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 will head to Silvis, Ill for the John Deere Classic. It’s an incredibly weak field with The Open Championship on deck for next week. However, we still have a fun group of players with the emergence of young guys on tour.
Let’s dive in.
I did a full breakdown of the John Deere Classic here.
Key metrics: Par-5 scoring, birdie or better scoring, Strokes Gained: Approach.
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 John Deere Classic
$10,000 and Above (DraftKings Pricing)
With nobody in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) here, all of the $10,000-plus players aren’t guys we’re used to seeing up here in this price range. There are some intriguing names a few tiers down, so it’s not too difficult to fit any of these guys into your roster builds.
When it comes to cash-game builds, I’ll be starting my roster with the cheapest guys I’m comfortable with and then work my way up and see which one fits into my build the best.
Over the past 24 rounds, Viktor Hovland ($10,900 DraftKings; $11,600 FanDuel), Collin Morikawa ($10,700 DraftKings; $11,700 FanDuel), Matthew Wolff ($10,500 DraftKings; $11,400 FanDuel) and Joquin Niemann ($10,200 DraftKings; $10,900 FanDuel) all rank inside the top 25 in total strokes gained.
However, of this group Hovland (third) and Morikawa (fifth) are the only players in the top five in Strokes Gained: Approach. Niemann and Wolff rank 15th and 30th, respectively.
Matthew Wolff's Strokes Gained: Approach per round via @DataGolf at the 3M Open:
Round 1: +1.33
Round 2: +0.90
Round 3: +4.22
Round 4: +3.00
Collin Morikawa was also absurdly consistent:
Round 1: +3.10
Round 2: +2.89
Round 3: +2.44
Round 4: +2.28
— Justin Bailey (@justinbailey32) July 8, 2019
Note: Kevin Streelman has withdrawn from the John Deere Classic.
With the Streelman withdraw, my strategy for cash games remains the same. Although, if I’m fading one guy in this range, it’s probably Wolff since Hovland, Niemann and Morikawa are all striking the ball better than Wolff in the small sample size we have available.
With how weak the field is, I’d want at least one of these golfers from this tier.
Sung-jae Im ($9,700 DraftKings; $10,800 FanDuel) has been on a good run of late, boasting a 68.7 recent Adj Rd Score, and over the past 75 weeks, his -5.4 adjusted strokes on par 5s is the second-best mark in the field. He’s also capable of getting some eagles as his 0.5 eagles per tournament ranks sixth.
Brian Harman ($9,400 DraftKings; $11,000 FanDuel) has either missed the cut at this course or finished inside the top 25. His long-term metrics aren’t impressive, but he’s in good form right now with his 68.9 recent Adj Rd Score and averaging 15.8 birdies per tournament.
Kyle Stanley ($8,800 DraftKings; $10,000 FanDuel) is always struggling to putt, but he has been excellent with his irons over the past 24 rounds, ranking fourth in Strokes Gained: Approach and 10th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
Joel Dahmen’s ($8,400 DraftKings; $9,200 FanDuel) 13.2 birdies per tournament and -4.4 adjusted strokes on par 5s over the past 75 weeks is among the best marks in this price range. He hasn’t put together the best rounds of late, but over his last 24 rounds he still ranks 19th in Strokes Gained: Approach.
I’ll be going back to the Peter Malnati ($7,900 DraftKings; $9,100 FanDuel) well again. He’s the best putter in the field, averaging 27.9 Putts Per Round (PPR), and he’s hit 70.3% of greens in regulation (GIR) over his last six tournaments. His off-the-tee game isn’t great, but that’s not a big issue here.
Cameron Tringale ($7,700 DraftKings; $9,100 FanDuel) is another guy in this range who has been dialed in. Over his last five tournaments his 18.0 birdies per tournament ranks third in the field, and over his last 24 rounds he ranks eighth in Strokes Gained: Approach and sixth in total strokes gained. Further, over that same time frame he ranks sixth in par-5 efficiency on holes from 550-600 yards — all of the par 5s at this course are between 550-600 yards.
Vaughn Taylor ($7,700 DraftKings; $8,900 FanDuel) has a 68.8 recent Adj Rd Score, and over that time frame he’s averaging a whopping 17.3 birdies per tournament. Taylor’s form has been great over his past 24 rounds, ranking 13th in Strokes Gained Approach and fourth in total strokes gained. Only Niemann and Hovland rank higher than Taylor in total strokes gained in that time frame.
Sam Ryder’s ($7,500 DraftKings; $8,900 FanDuel) 13.7 birdies per tournament and -4.6 adjusted strokes on par 5s is among the best marks in this price range. He’s now gained strokes on approach in his last five tournaments and has missed the cut just once over that span.
Hank Lebioda ($7,100 DraftKings; $8,200 FanDuel) has been outstanding over his last 10 starts, averaging a +15.28 DraftKings Plus/Minus with an 80% Consistency Rating. Over Lebioda’s last six tournaments he averaged an excellent 15.3 birdies per tournament and -4.5 adjusted strokes on par 5s. In addition, over his past last 24 rounds he ranks 10th in Strokes Gained: Approach. He’s one of my favorite salary-saving options.
$6,900 and Below
Sebastian Munoz ($6.800 DraftKings; $8,500 FanDuel) would only make my tournament teams. His 13.8 birdies per tournament leads this price range, and his -4.5 adjusted strokes on par 5s is the fifth-best mark in this tier.
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: Collin Morikawa
Pictured: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports