PGA DFS RBC Heritage Preview

If you need PGA DFS to remedy your unbelievable Masters GOT hangover, I post DK targets each week on Fake Pigskin. My goal every week is to offer targets in each price range, identifying two to three low-cost/reasonable floor targets as core pieces for all my lineups.

In DFS golf, it’s all about getting your guys to the weekend, first and foremost. The way DK prices their fields out, I almost never will play anyone 10k or above. With something as random as golf performances week to week, they simply do not justify the investment in my mind.

Generally, I will fill out my roster with guys in the $7,100-$9,000 range. The factors I consider are event history, course layout versus player strengths, recent form, and prime bounce back candidates who are playing well, but happened to miss the cut the prior week.

One factor does not necessarily outweigh another. And, like any good speculative decision-making process, instincts always play a role. Of course there’s my personal favorite factor–as is the same with other fringe DFS sports–the DK pricing model has no clue what the fuck it is doing!

Last season, I consistently laid out the theory that rostering players five figures and above just was not worth it week to week. Scroll toward the end on my results page to see how I used the Masters results as evidence to support this. The point is, golf performances week to week are very erratic. Generally, I would suggest the good ole diversification strategy.

Going a step further, unlike most other DFS games that have positions, golf is just picking six guys that are doing the same exact thing in a given week. That said, probably more than any other DFS sport I’ve played, leaving 1-2k on the table is perfectly fine. Do not feel like you HAVE to spend your entire cap.

Throughout this season I will post more thorough analyses of why both approaches make DFS golf a bit different from football, hoops, and baseball. And how ridiculously futile it makes it when trying to win. All that in mind, let’s take a look at the RBC Heritage (RBCH) information to clarify some unique characteristics that you may want to consider before lineups lock.

Event Information

Course: Harbour Town Golf Links  Hilton Head, SC  Par 71  Yardage 7,100

Screw your green jacket! This week’s winner is presented with this ridiculous plaid one to go along with a statue in the likeness of Sir William Innes. According to google, he was the captain of the Society of Golfers at Blackheath, England in 1778.

He’s somewhat credited for bringing the game to the area so the locals really ham it up during this tournament. They even have this ass clown rolling around the course all weekend dressed up as the Sir Willie mascot. Basically, he’s Hilton Head’s version of the Master’s Bulter Cabin interview.

Anyway, the RBCH has been an official tour event since 1969, and been the annual golf follow-up to the Masters since 1983. Hilton Head’s Harbour Town GL (HTGL) has played host every time.

Here are the past winners and their scores from the last five years.

2018 Satoshi Kodaira -12
2017 Wesley Bryan -13
2016 Branden Grace -9
2015 Jim Furyk -18
2014 Matt Kuchar -11


Keys to Success

Unlike Augusta’s bomber friendly layout last week, HTGL will be much more about accuracy off the tee as opposed to distance. If you watched the Masters, you probably witnessed numerous times where guys went into the pine straw, tree riddled areas way off the fairway, but still had reasonable lies to scramble for pars.

That will not be the case this week. Here, the course is designed to heavily penalize errant tee shots, forcing players to play to the confines of the course layout.

The biggest factor will be course management. You will likely see guys like Dustin Johnson leaving the driver in his bag for longer driving irons and hybrids off the tee that are easier to control.

Another key for positive results at the RBCH will be performance on approach shots. The greens here are notoriously small, and typically have favorable landing areas that are premium for scoring opportunities. Players that have ranked high this year in strokes gained: tee-to-green, strokes gained approach, and GIR percentages should all be strongly considered as targets.

Because of the smaller greens, a stat also to be considered should be proximity to the hole on approach shots. Since this is a par 71 with 11 total par 4s, I also like to look at par 4 scoring. But that could be applied to just about any tournament. To clarify, my top five stats to weigh this week in order are:

  1. SG: Tee-to-green
  2. SG: Approach-the-green
  3. Proximity to the hole on approach
  4. GIR
  5. Par 4 scoring

To help sift through the field regarding just the key stats I put the table below together using all data from the official PGA Tour website. It is listed in order of each players’ composite ranking of all five key stats for this week.

It’s a quick way to view players from a strictly statistical view, regardless of price point. For example, based on his composite rank, Corey Conners looks like the most mispriced player this week.

NameSalarySG: T-GSG: ApproachProximity to holeGIRP4 ScoringComposite Rank
Jim Furyk94001910612754
Matt Kuchar100001171812158
Corey Conners730078244162
Lucas Glover780013192210468
Jason Kokrak880012460297112
Patrick Cantlay9700102464301129
Ryan Palmer700077342367147
Marc Leishman80003720233834152
Chez Reavie68006823132334161
Russell Knox7700301444970167
Dustin Johnson11600511138227183
Webb Simpson9300282171587185
D.J. Trahan63002144841521185
Sungjae Im84002037713931198
Abraham Ancer7600457920657216
Ryan Moore81002922276186225
Xander Schauffele109001514173197228
Emiliano Grillo740031125516129243
Chesson Hadley7100821839954256
Kevin Kisner91006440576731259
Luke List770017431144570289
Scott Piercy670075122601821296
Harold Varner III63005181904834304
Charles Howell III8700339017533304
Byeong Hun An82002251865734304
Ian Poulter8600351001211041307
Jonathan Byrd68001106751831312
Tommy Fleetwood92006381755641316
Michael Thompson650065524210070329
Adam Schenk71007039987854339
Scott Stallings68006126907686339
Keith Mitchell730022461604470342
Russell Henley73007498428854356
Ryan Armour660099125118041356
Danny Lee7100110615532104362
Troy Merritt620081142393770369
Cameron Smith790060369015034370
Danny Willett660066164851196377
Si Woo Kim900046751331217382
Brian Stuard670086663316341389
Kevin Streelman720054114647986397
Davis Love III6100106271253204402
Bryson DeChambeau10400337413111054402
Trey Mullinax7100597311458104408
Sam Ryder6700906812410841431
Rafa Cabrera Bello7600587713814121435
Joel Dahmen690083104948286449
Adam Long60001005618113162449
Andrew Putnam72001581081242641457
Charley Hoffman7800736042115172462
Ernie Els63001031451147034466
J.J. Spaun7000127781972841471
Zach Johnson7500493557171162474
Vaughn Taylor64001461021016954481
Bud Cauley73005771109143104484
Chris Kirk68007255109102146484
Cameron Champ6500123119165970486
Graeme McDowell75001311231308621491
Scott Brown6200911431099554492
Nick Watney68001241314860146509
Whee Kim6600196728115129520
Nick Taylor690010712012712154529
Tom Hoge62001374551153146532
Andrew Landry69001291175785146534
Jason Dufner65001411822324172542
J.T. Poston680010810313814754550
Adam Hadwin74001361725163129551
Aaron Baddeley76008912616515121552
Martin Laird70001351391524286554
Matthew Fitzpatrick85003251138192146559
Sam Saunders65001168698156104560
Jonas Blixt71001251078417770563
Hudson Swafford66001338284105162566
Austin Cook660015793114110104578
Daniel Berger74001181626616570581
Roger Sloan610013012142173129595
Francesco Molinari113009313712718754598
Brice Garnett68001591791464770601
Branden Grace83008010619054187617
Matt Wallace73003683184211104618
Brandon Harkins63001419782137162619
Richy Werenski630015514910512686621
Ted Potter, Jr.640019011484115129632
Billy Horschel890015011619766104633
Peter Malnati660012610112720086640
Tyler Duncan62001751652394187644
Ben Silverman610015316494132104647
Brandt Snedeker75008413417017686650
Beau Hossler72001431782067454655
Patton Kizzire670016912814314870658
Jim Herman620016613532145187665
C.T. Pan690015217713313670668
Rory Sabbatini640096159131140146672
Alex Cejka640014511027196206684
Wyndham Clark660011919519212654686
Stewart Cink64001891681847286699
Brian Gay67001741909817470706
Harris English600016115617013886711
Denny McCarthy6400134187156134104715
Kevin Na690010496178149196723
Chris Stroud620018413215017786729
Jordan Spieth9500172111143166146738
Kelly Kraft700015388153175172741
Martin Kaymer700011391146185212747
Sam Burns6700168174138159129768
Ryan Blaum6100140147156188162793
Mackenzie Hughes6900128160160184172804
Peter Uihlein6700194200173115129811
Michael Kim600021014480198206838
Anirban Lahiri6000188181178203104854
Bill Haas6900115167181209202874
Charl Schwartzel710020387195199196880
Brian Harman7000144209160213162888
Ollie Schniederjans7400167196150204196913
Alex Noren7000187188206131206918
Satoshi Kodaira6400204161178190187920
Cody Gribble6000205184146210214959
Martin Trainer6300165205210196187963
D.A. Points6500208170181201213973
Rod Pampling60002012112132121961033
Seamus Power61002072122042142091046
Justin Harding*7900000000
Luke Donald*7200000000
Eddie Pepperell*7200000000
John Augenstein*6600000000
Shane Lowry*6500000000
Colt Knost*6500000000
Morgan Hoffmann*6400000000
Ray Franz*6300000000
Boo Weekley*6100000000
Mark Anderson*6100000000
K.J. Choi*6000000000

*players without data have not played enough measured rounds in PGA Tour events

On a more philosophical level, I think it makes sense here to target players who have solid familiarity with this event. Last week was one of the most high-profile events in golf’s season that warrants tons of adrenaline and emotions.

Bottom line, they’re men not machines. I would give a slight bump this week to guys that have regularly scheduled this event over the past few years.

Category Targets

Chalky McChalkerson (Five figures to 9.1k–11 players)

On that note, Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar are my favorite plays in this range. Both have tons of event experience including a win here in the past five years.

Not to mention, both are playing arguably their best golf in years, and are phenomenal fits stylistically and statistically for HTGL.

Sweet Spot (9k to 7.1k–43 players)

This is the range I tend to focus on most, which I believe offers the best price/floor/upside combinations on a week to week basis. As mentioned, Corey Conners is the clear standout stats wise for this range.

My case against him would be the inexperience (one appearance last year, missed the cut), and the inevitable come down of winning his first tour event two weeks ago, followed by his first Masters appearance. Also, the form and course fit will likely result in high ownership percentages at his price. So he could make for a shrewd fade if this happens to be the come down week.

Russell Knox (Source: Andrew Redington/Getty Images North America)

Russell Knox and Cameron Smith will also be gracing my lineups with their presence this week. The young Aussie Smith wasn’t great last week at the Masters, but continued a solid 2019 campaign, making his 11th cut in 12 starts. From a numbers standpoint, he ranks solid in three key stats, and has finished T-32 or higher in all three RBCH career appearances.

The Scotsman Knox comes with all the attributes as Smith, but a little better. His rankings on key stats are rock solid across the board. Which makes it no coincidence that he has cashed checks in each of his five career RBCH appearances, including two top-10s.

Speaking of Scotsman, I am wayyyyy too excited for this Robert the Bruce movie. After all, most of my GPP strategy can be summed up in this one GIF…

Sneaky Low % Owned (7k and below–78 players)

Ryan Palmer and Chez Reavie do not have great track records here, but their key stats this year are trending toward changing that. Another grizzled vet, D.J. Trahan is entering official truther status for me this week.

DJ Trahan (Source: Michael Cohen/Getty Images North America)

His stats are wayyyy up across the board. Either he’s figured something out, or it’s an anomaly bound to correct itself. In this price range, he makes as much sense to throw a dart on as anyone.

If you want to get extremely filthy, two-time RBCH winner Boo Weekley has never missed a cut here in 11 career appearances. Just sayin….

Best Bounce Back Candidates

  • Brandt Snedeker–MC at Masters. Very good track record here.
  • Luke List–MC at Valero Texas Open two weeks ago. Last year’s T-3 could have easily been his first career win. Should be eager to get back out there.

Luke Donald (Getty Images)

Best Course History Plays

  • Luke Donald–Last season I wrote that there should be a Netflix documentary made about this mystical history for Donald in this event. He went on to an MC so he’ll want to rebound.
  • Jim Furyk
  • Matt Kuchar
  • Ian Poulter–Perfect 8/8 here including last season’s career best T-7 finish.
  • Kevin Na–Last season’s MC was just his third in 13 RBCH appearances, including four finishes inside the top 10.

Core Players

Last season, I started including my core players to build around in all my lineups. I try to identify targets before prices are released to stay focused, and avoid editing my lineup 2,000 times ten minutes before lock.

These selections are players that I believe have top 25 floors with top 10 upside, and a reasonable case to win. More detailed results are to come as the season moves along. This week’s selections:

  1. Kuchar
  2. Knox
  3. Furyk
  4. Smith

Good luck at Hilton Head! Don’t hesitate to reach out on twitter compliments and insults are always welcome.


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