Daily and weekly fantasy sports have become all the rage. Battling it out over an entire season is fun, but sites like DraftKings offer a quicker payoff and big payouts for winners! Not only do they offer daily action in the four major professional sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) as well as college basketball and football but also the PGA Tour.
Your DraftKings lineup is made up of six golfers you select from within the $50,000 salary cap.
Each week DraftKings offers a wide selection of games to enter at a variety of price points. You can even get a feel for the game in a freeroll contest. Before you put your cash on the line, I'll offer my Top Values and Steals in this space every week, specifically geared to help build a winning DraftKings squad. I'll also give you my Overpriced golfers to avoid, and a couple of “Vegas Says…” tips to help you find those players for GPPs.
Harbour Town is a narrow, seaside course where accuracy is crucial, and winds will wreak havoc on the players. These greens are tiny, the fairways are narrow, and trees in front of greens block approach shots that are not coming from the correct angle. It’s a typical strategist’s track, with recent winners including Branden Grace, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Carl Pettersson, Brandt Snedeker, Graeme McDowell, and Boo Weekley. No bombers in that group. Typically, the greens here are fast and firm, which creates a lot of missed greens and emphasizes scrambling ability. I’m also going to factor in course history a little more this week because five players have won this event multiple times. It’s a track where you have to miss in the right places, be comfortable with your sight lines, and stick to detailed plan of attack.
Driving accuracy may be the one accuracy stat to ignore because this is a less-than-driver course most of the way around. Players will be hitting a ton of fairways with irons and hybrids, so don’t emphasize that as much. In terms of strokes gained statistics, strokes-gained approach and strokes gained around the green are the two I will weigh heaviest this week. I will also be looking at certain trends, such as players who gain strokes in the wind, on Bermuda greens, and on short courses. Looking at the Florida, Georgia, and Carolina residents who perform well on Bermuda greens, you’ll see names like Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Harris English, Bill Haas, Lucas Glover, and Ben Martin. The other connection that I’ll mention is that Harbour Town is a Pete Dye design. His unique course style caters towards a certain type of player, and many of these players are in the field this week: Matt Kuchar, Kevin Kisner, Bill Haas, Russell Knox, Marc Leishman, and Ben Martin.
Recent Tournament History
Finished in the top-20 each of the last three years: Matt Kuchar, Luke Donald, Russell Knox, Jason Kokrak.
Finished in the top-20 in two of the last three years: Branden Grace, Jim Furyk, William McGirt, Bryce Molder, Matt Every.
Current Form Review
Each week, we’ll look backward at the last three tournaments on the PGA and European Tours. I have included the top-20 from the past three events: the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Shell Houston Open, and last week’s Masters Tournament.
Birdie or Better % (BoB%): There are not many weeks where we aren’t going to target birdie or better percentage because that’s what fantasy golf scoring is all about. There’s going to be plenty of bogeys this week, so we need birdies to offset the damages. Guys like Anirban Lahiri, Luke List, Pat Perez, Camilo Villegas, and Adam Hadwin lead this week’s field in birdie or better percentage. It’s possible to have a player finish top-10 in fantasy points while not finishing anywhere close to the top-10 in the actual event.
Strokes Gained Approach (SG:APP): There’s no doubt that ball-striking and GIR% are huge at this venue, and that’s clear in past leaderboards. Because of the firm and windy conditions, the iron play is going to be a major key this week. Keeping your ball on the right portions of greens will eliminate three putts. If a player who sticks approach shots inside 10’ consistently, he’s going to shoot up the leaderboard and contend on Sunday. Some names that stand out in the field are Francesco Molinari, Tyrrell Hatton, Kevin Kisner, Webb Simpson, and Kyle Stanley.
Strokes Gained Around-the-Green (SG:ARG): Behind strokes-gained approach, I think targeting players who excel around the green is key this week. The greens are small and firm, so scrambling and bunker skills will be tested all week. There will be options around the green as well, from using putters to wedges to hybrids, so some creativity will be important. Names that stood out to me in this field were Bill Haas, Cameron Smith, Kevin Na, Webb Simpson, and Matt Kuchar.
*In order of my rankings
Matt Kuchar ($11,500)
Kuchar is coming off a fantastic 4th place finish at The Masters, highlighted by his hole-in-one on Sunday afternoon. Kuchar was consistent all week and then ended with a flurry at Augusta. He comes to Harbour Town where he has some of the best course history in the field. The past three season, Kuchar has finished 9th, 5th, and 1st here, and hasn’t missed in over a decade at Harbour Town. The course fits him to a tee, and we’ve seen Kuchar’s dominance on other Pete Dye layouts.
Kevin Kisner ($9,700)
Kisner has struggled the past two events, after a near miss at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Overall, his form is fantastic this season, and he comes to a course and a region where he’s most comfortable. Kisner lives in South Carolina and is extremely confident on the coastal layout that Harbour Town offers. He finished 2nd here in 2015 and is near the top of the field in all of the ball striking metrics I’m targeting.
Bill Haas ($9,100)
Haas has been in great form all year and highlighted his season by finishing 3rd at the WGC-Match Play Championship. He made the cut last week at Augusta but didn’t fare well on Saturday. He comes back to Harbour Town where he has a pretty solid history, including a 14th place finish a year ago. He’s very strong in weak fields and has a great Pete Dye track record.
Jason Dufner ($8,500)
Although his recent form is great, Dufner’s poor Masters weekend and poor course history should be enough to keep his ownership down. Dufner has made seven straight cuts at Harbour Town, but only has one top-15 finish. He’s a new man this year, and I suspect him to be firmly inside the top-10 on Sunday afternoon. Dufner ranks slightly above average in all the strokes gained statistics, but surprisingly has been best around and on the greens.
Martin Kaymer ($9,500)
I had a gut feeling about Justin Rose last week, and I have that same gut feeling about Martin Kaymer this week. Although he played a long and strenuous weekend at Augusta, Kaymer played fantastically, recording a 16th place finish. He’s a world-class ball-striker who should thrive here. His chipping is a worry, but Kaymer should be able to putt from off these surfaces as he did en route to a U.S. Open win at Pinehurst. The Pete Dye connection is here as well since Kaymer won the Players Championship. He’s in great form and has made the cut at Harbour Town both times he’s played.
Branden Grace ($10,000)
Grace has been in awful form this season but seems to have found a spark the past two events. He finished 27th at Augusta after a stellar weekend. Grace is the defending champion at the RBC Heritage and finished 7th here in 2015. He’s a solid ball-striker who struggles off-the-tee, but he shouldn’t have to rely on the driver much this week. Grace won here last year due to elite putting and scrambling, and should have tons of positive vibes this week.
Brandt Snedeker ($10,500)
Snedeker was wearing a wrist brace on Sunday at Augusta, so I have some doubts about his health. He’s only playing this week to fulfill a contractual obligation to RBC. Last year, he missed the cut at The Heritage after Augusta, and I could see the same thing happening this season. He’s been in solid form all year, but there’s always a letdown the week after a major championship. He’s a former champion here, so there’s always a chance that Sneds finds a spark at Harbour Town.
Jim Furyk ($7,900)
Furyk is one of the course horses at Harbour Town, as you would suspect. He crushes Pete Dye layouts and is one of the best scramblers and ball-strikers on Tour. He’s won this event twice and has posted five other top-8 finishes. His recent form hasn’t been stellar, but something about this event and this course brings out the best in Furyk.
Billy Horschel ($7,600)
Horschel is the type of player I target on short, narrow, seaside courses. We’ve seen it at Zurich and at the RSM Classic, as Horschel loves playing on the bermuda surfaces of the Southeast. His recent form has been great, with a 4th place finish at the Honda Classic and a 13th place finish at Bay Hill. Horschel has made all four cuts at Harbour Town, with a 9th place finish is his debut in 2013. If he can get hot with the putter, Horschel could be wearing the tartan jacket Sunday afternoon.
Danny Lee ($6,800)
Lee hasn’t fared well here in the past three seasons, but he’s severely underpriced in my mind. His recent form has been very solid, finishing 22nd, 17th, 56th, and 20th over his past four starts. He is very inconsistent but tends to make a lot of birdies. I like that Lee won’t have to hit many drivers this week because he tends to get himself in trouble off-the-tee. He ranks well above the field average in ball-striking and has recently been near the top of the field in GIR%.
Matthew Fitzpatrick ($8,300)
Fitzpatrick has been very vocal in his praise for Harbour Town, calling this event his favorite week on Tour. Strong words, considering he played four days at Augusta National last week. Fitzpatrick is a great ball-striker who is on the cusp of making a leap in the world rankings, and I think the Ryder Cupper can contend here this week. He’s one of the best putters on Tour, and the breakthrough win is coming soon.
Shane Lowry ($7,500)
Lowry is one of my favorite sleepers this week, especially after he burned many people last week at the Masters. Lowry shot E par the opening round but missed the cut after shooting a 79 in the second round. There was plenty of positives to draw from that performance, and Lowry should come out angry and aggressive this week at Harbour Town. The wind-swept seaside course should suit his game well, as the Irishman ranks 3rd on Tour in true ball-striking.
This section focuses on “odds” players – those players whose odds vary the greatest on their DraftKings salaries. Keep in mind, this doesn’t make these players “good plays” or “bad plays,” but it simply measures the value based on their price. I’ve done this not just with the actual rankings, but as a percentage. So, if two players have a difference of 10 spots in pricing versus odds rankings, the player ranked higher overall will have a higher percentage. It’s a quick way to find value. I use an aggregate of odds from various oddsmakers to come up with my valuation.
The value differential column shows the number of spots lower in salary than their odds to win imply. The differential % column shows that as a percentage of the players DraftKings salary ranking. Here is a list of the top-20 “values” based on my aggregations:
On the flipside, we have the list of players Vegas believes are overpriced based on their odds to win. Using the same model and calculations as above, here are the top-20 worst “values” based on my aggregations:
DraftKings lineups for the RBC Heritage
Stars and Scrubs