PGA DFS: The PLAYERS Championship Breakdown
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Image Credit: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Webb Simpson.

We’re heading back to TPC Sawgrass for The PLAYERS Championship. It’s a course that many of us are familiar with. If you want a look at how the field shakes out in Expected Birdies this week, check out yesterday’s article.

Buy or Sell

We’re sitting here with another event where Rory McIlroy ($11,700) is just simply lapping the field in PRK Score. Even in the strongest field of the year, by just about any metric, McIlroy is far ahead of his closest competitor. As far as Raw PRK Score goes, Rory is at -2.40.[1] The closest guy in the field to McIlroy is Justin Thomas ($10,800) and he’s at -1.83. That implies at least a 0.5 stroke advantage per round for McIlroy over everyone else in the field. On courses longer than 7,200 yards, McIlroy sees a slight bump in all of the major statistics we’re focusing on. 

Rory has seven straight top-five finishes. If you expand that out to top 10s, you’re looking at 12 of his past 14 starts. He’s a buy. 

Dustin Johnson ($10,000) has been a bit of an enigma lately. The rollercoaster ride from T57 all the way to a runner-up on the Euro Tour back to a T48 in Mexico has been something else for the No. 5 OWGR. It seems as though he’s picking up some steam as a trendy outright bet around the industry. I’m more likely to play the game theory angle this week because of the carnage that we typically see at TPC Sawgrass. DJ has played well here in the past, but that isn’t enough for me to click on him. I won’t completely fade him but I imagine I’ll be considerably underweight compared to the field.  


Make sure to check out this week’s Bogey Free for our over/under picks on:

  • Tyrrell Hatton ($7,400) – o/u 17.5
  • Gary Woodland ($8,300) – o/u 26.5
  • Joel Dahmen ($6,600) – o/u 48.5

Mid-Range Matchup

Daniel Berger ($7,200: -117) vs Henrik Stenson ($7,900: -103)

The Raw PRK score has Berger about 0.2 strokes per round better than Stenson. With Berger, you need to strike while the iron’s hot. He’s a streaky golfer and has gone through stretches where he looks like a top talent and other stretches where it looks like he needs a GPS to find greens. The longer-term numbers for Berger don’t look incredible because of the slump that he went through as he fought through some issues last year, but I think he’s worth a long look this week. 

GPP Plays

Webb Simpson ($9,200) comes into the week with the fourth-highest PRK score. Since this event last year, Simpson only has two finishes outside of the top 30 in stroke-play events. He’s criminally under-valued from a cut-making perspective. Since the start of 2018, Simpson has nine different top-three finishes including a couple of victories. Finding a way to get exposure to him is a must this week. Justin Thomas is another guy near the top that could go slightly under-owned. He’ll certainly be less owned than McIlroy and I don’t think their range of outcomes is all that different. 

Hideki Matsuyama ($8,800) is too cheap. It feels like he fits in a bit better with the mid-$9,000 golfers but we’ll take the discount. Matsuyama comes in with an 83 PRK. Historically, golfers in the 80s have performed really well, finishing in the top 10 just over 20% of the time and hitting the DK Bonus nearly 62% of the time. He’s been held out of the winner’s circle since 2017. But, he’s made 53 of 59 worldwide cuts in that span. 

Down in the $7,000 range, we have Scottie Scheffler ($7,500) who’s coming off of a T15 finish at the Arnold Palmer. We need to continue to take advantage of 7k Scheffler because this might be the last time we see him in this price range. He’s 11th in the PRK Score this week with a 77. Per the Splits App, Scheffler is gaining 1.7 more SG: Tee to Green over his last three events than his first 21 events on Tour. 


The Optimizer is up after countless hours from the app team! Make sure to check it out yourself, but I’m going to look at this week’s field and optimizer results through a few different lenses. To start, I’m going to run 100 lineups with no constraints. 


Even the optimizer is forcing Rory in. With no other constraints set, it built 99 McIlroy lineups out of the 100 it created. The optimizer is quite keen on Erik Van Rooyen ($7,200) as well. I’ve included all the golfers that appeared in more than 5% of lineups. In order to get a picture of more realistic exposures, I’m going to limit it so that no single golfer can break 50% exposure.[2]

Rory and EVR still pop in this run of the optimizer. Notably, Matsuyama, Thomas, Berger, and Tommy Fleetwood ($9,000) see their exposure increase. 

Cash Locks

  • Webb Simpson ($9,200)
  • Daniel Berger ($7,200)

Here’s a summary of how the cash locks have performed so far this season:

Model Results & Ownership Projections - The PLAYERS Championship

NameSalaryPRK ScoreOwnership
Rory McIlroy1170010022.5
Jon Rahm1100088.916.3
Justin Thomas1080093.5317.7
Brooks Koepka1020064.058.5
Dustin Johnson1000067.5115.3
Patrick Cantlay980084.2817.9
Adam Scott960075.0314.8
Xander Schauffele940075.3214.7
Webb Simpson920086.320.2
Bryson DeChambeau910080.5223.2
Tommy Fleetwood900081.115.2
Rickie Fowler890073.298.3
Hideki Matsuyama880081.6817.7
Justin Rose870069.547.9
Sungjae Im860078.2115.1
Patrick Reed850077.6315.1
Jason Day840062.317.8
Gary Woodland830064.6213.5
Paul Casey820068.6713.3
Tony Finau810071.8510.1
Sergio Garcia800046.719.9
Louis Oosthuizen800056.245.4
Collin Morikawa790073.8720.7
Henrik Stenson790064.057.5
Matt Kuchar780071.5613.8
Byeong Hun An780062.0210.1
Shane Lowry780065.784.8
Jordan Spieth770051.333
Viktor Hovland770077.632.8
Marc Leishman760070.6914.3
Joaquin Niemann760054.221.3
Scottie Scheffler750077.9210
Billy Horschel750061.736.8
Tyrrell Hatton740074.7411.7
Phil Mickelson740031.971.3
Matthew Fitzpatrick730058.279
Ian Poulter730061.737.2
Kevin Kisner730057.114.2
Bubba Watson730051.912.2
Matt Wallace730063.762.2
Daniel Berger720074.313.5
Abraham Ancer720062.0211.1
Brandt Snedeker720059.715.9
Erik Van Rooyen720081.683.1
Harris English720070.693.5
Ryan Moore720053.351.5
Danny Willett720037.750.6
Matthew Wolff720040.640.4
Francesco Molinari710040.921.8
Bernd Wiesberger710043.531.5
Rafa Cabrera Bello710052.21.7
Chez Reavie710057.691.2
Lanto Griffin710057.111.3
Brendon Todd710052.491
Carlos Ortiz710060.870.5
Charles Howell III710050.460.7
Kevin Na700056.242.7
Adam Hadwin700061.162.1
Victor Perez700011.731.3
Cameron Smith700047.571
Lucas Glover700049.881
Sam Burns700049.60.6
Aaron Wise700048.730.6
Talor Gooch690057.113.5
Graeme McDowell690045.552.1
Harold Varner III690050.751.8
Keegan Bradley690040.351.7
Russell Knox690057.981.4
Kyoung-Hoon Lee690051.040.7
Cameron Champ690038.030.6
Christiaan Bezuidenhout6800492.4
Jim Furyk680054.82.6
Corey Conners680043.532.6
Rory Sabbatini680062.311.9
Jason Kokrak680056.532.1
Emiliano Grillo680044.681.5
Nick Taylor680065.20.7
Danny Lee670045.551.7
Branden Grace670040.351.4
Mackenzie Hughes670036.880.7
Vaughn Taylor670064.341.2
Andrew Landry670046.990.4
Dylan Frittelli670047.570.4
Scott Piercy670064.340.7
Denny McCarthy670060.580.4
Joel Dahmen660064.0510.5
Max Homa660060.877.7
Si Woo Kim660025.611.3
Cameron Tringale660062.311.9
Keith Mitchell660041.791.2
Jazz Janewattananond660011.730.5
Kyle Stanley660041.790.3
Ryan Palmer650052.492.5
Tom Hoge650057.691.3
Patrick Rodgers650053.641.3
Andrew Putnam650053.640.5
Luke List650040.920.3
J.B. Holmes650041.790.5
Kiradech Aphibarnrat650041.790.3
Matt Every650028.50.1
Russell Henley640050.463.7
Brian Harman640056.242.3
Sung Kang640035.142.2
J.T. Poston640051.911.9
Wyndham Clark640054.80.7
Matt Jones640060.580.3
Ryan Armour640033.990.2
Jhonattan Vegas630053.643.6
Kevin Streelman630058.271.1
Pat Perez630042.370.3
C.T. Pan630036.880.3
Chesson Hadley630036.010.3
J.J. Spaun630020.40.2
Bud Cauley620065.492
Nate Lashley620046.710.5
Brian Stuard620044.680.2
Brice Garnett620049.60.3
Nick Watney620050.170.3
Roger Sloan620033.990.1
Chris Stroud620029.650.1
Jason Dufner610037.171.7
Sebastian Munoz610061.451.9
Adam Long610051.041.3
Martin Laird610051.910.8
Scott Brown610028.790.2
Troy Merritt610049.60.3
Sam Ryder610045.260.2
Bronson Burgoon610047.570.2
Michael Thompson610037.460.2
Peter Malnati610039.770.2
Jimmy Walker600035.142
Zach Johnson600046.132.1
Sepp Straka600044.390.5
Charley Hoffman600041.791.1
Mark Hubbard600047.570.4
Kevin Tway600041.50.3
Tyler Duncan600035.430.1
Adam Schenk600055.380.3
Brian Gay600035.430.3
Retief Goosen600030.810.2
Aaron Baddeley600053.930.2
Jim Herman6000100.1
Scott Stallings600045.260.1
Patton Kizzire600027.920.1


1 Raw PRK Score is a way to compare how golfers are expected to score compared to an average Tour golfer on a neutral golf course per round.
2 Go to “Configure Your Lineups” and change the “Global Max Exposure” to do this.

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