The following article is a DraftKings PGA strategy article written by guest poster Evan Cheney (and edited and added to by Kevin), 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 betting sites will be in the same ballpark regarding who the top golfers will be for that week, but looking at multiple sites will give you a better idea of the favorites to win across the board.
Line movement is also an essential part of the Vegas odds. Line movement is when the odds on a golfer changes either way. We don’t need to pay attention to very small line movements, but larger line movements might indicate something to us.
If for example, Matt Kuchar starts the week at +2000 to win a tournament but his odds then moves to +1400 by Thursday morning that would be a significant line movement that we would want to look into further.
When a golfer’s odds go down like that it often means that a lot of money is coming in on that golfer. Sportsbooks won’t adjust too much if it’s just casual money coming in on a golfer, so a line movement that large would indicate some serious money is coming in on Kuchar.
This doesn’t mean you need to automatically play Kuchar in your DraftKings lineup, but it would be smart to investigate why others seem to like him to win the tournament so much.
On the other hand, if a golfer drops in odds from +2000 to +3000, for example, it might be worthwhile to check why that golfer’s odds dropped. Is he dealing with an injury that could affect his game?
Vegas golf odds are an effective tool for your PGA research, but just one of many things you need to take a look at.
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
There are a ton of different PGA stats we can look at each week, but in general, the stats that I like to use most for my DraftKings research are driving distance, driving accuracy, greens in regulation, strokes gained, and scrambling.
With that said, different stats are more valuable at a specific course and even in specific weather, so your strategy needs to change from week to week.
For example, some courses are “bombers courses” with wide fairways and forgiving rough. At these type of courses you will want to focus on Driving Distance and Driving Accuracy doesn’t matter much.
On the other hand, you might have a course with narrow fairways and thick rough, where you will put a premium on Driving Accuracy over distance.
When golf stats are used correctly on a week to week basis you can really get ahead of your competition at DraftKings, as a lot of people will ignore specific course details and just roster the better overall golfer.
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.
If something is slightly off in a golfer’s swing and they fail to adjust in the first 36 holes they can miss the cut and give you almost no chance to win a DraftKings contest (as in most you will need all 6 golfers to make the cut). This will happen to even the best golfers in the world that come into the tournament playing better golf than anyone out there.
This is what makes game theory so important in DraftKings PGA contests. A lot of the time the golfers playing the best golf will be very high owned. Knowing that golf is very random at times and it is tough to beat 150+ golfers in a week, if you can pick the popular golfers to avoid (fade) and they have a rough week you can set yourself up nicely.
Using ownership projections at FantasyLabs.com (the best DFS tool out there) we can probably find 3 or 4 golfers expected to be owned in about 25-30% of the entries. If you avoid 2 of those golfers completely and those golfers miss the cut (or even just finish poorly after making the cut) you will put yourself ahead of a lot of the lineups.
Another DraftKings PGA strategy would be to find two comparable golfers and simply take the golfer projected to be lower owned. If Golfer A is 10/1 to win the tournament and is expected to be 5% owned and Golfer B is 9/1 to win the tournament but expected to be 35% owned I would go with Golfer A just based on ownership (GPP strategy only).
That’s it for the DraftKings golf strategies. Hopefully it has helped you become a sharper DFS golf player and help you win some money!
What’s Next? Sharpen up your skills by reading my DFS Bankroll Management Strategies article.