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 finishes up its brief Texas swing week with the Valero Texas Open. TPC San Antonio is the host course and is a 7,438-yard par 72 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.
And don’t forget to utilize our various PGA DFS tools like our Lineup Optimizer, Lineup Builder, PGA Correlation Dashboard, and our Trends tool.
The following players listed are based on DraftKings scoring and pricing.
PGA DFS Core Picks
Tyrrell Hatton ($10,900 DraftKings)
Hatton comes with some risk this week and is not as sure of a thing as the highest-priced player in a field of this caliber usually is. He did not look great at the WGC Match Play and looked to be dealing with some type of hand injury. If you combine that with the fact we are one week out from The Masters, and he’s already locked into a spot, things could go south quickly if he has a poor Thursday.
Having said all of that, Hatton is still by far the best player in this field and should run rings around most of these guys this week if he’s truly motivated. The Englishman ranks No. 1 in the field in SG: Total across his past 48, 36, 24, 16, 12, and eight rounds. Hatton’s runner-up at THE PLAYERS marked his third top-six finish across his past four starts, and there’s no one with a higher floor/ceiling combo in this field.
Corey Conners ($10,100 DraftKings)
Watching Conners putt a golf ball is borderline unwatchable, but there’s no denying that he’s the best pure ball-striker in this field. He sits second on approach and third off-the-tee over his past 48 rounds and ranks No. 1 in SG: Ball-Striking, while sitting .8 strokes better per round than Luke List in that time frame, who ranks second.
Conners also has really strong history at TPC San Antonio, as this was where he had his marquee performance on the PGA TOUR, taking home the title here in 2019 after being a Monday qualifier. In addition to the win, he’s posted a T14 and two other top-35 finishes while failing to miss a cut in his four career starts.
Conners’ success here should come as no surprise, as TPCSA is an elite course fit for the Canadian. You need to be extremely accurate off-the-tee and do not need to be incredibly long. He’s probably the safest pay-up option on the week and can either be rostered as your No. 1 golfer or be paired with Hatton if going stars and scrubs.
Chris Kirk ($9,300 DraftKings)
Kirk will be back this week after a three-week hiatus following his missed cut at THE PLAYERS. It was clear he needed a break after winning the Honda Classic and then playing the following two weeks after that. He should be ready to rock this week at a course he’s had insane success at over the years. In his seven career starts at this event, Kirk has finished inside the top 13 four times, including a pair of T8s and a T6. He ranks sixth in the field in SG: Total per round for his career at TPC San Antonio (Corey Conners ranks No.1).
This price feels really cheap for someone who had been rolling prior to THE PLAYERS. Kirk had posted three top-three finishes across a four-start stretch dating back to the Sony Open, which culminated with his win at PGA National. He ranks fourth in SG: Tee-to-Green and third in SG: Total over his past 24 rounds and is a layup for me at this $9,300 price tag in a field like this.
Ben Griffin (8,700 DraftKings)
Griffin has been a cut-making machine this season, making the weekend in 13 of 15 starts, including 12 of his past 13. During this run, he’s popped off for some high finishes, with a T3 in Bermuda, T16 in Houston, T12 at the Sony, and then T14 at the API. Griffin ranks fifth in this field in SG: Total during this stretch, thanks to both his strong off-the-tee play and his elite short game/putting.
Due to his shoddy iron play at times, he’s yet to truly contend, but his floor remains very high, and it would be hard to envision him missing just his third cut of the season in a field like this. At just $8,700, getting through to the weekend and finishing inside the top 30 is more than enough for us this week. Griffin is a very strong mid-range option in all formats.
PGA DFS Value Picks
Sam Stevens ($7,400 DraftKings)
Stevens is quietly on a really nice run right now. He finished T3 last week at the alternate event in Punta Cana and, before that posted a T15 in Puerto Rico and T13 at Torrey Pines. There have been some missed cuts mixed in during this stretch, but overall his ball-striking has looked solid. Stevens is a former winner on the Latino America Tour and has a bunch of high finishes on the Korn Ferry Tour as well. He is really talented.
We have no Strokes Gained data from Corales last week, but Stevens made 19 birdies and two eagles while shooting four consecutive rounds in the 60s. Based on that performance, you can make the argument he’s too cheap, considering he was $500 more expensive in that field. He has a pretty high ceiling in this spot.
Byeong Hun An ($7,400 DraftKings)
Benny An withdrew at the Arnold Palmer, but if you don’t include that he’s seven for seven in made cuts in 2023 thus far. He’s getting it done in a variety of ways during this stretch, ranking 41st in the field in SG: Ball-Striking, 28th tee-to-green, and 16th in SG: Total. His incredible around-the-green play keeps him from making huge numbers, which has kept his floor extremely high.
An has also played well at TPC San Antonio over the years, posting a T7 here in 2019 and T40 in 2017. He’s unlikely to win, but getting a made cut with top-30 upside is extremely valuable at $7,400, especially in this field.
Ben Martin ($7,100 DraftKings)
Martin has been crushing it, and this price on him is extremely disrespectful. He posted his third consecutive top-10 finish at Corales last week (T8), which was on the heels of a T5 at the Honda Classic a few weeks back. He’s on a run of five consecutive cuts made as well. Martin ranks fourth in this field on approach and fifth in SG: Ball-Striking over his past 24 rounds.
He’s also played well at this event over the years, making the cut in three consecutive starts, which makes his $7,100 tag that much more puzzling. Martin is playing better golf right now than most guys priced $1,000 above him, and he fits in almost any roster build you prefer this week.