The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the Fantasy Labs Tools and metrics to highlight notable golfers.
On tap for this week is the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. The field is stacked this week, so let’s get right to it.
As always, I backtested various metrics in our PGA Models to find out which have been the most valuable at Quail Hollow. Per our Trends tool, here’s how the top 20% of golfers in various metrics have done at this course (in Plus/Minus valuation).
Historically, this course has yielded averages of 43.14 DraftKings points and a -6.70 Plus/Minus with a 42.4% Consistency Rating to the field.
I’m listing only those metrics that tested positively relative to the baseline:
- Recent Par-4 Scoring: +6.12
- Recent Par-5 Scoring: +5.15
- Long-Term Par-4 Scoring: +4.76
- Recent Par-3 Scoring: +4.35
- Recent Driving Accuracy: +4.31
- Recent Birdies: +3.78
- Recent Driving Distance: +3.72
- Long-Term Par-5 Scoring: +3.46
- Recent Adjusted Round Score: +2.83
- Recent Scrambling: +2.46
- Recent Missed Cuts: +2.44
- Long-Term Adjusted Round Score: +2.29
- Long-Term Driving Distance: +2.27
- Recent Bogeys: +2.11
- Long-Term Birdies: +2.09
- Long-Term Driving Accuracy: +2.08
- Long-Term Missed Cuts: +1.48
- Long-Term Par-3 Scoring: +1.40
- Recent Greens in Regulation: +1.36
- Long-Term Scrambling: +1.22
- Recent Eagles: +1.14
- Long-Term Tournament Count: +0.56
- Long-Term Eagles: +0.26
- Recent Putts Per Round: +0.15
Quail Hollow is a lengthy 7,554-yard course. Driving distance will be one of the key metrics I key on this week. Most of the birdie opportunities on this course will come from the par 5s as all four par 5s have birdies rates of 31% or higher, per Fantasy National.
I’ll also consider par-4 scoring even though only two of them have birdie rates around 25%, but limiting the damage on them could still be important. Given this course also has a below-average greens in regulation (GIR) percent, scrambling and Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green is also something to consider.
Key metrics to focus on: Driving Distance, Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, par-4 and par-5 scoring, scrambling, Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green, birdie scoring.
And as usual, I like Long-Term (LT) and Recent Adjusted Round Score (Adj Rd Score) as catch-all metrics.
Best DFS Plays for Wells Fargo Championship
$10,000 and Above (DraftKings Pricing)
This field is strong up top, but the lower tier isn’t as strong, which might make it tougher to fit in some of the top-priced golfers. In cash games, I’ll likely favor a balanced build, while running in a combination of both when it comes to tournaments. Although, it’ll likely be easier to construct teams around the lower-to-mid 10K guys than it will be for the 11K+ golfers.
Rory McIlroy ($11,800 DraftKings; $12,500 FanDuel) is a perfect fit for this course. He boasts a 317.8-yard Long-Term Driving Distance (LT DD) while ranking first in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and averaging -1.2 adjusted strokes on par 4s and -6.1 adjusted strokes on par 5s. Rory is also solid around the greens, ranking ninth in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green over his past 50 rounds.
He has the metrics to succeed here, which he’s done plenty of times as he’s won here before and has five top-10 finishes at Quail Hollow since 2012. If you have the salary, Rory is easily the top play.
Justin Rose ($10,300 DraftKings; $12,100 FanDuel) is coming off a missed cut at the Masters, but he’s still an excellent fit for this course. He’s tied with Rory for the best LT Adj Rd Score in the field, but Rose is $1,500 cheaper on DraftKings. He’s fared well on both par 4s (-2.2 adjusted strokes) and par 5s (-5.5 adjusted strokes) over the past 75 weeks. Not to mention his 16.9 birdies per tournament and his comparable top-10 odds to the other top-priced golfers.
Much like Rory, Rose has a strong off-the-tee game and around-the-green game, which works well for this course. There are also three par 5s between 550 and 600 yards and Rose ranks seventh in par-5 efficiency from those distances over his past 50 rounds, per Fantasy National.
Webb Simpson ($9,700 DraftKings; $10,800) lacks in the driving distance and par-5 scoring categories, but he still ranks 14th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. He’s strong around the greens, ranking third in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green, and he’s also shown the ability to contend at longer tracks as he did at the Masters a few weeks ago. While Simpson isn’t a perfect fit for the course, it’s hard to overlook his overall skill set and 68.4 LT Adj Rd Score.
Tony Finau ($9,300 DraftKings; $11,400 FanDuel) is a strong value with the fifth-best LT Adj Rd Score in the field, but he’s priced as the No. 9 golfer. He obviously fits the bomber skill set with his 313.2-yard LT DD while ranking sixth in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. He mostly struggles around the green, but he’s made the cut each of the past four years at this course.
Gary Woodland ($9,000 DraftKings; $11,100 FanDuel) dominates off the tee, sporting a 312.8-yard LT DD and ranking second in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. His -5.8 adjusted strokes on par 5s is also the fifth-best mark in the field. The main thing holding him back is his game around the green and, as usual, his putter — he’s averaging a woeful 29.7 Putts Per Round (PPR).
Sung-jae Im ($8,600 DraftKings; $9,900 FanDuel) has been relatively stable this season. He’s missed four cuts, including a few weeks ago at RBC Heritage, but he also owns four top-20 and three top-seven finishes. He’s been excellent on par 5s, averaging -5.6 adjusted strokes, and he’s also shown success everywhere else we are looking: Ranking 12th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and 15th in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green.
Charles Howell III ($8,400 DraftKings; $10,100 FanDuel) doesn’t stand out in any one metric, but he’s a grinder who has missed just 12% of cuts over the past 75 weeks. He missed the cut at RBC Heritage, but he’s been pretty good of late, ranking 12th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and fifth in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green over his past 24 rounds.
Byeong-Hun An ($8,300 DraftKings; $9,800 FanDuel) is reasonably long off the tee as evidenced by his 306.3-yard LT DD, so it’s no surprise that he ranks 25th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee in 2019. He also excels around the green, ranking first in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green in the same time frame.
An missed the cut at RBC Heritage after losing strokes in every aspect of the game, with the exception of his around the green game. That seems like it’s on the fluky side since he had lost strokes off the tee or on approach in just one other tournament this year.
Jhonattan Vegas ($8,200 DraftKings; $9,500 FanDuel) is an interesting tournament play, who is in good form this season. He ranks fifth in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and 16th in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green. His course history here might keep his ownership down.
Keegan Bradley ($8,000 DraftKings; $10,600 FanDuel) could be worth a shot with his 14.1 birdies per tournament and -5.1 adjusted strokes on par 5s. His short game gives me some pause, but he does rank fourth in proximity to the hole on shots from 200-plus yards, where 30% of approach shots come from on this course, per Fantasy National.
Aaron Wise ($8,100 DraftKings; $8,500 FanDuel) is worth consideration, ranking 10th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee over his past 50 rounds, but he’s also in solid recent form, sporting a 67.5 Recent Adj Rd Score.
Luke List ($8,000 DraftKings; $9,500 FanDuel) is always intriguing when distance comes into play. He boasts a 314.0-yard LT DD and ranks fifth in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee over his past 50 rounds. His short game also shouldn’t be overlooked as he ranks 25th in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green in the same time frame.
Zach Johnson ($7,900 DraftKings; $9,400 FanDuel) is not long off the tee by any means, but he’s in play if you need someone to round out your roster. He’s an excellent putter and solid around the green — he’s also made every cut here since 2009.
If Johnson isn’t your style, Keith Mitchell ($7,800 DraftKings; $9,600 FanDuel) has the polar opposite game of ZJ. Mitchell ranks fourth in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee over his past 50 rounds but ranks 106th in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green. He’s been solid over the past 75 weeks, averaging -5.0 adjusted strokes on par 5s and averaging 14.8 birdies per tournament. Mitchell has shown the ability to win on tour with a difficult win at the Honda Classic earlier this season, so he’s worth a strong look with his distance at this track.
Most golfers in this range have some warts on them: For ZJ, it’s his lack of distance. For Mitchell, it’s his game around the green.
$6,900 and Below
I’m not too interested in any golfers in this range as of writing.
Good luck, and be sure to check out The Action Network if you’re looking for more golf coverage!
Note: Strokes Gained data via Fantasy National.
Pictured above: Tony Finau
Photo credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports