Valero Texas Open April 20th – 23rd
Back to Texas we go with the Valero Texas Open. This is another week almost all the elite players will not be in attendance so we will have to focus in on the up and coming players or that next tier of stars when making lineups.
The Valero is played at TPC San Antonio in Texas and is usually a very tough test for the players with the winning score averaging around -10 over the last 5 years. It is a par 72 measuring out at around 7,435 yards with Bermuda greens, and there is a high demand for accuracy off the tee as well as with approach shots. However, unlike last week this course is long so if you choose to club down off the tee you will be hitting some longer iron shots into these difficult to hit greens. Basically, this course is going to test every part of a golfer’s game and if we get windy conditions be prepared to see some monstrous numbers being posted.
When facing a tough track like this I look to target golfers who have a well-rounded game and are built to grind it out. One thing to always keep in mind is when a course plays super tough there are not as many variables in DFS scoring, so finding golfers who finish high and just play well is more important than usual. In tough weeks, you will barely see any streak bonuses of 3+ birdies, bogey free Rounds, or all four rounds under 70 so you have to rely on placement points, and players who put together good days of golf. Obviously, the wind will play a huge role in how the scoring goes, but here a few key stats that I am focusing on this week:
Total Driving – Incorporates driving distance & driving accuracy which is nice combo to have at this course.
Ball Striking – This is going to be correlated to Total Driving rankings as it is a combo of Total Driving and Greens in Regulation. Elite ball strikers will be a plus here as these greens are difficult to hit.
Scrambling / Bogey Avoidance – Going to be plenty of missed greens, scrambling, and chances to avoid bogeys. The wind will determine if these are my #1 priorities (if the wind is up) or secondary stats (if weather favors scoring).
Similar to last week in there are no top 10 players in this event and the best ranked golfer according to the official rankings is Patrick Reed, whose form is questionable at best. The top players are most likely resting up preparing for some big events coming up, recovering from their Spring Break 2017 antics (Fowler, JT and Spieth), or nursing their freak injury back problems (DJ).
After the Masters excitement, I knew it was going to be somewhat of a letdown spot at RBC, and watching Luke Donald come out firing on Thursday did not help the cause. Happy for Wesley Bryan, I had a decent amount of him and he seems to be putting it all together and starting to become a consistent player on the tour.
My teams got off to really slow starts so I was playing catchup pretty the entire week. Besides Haas who was terrible, and Fitzpatrick whose approaches were erratic and whose putter was Paul Casey like bad inside 10 feet, most of my guys rounded into form and took a possible bad week into a non-eventful break even one. Being heavy on a lightly owned Russell Knox was huge for me, and if Kevin Kisner and Jason Dufner would have held it together things would have been very positive. I did not have many real sweats going on, was top 20 in the dogleg for a little on Sunday, but did not really threaten and focused most of my rooting energy on a few other FanVice members who were making runs at some big GPP cashes. I say this often, but it is worth repeating: if you are mostly playing in GPPs breaking even in a week is a win, as being able to stay somewhat afloat in between huge scores is the name of the game especially in a high variance sport like golf. With Bill Haas being one of my highest owned players I will gladly take my washout of a week, and move onto this week with plenty of more entries to be made in some really nice GPPs.
Charley Hoffman $10,700 DK/ $8,300 FD/ $19,400 FDraft – This is Luke Donald at Harbour Town style when talking about Hoffman’s course history at Valero. Since 2010 he has been top 15 every year and has come in 1st, 2nd and 3rd within that stretch. The top tier is not my favorite this week, as I think pretty much everyone from Hoffman to Chappell is in play, yet all have some red flags associated with them so I will be mixing and matching up top. Hoffman has proven year after year he performs at this tournament and the sample size is large enough that we can tell regardless of other factors Hoffman rounds into form for the Valero Open. Price on FanDuel is especially appealing, I expect him to be a super popular Round 1-2 play over there.
Ryan Moore $10,200 DK/ $8,100 FD/ $19,900 FDraft – Ryan Moore quietly is putting together a nice season and just tied for ninth at the Masters two weeks ago. He has not played in as many events in 2017 as most, but he has been solid in all areas of his game which helps at a course like this. With a lot of high risk high upside picks that I am looking at this week someone reliable and steady like Ryan Moore may be a good addition to rosters, as having 5 or 6 super volatile picks together is a recipe for disaster.
Brendan Steele $9,900 DK/ $8,500 FD/ $19,300 FDraft – Seems like the obvious safe play this week. Steele is playing great, has won here before and really checks every box you would be looking for this week. He is favorite of mine so I have no problem recommending him as he has not missed a cut in 2017. It is still early in the week, but I expect him to be highly owned which always brings into play a pivot in GPP format. Grace is right above him and makes sense, while Patrick Reed would be the high risk high reward pivot sitting right below him, but he has shown no signs of turning it around in 2017. I will take a few gambles with Reed trying to get to him before the masses do if he turns it around, but Steele is clicking on all cylinders and I will keep using him while he is on this great run.
Ryan Palmer $8,600 DK/ $7,700 FD/ $17,900 FDraft – Palmer seems to be righting the ship after an ugly start to 2017. Great ball striker, incredibly bad putter, but seems to be in a groove the last month and is coming to a place he loves. Price is pumped up due to the weak field he is going against, but if he continues with his recent form he will be there Sunday with a chance.
Byeong-Hun An $8,500 DK/ $7,000 FD/ $17,700 FDraft – Basically the same mold as Ryan Palmer. Great with the Irons and terrible with the putter. He just cannot get it together on the greens, but has contended this year and shown he can hang with fields much stronger than this one (T-33 at Masters). Big upside, big risk = Nice GPP play.
J.J Spaun $7,800 DK/ $7,000 FD/ $17,300 FDraft – Late to the party, but want to jump on board before this dude wins because it is going to happen sooner rather than later if he keeps playing like this. Surged on the weekend to a 6th place finish last week and has no glaring weakness in his game right now. Even with his current form he has been lightly owned and although I expect more people to jump on this week it still should be a nice spot to target Spaun.
Luke List $7,600 DK/ $6,600 FD/ $18,100 FDraft – Burned a ton of people last week by missing the cut on the number. He actually rallied on Friday and shot 67 after a disastrous 75 Thursday which is a positive in my book and lends me to believe he just had a bad round Thursday as he has been in great form over the last month. Plenty long off the tee so the distance will not be a problem and List has been dominant on par 5’s so far this year which is always important. Nice mid-range option that hopefully will be less owned due to recency bias.
Jason Kokrak $7,200 DK/ $5,400 FD / $16,300 FDraft – Played him a little last week and after an opening round 68 I was expecting big things. I did not expect Kokrak to lose 5 strokes putting on Friday and miss the cut. It is really hard to lose 5 strokes putting in one round that is next level ugliness on the greens. Kokrak mashes it off the tee and as you might imagine struggles on the greens, but the price is right and his Tee to Green game will always give him a chance. Granted if he loses another 5 this week on the greens he is going to get cut again, but that seems unlikely being that Kokrak is a professional golfer and is not blind.
Martin Flores $6,200 DK/$4,600 FanDuel/ $14,100 FDraft – Similar to CT Pan last week in I am not actively trying to get Martin Flores in lineups, but if I end up needing a super punt I will take a shot with him. 3 straight top 25’s at this course, had a top 10 earlier this month and has been elite at bogey avoidance so far this year. He will carry no ownership and all he has to do is the make the cut to return value. Far from a sure thing, but if I decide to go with two 10k plus players I will try and save some salary with Flores.
Fades & Notes
Matt Kuchar – This guy never rests. I get last week him having to play because it was an RBC event, but I figured he would take a week off after the Masters yet here he is again as the highest priced golfer in the field. Obviously Kuchar is legit, but at that price you are basically playing him banking for a top finish and I do not see that happening with him this week. Plenty of other options up top and I think a possibly tired/burnt out Kuchar is not the way to go this week.
As always remember to check the weather as this can change things as we get closer to Thursday.
Good luck everyone!
If you have any questions find me in the FanVice Premium slack chat or on Twitter @JazzrazDFS