Golf Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy PGA Picks and Betting Guide for DraftKings & FanDuel – Valero Texas Open
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While it's still a week away, it is impossible to ignore the excitement that is building for The Masters, the second in four months. Before we get too excited, however, we have to break down the Valera Texas Open which will give any golfer not already in the Masters a chance to punch his ticket to Augusta.
The field of 144 players was looking pretty grim until we got a late entry from Dustin Johnson after not advancing past the group stage last week at the Match Play. With his entry, DJ is now the only player ranked inside the Top 10 teeing it up this week, and is joined by just 12 others who rank among the Top 50 in the OWGR.
**Update - Dustin Johnson has withdrawn**
They will take on the TPC San Antonio Oaks Course which has been the host course for this event since the 2010 season. It is a par 72 setup that is listed at over 7,400 yards on the scorecard. A large amount of that distance comes from three of the four Par 3's reaching over 200 yards and three of the four Par 5's reaching over 591 yards(two over 600 yards). The biggest defense for the course outside of the native areas(see Kevin Na) are the Texas winds. They were a non-factor in 2019 and 2019 when Corey Conners and Andrew Landry won with winning scores of -20 and -17 respectively but before that, we have normally seen a winning score in the -8 to -12 range due to the wind. That is what I am expecting looking at the early forecast as winds of 12-18 mph with gusts of up to 30+ mph are expected, at least for the first two days.
Stay tuned for my weather and ownership updates on my Wednesday night live show on my YouTube channel.
TPC San Antonio
Par 72 - 7,435 Yards
Greens - Bermuda
**Click the image above to see a hole by hole breakdown from PGATour.com**
Previous Five Winners
- 2019 - Corey Conners(-20)
- Cutline → Even
- 2018 - Andrew Landry(-17)
- Cutline → +2
- 2017 - Kevin Chappell(-12)
- Cutline → +1
- 2016 - Charley Hoffman(-12)
- Cutline → +1
- 2015 - Jimmy Walker(-11)
- Cutline → +7
Top Stats in the Model
Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
As I mentioned in the intro, you can get into trouble quick off the tee out here with narrow fairways and the length of most holes doesn't allow for a lay back and play it safe gameplan. Ideally, I am looking for players with above-average distance who can find the fairway and have been hot with their irons.
Par 5 Scoring
These are some of the hardest par 5's on tour and a great place for players to separate themselves. This also correlates with the longer hitters as the "go for it in two" rate is much lower here.
Opportunities Gained/Birdie or Better %
We talk a lot about birdie or better and it is heavy in my models every week. I also like using the FNGC tools and looking at Opportunities Gained as it can sometimes point us to players who are maybe struggling converting birdies but are setting themselves up for them a ton. This could mean a little adjustment in putting and you could have yourself a high-upside player who could also be lower owned due to lack of birdies. Just another way to look things.
When breaking down the top stats I use a combination of my own cheatsheet and the tools over at FantasyNational.com.
Top Tier Targets
In my 20-max this week, I will be heavy on stars/scrubs and it starts with Tony Finau. He didn't make it out of the group stage last week and missed the cut in his last stroke-play event at the PLAYERS but I only hope that deters people and lowers his ownership this week. On the season, he has not only made 11 of 12 cuts but eight of those have been Top 25's and he has also tallied five Top 10's and two runner-up finishes. What really stands out this week is the ball striking as he has gained strokes both off the tee and on approach together in four of his last five and seven of his last nine events. If he does it again, he is in store for a similar performance as he had in 2017 when he came home with a T3 here. He is my favorite pay-up this week.
Conners and Finau are more of a 1A/1B for me in the top tier this week and the price difference is the first thing that stands out. Conners has had to wait an extra year to defend his title as he won this event in 2019 after finishing T26 in his first trip back in 2018. He also happens to be one of the hottest players in the field coming off back-to-back Top 10's and is easily one of the most consistent players with Top 25 finishes in eight of his last 10 stroke-play events. Looking at his stats over the last 24 rounds(via FNGC), he ranks 1st in SG: Ball Striking, 7th in Par 4 scoring, 1st in Par 5 scoring, 3rd in Opp gained, and 6th in Birdie or Better. He is going to be chalky this week but I will be firing him up in all formats.
Mid Tier Targets
While Kirk's price is still a bit higher than we would like it has dropped since the Honda Classic and it is very hard to argue with the consistency. He comes into this week having made four straight and 10 of his last 11 cuts with two Top 10's(Sony Open, API) and six Top 25 finishes. He is second in this field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green over the last 24 rounds and has gained 4+ strokes on the field in that area in all four of those events. He missed the cut here in 2019 but has finished T13 or better in three of his last five trips to TPC San Antonio. He is in play in all formats once again for me this week.
Ryder is a very streaky player in large part to his around the green and putting but that has helped keep his price depressed despite a hot streak. He is coming off a runner-up at the Corales Championship last week after a T8 at the Honda Classic where he gained a whopping 7.9 strokes tee to green. He has been only average on the Par 4's lately but ranks 3rd in this field in strokes gained on Par 5's and is setup to have a nice advantage on the field here where he has made the cut in each of his first two trips. I feel those previous finishes here(T42, T36) are his floor this week and his upside is in another Top 10 which, at these prices, is tremendous value.
World Golf Ranking (#318)
Vegas Odds (161/1)
I mentioned stars and scrubs as my preferred build this week and for that to work, this range is very important and for me, starts with Roger Sloan. He missed the cut here in 2019 but comes in with much better form this time around with Top 25 finishes in three straight events and he has made the cut in eight of his last 11 with five total Top 25 finishes. That success has come from the iron game as he is 15th in SG: Approach and 28th in Opportunities Gained over the last 24 rounds.
World Golf Ranking (#277)
Vegas Odds (176/1)
Another player riding some hot irons is Cameron Percy who is 12th in that area over the last 24 rounds but hasn't been quite as consistent as Sloan as he has missed two of his last three cuts. This should lead to some low ownership on a top 20 ball-striker in this field and he will definitely be in the mix in my player pool.