Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: Valero Texas Open
By now, you've probably dabbled in daily fantasy sports, but if not, don't worry. Now is a great time to start, especially with FanDuel now offering a revamped version of PGA golf.
Golf can be one of the most exciting DFS sports to follow, as tournaments span four days and allow ample time to prepare each week, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the basics of building a lineup on FanDuel, the scoring setup, and advanced stats to know about the PGA.
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Let's take a look at some golfers to target this week.
|Key Stats for the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Strokes Gained: Off the Tee|
|Driving Distance Gained|
|Par 5 Scoring|
|Greens in Regulation Gained|
With both approach and off-the-tee play, we're looking for good ball-strikers. I always like to keep the stats separated to make sure golfers are positive in both stats rather than letting, say, off-the-tee performance mitigate terrible approach play. Either way, you rarely go wrong targeting the best ball-strikers in the field, and TPC San Antonio's setup lets us go back to these stats again. Of the past five winners, four ranked inside the top 13 in strokes gained: off the tee, and all five were top-20 in strokes gained: approach (four of them were top-10).
The par 5s are long (all measure at least 567 yards; the average in 2017-18 for a par 5 was shy of 563 yards), so there's a par 5 and distance angle we can play here, even though distance alone hasn't been a great indicator of success here. It's tough enough that distance is just part of the puzzle.
If we look to greens in regulation, we're at risk of giving approach play too much weight (though with how around-the-green play has mattered here and with how volatile putting is week-to-week, is that a bad thing?), but Andrew Landry (2018 winner) and Jimmy Walker (2015 winner) led in that stat. Kevin Chappell (2017 winner) ranked 3rd. Charley Hoffman (2016) and Steven Bowditch (2014) were both 19th. With bunkers and runoff scares, greens in regulation go a long way.
Stats cited below come from FantasyNational and include the past 100 rounds on the PGA Tour unless noted. Ranks are among the field.
Best of the Best
Rickie Fowler (FanDuel Price: $12,500 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: 9.5/1) - Fowler didn't play the WGC-Match Play last week and also doesn't have a track record at TPC San Antonio. The wind here can really screw things up, but Fowler is the class of this field for sure, and he's just steady everywhere in the stats profile. Over the past 100 rounds, he's 30th off the tee, 27th in approach, 21st around the green, and 9th in putting among the field.
Tony Finau ($12,000 | 17/1) - Finau's ball-striking has been on point: 4th off the tee and 9th in approach among the field, and he's also 4th in distance, 5th in strokes gained on par 5s, and 9th in greens in regulation gained. Whew, baby. Finau's record at TPC San Antonio isn't long, but it includes a 68th in 2015 and 3rd in 2017.
Jason Kokrak ($11,200 | 31/1) - Kokrak is probably overpriced, but it's hard to overlook him. He is right on par with Finau in terms of ball striking (10th off the tee and 4th in approach). He struggles with the short game, but we can de-emphasize that a bit this week. Kokrak's distance (10th) could carry him to another great finish. Sungjae Im ($11,100; 29/1) is also an option because he's been so good -- but we can't roster more than two golfers at this elevated price.
Luke List ($10,500 | 46/1) - The only thing List doesn't do is putt, giving him an elite stats profile week after week (he's 1st off the tee, 25th in approach, 3rd in distance, 5th in par 5s, and 3rd in greens in regulation over the past 100 rounds). List has missed the cut here two years in a row, losing 5.4 approach strokes last year in two rounds. We have to embrace volatility, but List has realistic win upside (if he can ever hit a putt).
Byeong-Hun An ($10,200 | 36/1) - An's tee-to-green game holds up with the world's best (he's top-eight in all three stats), plus ninth in distance. He has played here once, finishing 40th, doing so while losing 2.4 strokes putting. An has made 17 straight PGA Tour cuts, too.
Ryan Moore ($10,100 | 44/1) - Moore enters with a pair of top-20s at TPC San Antonio (7th last year and 18th in 2017). Moore actually leads the entire field in approach over the past 100 rounds and is 21st off the tee, so he does enough to be in the mix for our lineups from a ball-striking standpoint.
Joaquin Niemann ($9,600 | 70/1) - We need to look the other way if we roster Niemann, whose putting is beyond dreadful, but we saw him break out with a sixth-place finish here while actually putting well (13th in the field in strokes gained). He was 10th tee-to-green, and 2nd in approach. If he could just be close to neutral, we could see another ball-striker without great putting form post a strong finish at this course.
Joel Dahmen ($9,300 | 70/1) - I'm playing all the hits this week: Dahmen ranks top-20 in both ball-striking stats and is 10th on par 5s over the past 100 rounds. Also, you guessed it -- he's 130th in the field in putting. Dahmen was cut in 2017 and MDFed in 2018 here, playing some pretty rough golf overall. But he's been living his best life on the course of late and has the stats to back it up for a solid finish at a cheap tag.
Scott Stallings ($8,700 | 90/1) - Stallings has been cut, 13th, and cut in three years from 2015 through 2017 here. He has an imbalanced ball-striking profile (82nd off the tee, 6th in approach) but can gain distance on the field regardless.
Chris Kirk ($8,700 | 120/1) - Kirk is just 125th in distance but 8th in approach and has overcome it all to post great finishes at TPC San Antonio (8th, 13th, cut, 8th). In all of those, he ranked at least 34th in strokes gained: tee to green. We can do a lot worse at this tag.
Nick Taylor ($8,700 | 120/1) - Taylor's recent form is very much on point, and he grades out 14th in my model over the past 12 rounds and 29th over the past 50 rounds. Taylor missed the cut here a year ago despite gaining strokes tee to green. Prior to that, he finished 22nd and 21st while ranking top-16 tee-to-green at TPC San Antonio.
Harold Varner ($8,300 | 160/1) - HVIII is another golfer who can gain distance on the field (12th). His stats profile doesn't look quite as strong as it used to after a pretty down year, but he has still gained the 22nd-most greens in regulation among the field and grades out 40th in my model for this week while being priced at 64th in the field. Varner has finished 9th, 40th, and cut the past three years.
Kevin Tway ($8,100 | 160/1) - Tway can bomb, as well (6th in distance), and can hit enough fairways to keep that distance somewhat useful (31st in strokes gained: off the tee). We've seen him fare well at TPC San Antonio over the past two iterations, finishing 3rd in 2017 and 36th in 2018.
Adam Schenk ($7,900 | 190/1) - Schenk grades out 30th in my model, which accounts for short- and long-term form, though he's 57th overall over the past 100 rounds using the same stats. Either way, there's some value on him at this FanDuel price. He's 19th in distance, 39th on par 5s, and 25th in greens in regulation gained over the past 100 rounds. While I don't recommend going too stars-and-scrubsy this week, there are some low-end values we can try to hit on.