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DraftKings DFS Fantasy Golf Cheat Sheet: 2023 PGA TOUR Valero Texas Open Picks

Geoff Ulrich gets you set for the Valero Texas Open with winning trends and his picks for your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups.

The Cheat Sheet provides DraftKings fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $800K Pitch + Putt [$200K to 1st]

The Field

This week we return to regular stroke play action. There are 144 players in the field in what is officially the last tournament on the PGA TOUR schedule before Augusta. It’s safe to say the top players will be heavily focused on getting their games fine-tuned for The Masters. As for who’s in the field this week, we have Tyrrell Hatton at the top of the betting odds (+1200 DK Sportsbook), followed by Rickie Fowler (+1600) and 2019 Valero Champion Corey Conners (+1800). In terms of names to watch, both Hideki Matsuyama (neck) and Hatton (hand) dealt with injury issues last week in Austin. Matsuyama’s injury was bad enough to cause an early withdrawal, so watching the news on him this week will be important.

The rest of the field will be searching for FedEx Cup points or a breakthrough win that could book them a ticket to the first major of 2023. Some players in the field this week who need a win just to make it to Augusta include Davis Riley, Matt Kuchar, and last week’s winner in Punta Cana, Matt Wallace. The cut will take place after Friday, as per usual, with the top 65 players and ties making the weekend.

The Course

TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course)

Par 72, 7,435 yards

TPC San Antonio is a long par 72 that plays over 7,400 yards but is often ranked as one of the tougher par 72s on TOUR. The conditions can also be extremely volatile, thanks to the Texas wind. When the wind has stayed down, we’ve seen record scoring, with Corey Conners hitting 20-under par here in 2019. Despite the great week by Conners, it should be noted that the course still played as the 12th-toughest venue on TOUR in 2019.

Last season, birdies were again tough to come by as JJ Spaun ended up winning by multiple strokes at just 13-under par. Spaun gained multiple strokes on approach and off the tee but relied more on his around-the-green game than several recent winners — a full breakdown of his performance can be found below this section.

TPC San Antonio was designed by Greg Norman and has been the host of this event since 2010. The course sets up longer than average (for the PGA TOUR) at 7,494 yards and features a mix of tree-lined fairways and some open, almost links-style driving areas where the Texas brush comes into play. There are four par 5s, but three of them come in right around 600 yards, and none of them guarantee a great shot at birdie. Fairways are narrow, and driving accuracy stats are always well below the TOUR average. However, going a bit offline generally won’t crush a golfer since the course plays wide open in many spots, too, and has almost no water on it.

It should be noted that two of the past four winners ranked 66th (Andrew Landry in 2018) and 78th (Spieth in 2021) in driving accuracy for the week of their win.

The overseeded greens here are known to be tough, too — players have to navigate lots of sharp falloffs and contours — and that also makes them a good warm-up for Augusta. Greens in Regulation percentages tend to trend around 5 to 10% lower than the average TOUR stop. This plays into the hands of the best ball-strikers in the game — Conners led the field in GIR stats here in 2019, and Spieth gained +7.4 strokes on Approach for the week in 2021.

Scrambling tends to be more of a neutral stat as top finishers gain the most through ball striking and timely putting. Getting hot from the 5-15 foot range with the putter at Valero has been a hallmark of past winners.

The course features four par 3s — two of which all come in well over 200 yards in length — and an additional five par 4s that will measure over 440 yards each, so good long iron play is essential, too. Targeting the players on the uptick in long iron play and putting is where your focus should be in the stat department.

2023 Outlook: The weather looks fit to make the first two days interesting for DFS purposes. Wind over the first two days is set to build, with Friday having gusts that could venture into the 25-30 mph range in the a.m. With the wind also building in severity Thursday afternoon, there could be a clear shift towards players in the Thursday a.m. / Friday p.m. wave if the current forecast holds steady. There is also some small chance of rain and thunderstorms hitting Friday a.m., and that could produce delays. The weekend forecast looks much more tenable, with winds in the 7-12 mph range and little chance for storms. The first two days will be interesting and need to be watched, as we could have one of the more severe wave splits of the season if the current forecast holds.

Last 5 winners

2022—JJ Spaun -13 (over Matt Jones and Matt Kuchar -11)

2021—Jordan Spieth -18 (over Charley Hoffman -16)

2019—Corey Conners -20 (over Charley Hoffman -18)

2018—Andrew Landry -17 (over Trey Mullinex -15)

2017—Kevin Chappell -12 (over Brooks Koepka -11)

Winning Trends

- Of the past 11 Valero Texas Open winners, only five had recorded a top 10 or better in a PGA TOUR event in the same year before their win.

- Each of the past eight winners had played this event at least once prior and made the cut at TPC San Antonio in at least one of those past visits.

- Six of the past 11 winners of the Valero Texas Open were first-time winners on TOUR, and four of the past five winners were first-timers.

Winners Stats and Course Overview

2022 Winner: JJ Spaun (13-under par)

2022 lead-in form (T27-MC-T52)

SG: OTT—+2.6

SG: APP—+2.8

SG: TTG—+8.8

SG: ATG—+3.3

SG: PUTT—+3.0

  • Prior to JJ Spaun, the past four winners had gained +12.9, +13.3, +12.5 and +14.4 strokes Tee to Green for the week of play.
  • This course is about gaining on approach with longer to mid irons and being as consistent as possible off the tee and around the greens. Spaun gained 5.4 strokes ball-striking last season, but the four winners prior to him gained well in excess of 7.0 strikes in that combined stat (APP + OTT).
  • Since 2011, when the course moved to TPC San Antonio, the worst a winner has finished for the week in terms of Strokes Gained: Tee to Green is 11th — that was a quite unlikely winner in Ben Curtis in 2012.
  • In terms of lead-up form, Conners came in with zero recent form in 2019, although he had been striking the ball well in his recent starts. Spaun was much of the same as he was gaining strokes with his irons consistently but hadn’t produced any high finishes. Both Jordan Spieth (2021) and Kevin Chappell (2017) had posted recent top-10 finishes.
  • One last note: While this course tends to play a bit long, driving distance has become less of a factor in recent years, with both Landry and Conners ranking outside the top 50 in Driving Distance in the years of their win on TOUR.

Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)

Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them. This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value compared to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.

Cam Davis +4000 and $8,300


Nicolai Hojgaard +3500 and $8,000


All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.


1. Charley Hoffman ($7,100; best finishes: win-2016, second-2011, 2019, 2021): Hoffman has a sterling record at the Valero Texas Open. Since the event moved to TPC San Antonio, he has had nine finishes of 13th or better, including three runner-ups and a win in 2016. He comes into the 2023 version with terrible form, having missed the cut in four straight events.

2. Corey Conners ($10,100; best finishes: win-2019, T12-2021): Conners won this event as a qualifier in 2019 and ranks first in this field in strokes gained total at the event since 2016. He finished T35 last year and has gained over +6.0 strokes ball-striking at this venue in each of the past three years.

3. Chris Kirk ($9,300; best finishes: T6-2021, T8-2018): Kirk has a couple of missed cuts at Valero on his record, but he’s also posted a handful of top finishes. The four-time PGA TOUR winner has three top 10 finishes at TPC San Antonio in his last seven visits to the course and gained +6.0 strokes putting at this venue in 2021.

4. Matt Kuchar ($9,200; best finishes: T2-2022, T7-2019): Despite this being a longer course, Kuchar has found plenty of success at TPC San Antonio. He’s made the cut five straight years now and posted T12 or better finishes at this event in each of the last three seasons.

5. Ryan Palmer ($7,000; best finishes: fourth-2016, sixth-2015): Palmer has made 10 of 13 cuts at this event since 2009 and finished T6 or better at this event between 2015-2017. The veteran suits this longer par 72 quite well and has gained +7.0 or more strokes TTG here in four of his past 10 starts.

Recent Form

1. Matt Wallace ($8,500; win-T7): Wallace grabbed his first PGA win last week in Punta Cana. The Englishman was once a top 50 player in the world and has refound his game just before major season. He’ll go for back-to-back wins in Texas.

2. Tyrrell Hatton ($10.900; T2-T4): Hatton may have dealt with some adversity last week at the match play relating to a potential hand injury but has been in great form all season. Assuming he’s good to play, he’s the class of the field and has two top-five finishes in his last two stroke play starts.

3. David Lingmerth ($7,100; T27-T6): Lingmerth has now made five cuts in a row and should be considered a serious threat at this point in these weaker field events. He’s gained over 3.0 strokes on approach in three of his last four starts.

4. Ben Martin ($7,100; T8-T45): Martin has been able to turn back the clock in 2022-23 and comes into this week off a T8 finish in Punta Cana. He ranks fourth in strokes gained total stats over the last six weeks of play.

5. Michael Kim ($6,500; T26-T45): The year is 2023, and we’re talking about Michael Kim being a solid DFS play? Crazy talk, but he’s now made five of six cuts and is showing good upside with his irons and putter.


Cash Games: Kuchar and Wallace solid upper tier targets

Matt Wallace ($8,500) may have won last week, but he’s still not qualified for the Masters, and that should keep him level and motivated to have another run this week in Texas. He’s playing great golf and will be going up against a similar field to the one he beat last week. Matt Kuchar ($9,200) is another veteran who lacks an invite to Augusta and is playing well off a week at the Match Play, where he won his pod as the lowest seed. Kuchar has a great record at TPC San Antonio, and his affordable salary makes him a solid pairing with the cheaper Wallace. Other potential values for this format include Thomas Detry ($8,400), Will Gordon ($7,200), and Ben Martin ($7,100).

Tournaments: Fox’s upside worth a look in GPPs

Many people likely won’t realize, but Ryan Fox ($9,000) is one of the highest ranked players in the field this week. The New Zealander hits the ball a mile and should be helped by the longer setup, which has rewarded solid ball-strikers in the past. He comes in off T14 and T27 finishes from the Florida swing and certainly is a player who is capable of getting over on a weaker field like the one we’re getting this week. For DFS purposes, his upside makes him a great target in GPPs, where his lack of name recognition will likely keep him lower-owned. Cameron Davis ($8,300) and Taylor Pendrith ($7,700) are two other solid ball-strikers who simply have too much talent to ignore in this field. Other potential GPP targets this week include Garrick Higgo ($7,300), Austin Eckrout ($7,100), Akshay Bhatia ($7,000), and Matthew NeSmith ($6,800).

MY PICK: Davis Riley ($9,500)

With a weaker field in play and a tough course that emphasizes good long irons and tee-to-green play, it wouldn’t be shocking at all to see the talented Davis Riley rise up and grab his first PGA win. The American’s polished all-around game has finally started to shine through again after a slow start to 2022-23. His performance at Bay Hill saw him vault up the leaderboard in Ferrai-like fashion on Sunday — when the entire leaderboard was going backward — to grab a share of 8th. He then backed that finish up at the Valspar with a solid all-round effort that saw him land in T19 for the week.

Riley’s resurgence has been led by consistency off the tee, which was lacking over the fall. He’s gained 2.0 strokes or more OTT in three of his last four starts, and the avoidance of trouble from the tee box seems to have taken the stress off the rest of his game. Since increasing his off-the-tee efficiency, he’s gained over 4.0 strokes putting twice and remains one of the best long iron players in the field, ranking out first in proximity from >200 yards over the last 50 rounds. A near-winner in Texas last season at Colonial, Riley is a solid outright target on DraftKings Sportsbook at +2800 and a core player to build around at $9,500 in DFS.

MY SLEEPER: Erik van Rooyen ($7,200)

It’s amazing what a week can do to the sentiment of a golfer. Van Rooyen was a public favorite at the Corales event last week, going off around the +3500 to +3000 mark for outright betting. A slow weekend dropped him to T56, and now he’s also seen his DFS price plummet back into the low 7k range and betting odds inflate higher than eggs at your local supermarket. Considering the field this week only has a few players added at the top, the move seems unwarranted.

Two starts ago, van Rooyen tore up Copperhead, gaining over 7.5 strokes ball-striking, and grabbed a share 10th. He’ll be making his second trip to TPC San Antonio after a 2021 start saw him finish T14 — despite losing strokes putting for the week. There is little doubt his success this week will be dependant on him finding some kind of rhythm on these greens, but van Rooyen is also a proven winner on the European and PGA TOUR who seems to be finding his form in 2023. He’s an excellent upside value for DFS at this range and a solid outright pick in this wide-open field at +11000 on the DraftKings Sportsbook.

Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: PGA TOUR $800K Pitch + Putt [$200K to 1st]

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.