The following article is a DraftKings PGA strategy article written by Evan Cheney, that will make you a better DFS golf player and hopefully help you win some money playing the DraftKings golf contests!
Daily fantasy golf is both one of the most frustrating sports to play in all of daily fantasy sports, but at the same time, it is one of the most fun. The frustration of daily fantasy golf comes from the fact that you have to deal with your lineup for four consecutive days. Which can come with an incredibly dangerous tilt if something were to go wrong with one of your lineups.
However, the fun of daily fantasy golf stems from the fact that it makes golf fun to watch. Moreover, for someone like me, who is 19 years old and not in the typical demographic of people who would usually watch golf on any particular weekend afternoon, this is huge.
Add in amazing people like Will Wilcox, who interact with the daily fantasy sports community (and sent me a signed ball), and you have yourself a recipe for a DFS sport that has incredible potential for growth. With that growth will be a ton of new players that have absolutely no clue what they are doing, and will just pick the familiar names that they have heard about on TV. I am going to show you guys some ways in which you can succeed playing DFS golf, and separate you from those people that just pick the random guys that they saw talked about on Sportscenter. So without further ado, let’s get into some golf!
When I begin my weekly research for golf, I like to start by looking up the odds that different sportsbooks have on the particular tournament for that week. All of the books will be in the same ballpark regarding who the top golfers will be for that week, but I like to aggregate the odds and get an average for the guys that might have the second or third best odds at winning a tournament. For example, if Jason Day is playing in a tournament with not Rory Mcllroy or Jordan Spieth, then he will probably be a huge favorite.
However, I then look at the next tier of players, including the Dustin Johnsons or the Sergio Garcias of the world. Not the best golfers in the world. However, certainly not bad by any means.
By aggregating the odds, you will see the guys that have the next best chance of winning in the case that Jason Day does have a bad week for some reason. Line movement is also an essential part of the Vegas odds.
If for example, a guy like Matt Kuchar starts the week at +1800 to win a tournament, but then moves to a +1400 by 5 AM on Thursday morning, that means something. It means that a lot of money (most likely sharp money) is coming in on Zach Johnson. Which then means that great sports betters are probably betting on Johnson.
Moreover, if they like him, then you should be considering him as being in your lineup(s) for that particular week. However, there is not one DFS sport that I believe that you should focus solely on Vegas odds for when making your golf lineups. Which is why you should pay close attention to these other DFS golf topics as well.
Course History and Course Fit
After considering the Vegas odds for the week, the next thing that I look at is how a player has performed in the past at the course that a particular tournament is being played. That, along with how a player has performed on a particular type of grass that the tournament is being played. The main two used being Bermuda and Sawgrass.
Different golf courses play into different strengths and weakness of golfers.
Using the Players Championship as an example, Jason Day was able to win that tournament not because he is a “bomber” (a player that can drive the ball an extremely far distance) but because he is a skilled golfer all around. However, that strategy does not work in all cases, with some courses curated for guys that can smack the ball and drive it for far distances. Sawgrass is also slightly more forgiving for putting.
However, the moral of the story is that course history and course fit is an important factor for you to weigh when selecting which golfers to roster on a particular week. Moreover, no, do not treat this like the ugly step child like we do in fantasy baseball with BvP.
Recent Performance and Twitter
It is also important to look at how a golfer has performed in recent history. Golf is a highly mental game. Moreover, if you start playing poorly in one tournament, it is very likely to carry over from one week to the next. If the player chooses not to take a week off in-between tournaments, this can be bad. As they are likely to have this bad performance carry over.
Rory McIlroy is an excellent example of this to an extent. Recently, he decided to take a few weeks off from the tour to improve some aspects of his swing. Feeling like his swing was lacking something. Had he played in those tournaments that he missed, he might not have performed well at all due to having negative thoughts in his head about how his swing had performed in recent tournaments that he had played.
Another great tool to use in DFS golf is Twitter. Twitter is great for many things, including obtaining the mindless thoughts of other people. If you are not too busy stalking an ex-lover on Twitter to see if they had found someone else yet, give stalking PGA golfers a try. It can be fun! You can see Jason Day getting drunk with the other golfers on the tour. You can tell that the fellow golfers are friends outside the golf course.
More importantly, though, it is an excellent way to obtain some transparency on how golfers feel about the course that they are playing on for that particular week. For example, our man Will Wilcox will always share his thoughts with us on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons on Twitter to tell us if we should play him that particular week or not. Other golfers, while not as blatantly transparent, will always share a thought or two on how their practice rounds went, and if they feel ready yet.
Important Stats to Use
Unlike some of the other sports, there is not a ton of advanced metrics that one can use for golf. Mainly because they have not been invented yet. The stats that I like to use are Driving Distance and Driving Accuracy, greens in regulation, strokes gained, and scrambling. Unlike most sports, you should not always pick the person who has the highest of each number. For example, in another sport where this is mainly used, if Robinson Cano (with an ISO of .284 against righties) is going to go up against a weak righty that is allowing an ISO of .200, then it would seem dumb not to play Robinson Cano. That is not something that works hand in hand though with golf. As I stated in the course history section, different stats should be utilized for various courses. Do not focus on Driving Distance for a non-bombers course, for example. Although when stats are used correctly, it can set you well ahead of the competition.
Being Contrarian and using Game Theory
In a sport such as golf, the variance is inevitable. No one can correctly project players in golf as they can in a more consistent sport as say, basketball. Where the good players are ALWAYS the better players.
In the hypothetical situation that I set up in the Vegas odds section, everyone and their mother would be on Jason Day. His price on Draftkings would be through the roof, but not having him on your team would be a death sentence. Or, would it? Jason Day would likely have 60% ownership at the very least in the situation that I had described before.
However, what if he plays poorly? It may not be a likely scenario, but it cannot be ruled out 100%. In properly utilizing game theory, one should select or pivot to another player of similar price. This hypothetical player would have much lower ownership, a much great risk/reward ratio. If Jason Day plays poorly and the pivot that you made is only at 5% ownership and plays well, then you have a great shot at taking down a large GPP for a big payout. However, if Jason Day plays well as expected, and your pivot plays poorly, then you will likely end up at the bottom of your tournaments.
It is a necessary risk that would need to be taken in any tournament in any sport to take down a big tournament. Is the risk huge? Absolutely! Is the reward even greater? Hell Yeah!
I hope you all enjoyed this article. Moreover, I hope that you guys become better DFS golf players because of it.
What’s Next? Sharpen up your skills by reading my DFS Bankroll Management Strategies article.