The PGA DFS Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable golfers.
The PGA TOUR heads to Chicago, Illinois this week for the BMW Championship. Olympia Fields will be the host course and measures as a massive 7,366-yard par 70 with Bentgrass greens. This is the second round of the playoffs, so we have a 50-man, no-cut event on tap.
I’ll be highlighting the best cash game/single-entry plays on the DraftKings main slate, but these players are often great options in any contest.
My analysis will frequently reference Strokes Gained, a set of proprietary metrics generated by the PGA TOUR using millions of data points to calculate how many shots, on average, it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation.
Strokes Gained is now available in the FantasyLabs PGA Models.
There are a variety of Strokes Gained-related metrics, but the six main categories you need to know include:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (SG: Off-the-Tee)
- Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green (SG: Around-the-Green)
- Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: Putting)
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (SG: Ball-Striking), which is SG: Off-the-Tee + SG: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (SG: Tee-to-Green), which is SG: Ball-Striking + SG: Around-the-Green
Don’t forget to check out two key metrics in our models — Perfect% and SimLeverage. You can find an explainer on those metrics here.
The cliff notes version is that you can use SimLeverage to quickly find leverage plays in tournaments, while Perfect% is great for finding the best price-considered plays for cash games.
The following players listed are based on DraftKings scoring and pricing.
PGA DFS Conviction Plays
Jon Rahm ($11,200 DraftKings)
Rahm posted the worst driving round of his career last week at the FedEx St. Jude, losing 3.26 strokes off-the-tee. However, he would go back to being Jon Rahm over the weekend, gaining 2.68 strokes in that department, which was second to only Beau Hossler — who is not in the field this week. This means Rahm gained more strokes than anyone in the BMW field on Saturday and Sunday. This bodes extremely well for this week’s test at Olympia Fields, a course that will be insanely demanding.
Rahm, of course, was the winner of the event the last time it was held at Olympia Fields back in 2020, beating Dustin Johnson in a playoff at -4. If the scores are going to be that high again, there is no one I trust more than Rahm. We might also get a bit of an ownership discount after he burned so many last week as well.
Additional PGA DFS Cash/GPP Thoughts
Being that I am likely starting with Rahm, I’m not putting anyone else above $10k as a conviction play. Obviously, you can make a strong case for Rory, Scottie Cantlay Hovland, and Xander if you so choose in tough setup like this.
My personal ranking independent of pricing would be Rory McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay, Scottie Scheffler, Viktor Hovland, and Xander Schauffele.
It’s incredibly hard watching Scottie continue to miss every single putt, and he didn’t really hit the ball as well as he’s been hitting it last week, so I am going to pass on him this week. Cantlay should have easily beaten Lucas Glover in the playoff but inexplicably hit the water with his tee shot on the first playoff hole. That would not deter me from going right back to him this week, however, as he’ll be looking for the three-peat at this event. He finished T12 here in 2020.
Rory is playing like the best golfer in the world right now after another top-five finish last week, and despite his elevated salary this week, is arguably the best play on the board. I may pair him with Rahm, but will have to see. Either way, he’s the favorite to win and an incredible spend-up option.
Hovland is always in play when we get to tough tracks that demand precise ball striking, and that’s no different this week. After an opening round 72 last week in Memphis, Hovland closed 64, 65, 69 and ended up with a T13 finish. It would not shock me if he won here.
In the $9K range, my favorite play is Hideki Matsuyama, who will definitely go overlooked due to this inflated $9,400 salary. He’s having a pretty down season for his standards, but still ranks fifth in this field on approach and ninth in overall ball-striking over his past 24 rounds. Oh, by the way, he finished T3 here back in 2020 as well. I think he has a top-20 floor this week with a ton of upside beyond that, and he’ll likely end up mega contrarian.
My next favorite play is Tyrell Hatton at $9,000. I believe he’s a bit too cheap for his talent, much like Collin Morikawa was last week at the same price. Hatton, like Hovland, opened poorly in Memphis with a 72 but then rebounded to shoot three straight rounds in the 60s, giving him some positive momentum heading into this week. In 2020, Hatton finished T16 at this course, which is really nice to see, considering he’s a much more polished player now. Only Rory, Scottie, and Cantlay have gained more total strokes than Hatton has over the past 48 rounds.
Cam Young is my favorite $8k play this week by a pretty good margin. Olympia Fields requires you to be great with driver in hand, and very few in the world are better at that than Young. This very much has the feel of a major setup, and Young has finished T7, T32, and T8 in three of the four majors this season.
It’s hard to argue against Russell Henley right now, as he’s coming off back-to-back top-six finishes at the Wyndham and FedEx St. Jude. He is second to only Lucas Glover in total strokes gained in this timeframe while ranking 13th in SG: Ball-Striking and third in SG: Putting. Despite this course being a bomber’s paradise, there’s absolutely something to be said for a guy who hits the fairway on every hole like Henley does. He finished T25 here in 2020 and could very well build on that performance this week.
Brian Harman had a really strong final three rounds in Memphis to finish T31, and he’s back in play again this week. This would be the last course you think Harman would have success at, but he finished T12 here back in 2020 and ranks eighth in this field in driving accuracy over the past 24 rounds. That’s an easily repeatable formula for Harman, who can just simply find every fairway and make every putt, much like he did at Royal Liverpool when he won the Open. I wouldn’t bet against him, especially not at $8,100.
Below $8k this week is a total crapshoot.
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The guys who stand out to me in the $7k range are Cam Davis, Benny An, and Keegan Bradley.
Davis kept it rolling last week with a T6 in Memphis, which was on the heels of a T7 at the Wyndham and T10 at the 3M. He’s playing incredible golf right now and gained the seventh most strokes in the field last week from tee to green. He absolutely has the length to compete at Olympia Fields and the fact he can’t miss the cut always makes him an alluring target.
Benny An and Keegan are both long and accurate off the tee, which again will be paramount this week. Keegan actually won this event back in 2018 at a different course, but he’s no stranger to tough playoff setups. An has really had a great bounce-back season after losing his tour card last year. He’s got four top-10s and seven additional top 25s this year. He also finished T12 at this event back in 2020.
Taylor Moore has also found some form over the past two weeks and already won at a tough Innisbrook track earlier this year. He’s a long hitter and great putter who could make some noise this week.
After that, both the $6k and $5k range are legit “close your eyes and hope for a top-20 situations. My favorite of the bunch are Adam Schenk, Lee Hodges, Adam Svensson, Chris Kirk, and Nick Taylor.
Schenk posted his sixth top-10 of the season last week in Memphis and gained 4.7 strokes ball-striking and two strokes on the greens. He’s very strong at just $6,500, as DK did not raise his price much.
Hodges has been playing very well, as has Svensson, while Kirk bounced back nicely last week and got his putter going in a big way. He’s another driving accuracy specialist that can make noise. Nick Taylor actually might be the best value of this bunch after gaining 6.28 strokes ball-striking last week.
I understand also dropping to Patrick Rodgers, who is $5,500, which feels really dumb. P Rod is extremely long off the tee and is a way better golfer than this salary suggests. He will likely finish in the bottom half of this field, but there is the 10% chance he really pops, and if he does, that will do wonders at the salary floor. You, of course, could make this same argument for Seamus Power, Tom Hoge, and Kurt Kityama as well. It’s a true coin flip
Best of luck this week!