After a solid week down in Texas, the Tour turns its attention to Harbour Town Golf Links for the RBC Heritage. If you want an in-depth look at this week’s track, head over to last year’s preview article.
Buy or Sell
Webb Simpson ($9,000) is coming back off of a disappointing performance down in Texas, missing the cut as one of the most heavily owned golfers in the field. Despite that disappointment, people will likely be going right back to the well with him. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t one of the top three owned golfers on the slate this week. How do $9,000 golfers that are highly owned perform, you ask? Historically, you don’t gain much by eating chalk in the $8,500-$9,400 range. Golfers that are at least 18% owned have hit 89 or more DK Points 22% of the time. That’s only one percentage point higher than golfers in that same price range that are 8-14% owned.
Ian Poulter ($7,600) is one of the most talked about golfers in the value tier this week. Golfers in this tier have, historically, performed well when they reach “chalk” status (8-13% owned). That cohort has hit 82-plus DK Points about 19% of the time. I have him right on the cusp of that at the time of this writing. If he falls in that range, Poulter is an easy fade for me. There are natural pivots off of him that will make for lineups with much more leverage.
Justin Thomas ($10,900) and Xander Schauffele ($10,200) seem like they may go slightly under-owned this week. Thomas has finished in the top 12 in 18 of his last 29 starts dating back to the beginning of last year. That’s an absurd rate, and if he ever goes under-owned you need to take advantage. Schauffele has made 51 of 58 cuts since the start of 2018. He has a ton of cut equity and brings a safe floor to your lineups. Schauffele has exceeded his expected salary-based floor in nearly 83% of starts over that span.
Viktor Hovland ($7,600) deserves some attention as a natural pivot off of Poulter. The course history slappies are pining for Poulter, but we know better. Just last week, Hovland (T23) outperformed Poulter (T29). One of Hovland’s closest sims is Gary Woodland ($8,400). Hovland is hitting more greens than Woodland and has been unlucky with the putter. If the ball-striking stays and the putter heats up, we could be in for an excellent week.
Harry Higgs ($6,900) had an up and down week (70-65-71-69) en route to a T38 at Colonial CC. He comes in with a streak of six straight made cuts and has exceeded salary-based DK scoring expectations in six of seven starts. Higgs is a bit volatile and isn’t necessarily at the point that we can trust him in a cash lineup. He’s shown his upside this year already, though, and I’m willing to go a bit overweight on him this week. Per the Sim Scores and Pivots App, he’s basically arbitrage Sungjae Im ($9,700) so far for his career.
What is the Optimizer Telling Us?
If we set the optimizer to make us 50 lineups with no single golfer above 80% exposure, here are the golfers that make the player pool.
Unsurprisingly, Hovland and Higgs pop as big-time values. At the top of the price range, the optimizer wants to fit in Rory McIlroy ($11,300), Thomas, and Simpson. If I were using these exact exposures from the optimizer, I’d likely dial down the Vaughn Taylor ($6,700) exposure a bit.
- Viktor Hovland ($7,600)
- Tony Finau ($8,200)
Model Results and Ownership Projections - RBC Heritage
|Byeong Hun An||7500||65.3||4.94|
|Rafa Cabrera Bello||7400||62.6||2.50|
|Cheng Tsung Pan||6700||41.3||1.59|
|Si Woo Kim||6700||38.6||3.19|
|Erik Van Rooyen||6600||68||1.32|
|Bo Van Pelt||6000||13.2||0.01|