $8,500 FanDuel) shouldn’t have any issues hitting these par 5s in two from a distance standpoint. The main issue is how small the greens are. He’s managed to hit 73.8% of GIR in the small sample we have for him in our database, and his par 4 (-3.7 adjusted strokes) and par 5 numbers (-5.8 adjusted strokes) are strong, but those numbers have come at easier courses. Still, I don’t have an issue jumping on the Wolff Wagon in a no-cut event like this.
Max Homa ($6,400 DraftKings; $7,300 FanDuel) will allow for a lot of roster flexibility at his price. In his 68 measured rounds with Shotlink data, he ranks 26th in Strokes Gained: Approach and 18th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. And over his last 24 rounds, his approach game has been slightly better, ranking 19th. Homa might even make my cash game rosters.
Trending Up Golfers
Patrick Reed ($8,000 DraftKings; $9,300 FanDuel) has now gained strokes on approach in seven of his last eight tournaments. If he can keep his approach numbers going and combine that with his world-class short game, he could be in line for a nice outing this week.
Jason Day ($8,300 DraftKings; $10,200 FanDuel) fits the mold of guys I don’t normally target as well, which are players with elite short games who struggle with their irons.
“Trending upward” should be loosely used in Day’s case since his 69.3 recent Adj Rd Score is 0.9 strokes worse than his LT Adj Rd Score, but his irons have slightly been trending the right direction, ranking 39th in Strokes Gained: Approach over his last 24 rounds, but 11th over his last 12 rounds.
Keegan Bradley’s ($6,900 DraftKings; $8,300 FanDuel) ball-striking had been excellent earlier in the year, but he’s lost strokes on approach in three of his last four tournaments. He also has a scrambling rate of just 56.6%. If his irons are struggling, and he can’t save for par, it could be a long four days for him.
Another golfer who doesn’t fit the profile for this course at all is Bubba Watson. He possesses a scrambling rate of just 56.3%, and he’s averaged 1.0 adjusted strokes on the par 4s. While he’s going to gain strokes off the tee, over his past 24 rounds, he ranks 56th in Strokes Gained: Approach and 55th in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green. Watson is someone who typically struggles on approach and around the greens.
Sung Kang has played TPC Southwind five times, and he has yet to make the cut here. This shouldn’t be particularly surprising since he’s averaged 3.1 adjusted strokes on par 4s over the past 75 weeks and has a scrambling rate of just 55%.
His 63.2% GIR is among the worst marks in the field and should only be magnified on a course where golfers hit GIR at a significantly lower clip than other events. At least Kang can take solace in the fact that he’ll make the cut this week … since there is no cut.
Note: Strokes Gained and efficiency data via Fantasy National.
Photo credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Pictured: Hideki Matsuyama