TPC San Antonio- AT&T Oaks
My initial impression this week is that Draftkings made an effort to tighten their pricing a bit, especially in the cheaper tiers. Gone are the days of Lucas Glover at 6800 being a free space. We can use the lack of value to our advantage, however, by finding the underpriced mid tier plays who could be ready for a big week. Along those lines, something new: I’ll be selecting one to three players each week now as my “featured picks”. These are guys I believe you should lock in if you’re only playing one line, or be significantly overweight on if you’re playing many. I’ve only selected one this week.
There are a couple things to note about this golf course. First, it’s a bomber’s course through and through. There are several par 4s where the longer hitters will be able to get their drives up near the green, turning those holes into excellent birdie chances. TPC San Antonio also has four par 5s in the ballpark of 600 yards, the shortest being around 570. If the bombers can turn them into 2 shot holes they’ll be gaining a big advantage. In either case, pairing length with a good short game should lead to plenty of birdies.
The wind blows every year here. So far, the forecasts show Thursday and Friday being quite breezy, with peak winds being Thursday in the late morning until around noon. I will be paying careful attention to the forecast, as the more balanced pricing from DK means there’s less separation between players’ value. Thus, getting the advantageous draw, which seems to be the Thursday afternoon wave (especially late in this wave) could be the difference maker.
Recap of the RBC Heritage
We had a great week at FTA with golf. The chat room was filled with members sharing pictures of their lineups with all six players through to the weekend. Kevin Chappell was the only real letdown (and we might be going back to him for the third straight week?), but Lucas Glover’s solid week (headlined by 65-67 on Friday-Saturday) was the key to many of our lines. Luke List continued his excellent play for us (at just 9% ownership) and we certainly won’t be ignoring him this week, either. Let’s keep things rolling!
Valero Texas Open Picks
Sergio Garcia is the best player in the field, but comes in with some question marks. First, the lack of lower-tiered value makes his price tough to swallow. Second, he hasn’t played since the Masters, where he shattered a great deal of DFS lineups before some players even hit their first tee shot. The more concerning aspect to me is that he is now a father of a 1 month old baby girl. Has he been able to put his usual time and effort into golf lately? When I pay 12k for someone, I want them to be as reliable as they come (DJ last week). Sergio has the upside, but I’ll fade him everywhere.
Matt Kuchar played well last week, but didn’t pay off his price tag. Now, his price has jumped up once again. While last week’s course fit him nicely, this one doesn’t. I can’t justify the price hike for a player I already thought was significantly overpriced. Full fade.
I’ve used and recommended Charley Hoffman quite a bit so far this year. Hoffman is a very solid golfer and should continue to have success… but he’s not an 11k player. He’s been in the 7ks all season and suddenly he’s 10.9k? He’s been solid, but he doesn’t even have a top 10 in 2018. Another full fade, meaning this entire tier is a full fade for me.
Luke List (Featured Player #1) has been outstanding, especially in the categories we emphasize the most. He’s gaining .747 strokes off the tee this year, .506 with his irons, and .374 around the green, making him a specialist for this course as well. He trails only Sergio in my model, but the questions surrounding Sergio make List my top play overall this week. He is priority number one.
Adam Scott is extremely similar to List. He’s gained .525 off the tee, .71 with his irons, and .398 around the green. Like I said, extremely similar. The difference between them has been the putter. While List has struggled on the greens (-.137), Scott has been awful (-.595). If Scott can figure it out, he could win here. If he continues to putt terribly, he should still be a fine play. I really like him this week, and the models have him just below List.
Kevin Chappell has now missed two cuts in a row after WDing from the match play with a back injury. On the flip side, the model loves him because he is a monster off the tee and good with his irons. He’s also the defending champion and his game fits this course beautifully. I love him in gpps, but I’m not sure he should be trusted in cash.
Brandt Snedeker and Billy Horschel are both severely overpriced, especially when you consider how stacked the rest of this tier is (and the one below!).
Brendan Steele hurt us at the Masters, but the model loves him for the same reason he fits this course so well: he’s gained .869 strokes off the tee this year. The model has Steele as the second highest priority. I considered making him a featured pick, but there are other great options surrounding him so I don’t think he’s a lock if you prefer multiple players just above or below him.
Xander Schauffele (X for short), for example, is just $100 cheaper and another excellent play. Schauffele is known as a par 5 killer, which comes as no surprise given his .613 SG off the tee. Pat Mayo called him “the best player you’ve never heard of” before The Masters, but everyone will know his name soon. He’s getting better and better.
Pat Perez and Chesson Hadley are garnering plenty of buzz, but I’m not big on either. They both rank far below Steele and X, as well as several players in the following tier. I wouldn’t consider them overpriced, but I highly recommend reaching for one of the two above, or dipping down to the next tier.
Zach Johnson ranks very high in the model. He has gained in every category this year, though his iron play has been his most impressive. He is not a specialist for this course, but 8k is too cheap for the way he’s playing.
Keegan Bradley is another guy that would be a featured player if not for the great surrounding value. He hits it long and straight off the tee and his iron play has been spectacular this year. He’s LOST an incredible .846 strokes per round putting, keeping him from any great finishes. Thus, his price is back down under 8k, so let’s take advantage of putting’s unpredictability and jump on this price. He is one of the best gpp plays of the week, as he could easily contend if his putting is simply mediocre.
J.B. Holmes hasn’t done much this year, but he continues to drive it long and straight. His solid short game makes him a specialist for the course, in addition to rating well in the model. I like Keegan more, but ZJ and Holmes are a close second.
Jamie Lovemark will be popular this week, and his distance off the tee suggests it’s warranted. However, he’s actually lost .09 strokes off the tee this year, suggesting his accuracy has left a lot to be desired. I won’t try to talk you out of him, but I definitely prefer the three above, and even the one below.
Kevin Streelman is the same price as Lovemark and grades higher in the model. He lacks the distance advantage that Lovemark has, yet has been so accurate that he’s actually gained .579 strokes per round off the tee this year. If you can’t afford ZJ, Keegan, or Holmes, I think Streelman is your best bet in both cash (more dependable) and gpp (lower owned).
Jason Kokrak rates well in the model, and is certainly a specialist for the course, as he pairs his incredible power with an underrated short game. He’s missed three cuts in a row (if you count his MDF as an MC which it sure felt like), but none of those courses fit him quite like this one does. He should be low owned, too, making him perhaps my favorite gpp play of the week.
Scott Piercy continues to dominate with his iron play, gaining an incredible 1.164 strokes per round. He rates just behind Kokrak in the model.
Stewart Cink continues to be overlooked and underpriced.
There are a number of other players in this tier with high upside, bunched together in the model as decent, but not great plays. Among them are: Trey Mullinax, Brandon Harkins, Corey Conners, Kevin Tway, Johnny Vegas, Tom Lovelady, and Grayson Murray. I don’t recommend any of them if you’re only making one line (or even several), but all suffice as a final piece with upside among many gpp lines.
Abraham Ancer has gotten some buzz and seems like a decent value, but I won’t dip below Cink this week.
I’ve already mentioned List, Holmes, and Kokrak, but one other player stands out.
Kieth Mitchell has lost over a stroke per round with his irons this year, driving his rating in the model way down, but he has gained .646 driving and .277 around the green. He is a bomber with two top 10s in his past three events. He is definitely in play for gpps.