Welcome back to Golf News Net’s weekly fantasy golf rankings. Each week of the PGA Tour season, we’ll present our top fantasy golf picks for that week’s tournament and give fantasy golf and betting tips for DraftKings’ and FanDuel’s one-week fantasy leagues, daily fantasy golf lineups, Yahoo fantasy golf, Golf Channel fantasy golf and PGA Tour fantasy golf leagues.
The PGA Tour heads into Houston — well, the Houston area — for the Shell Houston Open. This is the final chance a player has to get into the Masters, while Golf Club of Houston is set up as an Augusta National look-a-like in preparation for the year’s first major. This is a must-play for the guys who like playing their way into a major championship, like Dustin Johnson.
For those new to our weekly picks, we offer our top 10 players for free. GNN Plus members get additional analysis and research otherwise hidden to the general public, and that’s in addition to access to a searchable database of PGA Tour results from 2011-present, top-15 PGA Tour trends and season-long DraftKings salary trends.
2017 Shell Houston Open rankings: Top 10 picks
1. Jordan Spieth – Spieth came out flat in his first match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, and that was that, basically. However, he didn’t play that poorly and his form is generally good. Has contended here previously.
2. Phil Mickelson – Mickelson has said he doesn’t really try to win this event. That’s fine, though, as he is a routine top-15 finisher here. He’s a good fantasy team addition if you’re not limited on starts. Otherwise, wait ’til next week.
3. Jon Rahm – Rahm played a lot of golf last week, just like Dustin Johnson. If Rahm remains in the field, his power should help him maneuver around Golf Club of Houston without much issue.
4. Henrik Stenson – He’s either in the top 10 or he misses the cut right now, which is pretty fascinating. Enough screwing around, he’s ready to win another major or not, and we’ll know this week.
5. Justin Rose – Rose is a tough flower to pick each week. Yes, he makes money. However, his pattern this year is a great start followed by an OK one. He’s on the OK part of the cycle this week.
6. Rickie Fowler – The Rickster is playing great golf. He could well surprise some people this week and next, which is saying a lot given his talent.
7. Charles Howell III – Howell just keeps making money, and that’s something you need on a fantasy team. Top-10 finish in three of the last four years.
8. J.B. Holmes – Holmes has cashed in every event this season, and he had a nice finish at the WGC-Mexico. He’s a horse-for-course pick this week.
9. Russell Henley – Henley loves this tournament, and he’s a total horse-for-course pick here. A top-seven machine.
10. Billy Horschel – Horschel is starting to build back toward a win, though this isn’t his favorite tournament.
My DraftKings lineup for this week:
AWAITING DRAFTKINGS PRICING
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GNN Plus Research and Analysis
Recent PGA Tour Trends
We start by looking at the recent past, back at players who have finished inside the top 15 in the last five PGA Tour events.
- Billy Horschel – 2- T-4 The Honda Classic, T-13 Arnold Palmer Invitational
- Jason Dufner – 2 – T-14 The Honda Classic, T-11 Valspar Championship
- J.T. Poston – 2 – T-14 Valspar Championship, T-10 Puerto Rico Open
- Nick Watney – 2 – T-14 The Honda Classic, T-14 Valspar Championship
- Rickie Fowler – 2 – WIN The Honda Classic, T-12 Arnold Palmer Invitational
Event Finish History
We’re also interested in the players in the field that have finished in the top 15 at Shell Houston Open multiple times in the last five years (which isn’t really a good thing):
- Cameron Tringale – 3
- Charles Howell III – 3
- Dustin Johnson – 2
- Henrik Stenson – 2
- Hunter Mahan – 2
- J.B. Holmes – 3
- Jim Herman – 2
- Johnson Wagner – 2
- Jordan Spieth – 2
- Keegan Bradley – 3
- Kyle Reifers – 2
- Matt Kuchar – 2
- Phil Mickelson – 4
- Rickie Fowler – 2
- Russell Henley – 3
DraftKings salaries change from week to week, depending on field strength and size, as well a player’s recent record and their history on a course. It’s in looking at how a salary changes over time that we might get some clues as to players that could be a little overrated or underrated.
Here’s the list of players in the field playing $750 over their 2016-17 average salary:
- Hudson Swafford
- Andy Sullivan
- Bob Estes
- Mark Hubbard
- Lee Westwood
- Jon Rahm
- Charley Hoffman
- Nick Watney
- J.B. Holmes
- Patrick Cantlay
Here are the players playing this week with multiple top-15 finishes in the last five PGA Tour events that re playing BELOW their average salary from the 2016-17 season:
- Billy Horschel
- Jason Dufner
- J.T. Poston
- Rickie Fowler
Success at Golf Club of Houston
Golf Club of Houston is set up, as you well know, like Augusta National. Shaved banks, fast greens, lots of green. We’re typically looking in the 13 or 14 under par range as a great score and one that might hold up for a win. There’s plenty of water on this course, significantly more in play than at the Masters. Hitting the ball right to left is an asset here, just as it is at Augusta National. That said, it doesn’t preclude a player like Matt Kuchar from doing well. This is more of a tee shot golf course, in my view, than Augusta, which is a second-shot course where holes funnel to the more difficult shots.