PGA Sim Sports Picks for the RBC Heritage on FanDuel
The PGA Tour's season is on hold, but FanDuel is doing its part to keep golf going -- in spirit.
They have simulated out THE PLAYERS and even the Masters -- with a few tweaks to the field. The simulated results saw Jon Rahm take home THE PLAYERS and Seve Ballesteros (not a typo) win the 2020 simulated Masters.
FanDuel is running back the simulations for this week's RBC Heritage. You can join the free-to-play contest here.
There are some caveats, so we'll dig into everything about it now.
You can learn all the details about PGA Sims Sports over on FanDuel, but I'll run down the basics: it's the same format as your usual PGA DFS event. You roster six golfers and accrue fantasy points for how they do in the simulated event. Scoring is the same as a standard PGA Tour event.
Are there any tweaks? Of course. The main one is that -- rather than these golfers playing out the event -- stats are the basis for the simulation. Specifically, "distance, par, and player skill." That's really all we have to go on.
There are no legendary or fictional golfers in the field this week, but we are going to have to use some guesswork here.
The field is small (101 golfers), but with the regular cut rule, we're going to see around 65% of golfers play the simulated weekend. We can get a little punt heavy as a result, but a six-for-six lineup is always key.
Without knowing exactly what data goes into projecting the winner of a golf tournament (hey, this kind of sounds like a real golf event the more I think about it), I went back and leveraged datagolf.org's adjusted strokes gained data.
Typically when breaking down an event, current form is key, but I would have to assume a larger sample of data goes into this. I used data since 2019 to try to identify some of the best per-dollar plays on the slate among the active golfers.
Best of the Best
Due to his elite performance since the start of 2019, Rory McIlroy ($12,000) rates out to be worth every penny on this slate. He owns the best weighted adjusted stroke average (3.01) by a huge cavern (I have Patrick Cantlay ($11,200) second at 2.19). Cantlay, then, rates out as the second-best play among the top tier, followed by Adam Scott ($11,300).
Frankly of the expensive golfers should fare well here, so take your pick. Fading Rory could pay off in case he doesn't win. You'll need to hit the winner to hit it big come Sunday.
I think we have some pretty screaming values in Hideki Matsuyama ($9,400) and Paul Casey ($9,300). Anyone who tracks golf stats will know that these two always rate out well but rarely win events. In a pure numbers simulation, they should have boosted value, as they won't be fighting those runner-up demons. Similarly, Rickie Fowler ($9,300) is also cheap.
At the high end of the "mid-range", Bryson DeChambeau ($10,500) has win potential, especially if the stats range back far enough to credit him for his blazing hot end to 2018. This is another good range with notable names at reasonable salaries.
Collin Morikawa ($8,900) is an elite ball-striker, so it would stand to reason that his distance or greens in regulation stats -- whatever is in the model -- grade out very well, and that's a bankable formula for projecting golf normally.
Jason Day ($8,400) has overall good total strokes gained numbers, though he's reliant on his putter. He could struggle in a simulated format, but four days of Day at $8,400 would be very much welcome.
Viktor Hovland ($8,300) and Joaquin Niemann ($7,800) should have the right stats to make the cut and would have higher upside than most of the golfers priced around them, assuming their tee-to-green stats (whatever they may be) are on par with their actual performance.
Erik Van Rooyen ($7,200) is well worth the risk. Among golfers in this field and priced below $9,000, he ranks second in adjusted stroke average, based on datagolf's stats and my tweaks to them.
The author of this article has no involvement with the PGA Sim Sports simulations powered by numberFire and has no knowledge of the results of the upcoming contest.