Shell Houston Open Mar 30th-April 2nd
The WGC Match Play has ended, and the Puerto Rico Dumpster Fire Open is also finished, so the tour is now set to get back to normal with a solid tournament at the Golf Club of Houston which hosts this week’s Shell Houston Open. This week is also a prep week for the players as the Masters is only one week away and that is when the fun really begins.
The Shell Houston open is held at the Golf Club of Houston based in Humble, TX. The course is a Par 72 measuring out at around 7,450 yards, but like many courses in Texas the wind can cause it to play much shorter or feel even longer. The course has a traditional par 72 layout of 4 par 5s and 4 par 3s and then 10 par 4s with a nice mix of hole layouts for the players. There are some holes that certainly reward the bombers if they are willing to takes some risks off the tee which can lead to those coveted eagle opportunities on these par 5s. Greens are going to be pretty fast, which again is to get the players ready for the lightning speed they will encounter at Augusta so being able to deal with speed around the cup will be a plus this week. In terms of scoring the last few years have had winners around -15 with a cut around even or -1 so we will want to dial up the birdie makers like we usually do. Since the course is set up in a way that a lot of the shots and holes allow players to get some practice of situations they may face next week at Augusta the field is on the stronger side with most top guys in attendance.
This week I will give an edge to the bombers as the rough is minimal and if you avoid the water/hazards off the tee you can set yourself up for a lot of scoring chances. Finding players who excel tee to green, make a lot of birdies and are able to reach these par 5s in two seems to be the way to go this week especially if the conditions are set up for scoring. Like most weeks, the wind is a variable, and if it forecasts to be impactful then scrambling and sand saves get a boost as more players will miss the greens. Right now, that does not seem to be the case so target those scorers and guys who can go low.
This field is the opposite of what we saw last week with many of the household names back in the mix. This sentence originally read that the field was headed up by Dustin Johnson fresh off his win, but he decided to WD so we are left with plenty of other top 25 golfers all ready to get hot at the right time as the major’s season begins. Also, up for grabs is the final spot for the Masters, so you will have plenty of lower ranked golfers giving it their best shot to try and sneak in the field at Augusta.
Well last week was one where I thought things may be a little crazy with no shot tracker and all the top players playing the match play, but the Puerto Rico open honestly was worse than I expected. I still enjoyed the weak field and did not mind the course, but it was too frustrating to not know what was going on and even to have inaccurate scores all over the place. Multiple times I had a player’s scores move up or down a few strokes based on holes they finished hours ago, which just made it difficult to even know where you stood. Also with there being limited TV coverage it was hard to tell how guys played in different facets of their game which can be important to see trends and other things to use in the future.
Having said all that I should not complain too much because I had a profitable week which is the goal anytime you play. I had roughly 15% 6/6 teams which was above the average after a lot of prominent guys missed the cut. Martin Flores and Uihlein’s strong weekends helped land me into some top 10 finishes in GPPs and overall I will gladly take a positive week and look forward to moving back to tournaments with real coverage and real shot trackers.
Quick note on the Match Play: Dustin Johnson is locked in right now he was machine like in running through the field especially in group play. Shout out to Hideto Tanihara who got to the semifinals and with that run played his way into the Masters field. Most people do not know him as he plays mostly in Asia, but like Matthew Fitzpatrick he is a guilty pleasure of mine and I love to throw a few teams with him in every time he is in the field.
Jordan Spieth $12,000 DK / $22,600 FDraft / $10,500 FD – With DJ not playing Spieth takes over as the top dog in this event. Motivation this week is going to play a factor with some players giving it their all while others are just testing out certain parts of their game to prep for Augusta next week. Spieth is a native Texan, and I think will be motivated to play well after his uneventful WGC showing. This may be a get right week for Spieth and I consider him the favorite to come into Augusta fresh off a win.
Adam Scott $9,400 DK / $19,300 FDraft / $10,000 FD – Scott is another who I think may be motivated to get some momentum flowing after laying low the past few weeks and not having any notable results in 2017. One of the best ball strikers on tour and if his putting is decent he gives himself a chance to win any week. Salary is very reasonable and there is plenty of value allowing you to use Scott as your second most expensive golfer. For Fanduel think he makes an ideal Rds 3 and 4 play as he could easily make a big charge on the weekend to get into contention.
Charley Hoffman $8,400 DK / $17,400 FDraft / $7,000 FD – Rostering Charley Hoffman cannot be good for your long-term health. I never seem to get this guy right, but he does make a nice GPP play this week especially on Fantasy Draft where his price is very affordable. History at this course is solid with plenty of respectable finishes, and he is coming off a T2 at the Arnold Palmer just two weeks back. Range of outcomes is huge with Hoffman so I would not recommend for cash, but think he has top 5 upside and should not be super popular. For Fanduel I would lean 1st and 2nd round as he has some cut risk, and is more known for having a 36-hole lead and fading then making a weekend charge.
Billy Horschel $7,700 DK / $18,200 FDraft / $7,100 FD – Horschel has been an elite ball striker the past few months and that should serve him well at this course. Not a ton of course history, but was T2 in 2013 which is always a good sign. One of these weeks I expect him to put it all together and contend for a W and think this course suits his game if he can avoid the blow-up holes and be just average with the putter.
Patrick Reed $7,700 DK / $18,300 FDraft / $8,700 FD – I keep waiting for Reed to get going this year and maybe it is just not going to happen, but I am taking another shot this week. The concern I have is that his approach game has really been off this year, but this is a perfect spot for him to get things clicking. Reed was 10th last year and has back to back top 20 finishes at this event so he likes the course and I think is in a prime spot to have his first top finish in the last few months.
Tony Finau $7,100 DK / $17,900 FDraft / $7,900 FD – Finau is an absolute bomber who will be able to attack the par 5’s and short par 4s at this course. Always a little concerned with his putting, but he is making strides lately with the flat stick and his recent form is very solid. Another who I think is a better GPP play than cash, but with Finau’s cheap salary he should be able to easily return value if he can make the cut.
Ollie Schniederjans $6,700 DK / $16,400 FDraft / $6,700 FD – The hatless wonder is in play this week, and Ollie really has been playing great golf in 2017. Hits it plenty far, and excels with his long irons and approach shots which is going to be important this week.
Bernd Wiesberger $6,700 DK / $16,700 FDraft / $7,400 FD – More well-known over on the Euro tour, but Bernd is a good player and someone I have no problem rostering this week. Solid all-around game and a cheap price tag, biggest concern would be he has the Jim Furyk disease of making 18 pars in a round which is not what we are looking for. Like him more if the wind looks bad, as he excels in tougher conditions and is not built to go super low on the scorecard so his upside is somewhat limited.
Roberto Castro $6,400 DK / $14,300 FDraft / $4,700 FD – More a price specific play, but shocked to see Castro priced at the bare minimum on DK. His recent form has been a little concerning, but he still is striking the ball well and is just a flat out better golfer than the players he is grouped around. Not someone I am jamming into my lineups, but if I need a salary relief min priced guy I would not mind taking a shot with Castro.
Fades / Notes
Phil Mickelson $8,900 DK / $19,400 FDraft / $9,300 FD – Not a full out fade for me, but Mickelson is someone where I am concerned about motivation. For GPPs Phil is always in play because his range of outcomes is 1st to last so the upside will be there, but I doubt he is concerned about trying to win this week. I think on Fanduel he makes sense as a 1st and 2nd round play because looking over his past results at this course he has gotten off to fast starts and then faded on the weekend, possibly due to focusing more on Masters prep than winning the tourney.
This Tourney – Looking over the pricing I think this is a week that leans more balanced than stars and scrubs in terms of lineup construction. The 7-8k range is very loaded with a lot of players who are talented and not already in the Masters field and I think loading up with 4 or 5 of them will be how I construct a lot of my lineups this week.
Good luck everyone!
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