RBC HERITAGE - DRAFTKINGS PREVIEW

GENERAL COURSE INFORMATION:
PAR 71 COURSE
TOTAL DISTANCE = 7,100 YARDS (VERY SHORT COURSE)
VERY SMALL, TOUGH TO HIT BERMUDA GREENS
PRETTY WEAK FIELD
TOP 70 AND TIES MAKE THE CUT

STATS TO FAVOR:
SCRAMBLING – These greens are very small and are the toughest to hit out of any course on tour. Scrambling will be very important and is the heaviest weighted stat in my model this week.
DRIVING ACCURACY – Distance can be completely ignored this week. Golfers will rarely be using their drivers. However, driving accuracy will be important to make sure you leave yourself with a good look at these tough to hit greens.
GIR (GREENS IN REGULATION) – Kind of goes hand in hand with driving accuracy. We are looking for short, accurate golfers this week.
STROKES GAINEDPUTTING – The greens are new and will be playing fast. Strong putters will have an advantage. I will also be putting weight into past performance on Bermuda Greens.

MASTERS RECAP:
Wow! What a weekend of golf we had at Augusta. It’s always tough to watch someone collapse the way that Jordan did, especially from one of the greats in the game. But on the other hand, seeing Danny Willett come from behind and win was simply incredible. What seemed like a semi-boring runaway by Spieth, quickly turned into a dramatic finish over the last few holes that had fans on the edge of their seats wondering what would happen next. The quad bogey by Spieth was difficult to watch and very hard to believe, but even after that you could not count him out. He fought his way back until the very end, but unfortunately it was too large a hurdle to overcome and Danny Willett came away with the much deserved Green Jacket. Danny has flown under the radar for most of the PGA season, but after this victory he will now be a household name… and someone that the DFS community will no longer be able to get for only $8,000. :(

REVIEW OF DRAFTKINGS PERFORMANCE
This is a new section I plan to include in my articles. Previews and predictions are great, but in DFS we care about results. Luckily for me, Danny Willett was my highest owned golfer this week. I had him in about 92% of the GPP lineups I played and both of my cash lineups. I said in my write up that his skill was far greater than his $8,000 price tag, and he proved me right. Anytime that you have the winner in that many lineups, you’re going to have a nice weekend. Next up on the exposure list was Smylie Kaufman, who I had in about 78% of my GPP lineups. After Saturday, the majority of my lineups were cashing in all GPP’s, including 2 of my lineups in the top 100 in the Milly Maker. The DK sweats were real on Sunday, as one of my lineups sat in the top 10 of the Milly Maker for quite some time… but unfortunately a +9 by Smylie shot my lineups back down to earth. Smylie was easily worth his price tag of $6,000 last week, but the pressure of playing in the final pairing of the Masters clearly got to him. Phil Mickelson was by far my biggest let down of the week, as he was my 3rd highest owned golfer and missed the cut after one of the worst collapses I’ve ever seen on Friday afternoon. Overall though, I was very pleased with the results. I hit big with my two super value plays in Smylie Kaufman and Scott Piercy. Both of my cash lineups had 5/6 golfers make the cut and hit in every double up, and most of my GPP lineups cashed as well thanks to Danny Willett. Here’s to continuing the success this week at the RBC Heritage!

TOURNAMENT PREVIEW:
I’m not going to bore you with a long preview. As mentioned above, the guys we are targeting this week are short, accurate hitters. Pretty much all of the recent courses we’ve had favored the bombers. This one is entirely different and we will need to take a different approach. Sorry to all of the Tony Finau lovers… I know there are a lot of you out there. But this is the Anti-Finau course. I will be completely fading him this week. Sure, he will likely pick up an eagle on one of the par 5’s. But I think his chances of making the cut are slim to none. Scrambling is the most important stat to look at with the greens being so small and difficult to hit. I also think course history is very important here. It is worth noting that the course underwent some minor renovations prior to 2012, but nothing substantial. It was lengthened a bit and is now slightly more difficult, but after evaluating the differences I decided to use all course history dating back to 2006 in my model. In my opinion, the renovations were not substantial enough to warrant disregarding all of the data prior to 2012. That being said, I will have more weight on the recent years, but I do not think the older data can be discarded all together.

IMPORTANT COURSE HISTORY INFORMATION: (Based on course data since 2006)
Average winning score: -13
Average # of golfers to make the cut: 77
Average amount of DraftKings points per player per round played: 13.14 (does not include bonuses)

DK Pts Gained Above Average Per Round – I created this stat to give us a better alternative to the popular “Strokes gained” stat. While strokes gained is a very important stat when evaluating a golfer’s skill level, it does not help DFS players all that much. This stat is more oriented towards DFS scoring. If the average score for one round is 13.14 DraftKings Points, and Player X scores 16 points in his round, his DK Pts Gained Above Average will equal (16 – 13.14) = 2.86. To give you a frame of reference, a score over 2.00 would be considered very good. A score over 4.00 is considered elite.

I’m not going to get into too much detail about the formulas that I used or how the calculations were made, but if you are interested feel free to comment below or send me a message on Twitter.
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PLAYERS TO WATCH

THE STUDS

PAUL CASEY – $10,800

S-Rank: 2 / O-Rank: 2
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (2016 Season) = 2.26
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (RBC Heritage History) = 3.56

Course History:
2014 – 18th
2010 – 22nd
2009 – 11th

Recent Form:
4/7 – 4th at The Masters
3/17 – 9th at Arnold Palmer
3/3 – 7th at WGC Cadillac
2/25 – 43rd at Honda Classic
2/18 – 39th at Northern Trust

Paul Casey has been on fire recently. He has top 10 performances in each of his last 3 events played, including 4th place last week at the Masters. All 3 of those events featured very strong fields. The field is much weaker this week and I love Casey’s chances to keep his top 10 streak going. His game suits this course nicely and he has the history to match. He has only played here three times but has never finished worse than 22nd. He does come in this week as the second most expensive golfer, but I am not scared by his price tag. I think he is just as safe a play, if not safer, than Jason Day who comes in at almost $2,000 more expensive. I would much rather use that money to upgrade elsewhere and choose Casey over Day. He is a safe play in all formats. I will have a lot of exposure to him. I honestly believe Casey is a lock to finish top 25 and he is my pick to come home with a trophy on Sunday afternoon.

MATT KUCHAR – $10,300

S-Rank: 4 / O-Rank: 4
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (2016 Season) = 2.34
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (RBC Heritage History) = 2.30

Course History:
2015 – 5th
2014 – 1st
2013 – 35th
2012 – 44th
2011 – 21st
2010 – 14th
2009 – 48th
2008 – 7th
2007 – 61st

Recent Form:
4/7 – 24th at The Masters
3/17 – MC at Arnold Palmer
3/10 – 11th at Valspar
3/3 – 28th at WGC Cadillac
2/18 – 8th at Northern Trust

When Henrik Stenson is not in the field, that means the “Mr. Reliable” title goes to Matt Kuchar. Out of all of the golfer in the field this week, nobody is a safer bet to make the cut than Kuch. That makes him one of the best cash plays on the board. He has made the cut all 9 times playing at this course, won it in 2014, and finished 5th last year. His game suits this course perfectly and I will have a lot of exposure to Kuchar in both GPP’s and cash.

KEVIN KISNER – $9,700

S-Rank: 6 / O-Rank: 6
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (2016 Season) = 1.26
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (RBC Heritage History) = 3.58

Course History:
2015 – 2nd
2014 – 38th
2011 – MC

Recent Form:
4/7 – 37th at The Masters
3/17 – MC at Arnold Palmer
3/3 – 23th at WGC Cadillac
2/25 – 70th at Honda Classic
2/4 – MC at Phoenix Open

I have been Kevin Kisner’s biggest critic all season long. His stats look better than they actually are because he dominated some weak fields early in the season. I haven’t owned him in a single lineup ever since playing PGA DFS. That is going to change this week. I’ve been looking for reasons to talk myself out of Kisner and I can’t find any. He came in 2nd place here last year and 38th the year before that. I take his MC in 2011 with a grain of salt because he is a much different golfer now than he was then, and that was also before course renovations. He is very accurate off the tee and really checks the boxes all around this week in the stats that I am looking for. He ranks #4 overall in my model behind Casey, Day, and Kuchar. I never thought I would EVER pick Kevin Kisner normally, let alone when he is priced this high… but this week I think he is worth it.

JUSTIN THOMAS – $9,300

S-Rank: 8 / O-Rank: 8
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (2016 Season) = 1.01
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (RBC Heritage History) = 5.08

Course History:
2015 – 11th

Recent Form:
4/7 – 39th at The Masters
3/10 – 18th at Valspar
3/3 – 35th at WGC Cadillac
2/25 – 3rd at Honda Classic
2/18 – 54th at Northern Trust

Like Kisner, Justin Thomas is another guy who I have not been high on all season. I’m really not a fan of the way he handles himself on the course, and definitely think he needs to learn how to control himself when things aren’t going his way. That being said, it’s tough to ignore the success he has had this year and also at this course. He has the highest amount of DK Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (at this course) out of anyone in the field, although he has only played here once so the sample size isn’t ideal. I think his ownership will be low with most people preferring Bill Haas at his price point. I think Haas is the safer cash play but JT offers more upside. As of right now my exposure to him will be limited to GPP only but I think he makes for a nice high upside pick.
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THE NEXT BEST

LUKE DONALD – $8,300

S-Rank: 16 / O-Rank: 13
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (2016 Season) = 0.39
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (RBC Heritage History) = 4.87

Course History:
2015 – 15th
2014 – 2nd
2013 – 3rd
2012 – 37th
2011 – 2nd
2010 – 3rd
2009 – 2nd

Recent Form:
3/24 – 26th at Puerto Rico Open
3/17 – MC at Arnold Palmer
3/10 – 22nd at Valspar
2/25 – 61st at Honda Classic
2/18 – 45th at Northern Trust

I have never seen a course horse in my PGA DFS career as blatant as Luke Donald this week. He has played here seven times and finished in the top-3 five of those seven times. That just doesn’t happen. The interesting part is that Luke Donald was one of the best players in the world during the majority of this stretch. He is clearly no longer that player. Picking him this week will be contingent on whether you value course history more than recent form. He has started to show some promise recently, which is why I am going to roll the dice on him this week. His 4.87 DK Pts Gained Above Average Per Round in his history here is remarkable, given the large sample size of seven appearances. He also ranks as the 7th best scrambler in the field, which gives me more confidence in picking him since I said that will be my highest weighted stat. Donald is my prediction to be the highest owned golfer in cash games this week. While you may want to be contrarian in tournaments and fade him, he will likely be my chalk play in cash as I think the value is too good to pass up.

RUSSELL KNOX – $8,200

S-Rank: 18 / O-Rank: 18
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (2016 Season) = -0.23
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (RBC Heritage History) = 3.11

Course History:
2015 – 18th
2014 – 9th

Recent Form:
4/7 – MC at The Masters
3/10 – 56th at Valspar
3/3 – 27th at WGC Cadillac
2/25 – 26th at Honda Classic
2/11 – MC at Pebble Beach

If you choose the contrarian route to Luke Donald, Russell Knox is my #1 guy to replace him with. I expect ownership to be low (mainly because people will prefer Donald at this price) and results to be high. He has only played here twice, but both times he came away with top 20 finishes. Overall he has struggled this year, but he has performed well on similar courses. He can’t compete with the bombers on the majority of courses he has played, but this one really suits his game. He ranks in the top 5 in the field in GIR and Good Drive %. He also ranks high in scrambling, driving accuracy, and approach shots. The one aspect of his game that could hold him back from winning is his putting. I think Knox will finish top 25, and the putter will be the difference maker in just how far up the leaderboard he will climb. I think he is in play for cash games, but definitely prefer him in GPP’s as a Luke Donald or Bryson DeChambeau contrarian pick. (I will likely be fading Bryson this week. As much as I love the kid, $8,000 is really high for him. I expect ownership to be high on him as well after the show he put on at the Masters.)

KYLE REIFERS – $7,300

S-Rank: 38 / O-Rank: 38
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (2016 Season) = 1.81
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (RBC Heritage History) = N/A

Course History:
N/A – Has never played here before

Recent Form:
3/31 – 7th at The Houston Open
3/24 – 11th at Puerto Rico Open
3/17 – 43rd at Arnold Palmer
3/10 – 64th at Valspar
2/25 – MC at Honda Classic

Reifers is another guy that I expect to fly under the radar this week. There are so many options at this price point and he is one of the few guys who has never played here. He’s accurate off the tee, hits a lot of greens in regulation, and has been great with his approach shots. I am a little worried about his poor scrambling, which is why my exposure to him will be limited to GPP lineups only. I had a lot of exposure to Reifers at the Houston Open and he rewarded me handsomely. He’s been terrific as of late and I think it will continue this week.

BEN MARTIN – $7,200

S-Rank: 40 / O-Rank: 30
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (2016 Season) = 2.21
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (RBC Heritage History) = 2.75

Course History:
2015 – 37th
2014 – 3rd
2011 – 56th

Recent Form:
3/31 – 52nd at The Houston Open
3/17 – 12th at Arnold Palmer
2/25 – 72nd at Honda Classic
2/18 – 16th at Northern Trust
2/11 – MC at Pebble Beach

If you only take away one thing from my article this week, let it be the next sentence. PLAY BEN MARTIN! That’s right! Ben Martin is my favorite dollar for dollar play… my lock of the week. Danny Willett fit this description last week and came home with a green jacket. Rafa Cabrera-Bello fit it the week before and finished in 4th place a week that most people didn’t even know who he was. Ben Martin has been great (in terms of DK Pts above average per round) both this season and in his history at this course. He is also one of the best players on tour on courses with Bermuda greens. The icing on the cake is that he is from South Carolina and will have a home-field advantage. All signs point to Ben Martin this week, and he will be the golfer that I have the most exposure to. I think he is priced well below where he should be. Let’s hope the streak continues and Ben Martin can lead our lineups into the green!
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VALUE PLAYS

JERRY KELLY – $6,800

S-Rank: 53 / O-Rank: 44
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (2016 Season) = 0.51
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (RBC Heritage History) = 1.96

Course History:
2015 – 18th
2014 – 31st
2013 – 5th
2012 – 29th
2011 – 36th
2010 – 59th
2009 – MC
2008 – MC
2007 – 8th
2006 – 5th

Recent Form:
3/24 – 21st at Puerto Rico Open
3/10 – 33rd at Valspar
2/25 – MC at Honda Classic
2/11 – 69th at Pebble Beach

Jerry Kelly is one of my favorite value plays on the board. He has only missed one cut this year, and it is tough to get that type of consistency from somebody this cheap. He is the exact type of player that fits this course perfectly. He ranks in the top 5 in scrambling, accuracy, and good drive percentage. Overall, he ranks high just about everywhere except for distance and par 5 scoring… two stats that mean very little this week. He is the safest <$7000 golfer to make the cut. He has great course history here to further prove the fit of his skill-set, as he has made the cut 8 times in the last decade, including every time since the renovations were made. Fire the veteran up in all formats this week.

AARON BADDELEY – $6,700

S-Rank: 57 / O-Rank: 56
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (2016 Season) = 1.44
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (RBC Heritage History) = 3.33

Course History:
2015 – 66th
2014 – MC
2013 – 42nd
2012 – MC
2011 – 14th
2010 – 22nd
2009 – 21st
2008 – 2nd
2007 – 10th
2006 – 1st

Recent Form:
3/31 – MC at Houston Open
3/24 – 8th at Puerto Rico Open
3/17 – MC at Arnold Palmer
2/18 – 26th at Northern Trust
2/11 – 51st at Pebble Beach

I am very intrigued by Aaron Baddeley this week. He has great course history here but I am not completely buying into it. He has made 8/10 cuts including 3 top 10 finishes and a win… but the results have been much worse since the renovations and he is not as good of a golfer now as he was from 2006-2011. That being said, he has showed flashes of brilliance this year, most recently at the Puerto Rico Open. The inconsistency scares me and I will be avoiding him in cash. If he makes the cut, I would not be surprised to see him contend. But the inconsistency makes him a GPP only target for me. I am very curious to see what his ownership will look like. I think he is the biggest wild card in the field.

DAVID TOMS – $6,400

S-Rank: 72 / O-Rank: 70
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (2016 Season) = -1.06
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (RBC Heritage History) = 0.56

Course History:
2014 – 53rd
2008 – 61st

Recent Form:
3/31 – 33rd at Houston Open
3/24 – 39th at Puerto Rico Open
3/10 – MC at Valspar
2/18 – 39th at Northern Trust
2/11 – MC at Pebble Beach

David Toms has lost over 1 DK Point per round to the average player in tournaments this year. He also does not have great history here, although he did make the cut both times he’s played. However, he ranks as the best golfer in the field in scrambling and sand saves, and ranks in the top 10 in driving accuracy and approach shots. He’s a good putter, he hits greens in regulation at an above average rate… and honestly he is THE perfect fit for this course. I do prefer Jerry Kelly in cash lineups if you can afford the extra $400, but if not, consider Toms to be a poor man’s Jerry Kelly. I don’t think he’ll finish in the top 25 but I do like his chances to make the cut. Since he lacks upside, I won’t have too much exposure to him in GPP’s, but I do consider him one of the strongest and safest cash plays at this price point.

SUNG KANG – $6,300

S-Rank: 77 / O-Rank: 61
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (2016 Season) = 1.41
DraftKings Pts Gained Above Average Per Round (RBC Heritage History) = -4.59

Course History:
2012 – MC

Recent Form:
3/31 – 69th at Houston Open
3/17 – MC at Arnold Palmer
3/10 – 22nd at Valspar
2/25 – 10th at Honda Classic
2/18 – 8th at Northern Trust

After going through a really nice stretch in February and March, Sung Kang has cooled down a bit and his price has really dropped. This is a guy who was priced at $7,700 the last time he was in the DraftKings player pool. He has only played here once and did very poorly in 2012, but I am going to buy more into his recent form. Before his last two events, he was coming off three straight top 25 performances. He is a great scrambler which is a big reason why I expect him to rebound this week. Vegas agrees with me that he is under-priced, as you can see his odds rank of 61 is much higher than his salary rank of 77. My expectations for Kang are not very high, but I like his chances to make the cut and at this price that is all we need from him. I view him as more of a GPP option because I prefer David Toms to him in cash.
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Top Performers at this Course in DraftKings Points Above Average Per Round – This stat will help you see who has the best course history here (Based on DraftKings scoring):

Justin Thomas ($9,300) – 5.08 DK Pts AA/Rd – (1 Appearance)
Luke Donald ($8,300) – 4.87 DK Pts AA/Rd – (7 Appearances)
Kevin Kisner ($9,700) – 3.58 DK Pts AA/Rd – (3 Appearances)
Paul Casey ($10,800) – 3.56 DK Pts AA/Rd – (3 Appearances)
Branden Grace ($9,000) – 3.33 DK Pts AA/Rd – (1 Appearance)
Aaron Baddeley ($6,700) – 3.33 DK Pts AA/Rd – (10 Appearances)
Scott Brown ($7,500) – 3.26 DK Pts AA/Rd – (3 Appearances)
Boo Weekley ($7,200) – 3.12 DK Pts AA/Rd – (9 Appearances)
Russell Knox ($8,200) – 3.11 DK Pts AA/Rd – (2 Appearances)
Rory Sabbatini ($6,200) – 2.93 DK Pts AA/Rd – (6 Appearances)

Top Performers this Season in DraftKings Points Above Average Per Round – This stat will help you see which players are in the best form. (Min. 5 Tournaments Played):

Jason Day ($12,500) – 3.15 DK Pts AA/Rd – (6 Tournaments)
Brandt Snedeker ($10,600) – 2.43 DK Pts AA/Rd – (8 Tournaments)
Matt Kuchar ($10,300) – 2.34 DK Pts AA/Rd – (7 Tournaments)
Branden Grace ($9,000) – 2.33 DK Pts AA/Rd – (7 Tournaments)
Charles Howell III ($8,100) – 2.33 DK Pts AA/Rd – (9 Tournaments)
Ryan Palmer ($7,700) – 2.32 DK Pts AA/Rd – (8 Tournaments)
Paul Casey ($10,800) – 2.26 DK Pts AA/Rd – (6 Tournaments)
Ben Martin ($7,200) – 2.21 DK Pts AA/Rd – (8 Tournaments)
Chez Reavie ($7,600) – 2.21 DK Pts AA/Rd – (9 Tournaments)
Jamie Lovemark ($7,800) – 2.21 DK Pts AA/Rd – (9 Tournaments)
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OVERALL POWER RANKINGS FOR THE RBC HERITAGE:

1.) PAUL CASEY
2.) JASON DAY
3.) MATT KUCHAR
4.) KEVIN KISNER
5.) BRANDT SNEDEKER
6.) JUSTIN THOMAS
7.) BRANDEN GRACE
8.) LUKE DONALD
9.) ZACH JOHNSON
10.) RUSSELL KNOX
11.) BILL HAAS
12.) BEN MARTIN
13.) WEBB SIMPSON
14.) MATTHEW FITZPATRICK
15.) KEVIN NA
16.) BRYSON DECHAMBEAU
17.) KYLE REIFERS
18.) SCOTT BROWN
19.) CHARLES HOWELL III
20.) JERRY KELLY

Author: Michael Tamburri – DraftKings: @mtamburri922 – Twitter: mtamburri922

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