RIETVELD: Check these guys out if you’re playing DFS this Heritage week

Christmas in the Lowcountry. That’s right, the RBC Heritage is back to its rightful location in April as a much-needed exhale from another dramatic Masters finish. What better way to get into the spirit of competition and cook up some rooting support than a little daily fantasy team. Hopefully I am supplying you with a combination of winners so you can buy a new pair of tartan paints for next year’s tourney. 

Here we go.

The High Dollar Super Studs: $10,000 or More

We all love the South Carolina native and No. 1 golfer in the world, Dustin Johnson. However, his $11,600 price tag is simply too much this week after a quick exit in Augusta. Instead I would go with one of the following two rising PGA superstars. 

Colllin Morikawa $10,500

Daniel Berger $10,000

Okay, so maybe I pick Collin Morikawa to win every tournament, but the smiling Californian warrants being picked week in and week out, and the stats back that up. For example, Shots Gained Off-the-Tee, which is a very important stat coming into the narrow tree-lined fairways of Harbour Town Golf Links: The Cal Bear is third on tour. Even better, in the Shots Gained Approach category, Mr. Morikawa is first on the tour. The man is a ball-striking machine and the best iron player since Tiger Woods. Yes, I know his putting gets a little dicey at times but with Harbour Town’s trademark small greens he will not have a putt longer than 25 feet all week. Somebody call up the tailor, let’s start getting Morikawa fitted for that tartan jacket.

Daniel Berger, the Florida State alumnus, was the man of the hour after last year’s restart. He racked up a victory at Colonial (aka Charles Schwab Challenge), a tie for third at the Heritage, and a top 3 at the WGC St.Jude/Fed-Ex Invitational. While he did miss the cut at The Masters, he won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am back in February. What is the only course with smaller greens than Pete Dye’s Harbour Town? That’s right, Jack Neville and Douglas Grant’s Pebble Beach Golf Links. His control of the ball and ball flight line up perfectly for making a run this weekend.

Bargain Box Superstars $8,000 – $10,000

Obviously you cannot build your fantasy team with all $10,000 superstars. What would be the fun in that? So everyone and their brother will be hitching their wagon to the young blue blood, Will Zalatoris ($9,700). Who can blame them? The 24 year old Wake Forest golfer has more top 10s this year than anyone not named Bryson Dechambeau. The rail-thin blondie is easy to root for and he has simply been on fire. No problems with the Zalatoris pick at all, but as we know foreigners tend to have incredible success on Hilton Head and here are two I like in this price range.

Matt Fitzpatrick $9,100

Abraham Ancer $8,900

Matt Fitzpatrick’s worst finish in 2021 in six starts is a T34 last week at The Masters. That is insane! The Englishman has been a top-10 staple in this young PGA Tour season. Fitzpatrick is in the top 30 in both Shots Gained Putting and Shots Gained Tee-to-Green, which fits in nicely this week. He came out hot last year at Harbour Town with a pair of 66s in the first two rounds and finished with a respectful T14. I like his chances if he can once again start strong and then leave the foot down on the pedal over the weekend.

It is only a matter of time before the up-and-coming Abraham Ancer wins his first PGA Tour event and Harbour Town might be the perfect fit. The former Oklahoma Sooner finished 2nd last year at the RBC Heritage with a sizzling final round of 65 to come up one shot short of eventual champion Webb Simpson. The tequila loving Ancer has hit an eye-popping 72.8% of fairways this year which is second on tour. His low-to-mid ball flight and his fairway finders may have him celebrating with a few celebratory tequila shots on Sunday night.

Best-of-the-Rest: $6,000 – $8,000

You always have to have one or two players from the budget-friendly categories if you want to have any success in DFS. Here are two South Carolinians that fit the value bill perfectly.

Matthew NeSmith $6,900

Bryson Nimmer $6,000

How can you bet against a man who got engaged at Harbour Town Golf Links? You can’t and that’s exactly what Matthew NeSmith did a few years ago on the 18th green. The University of South Carolina Gamecock has good mojo when it comes to Harbour Town, but he has also been striking the ball insanely well this season. He is currently 25th in Shots Gained Tee-to-Green and 8th in Shots Gained Approach. Again, this is a great combination for this classic course setup. If the North Augusta native can hone in his putting on the slower green’s of Harbour Town, I would not be shocked to see a top 10 finish for NeSmith.

You can’t have a Gamecock on the list and not a Clemson Tiger, right? In comes Bryson Nimmer, a sponsor’s exemption into this year’s Heritage who looks to continue his scorching-hot play against the best players in the world. When Canada’s Mackenzie Tour cancelled its season due to COVID-19 last year, the Bluffton native hopped on the fresh, developmental LOCALiQ Series. All Nimmer did on the “Race to the Bahamas” was collect a host of top 5s and two victories, and ultimately win the points title. Just last week he and partner Max Rottluff won $100,000 at The Press Golf Tournament in Texas. In short, the young Clemson Tiger has been dialed in over the past year. Not to mention, he has a great history with the course, winning the prestigious 2014 Junior Heritage. The smaller crowds will surely be behind the local rising star and a made cut could be the stepping stone Nimmer needs to get onto the tour full time. 

By Brian Rietveld

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