Game plays

Cash Game Plays for the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational

The PGA TOUR heads to Memphis this week as TPC Southwind hosts the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational. The course is a par 70 measuring just over 7,200 yards with Bermuda grass greens. The winning score usually settles somewhere around the 13-sub range.

I’ll be highlighting the best cash games / single entry games on the main DraftKings slate, but these players are often great options in any contest.

My analysis will frequently refer Wins won, a set of proprietary metrics generated by the PGA TOUR using millions of data points to calculate the average number of strokes it takes for a player to put the ball in the hole, regardless of distance and situation. Strokes Gained is now available in PGA FantasyLabs models.

There are a variety of metrics related to won stroke, but the top six categories you should be aware of include:

  • Shots won: off the tee (SG: Off-the-Tee)
  • Strokes won: approach (SG: Approach)
  • Strokes won: Around the green (SG: Around the green)
  • Strokes won: putting (SG: put)
  • Strokes Won: Ball Strike (SG: Ball-Striking), which is SG: Off-the-Tee + SG: Approach
  • Strokes won: from tee to green (SG: Tee-to-Green), which is SG: Ball-Striking + SG: Around-the-Green

For more information on Strokes Gained data and how to use it, see this article by Bryan Mears on The Action Network, which details each of the above metrics. I also recommend Chris Murphy’s Strokes Gained column after each round of this week’s PGA TOUR event, which highlights Golfers to Buy and Go, as well as Matthew Vincenzi’s weekly “Stats That Matter” column which highlights highlight the Strokes Gained sub-metrics that matter most for a given course.

The following players listed are based on DraftKings rating and pricing.

Basic games

Brooks Koepka ($ 10,600 DraftKings)

Koepka stands out this week at the top of the standings compared to everyone else. He doesn’t come back from Tokyo like Morikawa, Sc Chaudele, McIlroy or JT, and his game is not in the bathroom at the moment as a DJ. That leaves the decision essentially between him and Jordan Spieth, and while Spieth has been formidable this year, Koepka’s story at this event gives him the edge.

Koepka has played at TPC Southwind seven times and has one win, two finalists, a T-3 and a T-19 in five of those trips. Dating back to the end of February, the quadruple major champion became T-2, CUT, CUT, T-2, CUT, T-4, T-5, T-6. The good news is this week is a no-cut event, so we’ll be motivating Brooks for four laps. We know he rises for big events where all the best in the world come together, and with his ball hitting absolutely on fire lately (No. 1 in this field in the last 16 rounds) he’s a absolute evidence in cash.

Daniel Berger ($ 9,200 DraftKings)

Death, taxes and play as Daniel Berger at TPC Southwind. I can easily finish the drafting here, but I’ll give some context. Berger won this event in 2016 and 2017, then finished T-2 here last year behind JT. He loves the Bermuda greens, being a boy from Florida, and just finished two top 10s at the US and British Open.

His long-term rolling numbers look great, ranking 10th in this area in SG: Ball-Striking and ninth in total strokes earned in his last 48 rounds. I thought its elite price history would increase its price to the upper range of $ 9,000, but it doesn’t. Let’s take advantage of DraftKing’s pricing error and lock it in our queues.

Matt Fitzpatrick ($ 8,800 DraftKings)

The two things I’m looking for when deciding whether or not to play Matty Fitz are: is the course a par-70 and are the greens Bermuda grass? If these two boxes are checked, it is a virtual lock to make my cash game list. He’s obviously not the longest hitter on the TOUR, so on courses that minimize distance I like to look his direction.

He is also by far Bermuda’s best putter in this area, gaining 0.91 strokes per revolution over that area. For context, the next closest guy is Sam Burns who gains 0.67 hits per turn. In two departures from TPC Southwind Fitz switched to T-6 and T-4. Do I have to say more? He’s there with Berger for me as my favorite piece on set.

Value games

Harris English ($ 7,600 DraftKings)

The Englishman is having another magical season and is criminally undervalued this week for his work and level of talent. He finished T-3 at the US Open and won the Traveler’s before a respectable T-46 to the British. He scored seven top-10s over the year in 21 starts while missing just four cups. In fact, he won this event in 2013 and posted an additional T-10 in 2017, back when he wasn’t nearly the golfer he is now.

The Englishman ranks 11th in SG: Tee-to-Green and fifth in total strokes won in his last 16 rounds in this area. For some reason, he only costs $ 7,600, despite being currently the 14th golfer in the world. It’s a really tough fade this week.

Brian Harman ($ 7,500 DraftKings)

Harman has now finished in the top 20 in eight of his last 10 starts and is having the best season of his career at 34. He will not amaze you with his game from the start to the green, but on shorter courses by 70. he does not lose anything to the bombers. It’s his elite short game that keeps him in contention every week, ranking No.1 in this department in his last 24 rounds in this area. He’s also averaging the sixth-highest number of strokes per round on Bermuda grass in this area as well. At just $ 7,500 this week, it offers a bit of security to complete your queues.

Billy Horschel ($ 7,100 DraftKings)

Billy Ho is strictly a story game of course this week as his recent form has been a bit suspect. In seven departures from TPC Southwind since 2013, he became T-10, T-6, T-8, T-4, T-51, T-9, T-25. Being from Florida he is quite skilled on the Bermuda trails by 70, which is evident in his results here. Before the Memorial he played pretty solid golf so hopefully coming back to a track he loves will make him do it all over again. We’re getting four rounds of golf for just $ 7,100, which makes this risk extremely negligible with huge upside potential.

Punt games

Kevin Kisner ($ 6,800 DraftKings)

Kisner is never a sexy piece, but on shorter tracks he can compete with the greats as he has shown countless times in the past. He’s posted a pair of top-27s here over the past two years and comes in in decent form, finishing T-8 and T-5 at Rocket Mortgage and Traveler’s respectively. He’s the third putter ranked in this area in his last 48 laps and he’s just getting out of trouble, he can easily give us a top 20 this week for a great price.