Daily and weekly fantasy sports have become all the rage. Battling it out over an entire season is fun, but sites like DraftKings offer a quicker payoff and big payouts for winners! Not only do they offer daily action in the four major professional sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) as well as college basketball and football but also the PGA Tour.
Your DraftKings lineup is made up of six golfers you select from within the $50,000 salary cap.
Each week DraftKings offers a wide selection of games to enter at a variety of price points. You can even get a feel for the game in a freeroll contest. Before you put your cash on the line, I’ll offer my Top Values and Steals in this space every week, specifically geared to help build a winning DraftKings squad. I’ll also give you my Overpriced golfers to avoid and a couple of “Vegas Says…” tips to help you find those players for GPPs.
This week, the tour moves to the TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course) for the Valero Texas Open. Although it’s one of the oldest tournaments on the Tour, this venue has only been the host since 2010… be careful looking at course history before then. Although TPC San Antonio stretches out to over 7,400 yards, it has some similarities to last week’s course, Harbour Town, which was much shorter. The fairways are lined with trees and bunkers and we will have weekly tilt with ShotTracker telling us that our players have driven into the “native areas” or “unknown” areas. Another major factor here is going to be the weather, and specifically the wind. In 2015, players in one wave of tee times had a huge advantage over others, just by luck of the draw. But if the weather turns, I’ll be focusing on wind specialists, and players who have played well in Texas previously. Another angle to play up this week is to use the Aussies in the field. Not only are they accustomed to playing in similar windy conditions, but many Aussies – Steven Bowditch, John Senden, Rod Pampling, Jason Day (formerly) – have taken up residences in Texas. Furthermore, the course was designed by Greg Norman, and although it’s impossible to quantify, there are bound to be some idiosyncrasies of the course design that Aussies are familiar with.
Without getting to in depth with stats this week, I’m going to focus on bombers and players who excel with long irons. There’s a lot of distance in the par 3s and par 5s, so that should neutralize a lot of the field. Scoring on the par 4s is going to be extremely important, and I think bombers who can approach those holes with wedges and shorter irons will have a big advantage. The previous five winners at this course (Kevin Chappell, Charley Hoffman, Jimmy Walker, Steven Bowditch, and Martin Laird) are all bombers who have experience in windy conditions.
Recent Tournament History
Here are the leaderboards from the past three installments of the Valero Texas Open:
Current Form Review
Each week, we’ll look backward at the last three tournaments on the PGA Tour. Here are the leaderboards from the past three stroke-play events: the Houston Open, the Masters Tournament, and the RBC Heritage.
Strokes Gained Approach (SG:OTT): TPC San Antonio is a course that challenges every player, but I do believe that off-the-tee play is the most important element. There are hazards and native areas that players have to avoid, and many long par-4s and par-5s. Distance matter. In terms of recent play, the players to target in strokes gained off-the-tee are J.B. Holmes, Hudson Swafford, Tom Lovelady, Keith Mitchell, Beau Hossler, Si Woo Kim, Ryan Moore, and Luke List.
Strokes Gained Around-the-Green (SG:ARG): Because the green complexes are so difficult at TPC San Antonio, I’m adding extra emphasis on the short game. I want elite scramblers who can save pars when they miss approach shots. The best around-the-green players in recent weeks are Wesley Bryan, Martin Laird, Austin Cook, Seamus Power, Jamie Lovemark, Dominic Bozzelli, Keith Mitchell, and Adam Scott.
Birdie or Better % (BoB%): There are really not many weeks where we aren’t going to target birdie or better percentage, because that’s what fantasy golf scoring is all about. This is a difficult course, but much of the fantasy scoring will come from birdies and occasional eagles. The best players in this field in recent birdie or better percentage are Robert Garrigus, Keith Mitchell, Aaron Wise, Harris English, Grayson Murray, Matt Jones, and Charley Hoffman.
Par-4 Scoring (P4): Par-4 scoring is always important, but I’m adding even more emphasis this week at TPC San Antonio. Players will have to capitalize on any opportunities they get, and avoid trouble on the challenging holes. The par-5s here are long and not reachable for most players in the field, so more of the birdies will come from par-4s than we typically see. Par-4 scoring is what will separate players this week, so I’ll have a heavy weight on strokes gained on par-4s. Some of the best par-4 scorers in this field are Abraham Ancer, Michael Thompson, Seamus Power, Tom Lovelady, J.B. Holmes, Chesson Hadley, and Keith Mitchell.
*In order of my rankings
Sergio Garcia ($12,000) – Garcia had an epic collapse at the Masters, carding a 13 on the 15th hole on Thursday. He wasn’t able to claw back above the cut line, but I was still impressed by his overall ball-striking and the number of birdies he made. That, plus his price this week, makes him a great under-the-radar selection. Garcia was actually brought on as a consultant when this course was redesigned, as he plays here often and lives in the area. At the time, we was dating Greg Norman’s daughter, and this is a course that Norman designed. He finished 45th in his last appearance here in 2010, but I fully expect Sergio to contend this week.
Luke List ($10,000) – List continues his trend of being one of the game’s best ball-strikers and worst putters. He nearly won the RBC Heritage last weekend, but some back-nine bogeys on Sunday derailed his chances. He continues to knock on the door of his first career win, and comes to a course where his skill set can flourish. List bombs it off-the-tee and is great with his irons. He’s played well recently in the wind, so he just needs to see some putts drop early in the week. He’s made two of three cuts at TPC San Antonio.
Matt Kuchar ($11,400) – It was a disappointing weekend for Kuchar at the RBC Heritage, falling out of the top-20. He’s played a ton of golf recently, but will continue to grind away this week in San Antonio, where he’s had success. He’s made the cut here six years in a row, with one top-10 and two other top-15 finishes. Kuchar is great at keeping himself out of trouble, but will need to tighten up his long irons if he’s to contend this week.
Charley Hoffman ($10,900) – When it Texas, play Charley Hoffman. That’s one firm rule that I make sure to abide by each and every year. A disappointing 40th here last season broke a streak of finishes that read 1st-11th-11th-3rd-13th-2nd-6th. Something about this venue fits his eye, and there’s no reason to ignore him since his recent form is solid. Hoffman contended for three days at Augusta, and backed it up with another top-25 at the RBC Heritage. He’ll be a popular pick this week.
Jimmy Walker ($8,200) – When in Texas, also play Jimmy Walker. The Boerne, TX resident loves playing in his home state. He’s a great wind player, hits it a mile, and tends to find a hotter putter when playing here. Although it’s been an up-and-down course history here at TPC San Antonio, Walker won here in 2015, has one other top-10, and two other top-20s. He’s slowly creeping back into form after battling health issues, and we saw him string together three consecutive rounds under par to finish the Masters.
Jamie Lovemark ($7,700) – Lovemark has been cruising most of this season, making his last six cuts with a handful of top-25 finishes. Earlier in the year we saw him contend for his first career win, most recently at the Honda Classic where he led for most of the weekend. Lovemark is elite off-the-tee and has dramatically improved his short game this season. He’s made his last two cuts at TPC San Antonio, posting 40th and 36th place finishes. In any event, he’s a player that racks up fantasy points most weeks.
Scott Piercy ($7,400) – Piercy isn’t typically a player I target in Texas, unless we’re at the Byron Nelson which he loves. The Las Vegas native has had success playing in windy conditions, but tends to prefer the poa greens out west. This season, Piercy has dramatically improved his iron play and proximity, which has continued to put him in a position to succeed. He’s typically one of the best drivers on Tour, but struggles with his putting. He’s made seven of his past nine cuts on Tour, with six of those finishes inside the top-25. At TPC San Antonio, he had made his first three cuts before just missing last season.
Xander Schauffele ($8,800) – My gut says Xander is going to be there on Sunday evening. On paper, he’s exactly what I’m looking for. He hits it long and straight off-the-tee, is a good putter, and is a proven winner. It’s been more of a battle this season on the course, but he continues to make cuts and post top-35 finishes (four of his past six starts). Xander finished 32nd last week at Harbour Town, but was near the lead after two days on a course that didn’t play to his strengths. Although he missed the cut here a year ago, TPC San Antonio should be more playable for him with one year of experience under his belt.
Keith Mitchell ($7,400) – I’ll post my disclaimer again: I love Keith Mitchell every week. However, this course definitely suits his game better than most. Mitchell is a Georgia alum who plays well on bermuda and in the wind, but he prefers tracks where he can hit drivers. That’s what we have here, and that’s what we’ve seen recently in his 2nd place finish at Puntacana and his 6th place finish in Houston. Although he stumbled on the weekend at Harbour Town, even making the cut there was a great performance by him. Mitchell makes birdies, plays well on par-4s, and is one of the longest hitters on Tour.
This section focuses on “odds” players – those players whose odds vary the greatest with respect to their DraftKings salaries. Keep in mind, this doesn’t make these players “good plays” or “bad plays”, but it simply measures the value based on their price. I’ve done this not just with the actual rankings, but as a percentage. So, if two players have a difference of 10 spots in pricing versus odds rankings, the player ranked higher overall will have a higher percentage. It’s a quick way to find value. I use an aggregate of odds from various odds makers to come up with my valuation.
Here is a list of the top-20 “values” based on my aggregations:
On the flipside, we have the list of players Vegas believes are overpriced based on their odds to win. Using the same model and calculations as above, here are the top-20 worst “values” based on my aggregations:
DraftKings lineups for the Valero Texas Open:
Stars and Scrubs: