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 Napa, California, for the Fortinet Championship. Silverado Resort and Spa will be the host and measures as a 7,123-yard par 72 with Poa Annua greens.
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
Max Homa ($11,000 DraftKings)
There’s not a ton that needs to be said here. Homa is the best player in this field by a mile right now and is the two-time defending champion at this event. You could easily make the argument that he should be $12,000 this week. He ranks No. 1 in this field over the last 48 rounds in SG: Total, averaging 1.27 strokes gained per round. Eric Cole, who ranks second in that time frame, is averaging .99 strokes per round.
Homa is also coming in playing some great golf. He’s finished T12 or better in each of his past five starts, including four straight top-10s. No one in this field boasts the win equity that Homa does, and you can easily fit him into your lineups without issue this week. No need to overthink this one.
Additional PGA DFS Cash/GPP Thoughts
If you do decide to fade Homa, my next favorite play above $10,000 this week is old friend Stephan Jaeger, who is coming off the best season of his career. Obviously, we are not used to paying such a premium for him, but given the nature of the field this week, the price is certainly warranted. Jaeger made a whopping 25-of-28 cuts in 2023 and finished T30 or better 14 times. He is as consistent as they come and ranks No. 1 in the field in SG: Tee-to-Green and fourth in SG: Ball-Striking over his past 48 rounds. He also ranks No. 1 in this field in birdie average during that time frame as well. This will be his fifth career start at Silverado, and while his history is nothing to write home about (two MCs and a T30), he could very well take home his first career PGA TOUR trophy this week.
Sahith Theegala has turned it on a bit over his past two starts, finishing T15 at the BMW Championship and T13 at the FedEx St. Jude. He will be teeing it up in Napa for the fourth time in his career, having already posted finishes of T6 and T14 at this event over the past three years. Much like Jaeger, Theegala was a cut-making machine last season, finding the weekend in 20-of-24 starts. He is a native of Orange County and has had a ton of success playing in California throughout his career. He has sky-high upside in this spot and is a strong tournament play at $9,800.
Both Beau Hossler and Andrew Putnam are intriguing options to me in the low $9,00 range. Hossler has three straight top-25 finishes at this event and has also finished T20 or better in three of his past four starts. He’s usually pretty hit or miss, but in a field like this at a course he clearly likes, he should find success.
Continuing with the theme of consistent cut makers, Putnam made the weekend in 21-of-27 starts last season, including a top 10 and three top fives. He’s one of the better putters on the PGA TOUR and is really good with his irons. He actually sits sixth in this field in SG: Total over his past 48 rounds, including No. 2 in SG: Approach, behind only Chez Reavie. Putnam has also made the cut at this event in each of his past five trips. I would expect that trend to continue this week, making him a strong option in balanced builds at just $9,100.
Moving to the $8k range, it’s usually hard to overlook Akshay Bhatia at these alternate type of events where the field is weak and the weather is warm. I know that sounds like a silly narrative, but some of his best finishes last season came at the Puerto Rico Open (2nd), Corales Puntacana Championship (24th), Mexico Open (4th), Barbasol Championship (9th), and finally, the Barracuda, where he picked up his first career PGA TOUR victory. He sits fifth in this field in SG: Ball-Striking over his past 48 rounds and finished T9 at this event the last time he played it back in 2021. I don’t love paying $8,700 for Bhatia ever, but he can score and has a ton of upside in this spot.
It feels gross to write, but Chez Reavie really stands out at $8,500 this week. As mentioned above, he ranks No.1 in the field in SG: Approach over his past 48 rounds while sitting fourth in SG: Total as well. After a brutal beginning to last season, Reavie really turned it on in late March, making the cut in 12 of his final 14 starts with three top-11 finishes. He’s been a staple at this event for the past decade, and prior to last season’s missed cut, he had made each of his previous nine dating back to 2014, with three top-25 finishes and a T3. He sets up really well this week.
Mark Hubbard also feels a bit underpriced for both his talent and upside at $8,300. He always seems to thrive in these Fall Swing/alternate type of PGA TOUR events, and his results at Silverado that as well. Hubbard has finished T21, T16, and T13 in three of his past four starts at the Fortinet. He ranks third in this field in SG: Approach and eighth in SG: Total over his past 48 rounds and is one of the stronger value plays on the week.
Nick Hardy has been absolutely scoring hot with his putter, gaining two or more strokes with the flat stick in seven of his past eight starts. Unironically, he’s made seven of his past eight cuts as well, with three top-21 finishes in that time frame. In two career starts in Napa, he’s made both cuts and finished T36 in 2022. Everything is setting up for another strong week here at just $8,200.
Finally, we will round out the $8k range with Doug Ghim. Full disclosure, I have no idea what he’s going to do this week, but he’s been the best ball-striker in the field over his past 24 rounds and has made the cut in two of his three starts at Silverado. He’s missed just one cut since early May and has finished T27 or better in six of his past nine starts. The data supports that he’s a strong value this week at $8,000, but as always with Ghim, tread lightly.
The list of $7k players I like include: Davis Thompson, Garrick Higgo, Sam Stevens, Dylan Wu, Kevin Yu, Justin Lower, and Ze-Cheng Dou.
Thompson finished T9 at this event last year and has played well of late with top-31 finishes in three of his past four starts. During that stretch, Thompson ranks 24th in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green and seventh in SG: Total. He’s not as cheap as I’d like, but his recent results and course history put him firmly in play this week.
Higgo missed the cut in his last start at the Wyndham, but before that had made the weekend in seven of his past nine starts with three top-21 finishes. If you take a really recent view of his rolling stats, the South African sits 17th in SG: Ball-Striking, fifth in SG: Putting, and third in SG: Total all over his past 16 rounds. He missed the cut at this event last year but is playing much better golf now and is a pretty strong play at $7,700 in this field.
Sam Stevens is one of the best ball-strikers in this field, ranking 10th in that department over his past 48 rounds. He also sits 20th in SG: Total in that time frame and posted four top-13 finishes last season, including a solo third and runner-up. He also missed the cut here last year, but it was right on the number. He should find the weekend this year and has serious upside for just $7,600.
Dylan Wu is one of the best birdie makers in this field, along with being one of the better par-5 scorers. Only Steph Jaeger, Carson Young, and Eric Cole have averaged more birdies per round than Wu over his past 48 rounds. He’s made two starts at Silverado in his career, missing the cut in one and finishing T46 in the other. He’s coming in with pretty good form also, having finished T5 at the 3M Open just two starts ago. Wu feels too cheap for his talent this week at $7,600.
Kevin Yu is a bit scary due to his egregious putter, but he is tied with Dylan Wu (and Doug Ghim) in birdie average per round over his past 48 while also ranking third in this field in SG: Ball-Striking over that stretch as well. Having posted finishes of T3, T6, and T7 in just 16 starts last season, Yu has massive upside this week.
Justin Lower, long term, is both a poor ball-striker and a great putter. However, he’s struck it pretty well of late, sitting 13th in SG: Approach over his past 16 rounds. He also finished T4 at this event last season and posted two other eighth-place finishes as well in weaker field events like this. He could very well pop again this week and is just $7,200.
Finally, I will have Ze-Cheng (Marty) Dou in my player pool for the first time ever this week. He finished T21 at this event last year in his lone start while also posting top-17 finishes in Bermuda, Colonial, and at the Rocket Mortgage. Dou can be erratic, but he makes a ton of birdies and is a nice way to round out your lineups at just $7,000.
Best of luck this week!