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2021 PGA Championship - DFS Plays, Bets, and Fades

Sports Illustrated logo Sports Illustrated 5/19/2021 Ben Heisler

SI Fantasy analysts Ben Heisler and Mark Farris reveal their top PGA DFS tiers, bets, and a fade for the 2021 PGA Championship from Kiawah Island.

Previous 2021 PGA Tour Event Winners & DraftKings Salary

  • AT&T Byron Nelson: Kyoung-Hoon Lee ($6,900)
  • Wells Fargo Championship: Rory McIlroy ($10,000)
  • Valspar Classic: Sam Burns ($7,900)
  • RBC Heritage: Stewart Cink ($6,700)
  • The Masters Tournament: Hideki Matsuyama ($8,300)
  • Valero Texas Open: Jordan Spieth ($10,700)
  • World Golf Championship - Dell Technologies Match Play: Billy Horschel ($7,200)
  • The Honda Classic: Matt Jones ($7,400)
  • The Players Championship: Justin Thomas ($9,900)
  • Arnold Palmer Invitational: Bryson DeChambeau ($11,000)
  • Workday Charity Open: Collin Morikawa ($9,500)
  • The Genesis Invitational: Max Homa ($8,200)
  • AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Daniel Berger ($10,100)
  • Waste Management Phoenix Open: Brooks Koepka ($8,800)
  • Farmers Insurance Open: Patrick Reed ($10,100)
  • The American Express: Si Woo Kim ($8,200)
  • Sony Open: Kevin Na ($7,500)
  • Sentry Tournament of Champions: Harris English ($8,700)

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$9,000+ Range

Ben Heisler: Jordan Spieth

DraftKings Price: $10,100

DraftKings Sportsbook Betting Odds to Win: +1400

There’s no other way to put it. Spieth is in his own stratosphere with his game right now

He’s tops in the field in strokes gained: total over his last 36 rounds, including third in DraftKings points gained, 6th in approach, and 8th in SG: short game. Via Rick Gehman, Spieth has gained more than two strokes per round on the field since the beginning of the year.

I faded Spieth at The Masters when he finally got the monkey off his back with a win at the Valero Texas Open the week before, and he finished T3. He’s finished in the top 15 in eight of his last nine tournaments and has a shot at the career grand slam this week.

Sometimes the stories write themselves.

Additional Plays to Consider

  • Justin Thomas ($10,200 | +1400)
  • Viktor Hovland (9,300 | +1800)
  • Patrick Reed ($9,100 | +3300) - Fun little trend about Reed is his dominance every time his DraftKings price goes down. Then when his price catapults up, he misses the cut. Great time to buy low.

Mark Farris: Xander Schauffele & Webb Simpson

DraftKings Price: Schauffele: $9,600 | Simpson: $9,200

DraftKings Sportsbook Betting Odds to Win: Schauffele: +1600 | Simpson: +4000

These are the weeks I love, but also the weeks I hate. 

I love Majors and the pressure that goes with them on the back 9 on Sunday. I hate that DK pricing is so soft that I can put Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy, and Daniel Berger in a lineup to start and NOT be disappointed with at least two of the three remaining players in my lineup.

With that being said, I’m willing to back any of you on any player you pick in this price range. However, in DFS, you have to take a stand. Xander Schauffele is going to win a Major. Will it be this week? Possibly! 

The fairways at Kiawah Island are not as forgiving as those last week and position will be the name of the game. That’s why I may avoid guys who tend to be loose off the tee. Xander is pretty accurate and rarely gets in a lot of trouble. He’s only missed one cut this year - The Players. He hasn’t played much in the last month, but he’s also a guy that always seems to get up for Majors.

I also like Webb Simpson as a solid base player for a starting lineup. He’s not a bomber - DeChambeau or McIlroy - but he’s also usually good on difficult courses. Like Xander, his only missed cut was The Players. He also hasn’t played a lot of tournaments in the last month. Still, when the pressure hits the backswing, I like having these two hitting shots for me.

Additional Play(s) to Consider

  • Jon Rahm ($10,500 | +1400) - He’s probably my favorite guy in the five-figure price range.
  • Collin Morikawa ($9,800 | +2800) - I like that he’s below $10K and a steady player like Xander & Webb.
  • Viktor Hovland ($9,300 | +1800) - He’s my high-priced Ian Poulter! 

$7,500 - $8,900 Range

Ben Heisler: Cameron Smith

DraftKings Price: $8,900

DraftKings Sportsbook Betting Odds to Win: +4500

For years, Brooks Koepka has been the name to associate with the category of, “That Dude You Play in Major Tournaments.” But if Smith keeps up the pace he’s on, he may soon join this very exclusive club.

He’s finished T10 and T2 at his last two Masters, and the 27-year old hasn’t missed a cut at a Major since June of 2018 at the U.S. Open. His recent form is excellent as well with five consecutive top 17 finishes, including three top 10s.


Video: PGA Championship DFS and Betting Strategy (Sports Illustrated)

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Sharp money has also trickled in throughout the week at Cameron Smith, with BetMGM announcing they currently hold the highest handle percentage on the Aussie (6.3%). The odds have also dropped drastically from 50/1 down to 40/1 at some books.

Additional Play(s) to Consider

  • Daniel Berger ($8,700 | +2800)
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick ($8,400 | +5000) - His projected ownership via FantasyLabs is 2-4%. If that comes to fruition, that’s absurdly low for someone who will gain plenty of strokes around the green and on it.
  • Abraham Ancer ($7,900 | +5000)

Mark Farris: Will Zalatoris & Daniel Berger

DraftKings Price: Zalatoris: $8,800 | Berger: $8,700

DraftKings Sportsbook Betting Odds to Win: Zalatoris +5000 | Berger +2800

I’m not going to get sneaky in this grouping this week. Since the pricing is what it is, you still have a multitude of quality players in this range. So, I’m going with a couple of guys that have been playing well. Both are hungry for a Major (although Zalatoris hasn’t been at it for long).

Will Zalatoris is one of the steadiest rookies I think I’ve seen since, well, Collin Morikawa. Yes, he missed a cut at Wells Fargo, but came back solid last week at the AT&T. Plus, the wind at the Wells Fargo was a major factor. Now, that is also my only hesitation with him this week. The back nine here is along the ocean and the wind will be a factor. The Wells Fargo was a learning experience and this kid is a quick learner. I think he is fine.

Daniel Berger is a guy that tends to play well on tough courses and this 7,800 yard monster is TOUGH! A couple of years ago, I may have hesitated. Then, he wasn’t as consistent off the tee and lacked the confidence, in my mind, to win a Major. Now, it’s different. 

In his last 10 events, he’s missed two cuts. However, when he makes it, he’s only been out of the top 30 once. I’m sticking with steady in a week that will have some “white knuckle” play given the length of the course and the potential for mother nature to kick some of these guys in places that will make knees buckle.

Additional Plays to Consider

  • Louis Oosthuizen ($8,000 | +5000)
  • Paul Casey ($7,700 | +5000)
  • Tyrrell Hatton ($8,000 | +5000) - Coming off a positive COVID test, but I think he’ll be fine.
  • Abraham Ancer ($7,900 | +5000) - Honestly, I’m almost tempted to move him above one of the guys above and make him a “play of the week." I really like his game and he’s done nothing to make me not want to play him!

$7,400 and Under Range

Ben Heisler: Jason Kokrak

DraftKings Price: $7,100

DraftKings Sportsbook Betting Odds to Win: +12500

He’ll likely be chalk at this price, but I’m willing to eat it with Kokrak’s ability to both bomb it deep and also close with his putter. He’s 10th in SG: off-the-tee over his last 24 rounds, but is also a sneaky 15th in SG: putting.

Kokrak hasn’t missed a cut this calendar year and has three top 10 finishes so far this season. Don’t forget, he also took home the CJ Cup Championship at the end of 2020 at Shadow Creek in a fairly star-studded non-Major event.

He’s underpriced, undervalued, and could be set to make some noise this week at Kiawah Island.

Additional Plays to Consider

  • Matt Wallace ($7,400 | +8000)
  • Keegan Bradley ($7,300 | +6600)
  • Dean Burmester ($6,300 | +35000)

Mark Farris: Garrick Higgo, Charl Schwartzel & Ryan Palmer

DraftKings Price: Higgo: $7,400 | Schwartzel: $6,800 | Palmer: $6,900

DraftKings Sportsbook Betting Odds to Win: Higgo: +12500 | Schwartzel: +10000 | Palmer: +10000

Here’s where I’m taking some risk. And, no, I’m still not willing to tempt fate with Rickie Fowler. If anyone watches the European Tour you will know that Garrick Higgo is on FIRE! These are his last four events: Win-T8-Win-T4.

Now, will it translate to the PGA Tour? Who knows? However, when the pricing is this soft, you sometimes need to go with guys that others either don’t know and/or won’t play. Cue Garrick Higgo! Plus, the name is AWESOME!

With Charl Schwartzel, I’m riding the wave. I said a few weeks ago that I thought teaming with Louis Oosthuizen flipped on the lights in his game. Until the power company shuts off the electricity, I’ll load up on him at $6,800 any week.

Ryan Palmer is the plain vanilla ice cream in the Neapolitan ice cream container. He’s 13 out of 14 in cuts made this year. His finishes are middle of the road trending towards the Top 25. At $6,900 it won’t take much other than a made cut to reach value. Plus, the casual players jumping into the fray this week because of a Milly Maker, won’t know his name.

Additional Play(s) to Consider

  • Matt Kuchar ($7,000 | +15000) - The price is maddening even though he isn’t the Kuch of old.
  • Robert Macintyre ($7,000 | +15000) - Another “Euro” guy that’s been playing on the U. S. Tour and made the cut in 4 of the 5 events he’s entered in 2021.

Top Fade

Ben Heisler: Hideki Matsuyama

DraftKings Price: $9,400

DraftKings Sportsbook Betting Odds to Win: +3300

Matsuyama took home this year’s first major at Augusta and hadn’t played again until last week when he finished T39 at the AT&T Byron Nelson. He said his goal was to get his golf game back in shape, and maybe that goal was accomplished, but it’s awfully tough to then turn around immediately back into a Major the following week.

Golf Digest reports that he “hardly practiced while he was in Japan (post-Masters)” and his around-the-green game at TPC Craig Ranch was brutal (4.5 strokes lost).

He’s a terrific ball-striker who is more than talented enough to win back-to-back Majors, but I expect his rust to come into play this week after an emotional last several weeks since winning his first green jacket at Augusta.

Additional Fade(s) to Consider

  • Corey Conners ($7,600 | +6600) - His chipping has not been good of late, finishing with negative strokes gained in five of his last six events. Also, his recent form is slowly starting to turn in a negative direction in his last two events)
    • I still think his odds are a value-play as a bet, but I won’t force him into my DFS lineups the way I have been over the last several weeks.

Mark Farris: Brooks Koepka

DraftKings Price: $9,500

DraftKings Sportsbook Betting Odds to Win: +4500

Man, this is tough. A Major and Brooks normally go together like peanut butter and jelly. However, this PB&J seems to still have not recovered from his knee injury. I wanted to make an ACL/PCL reference here, but I know his issue is simply cleaning out scar tissue and his patella. 

At $9,500 and less than 100% (maybe less than 90%), I’m not risking it, especially with the soft pricing. This is a fade based on my perceived health risk with Brooks and nothing else. So, if you think it was “gamesmanship” last week and he really is healthy, go for it. I just can’t.

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