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 Sea Island Georgia this week for the RSM Classic. There will be two courses in play over the first two days, before the host course (Seaside) will be played over the weekend. The Seaside and Plantation courses are both short, measuring just over 7,000 yards, while both feature 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
Tom Hoge ($9,800 DraftKings)
You can make the argument that after Tony Finau’s withdrawal, Hoge is now the best player in this field. That is almost certainly true over the past 24 rounds, as he ranks No.1 in SG: Approach, No. 4 in SG: Ball-Striking, 19th in SG: Putting, and No. 2 in Total Strokes Gained.
He’s coming off a strange missed cut in Houston after shooting a second-round 73, which was on the heels of a 66 on Thursday. Do not read much into that, as he lost over 1.8 strokes around the green alone on Friday, despite gaining 3.3 on approach. Prior to that MC, his finishes this fall read: T12, T4, T9, and T13. He’s playing some great golf right now and is priced $500 and $700 below Brian Harman and Seamus Power. C’mon now. Hollywood Hoge makes for a great starting point in cash games this week.
Jason Day (9,400 DraftKings)
Day has turned back the clock this fall, posting four top-21 finishes in five starts and, more impressively — shooting 69 or better in 14 of his past 16 measured rounds for the first time in god knows how long. During this run, he ranks No. 1 in this field in SG: Ball-Striking and No. 2 in Total Strokes Gained. He might be back.
Day missed the cut at this event last year but finished T12 in 2020, and among golfers who have played this at least three times, he ranks second to only Denny McCarthy in SG: Putting per round at Sea Island. Seemingly healthy and in great form, I see no reason not to go back to Day this week — especially when you factor in that after the Tony Finau withdrawal, he’s now the second favorite to win this event at most sportsbooks — and costs only $9,400 on DraftKings.
Matt Kuchar ($8,900 DraftKings)
Kuchar has quietly had a nice Fall Swing thus far, posting three top-30 finishes with a T12 at the Fortinet. During this stretch, the veteran ranks second in this field in GIR%, fifth in SG: Tee-to-Green, sixth in SG: Approach, and eighth in SG: Ball-Striking. It’s been his putter that’s held him back from truly contending lately, as he’s averaging -.73 SG: Putting per round in this stretch.
The good news, however, is that among golfers who have played Sea Island at least three times, Kuchar ranks ninth in SG: Putting per round (Seaside Course). We know putting is extremely variant and that it can flip on a dime, so as long as Kuchar keeps striping the ball the way he has, his game sets up well this week. He’s played the RSM eight times since 2013, making the cut in six of those and finishing no worse than T37 (including three top 25s) each time he’s made the weekend.
Patrick Rodgers ($8,700 DraftKings)
P-Rod has been absolutely ballin’ this fall. It started a bit slow with a missed cut at the Fortinet and then a T54 at the Sanderson Farms, but since then he’s rattled off finishes of T28, T16, T3, T27, T16. His history at the RSM is a mixed bag, as he missed the cut three times in six starts. However, in two of the three times he stuck around for the weekend, he owns a runner-up finish and a T10, so the upside is clearly there.
With Finau in the field, his $8,700 tag was probably appropriate, but now with no Finau, you can make the argument he is underpriced. Rodgers is a guy who usually is unreliable, as one week he’ll top-10, and then the following week you’ll wake up to him dead last on Thursday morning. He’s been far more consistent of late, and while that thought still resonates in the back of my mind, his recent play cannot be ignored. Fire him up with confidence this week, and let’s hope he closes the fall with a bang.
Wyndham Clark ($8,000 DraftKings)
Clark is a guy who DFS sharps love, as you will routinely find him on a ton of rosters in high-stakes cash games. If you’re unfamiliar with his game, he’s a bomber who can put the lights out when he’s on. After starting the Fall Swing off slow, he’s come on of late, finishing T16, T29, and T16 in each of his last three starts. Obviously, with the two courses, we have this week both measuring about 7,000 yards, his distance advantage off the tee will be muted. However, over this recent stretch of strong play, the former Oregon Duck ranks fifth in this field in driving accuracy and 24th in GIR%.
His putting has held him back a bit of late, but he’s historically putted very well at Sea Island, ranking seventh in this field in SG: Putting per round at this event (among golfers with at least three starts). At just $8,000 on DraftKings, he’s a nice value this week, and you can bet your bottom dollar he will be popular among high-stakes players once again. Clark is three-for-three in made cuts at the RSM in his career, with two top 30s each of the past two years.
PGA DFS Value Picks
Aaron Rai ($7,800 DraftKings)
Here we go again, folks. If you’re squeamish, then look away ’cause I will yet again be waxing poetic about our pal Mr. Rai. He came through for us last week, finishing T7 in Houston for just $7,500. To be clear, he could not have hit the ball any worse, losing 3.94 strokes on approach for the week. He did most of his damage with his elite short game, gaining a whopping 12.8 combined strokes putting and around the green.
The good news is that DraftKings did not raise his price much, and that approach play at the RSM is a bit muted, with it usually turning into a putting contest. Another feather in his cap is that he finished T16 here last year and actually averaged 1.9 strokes gained per round from tee to green. This man truly makes no sense to me.
He has five career international wins across three different Tours — and before you say to me, “none of those were on the PGA TOUR” — just know I am aware. The fact remains you cannot be bad at golf if you’ve won five career events anywhere. My problem with him is that despite his obvious talent — he shows up to these inferior field events and completely lays an egg half the time.
So for one more time this fall, I am going to put my trust in him and pray to whoever will listen that he’ll have a tee time on Saturday.
Dean Burmester ($6,300 DraftKings)
This one is a complete head-scratcher. I wrote up Burmester last week, and boy was he brutal (especially on Friday, where he shot a 77). However, for him to receive a $1,300 price drop because of one bad round is insane. Some of the names priced above him include Augusto Nunez and Nico Echavarria, two guys I am certain I have never heard of and very well may be completely made-up names.
Prior to stubbing his toe last week, he had made the cut in all three of his previous Fall Swing starts on the PGA TOUR, including a T4 at the Sanderson Farms. This is a clear pricing error on the part of DraftKings, and you will see nearly every sharp PGA DFS player run Burmester in cash this week. That’s a promise.
Whether or not last week was a blip or the start of a trend, Burmester is simply too talented a golfer to be priced at $6,300 in a field like this. There’s not much else to say on the matter.