Ahoy! It’s another week — which means there’s more money to be won playing fantasy golf!
This week, the PGA Tour rolls into San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open.
In recent years, the Valero has seen its share of surprise winners — and this week’s edition could yield a similar champion.
The shoulder season between the first and second major of the year is always difficult to handicap. The cream of the crop, often times, decides to enjoy themselves at home for a couple weeks before gearing up for the U.S. Open, giving guys like Brendan Steele, Jimmy Walker, Ben Curtis, Eric Axley, Martin Laird and more of the like a chance at PGA Tour glory.
This week is no different. It’s not that the field is devoid of star power, because plenty of the Tour’s best are still teeing it up. It”s simply an event with a very deep field and lot of guys with something to prove.
Here’s a look at who will prove something this week — and those who won’t:
Ryan Moore — I’ve always been a fan of Ryan Moore in almost any fantasy format because he’s super consistent. He may not be in the hunt for a win each week, but every once in a while he finds a groove and gets into contention. Coming off a string of solid finishes, I like Moore to continue to heat up in the Texas sun.
Tony Finau –Big power, big upside. He hasn’t broken through for that win quite yet this year, but this could be the week. Finau’s game sets up well for this Greg Norman design and should be no problem with his distance off the tee. If he doesn’t win, he’s certainly going to show. I fully expect a top-10 or better from Fianu in Texas.
Luke List — Probably one of the most underrated fantasy players out there, Luke List is worth a start this week. List put together a stretch of five straight starts with a T-15 or better and, despite missing the cut last week at Harbour Town, has been one of the most consistent players on Tour all season. Albeit quietly, List has been a valuable fantasy asset in 2017 — and it’s high time you give him his due.
Matt Kuchar — Mr. Consistency, Matt Kuchar, gets another start from me this week because I’ve seen this movie before. Like a season of “True Detective,” the path to a Kuchar victory is a slow burn. In 2015, I bet on Kuchar for 5 weeks in a row. Each of those weeks, he notched a top-7 or better — but no wins. Finally, I got tired of losing my money and passed on him. He promptly won the the RBC Heritage that week, I honestly believe just to spite me. Having learned my lesson, it’s hard for me to ignore him coming off finishes of T-4 and 11th respectively.
Patrick Reed — This is one of those gut-feeling picks for me, as there isn’t really any current history to suggest Patrick Reed is about to collect his sixth win on the PGA Tour. That being said, I’m definitely starting him in all fantasy formats. He finished T-2 here last year and, despite the small sample size, his game seems to agree with the layout at TPC San Antonio. I’m willing to gamble on Reed and I think you should, too.
Curtis Luck — Fresh off a T-46 in the Masters as an amateur, Curtis Luck looks to test his against the best on the PGA Tour. The young Australian talent will more than likely take his lumps for a while at the highest level, but he has the game to compete now. Playing on a course designed by fellow countryman — Greg Norman — might make him a touch more comfortable than normal early in his professional career. If you need a nice sleeper pick that won’t cost you much in DFS formats, or you just want a bang for your buck-type bet, than Luck should get your attention this week.
Ian Poulter — Ian Poulter comes into the week needing a solo 36th place finish or better to retain his PGA Tour card. With that in mind, there’s no way he plays as aggressively as he has in the past. Early this week, I was keen to start him. However, in the last 36 hours, I’ve flip flopped and won’t be giving the Englishman the nod. I just don’t think he does much better than T-25 — and for that, I can do better elsewhere.
Jhonattan Vegas — A curious name that’s been thrown out to me by some friends is Jhonattan Vegas. I know a few sites have him listed a someone to watch, but I’m going to punt. He’s only made two cuts in four trips to the Valero and hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire from a performance standpoint as of late. Maybe he finds a spark this week — but it certainly won’t start a fire.
Chris Kirk — It’s quite incredible to think about all that happens in a short period of time on the PGA Tour. It seems (to me, anyway) like it was just yesterday that Chris Kirk was a formidable fantasy choice, week-in and week-out. Right now, however, there’s not much to be excited about. Kirk has missed four of his last five cuts and hasn’t busted 70 on Tour since Saturday at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Yikes.
Adam Hadwin — Adam Hadwin started off the year in fine form but has cooled as of late. While I’m reticent to call what he’s done lately a “slump,” Hadwin has had a lot more on his mind since collecting the first win of his career at the Valspar. I’m going to leave the talented Canadian on my bench this week — but if you feel inclined to start him, I’m not going to try and talk you out of it.
Luke Donald — Despite finishing runner-up at Harbour Town, former World No. 1 Luke Donald is definitely a poser this week. Looking at his history at the RBC and his recent history on Tour, it’s obvious that playing a familiar venue that fits his game well was just what he needed — I just don’t think that translates to success this week in San Antonio.
Billy Horschel — After missing the cut at the RBC Heritage, Horschel and his wife welcomed their second child. Congratulations to the 2x father, for sure — but those sleepless nights with a new born aren’t going to do too much for his form this week in Texas. I love Horschel. He’s one of my boys and you’ll certainly see me pick him in the future with little to no basis other than that I like the guy — but this is not one of those weeks.