How is everyone doing this week? I am not going to lie – I am hoping that this week goes quickly so we can get to the Masters already. Next week in Augusta promises to be a classic with Tiger Woods competing again, Phil Mickelson having a resurgent season, Bubba Watson in great form and Justin Thomas dominating. I for one, can’t wait.
As for this week, the Tour heads to Texas for the Houston Open. This is a 7,450 par 72, with very easy to hit fairways and short rough. There is water in play, but your inconsistent bombers who can score are very much in play on this course. My stats of the week are Strokes Gained Off the Tee, Birdie or Better Percentage, Par 5 scoring and Strokes Gained Total. I also used course history much more than usual, since there are guys who just flat out dominate on this course. Let’s see what we came up with.
If you have any questions – don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter at @AssemblyNeil.
Henrik Stenson ($10,500 DraftKings/$11,900 FanDuel) – I like Stenson better than a lot of the other high priced options this week for a couple of reasons. First off, he has had a lot of success at the Houston Open, finishing in the top 3 of this tournament 3 times in his last 6 appearances. Second, Stenson is in pretty good recent form, as he had a Sunday lead at the Arnold Palmer which he let slip away as he finished in 4th place. Last, Stenson did not play the Match Play tournament last week, which is a grueling event. While other top players (with the exception of Rickie Fowler who also skipped the event) will be tired, I expect a fresh Stenson to reside near the top of the leaderboard.
Phil Mickelson ($10,200 DraftKings/$12,400 FanDuel) – What an amazing season Mickelson is having! While he did not advance out of his group at the Match Play, he still played very well over there. And before that, Mickelson has finished in the top 6 in his last 4 strokes play events – simply remarkable. Mickelson has had a lot of success in Houston as well as he has finished in the top 20 in six of his last 7 appearances here. I like Mickelson to contend for victory once again this week.
Upper Middle Class
Russell Henley ($9,200 DraftKings/$10,200 FanDuel) – Henley is a must play on FanDuel this week, though his high price tag makes him a bit harder to play on DraftKings. I will have plenty on both sites, as the young Georgian absolutely owns this event. He finished in the top 10 in his last 4 appearances at the Houston Open including winning this event last year. I will be paying up to see if Henley’s great form at this event can continue.
Matt Kuchar ($9,100 DraftKings/$11,200 FanDuel) – Kuchar is a bit of the opposite of Henley in that his price looks pretty reasonable on DraftKings, while his price tag may be a tad high on FanDuel. Koooooooch has been his regular steady Eddie self as he has made 9 of 9 cuts this year. And the Houston Open is usually an event where Kuchar shines as he has top 5 finishes in 3 of his last 5 appearances here. Course history is key in Houston and I will continue to rely on it with Kuchar.
Thomas Pieters ($7,500 DraftKings/$10,100 FanDuel) – Pieters is tied for 15th in Vegas betting odds this week but is certainly not priced like a favorite on DraftKings. This course seems to set up quite well for the big hitting Belgian who should be able to take full advantage of the par 5s and the generous fairways and roughs. Pieters has yet to play this event, but it should suit his game just fine. I will have my fair share.
Scott Piercy ($7,500 DraftKings/$9,300 FanDuel) – As can be readily apparent from most of my picks thus far (as well as my explicit statement at the top of the column), I am relying more on course history for this tournament than I usually do. There are some guys who consistently play well at this track and Piercy is one of those cats. He has top 25 finishes in his last three appearances at the Houston Open. Piercy has also been in decent form over the course of this year. I will be riding him this week.
Bang for your Buck
J.B. Holmes ($7,300 DraftKings/$9,100 FanDuel) – Little known fact – my eight year old daughter absolutely loves golf and makes a fantasy golf lineup every week. For some reason, my daughter’s favorite player is J.B. Holmes who is not such a great player. This week, however, I support her pick of Holmes as he has top 12 finishes at this event in 4 of his last 6 appearances, including a win and a runner-up. And while Holmes does not have top finishes, he has made his last 4 cuts on Tour as well. I like Holmes to land squarely in the top 20.
Chez Reavie ($7,300 DraftKings/$9,400 FanDuel) – How the mighty have fallen. Reavie was getting priced in the high $8,000 range on DraftKings a few weeks ago after he had back to back runner-up finishes. Now, he has struggled a bit more recently, though he has still made the cut in 5 of his last 6 events overall. And while Reavie is not consistently amazing at the Houston Open, he did finish in 7th place here two years ago. This is a mis-price for a talented guy who has had good finishes at this event in the past. Take advantage of the fantasy sites’ mistakes.
Hunter Mahan ($7,000 DraftKings/$7,600 FanDuel) – Mahan used to be a fantastic player, as he is a 6 time winner on the PGA Tour who ranked as highly as 4th in the world back in 2012. Unfortunately, Mahan’s game has fallen off a cliff in the last couple years and he has not duplicated his earlier success. That said, Mahan did make the cut last week and has had success at this tournament with 5 top 11 finishes in his last 12 appearances, including winning this event in 2012. I like Mahan as a GPP boom or bust play.
Johnson Wagner ($6,900 DraftKings/$7,300 FanDuel) – Wagner is another former winner in Houston, having captured his maiden PGA Tour victory here in 2008. Wagner nearly duplicated his feat in 2015 as he lost in a playoff to the aforementioned J.B. Holmes. Wagner has two straight made cuts on Tour, is dirt cheap and has great course form. I think he has another good finish in him this week.
Good luck to all of you this week!
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