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 across the pond to North Berwick, Scotland this week as the Renaissance Club hosts the Genesis Scottish Open. The course is a par 71, measuring 7,293 yards with fescue (bentgrass-like) 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
Jon Rahm ($11,000 DraftKings)
After a brief hiatus, we are back to writing up Rahm, who seems to be back on his game. His last two starts have resulted in a T12 and a T10 at the U.S. Open and Memorial, respectively. The most encouraging sign resides in Rahm’s short game, as that was the part of his game seemingly holding him back for a stretch there in the spring.
Over this recent stretch of play, Rahm ranks 29th in this field in SG: Around-the-Green and ninth in SG: Putting. We know his otherworldly ball-striking will be there, but if he gets the rest of his game clicking, he will be on the shortlist to win both this week and at the Open Championship next week. He will likely be our starting point in cash games this week.
Xander Schauffele ($9,900 DraftKings)
After not winning an individual PGA TOUR sanctioned stroke-play event in over four years, Schauffele has now won each of the past two times he’s teed it up. It started two weeks ago at the Travelers, but he followed that up this week by winning the JP McManus Pro-Am, a very strong 50-man field event played over in Ireland.
Despite his recent play, DraftKings still did not deem it necessary to price him above $10,000 this week, putting him firmly in cash game consideration. He has been excellent on links-style courses over his career and boasts a sterling track record at the Open as well. In this same event last year, Schauffele tied for 10th place, and with the way he’s been playing of late, he could easily duplicate that feat.
Patrick Cantlay ($9,600 DraftKings)
Cantlay is one of the most supremely talented golfers on the planet, but it still feels like people are unaware of this. It’s likely due to his lack of success in majors, but the man is a five-time PGA TOUR winner and the seventh-ranked player in the world. A brutal Sunday kept him from contending at the Travelers, where he would finish T13, but before that, he finished T14 at the U.S. Open, T3 at the Memorial and runner-up at the RBC Heritage.
He also teed it up at the JP McManus Pro-Am this week, where he would finish T15. Cantlay ranks No. 3 in this field in Total Strokes gained over his past 48 rounds, and there’s nothing in his game right now to suggest he won’t play well this week. We even get a nice discount from the studs at the top of the board.
Joaquin Niemann ($8,600 DraftKings)
Niemann has been rather quiet of late, but I have not forgotten about him. We must take notice whenever he is priced in this mid-$8,000 range because he’s simply too talented. Lest we forget, he went wire-to-wire at Riviera just a few months back.
When we get to this portion of the schedule with links-style courses, it’s essential to have an excellent short game. Thankfully, Niemann ranks 22nd in this field in SG: Short-Game over his past 48 rounds, as well as 17th in SG: Tee-to-Green. He’s coming off a missed cut at the Travelers, which should scare some people off him, but don’t let that be you. He’s as rock-solid a cash game play as it gets this week.
Max Homa ($8,000 DraftKings)
Homa finished a humdrum T47 at the U.S. Open, which is the only reason he’s priced so moderately. Before that, he had posted four top-20 finishes, a top-five and a win across his previous nine starts. He’s also been incredibly consistent on the season, making the cut in 14-of-16 starts.
Any way you look at it, Homa is going to pop, as he stands out quite a bit from other golfers in his price range. This week, Justin Rose is only $100 less than him; give me a break. Homa will likely be higher-owned the higher up you go in entry fees this week.
PGA DFS Value Picks
Adrian Meronk ($7,700 DraftKings)
Meronk is not a household name to the average golf fan, but he is the 64th-ranked golfer in the world at the moment. He’s also coming off an impressive win last week at the Irish Open. As a matter of fact, he’s been on fire on the DP World Tour even before this win, posting six top-six finishes over his past 11 starts. This is the time of year when it’s okay to play some of these European players who we otherwise would fade on traditional PGA TOUR tracks.
Meronk also played here last year, finishing T59. His recent form is way too strong to overlook, and at $7,700, his price presents us with minimal risk.
Lucas Herbert ($7,600 DraftKings)
Lucas Herbert is also not someone the average golf fan would pick out of a lineup. However, the 49th-ranked player in the world is a PGA TOUR winner, taking home the Bermuda Championship back in October. His form has not been nearly as sterling as Meronk’s, but he did finish T9 last week at the Irish Open, which is somewhat of a corollary course to this week’s track. In addition to that — and maybe most importantly — his history at the Renaissance Club is elite, posting back-to-back T4s in each of his past two trips to Scotland.
It feels weird to say I fully trust a Euro player in a field littered with the PGA TOUR’s best, but that’s how I feel about Herbert. He finished T13 at the PGA Championship and T37 at the Arnold Palmer, two very tough events, so I have no qualms about him holding his own in this field.
Aaron Rai ($7,400 DraftKings)
I will go back to my man Aaron Rai again this week, who has made us some money recently. He’s in the midst of a nice stretch of golf, punctuated by a T9 last week at the Irish Open. Rai also won this event in 2020, defeating Tommy Fleetwood in a playoff.
We are getting a former winner of this event in good form at just $7,400, and you really cannot ask for more than that. I see absolutely no reason to fade this man in cash games.
Jordan L. Smith ($7,300 DraftKings)
This will be the third time I’ve said this already, but Jordan Smith is even less of a household name than Meronk or Herbert. However, if you look closely, you’ll see Smith has been tearing up the DP World Tour this year. He’s made 12-of-13 cuts while finishing outside the top 24 just once. He’s also posted seven top-12s in that stretch with a pair of runner-up finishes.
His history at the Renaissance Club is not great, missing two cuts with a T36 finish in three trips, but he’s been too good to ignore this year. I like going back to him in this spot. My guess is that he is another player that will be higher-owned the higher you go up in stakes this week.