The PGA DFS Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s scoreboard, using FantasyLabs tools and metrics to highlight standout golfers.
The TOUR heads to Cromwell, Connecticut this week when the TPC River Highlands hosts the Travelers Championship. The course is a short par 70, measuring just over 6,800 yards with bentgrass/poa annua greens.
I’ll highlight the best cash/single-entry plays on the main DraftKings board, but these players are usually great choices in any contest.
My analysis will frequently reference strokes earneda 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 put the ball in the hole from any distance and location.
Strokes Gained is now available from FantasyLabs PGA Models.
There are a variety of metrics related to strokes earned, but the six main categories you need to know include:
- Strokes Earned – Off Tee (SG: off the tee)
- Stroke Earned: Approach (SG: Zoom in)
- Strokes Gained – Around the Green (SG: Around the Green)
- Stroke Earned: Putting (SG: Put)
- Strokes Earned: Ball Hit (SG: Ball-Striking), which is SG: Off-the-Tee + SG: Approach
- Strokes Earned: Tee-to-Green (SG: Tee-to-Green), which is SG: Ball-Striking + SG: Around-the-Green
Plus, our new Perfect% metric is a great data point to use with your list building.
If you missed it, we’ve added two new metrics to our models: Perfect% and SimLeverage. You can find an explanation about those metrics here.
The cliff notes version is that you can use SimLeverage to quickly find leveraged plays in tournaments, while Perfect% is great for finding the best priced plays considered for cash games.
And don’t forget to use 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 rating and prices.
PGA DFS Top Picks
Patrick Cantlay ($10,200 Draft Kings)
Cantlay posted one of the most hidden T14’s you’ll see last week at the US Open. He looked especially good in his final round, winning 1.81 off the tee, 1.41 on the approach and 1.2 off the flat club. It’s always good to see someone close out a tournament with a big round, as it more often than not leads to positive results the following week.
Other good news is that Cantlay seems to love the TPC River Highlands, having posted four consecutive top-15 finishes since 2018. He also posted a round of 60 here in 2011 as an amateur, which was the course record until Jim Furyk posted a 58. in 2016.
Cantlay is a good starting point for us in the cash games this week and offers a nice discount from both Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy.
Mito Pereira ($8,700 Draft Kings)
Pereira missed the cut by a shot last week at the US Open, but I’m pretty sure we can give him a pass for that. Prior to that, however, the Chilean had been in lockdown, posting nine top-30 finishes in his previous 10 starts. In that stretch, he had a couple of top-10 finishes, most notably at the PGA Championship, where he finished T3.
In a field packed with top-tier talent, Pereira still ranks No. 7 in this field in total strokes earned, as well as No. 4 in SG: Focus in his last 48 rounds. He has established himself as one of the best pure ball hitters on the planet, and what’s even more impressive is that he ranks seventh on the PGA TOUR in bogey avoidance.
That will come in handy this week as TPC River Highlands is a tough track and scoring will be slim.
Brian Harman ($8,600 Draft Kings)
Harman looked pretty good last week at the Country Club, making the cut and playing well for three rounds before stubbed his toe on Sunday, which dropped him to 43rd. He’s likely to bounce back pretty quickly this week at one of his favorite courses on the PGA TOUR circuit. In 10 starts at TPC River Highlands since 2012, Harman has made the cut eight times and finished inside the top 10 in four of those starts.
Aside from a brutal missed cut at Colonial when it was the chalk play of the week, Harman has been pretty consistent this season, making 11 of 14 cuts since the schedule changed to 2022. He’s been firing flat out in his last eight starts. give or take, ranking 16th in this field in Total Strokes Earned, 19th in SG: Ball-Striking, and 38th in SG: Putting.
He won’t be as popular as he was at Colonial, but his record at this event is too strong to ignore, and another top-10 finish is firmly on the table.
PGA DFS Value Picks
Brendan Steele ($7,700 Draft Kings)
Steele, like Harman, absolutely loves TPC River Highlands. He has played this event each of the last 10 seasons, having made the cut in seven of those starts and finishing inside the top 25 in each. Steele has both the field’s history and recent form working in his favor, which is always good to see. He is coming out of the top 10 in a row at the Memorial and PGA Championship.
Steele ranks second in this field at SG: Ball-Striking in his last 24 rounds, trailing only Rory McIlroy in that stretch. He’s been in lockdown for quite some time, and DraftKings hasn’t caught up on this, pricing him at just $7,700 this week.
It should be pretty confusing, but it’s pretty hard to escape it in cash games when you consider all the contextual factors working in its favor.
Aaron Rai ($7,400 Draft Kings)
Rai is another golfer who is consistently given a bad price by DraftKings, even though he has made six of his last seven cuts. He too has been going strong of late, posting a T26 at the Memorial followed by a T13 two weeks ago at the RBC Canadian Open.
Rai looked incredible with his ball stroke in Canada and was let down by his putter, while the results changed at Memorial as he was disappointing with his irons and elite on and around the greens. Needless to say, if he can get both of them to click in the same event, he has a real shot at competing.
Its price of $7,400 this week makes it one of the best value plays in this range.
Mackenzie Hughes ($7,400 Draft Kings)
Hughes obviously isn’t known for his ball-striking prowess, but he’s been pretty steady in that department of late, ranking 26th in this field on SG: Approach in his last 12 rounds. His putter and short game have also remained elite in that stretch, ranking 13th in SG: Short Game.
The Canadian is on a hot streak at the moment, having made three straight cuts culminating in a T24 at last week’s US Open. Plus, he too has an affinity for TPC River Highlands, playing here five times and making the weekend each time. He posted a T3 here in 2020, and while that may be a big question this week, at least we know the edge is there.
When you factor in his $7,3000 salary, it becomes one of the best value plays on the board.