2023 PGA DFS: Rocket Mortgage Classic DraftKings Preview

by Keith Flemming

Keegan Bradley picked up the win a short drive from his hometown last week at the Travelers Championship. This week the PGA Tour moves to Detroit Golf Club for the Rocket Mortgage. This is one of the last events before the Open Championship and the FedEx Playoffs. That brings me to my 2023 PGA DFS: Rocket Mortgage Classic DraftKings Preview.

This is the fifth year that the Rocket Mortgage event is being held at Detroit Golf Club. The winners over the last four years have been split between two heavy favorites and two long shots. The bomb-and-gouge method has found success at this event (see previous winners Finau/Dechambeau) but I will be focusing on players who excel on and around the greens.

Due to the Rocket Mortgage being a non-elevated event, there are not many top players in the world in this field. Max Homa is the sole top-ten player in the world in the field this week. Overall, eight of the top thirty players in the world will tee it up at Detroit Golf Club.

This doesn't mean there is no star power in the field. Previous champions Tony Finau, Cam Davis, and Nickl Lashley are in the field this week. They are joined by top players Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Sungjae Im, Tom Kim, Hideki Matsuyama, and the resurgent Rickie Fowler.

Let's dive into the field this week, the venue Detroit Golf Club, and the type of players I am targeting this week in my official DraftKings lineup for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

You can find me on Twitter @KeithFlemming to keep the conversation going! Be sure to listen to me during my weekly guest appearance Wednesdays at 1pm eastern on The Inside Drive on ESPN Northwest Radio. Where I will preview that week's PGA Event. 

2023 PGA DFS: Rocket Mortgage Classic DraftKings Preview

Venue (Detroit Golf Club)

Detroit Golf Club measures at 7,370 yards, but it plays on the shorter side by today's Tour standards. This event has seen many different types of golfers on its leaderboards over the last four years. Last year the top four at the end of the event were in the top 20 in driving distance in the field (Finau, Cantlay, Pendrith, Cam Young). Of the top 15 finishers in 2022, only two were outside the top 30 in driving distance for the week.

Detroit Golf Club doesn't feature many water or lateral hazards. And although the course is tree-lined, wider fairways make it less of a positional test than many other recent venues that lack distance. Due to the non-penal rough, lack of hazards, and accessible greens, this course is as friendly to the bomb-and-gouge method as any venue on Tour.

As I mentioned above, distance was a key factor in players who found success last year, but I think this is more of a second-shot golf course. Good-to-elite putting is the one true trend that has played out each of the last four years for this event.

This week I will lean heavily on the best putters in the field. History has shown that this is not a course where poor putters have suddenly putt well. I will be avoiding poor putters on my betting card and for my DraftKings plays this week.

Course Comps

  • TPC Twin Cities
  • Sedgefield CC
  • TPC Deere Run
  • TPC River Highlands
  • TPC Craig Ranch

Top 10 players in Comp Course History

  1. Sungjae Im
  2. Tony Finau
  3. Cam Davis
  4. Tom Kim
  5. Max Homa
  6. Harris English
  7. Mark Hubbard
  8. Justin Thomas
  9. CT Pan
  10. Alex Noren

Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained Off The Tee (Driving Distance)
  • Strokes Gained Putting (POA) (Last 10 events)
  • Birdies or Better Gained
  • Par 5 Scoring
  • Par 4 Scoring
  • Strokes Gained Approach
  • Strokes Gained Total (Easy Courses)

Top 10 in Driving Distance

  1. Byeong Hun An
  2. Joseph Bramlett
  3. Vincent Norrman
  4. Will Gordon
  5. Jimmy Walker
  6. Ludvig Aberg
  7. Sam Stevens
  8. Kevin Yu
  9. Garrick Higgo
  10. SH Kim

Top 10 in SG: APP who also rank above-average in Proximity 75-150 yards

  1. Collin Morikawa
  2. Tony Finau
  3. Max Homa
  4. Hideki Matsuyama
  5. Christian Bezuidenhout
  6. Nate Lashley
  7. Tom Kim
  8. David Riley
  9. Satoshi Kodaira
  10. Tom Hoge

Above Average SG: APP, Driving Distance, Par 5 Scoring, Par 4 Scoring, and Comp Course History

  1. Tony Finau
  2. Max Homa
  3. Taylor Moore
  4. Justin Thomas
  5. Keegan Bradley
  6. Byeong Hun An
  7. Austin Eckroat
  8. Cam Davis
  9. Alex Smalley
  10. Harris English

My 2023 PGA DFS: Rocket Mortgage Classic DraftKings Lineup

Rickie Fowler ($10,400)

I think this is the week Fowler finally gets back in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour. Fowler has been in the mix in every tournament over the last month. He continued his great play last week with a third-round 60, on his way to a 13th-place finish.

Fowler has finished inside the top 15 in eight of his last nine PGA starts. He's top 6 in the field in strokes gained total, strokes gained ball striking, strokes gained short game, strokes gained approach, strokes gained putting, and 1st in the field in DraftKings scoring.

Fowler is overdue at this point to get a win. In a very similar position to Tony Finau entering this event last year.

Another option in this price range: Keegan Bradley ($9,200)

Justin Thomas ($10,000)

I believe Justin Thomas when he said he found something last week at the Travelers Championship. After an opening round of 70, JT went on to shoot 64, 62, and 67 to close the tournament and finish in 9th place. Thomas is 113th in the field in putting but showed signs of life with his flat stick last weekend.

The other parts of Thomas's game are as good as they have ever been. He is in the top 15 in strokes gained total, tee to green, and ball striking. He is also 2nd in the field in strokes gained around the greens. I believe Thomas is underpriced this week on DraftKings and on the betting boards for this event.

I like anchoring my lineup with a consistent player in Fowler and adding Thomas, who is more of a wildcard but has tremendous upside this week.

Another option in this price range: Ludvig Aberg (8,700)

Austin Eckroat ($8,000)

Eckroat is in the middle of a great run on the PGA Tour. Over his last five events, he's finished no worse than 30th, with three top-20 finishes. In that span, he has made 84 birdies and at least one eagle in his last three events.

He is 40th in the field in strokes gained putting and 11th in strokes gained off the tee. Over his last five events, he is gaining 2.4 strokes on the field in both of those categories, while also gaining significant strokes in all other major strokes gained categories.

Brandon Wu ($7,500)

Wu is in my lineup this week for the simple reason he plays easy courses well and makes lots of birdies. He's 10th in the field in DraftKings scoring despite being the 34th most expensive player in the field. Wu finished 9th at the Canadian Open, 23rd at the Byron Nelson, and 3rd at the Mexico Open. All of those events feature a winning score that is lower than normal on the PGA Tour.

Another option in this price range: Christian Bezuidenhout ($7,700)

Nate Lashley ($7,300)

Nate Lashley won the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club in 2019 at 25 under par. He is in good recent form with five top-40 finishes in his last seven events. Those include playing well at other easier tournaments like the Canadian Open, Byron Nelson, and Mexico Open.

He's made 14 or more birdies in eight of his last twelve events. Lashley has also scored 70 or more points on DraftKings in four of his last six tournaments. It is the main reason he is 20th in the field in DraftKings scoring despite being in this lower price range.

Aaron Baddeley ($6,700)

The last time I was this high on Aaron Baddeley at the Canadian Open he let me down by missing the cut. I am going to give Aaron another shot this week at Detroit Golf Club. Baddeley has done well at other low-scoring events this season, including top-40 finishes at the Charles Schwab, Byron Nelson, and Mexico Open.

What I like about Baddeley the most this week is his ability on and around the greens. He is 24th in the field in putting and 4th around the greens. Over his last ten events, Aaron has been gaining strokes tee-to-green and on approach. That is the main reason for his surprisingly good play in 2023. I think he does well enough tee to green this week and feasts on the greens, leading to a made cut and hopefully a top-30 finish.

Another option in this price range: Kevin Yu ($7,000)

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Now that you have read the 2023 PGA DFS: Rocket Mortgage Classic DraftKings Preview, be sure to check out the rest of our golf content, including my show Two off the Tee on the Fantasy Six Pack YouTube Channel Tuesday night. Each week, my cohost Allen and I will break down the tournament for that week and give betting/DFS plays.

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