WATCH: PRICE CHECK – RBC HERTIAGE
The Cheat Sheet provides fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.
The curse is over, and no we are not talking baseball. Sergio Garcia finally broke through at a major championship and collected his first Masters title, first major championship and the Green Jacket for 2017. He bested Justin Rose in a playoff by making some incredible approaches on the final five holes and just generally outlasting his competitor who was every bit his equal on Sunday. We’ll have to wait a full year for the Masters to reappear in the DraftKings lobby, but the good news is that we only have nine weeks till the second major championship of the year — the U.S. Open — and also get a nice tournament to look forward to this week for fantasy with the RBC Heritage.
We lose a lot of the top players we saw last week unfortunately as many choose to take this week off after a taxing run-up to the year’s first major. However, some great international players are in attendance including Tyrell Hatton, Martin Kaymer and 2016 Masters Champion, Danny Willett. Matt Kuchar, Kevin Kisner and last year’s runner-up Russell Knox will also be in attendance making it a pretty intriguing but very wide-open event, with no overwhelming favorite. The field this week will be around 132 golfers meaning well over 50% of the players will make the cut after Friday (top 70 and ties). It will be a week where getting 6/6 through the cut line on DraftKings will be a little more accessible, and possibly crucial if some of those higher-owned options don’t falter.
Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, South Carolina
Par 71, 7,000-7,100 yards
Harbour Town Golf Links is one of the most idyllic settings the players visit all year and a fine follow up to Augusta National. The course was designed by Pete Dye and it’s quite unique, including some of the smallest greens on the PGA Tour and narrow fairways that make placement off the tee crucial. Missing on the wrong side of the green or fairway can mean bad things at Harbour Town, and the fact the course is set alongside the water means windy conditions can also rise up and make accuracy an even bigger issue this week.
As far as setup goes, Harbour Town contains a nice mix of challenging and scoreable holes. Two of the par 5s set up well under 550 yards in length and present extremely good birdie and eagle opportunities for the players (assuming their drives find the fairway). But there’s plenty of challenging holes to maneuver here as well. Although the par 3s all measure in at a range of just 175-200 yards, a mix of small greens, hazards and trees make them challenging holes. There’s plenty of long par 4s at Harbour Town as well and the 472-yard finishing hole, which is right by the ocean, makes for one of the toughest in golf if the wind is up.
Last year, in some poor conditions, Harbour Town played as the eighth toughest track on tour, with an average score of 72.28. The conditions this year look much better; however, and with wind providing less of a defense I’d expect the winning score to be closer to the -18 Jim Furyk and Kevin Kisner posted in 2015 than the -9 winning score Branden Grace posted when he won this event last season.
Last 5 winners
- 2016 — Branden Grace -9 (over Luke Donald and Russell Knox -7)
- 2015 — Jim Furyk -18 (over Kevin Kisner playoff)
- 2014 — Matt Kuchar -11 (over Luke Donald -10)
- 2013 — Graeme McDowell -9 (over Webb Simpson playoff)
- 2012 — Carl Pettersson -14 (over Zach Johnson -9)
- The last five winners have had an average tour rank of 34th in Scrambling (for the year of their respective victories at Hilton Head).
- Five of the last six winners of the RBC had recorded TWO top 5 (or better) finishes worldwide in the year of their victory, and before their win at Hilton Head.
- The last six winners had recorded at least a T7 or better on tour in the year of their victory, and before their respective win at Hilton Head.
Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
Par 3 Efficiency 175-200 yards
Both Kevin Kisner and Jim Furyk ranked 1st and 2nd in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green here for the week in 2015 and finished 1st and 2nd (Furyk beat Kisner in a playoff). In 2014 and 2016, eventual winners Branden Grace and Matt Kuchar ranked 2nd for the week in this same stat. Strokes Gained: Tee to Green is a great stat to consider this week as the top finishers in past years have all had great ball striking weeks here and ranked highly in this category.
Scrambling is also a huge stat of importance this week. The past three winners have ranked 11th-1st-2nd in scrambling for the week of their win at Habour Town. With small greens that can be easy to miss, a good short game will likely be important to a player’s fantasy fortune this week.
Finally, with all three of the Par 3s this week falling into the same range — 175-200 yards — looking at players with strong ranks in Par 3 Efficiency in the 175-200 yard range should also be considered. Players with good ranks in this category should have a better chance of handling the tricky par 3s well and avoiding a poor fantasy performance for your team.
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 comparative to their odds of winning this week.
|Billy Horschel||40-1||$7,600||Rafa Cabrera-Bello $7,800 and 66-1
Jason Kokrak $7,700 and 80-1
Wesley Bryan $7,700 and 66-1
|Kyle Stanley||70-1||$7,200||Brian Harman $7,300 and 100-1
Ian Poulter $7,300 and 100-1
Harris English $7,400 and 100-1
HORSES FOR COURSES
- Luke Donald shows up on our list again, and for good reason. In eight straight starts here he’s amassed six finishes of 5th or better and has ended up as runner-up here an incredible four times — and finished 3rd twice! He’s very in tune with this course even if his current form is lacking.
- Boo Weekly has a long and steady history at Harbour Town as well. He’s a two-time winner of this event and has made the cut in 10 straight appearances. Boo can be considered this week, but do note he hasn’t finished better than 39th at this event over the past four seasons.
- Matt Kuchar has played here 12 times since 2004 and never missed a cut. He won this event back in 2014 and has also finished fifth and ninth at Harbour Town the past two seasons. He’s coming off a huge week at the Masters where he finished T4 and should be a popular pick this week.
- Russell Knox has really taken to Habour Town. In his first three appearances here — over the past three seasons — Knox has finished 2nd-18th-9th. He’ll be a divisive figure this week, however, as his recent form is extremely poor, with three missed cuts in his last five starts.
Cash Games: With no overwhelming favorite in the event it’s probably an easy week to fade the top two players. As much as I like Russell Henley and Matt Kuchar, it’s hard to pay over $10K for them in any event, let alone one like this where we can find very comparable plays at cheaper prices. I’d much rather target the $8-9K range this week where players like Adam Hadwin ($8,800), Martin Kaymer ($9,500), Bill Haas ($9,100) and Kevin Kisner ($9,700) offer us great made-cut rates and plenty of upside on a course like the one we’re getting this week. Lower than that, I also wouldn’t hesitate to target Luke Donald, Jason Dufner, Luke List and Stewart Cink in 50/50s and Head-to-Head formats.
Tournaments: With the top two options being so expensive, we may also get lower ownership on them too in big GPPs, and beginning a lineup with Russell Henley ($10,700), who ranks 21st in Birdie or Better Percentage, isn’t a bad idea. Outside of him, Tyrell Hatton and Kevin Na are also high upside, possibly overlooked candidates given their missed cuts at Augusta. Na brings great course history, while Hatton is actually the highest-ranked player in the field in the World Golf Rankings. Other potential targets include Anirban Lahari (see below), Michael Thompson, Danny Lee and Morgan Hoffmann.
Top Recent Form
1. Adam Hadwin: With a win and a sixth place finish in two of his last three starts, Hadwin is playing great golf at the moment. He hasn’t missed a cut in eight starts in 2017 and is coming off a strong T36 finish at his first Masters.
2. Charley Hoffman: Hoffman slid down the leaderboard last Sunday to finish T22 at the Masters. Still, he’s now finished T23 or better in four of his last five events, a streak which includes two top-five finishes.
3. Martin Kaymer: Kaymer has not missed a cut in his last 28 starts worldwide. He’s coming off his best Masters finish (by far) as he finished T16 last week on the back of a final round 68.
Top Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (for year)
1. Rory McIlroy
2. Dustin Johnson
3. John Rahm
Top Strokes Gained: Putting (for year)
1. Tyrell Hatton
2. Michael Thompson
3. Marc Leishman
MY PICK: Martin Kaymer ($9,500)
Martin Kaymer hasn’t won since his victory at the U.S. Open in 2014, but he does have a great streak of 28 starts without a missed cut going and should generally be considered the class of a fairly weak field this week. While the lack of wins may be concerning, the fact that Kaymer has two of the biggest wins of his career on other classic Pete Dye venues — Whistling Straights and Sawgrass — gives you extra hope that this could be the venue where he breaks his current goose-egg. Tee to green, Kaymer has been just fine this year (27th on tour over 12 measured rounds), and the fact he’s coming off his best Masters finish ever (T16), by a wide margin, should give the German a huge boost of confidence. With Europeans having a great record at this event — they’ve won two of the past four years — Kaymer should be considered the class of this event and one of the top studs on DraftKings this week.
MY SLEEPER: Anirban Lahiri ($7,400)
Lahari is a player who has been extremely close to nabbing a win over the past six months. He has three finishes of 11th or better in his last four starts and been showing up more and more on leaderboards on the PGA this year. Lahari will be playing the Heritage for the second time in his career this week and had a decent first run at Hilton Head in 2015 finishing T44 on the back of a five under 66 in his final round. While he’s prone to some bad mistakes, Lahari’s also got some great DraftKings potential with his game as well as he ranks fourth in Birdie or Better Percentage on tour and is top 50 in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green as well. With a high birdie rate and some good finishes at other Pete Dye venues — T5 at Whistling Straights in 2015 — I’d look for Lahari to be a potentially big producer this week on DraftKings.
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 I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.