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 Texas this week for the Cadence Bank Houston Open. Memorial Park Golf Course will be the host, and it’s a long par 70, measuring 7,432 yards with Bermuda grass 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
Sam Burns ($10,700 DraftKings)
Just to be clear, I think Scottie Scheffler is the best play on the board, but at $11,500, it’s not that easy to fit him. Obviously, if you feel comfortable with the way the rest of your lineup looks with him, by all means, run him. For cash game purposes, I like dropping down to Burns, who has an immaculate record at Memorial Park. He’s finished T7 and T7 in both of his starts here and is coming off a T7 his last time out at the CJ CUP.
We know Burns is a monster on Bermuda greens, as only Denny McCarthy averages more Strokes Gained: Putting per round on the surface among qualified golfers. Burns is checking every box for me and is as safe a cash game option as it gets this week.
Aaron Wise (9,900 DraftKings)
Wise is going to win again this season, I feel extremely confident in that. Like Burns, this will be his third trip to Memorial Park, with his first two resulting in finishes of T26 and T11. Dating back 48 rounds in this field, Wise sits behind only Tony Finau, Scottie Scheffler, and Sam Burns in Total Strokes Gained. He’s absolutely on a positive trajectory and is coming off a final round 64 at Mayakoba, which is something we love to see heading into the next week.
Wise has been getting it done with both his putter and his irons of late and has had a great Fall Swing. Despite being $9,900, you could argue he’s even a little underpriced for the way he’s been playing and for some of the golfers priced around him. Wise has quite a bit of win equity this week, and at the minimum, we should get a T15 or better out of him, putting him firmly on our cash game radar.
Taylor Montgomery ($9,700 DraftKings)
I am done not playing Montgomery. So far in his short PGA TOUR career, he’s finished solo third, T9, T15, T13, and T10 in his five starts. During this stretch, which dates back to the Fortinet in mid-September, he ranks No. 1 in this field in Total Strokes Gained. A lot of this has to do with his absurd putting, as he ranks No. 1 in SG: Putting in this time frame while gaining more than 0.3 strokes per round than Maverick McNealy, who ranks second.
So far in the young season, Montgomery ranks No. 1 in birdie or better percentage of anyone with eight or more rounds played. This rookie is a phenom and a scoring machine, and I am done fading him. Feel free to plug him in as your second golfer on cash game rosters this week or even as your first in balanced builds. It would shock nobody to see him pick up his first career victory at Memorial Park, much like Carlos Ortiz did a couple of years back.
PGA DFS Value Picks
Mackenzie Hughes ($7,700 DraftKings)
Hughes is on a heater right now, which led him to his first career PGA TOUR victory at the Sanderson Farms Championship last month. In addition to the win, he’s posted a pair of top-25 finishes at the ZOZO and Fortinet and ranks ninth in both SG: Approach and in SG: Putting during this stretch. He’s definitely too cheap for the way he’s been playing, and his history at Memorial Park is quite strong, having finished T29 and T7, respectively, over the past two years.
Hughes is just $7,600, and when recent form and course history line up like this, we get an incredibly strong play across all formats.
Dean Burmester ($7,600 DraftKings)
So far, through three starts as a full-time PGA TOUR member, Burmester has finished T4, T37, and T32. Nothing in his game thus far has suggested his price should still be in the mid-$7K range on DraftKings. Many of the guys priced above him have not been better to start this season, which is giving us quite a bit of value here on the South African.
Burmester is not some newbie. He’s been a mainstay on the DP World Tour for a few years now, with plenty of high finishes, including a win at the Tenerife Open in 2021. The man can play some golf. Until he gives us a reason to fade him, I will continue taking T30 finishes for $7,600.
Aaron Rai ($7,500 DraftKings)
Begrudgingly, and against my better judgment, I am going to go back to Rai this week despite yet another incredibly disappointing result last week at Mayakoba. Seemingly every time things line up for Rai to play well, he comes out flat. It’s almost impressive. The fact remains he’s a better golfer than his $7,500 price tag would suggest.
He had made four consecutive cuts prior to last week’s abomination, which included a pair of top-20 finishes at the Shriners and the Italian Open (DP World Tour Event). He played Memorial Park last year and finished T19, so he does have some familiarity with the course. Across his past 24 rounds in this field, Rai ranks seventh in SG: Approach and 22nd in Total Strokes Gained. I do not think he’s going to miss consecutive cuts in this spot, and at this price, all we need is for him to make the weekend.
Charley Hoffman ($6,800 DraftKings)
I do not mind Hoffman one bit this week as a bargain bin play. There are a lot of guys at the top of the board who we want to fit on our rosters, and we’re going to need some sub-$6K guys to make that all work. After a slow start to his Fall Swing, he’s made back-to-back cuts in Bermuda and at Mayakoba and is trending in the right direction.
He also has a T29 finish in his lone start at the Houston Open back in 2020 while ranking 11th in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green per round at Memorial Park. Obviously, the sample size is small, but at this price tag, it really does not take much to move the needle in any direction. If you plan on rostering Scottie Scheffler along with someone else above $8,500, you can do way worse than rounding out your teams with ole’ Charley at $6,800 this week.