The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable golfers.
The TOUR heads to Texas this week as TPC San Antonio hosts the Valero Texas Open. The course is a long par 72, measuring at 7,435 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
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.
Rory McIlroy ($11,200 DraftKings)
McIlroy skipped the match play last week, so he will be coming off three weeks of rest and should be all systems go this week. It is a little surprising that he’s teeing it up at TPC San Antonio one week before Augusta, but he likely wanted a tuneup before the most prestigious event of the season.
Even if we get a 75% motivated Rory, it should easily be good enough for a top 20, and heaven forbid he decides he wants to go all out he could easily run away and hide from this god-awful field. McIlroy played this event one time in his career all the way back in 2013, where he finished runner up.
The course is long and demands strong off-the-tee play, which is right up the Irishman’s alley as he ranks No. 2 over his past 36 rounds in this field in SG: Off-the-Tee, trailing only Bryson DeChambeau.
With more than enough value, it makes it super easy to roster McIlroy this week, and he’s by far the best play on the board in all formats.
Kevin Streelman ($8,700 DraftKings)
Streelman is coming in red hot, having finished inside the top 22 in three of his past four starts, including a T7 his last time out at the Valspar. He can be incredibly streaky so we need to be targeting him when he’s in the midst of one of his heaters. It’s weird seeing him priced in the upper $8K range, but this is a very weak field and Streelman boasts some of the best course history in this field.
In six starts at TPC San Antonio dating back to 2011, Streels has made all six cuts with four top-15 finishes, including a T-8 and solo sixth in his two most recent trips. During his recent stretch of strong play Streelman ranks 10th in SG: Off-the-Tee and 12th in Total Strokes Gained. He’s about as safe as they come this week and should most certainly get to the weekend with some nice upside beyond that.
He’s the epitome of a strong cash play.
Mito Pereira ($8,100 DraftKings)
Another week, another Mito Pereira writeup. I’m sorry, but this guy is an absolute monster when it comes to ball-striking, and he’s incredibly tough to fade when DraftKings keeps his salary in check like they did this week. If we take a long-term view and go back 48 rounds, the Chilean ranks 20th off-the-tee, fourth on approach, fifth tee-to-green, and third in Total Strokes Gained. Monster.
If you remove THE PLAYERS where he caught the wrong end of the weather draw, he’s made 10 of 13 cuts on the year with eight top-31 finishes and a pair of top 10s. Bermuda is his best putting surface as well, which is what will be featured at TPC San Antonio this week.
Sign me up in all formats.
Patton Kizzire ($8,000 DraftKings)
Kizzire is has been playing some very consistent golf of late, making seven of his past eight cuts dating back to the Sony Open in January. Kizzire loves playing golf in Texas as well, as some of his best finishes have come in the Lone Star State. He finished T9 last year in his first career start at TPC San Antonio and while adding two additional T3s at Colonial and TPC Craig Ranch in 2021 as well.
Across his past 24 rounds in this field, Kizzire sits fifth in SG: Approach, 10th in SG: Tee-to-Green, and ninth in Total Strokes Gained.
His $8,000 price tag on DraftKings this week is more than reasonable, and I cannot find a single reason to fade him.
This one is a no-brainer, folks.
KH Lee ($7,600 DraftKings)
You have to go all the way back to September to find the last time Lee missed a cut. Since then, he’s rattled off 11 straight made weekends with four top-26 finishes in that stretch. His approach play is a bit worrisome, but he ranks 15th off-the-tee and 33rd in Total Strokes Gained across his past 36 rounds in this field. His putting and around the green play have also been solid, so when you add it all up, it’s not all that surprising to see him consistently making cuts.
His history at TPC San Antonio is also pretty solid, finishing T23 and T14 in his only two trips. Despite being a PGA TOUR winner, he hasn’t shown a ton of upside recently; however, a made cut at this price is more than enough for us, and he’s clearly taken a liking to this course.
Troy Merritt ($7,300 DraftKings)
Another guy having a great season is Merritt, who surprisingly has been pretty consistent. Anyone who has been playing PGA DFS for a decent amount of time knows Merritt has been one of the more volatile golfers on TOUR. On the year, he’s made the weekend in eight of 11 starts and has six top-30 finishes overall on the season.
He’s no stranger to this course either, as he’ll be making his seventh career start at TPC San Antonio. His history here is okay, but he’s made six of his seven cuts and is coming in with good form. Merritt is not a must roster by any means but remains cash viable in this field.
Matthew NeSmith ($7,100 DraftKings)
NeSmith’s ball-striking has been incredible of late, ranking eighth in SG: Ball-Striking, eighth in SG: Approach, and 12th in SG: Tee-to-Green over his past 12 rounds in this field. He’s also coming off a T3 at the Valspar, his best finish of the season. Before that, he finished T25 at the Honda as well, so he’s clearly got something going at the moment.
He made his debut at the Valero last year with a T34 and is priced at a bargain bin value at $7,100 this week, which is simply way too cheap in this field. NeSmith is my favorite cash game play in the $7K range this week.
Greyson Sigg ($6,700 DraftKings)
If you’d like to play multiple studs at the top, you’ll likely need a $6K punt, and Sigg has been the most consistent golfer in this range by far. He will not blow you away in any one category but has made seven of his past eight cuts in some pretty difficult fields and is coming off a T25 last week in Punta Cana.
It’s very reasonable to expect him to make the weekend in this spot, and if he does, we’re absolutely cooking. If you drop below $7,000 this week, Sigg is your man.