AT&T Byron Nelson DFS picks 2022: Target these ball-strikers this week
We have an excellent field leading into next week’s PGA Championship—with seven of the top-15 players in the world teeing it up at the 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson.
TPC Craig Ranch, in McKinney, Texas, hosted this event for the first time last year, and it was one of the lowest winning scores of the year (25-under) and also the lowest in tournament history. So don’t expect the course to provide a major-like test this week as players will need to go super low once again.
Expect long approach shots to be a separator this week: We saw significantly more approaches from the 175-200-yard range than your typical PGA Tour setup. I’m leaning on strong approach players (plus guys who can get hot with the putter) at TPC Craig Ranch.
Here are my favorite plays and fades this week at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Price range: $9,000 and above
High Upside: Hideki Matsuyama ($9,900 DraftKings | $11,000 FanDuel)
Matsuyama has been battling injury this year, but when he plays, he’s been splendid. In 2022 he has five top 20s in eight events, including a win at the Sony Open. That run doesn’t even include his win at the Zozo Championship, his final event of 2021. He’s in the midst of the best putting stretch of his career and is always an elite iron player.
Safest Option: Scottie Scheffler ($10,900 DraftKings | $12,100 FanDuel)
The No. 1 player in the world is playing like it. Everyone knows that he’s won four of his past six individual starts, but you might not realize how flawless he’s been. During that stretch he has gained at least 0.25 strokes per round in all four major strokes gained categories. That’s a level of upside and consistency that no other golfer can currently match.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Tommy Fleetwood ($9,000 DraftKings | $9,800 FanDuel)
The raw results for Fleetwood have been acceptable, earning five top-25 finishes in his past seven starts. I’m simply worried about how reliant he’s been on his short game. In his past six measured events, he’s gained a total of 35.33 strokes to the field with 90.4 percent of those gains coming either around the green or with the putter. That is generally quite concerning and narrows a golfer’s path to the top of the leaderboard.
Pick To Win: Will Zalatoris ($9,400 DraftKings | $11,200 FanDuel)
With only one year of data on TPC Craig Ranch, the early returns point heavily toward great iron players. Zalatoris is at the top of the list when it comes to SG/approach, averaging 0.75 strokes gained per round over his last 50 rounds, per the RickRunGood.com database. That’s the second-best mark of anyone in this field (Justin Thomas), and Willy Z has been in contention often this season.
$8,000 to $9,000
High Upside: Jhonattan Vegas ($8,400 DraftKings | $10,200 FanDuel)
Vegas has struggled off the tee recently by his standards. He’s been tour average (+0.02) over his past 24 rounds, which is down 0.55 strokes per round compared to his 100-round baseline. It’s encouraging that he was still able to finish T-15 last week and has three straight top 20s. If he can get back to driving it well, he could improve on his T-9 finish here from last year.
Safest Option: Adam Hadwin ($8,000 DraftKings | $9,500 FanDuel)
There are very few golfers in this field who have gained strokes in all four major categories and have gained in both driving distance and accuracy in their past 24 rounds. Hadwin has done it, and he’s the only golfer in this range that can boast the accomplishment. That solid floor has produced four straight top-26 finishes with three top 10s.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Jason Day ($8,200 DraftKings | $10,300 FanDuel)
Day couldn’t find his swing on the weekend at TPC Potomac, finishing T-15 after holding the 36-hole lead. That’s obviously going to sting, but even more worrisome has been Day’s reliance on his short game. The majority of his strokes have been earned via the categories that will likely be the least important this week.
Pick To Win: Talor Gooch ($8,600 DraftKings | $10,800 FanDuel)
We haven’t seen much of Gooch recently, with only one start (Zurich Classic) since the Masters. His Zurich partner and good buddy Max Homa won last week and could provide plenty of fuel for Gooch to do the same. TPC Craig Ranch is likely one of the better setups for him on tour, allowing him to hit it wayward off the tee and lean on his approach play. If Gooch can gain four strokes putting, like he has in two of his last three, he could make a ton of noise in Texas.
$7,000 to $8,000
High Upside: Patton Kizzire ($7,100 DraftKings | $9,000 FanDuel)
There’s a lot to like about Kizzire in fantasy formats this week. Over the past 24 rounds, he’s gained 0.48 strokes per round on approach, and he finished third here last year. Combine that with the fact that his volatile play is better for fantasy scoring than actual tournament results, and you have something to be excited about.
Safest Option: Kurt Kitayama ($7,400 DraftKings | $9,100 FanDuel)
Kitayama has clearly found something in his game right now, with back-to-back top-20 finishes. His tee-to-green game was sublime last week, gaining more than 10 strokes to the field—the best total of his career.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Christiaan Bezuidenhout ($7,400 DraftKings | $9,200 FanDuel)
The path to success seems quite narrow for Bezuidenhout, who relies on accuracy, not distance off the tee. That’s not a great combination this week, and “Bez” has only posted one top 20 over his past seven starts. This feels like a difficult climb for the South African this week.
Pick To Win: Brian Harman ($7,600 DraftKings | $10,000 FanDuel)
Harman’s results have been all over the place, but he has three top-15 finishes in his past seven stroke play events. I’m very encouraged by what I saw last week at the Wells Fargo Championship. He gained strokes in all four major categories and gained more than seven strokes in the ball-striking categories. If he carries that into this week, he’ll be quite dangerous.
$6,900 and below
High Upside: Doc Redman ($6,800 DraftKings | $8,000 FanDuel)
Of the golfers in the $6,000 range, Redman is the only one who is gaining at least 0.33 strokes per round on approach and another 0.33 strokes per round with the putter. Those two skill-sets, when both are firing, is one of the quickest ways to the top of the leaderboard. Redman finished T9 at TPC Craig Ranch last year so plenty of good vibes as he continues to play well.
Safest Option: Scott Piercy ($6,700 DraftKings | $8,100 FanDuel)
Piercy has now gained strokes putting in six of his past 10 measured events, an enormous feat for the fourth-worst putter in the field over the last 500 rounds! As expected, that’s turned into results. He has four straight top 40s with two top 25s. Any finish in that range would be just fine at this price tag.
Most Likely To Disappoint: Brian Stuard ($6,700 DraftKings | $7,600 FanDuel)
There are a half-dozen courses on tour that really suit Stuard’s game, and TPC Craig Ranch is not one of them. He’s one of the shortest hitters on tour and struggles mightily with long approaches. Those will be bountiful this week and should pose a big challenge to Stuard.
Pick To Win: Stephan Jaeger ($6,900 DraftKings | $8,500 FanDuel)
Jaeger needed a spark to jumpstart his season, and he might have received it from his T-29 with Joel Dahmen at the Zurich Classic. Since then, he’s finished T-15 in Mexico and T-6 last week in Maryland. He’s gained nearly seven strokes on approach, which is the best two-event stretch of his young PGA Tour career, per the RickRunGood.com golf database.
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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.