Stuie's Sandbaggers - Valero Texas Open
Welcome back. This is a weekly piece dedicated to providing some value plays across the PGA landscape. I play mostly on Draftkings and Victiv, so I will limit my picks to those two sites. The goal is to give a closer look into some of the lower cost options so that you can squeeze some Chalk into your lineup. I’ve set the cutoff at $6000 on DK and $5000 on Victiv. Ideally these guys make the cut, which is really all you’re hoping for, but sometimes they finish top 10-20 and that’s when you can really strike gold and take down a GPP.
A Look Back
Last week, like many others, I got bit by the J.B. Holmes bug and he cost me in virtually all of my GPPs. As anticipated, you needed to have 6 guys make cut to see the top of the leader board. I have to admit, I was flat wrong on a couple of fronts last week as two players I mentioned in the space as fades performed quite well. First was Matt Every who ended up winning the tournament in dramatic fashion and next was Sam Saunders. I get it that Every won here last year, that is enough in and of itself to consider using him, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger. He’s burned me too many times in the past and is just to inconsistent. The argument could be made that those qualities make him a good GPP play and he clearly paid off those who took him. His ownership percentage across the industry was less than 5%. Those brave enough to roster Every and fade Holmes were the clear winners last week. I felt good about the Saunders fade when rosters locked and I saw he was over 10% owned. He opened with a 2 under 70 and then was a few over on his front side Friday, but rallied to make the cut. The most depressing part was that he contributed to moving the cut from -1 to -2 eliminating Holmes and Chad Campbell, one of my sleeper picks.
A couple of names who stick out from last week and even the past few weeks to keep an eye on are David Lingmerth and Danny Lee. They both come with some inherent risk, but have played well of late and notched top 20’s in each of their past two events.
This weeks picks.
This week the Tour heads to the Lone Star State and the Valero Texas Open. Always considered one of the most demanding non-majors on the schedule. This is a tight layout with small greens so driving accuracy and scrambling ability is going to be at a premium. I’m keying in on those two stats along with the strokes gained categories when filling out my rosters this week. A few previous winners are in the field this week including Martin Laird, Brendan Steele and last years champion Steven Bowditch. Steele and Laird have both been very consistent this year and make for good plays, Bowditch on the other hand reminds me a lot of Every last week, but hey maybe lightning can strike two weeks in a row.
Jordan Speith is the favorite coming in and should be pretty heavily owned. Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar are the other high end plays that I like this week, but in order to squeeze them in we are going to find some value.
As it tends to do as the season goes on, pricing has gotten tighter and salaries are starting to rise on some of the value plays. Because of this I am going to make an exception this week and move the salary cap on DK up to $6500. This might sound like a cop out, but I’m just not comfortable recommending anyone under the $6k mark this week and feel like it would be misleading to make picks that I have no intention of actually using.
This weeks plays
Danny Lee – $6400 (DK only)- As mentioned above, Lee is coming in hot with T17 and T7 in his last two events. He missed the cut here last year, but opened with a 68 before an 83 on Friday had him packing his bags early. He’s been riding a hot putter of late and is 25th in strokes gained putting on the year. Lee has been susceptible to the occasional big number in the past, but is in good form currently and I think he is a safe play to see the weekend.
John Peterson – $6500 DK, $4800 Victiv – Yes, again. Until he stops making cuts i’m not going to stop playing him. He spent most of Thursday and Friday towards the top of the leader board last week before fading on the weekend. He’s 22nd in driving accuracy and 20th in scrambling. Ball striking is a strength, the reason he hasn’t been in contention is because of his putter. If a few can go down this week there is no reason to believe he can be in the hunt come Sunday. He’s also made the last two cuts at this event, however his best finish was T67.
Zac Blair – $6100 DK $4600 Victiv – This course sets up really well for Blair’s skill set. He putts the lights out and keeps it in play, a recipe for success on courses that you don’t need to hit it 325 off the tee. Currently he is 10th in scrambling, 18th in driving accuracy and 16th in strokes gained putting. He’s also 24th in bogey avoidance and has made 3 of his last 4 cuts. Justin Leonard has had a lot of success here and Blair’s game reminds me a lot of Leonard’s.
Martin Flores – $6300 DK $4600 Victiv – Here is a play based solely on course history. The Texas native clearly loves it in San Antonio as he has gone T16, T10 and T24 in the last three Valero Texas Opens. He’s coming off a MC at the Valspar, but did have a T16 in Puerto Rico and T17 at the Honda the week before. No stats really jump out, but that history is tough to ignore.
Others considered, Justin Leonard, Carl Pettersson and Brian Davis
There you have it, good luck this week. Don’t forget its never too early to start your masters research!