The PGA DFS Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable golfers.
The TOUR heads back stateside this week to Detroit, as Detroit Golf Club hosts the Rocket Mortgage Classic. The course is a par 72, measuring 7,300 yards 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
If you missed it, we added two new 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 Core Picks
Patrick Cantlay ($10,700 DraftKings)
Cantlay is far and away the best player in this field, but he isn’t priced like it. Tony Finau won last week in Minnesota, but there should absolutely be more than a $100 difference between him and Cantlay. The No. 4 player in the world has been on fire over the last month or so, posting three top-10 finishes over his past five starts and finishing no worse than T14 in that stretch.
Cantlay ranks No. 1 in this field in Total Strokes Gained over his past 48 rounds. He also ranks No. 1 on TOUR in par 5 scoring average and is sixth in birdie or better percentage. He’s never seen Detroit Golf Club before, but he should have no problem tearing it up. If Cantlay brings even 75% of his usual game, he’s a lock to top-10 this week and could easily run away with it if he’s clicking.
Max Homa ($9,900 DraftKings)
Many will flock to Cameron Young this week for $200 more, which I have little issue with: Young is a monster, and this course is theoretically tailor-made for him. However, for $200 less, we get a serial PGA TOUR winner who has played here twice and had success.
Homa is eighth on TOUR in par 5 scoring average and ranks No. 2 in Total Strokes Gained over his past 24 rounds. He looked good at the Scottish Open and then struggled a bit at the Open Championship, missing the cut by one stroke. However, he was playing alongside his childhood hero Tiger Woods. He should bounce back in a big way this week, and we can play him for under $10,000 in a subpar field. He’s as safe a cash game play as there is.
Maverick McNealy ($8,800 DraftKings)
McNealy has quietly been playing some great golf, having made four straight cuts with two top-10s. His T49 would have looked much better last week had he not made a 9 on the 72nd hole. Most people probably are unaware, but McNealy ranks 12th on TOUR in birdie or better percentage and 12th in par 5 scoring average.
He’s played Detroit Golf Club each of the past two years and finished T21 and T8, respectively. We have been waiting patiently for McNealy to post his first career PGA TOUR victory, and this could very well be the week. His statistical profile suggests he is close, and he fits in any build this week.
Cameron Tringale ($8,500 DraftKings)
Tringale missed the cut last week at the 3M, but that was mainly due to his putting, where he amazingly lost over five strokes on the greens in his two rounds. However, he gained strokes both off-the-tee and on approach, so it is safe to assume he will bounce back this week at a course he’s quite fond of.
In three career starts at Detroit Golf Club, he’s finished T5, T30, and T14 and has looked great from tee to green in each of those. He isn’t exactly a bargain at $8,500 but has upside in this spot, and his history suggests he’s a pretty strong bet to make the weekend.
PGA DFS Value Picks
Chris Kirk ($7,800 DraftKings)
Kirk, as usual, is underpriced for where he sits in the betting market. Most books have him in the 45/1 range, which should have him priced about $500-$1000 more than where he sits this week. He’s another one who digs the setup at this event, having finished T21 and T12 in his two starts here.
Long term, his numbers look great, as he ranks fifth in this field in both SG: Tee-to-Green and Total Strokes Gained over his past 48 rounds. His $7,800 price tag is simply too cheap for his upside and the fact that he hasn’t missed a cut in three months.
Taylor Pendrith ($7,500 DraftKings)
Pendrith sets up incredibly well this week, as the recipe for success at this event has been to bomb it off the tee and get hot with the putter, evidenced best by both Cam Davis and Bryson DeChambeau in their wins here. Pendrith fits that mold as he sits 14th on TOUR in driving distance and 46th in birdie or better percentage.
He missed three months of action due to a rib injury but has returned strong, finishing 11th at the Barracuda and 13th at the Barbasol. He ranks 11th in SG: Tee-to-Green over his past 16 rounds, and everything is shaping up for him to shred Detroit Golf Club.
Wyndham Clark ($7,200 DraftKings)
Clark has been on a nice run of late, making six of his past seven cuts. That includes a T7 at the RBC Canadian Open and T16 over in Scotland. His profile also sets up exceptionally well for this event, as the former Oregon Duck sits fifth on TOUR in driving distance while ranking 12th in this field in SG: Putting over his past 48 rounds.
He’s played this event two times, finishing T17 in his first trip before withdrawing the following year due to a back injury. He has a ton of upside for just $7,200 on DraftKings this week and allows you to fit multiple studs at the top of the board if you choose.