The PGA DFS Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s scoreboard, using FantasyLabs tools and metrics to highlight notable golfers.
The TOUR heads to Silvis, Ill., this week when the TPC Deere Run hosts the John Deere Classic. The course is a par 71, measures 7,258 yards with bentgrass 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
Additionally, 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
Webb Simpson ($10,600 DraftKings)/Adam Hadwin ($10,400 DraftKings)
I’m not going to bother doing two separate reports for Simpson and Hadwin this week. They’re the two most expensive golfers on the board, and it’s pretty obvious they’re the two best players on the course by a pretty decent margin. If you’re a serious DFS player, which if you’re reading this I’m sure you are, you couldn’t possibly start a cash game list without one, if not both, of these guys.
Over the last 48 rounds in this field, Hadwin ranks first in total strokes gained while Simpson ranks third. In that time frame, Hadwin is averaging over 1.06 strokes gained per round, which is 0.23 strokes more than the next. closest boy (Denny McCarthy) and 0.24 strokes more than Simpson. So while Simpson is currently the highest-ranked player in this field, Hadwin has been playing better. Hadwin has a pretty good record here, too, finishing T8 and T18 in both races of his career at TPC Deere Run.
Charles Howell III ($9,300 Draft Kings)
Howell loves John Deere, which is honestly the least surprising thing I’ve ever heard.
In eight starts here since 2011, he has finished inside the top 25 five times, including a pair of top-six finishes. It’s pretty gross looking at their $9,300 price tag, however, there are very few guys priced like they normally are, and we need to take that with a grain of salt this week.
From a long-term perspective, Howell is one of the best players in this field, ranking 7th in Total Strokes Gained in his last 48 rounds. He’s been pretty good of late, too, making three of his last four cuts with three top-35 finishes. It is absolutely one of the best options to pair with Webb or Hadwin if you end up untouched on both.
Brendon Todd ($8,500 Draft Kings)
As much as it pains me, we’re going to run it again with the $8,500 Toddfather this week. He conspicuously missed the cut last week at the Travelers, which really surprised me given his recent form and history there, but we must have short memories in this game we play. You could try to argue with me until you’re sad, but there’s no way the boys will like it. Sahith Theegala, jason day o McCarthy is $1,500 better than Brendon Todd.
He ranks fifth in this field in Total Strokes earned in his last 48 rounds and third in his last eight rounds. I’m willing to forgive him for the mishap last week and bet on the talent in this position. It’s a little alarming that he’s missed five of the six cuts at this event since 2012, however he finished T18 in his most recent start, which hopefully took the monkey off his back. This course is so bad I can’t imagine him wasting the weekend at this place.
PGA DFS Value Picks
Kevin Streelman ($7,900 Draft Kings)
Streelman’s history in this event is somewhat mixed, but he has a pair of top-eight finishes in seven races here since 2012. He’s also coming off a good week in the Travelers, finishing T25 and earning shots in every Department. Streelman is the type of golfer who plays well down the stretch, so hopefully he can carry some of last week’s momentum into a positive performance at the JDC. When he looks at some of the other names in this $7,000 range, he certainly can do worse here than Streelman.
Chez Reavie ($7,900 Draft Kings)
The veteran Reavie has been playing pretty well of late, making four of his last five cuts with three top-15 finishes in that stretch, capped off by last week’s T8 at the Travelers. In this stretch, Reavie ranks ninth in this field in SG: Ball-Striking, and third in SG: Tee-to-Green and Total Strokes Gained.
TPC Deere Run has been an annual stop for Reavie over the years, playing here eight times since 2012 and making the cut in seven of those starts. He also has three top-18 finishes in that stretch. The strength of this field obviously dictates this play, otherwise Reavie would never be in the cash game consideration, but it’s checking a lot of boxes for me this week and I think it gives me a little bit of security.
Adam Schenk ($7,700 Draft Kings)
Schenk is always a guy we target at these alternate field events, and the John Deere is no different, having become T4, T6 here in the last two years. She hasn’t been as consistent on his court as she has been in years past, but she has managed five of her last seven, including two recent strong finishes at both the US Open and the Memorial.
In his last 16 rounds in this field, Schenk ranks 10th in SG: Ball-Striking and 9th in Total Strokes Gained. As stated above, he’s shown a huge advantage here, and for $7,700 we’re getting a pretty good deal on this spot.
Adam Svensson ($7,700 Draft Kings)
Adam Svensson is a legit #good golfer that I feel most people don’t know about yet. If he read this article last week, chances are he made money, which was largely thanks to this man, as he posted a T25 for us for just $6,800. He’s obviously getting a price increase this week due to the strength of the field, but he’s still a good bargain for under $8,000.
Svensson has his problems in the short game, but overall he ranks 10th in SG: Ball-Striking in his last 48 rounds. In fact, he has gotten better with the putter in his last few events, ranking 26th in SG: Putting in his last 16 rounds, catapulting him into the top 10 in Total Strokes Gained during that time period.
Lee Hodges ($6,900 Draft Kings)
I quite like Hodges this week as a cash game punt. He has been playing very well lately, making each of his last three cuts, including last week’s T25 at the Travelers. In that stretch, he ranks 4th in this field in SG: Approach and 15th in Total Strokes Gained.
There’s absolutely no way around having to endure some volatile plays this week in a field like this, especially if you want to get to Simpson and Hadwin, so let’s target someone with recent good form like Hodges to round out our effective teams.