Ambush DFS Preview: Valero Texas Open

After a week off to just enjoy two high-quality events like the Dell Match Play and the Corrales in Punta Cana, we are back this week for a LOADED field in the Valero Texas Open. Of course, by “loaded”, I mean there’s just a lot of golfers in the field, the strength of the field is… average… at best. I don’t know how we beat can’t miss action from last week, like another Sergio Garcia meltdown, another Matt Kuchar controversy, or Tony Romo teeing it up in a PGA event, but hopefully, we’ll make it by with something exciting. We are a week away from The Masters, and although the field is not stacked full of elite golfers, lots of guys in the field are battling for that last shot at getting in The Masters field, so there should be some really good golf played throughout the weekend. Let’s get to some of my favorite DFS picks for the tournament.

 

Sure Play: Tony Finau (DK 10,800 / FD 12,000)

Tony is one of my favorite players on tour, maybe because we have a lot in common. We both used to hit golf balls off of a mattress in our garage, we can roll our ankles just walking or running down a hill, and we can both make it look like we’re missing five-foot putts on purpose. What we don’t have in common though, is that Tony has a really good chance to win this tournament. He is one of the few elite golfers in the field, and he probably doesn’t need to have his A game to stay in contention. He’s one of the longest hitters on tour, and those guys tend to find their way up the leaderboard here. Although he’s not an elite putter by any means, he can avoid the big numbers with the flat stick and can score as good or better than anyone in the field. He finished third in the event in 2017, so he’s proven he can have success here too. I think Tony’s price is low enough to pair up with other higher priced guys and I’d expect to see him near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.

 

Hit or Miss: Ryan Moore (DK 9,100 / FD 10,100)

It is hard to tell what Ryan Moore is going to do week-to-week. That is especially true this year, where it appears he might not have all of his game together. That being said, Moore has some good history at this course, and if there’s anything to jumpstart a guy back to his playing potential, it’s likely a course that they’ve seen success on before. He’s one of the better players in the field in terms of Total Shots Gained and Shots Gained – Approach, which are two statistics many golfers historically rank high in at the top of this leaderboard. In addition, Moore has two top-ten finishes in his last 3 tries at this course as well as a top 20, which includes a seventh-place finish just last year. He might not be in great form, but this might be the place he picks his game back up off the floor.

 

Mid-Tier Favorite: Ryan Palmer (DK 8,400 FD 9,800) 

Just one mid-tier guy I really like this week, I think this week is really set up well for a stars-and-scrubs type approach. However, I do like Palmer a lot in that mid-8k range. Palmer has had a very up and down year so far this year. He has about as many good finishes as he does really bad finishes. The good news for this week is that he’s not in a difficult field, and he is highly ranked on the tour in stats like Par 4 Scoring, Total Shots Gained, and Shots Gained – Approach, all of which are important stats this week. He is coming in rested after a few weeks off and gets a course where he has three finishes in the top six in the last four years he’s played this tournament. Other guys in the field have been pretty heavily priced-up based on a good track record on the course, but it appears Palmer was left off that list. We can get a good price on a guy that has a lot of proven success in this tournament.

 

Value Plays: Wyndham Clark (DK 7,100 / FD 8,700), Vaughn Taylor (DK 6,800 / FD 8,000) DJ Trahan (DK 6,700 / FD 8,000)

Clark: He has been really solid all year, and his price in this field seems really low compared to a lot of other golfers with decent form. In addition to some other stats I’ve already mentioned, guys that can putt well statistically compared to others on the PGA tour tend to do really well in this tournament. Clark has done just that this year. He ranks in the top 20 in stats like One Putt, Birdie Conversion, Shots Gained – Putting, and 3 Putt Avoidance. As long as he can keep on the same path putting, he should find himself in contention come Sunday.

Taylor: Like Clark, Vaughn also has found a lot of success putting this year, and is ranked in the top ten in Shots Gained – Putting, and is highly rated in many other putting stats as well. Not only is he a good putter, but he has also scored well overall, especially on Par 4’s. He finished 16th last year at this event, and anything close to that result should be considered a success at his price.

Trahan: D.J. hasn’t played all that much this year, nor has he played many events with strong fields, but he’s not getting one of those this week either. He has four top 20 finishes since October, and his other two events he played well in too. Even though the fields he’s played in are weak, he’s scoring like crazy and doing it with a good approach game. For how well he’s been playing, his price is just too low for this type of field. Like the other two guys I mentioned, you should be able to pair him and some of these other cheap guys up to load your lineups with more expensive golfers. Assuming the cheaper guys can make cuts and the expensive guys can contend, you’re looking at a lineup that can do some serious damage in whatever contests you are playing in.

Good Luck!

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