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FanDuel PGA Lineup Advice: Houston Open (2020)

FanDuel PGA Lineup Advice: Houston Open (2020)
cameraFanDuel PGA Lineup Advice: Houston Open (2020)

A week from now we'll be getting ready for a tradition unlike any other, the Masters! But until then, there is some money to win on FanDuel so we might as well be the ones to win it as the PGA Tour makes a stop in Houston.

FanDuel has nine golfers priced at $11,000 or above for the Houston Open. FanDuel provides DFS players with a salary cap of $60,000 to select six golfers for an average roster spot of $10,000. The world's number one player, Dustin Johnson, is obviously the highest priced golfer at $12,200. He is also the only one in the 12K range. Brooks Koepka is the next highest-priced golfer at $11,800. Tyrrell Hatton ($11,700), Hideki Matsuyama ($11,600), and Tony Finau ($11,500) round out FanDuel's top-five highest priced golfers.

Remember to have a solid process week in and week out as opposed to getting bogged down by recency bias or the ups-and-downs of the weekly golf grind. Any golfer is capable of winning (e.g. Brian Gay winning after missing 12 of his last 14 cuts). Likewise, even the best golfers can miss the cut (e.g. two of the 3 highest priced golfers missing the cut last week). Whether you win or lose, golf is one of the most entertaining fantasy sports to follow because you get four days of action. Good luck and, most importantly, have fun!

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Tournament Notes

  • The Houston Open was established in 1946 though it has had various names and been played at different courses through the years.
  • Memorial Park Golf Course is one of the top municipal golf courses in the United States and will play host to a PGA Tour event for the first time since 1963. It is a Par 71 course that measures just over 7,400 yards.
  • This will be the first PGA event since the COVID-19 shutdown to allow spectators (2,000 per day).
  • This tournament was played the week before the Masters from 2007 through 2018. For the 2020 PGA Season, it was played in the Fall of 2019 during the Fall swing season (or wraparound season). Lanto Griffin won last year by one stroke over Scott Harrington and Mark Hubbard.
  • 132 golfers are scheduled to tee it up this week with the top-65 (and ties) making the cut and advancing to the weekend.
  • The greens are Bermuda and large (average 7,000 square feet).
  • The fairways are wider than Tour average and have very few bunkers, trees, or water hazards to get in the way. This should be more of a bomb-and-gouge type course.
  • There are five par 3s and four par 5s on the course.
  • Brooks Koepka was the player consultant on the recent Tom Doak renovation.

Course Fit & Key Statistics

Overall Statistics
My customized overall stat model measures all stats (driving, approach, short game, putting, etc...) from both a short-and-long-form standpoint. It should be noted that I consider putting but it is weighted lower than the other factors. The best golfers, in terms of stats, for my customized model this week (in ranked order) are Dustin Johnson, Russell Henley, Doc Redman, Tony Finau, Hideki Matsuyama, Viktor Hovland, Denny McCarthy, Cameron Davis, Tyrrell Hatton, and Emiliano Grillo.

Recent Form
The golfers that rate out the best in my customized recent form model (in ranked order) are Dustin Johnson, Russell Henley, Tony Finau, James Hahn, Sergio Garcia, Stewart Cink, Si Woo Kim, Adam Schenk, Matthew NeSmith, and Denny McCarthy. Viktor Hovland leads the field with 15 straight made cuts on the PGA Tour. Adam Schenk (11) and Brian Harman (10) are the only other golfers with double-digit cut streaks. Emiliano Grillo has the third most straight PGA cuts with nine. Russell Henley and Alex Noren each have eight straight made cuts. Dustin Johnson, James Hahn, and Russell Henley are the only golfers coming in this week with top-10 finishes in their two appearances prior to this week's tournament.

The fairways are bigger and without as much danger as some other tournaments. This should lead to the bombers having an advantage. They will be hitting shorter wedges into the greens. I will be valuing off-the-tee a little more than normal. The ten golfers who gained the most strokes off-the-tee last year (based on the 2020 PGA stats) are Jhonattan Vegas, Scottie Scheffler, Dustin Johnson, Corey Conners, Will Gordon, Sam Burns, Viktor Hovland, Sungjae Im, Keith Mitchell, and Luke List.

Official World Golf Ranking
All the statistics and course history are good to know but sports (in particular, DFS golf) oftentimes comes down to betting on talent and playing the best overall players. Sure, salary is involved but fitting as many of the world's best golfers in your lineups increases your chances for success. According to the OWGR, the best ten golfers in this field (in ranked order) are Dustin Johnson (No. 1), Tyrrell Hatton (No. 10), Brooks Koepka (No. 12), Adam Scott (No. 15), Tony Finau (No. 17), Hideki Matsuyama (No. 20), Sungjae Im (No. 23), Viktor Hovland (No. 24), Shane Lowry (No. 29), and Scottie Scheffler (No. 30).

Favorite $11,000+ Plays

Dustin Johnson ($12,200)
I am surprised that he is in this field, but he missed the ZOZO and CJ Cup because of Covid-19 so he's probably trying to shake off some rust. He is a guy that I would think could pick up where he left off. It is hard not to play him this week though he is extremely pricey. He has two wins and two runnerup finishes in his last five events. The one event he didn't hold down one of the top two spots - the U.S. Open - he finished T6. Unless you think he is going to withdraw or not be focused at all, try to find a way to fit the world's number one player in your lineup.

Russell Henley ($11,200)
He comes in with back-to-back top-five finishes at the no-cut events. That also gave him four top-10 finishes in his last six starts. He is one of the best ball-strikers in the world, but the question is whether he is going to putt well. He is inconsistent with the flat stick but has the ability to put it all together and have a good week on the greens. He has had great tournament history but remember that those results were at different courses. In the last 24 rounds played, he is second in total strokes gained and fifth in fantasy scoring.

Viktor Hovland ($11,100)
Since earning his first professional win at the Puerto Rico Open and then subsequently missing the cut in his next event at the Honda, he has rattled off 15 straight cuts.  He only has one top five during that stretch but has been consistent with seven top-20 finishes. He is a world-class ball-striker and one of the best off-the-tee. In longer term form, he ranks out eighth in total strokes gained and ninth in fantasy scoring in the last 50 rounds.

Favorite $10,000 Plays

Lanto Griffin ($10,500)
His T11 at the ZOZO and his T7 at the CJ Cup gives him tremendous momentum coming into this week's event. In addition to those great finishes, he has played the weekend in 10 of his last 12 starts, which includes seven top-25 finishes.  He is not long off the tee but is solid in every other aspect of the game.  In the last 36 rounds played, he is 20th in the field in total strokes gained. Remember that even though he is the defending champion, his victory came on a different course last year.

Doc Redman ($10,400)
He couldn't seal the deal this past week as he was the 54-hole leader. However, a T4 is nothing to be disappointed in. He is going to break through one of these days as he is close. He has top-four finishes in three of his last six events. We know he is one of the best ball-strikers in the world, but the only question is whether he can get his putter to cooperate in a given week.

Jordan Spieth ($10,000)
This is more of a feel play but there is also a little bit of logic to it. I will not be going over-board on him, but he will be a golfer that I play this week. He has been struggling for more than a year now with his off-the-tee game, but this course is not overly penal for those with inconsistent driving. He is still talented, and he is still a golfer that can score in bunches. This course has a number of similarities to Augusta and we know how well he plays the Masters. If he can make the cut, then he should score well for you even if he doesn't finish well. He is consistently outscoring his finishing position from a fantasy perspective. He started to look like the Spieth of old around the greens at the ZOZO and the CJ Cup. I am going to take my chances with the Texan in the Lone Star State.

Favorite $9,000 Plays

Cameron Davis ($9,800)
He is a big hitter off-the-tee, which should position him nicely to have a short wedge into most of these greens. He can then take advantage of his putting prowess. He comes in with a streak of seven straight cuts, including a T6 at Sanderson Farms. In the last 24 rounds, only Dustin Johnson has gained more fantasy points than Davis. He also ranks third in total strokes gained during that time.

James Hahn ($9,700)
We recommended him going into the Shriners after a T9 at the Safeway and T6 in the Dominican. He proceeded to finish T5. His tee-to-green game has been on fire during this stretch. His putting is inconsistent, but he has shown an ability to have strong weeks with the flat stick. During this stretch of top-10 finishes, he is first in the field in fantasy scoring and second in total strokes gained.

Wyndham Clark ($9,200)
These fairways are wider than normal, so a big hitter like Clark might be able to take advantage of them. If he can outdrive most players and set himself up for a solid approach shot, he'll have lots of scoring opportunities because of his superior flat stick. He can really roll the ball. We saw this last week when he lost in a playoff to Brian Gay. He had finished T13 in his previous event at the Shriners. I've always been a fan of his talent and I like how he is trending. I really like the 9K range this week and could have written a whole article on just this range and also plan on playing Brian Harman ($9,900), Harold Varner ($9,800), Denny McCarthy ($9,600), Lee Westwood ($9,500), Stewart Cink ($9,400), Sam Burns ($9,300), and Dylan Frittelli ($9,100).

Favorite $8,000 Plays

Kristoffer Ventura ($8,800)
I know he has missed two straight cuts, but I am willing to go back to him again. He hits it a long way and is a great putter. Prior to his recent missed cuts, he has made 10/11 cuts combined on the PGA and Korn Ferry Tours. This included four top-10 finishes and seven top-20 finishes. Two of those top-10 finishes were this PGA season at the Safeway and Sanderson Farms. In the last 36 rounds played, he ranks fourth in fantasy scoring and eighth in total strokes gained. He has shown a great deal of potential, his price is reasonable, and he should have lower ownership based on his recent missed cuts. I like him as a value play this week.

Adam Schenk ($8,700)
Only Viktor Hovland has made more consecutive PGA cuts in this field than the 11 Schenk has made. His upside doesn't appear to be there since his T12 at the Barracuda is his only top-25 finish during this streak. However, made cuts are good and that is what he is providing us recently. He was T26 last week at the Bermuda with up-and-down rounds. He is a player that can make a lot of birdies and go low in a round each week. I also like Phil Mickelson ($8,900), Henrik Norlander ($8,500), Maverick McNealy ($8,500), Max Homa ($8,100), and Jhonattan Vegas ($8,000) in the 8K range.

Favorite $7,000 Plays

Padraig Harrington ($7,900)
He just finished T26 at the Bermuda last week, which gives me some hope that his two top-15 finishes on the European Tour in the last month were not fluke performances. It looks like he has started to find something in his game again. In my MME builds, I may also play Brice Garnett ($7,900), Will Gordon ($7,700), Andrew Putnam ($7,500), and Keith Mitchell ($7,500).

View free betting picks for the Houston Open at BettingPros partner-arrow

Whether you're new to daily fantasy golf or a seasoned professional, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Golf Glossary. You can get started with The Stats That Matter Most or head to more advanced strategy - like How To Use Vegas Odds To Generate Your Lineup  - to learn more.

Jamy Bechler is a regular contributor to FantasyPros for NBA, NFL, and PGA. You can send him questions and follow him on his DFS twitter @WinningDFS101. When he is not playing DFS, Jamy is an author, host of the "Success is a Choice" podcast, and a leadership consultant, working with businesses and teams across the country (including the NBA). Even though he offers his advice on players and contests, after additional information and consideration, he may end up using different players and strategies than what he recommended in this article.

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