Courtesy of Fantasy Golf Insider!
Stroke play returns this week as we head from Austin to San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open. This week is quite bizarre as the majority of players who have strong course history are coming in with bad form and those in form either haven’t played here often or have never played here.
The weather at the Valero over the years has been a hot button topic as the winds can get nasty and stacking a tee time draw has proven beneficial in the past so it’s important to keep an eye on that this week. If the wind isn’t whipping, scoring can be around tournament average and even become easy at times as this is a TPC course with ample room to miss fairways off the tee.
The greens are tough to hit, mainly because of the winds (the course playing above sea level probably has a bit to do with this as well), so scrambling is a stat to target this week on top of the typical strokes gained metrics we usually target.
Finally, with the list of winners at this event over the years, I think roster construction will be interesting this week. I think Rickie will be a popular play as he’s a strong wind player who putts well on bermuda grass and comes in rested after two weeks off.
For One & Done leagues, I think the chalk will be on Kuchar & Furyk coming off the strong play at the Match Play event last week. The mid-range players like Ancer, Bjerregaard, Hoffman, Palmer and Walker will probably garner the next chunk of ownership leaving players like Spieth, Byeong Hun An and Horschel as contrarian top plays.
As of writing, I’m fighting with the notion of playing Ancer in leagues where I’m trailing and Finau or Horschel in leagues where I’m at or near the top.
o The Course
· TPC San Antonio
· Par 72
· 7,400 yards
· Bermuda greens
o Location: San Antonio, TX
o Corollary Courses/Performances:
o Past Champions:
· 2018: Andrew Landry -17 over Trey Mullinax & Sean O’Hair
· 2017: Kevin Chappell -12 over Brooks Koepka
· 2016: Charley Hoffman -12 over Patrick Reed
· 2015: Jimmy Walker -11 over Jordan Spieth
· 2014: Steven Bowditch -8 over Will Mackenzie & Daniel Summerhays
KEY STATS TO TARGET
o Strong Emphasis – SG: APP, Par 5 Scoring, Birdies or Better, Scrambling
o Important – SG: OTT, APP 150-175y, APP 175+y, P4 Scoring 400-500y
THIS WEEK’S SUGGESTIONS
Charley Hoffman (DK $8,200)
· History: 64th– 40th– Win – 11th
· Form: DNP – 18th– MC – MC
· Stats: 78th– SG: OTT, 132nd– SG: APP, 105th– SG: P, 121st– SG: T2G
· Analysis: Hoffman is a pure course history play this week as his form this season has been pretty putrid minus the T18 at the Valspar two weeks ago. We all know the rule on playing Charley in the Texas winds, but his play has been so sporadic that I don’t know if he’s worth throwing a ton of exposure behind just based on “always showing up” here. His ownership has been non-existent most of the year, but he’s sure to get a spike this week. If you think you’re going to get him at sub 15% this week, you won’t so I wouldn’t go out of my way to play him if you don’t have to.
Jimmy Walker (DK $7,800)
· History: 4th– 13th– MC – Win
· Form: DNP – DNP – 67th– 58th
· Stats: 169th– SG: OTT, 139th– SG: APP, 182nd– SG: P, 123rd– SG: T2G
· Analysis: Jimmy “Texas Ranger” Walker returns to play after taking the last two weeks off and he does so at a course where he’s had a ton of success. Whether in form or not Jimmy just plays well on a course that may only suit his eye more than anything. Statistically, he’s been bad from tee to green all year and if he can not lose a stroke off the tee, he does make the cut. Walker would be a fringe player for me this week who would win the tie breaker solely based on his history here.
Ryan Palmer (DK $8,400): Palmer is a strong wind player who plays well on tough courses and putts better on bermuda than any other surface. His game is in a good place right now overall as he’s only losing strokes around the greens in his last five events (and most of that came at the Honda where he lost over 4 strokes ARG). He’s a high upside low floor play for me this week.
Russell Henley (DK $7,900)
· History: DNP – DNP – MC – DNP
· Form: DNP – 42nd– MC – 20th
· Stats: 37th– SG: OTT, 123rd– SG: APP, 151st– SG: P, 80th– SG: T2G
· Analysis: Henley’s form isn’t where we’d typically like it to be leading into this event, but he could be the type of player we want to target BEFORE his form makes him an obvious play. From a statistical perspective his game isn’t in a bad place as he’s performing slightly above his baseline off the tee, but performing below on approach and putting. If he can play the way he did at the WMPO (15th) where he gained more than 3 strokes on approach, he could be a true value play come Sunday.
Kramer Hickok (DK $7,000)
· History: None
· Form: 10th– 46th– DNP – DNP
· Stats: 40th– SG: OTT, 162nd– SG: APP, 205th– SG: P, 82nd – SG: T2G
· Analysis: Hickok has been pretty good the last few weeks and while his finishing place doesn’t indicate he’s close to putting it all together to capture his first win on Tour, it does indicate that he’s in a place where he can pay off this salary. Over his last five events he’s gaining strokes off the tee and around the green and playing slightly worse on approaches and putting. If the putting flips like it did last week in the Dominican, he should have no issue rewarding those who select him.
Kyle Stanley (DK $7,000): The hope is that he found something in his game in Austin last week as he went 1-1-1 in Fleetwood’s pod and had he finished off Tommy the way he started the match, would’ve ended up playing Louis to get out of pod play. This price is too good for someone who provides a ton of scoring and finishing place bonus points in DK formats.
Adam Schenk (DK $6,700): We’re going back to the well here again with Schenk after last week’s 33rdplace finish in the Dominican. Schenk has proven time and time again that he’s good enough to punt in normal fields and we’re getting him at basically the same price in a much weaker field event here.
Jim Furyk (DK $9,600)
· History: 43rd
· Form: 18th– 2nd– DNP – 9th
· Stats: 82nd– SG: OTT, 9th– SG: APP, 52nd– SG: P, 21st– SG: T2G
· Analysis: Old man Furyk has shown quite the resurgence the past few weeks and is doing so by scoring a ton on DraftKings. Over his past four events, Furyk has been collecting birdies in three out of four rounds. How has he been doing it? Primarily on the Par 5’s, but his Par 4 scoring has been pretty strong during that period as well and will need to be again this week if he wants to contend in this field.
Jason Kokrak (DK $9,400): Normally I wouldn’t condone playing an expensive Jason Kokrak, but it seems as though he’s out to prove us wrong this season. Every other week his ownership flip-flops between chalk and low owned and every week he continues to churn out good performances. The one caveat for this week could be the weather though, as he’s not a strong wind player, and doesn’t play well on tough courses. He’s a guy I’ll probably throw in a couple lineups in multi-entry tournaments.
Jhonattan Vegas (DK $8,700): Vegas is an interesting play this week as well based on lead-in form and how he performs in difficult conditions. First off, his putting is the best on bermuda, and that’s only because he doesn’t lose strokes on bermuda greens on average. He’s not very good on difficult courses, but is good in the wind (which I’m calling a wash). Over his last five events (not including Punta Cana) he’s gained four strokes from tee to green, and over one and a half on the greens. He’s playing very well and might be worth more than just his usual dart throw exposure this week.
CONTRARIAN CORE (GPP PLAYS)
Matt Kuchar (DK $11,200): Kuch’s play last week looked solid all around, and while his history here doesn’t jump off the page by any stretch (best finish was T4 in 2014), he’s playing some inspiring golf this season and is someone we want to ride while he’s hot. His putting at the PLAYERS was horrible (he lost over 6 strokes on the greens) and still finished in the Top 30 which may have been something I missed while doing my writeups for the Match Play.
Billy Horschel (DK $9,800): Looked great last week for the majority of pod play in Austin, excels on bermuda grass and doesn’t garner much interest when he’s priced up. His tee to green game has been bad all year, but he hasn’ t missed a cut all year (and actually hasn’t missed a cut since the RBC Canada Open last season) so he’s making the squad this week as a core play.
Abraham Ancer (DK $8,900): As of writing he’s my 1AD selection, so it only makes sense to double down on my research and include him in the core this week. Hailing from Texas, Ancer is a probably a much better wind player than his stats indicate (plays better in moderate wind versus really windy conditions). He’s in form (12th – MC – 39th) and has the type of game that should be a fit four TPC San Antonio. He’s very strong from tee to green and when the putter isn’t costing him strokes, it’s the difference between a Top 30 and a Top 10.
Joel Dahmen (DK $7,500): Dahmen has now made his last three cuts in a row after last week’s 12th place finish in the Dominican. His tee to green game over the last five has been great, it’s just the putter, which was better last week based on the very few holes I actually watched. He’s a guy that gives himself a ton of opportunities, and eventually the putting will correct itself for a day or two.
Chris Kirk (DK $7,100): Kirk is a horse here and we’re getting him at quite the discount all things considered. He’s finished in the Top 15 in three of the last four years, including two T8’s. Even on weeks where he lines up as a potential chalk play at a cheap price, he hasn’t been owned (highest owned in GPPs over the last four weeks was 2.8%) which means people still aren’t buying in. His approach game over his last five has been solid and minus a balky putter he’s not really playing horribly. It’s a bold play because his game is so volatile, but it’s a play that can pay off in spades so that’s why he’s making this week’s core.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week from the FGI team!