Find Value With These Valero Texas Open DFS Picks and Targets

·7 min read
 Rickie Fowler’s Caddie
Rickie Fowler’s Caddie

After watching Scottie Scheffler and Rory McIlroy both lose in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Semi-Finals, Sam Burns logged his fifth career win with a dominant 6 & 5 effort over Cameron Young to bolster his PGA Tour resumé. Match Play events are a nice change of pace since the scoring system abandons the traditional stroke play format. Still, we’ll return to this default scoring during the 2023 Valero Texas Open.

Heading south of Austin Country Club, players will relocate to play four rounds at the TPC San Antonio Oaks Course, initially designed by Greg Norman and Sergio Garcia in 2010. The undulations in the fairways and greens will no longer be a factor like they were at Austin CC. However, large sand bunkers flank the Bermudagrass fairways, rough and greens. Sand save percentage will be more important than normal at Valero, while ball-striking remains a premium off-the-tee and tee-to-green. The rough is cut to just over two inches, but the Texas tall grasses and vegetation can grow up to half a foot in length, creating difficult lies for errant tee shots and approach shots alike. There aren’t many water hazards for players to avoid, but the fairways remain fairly narrow, and thick rows of Oak trees will obscure the hole location and also create difficult conditions to recover from errant lies in the tree line.

The field at Valero is led by 31-year-old Englishman Tyrrell Hatton, who currently has 12/1 odds to be the outright winner at TPC San Antonio. Other notable names in this field of 144 include Rickie Fowler, Si Woo Kim, 2019 Valero winner Corey Conners, and Hideki Matsuyama. These players round out the top six in terms of outright betting favorites, and their DFS salaries reflect these odds accordingly. Fortunately, we’ve seen many players earn their first career win at Valero, just like Conners did back in 2019, so there is a lot of value to acquire when digging deep into the lower salary brackets on this DFS slate.

I’ve identified six of my favorite prospects who can help us cash our DraftKings and FanDuel lineups once Sunday’s final round concludes. Let’s find out why each player should be prioritized in DFS lineups ahead of Thursday’s opening tee times.

DraftKings - $50,000 Maximum Salary (6 players)

Rickie Fowler ($10.2K)

Rickie Fowler is one of the crowd favorites on the PGA Tour, but he has returned to form in 2023, giving us some serious production on the links. The 34-year-old American has logged finishes of T11, T10, T20, T31, T13, and T17 since late January in loaded fields. Now that the field of 144 is lighter than we’ve seen in recent events, it feels like Fowler has all of the momentum and talent to cash out our DFS lineups.

Fowler hasn’t fallen below 66.5 DK FPPG during this stretch, and he’s performed fairly well at Valero in previous appearances, logging finishes of T17 in 2019 and 2021 before missing the cut in 2022. He’s ranked first in putting from 20-25 feet, consecutive par 3 birdies, and third in par 3 scoring, which fits the bill for how Valero is constructed. Fowler is a solid blue-chip prospect to invest in and build around on DraftKings.

Matt Kuchar ($9.2K)

44-year-old veteran Matt Kuchar had a great showing at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play last weekend, but his recent form in stroke play scoring has not been good. So why recommend Kuchar? He nearly pulled off the outright win at Valero last year, going 11-under-par and losing by two strokes to J.J. Spaun.

Kuchar has logged previous finishes of T2, T12, and T7 at TPC San Antonio, so he’s consistently solid at this course. Plus, no one on the PGA Tour has a better sand save percentage or scrambling record than Kuchar, who also ranks second in consecutive fairways hit. This is a great skill set at a course like Valero, where sand abounds, and the small greens and narrow fairways punish bad iron play. Kuchar should be treated as a high-value play on DraftKings despite possessing the ninth-highest salary.

Nick Taylor ($7.6K)

Will another Canadian climb the podium and collect the winning purse at Valero this weekend? Corey Conners logged his first and only outright win representing Canada back in 2019, setting the TPC San Antonio Oaks course record with an impressive -20-under-par outing. Nick Taylor will look to add his third career outright win at Valero, where he’s stumbled in the past couple of years, missing the cut in 2022 and finishing T59 in 2021.

Taylor has been a volatile player from a production standpoint,  but he has 12-22 birdies in three of his past five events played. This is the currency we like to chase when setting DFS lineups. He missed the cut in consecutive events during the Florida leg, but a fresh start in Texas could be just what the 34-year-old Taylor needs to get back into a rhythm. If he can avoid struggling with strokes gained off-the-tee, as it’s his only bad strokes gained metric, then expect Taylor to yield at least 60 or more DK points to keep your lineup in a good position to cash out once Sunday evening arrives.

FanDuel - $60,000 Maximum Salary (6 players)

Si Woo Kim ($11.6K)

One of the most successful players with experience at Valero in recent years has been Si Woo Kim. The 27-year-old native of South Korea also logged his fourth outright win earlier in January at the Sony Open, displaying great ball-striking ability and not shying away from making some big putts. Kim has recorded previous finishes of T13, T23, and T4 at Valero, so expect him to be on a mission after hovering around T25 finishes or lower in six consecutive events following his win in Hawaii.

We don’t need Kim to win, although that would be spectacular. All we need him to do is finish inside the top 15, which he’s done in two of three previous appearances at the Oaks course. Equipped with an accurate driver, sharp irons, and ranked 24th in scrambling, Kim is a blue-chip prospect worth paying up for to insert into FanDuel lineups.

Brendon Todd ($10.1K)

Brendon Todd isn’t generating a lot of buzz but he’s a value play at Valero this week. The 37-year-old American logged a previous finish of T8 here in 2022, and he’s been sharp with his ball-striking ability in 2023. Todd has bounced around with numerous finishes outside of the T25, but he nearly won Pebble Beach outright with a T2 finish, which happened to be in a lighter field. If we can get 70-90 FD points in our lineups from Todd throughout the four rounds, which is very realistic considering his form at TPC San Antonio last year, it’ll be enough to keep our lineups safe in the green.

He tends to start and finish strong, so if the points become scarce on Friday and Saturday, don’t panic. It just means Todd is saving his best for last, which could push us into a great position in FanDuel contests based on ranking 27th in strokes gained putting and 12th in strokes gained around the green. He is worth the investment despite coming in at just over a $10,000 salary on FanDuel.

Charley Hoffman ($8.5K)

Charley Hoffman has been struggling mightily, but he did win outright at Valero in 2016. The 46-year-old American has missed the cut in four consecutive events, but his ceiling and upside are worth the risk. Hoffman is ranked second in hit green percentage at 45.2 percent, ranks first in putting from three feet, and also finds himself in the top ten for approach shots between 225-250 yards and consecutive fairways hit. The putter is Hoffman’s biggest liability, but if he can continue hitting greens in regulation and positioning himself for birdies, we’ll tap into the 60-80 FD point range, making Hoffman a huge value to acquire in FanDuel lineups this weekend. Sometimes, you’ve got to risk it for the biscuit, so consider Hoffman a high-risk, high-reward recommendation.