Daily Fantasy Golf Preview: Valero Texas Open

The Course

  • TPC San Antonio, Oaks Course
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Par 72
  • 7, 435 yards
    • Played here since 2010
    • 1,100 feet above sea level
    • Greg Norman design, in consultation with Sergio Garcia
    • Widened fairways and shortened rough (to try and replicate Augusta)
    • Bermuda grass with native Texas grasses prevalent throughout the course
    • Oak trees line the course and make certain holes narrow along with rocky terrain and “native areas” — premium on ball striking
    • Greens tend to be elevated and are heavily protected by bunkers
    • Wind can be a problem (since 2010 at this course the winning score has been anywhere from -8 to -17)
    • Par 5’s play the toughest on Tour
    • There are five par 4’s at 410 yards or shorter that offer some of the best scoring chances
    • A lot of wedges and short/mid range iron shots

Key Stats

  • SG: tee-to-green
    • SG: approaching-the-green
  • Driving Distance
    • Par 5 Scoring
  • GIR
  • Par 4 scoring
  • Birdie or better %
  • Bogey Avoidance

The Field

There are 144 golfers in this field and with the Masters being the following week there is a short supply of talent in this one. Jordan Spieth will be playing in the Valero Texas Open for the first time since 2015 and after skipping match play last week Rickie Fowler will return to action. After that we have Matt Kuchar (who I was convinced would drop out of this one), Tony Finau, and a few other decent names before the list really drops off.

Strategy

With a course that is often victim to high winds and is only sheltered by some trees, it might help to keep up to date on the forecast so you can stack an AM or PM wave (also look for guys who play well in high winds). With the tournament moving up several weeks in the season that can change, as of now the wind and overall conditions look good — but over the next few days that can change.

Big Dogs ($9,200 and up on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Jim Furyk ($9,600 DK – $10,900 FD) – after his 2nd place finish at The Players Championship Furyk posted another top 20 the following week at The Valspar. This course has been friendly to all kinds of golfers and with these elevated greens that have a lot of runoff potential, there’s even more of a premium on accurate iron players — which Furyk happens to be.
    • Jason Kokrak ($9,400 DK – $11,200 FD) – if you took away Furyk’s short game and added it to his off the tee abilities you would get Jason Kokrak. Another premier iron player right now with excellent tee to green game, Kokrak has a very high floor at The Valero Texas Open but I would imagine both him and Furyk will be highly owned so I like them better for Cash games this week.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Tony Finau ($10,800 DK – $12,000 FD) – I can see a lot of people avoiding the top of the board this week in terms of pricing but out of Rickie, Kuch, and Finau I’m guessing that Tony is going to be the lowest owned. His last top 10 was at the Hero World Challenge in November which despite having some of the best players on Tour, was a much smaller field. He also finished 3rd here in 2017 so I’m really hoping he goes overlooked this week.
    • Billy Horschel ($9,800 DK – $11,000 FD) – from Sungjae at $10,100 to Ancer at $8,900 there are 9 golfers who I could see as being highly owned (especially if people fade the top 3 golfers) but one guy who might get passed up, being near the top of this range, is Billy Horschel. He also has a sporadic history at TPC San Antonio with an 11th, 4th, 3rd, and two pretty bad missed cuts in the last 5 years. With lower ownership and big boom or bust potential I’m feeling Billy Ho this week.

Value ($7,300$9,100 on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Ryan Moore ($9,100 DK – $10,100 FD) – Moore is right near the bottom of my top tier chalk range and with Lucas Bjerregaard right under him at $9,000 (who I am assuming a lot of people will see as overpriced) Moore will end up being a fan favorite this week. As he should be, he’s played here the last two years and finished 7th and 18th. I would like to place him in my GPP category, and the same thing goes for these next two guys as well, but I’m afraid they will end up being too highly owned. The smart move might be to pick one of these three and go overweight on that golfer and hope that you picked the right one.
    • Aaron Baddeley ($8,300 DK – $9,600 FD) or Ryan Palmer ($8,400 DK – $9,800 FD) – Baddeley has made a little bit of a resurgence lately with two top 10’s (in weak fields — but hey, what’s that make this field?) and he even finished 17th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Ryan Palmer missed his last cut at The Players but before that finished 4th at the Honda two weeks prior. Both of these guys have good course history with six top 20’s between the two in the last four years in this event, and four of those were even top 10’s.
    • Sung Kang ($7,700 DK – $9,500 FD) – Sung Kang has made six straight cuts and three of those were top 20 finishes. He also has a T6 here at TPC San Antonio back in 2017. His price tag is more respectable on FanDuel so he’s probably a better GPP play there (where his ownership might be slightly higher on DraftKings) but I still think he’s a good play either way.
      • J.B. Holmes or Luke List ($8,000 DK) – in a weaker field like this these two should be priced closer to $9,000. List is $10,500 on FD and Holmes is $9,900 so they are probably better GPP plays there but with the win/top 5 equity they have, it would be crazy not to save money and pick them in Cash lineups this week.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Jhonattan Vegas ($8,700 DK – $10,400 FD) – Vegas is 10th in SG: off-the-tee and 28th in SG: tee-to-green this season so this should be a spot where he can come away with a win, especially for a guy who just finished 3rd in The Players Championship. But his course history here has been very suspect (34th is his best finish in the last five years where he missed three of those cuts) so I’m guessing that will push people away from him at this price tag.
    • Denny McCarthy ($8,100 DK – $9,500 FD) – Denny McCarthy is wedged between Baddeley, Palmer, Charley Hoffman, (Denny McCarthy), Holmes, List, and Si Woo Kim this week so I don’t think many people are even going to consider him. If you look back at his last 12 rounds he has only shot over par one time. He’s playing some sneaky good golf the last couple weeks and he even finished 20th here last year so if nobody wants a piece of that action I might just pull the trigger.
    • Luke Donald ($7,300 DK – $9,100 FD) – this one might be a little out there but Luke Donald, who hasn’t played much in the last year, is coming off of a 9th place finish at the Valspar just two weeks ago. He finished 13th in 2016 at TPC San Antonio so this could definitely be a track that he’s comfortable on. It’s a big gamble because there isn’t much form to go off of but if you are feeling froggy — leap.

Sleepers ($7,200 and under on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Matt Jones ($7,200 DK – $8,900 FD) – Jones has gone six straight cuts without finishing worse than 55th and has three top 20’s in that time. He also has decent course history with three cuts made in the last four years with a 13th place finish in 2017. In four of his last eight rounds he has shot -3 or better so with his trusty driver and decent all around game he has shown he has the ability to score.
    • Nick Taylor ($7,200 DK – $8,700 FD) – I dipped my toes into the Nick Taylor pool a few weeks ago but I’m diving in head first now. He’s made five straight cuts, all finishing at 33rd or better, with an impressive 16th at The Players. In his last three years in the Valero Texas Open he has two made cuts where he finished 21st and 22nd so this is a course where he can keep the maple syrup flowing, or whatever they say in Canada.
    • Wyndham Clark ($7,100 DK – $8,700 FD) – I was back on Clark after his DQ at The Players and then after that he only had a mild showing at the Valspar but still managed to crack the top 40. This guy pounds the ball (5th driving distance) and, with help from his putter (20th SG: putting), can get birdies in bunches (13th in birdie average). A lot of these holes he will be going driver-wedge or driver-short iron so I think this is a course that will surprisingly suit his game.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Scott Stallings ($7,000 DK – $8,700 FD) – Stallings’ has been a bit of a roller coaster in his last few outings and at this course as well. In his last eight events he has missed every other cut but has two top 10’s in that same stretch. In this event he missed the cut in 2015 and 2017 but in 2016 he finished 13th. I’d be willing to bet he’s about 50/50 to make the cut, but if he makes the cut he’s either finishing 40th or inside the top 15… so it’s all or nothing here.
    • Jonathon Byrd ($6,900 DK – $9,000 FD) – Byrd sucks off the tee, I’m not gonna sugar coat it. 199th in SG: off-the-tee and 201st in driving distance have him at a big disadvantage but his iron game is actually really solid and he is coming off of a 4th place finish at Corales Puntacana, T21 at the Puerto Rico Open (both very week fields mind you), and T22 at Pebble Beach. I kinda like where his game is at now, especially if we see some bad wind at some point, so he might be a sleeper to think about.
    • D.J. Trahan ($6,700 DK – $8,000 FD) – I feel like this is a guy that a lot of people could be on so I would watch the ownership here but D.J. has now strung together three consecutive top 20’s…. again, two are Puerto Rico and Puntacana so they should be weighted slightly less. He’s 19th in SG: tee-to-green and 7th in GIR so these major stats are pointing me towards “he’s gonna be chalky” but if not, Trahan will no doubt be a good sleeper pick.

Dark Horses

  • Risky (GPP)
    • Vaughn Taylor ($6,800 DK – $8,000 FD) – Vaughn Taylor doesn’t blow me away with his stats but he seems to grind it out on tough courses, which this happens to be a tough course. He’s got top 10’s at the Desert Classic and the Genesis this year and is coming off of an 18th at the Valspar. He also finished 16th here last year so I think he might be someone that goes overlooked who sneaks his way into the top 20.
    • Adam Schenk ($6,700 DK – $7,900 FD) – Schenk has made four of his last five cuts and everything that he’s made has been a 33rd or better. Outside of his around the green work and scrambling he is a decent little player so I like him at $6,700 as a guy who can avoid blow up holes on a course where +1 tends to be the cut line.
    • Sam Ryder ($6,300 DK – $8,100 FD) – He’s back everybody. Sam Ryd-or-die is back. I haven’t placed a bet on him to win since January or so but I like him this week. I honestly wouldn’t put money on him to win here but like Schenk he rates out in the top 100 in every kind of SG category besides around the green… so that at least gives him a decently well rounded game when it comes to ball striking and putting. The big thing here I like is his 7th in sand save percentage where there are some nasty bunkers around the greens that are easy to fall victim to, so that should give him a leg up on the field.
Mark Lee

Written by 

Detroit sports fan, also sufferer of seasonal depression (the two might be related). Avid golfer and former college baseball player. Would've been in the league if it weren't for my lack of ability. Accountant by day, fantasy sports guru by night.

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