PGA Championship 2020 DFS picks: How to make the toughest decisions for your lineup

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Since golf’s return in early June, DFS golf players have enjoyed big contest such as the DraftKings Millionaire Maker on a weekly basis, usually reserved for majors. In the ninth week of golf’s return, we finally have major week upon us, and San Francisco’s TPC Harding Park will host a major for the first time. Expect thick rough and cooler temperatures than what we’ve seen in the PGA Tour’s restart. The field will feature every player ranked in the top 36 in the world.

The toughest part for DFS players? Finding sound reasoning to not pick some of the world’s best players. Those are the toughest decisions, and we’re here to help you do that.

Here’s how I assess the first major of the year for your fantasy lineups and pools this week.

PGA Championship 2020 DFS picks and advice

Price range: $9,000 and above

High Upside: Patrick Cantlay ($9,400 DraftKings | $11,000 FanDuel)

Cantlay played himself out of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational last week on Thursday and Friday, combining to go five-over-par. The weekend has a different story for Cantlay, who gained the fifth-most strokes in the field over those two days. His ball-striking prowess keeps him involved on even the most difficult courses. He’s missed only one cut in his 12 major appearances.

Safest Option: Justin Thomas ($11,300 DraftKings | $11,600 FanDuel)

Not only is he the new No. 1 player in the world, but Thomas’ game looks so complete and mature at the moment. He’s able to weather the storm when things aren’t going his way, and take advantage when the opportunity presents itself. Already a winner at the 2017 PGA Championship, Thomas finished sixth in 2018 (the last time he played this event) and has four top-10s in his six events in the restart.

Most Likely To Disappoint: Rory McIlroy ($10,700 DraftKings | $12,000 FanDuel)

“Disappointment” is relative, and for McIlroy, anything but a victory is a disappointment. His game doesn’t look sharp since the restart, with only one top 25 in the five events he’s played. His irons have been dismal. Per the RickRunGood.com golf database, McIlroy has gained a total of 1.89 strokes on approach in his 20 rounds since the break. To put that into perspective, he gained a total of 21.41 strokes on approach in his last 20 measured rounds before the shutdown.

Pick To Win: Brooks Koepka ($11,100 DraftKings | $11,400 FanDuel)

There is no doubt that the upside is there for Koepka who made 22 birdies last week, second most in the field. He also carded three double bogeys last week, including one on his 72nd hole to squash his chances of winning. So how do you weigh upside versus return on investment? I’m focusing on the “strokes gained/ball-striking” category, which combines strokes gained/off-the-tee and strokes gained/approach, both of which will be crucial at TPC Harding Park. No one has gained more strokes ball-striking than Koepka in the last two weeks. A three-peat really might be possible, but at the least he should contend and return on this price.

Price range: $8,000 to $9,000

High Upside: Dustin Johnson ($9,000 DraftKings | $11,300 FanDuel)

Johnson is a roller-coaster ride that I’m not ready to get off just yet. He won the Travelers Championship then followed it up with rounds of 80-80-78 before playing great in Memphis last week, resulting in a T-12. Johnson hasn’t won a PGA Championship in his career but can boast five top-10 finishes in his 10 career starts, including a runner-up finish last season.

Safest Option: Daniel Berger ($8,800 DraftKings | $9,700 FanDuel)

As much as I would have liked to put Morikawa or Hovland here, it’s tough to trust anyone who is playing their first PGA Championship as a “safe” option. Berger, on the other hand, continues to pile up results. In his past four starts, he has a win, a runner-up and a third-place finish. There is a concern that he doesn’t “fit the mold” for PGA Championship success, but Berger popped last year at Bethpage Black and keeps putting up great finishes, vaulting him to No. 20 in the world.

Most Likely To Disappoint: Rickie Fowler ($8,300 DraftKings | $10,100 FanDuel)

Fowler’s swing changes look “close,” but that last 10 percent is the hardest part. Fowler was great for about 60 holes last week and even touched the lead on Sunday at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude. However, his lack of confidence in hitting a draw and fear of missing left came back to bite him. He hit a few loose shots that cost him before carding a 73 and falling to T-15. The pressure of a major will only magnify any flaws in a swing.

Pick To Win: Jason Day ($8,400 DraftKings | $9,900 FanDuel)

With three consecutive top 10s on tour, Jason Day is officially in his best stretch of results since 2016. As impressive as that is, he’s clearly found something with his long game. Before the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Day lost strokes on approach in four straight starts. Now, he’s in the midst of gaining strokes in four straight and getting better each week. He still possesses a magic short game and a PGA Championship pedigree that could go toe-to-toe with almost anyone.

Price range: $7,000 to $8,000

High Upside: Scottie Scheffler ($7,300 DraftKings | $8,800 FanDuel)

Scheffler is always appealing because of his style of play. He makes a ton of birdies . . . 11th on tour in fact. With the ability to pile those up, he almost always ranks higher in fantasy scoring than he does in the actual tournament finishing position. After three consecutive MCs, he has a 22nd at the Memorial and a 15th last week in his last two starts. He also ranked 15th in strokes gained/tee-to-green last week, a great indicator for success moving forward.

Safest Option: Chez Reavie ($7,400 DraftKings | $8,500 FanDuel)

Everything is lining up for Reavie to be a popular option in the fantasy world again this week. He has notched three straight top-22 finishes, including a T-6 last week in Memphis. He also has a knack for PGA Championship success with finishes of 22nd, 12th and 14th in his last three trips. He’s known for his iron play, averaging +0.87 strokes per round on approach in his last 16 rounds. For perspective, if he kept up that rate for an entire season, it would be the fourth-best mark on tour.

Most Likely To Disappoint: Phil Mickelson ($7,600 DraftKings | $9,100 FanDuel)

I’m already hearing the potential of a 50-year-old Phil Mickelson, coming off a runner-up finish, competing at TPC Harding Park. Both history and the numbers are against him. Mickelson would become only the 8th golfer to win a PGA TOUR event after turning 50, and he’d be the first to do it in a major. Maybe even more problematic for Mickelson is the driving accuracy. He ranks 184th on tour in the category, and missing fairways at a major is usually a recipe for a short week.

Pick To Win: Sergio Garcia ($7,600 DraftKings | $9,500 FanDuel)

There were flashes of brilliance from Garcia last week in Memphis before finishing T-35. I’m most impressed by his off-the-tee game. He gained 3.91 strokes in the category last week, behind only Bubba Watson. He’s lost off-the-tee only once in his last 17 measured starts, which is an important skill set to have at a PGA Championship where the rough will be very penal.

Price range: $6,900 and below

High Upside: Lucas Glover ($6,700 DraftKings | $8,200 FanDuel)

By most accounts, Glover is mispriced. Only one missed cut in the restart, which was the 3M Open. Otherwise he not only found the weekend in his other five starts, but he finished in the top 25 in four of them. Per the RickRunGood.com database, Glover ranks 10th in strokes gained:/tee-to-green out of all golfers with at least 20 rounds in the restart.

Safest Option: Joel Dahmen ($6,900 DraftKings | $8,000 FanDuel)

Dahmen shot his way up the leaderboard last week with rounds of 67-65 on Friday and Saturday before finishing T-20. As great as that is, I’m more interested in the fact that he’s only missed one cut in his last nine starts. He’s also tallied four top-20 finishes in the calendar year, which has pushed him into the top 70 in the world rankings.

Most Likely To Disappoint: Troy Merritt ($6,500 DraftKings | N/A FanDuel)

Merritt was great last week in the Barracuda Championship, the opposite field event to the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational. He finished second and had a putt to win it on the 72nd hole. Because of that, he might become a popular click if you need someone deeper down the player pool. I’m still reminded of his three consecutive missed cuts in PGA Championships and that strokes gained/putting is the only category that he’s on the positive side of on average.

Pick To Win: Ryan Palmer ($6,900 DraftKings | $8,000 FanDuel)

Palmer is having a pretty great season that no one is paying attention to. He was in contention until his approach shot on the 72nd hole at the Sony Open. He was in the final group at Torrey Pines before fading and now has a runner-up at the Memorial and a T-15 last week in a WGC event. Not to mention that he gained 9.65 strokes from tee-to-green last week, fourth-most of anyone in the field.

Rick Gehman, founder of RickRunGood.com and the RickRunGood YouTube Channel, is one of the industry’s leading experts on golf DFS and gambling. Gehman is co-host of the First Cut Podcast and appears regularly on the Pat Mayo Experience golf podcasts. Follow him on Twitter: @RickRunGood.

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