The PGA DFS Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable golfers.
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.
The PGA TOUR remains in California for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. There will be two courses in play this week: Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill. Pebble will be used for three of the four rounds, and is a par 72 measuring just under 6,900 yards, while Spyglass is also a par 72, but measures over 7,000 yards. Both courses feature Poa greens. In addition, this is a Signature Event, meaning there will be an 88-man field with no cut.
PGA DFS Cash/GPP Thoughts
DraftKings $10,000+ Range
There’s no picking wrong in this range, obviously. You could make an easy case for either of Rory or Scheffler, but they come at a premium. So instead, I will look to both Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele to start rosters with this week.
We have not seen Hovland much to start 2024, as the only event he’s played was the Sentry, where he finished T22. Pebble Beach is one of his favorite courses on TOUR, however, as he won the U.S. Amateur here back in 2018. As a professional, he’s made three starts here, twice at this event, and once in the 2019 U.S. Open. His best finish of the bunch was last year, where he posted a T13.
Don’t read too much into that though, as the tournament is now set up differently, with all golfers playing three rounds at Pebble and just one at Spyglass. I consider Hovland to be the fourth-best golfer in the world behind Rory, Scottie, and Rahm, and the numbers bear that out as well, as he ranks No. 3 behind both the former two in Total Strokes Gained over this field’s past 48 rounds.
Hovland is going to win a major this year, and I definitely like getting a $1,500 discount on him from Rory.
Xander has been rolling right along as well, posting another top 10 last week at Torrey Pines, which marked his third such finish in three starts in 2024. He looks quite healthy right now and is firing on all cylinders, ranking No. 1 in the field in SG: Tee-to-Green, Approach, Ball-Striking, and Total Strokes Gained over his past 12 rounds. Xander is a California kid, and while he’s only played this event once in his career, he did finish T3 at the 2019 U.S. Open here. DraftKings made a mistake leaving him at just $10,000 flat this week, and we need to be taking advantage.
Player Pool: Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Xander Schauffele
DraftKings $9,000+ Range
The $9,000 range might go a bit overlooked this week with Patrick Cantlay playing pretty poorly of late and Collin Morikawa burning everyone last week at high ownership. That leaves Justin Thomas — who’s priced appropriately, but nonetheless not that attractive compared to the $10,000 guys — and Jordan Spieth, who’s probably overpriced due to his course history.
My favorite play in the range by far is Max Homa. Homa did not play that well last week in his title defense at Torrey Pines and still finished T13, which is a testament to how dominant he’s become. Unlike many of the game’s top stars, Homa has made this event a priority in the past, having made six starts here since 2014. In that stretch, he’s posted a T14, T10, and T7 in a three year stretch from 2019-2021.
Over his past two starts at Farmers and Sentry, Homa has gained a combined 14.6 strokes from tee-to-green. He lost five strokes putting in Hawaii, which is almost impossible for him, but then gained 1.7 last week, so there’s quite a strong possibility Homa puts it all together this week in what would be his seventh-career PGA TOUR victory, including his fifth in California. Regardless, he’s entirely too cheap at $9,200.
Going back to the top of the range for a second, I do not mind going back to Cantlay whatsoever. He’s been close a few times this year, especially at Amex, where he sat T10 going into Sunday before imploding with a final-round 76. It’s not too often we see Cantlay dip below $10,000, and he does boast a pair of top-four finishes and a T11 at this event in his five career starts. Count me in.
I will also shout out Ludvig Aberg, whom many might discount here because of the ridiculous “his main weapon is his driver and everyone will be clubbing down at Pebble Beach” narrative. This course is similar in style to Sea Island (RSM Classic), where last I checked, Aberg just won at. Yeah, this kid is a monster and is absolutely in play, especially at $9,000.
Player Pool: Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa, Ludvig Aberg
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DraftKings $8,000 Range
I like the low $8,000 range much more than the top this week, starting with Jason Day. Day really let us down last week, but we have to have a short memory, and much like last week, Day boasts arguably the best course history in this field. In nine starts at Pebble this decade, Day has five top-five finishes, a T7, T11, and T24. Prior to last week, he had been playing well, with a T10 at Sentry and T34 at Amex. He’s very much in the mix at $8,400.
Hideki Matsuyama is next after his strong showing at Torrey, where he posted a T13 and gained 7.3 strokes from tee-to-green. Matsuyama has only played this course once in his career, which was the 2019 U.S. Open, where he would finish T21. He looks to be in form and healthy right now, making him definitely underpriced at $8,300.
Matt Fitzpatrick is also a bit underpriced at just $8,200. He’s not been at his best of late after missing the cut at Sony, but he is a former U.S. Open champion who finished T12 here in 2019 and then T6 at the 2022 Pro-Am. This is a bet on talent play at a cheap price in a no cut event.
Finally, it’s hard to ignore what Benny An has been doing to start the 2024 season. So far this year, he’s finished fourth at Sentry and then T2 at Sony. In that stretch, he ranks sixth in SG: Tee-to-Green and is second behind only Justin Thomas in Total Strokes Gained. In two career starts at Pebble, An finished T12 (2019 U.S. Open) and T37 last year, so he’s also shown some good course history in addition to his strong recent form. At just $8,000, I doubt he goes overlooked, but I am not sure how many people are in a rush to roster him with all the star power in attendance this week.
Player Pool: Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama, Matt Fitzpatrick, Byeong Hun An
DraftKings $7,000 Range
Here is where the money will be made this week. We know most of the superstars are going to play well, but whoever can pinpoint which one these run-of-the-mill golfers is going to pop will ship GPPs.
I see no reason not to go right back to J.T. Poston at $7,900. He’s coming off a T11 and a pair of top-six finishes in three starts to start 2024. During this stretch, Poston ranks seventh in the field in Total Strokes Gained and 20th in SG: Tee-to-Green. He can go nuclear on the greens and has way too much upside for his price this week.
Beau Hossler has played this event each of the past seven years, but things have seemed to click over the past two, where he’s gone solo third and T11. This is not really a coincidence, as Hossler has become a way more rounded golfer these past couple years. He finished T6 last week at Torrey Pines, which marked his third top-seven finish over his past five starts. Dating back to the beginning of the fall, Hossler ranks 18th in SG: Tee-to-Green, 15th in SG: Putting, and 11th in Total Strokes Gained. He’s dialed in right now and is a great play this week.
Russ Henley does not have great course history here, but at a short course with small greens, he absolutely has to be in play. The fairways are a bit wider than normal at Pebble Beach, but Henley will be finding them regardless, as he sits third in the field in driving accuracy over the past 48 rounds. He also ranks ninth on approach and third in around-the-green play, both of which will be quite important at this course. Obviously these greens are not Bermuda, but nonetheless, Henley is a great play at $7,800.
Denny McCarthy has pretty strong history at this event, finishing T4 last year and T12 in 2022. He’s done most of his damage on the greens of course, averaging 1.02 SG: Putting per round, which ranks fourth among anyone with more than one career start at Pebble. Anytime we have a short course on the docket, McCarthy will be in play because it mutes the biggest issue he has, which is distance off the tee. He’s been in pretty good form lately, with a T5 at the RSM and then a T24 at the Amex. McCarthy will likely be popular at just $7,500, but he is a pretty elite play for the price.
Wyndham Clark absolutely has to be in play at $7,400. This man won the freaking U.S. Open last year and is now priced $200 above Kevin Yu. I’m sorry, but that does not compute in my head regardless of recent form. It’s also not like he’s been that bad so far this season, posting a T39 at Amex and T29 at Sentry. This price is a joke.
Eric Cole is also egregiously priced. I mean come on man- what are we doing here? This man has been dominating the PGA TOUR for the last year, but then misses ONE cut last week and drops all the way to $7,300? This is the same guy who ranks fourth in SG: Approach over the past 48 rounds and has posted four top-four finishes over his past nine starts. Cole also ranks No. 1 in the field in total birdies over the past 48 rounds as well. Even if his missed cut last week has you slightly worried, don’t be, because he literally cannot miss the cut this week. In his lone start at this event, Cole finished T15 last year, and if he does that again this week at this price, we’re doing backflips.
Adam Hadwin has a pair of top-18 finishes over his past three years at this event and is red hot right now after a T6 at the Amex and T14 at Sentry. He’s a veteran who knows how to putt and get around courses like Pebble Beach, putting him firmly in play at $7,300.
I will likely not be chasing the Kevin Yu heater, although it has been a sight to behold. Yu finished T6 last week at Torrey, which was on the heels of a T3 at the Amex, where he gained 8.9 strokes from tee to green in his two measured rounds at the Stadium Course. In his lone start at this event, Yu finished T7 last year. If you want to play him, by all means go for it. The man is on fire.
Mr. Pebble Beach, aka Nick Taylor, is of course in play again. Taylor won this event in 2020, finished T10 in 2017, and then has gone T20 and T14 each of the past two years. I am not entirely sure why a Canadian has had such success at an event along the California coast, but who am I to argue? We usually have to pay like $8,500 for Taylor here at the minimum, but obviously the field is stacked this year, making him a huge value at $7,200.
I like the idea of going back to Sepp Straka after letting everyone (me) down last week. Straka is usually hit or miss, which makes him perfect for no-cut events, because he has nuke rounds in him, while we also don’t have to worry about if or when he’s going to blow up. Straka finished T28 at the 2019 U.S. Open as well.
Player Pool: J.T. Poston, Beau Hossler, Russell Henley, Denny McCarthy, Wyndham Clark, Eric Cole, Adam Hadwin, Kevin Yu, Nick Taylor, Sepp Straka
DraftKings $6,000 Range
Being that there is no penalty for dropping into the $6,000 range this week, some of these guys have to be in play in order to jam in studs at the top. I like two specifically.
Kurt Kitayama has had some success at this event in the past and in elevated events in general. He’s posted finishes of T18 and T29 in three starts here since 2020 and is in pretty good form right now as well. Kitayama finished T16 at the ZOZO in October and then scored back-to-back top-30s in Hawaii to start 2024. Kitayama also won the Arnold Palmer Invitational last March, out-dueling Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler down the stretch. He’s no stranger to playing well in strong fields, and he is also from California, meaning he putts his best on Poa. This price is definitely far too cheap for his upside.
Finally, we will be dropping down to Brandon Wu at $6,300. Wu loves Pebble Beach, and this is one of the few courses where I feel pretty comfortable playing him. He finished T35 at the 2019 U.S. Open as an amateur before posting a T38 in 2020 at this event, and then he had his best finish last year as a runner up. Wu has been in good form of late as well, missing the cut by one stroke at the Amex, while finishing T18 at the Sony. Everyone has to play someone in this range if they want to fit multiple studs, and Wu is as good of an option as any.
Player Pool: Kurt Kitayama, Brandon Wu
Best of luck this week!