What’s goin’ on fantasy golf fans?! I hope everyone had a profitable, if not enjoyable, RBC Heritage weekend! I apologize for not including Wesley Bryan in my article, but if you follow me on Twitter, you would have seen he was one of my highest owned golfers of the week! I will do better to include the winner in this article going forward…
It’s back to Texas for the Valero Texas Open hosted by TPC San Antonio. This is a long and tough 7,435 yard Par 72 course. Distance off the tee will be important, and could put some longer hitters in good spots to reach these Par 5s in two. This course is known to favor the longer hitters, but if you aren’t super long, you better be fantastic around the green to try and make up for it. I personally will be targeting bombers with good ball striking skills. A stat that is starting to pick up steam across the DFS Golf industry is strokes gained off the tee PLUS strokes gained approach. This will highlight players who are reaching the green in the most efficent manner possible, eliminating the scrambling portion of strokes gained T2G. I will also be focusing on birdie or better percentage like usual, as well as ball striking and green in regulation stats, especially from 175 yards and out.
Alright, let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Charley Hoffman – $10,700
Take Charley Hoffman in Texas. It has been a narrative for quite a while now and it showed last year when Hoffman won this event. In his four trips prior to his win last year, Hoffman had three top 15s and a T3. The best part about Hoffman this week is that it isn’t just his course history that makes him appealing. He missed the cut last week at the RBC Heritage, which will still be fresh in DFSer’s minds and might scare a few people off. He played very well at Augusta and the two weeks leading up to the Masters. He ranks 8th in strokes gained off the tee and 18th in birdie or better percentage. Charley is a course horse with good recent form and the stats this season to fit the course.
Brendan Steele – $9,900
Brendan Steele is the highest ranked golfer in my model this week, with good reason. He has the complete package when it comes to figuring out who will be my highest owned golfer. In this field, he ranks 1st in strokes gained T2G, 3rd in ball striking, 2nd in bogey avoidance and 14th in birdie or better percentage. His recent form is great and he hasn’t missed a cut since the PGA Championship. Steele won this event back in 2011 and since then has two top 10s and a T13 last year. Steele will likely be the highest owned golfer on the slate, but I am willing to put him in 60%-70% of my lineups this week.
Tony Finau – $8,400
It’s a bombers week, so Tony Finau has to be considered especially at his reasonable $8,400 price tag. Finau has been playing solid this season with two top 5s in his last seven events. His stats line up perfectly for this course, ranking 2nd in strokes gained off the tee plus strokes gained approach. He is an elite ball striker and his hitting a ton of greens in regulation this season. Finau has been known to struggle on Bermuda greens, but this course has allowed bad putters to win in the past. Finau will very popular this week, so if you want to reap the rewards of a high Finau finish, you will need to roster him in over 30% of your lineups.
Sung Kang – $7,400
You know it’s an ugly week when Sung Kang is being considered a staple play, but it is warranted for him this week. Kang has put back-to-back fantastic finishes together with a T11 at the RBC Heritage and a 2nd place finish at the Shell Houston Open. Kang ranks 13th in the field in SG:OTT + APP and 22nd in birder or better percentage. Kang makes for a great tournament play as he has top 5 upside with his current form. It will take some stones to roster Kang in cash, but if you are stuck with only $7,400 left in a nice cash lineup you made, you can definitely do worse than Kang.
Identifying the chalk, and going elsewhere.
Jimmy Walker – $10,500
In a week where there is no clear cut favorite at the top, or no obvious missed priced golfer at the top to hoard all the ownership, pivoting to Jimmy Walker makes a ton of sense. On FanShareSports.com, Walker has only accumulated 11 tags, 18th most this week. He is surrounded by two guys with more than twice the amount of mentions then him, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore, who will likely soak up a ton of ownership. Walker, the 2015 winner of this event, will be the least owned golfer in the $10K and up range. He is coming in with great form and his and his length off the tee will play well at TPC San Antonio. Pivoting to Walker will set you apart in GPPs.
Byeong Hun An – $8,500
Another popular range this week is in the mid $8,000s. Tony Finau and Ryan Palmer are drawing a lot of attention this week according to FanShareSports. Stuck in the middle of those two is Benny An, who never draws a lot of ownership regardless of the field he is in. His strokes gained off the tee plus strokes gained approach ranks 3rd in the field. Where An struggles is on the green, but you do not have to be a good putter at this course to win. An will be overlooked, even though he is one of the best talents in the field.
Bad course fit? Highly owned for the wrong reason? Players I will have no shares of.
Patrick Reed – $9,700
Patrick Reed has been on the struggle bus all season long. His last top 15 finish was at the CareerBuilder in January and has yet to finish inside the top 20 since. He has missed his last two cuts, at the Shell Houston Open and the Masters. The reason Reed is priced so high this week is because of his name value, which will still draw people towards rostering him. His price is way too high to take on the risk he presents right now.
Soren Kjeldsen – $7,500
Length and the ability to make birdies will be major factors this week. Soren Kjeldsen possess neither of these attributes. In this field, he ranks 137th in driving distance and 115th in birdie or better percentage. Soren’s game translates well to a grinders course, where closer to even par will likely be a solid score. But at a course that requires plenty of length off the tee, Soren will be battling to make pars while the leaders are filling the cup with birds.
So you got burned?
Recently got screwed by a missed cut or a poor performance? Looks like a good time to jump back on.
Luke List – $7,600
Oh, it’s a course set up for bombers? Is Luke List in the field? Sold. Add the fact that List missed the cut last week when a lot of people thought he’d be a sneaky play at Harbour Town. List ranks 3rd in my weighted rankings model due to his elite strokes gained stats relative to the field. He has been dominating Par 5s this season and has the second best birdie or better percentage in the field. I am praying enough people got burned by List last week to suppress his ownership a bit, because he sets up perfectly for this track.
Stewart Cink – $7,400
Everyone was onboard Stewart Cink last week. Everyone suffered from his missed cut last week. Now, Cink is merely an afterthought heading into the Valero Texas Open. Cink is still having a phenomenal season for his standards, consistently finishing inside the top 30 and making 11 of his last 13 cuts. He may not possess the winning upside you are looking for a GPP option, but he is still worth a flier in a few lineups due to his knack for playing on the weekend. Need a low owned cut maker with top 20 upside? Cink is the play.
“The Price is Wrong, Bob!”
The pricing on these golfers doesn’t seem right.
Harold Varner III – $7,800
At first glance, Harold Varner III seemed overpriced. If that’s how I saw it, then I assume there is a ton of others in the same boat. However, HV3’s high price is a perfect way to keep his ownership reasonable at a course that will suit his game. Varner and List are very similar types of players, which means most people will gravitate towards the cheaper List. HV3 can bomb it and when he is on with his irons, he is one of the best ball strikers in the field. Taking a few fliers on HV3 is well worth the upside.
Scott Piercy – $6,900
Caveat to this pick is that I am a sucker for Scott Piercy. He has shown the ability to compete with the best players in the world at majors and other full field events. For him to be priced at $6,900 this week is absurd. Obviously it is because he hasn’t been playing well this season, but he is still the third best birdie maker in the field. He has the distance required to get around this course, and showed it with a T18 finish all the way back in 2012. I will be loading up on Piercy in GPPs and am willing to tie my success this week to his play.
Valero Texas Open Research Spreadsheet
Note that this spreadsheet is FREE each week for Pro Members. If you are not a Pro Member, use code “ERIC” for 15% off:
Thanks for reading my Valero Texas Open preview article! You can follow me on Twitter for more golf and betting talk! Also, make sure you check out @FanShareSports. They track and curate content produced across the DFS Golf industry, and highlight which players are being tagged or talked about the most, translating to an excellent ownership guide.
Good luck this week everybody and enjoy the best week in golf!