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 to Texas this week as Colonial Country Club hosts the Charles Schwab Challenge. The course is a shorter par 70, measuring at 7,200 yards with bent 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
Also, our new Perfect% metric is a great data point to use with your roster construction.
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
Jordan Spieth ($10,400 DraftKings)
Spieth is only a cash game play a few times per year, and this is one of them. We are back in his home state at a course he absolutely loves. Since 2013, he’s played Colonial nine times (making all nine cuts), resulting in a win, three runner-ups, and three additional top-10 finishes. In the two times, he didn’t top-10, he finished T32 and T14. The man loves Colonial.
He played pretty well last week at the PGA Championship, finishing in a tie for 34th place; however, yet again it was not his ball-striking that let him down but his putter. We know that putting is his most bankable skill — especially on Bentgrass — so I refuse to believe that this is anything more than an aberration. The funniest part of all this is that Spieth has been dominating off-the-tee of late, ranking No. 1 in this field in that department across his past 12 rounds.
The running joke about Spieth for years is that he cannot hit the ball straight, so if this recent stretch of ball-striking from him is here to stay, then the rest of TOUR must take notice because more wins are coming. There is nothing to not like about the three-time major champion this week, his game is in a great place, and he’s back at home at maybe his favorite course on TOUR.
He’s absolutely on the shortlist to win and is an outstanding play in all formats.
Talor Gooch ($8,900 DraftKings)
It is likely many still have sour tastes in their mouths after rostering Gooch two weeks back at the Byron Nelson, as he shot a first-round 73, which led to an ugly missed cut. He righted the ship last week at the PGA Championship, finishing in a tie for 20th place. His game was clicking on all cylinders as he gained over three strokes on approach and eight strokes tee-to-green.
Gooch has teed it up at Colonial four times in his career, making the cut three times and posting a career-best finish of T14 last year. He’s a way better player now than he’s ever been in his career, and we’re getting a nice price here on one of the most underrated golfers on the PGA TOUR.
Jason Kokrak ($8,200 DraftKings)
Kokrak won this event one year ago and finished T3 the year before that, so it’s clear something about Colonial catches his eye. He’s in the midst of another strong season, making the cut in 11-of-13 starts, punctuated by his win back in November. People forget Kokrak is on the very short list of PGA TOUR golfers to win three times over the past two years.
I understand recent form is taken into account, but the fact Kokrak is cheaper than guys like Davis Riley and Mito Pereira is absurd to me, especially when you factor in course history. There’s an extremely strong likelihood that Kokrak makes the cut in this spot, with clear upside beyond that.
Kevin Na ($8,100 DraftKings)
Another former winner here, which seems to be the theme this week. Besides his win in 2019, Na has two additional top-10 finishes at Colonial as well. It certainly makes sense, as this is a course that demands accuracy off the tee and deemphasizes distance. Na has been dialed in with his irons for a few weeks now, sitting fourth in this field in SG: Approach over his past 12 rounds.
Like Kokrak, Na is very likely to see the weekend here, making him an elite play at just $8,100.
PGA DFS Value Picks
Brian Harman ($7,800 DraftKings)
Harman makes for a great cash game option on shorter par 70 tracks like we’ll see this week. It’s also no surprise he boasts elite course history at Colonial as well. Since 2012 he’s made nine-of-10 cuts here with three top 10s and three additional top 25s.
Harman’s long-term form is really strong, as he sits 12th in this field in Total Strokes Gained as well as 25th in SG: Ball-Striking over his past 36 rounds in this field. Both his make the cut, and top-20 odds are higher than multiple golfers priced above him on DraftKings, making him an elite value play this week.
Justin Rose ($7,700 DraftKings)
Rose is another one who loves Colonial, evidenced best by his win here in 2018. Since then, he’s added a T3 and T20 as well and is entering play this week on the heels of a very impressive T13 finish at the PGA Championship. He gained over five strokes on approach and an additional five strokes with his flat stick at Southern Hills, setting him up nicely to keep the good times rolling at a familiar track this week.
Rose is not the player he once was, but we’re getting him here at just $7,700, and his upside is still sky-high in the right spot. Fire him up in all formats.
Maverick McNealy ($7,500 DraftKings)
McNealy was not great last week. However, he did make yet another cut, which marked his 15th in 16 tries. I don’t care who you are; if you make 94% of your cuts, you will continue to be a cash game staple. The best part is DraftKings refuses to raise his price despite his play this season. McNealy has also played well at Colonial in his three trips, with his best finish coming last year (T20).
There’s not a whole ton more to add here; we’re locking a perennial cut maker at a bargain price. McNealy will likely be chalky, but he’s tough to argue against right now.